Monday, 16 April 2012

N is for Nottingham Castle, Nottinghamshire

Nottingham has always had a turbulent history – the Romans ignored the hamlet, which the Anglo-Saxons later (AD 600) called Snot or Snotta (after a Saxon chieftain).
Art at the Castle

However when the Vikings invaded (867AD) and captured the town it became one of the Five Burghs (fortified towns) of The Danelaw, being called Nottingham.

Nottingham Castle - the Gate House, showing medieval
architecture of the bridge and lower towers, with the
Victorian renovation of the upper towers and Gate House

The Normans erected a Castle and for some unknown reason there was a continuous feud between the Saxon townspeople and the Normans: crystallised in the legend of Robin Hood with his merry men, who used nearby Sherwood Forest as their base.

The turbulence continued over the centuries resulting in a great deal of ruin to the Castle itself, and to the textile machinery inventions that subsequently occurred in the town.

Salt Glaze Jug 19th century - pottery stoneware
The Museum and Art Gallery are now housed in what remains of the Castle, which was restored and adapted for these purposes in 1878, then modernised over time.

The Castle Museum contains a large collection of hand-made and machine-made lace (for which the town is known), Elizabethan and Jacobean embroideries; there is an art gallery, a ceramics section including Nottingham 18th century stoneware and Wedgwood pieces.

The Major Oak - said to be Robin Hood's
shelter in the heart of Sherwood Forest;
it is thought to be 800 - 1,000 years old

Beneath the Castle a labyrinth of man-made caves and tunnels continue to tell the turbulent story of the time of the Crusades at this historic site ... time for a beer at the “Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem” part of a tour ... taking advantage of the Castle’s history or legend!?

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem pub -
built into the sandstone cliffs
beneath the castle; at the back of
which is an ancient brewery

That is N for Nottingham Castle – a nod to the past, but for which the Museum and Art Gallery make the castle a worthy contender ... part of the ABC series Aspects of British Castles

Bob Scotney’s castle on Saturday was  Muncaster Castle, Cumbria

Snap - Bob and I have finally posted about the same castle!  He has more history in his post.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
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Bob Scotney said...

I suppose it had to happen Hliary. We still managed to be sufficiently different with the way we treated the Castle. I nearly had the same photo of the gatehouse. Glad you included the Major Oak.

Old Kitty said...

Oh wow!! Look at that mighty marvelous oak!! It's a true wonder - it's lovely!

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem pub sounds like my kind of place! Hoorah for Nottingham Castle and the museum and art gallery! Take care

Juliet said...

Another impressive oak tree, and it's great to see the photo. Thanks Hilary, I'm really getting a sense of the different characters of the various castles from this continuous roll call. Most enjoyable.

Lynn said...

Can you tour the underground passages? That would be fun. Lovely N castle post!

Manzanita said...

Each castle definitely has a different flavor. The museum would be interesting with it's lace and that's an impressive looking stoneware jug. Underground tunnels..... think of all the intrigue and excitement that went on there.

Blond Duck said...

Still want to move into a castle.

MorningAJ said...

Finally - one I've been to (in fact it's about half a mile away as I currently sit here typing)

The present castle is relatively modern, of course, and people get upset when it isn't old and Robin Hood-y.

The back bar of the Olde Trip is actually in the caves under the castle. (and they serve an excellent pint!)

Glynis Peters said...

I would enjoy a trip to this one, and enjoy the art.


Looks a wonderful castle Hilary, And that oak tree is rally something.

Have a good day.

Rosalind Adam said...

I've been to Nottingham many times but I've never been to the castle. Neither have I been to the Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem pub. It sounds as if another trip to Nottingham is called for.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I would love to visit Nottingham and see Nottingham Castle.

Great post.


Theresa Milstein said...

Nottingham has got to be one of the more recognizable places because of the Robin Hood story.

Jo said...

I assume from that picture of the oak that the forest has either receded or is no longer there. Interesting post once again Hilary. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

When I think of castles I often think of Nottingham. Maybe this is because the setting for Robin Hood is here. I wonder if they excavate underneath castles and if so what do they find? Probably lots of really cool historical stuff under the floors.

Unknown said...

I love the many tales of Robin Hood and so I'm fascinated by the castle and the underground tunnels. Would love to walk those woods someday and see the tree.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Are those supports on that oak? I ask because I can't see it clearly enough to determine what they are, for sure.

I love all the history around this shire, over the years, and all the stories that have come from it.

I'm going to have to pop over to Bob's blog to see what he did.


Coral Wild said...

Hello Hilary
I've just whizzed through all your castle postings to date - so very interesting - all of them.
They definitely remind me that I haven't visited the UK for far too long, and have previously visited far too few castles:)So much to catch up on........
Have fun with the rest - I will catch up again next weekend.

Lynn Proctor said...

i love the ceramic

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Bob - you're right .. this was a possibility we'd post about the same castle - but such different takes though .. I used the gatehouse, as you hadn't .. and then I thought I'd put in the bit about Robin Hood to give it a different twist.

@ Old Kitty - the oak tree is amazing .. but we need a beer on the way through!

