Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Richard Tells of Leicestershire Castles

[An image showing Richard Tells of Leicestershire Castles]I went to a talk at Vaughan College in Leicester recently.

It was the monthly meeting organised by the Vaughan Archaeological and Historical Society, who always arrange an interesting speaker.

This talk was by Richard Knox, and was on "The Castles of Leicestershire", which actually included Rutland, now a county in its own right again.

He spoke about some Norman castles which remain in part, namely Leicester Castle and Oakham Castle, the later edifices which were more fortified manor houses, Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle and Kirby Muxloe, and the much rebuilt fairy tale Belvoir Castle, whose origins are in the Norman period.

Then he went on to some of the lesser known ones, forgotten for the most part, in such places as Castle Donington, Earl Shilton, Hallaton, Hinckley and Mountsorrel. There are extensive earthworks remaining at Hallaton.

He also discussed the reason for castles. In the most obvious cases, they were to overawe a native population or to guard strategically important sites. Some, however, were really hunting lodges, where the King or important nobility could stay while indulging in their favourite sport. Then again, some were simply status symbols.

It was a very interesting talk.