My Illlustrated Travel Journal with Essays about Roman and Mediaeval History and some Geology


08/04/2018
  Normans, Angevins and Britons - The History of the Honour of Richmond, Part 1

Richmond Castle, situated on a cliff above the river Swale in northern Yorkshire, is one of the finest examples of Norman architecture since it has not been altered in later centuries and displays the largest remains of 11th century architecture in England. It was part of the Honour of Richmond, a vast accumulation of lands which encompassed possessions in several counties in England. No wonder its history turned out to be rather convoluted. The castle itself played but a small role in comparison, but the photos serve as a nice illustration to the history posts.

Richmond Castle, the keep

William's conquest of nothern England did not go smoothly. Rebellions flared up in 1069/70, supported by Edgar Ætheling, last surviving member of House Wessex, who had found shelter with King Malcolm III Canmore of Scotland, Edwin and Morcar of Mercia, Gospatric of Northumbria - whom William had installed as earl - and his cousin Waltheof of Northumbria. They made a pact with King Sveyn Estridson of Denmark, so there was a significant threat to William's rule.

But he acted fast and hard, and brought the rebellion down. Warfare at the time, and specifially as a strategy used by William, was often the large scale destruction of lands and settlements. In this case it came to be known as Harrying of the North. William bought the Danes off and distributed the lands of the rebels among his followers, though Waltheof was pardoned and even married William's niece Judith.

Richmond Castle, view towards Scollard's Hall and Gold Hole Tower, with Robin Hood Tower to the left

One of those to benefit from the redistribution of lands in northern England was Alan Rufus of Brittany. He was a son of Eudes Count of Penthièvre, second cousin of the Duke of Brittany, and related to William through his grandmother. He had led a contingent of knights and warriors from Brittany at Hastings and during the Conquest. He got a nice chunk of the lands in Yorkshire that had belonged to Edwin of Mercia. Alan also held lands in Lincolnshire, Hertforshire, Dorset, Essex and several other shires and counties. Those would later be known as Honour of Richmond (1).

It is not sure when exactly the grant was made, but Alan was in possession of the borough and 'castelry' of Hindrelag - the ancient name of Riche Mount - in 1086, witnessed by the Domesday Book. It is likely that he constructed the first castle. This would have included the stone curtain wall, the archway in what is now the ground floor of the keep, and Scolland's Hall.

Scollard's Hall

After Alan's death in 1089, succession changed quickly between his younger brothers Alan of Penthièvre and Stephen of Tréguier. The next one to make an impact in history was Alan III of Richmond, Stephen's son. Stephen's other son Geoffrey inherited the Breton lands. Alan was a supporter of King Stephen (don't confuse the two Stephens) during the civil war, while Geoffrey supported the Empress Mathilda. Alan married Bertha of Brittany (Bertha of Cornouaille), the daughter of Duke Conan III of Brittany and Maude, an illegitimate daughter of King Henry I. King Stephen wanted to draw Brittany to his side by arranging the marriage.

Alan fought at Lincoln in 1141, escaped, but was later captured by Ranulf Earl of Chester during an ambush. It is said that he was tortured into submitting to Ranulf (2). When the latter wanted to ally himself with King Stephen in 1145 Alan of Richmond was among the leading nobles who counseled the king against it; Ranulf was arrested and upon release promptly returned his allegiance to Empress Mathilda.

Remains of the 12th century house

Alan died about 1146. His wife Bertha returned to Brittany where she married Eudo Viscount of Porhoët who became duke of Brittany by right of his wife (her father Conan III died that same year and renounced his son Hoël as heir; 1148).

(left: Conan's keep, with Alan's old gate integrated into the ground floor; one can distinguish the different stone work)

When Conan IV, who was born around 1135 (3), came of age some time in 1154, his stepfather Eudo denied him his heritage. Conan allied himself with his uncle Hoël who had received Nantes, but was defeated by Eudo (4) and had to flee to England where Henry II, who had just become king, installed him as Earl of Richmond.

It was likely during that time Conan started to build the large keep, though it may have been finished by King Henry II. It is 30 metres (100 ft.) high and erected over an already existing gate archway which is included in the ground floor of the keep. The barbican may also date to Henry's activities rather than Conan's who soon returned to Brittany. Richborough itself had been granted the status of borough in 1145, and in the late 1150ies was a prosperous town.

Conan returned to Brittany in 1156, assisted by troops and money from King Henry. He managed to capture Eudo at Rennes and claim the duchy, but the local nobles suspected his position as vassal of the King of England.

When Mathilda's husband Geoffrey of Anjou, who also was comte of Nantes, died in 1158; Conan snatched the county of Nantes which invoked the anger of King Henry who confiscated the earldom of Richmond and set sail for the continent. Conan submitted at Avranches, ceded Nantes and was confirmed as duke (5) and probably regained Richmond as well. He married Margaret of Huntingdon, sister of King Malcolm IV of Scotland and his more famous brother William the Lion, the future king, in 1160 (6).

Rebellions kept flaring up in Brittany, mostly aimed at King Henry II, but it seems that Duke Conan could not keep his vassals under control, either, and there were border quarrels with Normandy and Maine. Finally, Henry had enough. When Raoul II de Fougères, supported by Eudo of Porhoët and other nobles, led yet another revolt in 1166, he captured the castle and brought Raoul to heel. It seems that Henry held Conan responsible for the mess, because he forced the duke to abdicate and retire to his lands at Guigamp - though he kept Richmond as well - and betrothe his daughter Constance to Henry's fourth son, Geoffrey (he was eight, the girl five years old).

View from the cockpit garden to the domestic range

Conan died in 1171; his daughter Constance became the titular duchess of Brittany under the guardianship of King Henry, who took control of the Honour of Richmond as well. Constance and Geoffrey married in 1181, but Henry was loth to relinquish Richmond which he made a royal castle instead (though he eventually did part with the Honour in 1183).

Geoffrey of Anjou, Duke of Britanny and Earl of Richmond, died in 1186 during a tournament at Paris. His son Arthur was born after his death. Constance married Ranulph Earl of Chester, likely under pressure by King Henry. The marriage was not a happy one and she got a divorce in 1197. Constance then married Guy the Thouars. She died in 1201.

