Tuesday 23 May 2023

Isle of Wight part 2: Carisbrooke Castle

 Carisbrooke Castle occupies an excellent defensive position on a hilltop close to the town of Newport on the Isle of Wight.  The first Norman castle was built within the perimeter of an earlier Saxon fortress.  By 1100 a motte and bailey castle had been built, dominating the hilltop.  Over the next 4 centuries the castle defences were strengthened to counter new threats.  A second wall, protected by artillery bastions was built in the late Tudor period as the threat from artillery increased.   In the 17th century the castle rose to prominence as the 'jail' for Charles I after his capture.

The approach to the gateway via a bridge over the moat

In the late medieval period small cannon started to be used

  The Tudor period saw a significant increase in the deployment of artillery within castles.  Of course when you have artillery you need powder and shot.                 

 Steps to the powder store

The keep dominates the curtain wall

Entrance passage at the top of the steep flight of steps up the motte

Space was very restricted within the shell keep

Model in the museum showing the late medieval layout of the castle

View from the walls of one of the bastions added in the late Tudor period

The ditch with the stone faced bastion towering above

Quite a daunting prospect, the outer curtain wall, a ditch, a steep climb and then the castle wall

Within the castle is a museum with many interesting exhibits.  Below is a mail coat brought back to the Isle of Wight from the Sudan campaign in the late 19th century.

A military exhibit from an action a decade earlier can be seen at Osborne House where there is an artillery piece brought back from the Battle of Tel-el-Kebir  by her son, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, who had commanded the Guards Brigade at the battle.

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