Whittington Castle

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When assigned the England project, I wanted to research something having to do with my heritage. My ancestors originate from England. Correspondingly, I chose Whittington Castle. According to an old English legend, one of my family ancestors, Dick Whittington, set out from the castle for London, in search of his fortune. After residing in London for a time, Dick Whittington went on to be ?thrice Lord Mayor of London?. That piece of history supposedly occurred in 1368, but the first construction of Whittington Castle was in 845 and modeled after the Norman Motte and Bailey castles of the time.

Entirely, my information on Whittington Castle came from Internet sources. Because of the unfortunate ruination of ancient castle, it is almost forgotten today. Except for several small web sites, I found little or no information on Whittington castle. One such site was http://www.data-wales.co.uk/whitt.htm. Another site was http://www.btinternet.com/~whittington.castle/. Intriguing was the next site I found: http://www.castlewales.com/whittng.html.

Constructing the Whittington castle in 845, the builders designed it after the Motte and Bailey style castles. But it was later remodeled in 1221 replacing the old structure with stone. Originally, the castle was assembled with seven towers, each about 18 meters high, with wall 3.7 meters thick, and a drawbridge over 12 meters long. Now, only the gatehouse remains. Around the castle, extensive marshlands acted as protection in medieval days. The remnants of Whittington castle are situated in the small village of Whittington, a few miles outside of Shrewsbury, England.

Originally, the motte castle of Whittington was built by the Welsh Prince Ynyr ap Cadfarch. After being seized by Roger de Montgomery, the castle was given to Sir William Perveril of Peak. Perveril had no male heir; therefore his eldest daughter Mellet inherited the castle. Passing down through marriage to the fitz Warren family, King Henry III granted the fitz Warrens permission to build a stone fortress on the motte foundation. Although friends with King Henry, the fitz Warrens had an interesting love/hate relationship with the English monarchy. Fulk fitz Warren is reputed to have quarreled with Prince John, eventually causing Warren to flee France. He avoided certain death. Subsequent to Fulk?s exile and pardon, he was able to return and repossess Whittington castle. Judiciously, the fitz Warren family held the fortress and its grounds until 1420.

Interesting is one legend concerning the heirs of Whittington Castle. In the ruins it said that people have seen and heard two children peering out of the twin towers. Verily, the tale says these are the heirs of the Whittington estate who died. When a cursed Elizabethan chest belonging to the castle was opened, apparently the heirs perished in great pain. Indeed, so much fear and superstition surrounds this chest that it has been hidden away for many years, until recently taken to a secret location for restoration. It will remain locked shut.

During the civil war in England, Whittington castle was loyal to the Royalists until Oliver Cromwell?s Roundheads took it by force in 1643. At the time of Queen Mary II, ownership of the castle was granted to fitz Alan, Earl of Arundel. It was later sold. The new owner was Francis William Albany Esq., a London merchant who also owned Fernhill Manor and Estate. When Albany?s granddaughter married Thomas Lloyd Esq. of Ashton, the two estates were united. Presently, the owners of Whittington castle are of the Lloyd lineage. The English government is endeavoring to purchase the castle from the owners and renovate it as a historical site of England.