LIC Blog

eRoyalty Review of Lost in Castles

As Plantagenet and Tudor enthusiasts, we can’t help but be enthralled by the castles our royal and noble friends called home. Fortunately, many of these castles remain throughout Britain – some still standing and well-maintained, and others in some state of ruin, with keeps and buildings and walls crumbling from the centuries.

But if we’re fortunate to be able to visit any of these castles, it can be an unforgettable experience to stand where our favorite royal stood, to share the same space even if we are separated by time. We imagine what they felt and did in these rooms. We imagine them entering through the castle gate or walking atop the castle walls. We imagine elaborate meals in the great halls, the warmth from a glowing fire, secret meetings on the winding stone steps, or a quiet evening in their bedchamber.

This month, e-Royalty is recommending an exquisite website called Lost in Castles, along with its delightful Facebook page of the same name.  As an impassioned castle lover, you can step back in time and see how these castles looked once upon a time.

On the Lost in Castles website, you see numerous – and quite lovely – paintings, engravings and old photos of castles throughout England, Wales, Scotland and France.  Some of the images show what these castles look like today, while other images are from earlier time periods.

You can literally spend many a happy hour lost in lovely castle imagery. (Pun quite intended.) But what makes the Lost in Castle website such an amazing find is the dozen or so ruined castles these fine researchers are in in the process of reconstructing.

From in-depth photography and detailed research and analysis, researcher John Fox builds models of what the castles looked like in their prime.  Here you can view picture after picture of castle ruins, next to detailed drawings and 3-D renderings of the original layouts of the castle – complete with recreated fortress walls, towers, gatehouses and more.

But the people behind this ingenious website take these imaginative recreations to a new and very exciting level. Using state of the art computer graphics, the digital artist, Joseph A. Fox, beautifully reconstructs the full glory of these castles that now lie in various degree of ruin.  Now for the first time in centuries, you can see the walls rebuilt, the inner and outer wards reestablished, the rooms refurnished and more. You truly step back in time to see how these castles looked when our favorite nobles and royals called their castle home.

In addition, Lost in Castles offers a number of DVDs for sale digitally reconstructing the castles as they once were, and retelling the history of the castle. One of our favorites is Middleham Castle, the main home of Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III) and his wife, Anne Neville.

If you’re planning a visit to any of these castles in the future, we recommend you first visit Lost in Castles to “see” how magnificent they once were. After seeing the reconstructed castle on the website, it will be easy to imagine as you tour the ruin where the moat, the gateway entrance, the chapel, the main hall, etc. would have been.

Or, if you want to learn more about a previously visited castle ruin, go to Lost in Castles to see how your castle once looked in all its glory. Compare your pictures to the beautifully reconstructed imaginings on the website.

Plus, if you’re reading a great historical novel – fact or fiction – and want to visualize what the featured castle looked like in order to place the royal and noble characters within its’ walls, then stop by Lost in Castles to further enhance your reading pleasure.

If you’re on Facebook, be sure and like their Facebook page, Lost in Castles, at https://www.facebook.com/lostincastles. This page is simply one breathtaking photograph, painting, engraving of castle after castle after castle – some quite familiar to you … and some we would imagine you have never heard of.

For any serious lover of the Middle Ages, Lost in Castles should be bookmarked, liked and visited often. Five very big stars. Enjoy!

Find the original article here or view as pdf

None dare call it treason!

On 22nd August 1485 the Battle of Bosworth took place. The location and actions of the participants in that combat are, to this day, a matter of conjecture and speculation.

But some things are clear and beyond question.

King Richard III arrived at Bosworth with three battles or battalions. The vanguard was commanded by the ever loyal John Howard, Duke of Norfolk, accompanied by his son Thomas. The rearguard was under the banner of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, whilst the King and his household knights directed the centre.

