Tuesday, 3 April 2012

C is for Croft Castle – a Welsh Border Castle in Herefordshire

Croft Castle has been owned by the Croft family from Domesday until recent times – the present building originated as a castle in the C14th and has been much altered over time.
The front of the Medieval Castle c/o National Trust

The ancient walls and four round corner towers of pink stone, dating from the 14th to 15th centuries, survive in spite of the modifications.

A Croft daughter married Owain Glyndwr (c. 1349 – c 1416) (anglicised by Shakespeare to Owen Glendower), who was a Welsh ruler and the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales.  (See Henry 1V, Part 1, where Owen Glendower is described as a wild and exotic man ruled by magic and emotion.)

A Wyvern, as used in Heraldry
The family adopted, in the 15th C, the Welsh Wyvern crest, a wounded black dragon, seen as a subtle allusion to their Glyndwr heritage. 

A Wyvern is a legendary winged reptilian creature with a dragon’s head, two legs and a barbed tail, and is often found in heraldry: ‘the shorthand of history’ and ‘the floral border in the garden of history’.

The Castle and the adjacent 13th C St Michaels Church lie in 1,500 acres (6km²) of glorious parkland. 

Walk along the 1 km stretch of Spanish Chestnut trees
c/o National Trust
The estate is noted for its veteran trees, particularly its avenues of Spanish Chestnut, Oaks and Beech trees – and is one of the more important sites in NW Europe for veteran trees and dead wood invertebrates (beetles, ants, spiders etc) ....

Croft Castle is under the care of the National Trust, while members of the family still live there. 

Croft Castle and adjacent
St Michael's Church
It is open to the public and hosts many events, there are way-marked walks, while the parkland includes a spectacular Iron Age Hillfort at Croft Ambrey.

That is C for Croft Castle ... a mansion remains within extensive historic parklands, which were recorded in the Domesday book ... part of the ABC series Aspects of British Castles

Bob Scotney's Castle yesterday was B for Bamburgh

Luanne has written about Conwy Castle over at Bards and Prophets

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Bob Scotney said...

Another great castle, Hilary.Those trees are magnificent. I would visit Croft for them let alone the castle.

Sean McLachlan said...

A castle for every letter of the alphabet? Coolness! I'll be back for the whole series.


Excellent as always Hilary, some of these castles I've never heard of. My hat goes off to you for all your swotting up on them.


Old Kitty said...

Now I have not heard of Croft Castle and this sounds fabulous - the trees themselves are amazing! Wow! Now I would make an effort to visit this place - one day! One day! Take care

beccabooklover said...

I haven't heard of Croft Castle but it looks beautiful. Love the little welsh history facts also :)

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

I love, love castles!! Another interesting post. How neat that members of the family still live there.

Thank you, Hilary for such a neat A to Z!


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Bob - thank you .. we're doing different 'C's castles .. so far so good as to different ones ..

I agree with you re the trees - they are superb aren't they ..

@ Sean - no - not quite! XYZ will include a glossary, index, and other types of info re castles .. I tried!!

@ Yvonne - just trying to give us all a different flavour of British castles - so far I'm glad I'm succeeding.

@ Old Kitty - I hadn't heard of it either .. but like you I'd love to visit, even just the parkland ..

@ Becca - I thought you might have some Welsh interest in this castle!

@ Doris - wonderful to see you - lucky family who live in the house, within those grounds ..

Delighted to see you all - thanks for coming by .. Cheers Hilary

Jo said...

Fascinating again Hillary. I had never heard of Croft Castle either. Glad the family still live there. Its always a pity when families can no longer support their stately homes.

The trees are magnificent, I wonder if they yield good chestnuts? Some of the best come from Spain.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Oh how I wish I would find out that I am member of a Castle owning family. :) Maybe I'd get to stay a night?


Tami AKA My Kid's Mom said...

Love castles - how awe inspiring.

farawayeyes said...

Lovin' these castles.

Unknown said...

i love your topic for this challenge! can't wait for the next castle. :D

Unknown said...

AH, another place I just have to visit. I'm adding all these places to my bucket list.

Karen Walker said...

Hlary, you are definitely writing my next European trip itinerary.

Sharkbytes said...

Looks like a wonderful place! I'm hoping to visit all the blogs on the A-Z Challenge in April.

Robyn Campbell said...

I would love to travel there, Hilary. That pic of the castle and the church is splendid. Your theme is teaching me a lot. Those Spanish Chestnut trees are amazing. I love trees. Our farm is surrounded in them. Great post! :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh, the castle. The chestnut trees. All so incredibly beautiful. And I LOVE the medieval period. It was my first husband's specialty as an English professor, and when I finally took the course (from him) I feel in love with it all. I just wish I had time now to study it and everything else - and that my memory were better than it is so I would remember all these delicious details!

