Nottingham Castle

Nottingham Castle is a castle in Nottingham, England. It is located in a commanding position, with 130 foot cliffs to the south and west.

Mediæval history

There is some uncertainty whether a castle existed on the site before the Norman Conquest. If there was it would have been smaller and far less elaborate in design than the one that stood there afterwards, keeping in line with Anglo-Saxon architectural tradition.

Enlarge picture
A model of a motte-and-bailey type castle


The first Norman castle was a wooden structure and of a motte-and-bailey design, which was built in 1067, a year after the Battle of Hastings, on the orders of William the Conqueror. This wooden structure was replaced by a far more defensible stone castle during the reign of Henry I (1100-1135), and was imposing and of a complex architectural design.

For centuries the castle served as one of the most important in England for nobles and royalty alike. It was in a strategic position due to its location near a crossing of the River Trent; and it was also known as a place of leisure being close to the royal hunting grounds at Tideswell, which was the “Kings Larder” in the Royal Forest of the Peak, and also the royal forests of Barnsdale and Sherwood Forest.

Whilst Richard the Lionheart was away on the Third Crusade, and a great number of English noblemen were away with him, it was said that Nottingham Castle was left derelict and it was occupied by the Sheriff of Nottingham. In the legends of Robin Hood, Nottingham Castle is the scene of the final showdown between the Sheriff and the hero outlaw in many tales.

In 1194, a historic battle took place at Nottingham castle when the supporters of Prince John captured it. The castle was the site of a decisive siege when King Richard I, returned to England and designed the castle with the siege machines he had used at Jerusalem. Richard was aided by Ranulph de Blondeville, 4th Earl of Chester, and David of Scotland, 8th Earl of Huntingdon.

The castle was expanded by many of the following monarchs until rendered obsolete in the 16th century by artillery. A short time following the break out of the English Civil War, the castle was already in a semi-ruined state after a number of skirmishes occurred on the site. Towards the end of the Civil War, Charles I chose Nottingham as the rallying point for his armies, but soon after he departed, the castle rock was made defensible and held by the parliamentarians. Commanded by John Hutchinson (Colonel), they repulsed several Royalist attacks, and they were the last group to hold the castle. After the execution of Charles I in 1649, the castle was razed to prevent its re-use.

The present 'Ducal Mansion'

Enlarge picture
Nottingham Castle - The Ducal Mansion as it stands today, rising above the towers of Nottingham's Inland Revenue offices


After the restoration of Charles II in 1660, the present 'Ducal Mansion' was built by Henry Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Newcastle between 1674 and 1679 on the foundations of the previous structure. Despite the destruction of the keep and fortifications, some rock cut cellars and mediæval pointed arches survive beneath the mansion, together with a long passage to the bottom of the rock, commonly known as Mortimer's Hole.

The mason for the Mansion was Samuel Marsh of Lincoln, who also worked for the Duke at Bolsover Castle. His designs are generally thought to have been strongly influence by Rubens's published engravings of the Palazzi di Genova. [1] The Duke's mansion is a rare surviving example in England of Artisan Mannerist architecture.

However, it lost its appeal to the later Dukes with the coming of the Industrial Revolution, which left Nottingham with the reputation of having the worst slums in the British Empire outside India. When residents of these slums rioted in 1831, in protest against the Duke of Newcastle's opposition to the Reform Act 1832 they burned down the mansion.

The original exterior stairs on the eastern facade of the mansion were subsequently demolished to create a parade ground for the Robin Hood Rifles.

The mansion remained a derelict shell until it was restored in 1875 by Thomas Chambers Hine, and opened in 1878 by the Prince of Wales, (later King Edward VII) as Nottingham Castle Museum [1], the first municipal art gallery in the UK outside London. The new interiors ignored the original floor levels and fenestration to accommodate a top-lit picture gallery modeled after the Grande Galerie of the Louvre. The obtrusive new pitched roofs gave rise to adverse comment, and the walls were subsequently raised and topped by a pierced stone balustrade a few years later, changing the proportions of the facades. Behind the balustrade was a boardwalk above the leads, which originally allowed visitors to promenade around the roof to enjoy views over the city and the Trent valley.

Some tourists are disappointed to find a mansion house expecting to see a mediæval castle instead. There have been suggestions for many years to demolish the mansion house and build a replica of the original castle but there has never been any serious funding sought for such a scheme.

On Christmas Day 1996 a landslip, caused by a leaking water main, led to 80 tonnes of earth and retaining wall from the Restoration terrace next to the Mansion falling to the bottom of the Castle rock. This revealed some remains of the original castle foundations and the bedrock. After a lengthy controversy on the best conservation/restoration approach, the terrace was reinstated in 2005 with a traditional stone facade. This conceals a concrete structure which allows the mediæval masonry to remain accessible to visitors.

The mansion is still used as a museum today. In 2005, the Castle was the only venue outside the USA to host the 'Waking Dreams' touring exhibition of Pre-Raphaelite art. The show attracted visitors from all over Europe and brought the Castle Museum to international attention as a gallery space.

A drawing of the Ducal Mansion appeared on millions of packets of rolling tobacco and cigarettes made by John Player & Sons, a Nottingham firm. Most packets had the phrases Nottingham Castle and Trade Mark bracketing the image of the unfortress-like structure. This led the novelist Ian Fleming to refer to "that extraordinary trademark of a dolls house swimming in chocolate fudge with Nottingham Castle written underneath." in Thunderball in the knowledge that his British readers would be familiar with the image.

