Friday, 6 April 2012

Fotheringhay Castle and Mary Queen of Scots

 A-Z Challenge - F

Fotheringhay Castle and Mary Queen of Scots

The village of Fotheringhay is situated six kilometres north east of Oundle in the county of Northamptonshire. There is nothing left of its castle today other than the motte on which it was built which provides excellent views of the River Nene.

Site of Fotheringhay Castle - 2009
Site of Fotheringhay Castle The motte and bailey is all that remains of Fotheringhay Castle, where Mary, Queen of Scots was executed. Behind is the modern Castle Barn and beyond, Fotheringhay Church. 

The Norman castle was built around 1100. The motte topped by a stone keep was surrounded by a moat. King Edward III (1312-77) rebuilt the Norman castle and granted it to his son, Edward, Duke of York. In 1452 the wife of a later Duke of York gave birth to the future Richard III. The reign of Richard III was short (1483 – 85) as he was killed at the Bosworth during the War of the Roses.

Henry VIII gave it to Catherine of Aragon as part of her dowry but she refused to go there. The castle became infamous as the site for the imprisonment and execution of the tragic Mary, Queen of Scots. She was tried and convicted for treason and beheaded in the Great Hall on 8th February 1587.

(If you are squeamish you may want to give the video a miss)

 The castle fell into disrepair and in 1627 it was razed to the ground, its fixtures and fittings sold. The great horned windows and the staircase down which Mary walked to her execution ended up in the Talbot Hotel in Oundle. Reputedly Mary’s face is seen occasionally gazing out at passers-by.

 Hilary Melton-Butcher's Castle E - Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire

  • Site of Fotheringhay Castle:  By Ian Simpson 2009 – Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license. (Geograph Project Collection)
  • Video: Execution scene taken from the BBC series 'Elizabeth R' (1971). Starring Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth and Vivian Pickles as Mary, Queen of Scots. No copyright infringement intended


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bob .. Fotheringhay Castle had a very chequered history didn't it - yet has lots of important historical connections. I'd like to see the horned windows and staircase sometime .. obviously a trip to the Talbot Hotel ..

Glad our castles are once again different - similarities in ruins though!

Cheers Hilary

Little Nell said...

I remember being interested in this castle when I read Jean Plaidy’s novel,”The Royal Road to Fotheringay” - without the ‘h’. We were talking about ‘Elizabeth R’ after watching ‘She Wolves’ on TV. What a great series ‘Elizabeth R' was, with wonderful actors.

Jo said...

What a shame it was razed to the ground. Maybe North Americans are right, the efforts they put into heritage buildings.

Bish Denham said...

It's really quite horrifying that it took three strokes of the axe. No wonder Anne Boleyn wanted a sharp sword.

Horst Peters said...

Your blog is always very interesting. Thanks

Sheila Siler said...

Castles - how delightful. There are none in America . . . though The Biltmore House in Asheville, NC comes as close as I can think of. Thanks for stopping by my blog, I look forward to lusting after all the sites you post.

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed they built these castle towers so high with what little technology they had. Lots of grunt labor and many years to build a castle.

Robyn Campbell said...

I would love to see the great staircase and those horned windows when we go to England. I do not blame Catherine of Aragon though. I'm sure I wouldn't have wanted to go near the place, knowing its history.

Great castle Bob! I am learning lots from you and Hilary.

Debra Harris-Johnson said...

I'm a bit squemish so I didn't partake of the video but I loved the castle and history.

Rosalind Adam said...

Thanks for the warning. I didn't watch the video. Do you believe these ghostly sightings?

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Bob, I didn't watch the video, but I'm hoping she wasn't executed inside the building. I can well imagine that nobody would want to live there after that.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Lovely pictures in all your posts.

Suzanne Lieurance said...

Yikes! Thanks for the warning about the video. I love castles, though, and learning about other places. Too bad this one is no longer around.

I love your blog. I'll have to keep coming back. I'll bet I can learn a lot here.

Happy blog hopping!

Liz said...

We must have visited a 100 castles when our son was young, but never this one, obviously. Spooky about the face looking out... of the hotel window!

Mama Zen said...

How interesting!

Eliza Wynn said...

What a fantastic theme for the challenge! The history of castles is so fascinating.

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I recently saw again the movie "Elizabeth", so, this is nice to see a bit of the land, despite her tragic end...