Saturday, 10 July 2010

Romantic old buildings


This is the south front of Aydon Castle. You may remember I put up an excerpt a little while back - the one where Harry was threatened with The Leap in my book Till the Day Go Down.


Well - if I had taken a step backwards when I took this picture, I too would have gone over the Leap! You see what risks I take to bring pics to
my blog entires? My middle name should be Indiana!

Alina, my heroine, lived at Aydon
Castle in the year 1543, and it was already old by then. She thought it was a horrible old place and longed to be back in their cosy old farmhouse a mile or two away.

Aydon was built in the 1200s as a farmhouse and only when the Scots incursions made it necessary to go defensive did the owner get permission from the crown to crenellate and add curtain walls. After all, if you are going to shoot arrows at marauders, you need something to hide behind while you do it, or you'll rapidly become a pin cushion yourself.


It was lived in right up until the 1960s when it was handed over to English Heritage and continued to fulfill its function as a farmhouse (fortified). Everything is built of stone. Walk around it today and the absence of wood is striking. Fireplaces, window seats, all the lower floors - they are all of stone. There may have been wooden partitions in medieval days, but most of them have gone now. Later farming families adapted rooms to suit themselves, hence the occasional modern type of window among the lovely old ones.
The second picture shows the middle courtyard. The door on the left sidewall opens into the byre where the animals were kept. The building that once occupied the rest of this wing were guest quarters but nothing of them exist now except the interesting old south wall with all its intriguing structures.

6 comments:

Lindsay Townsend said...

Lovely blog, Jen! Do you find it inspiring to be able to use real locations in your historical romances?

This article brought back many happy memories for me as my hubby and I have visited Aydon castle.

Jen Black said...

Thanks, Lindsay. I find it helps enormously to touch and smell the places my characters know so well. Aydon is not far from my home, and one of our favourite walks is through the fields and woods to the castle. I'm glad you know it too!

Jen Black said...

Thanks, Lindsay. I find it helps enormously to touch and smell the places my characters know so well. Aydon is not far from my home, and one of our favourite walks is through the fields and woods to the castle. I'm glad you know it too!

Savanna Kougar said...

Jen, utterly fascinating. Thanks for sharing. I'd love to visit Aydon and so many wonderful places and buildings. It would definitely help as far as description and atmosphere.

Linda Acaster said...

I've been there! It was a fantastic place, one of those where you can really trace how people lived. Thanks for reminding me of it. Sheesh, it was years ago.

Linda

Jen Black said...

I've added a little more on my blog this morning, if anyone's interested!
http://jenblackauthor.blogspot.com
Jen