Monday, September 03, 2018

Penrith, Two Lions Inn

Two Lions Inn

One of Penrith's oldest surviving buildings has been rescued (to a point!) and looks to have had its future secured. At the beginning of 2017 a group was set up, with the aim of securing this important building, weatherproofing it and enabling the ceiling decorations and other historical characteristics to be saved from decay. 

Above. The newly consolidated Two Lions Inn from Princes Street.

From Princes Street, the Two Lions and its accompanying stable block are remarkably different from 2007, when the building was showing very obvious signs of decay.

Above. Back in 2007, the front of the building was very different.

Above. The heavy studded door (repaired) is still in situ....its age...who knows?

Above. Unsightly ancillary buildings have been removed.

With the removal of ancillary buildings to the rear of the the Two Lions, more features have been discovered and renovated, showing the original windows and doors that were otherwise buried behind the old buildings.

Above, 2007, the rear of the Two Lions is hidden behind unsightly ancillary buildings.

Above. The building to the rear of the stable block.

The building to the rear of the stable block has had its unsightly coating removed, not only enabling the bricked up window to be re-opened,  but the discovery and re-opening of one window on the ground floor and a second at the first floor. Compare this with the original look back in 2007 (below)

Above. 2007.....What a difference.

The next step is to find some use for wat used to be the the moment the building, as I understand it, is empty. At the very least though, the interior is now protected from the weather, and the Lowther ceiling and other items of historical interest are protected from decay.

Previous photos and history of the Two Lions Inn can be found here.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Tenby, Tenby Castle

Tenby Castle

Above. View of Tenby Castle from Norton Road above the harbour.

Above. The view from Bridge Street, looking towards the gate.

Above. Substantial wall remains near the museum.

Above. Another view of the walls near the museum.

Above. Gateway into the castle's bailey\courtyard area.

Above. Portcullis groove in the gateway masonry.

Above. Portcullis groove in the gateway masonry.

Above. Scant remains of the gatehouse.

Above. View from the museum towards the remains of the gatehouse.

Above. Short stretch of castle wall near the museum.

Above. Overgrown stretch of wall below the castle motte.

Above. View from the path below the tower.

Above. The watch tower, consisting of two towers conjoined.

Above. Entrance into the watch tower.

Above. Arrow slit in one of the towers.

Above. View of the tower looking East.

Above. The tower with Fort St Catherine in the background.

Above. View of the castle's motte with the towers at the summit.

Above. Overgrown building remains on the West side of the castle motte.

Above. Door or window in the overgrown ruins.

Above. View of castle walls from South Beach.

Above. View of the castle from South Beach.

Above. Aerial view of the castle.

Tenby, Fort St Catherine, St Catherine's Island

Fort St Catherine
St Catherine's Island

Work began on the building of the fort on the tiny island of St Catherine to the West of Tenby and South of the old medieval castle, in 1867. Lord Palmerston's commission into the defence of the United Kindgom saw that the Royal Dockyard at Pembroke and the anchorage at Milford Haven 
would have been at risk of attack from Emperor Napoleon III's forces if they chose to land troops here for an invasion.

Above. View of the fort from the Esplanade to the West.

The original plan, was for a chain of forts that would have protected the coast from Tenby to Freshwater West, the whole of the South Western tip of the Welsh coast. The only fort eventually constructed however, was St Catherines at Tenby. 

Above. Closer view of the fort.

The fort was designed by Colonel William Jervois, a 19th century British military engineer and diplomat. Jervois was heavily involved in the design and building of defences throughout the Empire,  including Gibraltar and the Andaman Islands, and was overseer of the chain of fortifications throughout the British Isles that became known as Palmerston forts. 

Above. View of the fort from Penniless Cove Hill.

Jervois designed the fort in such a way that it could defend both Tenby harbour and the beach at Saundersfoot to the North, all from one position. The simple rectangular building consisted of three granite and iron casemates (turrets) on two sides, housing three RML 7-inch guns. Three more gun platforms were built for RML 9-inch guns on the roof of the fort. 

Above. View of the fort from South Beach.

The fort was accessed from the mainland on its West side, over a drawbridge built above a dry ditch. The ditch had walls with gun ports built into it, to defend against any attack on the fort from the mainland. Ammunition and powder was kept at the East end of the fort (seaward) at basement level. There was accommodation for 150 men.

Above. View of the fort from the museum.

The government purchased the island from the Corporation of Tenby for the grand sum of £800 in 1866. The year after, the island was cleared and the massive granite blocks to be used for the fort's construction were lifted into place.

Above. View of the fort from the bottom of Castle Hill.

The fort was completed in 1870 with a final build cost of £40,000. The iron gun shields were fitted in 1886, making the fort finally battle ready. the same year, a report to the Defence Committee stated that the 9-inch guns were useless.

Above. View of the fort from the top of Castle Hill.

The much anticipated and feared French attack never came, and in 1895 a BLC 5-inch gun was fitted for training purposes. In 1907, the fort was decommissioned and bought by the Windsor Richards family who converted it into a private residence. The iron gun shields were removed and windows installed, and the whole fort was turned into a comfortable home.

During WWII the island was purchased by the army, and an anti-aircraft battery built in front of the building. The island fort was garrisoned by the Royal Marines, 4th Defence Battery and the Royal Artillery. 

After the war, the fort was decommissioned again and let to a number of residents. It was listed as Grade II* in 1951. The fort was re-opened in 2017 as a tourist attraction.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Lancaster, Roman fort - Calunium

Calunium Roman Fort

The Roman fort at Lancaster is situated to the North West of Lancaster Castle, and is very difficult to locate on the ground. Over the centuries the site has been built over and developed, leaving us with scant remains of this once important Roman centre of occupation. The best way to find the single remaining earthwork, is to follow the signs to Vicarage field, where the remains of the Roman bath house and the Wery Wall can be found. If you walk back from this site, and head West across the fields, you will see the two metre high outer banks of the fort. 

Above. Aerial view of the fort showing the castle to the South, and the remaining earthworks marked in red.

The photo above, shows how little of the fort is now visible. To the East of the single line of earthworks, houses at Vicarage Fields have been built over the Eastern corner of the fort. Lancaster Castle occupies the whole of the Southern portion of the fort with Lancaster Priory occupying the central and Easten sections. The visible remains represent the North Western corner of the outer defences.

Above. The North Western corner looking West.

This location is thought to have been rebuilt by the Romans at least five times, with the earliest fort thought to have been erected sometime around 80 AD. Evidence suggests that it may have been rebuilt and enlarged later in the 1st century before being abandoned. It seems to have been reoccupied early in the 2nd century with stone revetments added to the existing structure at this time.

Above. The earthworks viewed from the West at the bottom of the hill.

Evidence from a number of excavations suggest that the fort was periodically abandoned and then reoccupied several times, with each period of occupation bringing additional changes and enhancements to the fort's defences. There is some evidence to suggest that the later changes to the site were along the lines of a Saxon shore fort and that it remained in use until the early part of the 5th century. The Wery wall may be the only surviving masonry from this period, possibly representing the core and foundations of a bastion of some sort.

Above. Another view from the West.

Above. A view from the West.

Above. A panoramic view of the earthworks with the Priory tower.

Above. Roman milestone displayed at Lancaster Museum.

Above. Roman carved inscription displayed at Lancaster Museum.

Above. Roman milestone displayed at Lancaster Museum.

Great article from the Lancashire Past website.