Today, after doing a bunch of chores (mainly figuring out how (and what) to recycle, something the entire country is involved in to a complicated and confusing degree), we went for a walk up to Knaresborough Castle. The sun was shining – and when that happens here, you make the most of it because half an hour later it might be raining – and it’s a little warmer than it has been.
The walk up to the castle literally isn’t for the faint-hearted … steps run up the side of a hill and wind back on themselves several times, but you’re rewarded all the way up by the most amazing views and when we got to the top, it was all worthwhile…
The earliest castle at Knaresborough was established after the Norman conquest although the current remains were not built until the 1300s. Apparently, the first documented reference to a castle at Knaresborough is in 1129 when £11 was spent on “the King’s works at Knaresborough.” In 1170, when Hugh de Moreville held the castle, he and his followers took refuge there after they had murdered Thomas a Beckett in Canterbury.
In the early 1300s, King Edward II had major work done at the castle and during the reign of Edward III, the castle became established as an important royal residence – a status that was to cause problems 300 years later during the English civil war when Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarians took the castle and ordered it demolished. The only reason it survives to this day is because the townspeople asked for the King’s Tower to remain standing so it could be used as a prison. Apart from that structure and a few chunks of wall, everything else has long gone.
It’s an absolutely gorgeous setting though, as you can see, with views extending for miles. I’m thinking the walk up to the castle will be a good start to every work day, or a nice break when things get too busy – it would be hard to take my work worries too seriously when surrounded by hundreds of years of history.