Friday, April 17, 2009

Stone Carvings & Medieval Graffiti

If you visit a medieval castle, medieval church or medieval priory, you will often come across stone carvings both inside and outside the buildings.

The carvings can vary in size and style and, indeed, the purpose for which they were made. Some medieval stone carvings are of strange-looking faces such as can be seen inside Caerlaverock Castle in South West Scotland. We took this photograph (left) on the ground floor of the castle in what had once been a room with a fireplace. The carvings were quite small and in vertical blocks so obviously served as some kind of ornamentation.

Others carvings you might find elsewere are of creatures or flowers though some are the marks left behind by men who were captive there - either imprisoned or who lived and worked there.

Such is the case with a most unusual set of medieval carvings in a stone wall within the keep of Carlisle Castle, one of the finest medieval fortresses in all England. We were lucky enough to see these first hand and here is one of our photographs (right). Now protected behind a glass door, it is not known exactly who made the carvings though some believe they were made by prisoners. What is known is that they were made in the late 1400's. Some of the carvings are detailed and ornate having been done with great care and skill whilst others are extremely basic with little skill having been employed. Essentially the whole wall is a wonderful piece of medieval graffiti.

The Lanercost Cross is an entirely different piece of medieval stone carving. Located within Lanercost Priory (its stump remains in the grounds outside), is the shaft of a stone cross with an inscription in Latin dating back to 1214. To learn more just visit our Lanercost Priory page where you can also enjoy an exclusive piece of video featuring music by Stephen Caudel.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, August 4, 2008

Castle Ruins On The Coast: Scarborough Castle

We took this photograph on a cold and misty day during a weekend trip to the North Yorkshire coast of England. Only ruins exist of Scarborough Castle today but they are some of the most interesting ones we have ever seen. The location of the castle itself is tremendously impressive high up on a promentary looking out to sea. In fact, it's believed that the site was used more than 2,000 years ago such are its obvious benefits as a vantage point.

Scarborough Castle was built in the 12th century, a fine example of medieval fortress construction. It later figured in the English Civil War and in 1648, under siege from the Roundheads, its great Keep was damaged almost to the point of destruction.

A castle keep was one of the most important areas for defence.

Out of the picture but only a matter of a few hundred metres away is a beautiful, small church in whose graveyard is buried the famous writer Anne Bronte. Read more about Anne Bronte's grave in Scarborough.

Labels: , , ,