Thursday, September 27, 2012

RAF Greenham Common, Greenham

RAF Greenham Common

Above. The now disused Control Tower building. 

Above. One of the massive Cruise Missile storage bunkers. 

Above. The secure area surrounding the Cruise Missile storage bunkers. 

Above. The Cruise Missile storage bunkers. 

Fantastic aerial photo of Greenham Common today.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Oxford Castle Motte, Oxford

Oxford Castle Motte

Oxford Castle was founded in 1071, not long after the Norman invasion of 1066. The original fortification may have been constructed of wood and later replaced with a stone tower. Excavations beneath the motte and in surrounding areas have uncovered evidence of pre-Norman (Saxon) habitation. The impressive St George's tower, may be from this earlier period, and can be found a few yards from the Southern side of the motte.

Above. The motte from South.

The fact that the motte appears to have been built over Saxon remains, could indicate a symbolical burying of the old (Saxon) and replacement by the new (Norman) and a firm establishment of Norman control over the city.

Above. The motte from New Road to the North.

The Norman castle was established by Robert D'Oyly, who came to England with William the Conqueror, and built very soon after Oxford was invaded. Originally standing to around eighteen metres high, it has been somewhat reduced in height now. St George's tower may have been added to the castle around 1074, using the foundations of an exisiting Saxon building. Easily seen from the road to the North and from the castle courtyard, this is an impressive motte.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Donnington Castle, Berkshire

Donnington Castle
Shaw Cum Donnington
West Berkshire

Built around 1386, Donnington Castle is a much reduced version of its original self. The majority of the remains consist of the twin towered gatehouse, built of flint with stone dressings and the completely ruined and reduced courtyard including the footings of six towers. Surrounding the masonry remains, are earthworks thrown up in 1643 by Colonel John Boys for the Royalist cause during the English Civil War. Typically, I only found out about the earthworks after my visit so didn't manage to catch any photos of them. The earthworks can still be seen on aerial photos, but this may be more to do with the fact that their extremeties are now marked out by footpaths. Click this link for an old map showing the castle and its earthwork defences.

Above. View of the gatehouse from within the confines of the courtyard.

The castle was built by Sir Richard Abberbury under a licence to crenellate granted by Richard II. It was later sold to Thomas Chaucer, son of Geoffrey as a home for his daughter Alice. The Chaucers later found themselves on the wrong side of the Tudor monarchy and duly lost the castle and its manor.

Above. View of the gatehouse from outside the ruined courtyard walls.

The castle was reduced to its present state during a Parliamentarian bombardment that lasted from July 1644 until April 1646. During this time the small garrison managed to hold out against the superior artillery by utilising the newly created star shaped defences that Colonel Boys had put in place. Colonel Boys eventually managed to negotiate a surrender which meant that he and his men were able to leave the castle safely. Parliament then decreed that the castle be destroyed to prevent it falling into Royalist hands once again. Only the gatehouse was allowed to remain standing.

Above. The gatehouse from the foot of the hill.

Above. The vaulted chamber in the gatehouse.

Above. One of the courtyard towers, with remains of a staircase.

Above. A stretch of the courtyard wall with a square tower in the foreground.

Above. An exterior view of the footings of one of the square towers.

Above. And the same tower from another anlge.

There is a small car park at the foot of the hill and access is fairly easy.

The Castle Facts website has some further information on Donnington Castle.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Brougham Hall, new photos

Brougham Hall
New photos

Above. The gatehouse from within the courtyard.

Above. Closer view of the interior of the gatehouse.

Above. The vaulted interior of the 17th century gatehouse.

Above. An original door?

Above. The bricked up draw bar tunnel.

Above. The opposite side, with its intact draw bar tunnel.

Above. View of the gatehouse door.

Above. Possible hinge hole in the walls of the gatehouse.