Sunday, 13 December 2015

The Keep

The keep at Conisbrough castle

The first stone castle at Conisbrough was constructed in the late 12th century by Hamelin Plantagenet, the illegitimate half-brother of King Henry II, and the extremely well preserved round keep is the only one of its kind in England.

The staircases in Conisbrough castle keep

It is very solidly built and, looking at the exterior, the fine ashlar masonry is punctuated by a few small windows that light the staircases - which are incorporated into its thick walls - and the chambers that lead off from the principal rooms on the upper floors.

The principal chamber

When I first visited Conisbrough Castle, the keep was an empty shell and although you could go up to the top and take in the views of the surrounding landscape, the magnificent fireplaces and other fine architectural details - carved in Permian dolomitic limestone - could hardly be seen.

A detail from the fireplace in the principal chamber

Now, with the roof and floors reinstated – and with artificial lighting to illuminate what would originally have been a very dark interior – these can now be fully appreciated...

A detail of a vaulted ceiling

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