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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

In Search of Medieval Northumberland: Alnwick

Statue of Harry "Hotspur" Percy (1364-1403), killed at Battle of Shewsbury
This past spring we visited Northumberland and Cumbria, concentrating on its Roman antiquities, including our three-mile walk of Hadrian's Wall HERE. In the autumn we went in search of medieval Northumberland.

Northumberland's north border runs along Scotland's southeast border, their singular history during the Middle Ages one of mutual warfare. Fortified castles were built throughout Northumberland and Cumbria as barriers against Scottish invasion, or from which to stage invasion into Scotland, their nobles appointed Border wardens
Alnwick's Bond Gate - red lights alternate one-way traffic.
We stayed in a Victorian-era house in the town of Alnwick (pronounced A-nik) within walking distance of Alnwick Castle, the Percy stronghold from 1309 onward, where their descendant, the present duke of Northumberland, resides.
Alnwick's weekly market began in medieval times.
Jay deciding on a cheese
The Velveteen Rabbit sold rabbit pies.
Dressed warmly, the game pie seller had been at her stall since early morning.

Jay told the seller he'd buy a rabbit pie if she'd sing, "Run Rabbit, Run," and she obliged. If you're unfamiliar with this World War II British song, listen HERE
Jay's lunch of rabbit pie, fresh bread, raspberries, and smoked Stilton cheese. I had duck pie.

After lunch we walked across town to the medieval St. Michael's church.
Church trustee preparing to lock up St. Michael's
Effigy, possibly of Isabella de Vesci, lady of Alnwick Castle prior to the Percy's purchase in 1309.

A dog at her feet, symbol of faithfulness.

Lesson: We and our headstones will be erased from history.
I'll recount our next adventure, our visit to the magnificent Alnwick Castle, in my next blog.

Alnwick Castle

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