Another view of the domestic range with the Robin Hood Tower in the foreground

Little Arthur, Duke of Brittany and Earl of Richmond under the guardianship of his mother, was named as heir presumptive to his uncle Richard Lionheart, then King of England, in the Treaty of Messina 1190. I bet Richard's brother John was not happy about that.

Upon his return from crusade and captivity in 1194, King Richard started to sort out the messes in Normandy, Anjou and Brittany that had developed during his absence. One step was the attempt to take young Arthur into his custody as pawn agains the Breton nobility who was on the verge of a revolt yet again and swore an oath of fealty to Arthur. Richard invited Constance to meet him at court in 1196, but she was abducted by her own - estranged - husband (7). Arthur was spirited away to the court of Philippe Auguste King of France, the place where Richard would have wanted him least of all.

Constance was released from captivity a year later and got her divorce. Arthur was raised at the French court and betrothed to Philippe Auguste's infant daughter Marie. He still was officially Richard's heir since the latter never revoked the Treaty of Messina. Richard probably hoped for children of his own at that point.

The so-called Robin Hood Tower

Richard's unexpected death in April 1199 opened up the succession debate. Most of the Anglo-Norman barons and those from Aquitane would prefer the grown man - Richard's brother John - to the boy Arthur, while the Bretons and barons from Anjou insisted that the son of an older brother was the rightful heir. The formidable Eleanor of Aquitane, aged eighty, but still political astute and influential, supported her son John.

King Philippe Auguste of France supported Arthur, who did hommage to him for Brittany. An attempt was made to settle matters at the Treaty of Goulet: Philippe Auguste accepted John as heir of the Plantagenet lands, while Arthur would get Brittany, and his half-sister Alix de Thouars (from Constance's third marriage) the Honour of Richmond. That peace was short lived. Philippe Auguste soon confiscated some lands in Normandy, and when Arthur upon the death of his mother in 1201 became Duke of Brittany in his own right, he allied himself with the influential Lusignan family who was insulted by John's marriage to the fiancée of Hugh of Lusignan (Isabella of Angoulême), and made another attempt at the crown.

Arthur besieged his grandmother Eleanore in Mirabeau. When John rushed to her relief, his army managed to capture Arthur, several Lusignans, and a number of Breton nobles. Several Breton nobles were sent to Corfe Castle in England and starved to death, though John eventually made peace with the Lusignans.

View to domestic range with Gold Hole tower and foundations in the foreground

Arthur was first taken to Falaise Castle and later to Rouen. He obviously was treated badly, put in heavy chains and paraded around in a cart. Even the old William Marshal, one of John's stoutest supporters, commented on the injustice and ignominity of such a treatment (8). John lost some supporters over the issue, among them William de Briouze, who had captured Arthur, nor did the imprisonment of their duke stop the Bretons and Angevins from rebelling, and they were soon joined by some of John's Norman nobles.

Arthur was dead by mid-April 1203. What exactly happened will likely remains as obscure as the fate of the boys in the Tower. Morris considers the most likely scenario to have been a secret consultation of John and some of his trusted advisors who concluded that Arthur should be executed as traitor (he violated the terms of the Treaty of Goulet, after all). John's exact role cannot be determined, but rumours soon came up that he was present or even killed the youth in person. It did not help his reputation, nor his power as duke of Normandy. By the end of 1204 John had lost basically all lands in France except for Aquitaine.

Interior shot of the keep

Arthur's heir was his older sister Eleanor, but she too, was a prisoner of John (though obviously treated honourably). She would remain prisoner under Henry III and died as nun in 1241. The Bretons instead recognised Alix, daugher of Constance and Guy de Thouars as duchess. Since the girl was but three years old, her father became regent until 1206, when Philippe Auguste of France took over the guardianship. He married Alix to his own cousin Peter of Dreux. In 1218, they were installed as Earl and Countess of Richmond by William Marshal.

Their son John would become Duke of Brittany and 2nd Earl of Richmond in 1221.

Outer curtain wall with buttresses

After Arthur's death, John had divided the Honour of Richmond, granting part of it to the Earl of Chester (Constance's ex), but kept the castle for himself. He installed one Roald as constable, but that was not a good choice - Roald joined the rebel barons in 1215. He was ousted from office, but back a few months later.

John obviously offered to restore the Honour of Richmond to Alix and her husband Peter if they supported him in the war against the barons and Prince Louis of France (9) - John desperately needed soldiers and knights. But when Peter landed in England in 1217, John was dead and William Marshal regent for the underage Henry III.

The Honour of Richmond would continue to play a role in the conflict between France and England. But that is for another post.

View from the battlements to the river Swale

Footnotes
1) The name 'Honour of Richmond' - alternately 'Honour of Brittany' - is first used in 1203; the Domesday Book refers to the 'lands of Count Alan'.
2) The story about the torture is in the guidebook (and Wikipedia), but not in King's biography about King Stephen. But then, it is a biography of the king, not about Earl Alan, so the story may have been omitted due to limits of what to cover and could be true. Whatever Alan might have sworn to Ranulf, he didn't keep the oaths.
3) Other sources have 1138 as his date of birth. I hate that. ;-)
4) Hoël at the time was busy fighting Geoffrey of Anjou, younger son of Empress Mathilda and Geoffrey V of Anjou, for the possession of Nantes, and could not aid his grandson.
5) Henry II at that time got along with King Louis VII of France who else might have used the discord between Henry and Conan to get his own foot into Brittany, a problem of which Henry was well aware.
6) The French Wikipedia says that King Henry II approved or even arranged the marriage while Warren thinks it likely that he was not happy about an alliance between Conan and the unruly Scottish House of Dunkeld. Considering the strained relationship between Henry and Malcolm, I assume Warren has the right interpretation here.
7) It proved impossible to figure out what exactly Ranulph of Chester was after; did he act on behalf of Richard, or did he on the contrary try to protect Constance (and his own role thereby) from the influence of her brother-in-law?
8) There is a story told by Ralph of Coggeshall that John ordered Arthur to be blinded and castrated and thus rendered unfit to rule, but that his jailer Hubert de Burgh had pity with the boy and refused to carry out the order. The veracity of that story can neither be proven or contradicted.
9) Louis, eldest son of King Philippe Auguste, was married to Blanche of Castile, a granddaughter of King Henry II, which he used as excuse to hold a claim to the English throne.

