Discover more from Roland’s Travels
with a video walk up and onto Castle Hill
Mere Castle, Wiltshire
If you fancy an excellent physical workout, then a climb to the top of Castle Hill, Mere, is just the thing for you! It is a steep walk; however, for wheelchair users, you can make it part way to at least enjoy the stunning views over Mere. One lady was at this level using her powered mobility scooter.
The castle no longer exists, and above ground, there are no visible signs apart from the earthworks. At the top of the hill is a memorial to the 43rd Wessex Infantry. Please watch the video to see what’s at the top and the magnificent views.
Richard, the Earl of Cornwall, donated £1000 to The Knights Hospitallers, a medieval and early modern Catholic military order. Richard was a son of King John d.1216 and brother to King Henry III d. 1272. It’s always challenging to calculate the value of that money in today’s terms. Perhaps looking at earnings helps, and we note that an unskilled labourer would earn no more than £2 per year. A thousand pounds would therefore equate to 500 years’ wages for him. In return for his generosity of cash, Richard was given land, the Manor of Mere, in 1243.
In 1253 Richard was given permission to build the castle. A document detailing repairs indicates that the castle was of rectangular construction with six lead-covered towers. It had a hall (no castle would be complete without a banqueting hall), a dungeon and a very necessary deep well. The castle also had a chapel.
The north tower collapsed in 1303 and required extensive repairs, a sign of poor or hurried construction, perhaps? If it hadn’t, we might have known less about the castle without the document listing repairs and providing details.
Mere Castle Abandoned
Mere Castle appears to have been abandoned during the 14th century. In 1398 Richard II ordered the lead to be stripped from the castle’s roofs and taken to Portchester Castle in Hampshire for use there. The stone from the walls has all vanished, and many of the old houses in Mere are likely to have been built from it. The people back in time have always been better at recycling than we are today!
To learn more about Mere, click the link below.
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