External links

References

1. ^ Sir John Summerson Pelican History of Art: Architecture in England 1530-1830,Harmondsworth 1953 p104
A castle is a defensive structure seen as one of the main symbols of the Middle Ages. The term has a history of scholarly debate surrounding its exact meaning, but it is usually regarded as being distinct from the general terms fort or fortress in that it describes a building
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Nottingham

Arms of the Nottingham City Council
Location within England
Coordinates:
Sovereign state  United Kingdom
Constituent country
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Motto
Dieu et mon droit   (French)
"God and my right"
Anthem
No official anthem specific to England — the anthem of the United Kingdom is "God Save the Queen".
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A castle is a defensive structure seen as one of the main symbols of the Middle Ages. The term has a history of scholarly debate surrounding its exact meaning, but it is usually regarded as being distinct from the general terms fort or fortress in that it describes a building
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Norman conquest of England began in 1066 with the invasion of the Kingdom of England by William the Conqueror (Duke of Normandy), and his success at the Battle of Hastings resulted in Norman control of England.
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Anglo-Saxon is the collective term usually used to describe the ethnically and linguistically related peoples living in the south and east of the island of Great Britain (modern Great Britain/United Kingdom) from around the early 5th century AD to the Norman conquest of 1066.
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Architecture is the art and science of designing buildings and structures. A wider definition often includes the design of the total built environment: from the macrolevel of town planning, urban design, and landscape architecture to the microlevel of construction details and,
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Normans were a people from medieval northern France, deriving to a large extent their aristocratic origins from Scandinavia (the name is adapted from the name "Northmen" or "Norsemen").
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motte-and-bailey is a form of castle. Many were built in Britain, Ireland and France in the 11th and 12th centuries.

Construction

The motte in French is a raised earth mound, like a small hill, usually artificial and topped with a wooden or stone structure
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10th century - 11st century - 12nd century
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Battle of Hastings was the decisive Norman victory in the Norman conquest of England. The location was Senlac Hill, approximately six miles north of Hastings, on which an abbey was subsequently erected.
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William I of England (William the Conqueror; c. 1028 – 9 September 1087) was a medieval monarch. He ruled as the Duke of Normandy from 1035 to 1087 and as King of England from 1066 to 1087.
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Henry I
King of the English, Duke of the Normans (picture can be found in S.S. books)

Reign 3 August 1100–1 December 1135
Coronation 5 August 1100
Born c.
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royal family is the extended family of a monarch. Generally, the head of a royal family is a king or queen regnant. The term "imperial family" more appropriately describes the extended family of an emperor or empress regnant, while the terms "ducal family", "grand ducal family" or
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Trent

River Trent and new Gainsborough Riverside developments


Length | 298 km (185 mi)
Discharge at
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Tideswell

Tideswell ()
|240px|Tideswell (

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Barnsdale, or Barnsdale Forest, is a relatively small area of South Yorkshire, England which has a rich history and the region is steeped in folklore.
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Sherwood Forest is a world-famous forest, continuously afforested since the end of the Ice Age,[1] which is today reduced to a 4.23 square kilometre remnant surrounding the village of Edwinstowe, the site of Thoresby Hall in Nottinghamshire, England, historically
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Richard I
By the Grace of God, King of the English, Duke of the Normans and Aquitanians, Count of the Angevins

Reign 6 July 1189 – 6 April 1199
Coronation 3 September 1189
Born 8 September 1157
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The Third Crusade (1189–1192), also known as the Kings' Crusade, was an attempt by European leaders to reconquer the Holy Land from Saladin.

After the failure of the Second Crusade, the Zengid dynasty controlled a unified Syria and engaged in a conflict with
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The Sheriff of Nottingham was historically the office responsible for enforcing law and order in Nottingham and bringing criminals to justice. For years the post has been directly appointed by the Lord Mayor of Nottingham and in modern times with the existence of the police force,
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Robin Hood is a figure in archetypal English folk tales. Many accounts of Robin Hood, though not the very earliest, bear a striking similarity to accounts of the life of Fulk FitzWarin, a Norman noble who was disinherited and became an outlaw and an enemy of John of England.
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Prince John refers most commonly to the following:
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Richard I
By the Grace of God, King of the English, Duke of the Normans and Aquitanians, Count of the Angevins

Reign 6 July 1189 – 6 April 1199
Coronation 3 September 1189
Born 8 September 1157
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Jerusalem (Hebrew: יְרוּשָׁלַיִם  , Yerushaláyim; Arabic:
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Ranulph de Blondeville, 4th Earl of Chester otherwise known as Ranulph IV de Meschines (1172 – 1232) was one of the "old school" of Anglo-Norman barons whose loyalty to the Angevin dynasty was consistent but contingent on the receipt of lucrative favours.
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David of Scotland (c. 1144 – 17 June 1219) was a Scottish prince and Earl of Huntingdon. He was the youngest surviving son of Henry of Scotland, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon and Ada de Warenne, a daughter of William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey, and Elizabeth de Vermandois.
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Historically, artillery (from French artillerie) refers to any engine used for the discharge of large projectiles in war. The term also describes soldiers with the primary function of manning such weapons and is used organizationally for the arm of a nation's land
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