Bolton Castle

After having explored Middleham Castle, we drove to Bolton Castle located in Wensleydale. Wensleydale is probably best known for the wonderful cheese that is produced there but it has much more to offer.

View over Wensleydale
Wensleydale has waterfalls, historic stone villages, old churches and miles of dry stone walls. The countryside is welcoming to walkers and there's always a nice village pub awaiting you at the end of your walk.

I had asked the lady at the souvenir shop inside the Castle and she explained to me that Bolton Castle is located in the town of Castle Bolton. Pretty original, eh? The Castle was built in 1379 for Richard le Scrope, Lord Chancellor of England to Richard II. It is one of the the country's best preserved castles. It's massive. Oak beams raised more than six centuries ago still support many of the great halls and galleries. The walls are nine feet thick! From the battlements, Royalist guards looked over at the Parliamentary soldiers that had beseiged the Castle.
Bolton Castle

View from Bolton Castle
Once we parked the car, (the Castle is to the left) I stood on the stone wall and took a picture of what the view over the dale. On that day there were people dressed up in traditional costume around the castle. They were recreating a battle scene from long ago. Every once and awhile you'd here some cannon fire. The Castle also comprised gardens. These gardens have 50 varieties of herbs, 90 grape vines, 25 varieties of roses and a main lawn surrounded by dozens of beautiful shrubs and flowers.

Upon entering the Castle you immediately feel the medieval atmosphere. I also noticed the strong smell of mustiness and dampness. These Castles couldn't be very comfortable. Mary, Queen of Scots, spent six long months of imprisonment during 1568 and 1569. The 14th century Garde-robes (lavatories) were constructed with such sophistication that they were still used some 500 years later. The Castle dungeon is a hole carved from solid rock. In there they found an arm bone still manacled to the wall!

Bolton Castle

St Oswald's Church
After seeing the Castle, we went to visit St Oswald's Church right across from the Castle. It dates from about 1250, and was definitely built before the castle because the the small sundial in the south wall catches no midday sun. Every summer the church puts on a display, usually an interpretative exhibition of some aspect of Wensleydale's history or wildlife. The inside of the church looks extremely old with various knick-knacks hanging from the stone walls.

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Travel Diary I
2003-2006 My Travel Diary