Wargaming the English Civil War, American War of Independence and Sudanese campaigns in 28mm

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Bolingbroke Castle visit

Bolingbroke Castle, located in Lincolnshire, was built in about 1220-30 by the then Earl of Lincoln, Ranulph de Blundevil, a powerful Norman baron. By the time of the Civil War in the mid-17th century, the castle was in decay but was rebuilt by the Royalists to make it sufficiently strong to pose a threat to the Parliamentarian forces in the county and was held until the Parliamentary victory in 1643 at the Battle of Winceby, three miles to the north. When the Parliamentary forces moved out, they deliberately ruined the castle to deny its use to the Royalist cause. Over the years, stone was robbed and used in local building projects, the site eventually becoming nothing more than a grassy mound until its excavation in the mid-20th century by English Heritage.

I took the following pictures of the site last year when I made the short trip from Lincoln to Bolingbroke one warm summer's day.

This is how the Castle would have looked at the height of its power in the 13th century, with a moat 90 feet wide coming right up to the walls.

This photo (taken from the same viewpoint as the illustration above) shows all that remains of the castle - the brick base of the once impressive walls. The mown causeway in front of you marks the line of the drawbridge.

This photo is taken looking slightly to the left of the previous picture (you can still see the information panel and causeway, leading up to the Castle entrance). It shows the marshy area which now surrounds the Castle where the moat would have been.

This photo, taken of an illustration on one of the information panels, shows what the Castle would have looked like when it was built in the 13th century. As you can see, it was quite impressive! It is, however, unlikely to have looked quite as impressive during the time of the Civil War as it was in a state of decay at this point.

This aerial photograph shows the Castle on the right, and the dark green ring around it is the marshy area which marks the extent of the moat. The earthwork on the left, known as the 'Rout Yard', is thought to be an earth fort built during the Civil War and played a part in the siege of the Castle in 1643. Recent academic study has however made claims that this was in fact used as a fish pond when the Castle was permanently occupied.

This photo shows the earthwork (in the centre of the photo) taken from the walls of the Castle and it was whilst walking around inside the earthwork that I made an exciting discovery...


Ray Rousell said...

Great photos, I like the aerial shot, gives you a real sense of what the castle looked like.

Consul said...

Thanks Ray, I took the photos with a blog post in mind. They seem to give someone who hasn't visited a good idea of scale and proportions (it is a rather small castle by comparison to others I've seen in the UK) and what the site is actually like to visit.

It is free to visit but as you can see, there isn't much left! We only saw two other people during our visit (some 2 or 3 hours) and had a picnic out under the very hot sun so it was a lovely afternoon. It's certainly worth visiting if you're in the Lincolnshire/Nottinghamshire area and have an interest in Civil War history but it might not warrant a trip from further afield. There's a nice pub a few minutes walk down the road though so drown your sorrows there if you're disappointed.

Rodger said...

Great post and very nice photos. There is nothing like that over my side of the world.

Ubique said...

Very interesting post, I've been there twice (but then again I'm a bit of a castle anorak). I was under the impression that the square earthworks were a stockade to cattle.