Monday, 4 February 2013

Medieval Castle by the Sea - Part 2

An ancient key excavated in the castle grounds. There are no longer any doors to lock,but
who and what was once locked away by this key .......... and what tales could it tell?

Tantallon Castle  -  Main doorway to the Inner Close.

I chose to visit in Winter,hoping to experience a little of  how it may have felt to live on this cliff edge
in cold windy weather in Medieval times.The temperature was actually above
freezing point but it felt much colder.

It's possible to climb to the battlements via this staircase,however with gusts of cold wind and flurries of snowflakes blasting through the openings,I decided for my safely to return to ground level. 

Window seats.

My fingers were becoming numb and as I struggled to keep my camera still and dry,my thoughts turned to fires and how people in the Middle Ages kept warm in Winter. It would have been the duty of a number of servants to keep the many fires fuelled with logs from nearby woods.

Image source - Wikipedia.

Woven tapestries were important for draught exclusion and wall covering.By the 14th century they had become a necessary and fashionable commodity in every wealthy household in Europe. The most famous early tapestry workshops were based in Paris and Arras.Composed of wool,silk and gold these tapestries were produced in vast quantities

The illustration above,painted around 1335 depicts King David II of Scotland and Queen Joan being presented to Philip IV, King of France. The tapestry in the background looks quite simple compared to later more elaborate designs.

Image source - Wikipedia.

Tapestry woven in Flanders at the end of the fourteen hundreds.

Below the castle waves crash against the rocks. When the tide is in the rocks are completely covered.

The Dovecot, built around 1500.
Pigeons were reared as a convenient food source.

Amazingly,inside the building the stone roosting boxes are still intact.

Behind the dovecot a snow shower suddenly begins to obscure the Bass Rock.

In all seasons this rock has a habit of appearing like a mirage or phantom island.

In a previous post I've shown the Bass Rock in summer,along with a brief history....... HERE.

By the time I reach the car park it's snowing quite heavily..... but the landscape looks spectacular,
shrouded in a veil of snowflakes.

As I leave,I try to visualize how the castle would have looked in such weather nearly seven hundred years ago,turrets reaching up to the sky and the Bass Rock lurking in the background like a hump backed giant.

On the other side Tantallon overlooks farmland and North Berwick Law - the pointed hill.
In the 13th century this land is likely have been covered in native woodland,supporting a variety of wildlife such as wild boar,deer,wildfowl and wolves.Wolves became extinct in Scotland in the mid 1700s.

Five minutes,and two or three miles along the road the snow stops and the sky clears!

In the foreground young shoots of winter sown grain suddenly look very green.

Thank you for visiting.


Charlotte said...

Thank you Ruby,
that is the most amazing place, thanks for the tour. It does make you wonder how they survived. Just a bit hardier in those days.

biebkriebels said...

Thanks for this wonderful post. I love history and can imagine so much at visiting a castle. It must have been horroble cold at that point of a rock by the sea.

Sally Tharpe Rowles said...

Wow, so interesting & great photos & images! It really does make you think about what life must have been. Thanks for this informative post both parts 1&2! I really enjoyed them!

snowwhite said...

Hi ruby,
Magnificent photos!! All what I want to see in winter is here!!
The castle has long witnessed the rise and fall of the people who had lived here. Happiness, weddings, child births, fierce battles, conspiracies, tragedies and more.
But they must have been extremely cold in winter in a castle like this, built of stones with narrow windows.
I am interested in the second tapestry where many animals are depicted. A lion and a unicorn are seen in the emblem of Queen Elizabeth. Do other animals symbolize something?
In the last photo, I felt as if I came back to the real world after I had encountered the legendary castle in my dream.

Bhushavali - Indian Fashion n Travel Blogger! said...

The castle looks great! The stairway in the 3rd pic looks awesome! The Dovecot looks impressive....
Do stop by my blog too sometime! :)

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Your photos are exquisite and the shot with the off-shore snowstorm is stunning. I collect old keys, but the one you show is older by far than any I have collected.

Oh, the stories these castle walls could tell.


Adithya Shetty said...

Wow, nice work!

Sciarada said...

ciao Ruby, you've done a magnificent evocation of images - that key is beautiful - with an interesting text too!
Have a good weekend!

Forest Dream Weaver said...

Keiko,I can't really answer this question,it was common for royalty and the nobility at this time to have menageries.Also hunting was an almost daily activity and dogs would have been used to chase rabbits and foxes.
I'm not sure which Queen Elizabeth you refer to.....the lion features in the Royal Standards of both Scotland and the United Kingdom.
The Wikipedia entry for Lion Rampant may interest you!

sarah said...

What wonderful photos!

Boris Smola said...

Maybe it's Bluebeard's magical key from the folktale of Charles Perrault?

Forest Dream Weaver said...

Well Boris,that's an interesting idea.It certainly looks as though it holds some secrets!

Palomasea said...

Spectacular, dear Ruby!!
Thank you oh so very much for sharing this exquisite place...
Now I MUST visit your post on Bass I go...
A creatively beautiful week to you!
Hugs from snowy Minnesota...
- Irina

Ruthie Redden said...

Ruby, i have loooved reading these last two posts, they are just my cup of tea. Exploring ancient places and imagining the folk who once lived there and their lives is a fave thing of mine to do. This castle is on my list of ones to see, thank you for the tour ;)

snowwhite said...

Thanks for answering my question. I read it and "Lion Rampant" long time ago, but I had been very busy with my personal matters.
I have long been interested in Korean dog statues usually placed in front of a Torii gate of a Shinto shrine as guardians. They are called Korean dogs, but actually they are lions. When the statues were introduced to Japan through Korea, Japaanese people had never seen lions. So they thought they were funny-looking dogs which came from Korea. So they have been called Koma Inu - Korean Dogs. I read a several books about Korean Dogs. Some Books wrote, original image must have come from Messopotamia or Egypt. The images spread to West and East where they evolved in different shapes.
This is wikipedia about Komainu.

The lion statues or patterns have been connecting East and West. Probably they came to Asia including Japan and went to Europe through Silk Road. How exciting it is to imagine ancient times!!
In Todai-ji Temple, there is a replica of Ashoka Pillar presented by India standing close to Komainu.
Ruby, Thanks a lot. Someday I will write about Komainu in my blog.

india flint said...

Thank you for the castle wandering....

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