Sunday, August 24, 2008

Beverley town defences, Beverley

Beverley Town Defences

Beverley is about two miles North of Kingston Upon Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire. In 1321, the Scots raided as far south as Beverley, causing damage and panic amongst the population there. As a result, the people of Beverley petitioned Parliament for a grant to provide defences for the town.

Above. A view of the interior face of the gate.

The town at this time, had a system of ditches marking its boundaries, which as well as a token defensive feature, probably acted as the town's drainage\sewage system as well. The brick gateway that can still be seen today, The North Bar, is the sole remaining gateway built along with four others all now sadly gone. The gateway was rebuilt in 1409, and is essentially the structure that can be seen today.

Above. A view of the exterior face of the gate.

Beverley also had a number of wooden towers acting as defensive road-blocks into and out of the town, built across minor roads in the area. There was also a chain over Beverley Beck, providing protection against unwanted water born traffic.

(Photos courtesy of David Atkinson)

Muncaster Castle, Muncaster

Muncaster Castle

Muncaster castle can be found on the A595, East of Ambleside, and South of Egremont. The castle is a mish-mash of medieval tower, later additions and 19th century wings and towers. The earliest part of the castle we see today, is the 13th or 14th century pele tower, shown here on the right hand side of the photo. The original site most likely had a series of earthworks providing additional protection. These have now obviously gone, replaced by other buildings and the vast gardens.

The castle was most likely built by the Penningtons, possibly when they deserted the ring work at Pennington, some time in the mid 1200's. There may have been some sort of fortification here before the pele tower, but whatever form that took, is no longer visible. The tower measures 12 metres by 9 metres, and has walls around 2 metres thick. This original tower has a stair tower in its left rear corner...only just visible on the above photo.

Above. Muncaster Castle from Ellerbeck.

The Penningtons changed their names to de Mulcaster, and the family's descendants remain at the castle today.

Check Muncaster's official website.

Pennington, Castle Hill, Pennington

Castle Hill

Pennington's Castle Hill, was an early medieval ringwork, situated about a mile and a half East of Ulverston, and just off the A590.

The remains sit high up on an escarpment, protected on the North and East sides by a ditch and embankment, still very much in evidence. The West side is protected by a steep incline that drops away to Pennington beck below it. It's possible that the ditch and embankment here have been eroded away by the stream, as there are now no traces of any earthworks here. The South side is again protected by an embankment, and a steep incline that drops away to what has been considered in the past, to be the remains of a bailey area. some photos, what looks like masonry can clearly be seen protruding from beneath the turf.

The oval shaped ring work covers an area roughly 50 by 40 metres, and the alleged bailey area is about the same size.

The entrance gap that appears in the East side is probably the original entrance to the fortification, and the route that the footpath follows from the North, is most likely just an erosion mark from the many walkers that make their way through the remains.

It is thought that the ring work here was held by the de Pennington family right through to around 1318, although they had already moved to Muncaster by around 1242.

Aerial photos clearly demonstrate the reason for siting this ring work here. It is high above the surrounding valley, with only the hills to the West higher.

J.F.Curwen remarks in his book Castles and Fortified Towers of Cumbria... that the site was probably a motte and bailey castle with a wooden tower (never built\replaced in stone) though current thinking suggests that the site was a ring work, as mentioned above, and never evolved into a motte and bailey site.