Literature
Frank Barlow: The Feudal Kingdom of England 1042-1216. 5th edition, Edinburgh 1999
Robert Bartlett: England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings 1075-1225. 5th edition, Oxford University Press, 2003
David Bates: William the Conqueror. London, 1989
Dieter Berg: Richard Löwenherz. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft Darmstadt, 2007
John A.A. Goodall: Richmond Castle and St. Agatha's Abbey, Easby. English Heritage Guidebook, 2001
Edmund King: King Stephen. Yale English Monarchs, Yale University Press, 2010
Marc Morris: King John - Treachery, Tyranny and the Road to Magna Carta. London, 2015
W. L. Warren: Henry II. Yale English Monarchs, New Edition, Yale University Press, 2000

 


30/03/2018
  Winter Night on Hardangervidda - From Oslo to Bergen by Train

I took the afternoon train from Oslo to Bergen, well aware that the last part of the journey would take place in darkness. But as it turned out, there was sleat later changing into rain once we passed the Hardangervidda, so I didn't miss much since the scenery would have been veiled by rain and fog anway.

The first part of the ride offered a mostly overcast sky and the long period of twilight typical for late March in the north. I managed to get some photos out of the moving train - a journey into winter indeed. Snow was piling up high on the Hardanger Plateau.

Lake Krøderen

Like the Dovre Railway, the Bergenbanan (Bergen Railway) was built in bits and pieces. The part from Bergen to Voss dates to 1883. There also was a railway from Oslo to Drammen since 1866. The whole single track line connecting those parts was finished in 1909. It covers a distance of almost 500 kilometes (310 miles), with some 180 tunnels and 300 bridges; the ride takes about seven hours.

Village at the Drammensfjord

The Drammenfjord is a firth of 30 kilometres length which confluences into the outer Oslofjord. It's main estuary is the Drammenselva (Drammen river). Until 2005, a double bridge of 340 respective 450 metres length crossed the river via an island at the town Drammen, but now a modern bridge of 1890 metres spans the entire river.

Shortly after passing the town, the sun decided to have a little peek out of the clouds and made for some lovely mix of water, snow and reflections.

Evening sun sparkling on the Drammenselva

Along Lake Krøderen, the Drammen river (about 50 kilomtres from Oslo) and on to Gol (200 km from Oslo) the rise is not significant, but past Gol the train climbs up to the Hardangervidda. At Geilo (250 km from Oslo) it already reaches 794 metres, and winter was truly setting in. Geilo is one of Norway's most popular skiing regions - no wonder when you look at that.

Holiday huts near Geilo

A few miles later the Hardangervidda begins and takes us up to 1,237 metres (4,050 ft.) above sea level near Finse. The original track led up to 1,300 metres, until the Finse tunnel was built in 1993, cutting through one of the worst part of the vidda. The railway moves above the treeline for about hundred kilometres, and there is a lot of snow. Really a lot - five to eight metres of the white fluff is considered normal, as are storms and snow drifts.

Part of the landscape here is actually a lake; the huts are situated at its shore. Those huts mostly have electricity and other amenities so they can be used in winter.

Holiday houses on the Hardangervidda

The Hardangervidda is the largest high plateau in Europe with an expanse of about 8,000 square kilometres, and a height between 1,200 to 1,400 metres above sea level (the mountain range Sandfloegga rises to 1,721 metres). One can imagine how difficult it proved to build a railway across the plateau, and how difficult it continues to be to keep the track clear of snow. Parts are covered by avalanche protections or run underground, but it still takes special rotating snow blasters running along the tracks from either Geilo or Myrdal to keep the traffic going. Back in the early 19th century, those were steam powered; today diesel is used.

Hardangervidda

A winter journey can be lovely, but I would like to take the tour in summer as well when one can admire the lakes and the Hardangerjøkulen (Hardanger Glacier), and the sparse, sub-arctic vegetation. There is a famous cycling and hiking way across the vidda, the Rallarvägen from Haugastøl to Flåm.

Haugastøl station

The railway station at Haugastøl (275 km from Oslo, 988 metres above sea level) is a fine example of station buildings with a stone walled first floor and a second half-storey made of timber - the only one along the railway that survives unaltered since 1908.

Below is the station and hotel of Finse with snow up to the second floor. That may be normal for my readers from some parts of the US, but I have never before seen so much snow in one place.

Finse station and hotel

After Finse, it was getting too dark to take decent photos, and the lights in the train were switched on. I decided to get me a prawn and egg sandwich from the bistro waggon and have a bit of dinner.

The train

The information in this article comes from a little guidebook the NSB Customer Service offered the guests of the railway: Oslo - Bergen. Die Bergenbahn.

 


11/03/2018
  A Trace of Spring in Dovrefjell - From Trondheim to Oslo by Train

Researching the convoluted history of the Honour of Richmond takes a bit more time than I thought, so here is a landscape post to go in between the Yorkshire castles I visited in 2013. I took the train from Trondheim to Oslo mid-April 2011 after the Hurtigruten voyage and managed to take some photos out of the moving train. The usual caveat for pictures taken out of a train or bus applies: there might be some reflections from the windows and slight blurs.


Kongsvoll Mountains

I traveled the Dovre Railway in the 'wrong' direction. When it was built, the first stage covered the way from Oslo to Eidsvoll and was the first railway in Norway (1854). The line was then built in bits and parts. The stretch between Søren and Trondheim dates to 1864, followed the connections between Eidsvoll - Hamar - Lillehammer etc., while the last part from Dombås to Søren - the original Dovre Railway which today gives the name to the entire route - was finished in 1921.

Melting ice on the river Driva

The railway follows the Mediaeval pilgrim's route from Oslo and surroundings to the cathedral and the shrine of St.Olav in Nidaros, as Trondheim was then called. The journey would take several days; the lake Mjøsa was crossed by boat in summer, and in winter the Dovrefjell was sometimes impassable at all. Today the journey takes about 6 hours.

Mountains in the Dovrefjell

The first mountain range some 150 kilometres south of Trondheim is the Kongsvoll (886 metres above sea level). The area is knows for a rich and varied mountain flora. The railway runs beside the river Driva (see photos above).

