Noble knights, fair ladies, dear quests, ladies and gentlemen – welcome to our humble blog. The first post in June is here – and we cannot believe how quickly this year is progressing. We are already half way through and there is so much to tell and so little time to write. Last post in May, was a lengthy review of the deliciously hot Chilli Festival. It proved to be one of the most popular pieces we have written so far – nearly 500 clicks in just few days! We have also received a lot of good press, comments and likes on different social media sites. Vox populi, vox dei – a perfect sense to continue the topic. We are delighted to invite you to take a closer look at the Eastnor Castle, a place that is never easily forgotten once you have seen it. You don’t need wellington boots, back pack or a tour guide on this virtual travel to one of the most interesting mock castles in The United Kingdom. Please relax and enjoy a bit of a history lesson and beautiful pictures.
If you’d like to read the previous entry, please click on the link below:
Castles (fully functional, rebuilt and those in ruin) have always been incredibly popular with general public, but since the early 2000’s, they became more popular than ever. Movie series like “Harry Potter”, “Lord of the Rings” or “Game of thrones” introduced thousands of new people to fantasy genre. And since you cannot have a good fantasy piece without a palace or a castle playing an important role in the plot, the public started looking for buildings similar to Hogwarts, King’s Landing or Gondor. Luckily for Rita, Herefordshire (and local territories) have a rich and violent history and lots of places would make the hearts of fantasy fans beat faster. Wikipedia lists 24 castles in close proximity to the city of Hereford and additional 22 in Shropshire. They range from simple keeps, motte-and-bailey castles, fortified mansions to residential castles and important strongholds of Princes of England. With summer holidays starting shortly, it is a good idea to start visiting them one by one, to find your perfect spot.
The list can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Castles_in_Herefordshire
Eastnor Castle might be one of the newest castles in the area, but this is where each journey into Herefordian past should start. We could offer you hundreds of reasons why, but the main one is very simple: Eastnor is a beautiful place with large grounds (5000 acres!) a lake, arboretum, deer park, picnic area, knights maze and children activity trail. It is also a home of at least two dozens festivals throughout the year including the Chilli Festival and the super popular The Land Rover Show (24 August 2013 – 25 August 2013). The castle is the only habituated building of this kind in the shire and allows the visitors to see how daily life looked like in previous centuries. If you are really lucky, you can meet the owner James Hervey-Bathurst or his family members. They are a truly lovely people (we have met them!) and will gladly answer all possible questions.
The castle has been the official residence for the Hervey-Bathurst family for the last 200 years, but the real beginnings of the estate can be traced to late 1600’s. It was when a wealthy Cocks clan moved to Eastnor village and settled in the nearby Manor of Castleditch. Over the years, they bought the neighbouring grounds and by the beginning of the 19th century became the biggest land owners in the area. The Cocks were soon joined in marriage with another affluent family, the Somers of Worcestershire and the combination of their fortunes gave the first Earl Somers enough funds to built a grand stately residence.
The construction of the castle started in 1810 with young Robert Smirke overseeing the works. Nearly 250 men worked around the clock for six years to create an enormous building in the style of an Norman Revival. From a distance, Eastnor was intended to create the impression of a medieval fortress guarding the Welsh Borders. In the first eighteen months of construction nearly 4,000 tons of building stone, 16,000 tons of mortar and 600 tons of wood were used. The castle has been finished in 1820, after a decade of hard work. It costed about £8.5 million in today’s terms.
You can read more about the history of the castle here: http://www.eastnorcastle.com/history.htm
Today, after being completely renovated, the castle can be hired for private and corporate events. The Estate is located near the Malvern Hills, just two miles away from the historic market town of Ledbury. It is surrounded by beautiful and picturesque countryside with steep hills, valleys, lake and open parks and woodlands. The diversity makes Eastnor Castle a perfect spot for any types of business team building activities, survival parties and trainings. Marketing team working for the castle offers a wide range of attractions for organized groups including Fevertree, Castle Treasure Hunt, survival trail, Castle Siege and High Adrenalin day. Guests can also choose to participate in Land Rover 4×4 Off-road Driving sessions, clay pigeon shootings, archery & crossbow lessons with private instructor, pottery classes and others. Eastnor can also be hired for conferences and private ceremonies like weddings, stag/hen parties or birthday celebrations. Believe us, the Castle has its own catering team that can prepare feasts suitable for Kings and Queens of England. They offer excellent accommodations for their quests as well.
If you’d like to see the Castle for yourself, please check those two important websites form more information:
Eastnor Castle: http://www.eastnorcastle.com
Official Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EastnorCastle
Once again, we would like to thank Sir James Hervey-Bathurst for his generosity and kindness shown to us on our trip. Sadly, tourists are not allowed to take pictures of the interiors of the castle, so to illustrate this entry, we had to use photographs by David Urwin, Neil Harniman, Martin Avery, Roy Riley, Nick McCann, Countrylife magazine, Courtauld Institute of Art and Richard Surman, taken from book “Eastnor Castle” written by James Hervey-Bathurst and edited by Tim Steele. It was first published in 2011 by Eastnor Castle Press.
We may not be allowed to take pictures inside the building, but nobody minds when you are shooting outside! The castle is beautiful and the park that surrounds it is perfect for picnic photo sessions. We took more than 60 pictures during the whole trip and we’d like to share the 10 best ones with you. Please remember that the castle grounds have been used numerous times as films and TV shows location including the famous video for “Run Runaway” by glam rock legends Slade, “The Amazing Race”, “Little Lord Fauntleroy” (BBC TV 1994), “Antiques Roadshow” and “W.E ” directed by Madonna in 2012.
1. Picnic on the meadow
2. Looking through cherry blossom trees
3. The wall
4. The castle in the sky
6. A view (to a kill)
7. The Wishing Fountain
8. Island in the sun
10. The last photo of the day!
Have a great weekend kids and come back soon!
2 new great editions for Kat-a-log are coming this weekend and we might be visiting another castle pretty soon!
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz