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Published: July 12th 2019
We love castles. Some more than others. We have seen many over the years. Sometimes together. Sometimes separately. We have seen castles from the 20th century like Castle Drogo designed by Lutyens , the great Norman castles at Dover and the Tower of London. The castles of Wales from the early welsh ones to the ones built by Edward I to suppress the Welsh. Some we love . Others we hate. We love the castles of Ferrara and Mantova and those from the Aosta Valley . We today have already visited one near to Abergavenny and now we and Gabby are sitting on a massive car park around the very pretty castle at Raglan. The lovely weather has brought folks out and we are not alone. Throughout our morning more and more arrive. Some set up tables and chairs and eat outside . We do what we do best - brew up the coffee , get out the croissants and gorge ourselves over a leisurely breakfast .
We hear that the sign board has gone up on our house. I wonder if that will generate any interest.
Raglan is another castle owned by CADW so yet again another free
entry for us. What can we say about this lovely castle? First thoughts - it looks very photogenic. We stand and admire it . It is a pretty castle if that is a word you can associate with castles. It is not foreboding and looks inviting. We spy the ice cream and make a mental note to pick two up for lunch. We are welcomed as normal and issued with the small leaflet that gives a small amount of information about the castle. We are told to look for the large oriel window in the late medieval castle which once shed light on the diners who ate in the great hall. Dating from the 15th and 17th century we would see the kitchens which were designed for banquets with great serving hatches and drains. They told us that Tudor kitchens came no better than this one. The castle was owned by the Herberts and the Somersets who created what was a luxurious but yet fortified castle complete with a large hexagonal keep known as the Great Tower or the Yellow Tower of Gwent. Sir William Herbert enjoyed a tipple or two and kept a purpose built cellar which was well
stocked with good wines. The castle was surrounded by terraces, water gardens , a moat and parkland.
We were told to look for the Long Gallery , great fireplaces that made Raglan a castle of high status. When we went in we certainly agreed . Everything smelled of money . We could have climbed up the Great Tower but due to Glenns knee causing a problem it was too many steps up and back down again. We read that during the English Civil War the castle was held on behalf of the king but was taken by Parliamentary forces in 1646. In the aftermath, the castle was slighted as were many after the War. So much remained though to make it a worthwhile place and romantic ruin to visit.
We entered the castle via the great gateway and what an impressive entrance it made. To say it was handsome was perhaps an understatement with angular towers and Tudor styling. We had seen nothing like this in the whole of the United Kingdom. Built of sandstone it was both pale in colour and reddish making it very pleasing on the eye. The castle had been the boyhood home of
our hero Henry Tudor who throughout his childhood had lived with his Uncle Jasper. We crossed the moat to get in and walked over the drawbridge. All we kept saying was Wow - what an impressive place.
In the corners were the turrets with doors leading down to the moat. Luckily there was enough room inside for all us visitors to stand and stare and take our photographs. There were so many gates to wander through . The South Gate led us to the apartments and the porch and grand Staircase. Scattered around the castle grounds were a number of very interesting displays set up as talking points. One was displays was of books which suggested that this was the Library which had been destroyed by Cromwell.
Our last stop off were the keys . A musical set of keys which were there for the children to play. Of course we had to try them. A female voice behind us spoke to us . She was smiling at us. She told us that we were growing old disgracefully playing like children on the musical keys and she went off smiling like a Cheshire Cat.
This was one
of those castles that burn themselves into your memory and have you wanting to stay forever taking it all in. We completed the visit with our dinner in the motorhome followed by the ice cream we had promised ourselves . This time Raspberry sorbet replaced the strawberry I enjoyed last time. Glenn replaced Vanilla with a Toffee crunch . Both were delicious although I think I preferred the Strawberry if I am honest.
Our last night was going to be spent on Monmouth Caravan Park . We had picked it because it was within an hour of Raglan castle and within walking distance of the town.
How about a thought to leave you with? Jiddu Krishnamurti born in 1895 and who died in 1986 was an Indian philosopher , speaker and philosopher. One of his thoughts was this one "Die to everything of yesterday so that your mind is always fresh, always young , innocent , full of vigour and passion". I cannot fault that .
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