Friko said...

This is an elegant way to et through the challenge: I wish I had thought of something like this.

Well, maybe next year.

Suze said...

Those Spanish Chestnuts are gorgeous, Hilary.

Thank you for your visit -- ping.

A Lady's Life said...

How different they all look.
I wonder if they are updated with the latest electric wiring or left as is.?

Unknown said...

Lovely theme for the A-Z. I don't know this castle but it's an education to learn about it now. And I didn't know what a wyvern was until now! Thank you. The British countryside is fabulous for its beautiful trees so this estate must be notable indeed.

Chase March said...

Hi Hilary,

That looks magnificent! I would love to see one of these castles in person one day. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the visual tours you are giving.

Keep it up!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jo .. thanks for the mention on your blog - it must be a lovely place for the family to be - I couldn't agree more. The site warrants special National Interest .. I'd have to go and find out re their yield!

@ Teresa - wouldn't that be fun - I hope you'd have me to stay .. and I'd like a lovely big room, lush furnishings and a view out onto the Chestnut Walk - many thanks!! Perhaps we'll have to arrange something sometime ..

@ My Kid's Mom .. glad you enjoyed the post ..

@ FarAwayEyes - so pleased to read ..

@ Stephanie - thanks for following - and for the thumbs up ..

@ Clarissa - a long bucket list methinks?! It's on my list too ..

@ Karen - I'd be delighted to do that with you sometime!

@ Sharkbytes .. good luck getting all the way round - that's a challenge!!

@ Robyn .. I imagine you'd see the estate in a different light to our eyes - with your farmer's hat on .. The walk looks just glorious for a warm day stroll - spring, summer or autumn .. glad you enjoyed the castle and church pic - I nearly didn't include it ..

@ Ann - I imagine you have a wealth of knowledge hidden away - that would come out with some teasing ..

I've taught myself so much just through my blog .. it certainly wasn't there before .. so I love the learning process .. and then the interaction with other bloggers .. you can always come back for another read - that's the advantage of sharing our blogs ...

@ Friko - you've had a lot on - last year it took me a while to work out my theme, so I just continued this year .. with Aspects of British .... appreciate your comment very much ...

@ Suze - aren't the chestnut trees just beautiful - such aged specimens. Pleasure re the visit and the 'ping' .. that's a childhood name!

@ A Lady's Life - where they are open to the public, or lived in -they'd have to adhere to Regulations!! Also they'd have to be secure if they are in a ruinous state ..

@ Susan - pleased I've been able to give you a little extra information .. that's why I put the Wyvern in - so we could all remember what one was. We think our countryside is concreted over -and to a point it is .. but it's also a green and pleasant land.

Thanks everyone .. so lovely having your comments and meeting new friends .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chase .. thanks very much - good to see .. cheers Hilary

Empty Nest Insider said...

What a magnificent castle! Beautiful photos as always Hilary! Julie

M. Reka said...

Another beautiful castle,Hilary. I have not heard of Croft Castle and this sounds amazing.

D.G. Hudson said...

I like information like this, Hilary. Castles have always appealed to me. Might be the Scottish background from my mother's side.

I'll be back to check out your other A-Z posts. Thanks for persevering on my blog with the comments.

Anonymous said...

I've heard of Croft castle. Didn't know a lot about it, but have heard of it. Can't remember where. Enjoyed your post.


Patricia said...

I am realizing that on our bus tour of England we were supposed to see so many castles and we did not - we saw a lot of the touristy things, which were okay, but I really was hoping for more...
Now I come to your blog and WOW I am getting the royal tour...Hip Hip Hurrah!
Thank you Hilary
and thank you for you lovely words and peaceful words on my blog post

Theresa Milstein said...

Wow, look at those chestnut trees. All these grand castles!

Someone else did a castle today, but a different one:


Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Shhhh ... don't tell anyone ... as much as I like the castle, I'm even more impressed with those chestnut trees. They're absolutely majestic. (When you were in elementary school did you sing "Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree"? Not sure if that was a both-sides-of-the-pond kids' song, or if it's just us. Anyhow, when I saw that picture, that song popped into my head.)

Denise Covey said...

I love reading about your castles Hilary. You could do this for the A-Z every year and never run out of material.


thelmaz said...

What a beautiful building. Are you going to make it through Z with castles? Visiting from the Challenge.

