Retracing our steps, Tattershall and the Castle

Boston marked the end of our journey east. We are now on the return leg of our great 2018 River Adventure. Time to visit all/Some of the places we missed on the way down. First would be Tattershall Castle. The 30 minute walk along Dogdyke was well rewarded as an impossing tower came into view, the one we had seen from Boston’s stump tower.  Built in 1430 by Ralph Cromwell, out of 700 000 bricks, it was very unusual for the time, not because Lego hadn’t been invented, but because most grand buildings were built of stone. Of course, such a tower just begged to be climbed. Despite it being a NT property it didn’t feel over commercialised and the audio tour was well done and informative as it guided us, first down the 12 steps into the servants quarters, then up 149 steps through various floors, each one getting grander the higher we climbed. until we reached the roof. And oh what a viewLooking south east, we could see the white buildings of RAF Conningsby and the water park lake.  And in the far distance, about 11 miles away was the Boston Stump.When we looked to the north west, Lincoln cathedral dominated the skyline about 20 miles away.Coming down the steps was much much easier than the Boston Stump, the handrail was smooth stone set into the bricks.One of the notable features of Tattershall castle are the 4 magnificent stone fireplaces. I reckon if they had been a bridge we’d have got Firecrest through with room to spare. We are lucky to still have the fireplaces, because the castle had fallen into disrepair and the NT declined to purchase the building.  In 1910, just before it was about to be demolished, the fireplaces were sold to the Americans, but a local vicar contacted the philanthropist, Lord Curzon. He stepped in and purchased the castle for a few thousand, and demanded to know “where were his fireplaces”. After a bit of detective work he found they were sitting at Tilbury docks awaiting their passage. Luckily he had the funds, from memory about £5000 but definitely more than he paid for the castle. He was able to buy them back and he restored the castle at his expense before bequeathing it to the NT after his death in 1925 for all to enjoy.Across the moat, is Tattershall church,which has interesting tales to tell. You might be able to see the furnishings are draped with blue cloth. This is because the church is home to a colony of bats. Not just in the belfry, but throughout the whole church, and the evidence was clearly seen. Whilst I admire wildlife preservation, I think the novelty of bat poo in a well used building would wear rather thin in my opinion. But the bats aren’t the churches only claim to fameIt is where Tom Thumb is buried. He died in 1620 aged 101. I make no claims about this tales acurracy.

After an enjoyable day exploring, we decided to eat out at the Packet Inn, good food reasonably priced, but sadly it was to be our farewell meal with Ian and Cherryl. They had commitments to honour so needed to travel faster than us. We’ve learnt a lot about boating life from Ian and Cherryl. They have a wealth of experience and while we share a lot of the same dreams, Cherryl has written their story into a book called Dreams Really Do Come True

Give me a few years and maybe my inner author will make it off the blog and into paperback.

Rebuilding the castle

I was lucky enough to find out that Nottingham Castle was due to close for a multi-million pound revamp over the next two years, but even better for us, they had removed the entry charge for the week. So off we went to see what we could find. The kids were in, attempting to build a replica out of Lego.The castle was full of atmosphere, and history. William the Conqueror built the castle in1067 but it became dilapidated and was demolished in 1649. The Duke of Newcastle built the ducal palace in its plac, but in 1831 rioters burnt it down. The Duke was paid £21000 in compensation but didn’t rebuild his home and eventually in 1878 Notingham council rebuilt it as a museum and art gallery.
The castle was built in a huge sandstone rock and overlooked an array of old and new buildings. The one that looks like a stadium is actually the HMRC offices, (which is right next to the canal.)We wondered which building Robin Hood would be frequenting now.One of the other things Nottingham is famous for is that it is the home of Torvil and Dean and their Bolero costumes from their 1984 are on display in the castle.

The Castle dominates the city and as we cruised through Nottingham we could look up through the houses we could see it. The castle was a good place to spend the day, but I hope when it is re opened in 2020/21 it won’t be known as the castle because sadly it is not a castle any more.