More mountains in the Dovrefjell

The Kongsvoll gives way to one of the larger mountain ranges in Norway, the Dovrefjell. The hightest point of the railway is at Hjerkinn, 1025 metres above sea level. The highest mountain, the Snøhetta, is even higher at 2286 metres. The Dovrefjell and the bogs at Fokstumyrene are rich in wildlife: mooose, reindeer and musk ox can be found here. The site was declared a national park as early as 1923.

Bogs in Dovrefjell

The train then follows the river Gudbrandsdalslågen down to Lillehammer and Lake Mjøsa. The Gudbrandsdal (dal = valley) is a popular area for tourists who love nature and hiking. The river and its tributaries are fed from the glacier at Jotunheimen.

River Gudbrandsdalslågen

Lake Mjøsa is Norway's largest lake. It is 120 kilometres long (360 square km expanse) and the train follows its shore almost the entire way. Other than the fast running rivers which were busy thawing, most of the lake was still frozen, though I'm not sure if the ice still carried. It did on the lakes near Kirkenes, but that is a far way futher north.

Lake Mjøsa was still frozen

From Eidsvoll at the end of Lake Mjøsa it is about 70 km to the final destination: Oslo. I arrived in Oslo on a sunny and rather warm early afternoon, very different from the cold and overcast weather two weeks ago when I came from Copenhagen to stay a few hours before I took the train to Bergen. Spring had arrived in southern Norway.

The railway cuts through basalt cliffs near Oslo

I hope you liked the little tour through a part of Norway at a time of the year when the weather can change between winter and spring within a few hours.

Looks like the snow in the UK is mostly gone now as well. There was no snow where I live, but some really cold days. At least a bit of winter.

A thawing river

The information in this article comes from a little guidebook the NSB customer Service offered the guests of the railway: Dovrebanen Oslo - Trondheim - I pilegrimens fotspor, 2002.
 


03/03/2018
  The Architecture of Scarborough Castle

After the tour through the earlier and later history of Scarborough Castle, let's have a closer look at some of the architectural features.

The barbican seen from the viewing platform;
the double D-shaped outer gate is to the left, the first bridge to the right

Since the castle is situated on a headland with steep cliffs (about 90 metres / 300 feet high) on three sides, there was only the landward side which needed additional protection. A double ditch was cut and curtain walls put up; the remains of the present ones date mostly from the 12th and early 13th centuries. The entrance was defended by a gatehouse with a double D-shaped tower on the land side, as well as two drawbridges (which today have been rebuilt in stone) and a walled-in walkway. There likely had been a portcullis, too.

Tower protecting the barbican bridge

The barbican, which is first mentioned in a source from 1175, has been altered considerably during the history of the castle. The tower protecting the walkway between outer gate and castle gate was built by King Henry III in 1243, for example. You can see the different stones: ashlar for the filling, and cut stones for the shell.

One of the wall towers seen from the outside

The curtain walls were futher protected by towers; 12 in all, which were added at different times. The towers along the inner bailey were hollow, allowing the insertion of two floors - with arrow slits - while the towers further toward the sea were solid with battlements on the top.

Interior of one of King John's towers

Several towers were added by King John; those are D-shaped, a 'modern' design for England at the time where most towers were still suqare. One of the towers in the inner bailey - albeit no longer standing to its full height - holds a viewing platform for the visitors of the castle which gives a fine view over the landward defenses.

King John's chambers with the keep in the background

King John also build what is refered to as King John's Chambers or Mosdale Hall; a two storeyed hall built against the townside curtain wall in the outer bailey. Only the basement survives today. The upper storey would have housed the royal appartments and maybe a chapel as well; the rooms were heated by fireplaces. The basement storey consisted of a hall and smaller chambers which probably were used by the household officials. The staircase was located in a tower adjacent the main building.

King John's Chambers aka Mosdale House, interior

The building was still in use at the time of King Henry III in the 1260ies. A document from the time of King Edward III says the Queen's chambers were located in the building (1361).

But the hall fell into ruins in the 16th century. It was briefly reused as barracks during WW1 when brick buildings were put up inside the remains, but those were destroyed and dismantled after the war.

Outer curtain wall seen from above, with the remains of Mosdale Hall

The inner bailey was once protected by its own curtain wall and ditch that separated it from the outer bailey, with two gates for access. Remains of wall and ditch can still be seen. Today, only the keep survives, but at the time of King Henry II the inner bailey included several more domestic buildings. Some of the stones in King John's Chambers were reused from the remains of those buildings which must have fallen into decay at an early stage.

The inner curtain walls

The rectangular keep, even in its ruinous state, still dominates the castle and appears on several of the photos I added in my prior posts. King Henry II put it on the highest spot of the headland where one could overlook the town and approach to the castle. The keep was built some time between 1159 and 1169; it was about 27 metres (90ft.) high, with walls that were up to 3.5 m (12ft.) thick.

King Henry's Norman keep, inside

The keep was erected on a sloping stone base and consisted of a basement and two additional storeys; the access was by a door in the first floor. The original staircase was housed in a tower, a forebuilding, which had two floors that did not correspond to the storeys of the main keep.

Originally, each corner of the keep proper had a turret overlooking the battlements which made it look even taller. Those battlements were higher than the countersunk roof of the quarters inside the walls (1). Countersunk roofs were rather common in Norman keeps; the fake walls hid the level of the actual roof in case of bombardements during a siege.

Interior of the keep, different angle

The present level of access is above the basement from where one can see the remains of the walls and window openings, as well as a fireplace. Some of the windows have scuncheon seats as you can see in the photo above (the uppermost window with the double arch).

Both first and second floor were divided into two rooms along the east-west range. Those walls contained one great arch on the first and three smaller ones on the second floor. Traces of those partition walls remain as well (see the first of the photos of the keep's interior here). The staircase, and latrines on both floors were hiding in the thick walls.

Another shot of the keep from the inside

The basement was used for storage. The first floor contained the great hall which was semi-separated by the arch. The chapel was a few stairs above hall level in the forebuilding. The second storey with the two rooms may have provided living quarters for the king, with the first room directly accessed from the staircase serving as a more official reception room and the second as his private quarters

The keep likely served as place for grand events during the entire Middle Ages even after King John built the living quarters at Mosdale Hall.

Barbican wall with merlons, Henry's Tower (middle),
and curtain walls seen from outside

Footnotes
1) It has formerly been assumed that there was an additonal storey, since there are traces of windows in the north wall, but any support for another floor is missing, as are fireplaces and hints to partition walls.

