Sunday, September 27, 2015

Tattershall castle and Gainsborough Old Hall

The weather for the last couple of weekends has been so good that it almost comes as a surprise when it gets dark so early, the cold nights are a bit of a shock too, but still, if the trees weren't starting to turn it would be all to easy to pretend it was still summer. We've been making the most of it whilst D prepares for a new term by looking at architecture. The current crop is all about tudor brick with a side order of half timbering and lathe and plaster. The destination was Lincolnshire with Gainsborough Old Hall and Tattershall Castle. Gainsborough old hall is a remarkable survival of bits, and surprisingly huge. Manor house conjure up images of something a little cosier to my mind, though the rabbit warren of little rooms was just what I might have imagined. The medieval kitchens were particularly impressive and worth the admission alone. For interested foraging types there's also a medlar tree in the garden and a whole avenue of mulberries. It is, in short a glorious place to visit, especially at the height of mulberry season.

Tattershall castle was something else again. It is possibly the most romantically appealing place I've ever seen - even if it lacks mulberries. It also lacks a proper cafe which is a shame but there are excellent toilets and at least a tea vending machine and deck chairs so the view, loo, and brew components of a good day out are all just about met.

You can see Tattershall from miles away in the flat Lincolnshire landscape but it's still a revaluation when you get there. The collegiate church is a nice example of English perpendicular, though it's sadly list the stained glass that would have made standing in it feel like standing inside a jewelled casket. (It's the kind of place that makes you think like that.) It's also full of bats, I would have loved to stay until dusk.

What's left of the castle is a fairy tale tower, literally a fairy tale tower, I've been reading lots in the last week and they all sounded just like Tattershall. It covers 4 floors with some extra bits on top and is just the most wonderfully atmospheric place. Each floor has a large hall with assorted cubby holes and chambers off it. The revelation is the roof though, with its central courtyard, arcaded gallery, and chambers at each corner. Even with a crippling fear of heights I was enchanted.

There is also a moat. It was perfect.

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