January 2014

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27th January

While Mick was on holiday last week, we decided to take advantage of a break in the dull rainy weather to make a trip down to Lincolnshire and visit beautiful Tattershall Castle near Horncastle (left), as I needed to do some research and take photographs for a forthcoming magazine article. As you can see, we had a glorious day for it - shame the site was closed! This isn't the first time we've driven a long distance to visit a monument on the strength of a website saying that it would be open... but luckily, we were able to get into the grounds and met a friendly gardener who had no objection to us walking round and taking pictures. The castle was owned in the 15th century by Sir Humphrey Bourchier, a cousin of the Yorkist kings and staunch supporter of Edward IV (he was killed at the Battle of Barnet in 1471, fighting to put Edward back on the throne after the Earl of Warwick's rebellion and the short-lived 're-adeption' of Henry VI). Its most striking feature is this amazing red brick keep, so it was very frustrating that we couldn't get inside - and the gift shop was closed too, so we couldn't even buy a guidebook. Ah well - I suppose it gives us an excuse to go back and visit again sometime.



battlefield ps 13

It wasn't the greatest start to the New Year to learn that Towton Battlefield is once again under threat. Despite having had four years to make alternative provision for travellers in the Selby area, despite the ongoing review by English Heritage to extend the battlefield boundaries, despite the flood of protests received ever since a caravan was planted (without planning permission) on The Gallops in Towton village, Selby Council are meeting tomorrow, Wednesday 8th January, to consider granting permanent planning permission to the development. Aside from the immediate heritage implications, I'm desperately worried that a decision to do this will demonstrate that the Council's planning legislation has no teeth, and that anybody could develop land anywhere, irrespective of its archaeological or other significance and the overwhelming feelings of local residents, secure in the knowledge that they will get away with it. So please, if you have a spare moment today or early tomorrow morning, register your objections with Selby Council by emailing Richard Sunter or logging onto the Selby Council website to make a public comment; you could also copy your complaint to the local MP, Nigel Adams.

On a happier note, our commemoration of the Battle of Wakefield on 29th December went very well, as you can see from the pictures below:

We were amazingly lucky with the weather; the forecast of 40% chance of precipitation coupled with a biting north-easterly making it feel like sub-zero turned out quite wrong! It was a perfect winter's day - crisp and sunny with only moderate wind - very pleasant to be out in, if a tad chilly. We also had plenty of visitors, including (I was flattered to learn!) a couple who'd travelled all the way from Liverpool for my lecture on 'Richard III and the Battle of Wakefield'. That was followed by a guided tour of Sandal Castle (there's me on the left, with fellow Frei Compagnie members 'Tall' Mike Wilson, our Gilbertine friar Tony Harrison and Mick Weaver standing left to right in the background by the castle wall in Keith Souter's splendid pic). Then we marched off to Richard of York's monument on Manygates Lane to lay a half-dozen white roses in memory of the Duke and other battle-dead, before returning for our usual huge 'Feasting Company' lunch at the Visitor Centre (below left, courtesy of Richard Taylor)! After that it was the boys' turn to do some work: Hubcap trained a large and enthusiastic young Sandal Castle militia to put our soldiers to flight in the kid's bill-drill; and finally we processed down into the moat for our finale, 'The Death of Richard III' in which Master Gunner Des Thomas (below right in another of Keith's images) got to bang his gun. The day was a great success for the Friends of Sandal Castle, who raised over £100 in refreshment sales (more than double their usual take on events). It was successful for the Visitor Centre shop too, judging from the number of kid's swords and helmets we saw wielded about - and from the number of my 'Wakefield Revisited' and 'Walk Wakefield' books I was asked to sign! Then on Friday 3rd, we got a lovely write-up and pictures in the Wakefield Express, (below centre) where you can find a slide show of images from the day - altogether worth doing.

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Castle event Dec 2013 g

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