Literature
John A.A. Goodall: Scarborough Castle; English Heritage Guidebook, 2010


 


11/02/2018
  Scarborough Castle, Part 2 - From Civil War Fortress to Tourist Attraction

Ths is the second part about the history of Scarborough Castle. After James I (James IV in Scotland) ascended the throne in 1603, there was no longer any danger of an invasion from the north, therefore King James parcelled out a number of northern English castles to private owners. Scarborough was bought by a prominent local family, the Thompsons. Since it was no longer used as fortress, the defenses were no longer kept up.

Scarborough Castle, view from the barbican to the keep in the mist

But the castle must still have been in a decent shape, because it played a role again in the Civil War (1642-1651). At the time, a local gentleman named Sir Hugh Cholmley commanded the castle (1). He had been commissioned by the Parlamentarians to raise a regiment, but eventually switched sides and defended Scarborough Castle for King Charles I after he had visited the king in York.

Hugh Cholmley repaired the fortifications and had a garrison of 700 Royalist soldiers (2) who held the castle, as well as the town and the harbour. It was the only port not under dominion of the Royalists, which made them pretty angry, especially since King Charles had his base in nearby York – not to mention the interception of the Parlamentarian supply ships. Even stout Puritans didn't like to go hungry.

The curtain wall leading to the sally port

King Charles lost the battle of Marston Moor in 1644, a defeat that strengthened the position of the Parlamentarians. They began to roll up the Royalist strongholds in the north, and in February 1648, Sir John Meldrum laid siege to the town of Scarborough which surrendered after three weeks, thus cutting off the supply lines for the Royalists. Sir Hugh Cholmley retreated to the castle. It followed five months of one of the bloodiest sieges of the Civil War. Sir Meldrum put a whopper of a cannon nicknamed Cannon Royal (and that for a Parlamentarian weapon) onto the rock west of the castle. It was able to fire 65 pound (about 30 kg) balls. One of those partly destroyed the Norman keep.

Tthe curtain walls were damaged badly and several bloody engagements between soldiers of both sides took place. Meldrum was killed in one of these. Cholmley's garrison suffered from lack of provisions, especially food and - at the end - gunpowder as well. His men died in the fights or of scruvy, so that he finally surrendered in July 1654.

The keep which was partly destroyed during the Civil War

But this was not the end of Scarborough's role in the Civil War. The walls were repaired by the Parlamentarians who used the castle as fortress under the governor Matthew Boynton. He followed the example of Cholmley and declared for King Charles - already imprisoned at that point - in July 1648, after his soldiers went unpaid. Though how the king should have payed them is beyond me.

This time the siege lasted until December when Boynton surrendered. The castle was ordered to be slighted, but the opposition from the town prevented such a drastic measure. King Charles was beheaded on January 30th, 1649, but the war would last another two years. Upon restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Scarborough Castle was returned to the Crown

The bridge between barbican and castle

The castle served as prison in the following years. One of the most famous prisoners was George Fox (1624-1691), founder of the 'Religious Society of Friends', today known as Quakers. He and his followers said that God was everywhere and anyone could preach, so an established church was not neccesary. They also would not take up arms or swear oaths. Small wonder that Fox made enemies among the authorities and was imprisoned several times (the time in Scarborough lasted from April 1665 to September 1666; his quarter was - according to his letters - cold and wet). Cromwell met with Fox in person and they got along rather well, but the Parliament under Charles II forbade the Quaker meetings and had many of them arrested. Fox spent several years traveling in the colonies, especially America. At his death, his religious movement had been firmly established despite all adversary (3).

The 18th century Master Gunner's House

The castle declined in the years to follows. During the last Jacobite Rising of 1754/46 - one of the attempts to regain the British throne for the Catholic Stuarts - some repair was made to the walls by the Hanoverian government, including the addition of three gun batteries. Barracks were constructed inside the remains of King John's Chambers. These would be in use into the mid-19th century. The Master Gunner's House was built at that time as well; the remains of the keep were used as powder magazine. But the castle saw no action during the Rising.

The castle was garrisoned again during the Napoleonic Wars to prevent a French landing in England.

Another angle of the curtain walls

In December 1916, Scarborough was attacked by two German warships, Derfflinger and Von der Tann, that fired some 500 shells into town and castle. 17 civilians were killed and more than 80 wounded. The castle keep and the barracks were damaged; the latter so badly that they were dismantled. The bombardment shocked the British public.

The castle seen from the harbour (on a sunny afternoon the next day)

Scarborough had become a 'spa' town already in the second half of the 17th century. The castle came into focus as tourist attraction during the second half of the 19th century when it was no longer used for military purposes. At that time, the foundations of the King's Hall were excavated.

In 1920 the castle came into the guardianship of the Ministry of Works. As the damanged barracks were dismantled, the remains of King John's Chambers were discovered, as well as the remains of the Roman signal station further seaward on the plateau. English Heritage took over the care for the castle in 1984.

Scarborough Castle is said to be haunted by three ghosts, no less, among them a Roman soldier. But despite the fog and the suitably spooky atmosphere, I didn't meet any of those.

Scarborough Castle veiled by the incoming evening fog

Footnotes
1) I could not find out what happened to the Thompson family who had bought the castle in 1603.
2) They had been raised to support the Parlamentarians, but only few left after Cholmley changed sides, though they were allowed to do so.
3) This is a very simplified summary of Fox's life, of course, and I admit that I know little about the details of the Quaker religion.