I liked the fact they'd opened the museum and art gallery within the castle.

This museum and art gallery was the first provincial Museum of Fine Art opened in 1878.

@ Juliet - Sherwood Forest is an extremely ancient hunting forest.

Delighted you're enjoying the different takes I'm posting about the various castles .. thanks!

@ Lynn - yes the underground passages are shored up - but beware the hauntings .. see Bob's castle post for N.

@ Manzanita - the ghostly screams ringing out around the castle and its underground tunnels .. you'd need a beer to calm you down!

Nottingham is a centre for lace - while apparently the Jasperware collection is one of the largest in the world.

@ Blond Duck - well there's a few here and they come up for sale occasionally!

@ Anne - ah ah - found one you know. I gathered there's little of the castle remaining - but they've made good with what they've got ... so you could be my guide?!

And an endorsement for the beer, and for the pub itself .. sounds fascinating! And it's past the witching hour here ..

@ Glynis .. it does sound fascinating with all the exhibits they have on .. they've got a Chinese silk exhibition on at the moment. The art is extremely good too .. with reputably exhibitions being put on ...

@ Yvonne - it's interesting as a castle because they've incorporated so much history .. and with Robin Hood and his tree or trees ...

@ Ros - sounds like a very good idea - please report back once visited ...?! Even for the beer ...

@ Teresa - another to whet your appetite for a castle visit

@ Theresa - yes I didn't want to write so much about Robin Hood, but he is intrinsic to Nottingham - so I couldn't ignore him.

@ Jo - I expect they've cleared that part of the forest for visitors?! - so the tree can be looked at at all angles .. and it would avoid major destruction in the forest ..

@ Steve - I'm sure that's why Nottingham Castle would come up - I don't think I thought of that .. I was trying to find N castles and deciding which was best to use!!

The caves were there - they had a landslip about 15 years ago .. so now they've shored the ramparts up, along with the caves - so it's all safe and secure for visiting. I'm not sure how much you can see - but enough I guess .. and the brewery is there.

Excavating the caves would bring the castle down I think .. so it's buried for ever ...

@ Clarissa - Robin Hood has been well and truly mythologised into legend hasn't he .. and his merry men.

The forest is still there - I read up some more about it to my mother today - from another book ...

@ Karen - another visit to England pending, I think?!

@ Sia - I think they are supports for the branches - for the tree, and for visitors .. there may be a fence incorporated around it ... I'm not sure. Supports definitely I think.

There's lots of history here - that is for sure .. it was a central castle and extremely important for nobles and royalty through the centuries ..

Hope you enjoyed Bob's blog - am sure will have - his is a different take ..

@ Sue - delighted you felt you wanted to whizz through the castle posts - they're a good mix I think.

Another with a visit to the UK coming up ... there really is so much here in the UK ..

Thanks and see you next weekend - when another six will be posted!

@ Lynn - I'm pleased I posted the ceramic photo too .. The Wedgwood Jasperware is very special ..

Cheers everyone - great to have all your comments .. time for a beer - or a glass of vino .. Hilary

Luanne G. Smith said...

Gotta see this one some day, if only for the legend of Robin Hood. And Bob said it was haunted too, so it has that going for it as well. :)

Unknown said...

I love that picture of the oak, Hilary. A wonderful tree.

Thank you for the tour. I visited many years ago and loved it - especially Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem. :)

Julie Flanders said...

I love that oak tree, how amazing to think it is that old.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Speaking for myself, I would much rather have a mailing address of Nottingham than one of ... (ahem) Snot. The second simply doesn't have that certain "je ne sais qua." It just makes me want to giggle. Another great post.

Unknown said...

I am visiting from the Challenge and LOVED this very informative post. It would be cool to tour the underground tunnels. Oh, Robin Hood one of my favorite stories ever. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hilary! Thank you for another awesome post. I've always enjoyed the stories about Robin Hood. That tree is magnificent. Are those ropes coming down from the branches of the tree?


Anonymous said...

That oak is amazing
fun for little ones to play in or heroes to hide in
Castles wouldn't be complete without Nottingham

Inger said...

I think I've been there and seen that old oak. But I don't remember for sure. Great information as usual.

Davina said...

I really enjoyed this post, Hilary. I'm partial to the whole Robin Hood and his merry men concept.

I loved reading this little bit of history... especially "Beneath the Castle a labyrinth of man-made caves and tunnels continue to tell the turbulent story of the time of the Crusades at this historic site..." That phrase was very enticing. It puts me into an adventurous mood.

And the pottery stoneware in that pic is gorgeous.

Friko said...

Another one I haven't visited. I'm unlikely to do so now, too far away from my end of the country.

This is an excellent series.

Chuck said...

I would love to see that tree...and of course the pub! There must be some Robin Hood souvenirs to be had, right?

Denise Covey Writer said...

Hi Hilary. Probably one of the best known castles due to the famous/infamous Robin Hood. There's a lot more to it. I didn't know it had a labyrinth underneath.


Susan Scheid said...

All I can say is thank goodness for the Vikings--if nothing else, they saved this wonderful castle from a somewhat less than wonderful name!