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Footsteps to War: Part 6 - A fool and his money

Henry the Third was totally unfit to be king of England. In this he was neither the first nor sadly would he be the last. He possessed no martial skills. His futile foray into North Wales in 1257 showed that he lacked any military acumen. His devotion to his half-brothers, the Lusignons, in the teeth of their manifest evil character and deeds, succeeded in alienating the best of his nobles and people.

That he was blind to the corrosive effect they were having on his eldest son, Edward, who adored his uncles, proved disastrous for many of his subjects.

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Recommendation: "The Iron King" by Maurice Druon

In 1972 French television produced a series entitled, "Les Rois Maudits", which was screened on BBC 2 with English subtitles. The British dumped the drama into the graveyard slot - after 11pm on a Saturday. As one habituated to late rising I decided to take a peek at the first episode and was hooked.

Some years later my French friend told me that it had been based on a set of seven books written by Maurice Druon, but she did not know if they had ever been translated into English.

And there the matter rested.

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Footsteps to War: Part 5 - Blood is thicker than water

The Feast of Edward the Confessor fell on 13th October. As a devotee to the cult of the Saint, Henry III always celebrated his feast day. However, if proof were needed that the godly Saxon King had no power over the affairs of this world, his festive day in the year 1247 showed it. For surely the late King would have protected his realm from a dangerous invasion, if he was able?

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On this day ... Tewkesbury

The news reached London only two days after the battle of Barnet. Two short days! Why my Lord of Warwick would scarce have been cold before those ships put in at Weymouth. What must his wife and daughter have felt when they heard? But it was the other cargo that put fear into the hearts of Londoners, for the former Queen, Margaret of Anjou was back. And this time she'd brought her son, Prince Edouard, with her to reclaim the throne of England.

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On this day ... The Battle of Barnet

Easter Sunday fell on 14th April in 1471. That day was to see the utter ruin of one of the great families of England. 

Barnet was a small town 10 miles north of London.

North of the town itself, the Earl of Warwick, Richard Neville, had assembled an army of around 20,000 men in a line stretching from west on the St. Alban's Road to the east. That side was protected by a steep slope dropping to Dead Man's Bottom. Warwick waited on Saturday for the arrival of his opponent, Edward IV, King of England.

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The tomb of Richard III

Lost in Castles, working once more in association with film company Chat Noir Productions Ltd, have produced this promotional video for the original tomb designed for the dig in Leicester.

Fit to Broadcast?

The BBC have recently broadcast the first of three episodes of a series entitled "Fit to Rule". This purports to consider whether British Monarchs, from Henry Tudor onwards, were capable of exercising the functions of the Crown.

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Footsteps to War: Part 4 - Enter the Dragon

Gruffydd ap Llywelyn died in 1244 leaving 3 sons - Owain, Llywelyn and Dafydd.

On the death of their uncle Dafydd, Owain and Llywelyn were persuaded to divide the land of Gwynedd between them. These two continued the war with Henry III throughout 1246, but were outflanked by an English army which pushed from the South of Wales sweeping all before it until it reached Degannway.

Following a truce made at Chester, Owain and Llywelyn met Henry at Woodstock on 30th April 1247.

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On this day ... The Battle of Towton

Palm Sunday fell on the 29th March in 1461. On that day the bloodiest ever conflict took place between Englishmen on their native soil. After a brutal skirmish at Ferrybridge Edward IV brought his army to the southern edge of a platform south of Tadcaster. Only a few hundred yards away the Lancastrian army of Henry VI had formed its battle line stretching from the Cock Beck in the west to straddle the approach to the village of Towton at their rear.

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Review of "The Vault" from the Guédelon Project

The Guédelon project is possibly one of the most abitious architectural projects within living memory. Within our everyday lives we are constantly reminded of our ability to create impressive buildings in a variety of styles, but Guéldon is different. Set within a forest in a disused quarry in central France, for the last 15 years a dedicated team has worked steadily to construct a Thirteenth Century castle entirely using the techniques and expertise of this period. This highly ambitious undertaking is all the more impressive considering that many of the construction methods now emplyed on the site have not been used for for hundreds of years, indeed many have been revived by those working on the project and for this alone they deserve our admiration.

