I live in a camper van with a West Highland Terrier for company.
My passion is creating images but it is a work in progress.
I am always willing to share what knowledge I have and can be contacted through the comments on this post or e-mail ADRIAN

Tuesday 29 November 2011

I KNOW HOW HE FELT (29/11/11)

Yesterday after the Tom Foolery with an unrobed Farther Christmas I carried on to Chirk Castle. It was shut. I didn’t bother with too many pictures as the light was awful. If you would like to have a good look then SCRIPTOR SENEX FROM RAMBLES FROM MY CHAIR was here earlier in the year and took lots of photographs of it. Inside and out there are more HERE. 



This fine edifice was completed in 1295. It looks as if it was extended and mucked about with up to Victorian times. It is impressive and commands wonderful views. I wouldn’t mind a good look round.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  The topiary is some of the best I’ve ever seen…….these are all Yew. There is a lot of maintenance here even taking into consideration that Yew is slow growing.

I must confess it really isn’t my favourite sort of place. I can appreciate it but it leaves me wishing it had grown old with a bit more dignity.

I set off down the hill towards the Castle Mill. I noticed it on the map and thought it may prove interesting. It didn’t and isn’t.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     It appears the path is closed but it mattered not as I’d already wandered it when I found this sign.

tree of deadThis is The Great Oak of the Gate of the Dead. It stands at the point where Offa's Dyke crosses the river Ceiriog.

In 1165 Henry II decided he had had it up to his eyes with the Welsh. They were being real pests, nipping over the border stealing cows and pigs and hens and other folks wives and daughters. Generally making a nuisance of themselves.

He gathered together a great army and set off from just down the road at Oswestry. His intention was to give them a good seeing to. Unfortunately the Ceiriog valley was full of impenetrable forest. He commandeered two thousand lumberjacks to clear a way for his Pikemen, Cavalry and everything else that goes along with great armies.

The Welsh were having none of it and led by Owain Gwynedd, harassed the vanguard of Henry’s army from the cover of the forest. It all came to a head just here and the battle of Crogen was fought on this very spot. Henry and his army took a real pasting and though he suffered heavy losses he did manage to breach Offa’s Dyke and continue into Wales.

It then started raining. What with the weather raining on him and the Welsh archers taking pot shots from behind every other tree he became a little disenchanted. He called it a day and went home to France.  

I know just how he felt. It’s cold, windy and wet.

The Welsh remained independent for another one hundred and twenty years.

As I’ve yet to be shot at by archers and can tolerate the weather, assuming they will have me I’m stopping a few more days.

Have fun.



  1. Great Castle, I would love to have seen more of the inside keep and more, to bad.

  2. Not been shot at yet? Wait until you get near the Lleyn (or Llyn) Peninsula. Keep your armour on there. You think that everyone more than 20 miles from your home is a foreigner. You ain't seen nothing yet. As an Edwards (it's an English name but the Welsh claim it as their own) who can do a passable Welsh accent and hails from the capital of Wales (aka Liverpool) even I feel like a foreigner there.

  3. Horst, If you follow the highlighted links there are more pictures than you can shake a stick at.

    Graham, I will watch out, though I can't say I've ever had any problems in Wales. Well nothing on the scale of those experienced by Henry II. I like it here.
    A bit of healthy caution is all one requires to get by.

  4. Beautiful house, nice story. Blooming good photos.

  5. I loved your descriptive and colourful story.... my history teacher was not a patch on you.!


  6. Bob, thanks......that is a story but it is true.

    Trevor, I suspect your history teacher hadn't benefited from seeing an oak whose early years were spent feeding on the dead of a battle.

  7. Great historical insight and a splendid oak. The castle should be worth a visit. You did well though on such a miserable day. Pity for the light I agree, i always feel so frustrated when it's grey as all the photos go flat. Be ready for the next few days will be equally awful...

  8. A wonderful place to visit Adrian.
    I have emailed the links to my two posts about Chirk earlier this year...

  9. I thought the castle looked familiar but then of course I did see Scriptor's and GB's pictures of it. Thanks for the bit of history, I'm kind of fascinated with anything Celtic - but I keep forgetting facts and figures. That oak is impressive, I can well imagine it as a gate to the Otherworld.

  10. Old oak trees really do have a character of their own.

  11. DeeBee, It is a splendid tree. It must have been an awful place for a battle...Not that i can think of a good place.

    Andrew, I enjoyed the oak but the castle left me unmoved. It does look better from the inside.

    Monica, I wouldn't rely on my take on events. it is a wonderful tree and I'm glad i found it.

    John, It is superb.......it could do with reworking and contrast boosting. It is stitched vertically and exposure blended.

  12. Looks like a grand place to visit, impressive Topiary.