sea and sieve

a tumble of towers | november in wensleydale

A few crumbs of history from our trip to Wensleydale in the winter. I am firm in the belief that a holiday isn’t a holiday unless you’ve spent a lot of it gazing meditatively at old stones. And so, a procession of tumbledown towers for you.

Fountains Abbey was founded as a Cistercian monastery in the twelfth century, enlarged in the thirteenth, and then sold off in the fifteenth. After the Reformation it was nibbled at for stone and timber, but it is still a spectacular shell.







After a circuit of the landscaped parkland in which the Abbey sits, we walked back towards it as the mists settled on the wet grass. Pheasants clucked as they snuggled down to sleep in the branches of trees. The Abbey stood silent, emptied but still glorious, ceilings so high it was almost floating above the ground.

Bolton Castle, completed in 1399, was closed for the season so we unlucky beseigers had to make do with the bluff exterior. It wears its simplicity and squareness like a challenge. Mary Queen of Scots was kept here on Elizabeth I’s orders for six months. Apparently she went hunting in the valley below.

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Middleham Castle is an excellent ruin, with all the ragged edges and dark corners you could want. I’m sorry that I couldn’t get a picture of the whole thing but the town seemed to be in the way. Instead – a few zig-zag walls.



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It was here that Richard III grew up, and then lived with his wife Anne Neville, and we found a small offering against his posterity-blackened name – a York rose with a note attached, a flash of white in the grey.


p.s. In keeping with all the grainy grey of this post (alright, my analogue low-light skills are not great), I’ll quickly mention what I was knitting while we were in Yorkshire. I’m modelling it as I photograph some astrolabes.

knitted headband

It was a little earwarmer from a lovely simple cable-knit pattern which you can find here – my thanks to them. Subtley textured and wind-stoppingly cosy, and it goes with everything. All the same, let’s hope it will soon be goodbye to cold colours, and I can go back to over-sun-exposed photographs instead!

This entry was published on 17 March 2015 at 9:19 pm. It’s filed under film photographs, fujifilm xf1, handmade, knitting, old stones, pentax k1000 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “a tumble of towers | november in wensleydale

  1. Pingback: english country houses by vita sackville-west | sea and sieve


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