Monday, November 26, 2007

..bits and pieces... Warblington Castle... certainly doesn't seem like a week has passed but the calendar doesn't lie; even so it doesn't seem like I have got very much done in the intervening period.

I failed significantly in my efforts to get any paint on metal; doubly frustrating as we had a quiet Sunday and I was sure I'd be able to weigh in on the next War of the Spanish Succession cavalry unit (which are going to be Cadogan's I've decided - buff coloured facings). As it turned out thought the weather was good so I ended up helping my wife chop out 8 large bags of dead foliage from the front garden - which I then took to the tip... only to find out when I got home that she had another 6 bags waiting for me! Ah well, I wouldn't have been able to focus on the paintbrush with all that activity going on downstairs...

So what have I done in the intervening period - well a little bit of everything really..

  • I'm reading an excellent book which I picked up at the library - "Band of Brigands" by Christy Campbell is an early history of the Royal Tank Regiment, detailing how they came into being, how the first tanks were developed, and about their early battles, first on the Somme (not wholly successful, but good enough to get Haig to order a thousand of them) and later, more successfully, at Cambrai. I can count on the fingers of one (maybe two) hands the authors of military history who for me have the ability to make me keep turning the pages (Richard Holmes, Mark Urban, John Falkner, David Chandler...........) and this guy has joined their ranks. Immensely readable, very enjoyable, and a real page turner... not my period vis a vis wargaming but a fascinating account and absolutely recommended to anyone who enjoys military history.

  • I also took delivery of broadband last week - a real first for me - but in addition to (successfully!) setting it up this allowed me to set off on my other main activity of the week. I cycle to work, and on a daily basis I pass this place which is called "Warblington Castle".. I've always been fascinated by it so decided to see if I could find out a little more about it. By way of an occasional series therefore (and I'll post more information as and when I find it), I can tell you that the ruins are all that remain of a large fortified house built by Richard Neville's (the Earl of Warwick, better known as “The Kingmaker” during the War of the Roses) granddaughter, Margaret Pole, who was Countess of Salisbury. It was built between 1515 and 1525, and was a moated house, with staterooms, a chapel, apartments, and an armoury surrounding a courtyard. Margaret Pole was responsible for the early upbringing of Mary (Queen of Scots) Henry VIII’s daughter. The King himself stayed at the Castle in 1526, but Margaret was a Catholic and opposed Henry’s plans to divorce his wife Catherine to marry Anne Boleyn - not surprisingly, perhaps, she was executed for "treason" in 1541 at the Tower of London. Apparently she was quite a feisty lady as records tell us she fought all the way to the block! In 1552 the Manor passed to the Cotton family, who were connected to the royal households of Edward VI and Elizabeth I (both of whom are believed to have visited the castle). During the Civil War the Cotton family supported the Crown against Parliament, and in 1644 after two separate sieges the castle was razed to the ground. All that remains is the single gateway tower in the picture.... It is this later period of the history that I'm most interested in, specifically the siege, and also a story about a running skirmish between Parliamentary and Royalist forces between the castle and nearby Havant (where I work)... as I say - more later, when and as, I find it... amazing what goes on in history just on your doorstep, isn't it?


  1. Well, not all of us live in an area where so much history took place.

    Mind you, I'm not complaining. I love the area we've moved to . . . but here in the wilds of western Canada there isn't much "local history" that's been recorded.

    I'm sure that, over the centuries, some significant events took place here in the Comox Valley . . . but no one wrote them down . . . the "First Nations" tribes in the area were more concerned with just living. So I don't enjoy the access to "local history" that you enjoy.

    Please do continue with the history of Warblington Castle.

    -- Jeff

  2. Steve, I think you've muddled up your Marys. Mary Tudor not Mary Queen of Scots was the daughter of Henry VIII