Saturday, 4 January 2014


A pleasing start to my weekend off work (I work alternate weekends). Coming round at 9am to the smell of fresh baked rolls and strawberry jam. I can't remember when I slept so late last, so refreshed and with a spring in my step I headed to the garage to knock up 3 pirate pistols that had been requested from the Things 1,2 and 3. Simple affairs jigsawed out of some wood left over from my old Dad's workshop,
They kept the boys busy sanding them down and being pirate rats all morning bawling

"We fly a banner all of black
with scarlet skull and boneses
and every merchantman we take
we send to Davey Joneses..."
John Masefield The Box of Delights

Whislt this rumpus was going on I snuck off to the attic to paint some 18c gardeners which will be appearing tomorrow when the varnish is dry. We then headed out to Farleigh Hungerford castle just down the road, a severeley ruined mainly 14c castle where I have spent many happy weekends in my youth fighting for Parliament with the English Civil War Society. 

I took a few pictures of the contents of the castle, and it struck me M R James would have found much of interest, and possible inspiration for ghost stories . For instance these sinister lead coffins in the chapel crypt

Or the grave slab of a medieval monk, excavated in the 19c and the skeleton was said to "have teeth quite perfect "
(you can just make out the monks head at the top of the slab)

There is a splendid medieval wall painting of George slaying the dragon

and much for the ECW enthusiast too. Parliament held by Sir Edward Hungerford until 1643 the castle was taken over by his Royalist half brother, who terrorised to surrounding countryside in the name of the King stealing horses and supplies. The effigy of the Puritan Sir Edward and his wife are in the chapel

despite his military dress, he seems to have surrendered or run away from any action he was involved in.

There is some armour in the little museum too

(another Jamesian touch, with " a horrible face of crumpled linen")

A nice model of the castle in it's heyday

Outside it had stopped raining hard so we poked about the ruins

The river below the castle has burst it's banks.

It then started to hail, so we packed up and went to the excellent Farleigh Road farm shop to get some provisions, back to the castle to collect a wooden pistol left in a guardroom and then home for tea and cake.


  1. A great day out by the look of it .Interesting post and photos..

  2. An excellent outing and a site that I have added to my 'to visit someday' list. We went to Okehampton castle in October and had the place to ourselves, which was nice. Good to see another Masefield fan. As is my tradition I watched all of the episodes of 'The Box of Delights' back-to-back the Sunday before Christmas.

    1. A bit uncanny, but we watch the same series on the same day if we can, or listen to the radio play. This year my oldest got the audio book (unabridged) to listen to while he's painting. The man was a genius. My Mum can remember him visiting her school to give a lecture as poet laureate.

  3. Now this castle I did get to visit - most enjoyable!