Literature
John A.A. Goodall: Scarborough Castle; English Heritage Guidebook, 2010

 


The Lost Fort is a travel journal and history blog based on my travels in Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and other places. It includes essays on Roman and Mediaeval history, as well as some geology, illustrated with photos of old castles and churches, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.
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Location: Germany

I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History which doesn't pay my bills, so I use it to research blogposts instead. I'm interested in everything Roman and Mediaeval, avid reader and sometimes writer, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, photographer, and tea aficionado. And an old-fashioned blogger who still hasn't got an Instagram account.
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Anchor links lead to the respective sub-category in the sidebar

Peregrinationes
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Loci Amoeni
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Roman Remains
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Mediaeval and Early Modern Places
- Germany
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Other Times


Roman Remains

The Romans at War

Different Frontiers, Yet Alike
Exercise Halls
Mile Castles and Watch Towers
Reconstructed Fort Walls
Soldiers' Living Quarters
Cavalry Barracks

Roman Ships
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Life and Religion

Religious Sites
The Mithraeum of Brocolita
Mithras Altars in Germania
A Roman Memorial Stone


Germania

Attempts at Conquest

Romans at Lippe and Ems
Anniversary Exhibitions in Haltern am See
Varus Statue, Haltern am See

Romans at the Weser
The Roman Camp at Hedemünden
Weapon Finds


The Limes and its Forts

Limes Fort Osterburken
The Discovery
The Cohort castellum
The Annex Fort
The Garrisons

Limes Fort Saalburg
Introduction
Main Gate
Shrine of the Standards
The Walls
The vicus

Romans in Bavaria
The Fort in Aalen - Barracks


Provinces and Borderlands

Romans at Rhine and Moselle
Boppard - A 4th Century Roman Fort

Roman Villas
Villa Rustica Wachenheim
Wachenheim Villa, Baths and Toilets
Wachenheim Villa, Cellar


Roman Towns

Augusta Treverorum (Trier)
The Amphitheatre
The Aula Palatina
The Imperial Baths - Roman Times
The Imperial Baths - Post Roman
Porta Nigra - Roman Times
The Roman Bridge

Colonia Ulpia Traiana (Xanten)
History of the Town
The Amphitheatre in Birten

Moguntiacum (Mainz)
The Temple of Isis and Mater Magna


Gallia Belgica

Roman Towns

Atuatuca Tungrorum
Roman Remains in Tongeren


Britannia

Frontiers, Fortifications, Forts

The Hadrian's Wall
Introduction / Photo Collection
Fort Baths
Fort Headquarters
Building the Wall
The Wall as Defense Line

Wall Forts - Banna (Birdoswald)
The Dark Age Timber Halls

Wall Forts - Segedunum (Wallsend)
Introduction
The Museum
The Viewing Tower
The Baths

Signal Stations
The Signal Station at Scarborough


Roman Towns

Eboracum (York)
Bath in the Fortress
Multiangular Tower


The Romans in Wales

Roman Forts - Isca (Caerleon)
The Amphitheatre
The Baths in the Legionary Fort


Mediaeval and Early Modern Places

Living Mediaeval
Dungeons and Oubliettes
Pit House (Grubenhaus)
Medical Instruments

Mediaeval Art
The Choir Screen in the Cathedral of Mainz
The Gospels of Heinrich the Lion
Mediaeval Monster Carvings
The Viking Treasure of Hiddensee - The Historical Context
The Viking Treasure of Hiddensee - The Craftmanship

Mediaeval Weapons
Swords
Trebuchets
Combat Scenes


Germany

Towns

Braunschweig
Medieaval Braunschweig, Introduction
Lion Benches in the Castle Square
The Quadriga

Erfurt
A Virtual Tour through Mediaeval Erfurt

Magdeburg
Magdeburg Cathedral
St.Mary's Abbey - An Austere Archbishop
St.Mary's Abbey - Reformation to Reunion

Paderborn
Town Portrait

Speyer
The Cathedral: Architecture
Cathedral: Richard Lionheart in Speyer
Jewish Ritual Bath

Xanten
Town Portrait
The Gothic House

Towns in the Harz

Goslar
Town Portrait

Quedlinburg
Town Portrait
The Chapter Church

Towns of the Hanseatic League

Lübeck
St. Mary's Church, Introduction

Stralsund
The Harbour

Wismar
The Old Harbour


Castles and Fortresses

Castles in Bavaria

Coburg Fortress
The History of the Fortress
The Architecture

Castles in the Harz

Ebersburg
The Architecture
Power Base of the Thuringian Landgraves
The Marshals of Ebersburg

Harzburg
The Harzburg and Otto IV

Hohnstein
Origins of the Counts of Hohnstein
The Family Between Welfen and Staufen
A Time of Feuds (14th-15th century)

Regenstein
Introduction
The Time of Henry the Lion

Scharzfels
Introduction
History

Hidden Treasures
The Stauffenburg near Seesen

Castles in Hessia

Castles in Northern Hessia
Grebenstein
Reichenbach
Sichelnstein

Kugelsburg
The Counts of Everstein
Troubled Times
War and Decline

Weidelsburg
The History of the Castle
The Architecture
The Castle After the Restoration

Castles in Lower Saxony

Adelebsen / Hardeg
The Keep of Adelebsen Castle
The Great Hall of Hardeg Castle

Hardenberg
Introduction

Plesse
Rise and Fall of the Counts of Winzenburg
The Lords of Plesse
Architecture / Decline and Rediscovery

Castles in the Solling
Salzderhelden - A Welfen Seat
Grubenhagen

Castles in Thuringia

Brandenburg
The Double Castle
Role of the Castle in Thuringian History

Castles in the Eichsfeld
Altenstein at the Werra
Castle Scharfenstein

Hanstein
Introduction
Otto of Northeim
Heinrich the Lion and Otto IV
The Next Generations

Normanstein
Introduction

Wartburg
A Virtual Tour

Castles at the Weser

Bramburg
River Reivers

Krukenburg
History and Architecture
Outbuilding 'Shepherd's Barn'

Polle
The Castle and its History
Views from the Keep

Sababurg / Trendelburg
Two Fairy Tale Castles


Churches and Cathedrals

Churches in the Harz

Steinkirche near Scharzfeld
Development of the Cave Church

Walkenried Monastery
From Monastery to Museum

Churches in Lower Saxony

Königslutter
Exterior Decorations
Cloister

Wiebrechtshausen
Nunnery and Ducal Burial

Churches in Thuringia

Göllingen Monastery
Traces of Byzantine Architecture

Heiligenstadt
St.Martin's Church
St.Mary's Church

Churches at the Weser

Bursfelde Abbey
Early History

Fredelsloh Chapter Church
History and Architecture

Helmarshausen
Remains of the Monastery

Lippoldsberg Abbey
History
Interior

Vernawahlshausen
Mediaeval Murals


Reconstructed Sites

Palatine Seat Tilleda
The Defenses

Viking Settlement Haithabu
Haithabu and the Archaeological Museum Schleswig
The Nydam Ship


