July 9, 2012

4 Carlisle Castle and Cathedral

We've passed Carlisle several times on our drives to Scotland, and we always say that we'll go there someday. With our time here dwindling, we decided to stop on the way up to Oban. 
Carlisle offers a mixture of old town and mid-sized city, and reminded me a bit of Aberdeen.
The weather was far less charming, however. We headed to Carlisle Castle first, and dodged downpours as we darted from building to building.
Carlisle Castle still has some buildings being used by military regiments, although they are slowly leaving the site. The King's Own Border Regiment Museum is still on site, though, and Paul enjoyed looking through it. I'll summarize it for you: medals, medals, uniforms, chocolate tin sent by Queen Victoria to troops in South Africa, and a guy who had two sleeves full of awards... and the last name Chicken. I imagine that was an easy last name in the military!

The site of Carlisle has continuously been occupied since its start in 72 (yep... 0072 A.D.) as a Roman auxiliary fort town, Luguvalium.
It went through a few different phases, even having an abbey on site, until King William II built the first castle in 1092.  The current castle was begun in the 12th century, although some of the military buildings are from the last century.

This was in the Great Hall of the Gatehouse.  Paul was on the main floor, I was on the upper floor.
Sorry there's no full shot of the room!

The rain, and the half-moon battery. We weren't able to see this room due to flooding, but it was used as a location for cannons and soldiers defending the castle.

Some recreated examples of wall hangings.

Carlisle, from the Keep.

This was definitely my favorite part.  These carvings date from around 1480, and are believed to have been etched by a prisoner or guard. They are on the second floor of the keep, though, an unusual place to hold prisoners.  Scholars have identified two distinct artists, one more detailed and intricate than the other.  Overall, I am just glad these carvings weren't vandalized or damaged in the years before the castle came under English Heritage control!  

The top right is the White Rose of York! 

We walked over to the cathedral next.

Once again, this site has been used for centuries. Christian graves dating from as far back as 700 lead historians to believe an early church once stood on this site, but the current cathedral wasn't begun until 1122, during King Henry I's reign.  Like most historic buildings, this one has gone through many different extensions, renovations, and restorations, not to mention a major fire in 1292.

The ceiling of the walkway into the choir. 

View through the choir and presbytery.

Gorgeous ceiling- reminds me a lot of Sveta Troitsa in Bansko!
I told Paul he's welcome to paint our bedroom ceiling like this- it's so peaceful. 

Two things I love about cathedrals: stained glass...

and pillars and arches!

The organ pipes were beautiful in their simplistic design. 

This is part of the Abbey, also known as the refectory. I just thought "fratry" was funny!

After we left Carlisle we drove straight on to Oban!


  1. So beautiful! I'm incredibly jealous!! Someday... :)


  2. Amazing architecture. I love those carvings too. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Aaaah, this post is music to the ears (eyes?) of someone who majored in English Lit. and Mediaeval History as an undergrad :-) I love those carvings, too - if only walls could talk...
    Yep, farm geek, literature geek and history geek all rolled into one. Otherwise known as really cool (...)

  4. I mean, COME ON! The states just doesn't have history like THAT! Soak it all in, girl!


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