Monday, 16 July 2012

Morpeth Castle & Carlisle Park

Just across the road from Morpeth Court House is Carlisle Park.  I may have run through a corner of it once or twice when I worked near by, but never explored the way we did.  And of course in writing this, I tend to explore some more, in a different way.

For example, what does "Volo non valeo" mean?  And, given that it means "I was willing but unable" why on earth would anyone put that on a gate?  Turns out there is a story behind this.  The castle in the story is Castle Howard (used in the film Brideshead Revisited). 

The gift of rain is green.

We read about the Aviary:

The aviary with Ha' Hill behind.


There has been an Aviary in Carlisle Park since the Formal Gardens opened in 1929.  There are usually between 15 and 20 birds in the Aviary.  Our most popular species are the Cockatiel, but we also have Budgies and a Senegal Parakeet.  All of the birds in this Aviary have been rehomed, as their original owners no longer want them as pets.  If you are thinking about buying a pet bird, find out about the species so you know what conditions and attention it needs.

A lone cockatiel.

Kind of sad, eh?

The view from under a Monkey Puzzle tree.

Are you familiar with the Monkey Puzzle tree?  I'd never seen or heard of one until coming to Britain.  Vivien said it's called that because 'It would puzzle even a monkey to climb that.'  They originate in Chile (where there are no monkeys) and as a species is so old as to be called a 'living fossil'.  

Anyhow, Carlisle Park is land that was given to Morpeth by the Countess of Carlisle in 1916, that would be Rosalind Howard, who must have had an interesting life in between her having her eleven children.

She placed restrictions on the use of the park:  no admission fees, no profit making and no drinking.

We were intrigued by the information that said Morpeth Castle was located in the park.  I never knew there was such a thing.  Neither did Bill, which was funny given that its picture was on the front of the Ordinance Survey map he'd loaned me for the day.

Anyhow, we found it!  And it looked like someone lived there - trash bins outside and curtains at the windows - though there were no signs marking private property.  Turns out it is owned by the Landmark Trust and can be let for holidays. 

Morpeth Castle. Who knew there was one?

I had decided it was probably just a Victorian whimsy of no great age.  Boy, did I have that wrong!  This is just the gatehouse of a castle that dates back to the 1300s. 

I checked, and it's available for three nights in July for *only* £1,257 - not quite $2,000.  And that's for the whole building, not per person like most prices are quoted.  What a deal!


Anonymous said...

I don't suppose you rented the castle? I'm curious about the aviary. Was it such that you could walk into it, amongst the birds?

Beryl said...

How many can sleep there? $2000 would be OK for 20 people - just $100 for the three days. I would get my Sherlock Holmes Society friends together and we'd spend three days in Victorian dress, having Teas and Elegant Evening, and presenting learned papers. Maybe recreating the Hound of the Baskervilles.
The Monkey Puzzle Tree is just about my most favorite tree. There was one in Seattle at this really small house. I kept trying to convince my husband that we should buy the house just so we could live with that tree.

Shelley said...

Terri - Nope, we didn't rent the castle. Even if I didn't live within 20 miles, I doubt I would think that was a bargain price. The aviary was just a really big birdcage. It had doors on, but we didn't try to go in. I would doubt they would allow that, as the poor birds might escape. Some would fare well enough I suppose, but others probably not.

Beryl - It had six bedrooms if I recall correctly, but I've no idea how many you could sleep there. If you were going to throw a party, I'd recommend Featherstone Castle first. I wrote all about it a few years ago. Cool place - spooky, but cool.