We were going to visit the rope-makers but they’re shut. Maybe they got to the end of their tether. Or perhaps they were all Methodist, as the impressive Methodist church sported a rather sad sign which said people had worshipped there from 1800s until 2014. They maybe moved to a different building, but that wasn’t the implication. We decided to visit the cheese-making creamery instead, but they were shut too. (Note to future self: Don’t trust the timings on websites.)
Instead, we drove to a pretty village (we figured they couldn’t shut a whole village). West Burton is a short drive from Hawes and it has a pretty village green, a waterfall and a Methodist Chapel which is open and friendly (it had daffodils on a bench outside and a sign inviting people to take a posy for their friends and neighbours). We wandered around, were impressed by the age of the buildings, drove back to the cottage. Possibly not as interesting as cheese making, though personally I was rather glad the rope-makers were shut.
The next day we were better planned and set off for Bolton Castle in Castle Bolton (village is named after the castle in case you’re confused). I was keen to visit as I had read Queen Mary had been held captive there for a while. Husband was keen to visit because he could sort of remember it has a link to Game of Thrones. The facts are:
Bolton Castle was built in the 14th century by the first Baron of Bolton. He rebelled against Henry VIII who tried to burn down the castle (and damaged it). Later (after it was repaired) Mary Queen of Scots was held there for 6 months. She brought with her lots of staff, including a hairdresser, who needed to lodge with locals, and she brought furnishings from other castles, so it doesn’t sound too bad. Apparently she even escaped at one point, so I’m not sure how closely she was guarded—maybe if she had known what was coming she would have tried a bit harder to get away.
The castle is still owned by descendants of the Baron of Bolton today. It has been used for various films, including Elizabeth, and Anne Boleyn and is also where James Herriot proposed to his wife in the tv series All Creatures Great and Small (which used to be on telly Sunday afternoons, and was one of the very few television programmes that we were allowed to watch in my family on Sundays.)
On Game of Thrones one of the houses is called House Bolton and it’s in the north, and hosts a wedding where I believe everyone is killed. I seem to remember that the house did look very similar to the big square Bolton Castle, but I don’t think there’s any other link. The House Bolton are pretty nasty, so I don’t expect the real Bolton family are too chuffed by the similarities.
The castle is worth a visit, but you don’t need too long. It has a nice teashop, and clean loos, plus wild boar (which were hiding) and birds of prey kept in cages (which makes me sad, because birds should be free to fly). It was interesting structurally because you could see in the fallen-down bits how it would have been, and there were enough intact rooms to wander through, but I couldn’t get a ‘feel’ of the place. There were no whispers of ancient people, I couldn’t imagine the people who once lived there and any ghosts left long ago. Pretty views though.
Thanks for reading. Tomorrow I’ll tell you about a much prettier castle, though rather more ruined, that we found beside the road.
Love, Anne x
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