Sunday, 15 January 2012

Ashby De La Zouch Castle

Hello Readers,
Kind of a slow news week so this will be a short post.  Lori was in Indy and we didn't have anything memorable happen during the week except for Friday evening.  Lori set up a Skype session with Kalle's teacher in Brownsburg.  We did a test run Friday morning and were all ready for Friday evening.  The best part was that it was going to be a surprise for Kalle, and was it ever.  I had a little double top secret juggling until the call came because the Frey's came over for pizza and Kalle wanted to go upstairs with Nicole but I busied myself in the kitchen and asked her to watch the computer because I was expecting a Skype call.  The call came through and Kalle was in shock when she realised it was her Brownsburg classmates.  They talked for almost an hour, the class had a lot of questions and Kalle had a few questions for them.  Mrs. Smith's 2/3 class made an appearance and said hi which was great.  Kalle was shocked and excited to talk to everyone.  A fantastic idea by Lori.  Steve said it best when he said that he has never seen Kalle speechless before.  A great way to start the weekend.

Saturday was a trip to Ashby De La Zouch castle ruins followed by homework and guarding the couch.  The Wiki website is here although some of audio tour story doesn't exactly match the Wiki website.  Interesting castle history but not much to actually see.  A brief run down of the castle history:  The castle was built in the 12th century as a fortified manor house.  William, Lord Hastings acquired it in the late 1400's and made improvements to the property, including fortifying it into a castle.  (A side note on William was that he was a very generous lord, he paid his servants to much and didn't charge his guests at all which led to massive debt.  Generosity was probably not very common in those times.)  The castle eventually became an important footnote in the English Civil War.  The owners at the time were on the side of the Royalists, or Cavaliers, and housed retreating Royalist forces in 1645.  The Parliamentarians, or Roundheads, (I didn't know that Nikki and Sarah were Parliamentarians - family joke for Uncle Rick) caught up to the Royalists at the castle and laid siege to it from September 1645 to March 1646.  Terms of surrender were eventually negotiated with the family being allowed to leave because the castle was never breached.  (Some kind of chivalry thing I guess - the better the loser fights the more favourable their terms are.)  Some of the Royalist forces were killed but the castle was demolished as part of the terms which is why it is in ruins. 

The castle is also famous from Sir Walter Scott's 1819 novel Ivanhoe.  The novel mentions the castle by name and the castle was also used to film scenes from one of the Ivanhoe movies but I don't remember the movie title or what year it was filmed.  The audio tour also credited Scott with being the first writer to create historical fiction stories which are fictional stories based in real places.
 Not sure if it true so don't kill the messanger if it isn't.
Mary, Queen of Scots was also imprisoned here at one point.  I think this is the fourth place we have toured that was used to imprison her. 

Info board at the beginning of the tour.

See the frost on the grounds?  It was -2 C (28 F) when we left in the morning.  Second time I have scraped frost this winter.  No snow yet though.

Close up of gardens and castle property.

Castle walls were about 8 feet thick at the base.  No wonder the siege could not penetrate the walls.

View looking down from the remaining tower.  The tower was one of the two remaining castle attractions. 

Going up the 98 step tower.  Tower were constructed with the stairs always winding clockwise upwards because most swordsmen were right handed.  That way the castle defenders had the advantage over the attackers.  The right hand advantage was very obvious as you ascended and descended the winding steps.

Audio touring our way to the kitchen. 

1837 graffiti.

The other attraction was a remaining tunnel to the cellar.  Karl is listening to the audio tour.

We had planned on touring the National Brewery Centre in Burton Upon Trent but Lori wants to go also so that goes on the rainy day list.

Lori made it back Sunday with some impressively packed and very heavy luggage.  Boxed macaroni and cheese, tomato soup, Reese's cups, pop tarts, peanut butter, and peanut butter M&M's.  We had some mac and cheese for breakfast we were so excited!

And I'll leave you this week with some more Chuck Norris facts:

Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door.

Superman wears Chuck Norris underpants.

If you want a list of Chuck Norris' enemies just check the extinct species list.

Thanks for listening,


  1. Thank you for posting all the pics and interesting facts I really enjoyed looking at them. Your children are very lucky to get the chance to live there. :)

    Take care!!


  2. Ooh, gone all fancy on the background theme. Getting bored during the week? :)

    Just sitting down to type up my visit. I think I'll steal most of your words to save me the trouble.

    I see a peanut butter motif in the smuggled goods. Glad she (and her haul) made it back safe and sound.

    Like the Chuck Norris facts.

  3. I can't believe he didn't mention his 20 oz Diet Mt Dew! He's been complaining for months now! Lori

  4. @Rox - Thanks for reading. I think they are starting to appreciate the experience now. Touring the capitals over Christmas really seemed to help. Enjoy the cold and snow at home.

    @Steve - Pretty much on the background. It just seemed so plain before, like I wasn't even trying to make it different than everyone else's. PB was definitely the theme of Lori's trip this time.

    @Lori - Thanks for the Dew.