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Tony Grist

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Herstmonceux Castle [May. 11th, 2016|09:29 am]
Tony Grist
Built in the 1440s by Henry VI's treasurer, a man called Fiennes, Herstmonceux Castle is one of the first large scale buildings in the country to be made of brick. It's not really a castle, of course- any more than the chateaux of the Loire Valley are. This was an age of artillery- and a few well-placed cannon balls would have had all that fancywork sliding into the moat. The architect may have been the same chap who designed Eton College for the King. Brick was such a new idea that workmen had to be imported from the Low Countries- and a local brick-making industry created from scratch.

The English Renaissance begins here.







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Comments:
From: cmcmck
2016-05-11 10:07 am (UTC)
We didn't need defensible so much by that stage not that these islands were ever much good at castles and city walls.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-05-11 10:42 am (UTC)
Not good at castles? We talking about the nation that girdled Wales with a ring of state of the art military instillations? Or- to leap forward in time- strung artillery forts (again state of the art) along the south coast?



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From: cmcmck
2016-05-11 11:45 am (UTC)
I mean more the sort to keep enemies out rather than those to frighten the locals- those are all obsolete by big Henry's time! Henry's coastal forts were an old fashioned joke. Upnor castle anyone?
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[User Picture]From: huskyteer
2016-05-11 12:28 pm (UTC)
Lovely photos!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-05-11 01:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
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[User Picture]From: porsupah
2016-05-11 02:47 pm (UTC)
I love how incongruous the lifering is on the final shot. ^_^ There's definitely a Bizarro cartoon in there.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-05-11 04:53 pm (UTC)
It makes a nice splash of colour too.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2016-05-11 03:47 pm (UTC)
I wonder whether they would have used brick 10-20 years later. It was pretty peaceful, domestically, in the 1440s. It got more nutso in the 50s, early 60s, and of course 1469-1471.

Artillery wasn't much to write home about in those times, though, if you're talking about gunpowder artillery.

That would have worked well, though, as defense against your ordinary and more local band of brigands.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-05-11 05:00 pm (UTC)
I'm fascinated by how close Herstmonceux is to the houses of the Tudor period. It's only a step- a tiny step- from this to Hampton Court- but there are 70 years between them. I guess development in the arts- including architecture- was put on hold while York and Lancaster slugged it out.
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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2016-05-11 05:10 pm (UTC)
It used to be an astronomical observatory. Back in the late 80s, my then boyfriend had friends who worked there as astronomers and lived in a scruffy little cottage in the grounds. We spent a magical weekend with them. The guy had his own telescope and we set it up in the grounds and got some tremendous views of the moon and several planets. We also got a tour around the castle itself on the Sunday before it was open. Very fond memories. I love that part of Sussex.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-05-11 06:10 pm (UTC)
Nice!

After the astronomers moved out the castle narrowly escaped being turned into a hotel with golf course attached. It's now a study centre and belongs to a Canadian University.
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[User Picture]From: michaleen
2016-05-12 10:36 am (UTC)
Interesting that, by the 15th, they were already building faux castles.

Why brick? Was there simply a dearth of locally available stone?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-05-12 04:25 pm (UTC)
No, I think it was just that brick was trendy.
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[User Picture]From: lora_diary
2016-05-12 06:53 pm (UTC)

The photos are beautiful. I'd like to be there.



Edited at 2016-05-12 06:54 pm (UTC)
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