Miscellanea

Other Mediaeval Buildings
Lorsch, Gate Hall
Palatine Seat and Monastery Pöhlde

Along Weser and Werra
Bad Karlshafen
Hannoversch-Münden
Uslar
Treffurt
Weser Ferry
Weser Skywalk


England

Towns

Chester
A Walk Through the Town

Hexham
Old Gaol

York
Clifford Tower, Part 1
Clifford Tower, Part 2
Guild Hall
Monk Bar Gate and Richard III Museum
Museum Gardens
Old Town
Along the Ouse River


Castles

Castles in Cumbria

Carlisle
Introduction
Henry II and William of Scotland
The Edwards

Castles in Northumbria and Yorkshire

Alnwick
Malcolm III and the First Battle of Alnwick

Richmond
From the Conquest to King John

Scarborough
From the Romans to the Tudors
From the Civil War to the Present
The Architecture


Churches and Cathedrals

Hexham Abbey
Introduction

York Minster
Architecture


Scotland

Towns

Edinburgh
Views from the Castle

Stirling
The Wallace Monument


Castles

Central Scotland

Doune
A Virtual Tour
History: The Early Stewart Kings
History: Royal Dower House, and Decline

Stirling
Robert the Bruce and Stirling Castle

West Coast Castles

Dunollie and Kilchurn
Castles Seen from Afar

Duart
Guarding the Sound of Mull

Dunstaffnage
An Ancient MacDougall Stronghold
The Wars of Independence
The Campbells Are Coming
Dunstaffnage Chapel


Abbeys and Churches

Inchcolm Abbey
Arriving at Inchcolm


Other Historical Sites

Picts and Dalriatans
Dunadd Hill Fort
Staffa


Wales

Towns

Walks in Welsh Towns
Aberystwyth: Castle and Coast
Caerleon: The Ffwrwm
Conwy: The Smallest House in Great Britain


Castles

Edwardian Castles

Beaumaris
The Historical Context
The Architecture

Caernarfon
Master James of St.George
The Castle Kitchens

Conwy
The History of the Castle
The Architecture

Norman Castles

Cardiff
History

Chepstow
History: Beginnings unto Bigod
History: From Edward II to the Tudors
History: Civil War, Restoration, and Aftermath

Manorbier
The Pleasantest Spot in Wales

Pembroke
Pembroke Pictures
The Caves Under the Castle

Welsh Castles

Criccieth
Llywelyn's Buildings
King Edward's Buildings


Scandinavia

Norway

Castles and Fortresses

Defense over the Centuries
Akershus Fortress: Middle Ages
Akershus Fortress: Architectural Development
Vardøhus Fortress

Sweden

Towns

Stockholm
The Vasa Museum


Russia

The Splendour of St.Petersburg

Cathedrals
Isaac's Cathedral
Smolny Cathedral

The Neva
Impressions from the The Neva River


Poland and the Baltic States

Lithuania

Historical Landscapes
The Curonian Spit


Belgium and Luxembourg

Belgium / Flanders

Towns

Antwerp
The Old Town

Bruges
A Virtual Tour through Mediaeval Bruges

Ghent
A Virtual Tour through Mediaeval Ghent

Tongeren
Roman and Mediaeval Remains


Other Times

Ages of Stone and Bronze

Development of Civilization
European Bread Museum, Ebergötzen
Open Air Museum Oerlinghausen

From Stone to Bronze
Paleolithic Cave 'Steinkirche' in the Harz mountains
Gnisvärd Ship Setting on Gotland

Pre-Historical Orkney
Ring of Brodgar - Introduction
Ring of Brodgar - The Neolithic Landscape
Skara Brae
Life in Skara Brae


Powder and Steam

Development of Weapons
Historical Guns

Steampunk and Beyond
The Fram Museum in Oslo
Vintage Car Museum, Wolfsburg


- Germany
- United Kingdom
- Scandinavia
- Baltic Sea


Beautiful Germany

The Baltic Sea Coast
From the Bay of Wismar to Hiddensee
The Flensburg Firth
A Tour on the Wakenitz River

Harz National Park
Arboretum (Bad Grund)
Bode Valley, Rosstrappe and Devil's Wall
Cave Dwellings in Langenstein
Harzburg and the Ilsetal
Oderteich Reservoir
Views from Harz mountains

Nature Park Meissner-Kaufunger Wald
Sea Stones, Kitzkammer, Heldrastein
'Hessian Switzerland'
Karst Dolines and Kalbe Lake

Nature Park Solling-Vogler
The Hutewald Forest
The Raised Bog Mecklenbruch

Rivers and Lakes
The Danube in Spring
Edersee Reservoir
A Rainy Rhine Cruise
River of the Greenest Shores - The Moselle
Vineyards at Saale and Unstrut

Parks and Palaces
Botanical Garden Göttingen
Forest Botanical Garden, Göttingen
Hardenberg Castle Gardens
Junkerberg Cemetary
Wilhelmsthal Palace and Gardens

Other Landscape Sites
Oberderdorla and Hainich National Park


Seasons and More

Spring
Spring on my Balcony
Spring at the Kiessee Lake
Spring in the Rossbach Heath

Summer
Memories of Summer
Summer Hiking Tours 2016
Summer Thunderstorms

Autumn
Autumnal Views from Castle Windows
Autumn Photos from Harz and Werra
Autumn in the Meissner
Autumn at Werra and Weser

Winter
Advent Impressions
Christmas Decorations from the Ore Mountains
Winter at the Kiessee Lake
Winter Wonderland
Winter 2010

Wildlife
Birds at the Feeder
Harz Falcon Park
Ozeaneum Stralsund: The Baltic Sea Life
Ozeaneum Stralsund: The North Sea Life

Experimental
Alien Architecture
Carved Monsters in Cathedrals
Llama, Llama
Odd Angles
Spectacular Sunset
Carved Animals


Across the Channel - United Kingdom

Mountains, Valleys, and Rivers
Sheep Grazing Among Roman Remains
A Ghost Cruise on the Ouse River
West Highland Railway

The East Coast
By Ferry to Newcastle
Highland Mountains - Inverness to John o'Groats
Some Photos from the East Coast

Scottish Sea Shores
Crossing to Mull
Mull - Craignure to Fionnphort
Pentland Firth
Staffa
Summer Days in Oban
Summer Nights in Oban

