The ancient craft of castle building is not practised much nowadays. But to many of us it remains a fascinating study.
These thoughts were brought on by news that a particularly fine example of castle technology had been put up for sale.
Near where I live in the West Country of England stands the oldest surviving castle in Britain. Itâ€™s called Rougemont, which means Red Hill after the iron-rich Devon soil. The French name indicates it was built by the Normans around 1070. Hereâ€™s a picture of the old gatehouse I took this morning :
The official website describes it thus : “Exeter Castle [Rougemont] is an interesting Norman stone ringwork fortress, founded by Baldwin de Brionne. The entrance with its projecting barbican, is an 11th century square three storey gatehouse, with above the gate-passage, chambers lit by unusual triangular-headed windows. Its strong earthworks and curtain wall are flanked by square and round towers, which command the north-west corner of old town wall.”
Interestingly, it has now been sold. It’s apparently been passed to a property company which wants to use it as an entertainment venue. Is that an appropriate use for this magnificent building?
Here’s another picture showing the ravishing setting of the grounds around Rougemont.
Many of the older buildings inside the castle were pulled down to make room for a Georgian courthouse, which still stands, and some more recent administrative buildings to the rear.
However, if, like me you are interested in the ancient craft of castle building, get along to see Rougemont if you can before it’s turned into yet another rock concert arena.
Our feature on William Morris, promised for March 24, will appear later this week. Apologies for the delay.