Spofforth Castle

Had a flying visit to Spofforth Castle to day to scout for a possible picture. Actually it is not a castle at all, and never was, being originally a Saxon manor house which was given to William de Percy in 1097. It is reputedly where the Northern Barons drew up the Magna Carta in 1215. It became fortified in 1308, but it seems a strange place to have this type of building as it is built into the side of the rocky outcrop rather than on top of it, and would be difficult to defend, something which in it’s day would have been very important, given the lawless times. The artist Turner visited twice, once in 1797, and again in 1816, and the sketched that he made can be seen here: and also here: Turner didn’t go on to paint the “castle” from his sketches, and having visited the place I’m not sure I’m inspired to produce a picture of it either, but there may be a shot similar to the first of Turner’s views, although room is very limited.

The Percy family quickly became the most powerful force in the North of England, and there is the ” Percy Tomb” in Beverely Minster which was carved for the wife of either the first or second Lord Percy – it is not now known which. The intricate carving of the stone shrine, containing about 100 angels is said to rank among the finest stone carving in the world, and this was also sketched by Turner during his 1797 visit North. The picture that we are planning of Beverley Minster interior is going to show the Southern transept, the crossing, nave and West window. The Percy Tomb is in the chancel but we may well produce a picture of this as well in ultra high resolution. The shrine (tomb) is now empty, the sarcophagus having been removed I believe, during the dissolution of the monasteries. Can anyone tell me what happened to it ?