Jessica L. Celaya said...

Beautiful pictures. It is awesome that you are doing your A-Z blog on castles. Thank you for posting.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Luanne - I'd forgotten how interested everyone would be in Robin Hood - and as Bob says it has turbulent history - with many hauntings ..

@ Julie - a part of the ancient Royal Sherwood Forest has been maintained I'm glad to say .. and that oak is extraordinary isn't it ..

@ Susan - yes - I must have included the Saxon chieftain's name especially for you - thought you'd laugh!! Glad you picked up the reference ...

@ Melody-Mae - good to meet you .. and so pleased you enjoyed the post .. the underground tunnels and Robin Hood - and hauntings .. what more could we want .. oh yes a castle, an art gallery and museum - then a pint!

@ Susanne - Robin Hood does seem to stir our imagination doesn't he .. those I think! are struts to hold the branches up ... or they might break off and unbalance the tree - let alone injure a member of the public!

@ A Lady's Knight .. the oak would be a wonderful tree to climb - I used to love climbing trees .. and you're right I had to include Nottingham ..

@ Inger - If you'd been up to see some of Robin Hood country I'm sure you have seen it - but there's been so much restoration in the last few decades that it would be different now ...

@ Davina - many thanks - there's a lot going on at this castle .. and now you point out my sentence - I can see it would entice, as it does me .. I'd like to visit. 'cept Bob's ghosts might put me off ...

Glad you too appreciated the jug - that early Jasperware must be beautiful ...

@ Friko - I'm delighted you're enjoying the series x 2 (Bob's included with his hauntings) .. I think some of us are getting to the stage where we'll have to imagine things .. though I have relatives up there and might get to see the Castle if I visit.

@ Chuck - I'd love to see Sherwood Forest too .. and the pub - we'll have a drink together .. and I'm sure there's an arrow or two around for purchase!

@ Denise - I rather underestimated this castle - there's a lot here .. with Robin Hood, the art and museum, and the underground caves and brewery and then the labyrinth.

@ Susan - yes I agree the Saxon chief didn't exactly have the best name did he! I knew a few people would laugh - it's a good trivial "did you know snippet" ...

@ Jessica - good to meet you - and thank you for commenting .. glad you enjoyed the post

Thanks everyone .. wonderful comments and thoughts - Robin Hood struck a chord, as did the labyrinthian caves ... cheers Hilary

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

"Nottingham," this one I know of. I haven't read all the comments, but did Kevin Costner film his Robin Hood movie there? I can't remember. But it is charming. And much larger than I expected. Cheers, Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Joylene - yes a Castle many of us will 'know' .. they certainly would have filmed some of it there, and the beach scene was down here I think.

I'm sure somewhere there's more info - I did look in Wiki - but it's not obvious .. it's iconic, so I'm sure Nottingham has many parts of the film set there ..

Hope you're well .. cheers Hilary

MorningAJ said...

Any time you're up here Hilary I'd be glad to take you for a pint at the Olde Trip (and show you some more of Nottingham's attractions)

And for Sia there's a better view of Major Oak here. Not mine I'm ashamed to say, even though I visited it a couple of years ago.

MorningAJ said...

PS - the Kevin Costner film was made in France. (Not to mention the fact that he walked to Nottingham from Dover via Hadrian's wall!) Nottingham had nothing to do with that movie!

Sean McLachlan said...

I've been to this one! Windsor too! I love that you're doing castles. They're a big interest of mine.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Anne .. well that sounds a lovely idea - a private tour of Nottingham and a pint.

The pic you linked to for the tree is good isn't it - mine I realised was small - but I've posted a few trees and wanted to include other things - but felt I couldn't leave Sherwood Forest out (even if it is only represented by the Major Oak!) ...

I'm muddled about the Prince of Thieves film .. so I'll just say I'm amazed that he went via Hadrian's Wall - that's crazy?!?!

@ Sean - thanks for coming over - glad you're enjoying the posts and that I'm giving you some more insights ..

Cheers Anne and Sean - thanks for visiting .. Hilary

Nick Wilford said...

First of all I love that it used to be called Snot (sorry, I can be very immature... :P)

It was a very interesting picture showing the "half and half" towers with the more modern section on top. I can't remember ever being in Nottingham, which is a shame, although it's possible we were there when I was very little... my parents took us to loads of castles. I'd love to go again, explore those tunnels and see the Oak!

Robyn Campbell said...

Yay Robin Hood! That's what I think of when I here the name Nottingham. Ha. I love that Salt Glaze Jug. Amazing. :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nick - that's good .. because it was put in to amuse! But I agree I'm glad they changed the name ..

Another stopping point on the way south for a pint and a tour, a good walk .. then another castle ...

But I'm pleased I found out moe about this castle - the museum with its treasures sounds fascinating ..

@ Robyn - yay Robin Hood and his merry men .. good folk tales here in amongst the history though.

I'm glad I posted the picture of the Jasperware Salt Glaze Jug .. early pottery is always good to read about.

Cheers Nick and Robyn .. thanks for the visit - Hilary