Julie Flanders said...

The chestnut trees are absolutely gorgeous. I love these daily history lessons, Hilary. I've always wanted to visit Wales. Maybe I will make it to Croft Castle someday. :)

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,
Have been having an awful time getting online recently. And yep, my internet service 'unprovider' has been having outages just as I have been attempting to leave one of my highly sought after comments
So, very quickly, here goes. You caught me by surprise having Croft Castle for the letter "C". Here's me reckoning you were going to use 'Caernarfon Castle :)
Nonetheless, as per usual, you have submitted an articulate and highly informative article. Thanks.
And now I press "Publish Your Comment" and hope it actually works.....

Chuck said...

Hilary, I believe a walk through this site would take a while. Those chestnut trees look enormous and awesome. Thanks for this castle tour...it is a great theme.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I haven't been to this one, but it looks super! Those chestnut trees are amazing!

Susan Scheid said...

I have been looking forward to catching up with your castles. What a wonderfully varied group are your A-C. One of the favorite of the many new things I learned here was about the "cropmark." Amazing that they are visible from so long ago. And it was great fun to be reminded of "the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales," that wild and crazy guy Owain Glyndwr.

Lisa said...

This is so interesting Hilary. I always love old homes. I wonder who had lived in them, got married, gave birth. And to think of old castles, who died, who roamed, who dreamed. Thank you Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Julie - it does look a pretty amazing place doesn't it ...

@ Marinela - glad you're enjoying the different sights

@ DG - no worries re the comment, I thought it had disappeared! Castles sort of resonate with us - being Scottish you'll have stone in your blood too .. Canadian bridges etc

@ Susanne - I hadn't heard of Croft Castle - but I did love the look of the Chestnut walk ..

@ Patricia - Castles take a lot of time to walk round - you did get to Stirling I seem to remember .. glad you're appreciate the vicarious tour ..

@ Theresa - thanks for the link over - I see she's doing the American Abroad and has some interesting posts so far .. I'll be over to comment.

Isn't the chestnut walk just magnificent .. the parkland must be beautiful ..

@ Susan - I couldn't agree more - so you and me together .. that's why Croft Castle was used!

I know the song and having just looked it up .. it was only composed in 1939 and became a popular song with prisoners in Japan: interesting - how and where songs take us.

@ Denise - I guess that may be true.. Aspects of British .. is quite a good start ..

@ Thelma - welcome - glad you enjoyed the post .. not quite - XYZ are sort of summary (index, glossary etc) posts ..

@ Julie - I agree - and Wales is well worth visiting .. Theresa gives us a link to another beautiful Welsh castle above ..

@ Gary - lovely to see you - I struggle with Blogger .. and have to use the IE plug in rather more often than I wish, which slows my life up considerably!

Thanks for persevering though - sorry about not using Caernarfon .. I'm trying to use Castles perhaps not normally mentioned ...

@ Chuck - a great day out here at Croft, as long as the weather was clement! Glad you're enjoying the theme.

@ Sharon - nor have I visited ..I'm drawing up my own itinerary!!

@ Susan - "Crop Marks" can tell us so much .. especially now we have clever technical imaging that can see below - making it easier to know where to dig - without disturbing the ground too much - especially if it's at Windsor Castle, or Shakespeare's home for instance;

That crazy wild guy .. I wonder if we'd have remembered him if Shakespeare hadn't brought him to light ...?

@ Lisa - yes historic buildings could tell us so much, if they could talk wouldn't they ..

Thanks everyone .. the Chestnut walk seems to be the most popular aspect! Cheers Hilary

Blond Duck said...

I'd love to go to a castle!

Simon Kewin said...

This one is quite near me, so I have been to it.

Sara said...

I imagine those Spanish Chestnut Trees would kind of spooky on a dark and gloomy night.

I like the description of Owen Glendower. He'd make a great character in a story...especially the part about "ruled by magic and emotion."

Susan Scheid said...

As for that wild and crazy Welsh guy: no question Shakespeare must be credited for carrying him down to our day, though I suspect that, even without that, a Welshman or woman would be on the spot to remind us!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Blond Duck .. wouldn't it be fun.

@ Simon - well that's good news; and sometime I'd like to visit here too

@ Sara - very possibly .. lots of places for hiding out in .. but aren't they just amazing.

Shakespeare had a way with words!

@ Susan - so much was recorded by Shakespeare and Stratford-on-Avon isn't that far away from the Welsh borders ... probably now-a-days a Welshman or woman would be reminding us!!

Great to see you BD, Simon, Sara and Susan .. thanks for your comments ..Hilary