Wild Wales - With Castles
Hazy Views with Castles
Shadows and Strongholds
Views from Castle Battlements

Wildlife
Sea Gulls


Land of Light and Darkness - Scandinavia

Norway

The Hurtigruten-Tour
A Voyage into Winter
The Farthest North
Culture and Nature in Norway
Along the Coast of Norway - Light and Darkness
Along the Coast - North of the Polar Circle

Norway by Train
From Oslo to Bergen
From Trondheim to Oslo

Wildlife
Bearded Seals
Dog Sledding With Huskies
Eagles and Gulls in the Trollfjord


Shores of History - The Baltic Sea

Baltic Sea Cruise

Lithuania

Nida and the Curonian Spit
Beaches at the Curonian Spit




Historia
Geologia
Delectatio (Fun Stuff)
Comblogium (Blog Roll)
Conexiones (Links)
Contact

- Roman History
- Mediaeval History
- Other Times and Miscellanea


Roman History

Wars and Frontiers

Maps
Romans in Germania

Traces of the Pre-Varus Conquest
Roman Camp Hedemünden
New Finds in 2008

The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
Museum Park at Kalkriese

The Battle at the Harzhorn
Introduction

Along the Limes
Limes Fort Osterburken
Limes Fort Saalburg

Roman Frontiers in Britain
Hadrian's Wall

Rebellions
The Batavian Rebellion


Roman Militaria

Armour
Early Imperial Helmets
Late Roman Helmets
The Negau B Helmet

Weapons
The pilum
Daggers
Swords

Other Equipment
Roman Saddles


Life and Religion

Religion
The Mithras Cult
Isis Worship
Curse Tablets and Good Luck Charms

Everyday Life
Bathing Habits
Children's Toys
Face Pots
Styli and Wax Tablets

Public Life
Roman Transport - Barges
Roman Transport - Amphorae and Barrels
Roman Water Supply

Roman villae
Villa Rustica Wachenheim

Miscellaneous
Legend of Alaric's Burial


Mediaeval History

Feudalism
Feudalism, Beginnings
Feudalism, 10th Century
The Privilege of the deditio
A Note on handgenginn maðr

The Hanseatic League
Introduction and Beginnings
Stockfish Trade


Germany

Geneaologies

List of Mediaeval German Emperors

Geneaology
Anglo-German Marriage Connections
Heinrich the Lion's Ancestors


Biographies

Kings and Emperors
King Heinrich IV
Emperor Otto IV, Introduction

Princes
Otto the Quarrelsome of Braunschweig-Göttingen
The Dukes of Braunschweig-Grubenhagen
Otto of Northeim
The Ludowing Landgraves of Thuringia
Albrecht II and Friedrich I of Thuringia

Counts and Local Lords
The Marshals of Ebersburg
The Counts of Everstein
The Counts of Hohnstein
The Lords of Plesse
The Counts of Reichenbach
The Counts of Winzenburg


Famous Feuds

Local Feuds
The Lüneburg Succession War
The Thuringian Succession War - Introduction
The Star Wars

Royal Troubles
Otto IV and Bishop Adalbert II of Magdeburg


England and Normandy

From the Conquest to King John

Normans, Britons, and Angevins
The Honour of Richmond and the Dukes of Brittany


Scotland

Scottish Kings

House Dunkeld
Malcolm III and Northumbria
Struggle for the Throne: Malcolm III to David I
King David and the Civil War (1)
King David and the Civil War (2)

Houses Bruce and Stewart
Robert the Bruce and Stirling Castle
The Early Stewart Kings


Scottish Nobles and their Quarrels

Clan Feuds
MacLeans and MacDonalds
A Scottish Wedding


Wales

Princes and Rebels

The Princes of Gwynedd
The Rise of House Aberffraw

The Rebellions
From Llywellyn ap Gruffudd to Owain Glyn Dŵr


Scandinavia

Kings and Vikings

Kings of Norway
King Eirik's Scottish Marriages

Famous Nobles and their Feuds
Alv Erlingsson of Tønsberg


Other Times and Miscellanea

Post-Mediaeval History

Discoveries
Otto von Guericke and the Magdeburg Hemispheres
Raising a Wreck, Now and Then (Vasa Museum in Stockholm)

Explorers
Fram Expedition to the North Pole
Fram Expedition to the South Pole


History in Opera and Literature

Opera

Belcanto and Historicism
Maria Padilla - Mistress Royal
The Siege of Calais in Donizetti's Opera

Historical Ballads

Ballads by Th. Fontane, translated by me
About Theodor Fontane
Archibald Douglas
Gorm Grymme
Sir Walter Scott in Abbotsford
The Tragedy of Afghanistan


Geological Landscapes

The Baltic Sea
Geology of the Curonian Spit

The Harz
Karst Landscape
Karst - Lonau Falls
Karst - Rhume Springs

Meissner / Kaufunger Wald
Blue Dome near Eschwege
Diabase and Basalt Formations
Karst Formations

Solling-Vogler
Raised Bogs
The Hannover Cliffs

The Shores of Scotland
Staffa


Paleontology

Fossils
Ammonites


Fun Stuff

Not So Serious Romans
Aelius Rufus Visits the Future Series
Building Hadrian's Wall
Playmobil Romans

Royal (Hi)Stories
Kings Having a Bad Hair Day
The Case of the Vanished Wine Cask

Historical Memes
Charlemagne meme
Historical Christmas Wishes
New Year Resolutions
Aelius Rufus does a Meme
Rules for Writing Scottish Romances

Funny Sights
Tourist Kitsch in St.Petersburg


My Novels in Progress / Planning

I'm a bit of a writer, too; here are the novel projects on which I'm currently working

Roman Novels (Historical Fiction)
The Saga of House Sichelstein (Historical Fiction)
Kings and Rebels (Fantasy)


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Castles
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Miscellaneous History
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Online Journals
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Travel and Guide Sites

Germany - History
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Germany - Nature
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England
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Scotland
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Historic Scotland
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Books and Writing

Interesting Author Websites
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George R.R. Martin
Sharon Kay Penman
Brandon Sanderson
J.R.R. Tolkien
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Historical Fiction
Historical Novel Society
Historia Magazine

Writing Sites
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National Novel Writing Month


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