Saturday, 10 June 2017
Hastings chose a plot of land at Kirby Muxloe where the family already had a manor house. The new fortified house was built entirely out of brick, an expensive and fashionable material only recently introduced to England. Hastings brought craftsmen from the Netherlands to make the bricks on site because too few people here knew the skill.
However, the house was never completed because Hastings fell foul of the ambitious Duke of Gloucester, later to be Richard III, who accused him of conspiracy and had him executed in 1483.
The land remained in the family's possession until 1630, but only one tower was ever finished, although it's still possible to see how impressive the house would have been. Most of what remains today is footings for the outer walls, but the gatehouse stands proudly to welcome you on site.
Although it was also never finished, the gatehouse shows how well designed the building was. You can still pick out the pattern of dark bricks (known as diaper work) on the frontage.
In addition the castle had gun ports and a moat to aid its defence.
Thursday, 8 June 2017
The Wallingford Clock. A replica of a 14th century clock at St Albans Cathedral. The original was designed and constructed by Richard of Wallingford who was abbot from 1327 until 1336. As well as sounding the hours the clock has an astronomical section that shows the position of various stars, the sun and the moon. It can also predict lunar eclipses.