Old Bolingbroke – Where East Meets West – Part 7

It was a gloomy day when I set out with the intention of covering Old Bolingbroke, East Kirby and Snipe Dale.  The weather was really not conducive to photography, and it was very cold.  The water in the moat round the castle was frozen, and so I made the decision to return home after only visiting the castle and church.

The village of Old Bolingbroke lies in a broad valley of the Lincolnshire Wolds, and is not far off the Prime Meridian.  It is three miles West of Spilsby, and has one church – that of St Peter, and St Paul.  It is also the home of Old Bolingbroke Castle.  To the southwest a hill known as Kirkby Hill is topped with a former windmill, that sits just within the parish boundary.  So much for an introduction….. Castle First

Bolingbroke Castle was one of three built by Ranulf de Blundeville, Earl of Chester and Lincoln, in the 1220s after his return from the Crusades (the others being Beeston Castle, Cheshire, and Chartley, Staffordshire).  After Blundeville’s death, the castle remained in the ownership of the Earls of Lincoln and was later inherited through marriage by John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster.  It is now owned and maintained by English Heritage.

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John of Gaunt and his first wife, Blanche, lived at the castle during the 1360s. Their son, Henry of Bolingbroke, was born there in 1367.

Henry had a tempestuous relationship with Richard II and was exiled in 1397. He returned to England after the death of his father in 1399, enraged that the king had seized the estates he had inherited. Richard was in Ireland, attempting to quell a rising, when he heard of Henry’s return.

These events marked the end of Richard II’s reign. Henry of Bolingbroke was encouraged to claim the throne of England from his unpopular rival, and Richard was imprisoned. Soon afterwards, Henry was crowned king as Henry IV.

There is no documentary evidence to suggest that Henry IV ever returned to his birthplace.

The main function of the castle during the 15th and 16th centuries was as an administrative centre for the estates of the Duchy of Lancaster. The current names of the towers, for example the Auditor’s Tower and Receiver’s Tower, refer to their use during this period.

Surveys undertaken at the castle in the 17th century show that only a few of the towers then remained in use and that the enclosing walls were extremely dilapidated.

Bolingbroke Castle is a prime example of 13th-century architectural design and is described as an ‘enclosure’ castle. Such castles are characterised by curtain walls with towers enclosing a courtyard. Within this courtyard there would have been timber-framed structures, including a great hall and service buildings, evidence of which was found in excavations during the 1960s.

The south-west tower, which is now known as the King’s Tower, was rebuilt between 1444 and 1456 on an octagonal plan. By this time, the castle was more than 200 years old, and this remodelling represents an attempt by the owners to express their wealth and importance.

From the Auditor’s Tower can be seen the Rout Yard – the field to the south of the castle – which contains several earthworks, including a rectangular enclosure.

Debate continues as to the original use of this earthwork, which may have been a fishpond, an animal compound or a 17th-century fort.

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The Church of St Peter and St Paul – Old Bolingbroke

Seating about 250 people, the church was built of traditional Spilsby sandstone c1363 by John of Gaunt and was originally three times its current size.

The church suffered at the hands of Oliver Cromwell and fellow parliamentarians as they laid seige at Bolingbroke Castle in 1643 and was restored and the north aisle added in 1889.

In the centre of the village is a rose garden, and is depicted the Shield of the Duke of Lancaster.

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The Royal Village of Old Bollingbroke. The shield bears the arms of Edmund first Earl Of Lancaster. These are the arms of theDuchy of Lancaster who presented the sheild to this village on August 4th 1966 in commemoration of the birth in Bollinbroke Castle in 1366 of Henry Bollingnroke Duke of Lancaster. King Henry of England. The Roses are the original rose of Lancaster grown in Provins and adopted by Edmund as his emblem in 1280. They are a gift to the village from the mayor and people of Provins. March 1967.

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The text from the above plaque is shown inbetween the two images.

Next time – East Kirby Airfield – home of ‘Jane’, the Lancaster, and site of a Prime Meridian marker stone.

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Where East Meets West – Part 2

If you trace the Prime Meridian from the North Pole, heading South, the first landfall you will make is on the East Coast of England.  Here, a 306-mile (493-kilometer) footpath is marked off following the Meridian line as closely as possible. Dubbed the Greenwich Meridian Trail, the long-distance walk follows the invisible geographic marker from the English Channel in Sussex northward to the east Yorkshire coast at Sand le Mere, and Patrington.

From the South it comes up through the outskirts of Boston, and up through the Lincolnshire Wolds.  Then on to Cleethorpes, and after that, with the Humber Estuary in the way, to Spurn Point, and Patrington – ending at Sand Le Mere.

Sadly the marker for the end of the walk at Sand Le Mere, has been washed into the sea following the coastal erosion, and although it survived the initial fall, it has now vanished from the beach.  Hence my first blog post showed the 0 marker on the main road.   Sadly, I suppose the route is getting slightly shorter, year on year, following the problems on the Yorkshire coast.

Another boring fact is that Louth is the largest Town north of London that the Meridian actually passes through properly.  There are some that have the line just outside the town perimeters, like Holbeach and Boston.

Once the line goes into East Yorkshire it quickly leaves the County (like many other things) just near Holderness, and from there it is entirely over water all the way to the Pole.

And for those who like facts and figures, it only passes through 8 countries en route.

They are, in order North to South, England, France, Spain, Algeria, Mali, Togo, Burkina Faso and Ghana  – so maybe I’ll visit all of them…

Anyway….. to conclude this post, here’s the Meridian in Cleethorpes, where my journey really starts…  I’ll revisit on a less wet day with a few better images.

The Prime Meridian – Where East Meets West – Part 1

For some time, I’ve been thinking about a project for myself for 2019. I’d dithered with the Meridian Line, and tracing it across Lincolnshire, and a few weeks ago decided that I’d give it a go.

I’m allowing 12 months to complete the project – and the intention is to take as many interesting photographs as I can, as near to zero degrees as it is possible to get between Cleethorpes and roughly as far south as Boston.

I’ve already got OS maps for most of the county, but finally decided that I’d go further North to where the Meridian Line first makes landfall in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

So last week, a friend and I headed north, to Withernsea, and Patrington. Once the line leaves Yorkshire of course there is a small matter of the Humber Estuary getting in the way, so the next time I go out, the set of images will be from Cleethorpes.

It was a beautiful day, and after we had found the zero degrees signs we wandered along the coast road looking at the cliff collapse near the Caravan Park just outside Withernsea. The houses there are now perilously close to the edge, and the caravan park too. There was a road once, that must have traversed the cliff top, with views out to sea. It’s all gone.  The house in the background of the photo below is about 50 yards from the cliff edge, but its back garden fence is practically on the edge…..

After that, we headed South back to Withernsea itself for some lunch, and then further south again to Sunk Island (because we liked the name) – here we found Stone Creek, and by this time the sun was starting to go down.

This was just our first outing, and I’ll write more about the Meridian itself in future blog posts.

What I’m hoping long term, is that having something to work towards will help in an exploration of the County – I find it’s always good to have an excuse to go out with the camera.. this might turn out to be one of the best if this day was anything to go by.  It’s also good to have a project.

In the meantime, have a lovely Christmas – and a happy and peaceful New Year.

Thanks for taking time to read, and follow this blog – it’s been a good photographic year……

Best Wishes……