More Norfolk adventures, to wit Castle bagging, a favourite pastime of ours. The small village of Castle Acre still has some of its village walls, and is flanked by the remnants of a castle and the more substantial remains of an abbey.
Although there’s not all that much of the castle left to see – no winding staircases to clamber, no battlements to charge around – even what remains of the huge moat and earthworks are very evocative. What’s more, on an afternoon which had, slightly unexpectedly, turned sunny and warm, the castle grounds, a haven for wildflowers – were full of butterflies and bees; a great place to explore.
Whilst the kids were running around being knights of old (or somesuch) I was revelling in the abundance and variety of the flowers on offer – particularly those which I haven’t encountered close to home.
I think that this,…
…which was ubiquitous, is Common Calamint.
This enormous plant…
…is a Mullein. We do see Mulleins at home, we’ve even had them appear as ‘weeds’ in our garden, but I’m pretty sure that this particular specimen is a Hoary Mullein which is an East Anglian speciality.
The castle itself is very interesting (and free to boot). It was built by William de Warenne a Norman baron who fought alongside William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings and subsequently became a very wealthy landowner with properties across thirteen counties.
It’s all built, perhaps not surprisingly, of the local flint.
The kids charged around. TBH found a spot out of the wind to sun herself, and naturally I took photos.
A (large) white on Calamint.
The butterflies led me a very merry dance. There were lots about – chiefly Whites, often in groups of two or three, but also Meadow Browns and some Small Blues. To my great delight, I also spotted a Hummingbird Hawkmoth, only the second one I’ve ever seen, but I wasn’t anywhere near like fast enough to catch it’s darting flight on camera.
Whilst I was pursuing a trio of amorous Whites, I encountered this long-legged beastie…
…which I’m pretty sure is not a spider, but rather a Harvestmen (Harvestman?).
Castle Acre village.
I could have happily stayed at the castle photographing plants and insects etc, but we had other fish to fry. We had a wander through the village, through the Bailey Gate…
…to the church of St. James the Great….
…(wasn’t it enough that he was a Saint, doesn’t that imply that he was Great? Or was there another St. James…St James the Slightly Cheesy?)
The Church of St. James.
A bit of internet research reveals that I should have ventured further in – the pulpit on the right has some paintings of saints which I wish now I’d taken a closer look at.
Impressive medieval font cover.
Ornately armoured stained-glass knight.
In this huge Norfolk church I was transported back to the area close to home by this painted panel. I’ve seen very similar, but much smaller, panels in modest Furness churches. (See them here and here.) Those were both dedicated to Queen Anne, but this one, dated 1748, is too late for her: it’s from the reign of George II – which explains the G II above the Lion’s crown.
On to the Priory next…