Friday, 29 July 2011

A Walk in the Woods : The Merlin

Merlin Falcon : 19th century illustration : image source,Wikipedia.
The male bird is in the foreground with female and juveniles behind.

 The night before my Rosslyn walk,a female Merlin (our smallest bird of prey) appeared in my dreams. Merlins were favourite hunting birds of noblemen in the Middle Ages. I didn't notice the significance of this until the following day.

Looking back towards the chapel.

A short distance from the chapel is Rosslyn Castle,built by the St Clair family in the early 14th century,the building has remained habitable throughout it's long and turbulent history. The more modern looking French style house behind the ruined entrance was built as part of extensive alterations around 1600. This part of the castle descends on 5 floors to ground level. The upper floors are at present let as holiday accomodation.

Jousting : image source,Wikipedia.

By the end of the Medieval Age tournaments had become massive theatrical events, accompanied by feasting,music and dancing. Knights and their entourage travelled around Europe to take part in these.

A kitchen in the late Middle Ages.

The kitchens would have been located on the ground floor of the castle.Food found on medieval tables  included a variety of meats,poultry,fish,fruit and vegetables.It was often seasoned with herbs and spices and sweetened with honey. At one time the castle gardens stretched down to the river's edge and a large orchard was located between the castle and the chapel.

Ancient castle foundations.

Beneath the castle, path to the river.

Young birch and hawthorn trees have self-seeded under the mature tree canopy.

The river through the trees.

River North Esk, below the castle.

The Falconers : Image source Wikipedia.

In the Middle Ages,ownership of bird's of prey was considered a symbol of status and a rich nobleman would  keep a falconry.  Falcons were very valuable and the job of head falconer was a position requiring great expertise and knowledge.


Charlotte said...

How I love your part of the world, it is so beautiful. The picture of the merlin caught me immediately, I have been lucky enough to go hawking for the day.

It is an amazing privilege having the bird sitting on the glove and flying to and from your wrist.

Sharmon Davidson said...

What a gorgeous place- like going back in time, I would think.

Lynne with an e said...

Hmmm...a visitation from past ages, triggered by your walk through the grounds around the castle. What a beautiful and fascinating area (as well as time)to explore. Thank you for all the details.

Lynn said...

Beautiful post. I love the combination of the old images and your photos.

When I was in England last year, I caught a programme about Rosslyn (narrated by the wife of the current Earl of St. Clair - if I'm remembering that right). It looked stunning.

The top painting of the Merlins is just lovely.

Tomoko said...

Hello, Ruby.
Looks like an absolutely glorious place with a long history to walk!
I can really spend hours in the Rosslyn Castle with you. I like to see your step by step photos and come to the last photo of the River North Esk below the castle.

Also it is interesting to see women cooking in the kitchen in the late Middle Ages. Women in that age loved being in the kitchen too!! I like that art.
Thank you for sharing it!

Here in Nara, it has been muggy!Enjoy your Sunday,Ruby.


biebkriebels said...

Lovely post with the history of the Middle Ages. It looks so radiant the surroundings of the castle.

stardust said...

Hi, Ruby, thanks to your way of presentation using your photos and old images alternately, it was like the time travel of the woods. The Merlin Falcon is beautiful. In Japan, falconry has been the popular game of he nobles, too, since the ancient times (legendary 4th century) and thrived mostly in the Edo period (17th-19th century) when the shogante owned spacious falconry lands in Edo (current Tokyo). It’s amazing that the 14th century castle with additional 16-17th century building has remained habitable throughout its history. I’d like to walk in such lush woods surrounding the Chapel and the Castle in person. Have a happy week.


Jenny Woolf said...

I've been out with a bird of prey, and although I'm not crazy on hunting it's a wonderful way to be outside and be in touch with what is going on in nature. What a beautiful area you are in.

cosmos said...

Thank you for a latter half of your interesting tour. I wish I could have a chance to visit the place.
The meals made in the seemingly well-used kitchen must've been delicious and savory full of juicy ingredients.
You had a dream of Merlin. Well, here it's considered to be particulary auspicious to dream Mt. Fuji, a hawk, eggplant, for the first dream dreamed in new years.
Why eggplants? There're many thories about these combination.
Thank you for taking me to the wonderland with a long history.

Tomoko said...

One of my bloggerfriends( Through My Eyes) is now traveling Edinburgh. I am thinking of you,Ruby.

sarah said...

Hi, Ruby.
I heard there are many old castles in Scotland. Those castles have same atmosphere of Rosslyn Catsle,I wonder? Light color green surround the castle and it's lovely atmosphere. I like the path to the river benrath the castle. Also the castle offer accommodation, it's cool for us.
Thank you for sharing Rosslyn Castle and falconer in England.

Forest Dream Weaver said...

Tomoko,I hope your friend enjoys Edinburgh.The International Festival is about to begin and the city is very lively and full of visitors from around the world.

dritanje said...

Fascinating to see the development of this theme of middle ages and the present and your dream falcon and images of it.
Happy Lammas, Morelle xx

tattina said...

Thank you for the nice middle aged tour!
It was wonderful.

Forest Dream Weaver said...

Cosmos,I,m always interested in dream interpretation.In most traditions hawk brings clear sight,is this the the same in Japan?

Forest Dream Weaver said...

Thank you all for your comments.

Have a brilliant week!
Best wishes,

Juan Antonio Torron Castro said...

Un sitio muy misterioso y una documentación muy buena.


Beside a babbling brook... said...

Thank you!!!!!

I am so grateful to you, for taking me places, I will never be able to go, myself.

Gentle hugs,
Luna Crone

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