Woolly says – The day hadn’t started well, when Jo said we were going to the vets I’d thought she meant the panting one, not yours truly. But on arrival it appeared that it included both of us and having been prodded and poked whilst Alfie the Dog received his booster jab the nice vet lady declared that I was a very fit mammoth.
She actually said you were a very ‘fat’ mammoth!
Woolly says – Having left the nasty vet lady behind we cruised through the green lanes and busy roads into Shropshire and our destination for the day. Ludlow is a small market town which has nearly 500 listed buildings, including examples of medieval and Tudor-style half-timbered buildings, this had certainly whetted my appetite to explore more. The town was described by Sir John Betjeman as “probably the loveliest town in England” and it had a castle, what more could you want in life. Having navigated the small streets and finally somewhere to wedge the car the three of us climbed out and set off for the castle.
The Castle was firstly a Norman Fortress and was extended over the centuries to become a fortified Royal Palace, originally built to hold back the unconquered Welsh. Over its many years it had passed through generations of the de Lacy and Mortimer families to Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York and became Crown property in 1461 remaining a royal castle for the next 350 years. Abandoned in 1689 the castle quickly fell into ruin, until 1811 when the Earls of Powis took it over, which lead to it eventually being opened to the public.
Entering the grounds, we were greeted with a huge green area surrounded by an exterior wall and an array of buildings to one side.
Crossing the now dry moat and passing through the keep it proved to be a rather beautiful ruin, with fireplaces part way up the walls it was easy to see how the four floors had once been constructed.
Huge windows allowed glimpses into other sections of the castle and as Alfie the Dog sniffed his way around Jo and I gazed up above us at the loveliness of it all. A large round tower sat in the middle of the grounds which when inspected had alcoves around it’s interior, but sadly not clue as to it’s previous use.
Each room we entered was of an excellent size and continued with the theme of having fireplaces all over the walls. Two smaller towers perched up above, sadly closed to the public now and a queue had formed at the North tower of people waiting to ascend the steep steps.
The inner bailey contained a huge well which luckily was covered overwise the four legged one would probably have disappeared into it; a super mammoth chair took up pride of place and just begged to be sat upon.
Across the other side of the green was what appeared to be a further block of accommodation although there was no information about to confirm this. Having seen out fill and managed to get out of the shop without spending a penny we took our time walking around the exterior of the castle to see if there was the opportunity of getting an exterior shot.
Having completed the circuit and decided that the height of the trees and undergrowth meant no picture was available we turned our attention to the town itself.
Tiny roads made driving difficult between the timber fronted buildings and the places of interest, a small alley took us past what had once been the water supply for the town before leading us into the doors of St Laurence’s Church.
The parish church was established as a place of worship in the late 11th century, with its 135 feet (41 metres) high tower it is squeezed into an incredibly small space between pubs and houses and as we found ourselves in a fairly modern looking place of worship I felt a trifle sad that the old pews had now been replaced with modern seating. It did however have some beautiful stained glass windows which we stood and admired.
Moving further into the building we found a side chapel with plagues and yet another stunning display of glasswork.
But better was to come as we entered the Chanel with its incredible ceiling and an extensive set of misericords in the choir stalls, beautifully carved and preserved. The alter reminded me of the funerary we have seen in Rome with its rich detailing.
You had to wonder at how so much could be in such a small space, as we walked round the pathway that surrounded the church it was impossible to get a picture of the whole place.
Woolly says – We continued our walk around the town admiring the lovely buildings at every twist and turn, it seemed such a shame that the modern shop frontages appeared under such beautiful structures.
With the town completed we headed towards the river we found ourselves on the 11th century Dinham Bridge and there before us was the view of the castle, too far away to see detail but the only view of its full splendour.
With the river flowing beneath us and the ducks enjoying the sunshine it seemed like a good idea to enjoy the warmth and tuck into a very late lunch by the side of the river.