Friday, 13 July 2012

Morpeth Court

Vivien, Lucy and I had another great day out - if a wet one - in Morpeth; on my birthday in fact.  We spent the better part of the day wandering at will, poking our noses into whatever interested us.

Source:  Wikipedia Commons - where the sun always shines

Vivien and I have of course been to Morpeth before, and so have you.  Lucy hadn't seen Morpeth before and as it turned out she was the one who found the historical information on the internet which she read to us as we walked.  

Sorry about the rain drop - it was that sort of day.

It was from her info that I learned the source of this historic market town's name.  It's as simple as the path across the moor, though Morpeth's initial value was as a place to cross the River Wansbeck.  After the Norman conquest, a castle was built there in 1095.

Something like the foyer? No reception...

One of the first places we investigated was a major landmark just across from the former location of said castle, the Morpeth Court house.   Built in 1821, only this grand medieval-style gateway and part of the prison remain.  There is still a Northumbria Police station tucked in behind it.

The entrance, at the rear with the car park.

It has had a chequered past.  In the early 2000's when my office was in Morpeth, this building housed a ladies-only gym.  As recently as this year there were plans to put in a restaurant and bar.  So far as we could tell, the court house is now something between a block of flats and a hotel.

Sort of prison-like, eh?  How atmospheric!

We could see where some of the cell doorways had been bricked up so at least the hotel rooms are larger than your average prison cell!  I think I'd go for the one with that south facing balcony.  Do you reckon it has a roof garden?

Didn't see any sign of an elevator, mind.  Still, if I didn't live within 20 miles of it already, I might stay for a night or two.


Beryl said...

what a cool hotel! Whenever someone says anything about a path across a moor, I think of The Hound of the Baskervilles. I have to visit a moor one of these days. Would this qualify, I wonder?

BigLittleWolf said...

Such a sense of grandeur, or fortitude, when we look at these images.

It grieves me that we lose so much history in this country - before it even has the time to "become" history.

Anonymous said...

That must have been a marvelous tour. How fortunate you are to live in a place with buildings that are still intact after centuries. I don't know much about architecture, but the imposing stone entry looks a bit intimidating - which, I suppose, was the point.

Shelley said...

Beryl - I've never been sure what a moor is, but having just looked it up, it is an area of uncultivated land characterised by heather, gorse and coarse grasses. There is a load of that around Britain, I can tell you! They tend not to have a lot of landmarks, so it's easy to get lost. Also, there are peat bogs...there was one in that story as well, wasn't there?

BLW - Yes, I remember some of OKC's historic buildings being dynamited in the downtown area. Mind, the things have to be built really well to last for centuries...not sure how much modern building will stand up.

Journal - Yes, I expect a great deal of it was about intimidation. Also about using the material that was to hand.