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More violence and cruelty

As Thomas More's political power increased, he began to show a side of his character which had been hidden under his supposed wit and penchant for teasing.

On 14th May 1529 he summoned the influential London merchant, Humphrey Monmouth, to appear before him. Privy Councillor More interrogated Monmouth thoroughly. What books and letters had he received from Europe? What support did he give to William Tyndale, who had translated the Greek New Testament into English? What books did he own? Monmouth gave More clear answers to these questions, but the heretic-hunter had Monmouth's London home searched from top to bottom, just in case. No compromising material was found, but that did not prevent More, th lawyer, from imprisoning Monmouth in the Tower of London.

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To Prove a Villain

"See, I told you that Shakespeare was right!"

Over the last month this jibe had echoed down the internet from the ignorant and misinformed in a variety of ways.

But the message is unmistakeable.

The skeleton found in Leicester has a severe curvature of the spine - crippling in its severity and this is precisely the kind of deformity envisaged in the play of "Richard III".

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Science can "prove" anything

In 1974 as a post-graduate student in Theoretical Physics I attended a course of lectures in Cambridge onThe Structure and Evolution of Stars. The lecturer, Dr. Gough, good humouredly spent about 8 one hour sessions constructing a mathematical model to show how he believed stars had evolved over vast amounts of time. Such a structure was full of guesses, approximations and some tough mathematics, as are all complex theories.

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Bending the Truth?

Richard S. Sylvester commenting on Thomas More's description of Richard III (see page 7 of the Yale Edition of the Complete Works, Volume 2) writes:

This detail (crook-backed) is not found in Rous, the Croyland Chronicle, Fabyan or Polydore and it is certainly not noticeable in the contemporary portraits of Richard. ... If Richard had such a deformity it could not have been conspicuous.

In Richard III: The Unseen Story Dr. Piers Mitchell of Cambridge University stated that the remains discovered in Leicester displayed a curve of 60 to 80 degrees - a very noticeable and very conspicuous deformity.

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An intolerable little priest

John Rous was born around 1411 near Warwick. Having been education at Oxford he only left it in 1445 to enter the employ of the Beauchamp family. He became one of the two priests retained as Chaplain of St. Mary Magdalene at Guy's Cliff 2 miles from Warwick. Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick founded it for masses to be sung for himself, his wife, parents and friends. When Richard Neville succeeded to the earldom in 1449 by right of his wife Anne, Rous simply exchanged one patron for another. He remained totally loyal to the earls of Warwick and their descendents even after Richard Neville fell at Barnet in 1471.

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A Lack of Back-bone

At the start of Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones has surmounted spiders, poisoned darts, murder and treachery. Having finally reached the safety of his friend's sea-plane the audience is allowed a welcome slice of comedy, as our hero, freaks out, when he discovers the pilot's pet snake coiled next to him. His friend acidly remarks, "Come on, show a little back-bone, Indy!"

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Was History Horrible?

At one point in Richard III: The King in the Car Park, the presenter, Philippa Langley and two Leicester Scientists stand around the remains discussing wounds. And the conversation eventually settles upon one word: brutal. It is passed around as not only a comment on the way the body was treated (before and after death) but as an indictment upon the time. It is a judgment that fits in well with the general tone of history today and is popularised by the children's series Horrible Histories, which is nothing but playground whispers ...

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Is there really something fishy about Richard III?

In Richard III: The King in the Car Park, aired on Channel 4 last Monday, the radiocarbon dating of the remains discovered in Leicester gave the "wrong" result, for those who wanted them to be the remains of Richard III. One test suggested 1430-1460 and another 1412-1449, both well outside the actual year of the King's death, in 1485.

Professor Buckley swiftly changed the result to give the dates 1475-1530, with a 69% confidence. He did so by stating that it was all to do with fish.

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