Sunday, 11 July 2010

Romantic buildings

I blogged about Aydon Castle on Lindsay's blog yesterday, and found I wasn't the only person who loved Aydon. Encouraged by the response, I thought I'd add more pictures. This shot of the north facing corner looking out over the orchard shows the lovely old windows, and the more utilitarian 'new' windows added later - though still a long time ago as far as we're concerned!
The second picture shows the garderobe tower. This is perched about two feet from the ravine, and the garderobe shoot would jettison straight over the edge. When I looked up at the battlements, I saw a gargoyle run-off spout positioned right above. Clever, I thought. When it rained, the gargoyle would spout rainwater down onto whatever nasties had gathered below and wash it over into the ravine. Old-fashioned plumbing at it's best! Failing that, some unlucky fellow with a shovel would have to do the necessary.
Some experts think that the upper floor of the tower did duty as the bedchamber for the lord and lady. It had two windows, a garderobe and a spout for emptying washing water direct to the outside.
I suppose that would have been the height of luxury in 1400. Tapestires on the wall, a brazier with hot coals as well as a fireplace, and it would have been qute cosy on a summer's day. On a winter night, with the wind howling outside, I'm not so sure. Stone makes you feel cold, even if the weather is warm, and typical British weather does not usually warm stone as it does in France. I once sat on a stone wall after a long uphill drag to visit a castle in the blazing sunshine of the Dordogne and almost singed my nether regions. Luckily I have fast reflexes!
The other thing was that with a bed in the room, there would have been little room to move around. Either that, or they had very small beds. There would have been little privacy either; the bed could hardly have been more than a couple of feet from the garderobe! Let's hope they had nice thick bed curtains all round.
Makes me think that the ultra modern mode we've seen in the last year or two a la Grand Designs in which houses are built without internal doors, except on guest rooms, are not all that modern after all.
But I still wouldn't want the doorless toilet-cum-bathroom within a few feet of my bed!

1 comment:

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