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Grimsthorpe Castle

Lincolnshire

Greetings! We took a trip a little north on the A1, which by the way, history-lesson-time, predominantly parallels the Great North Road which was the main highway between London and Edinburgh, to visit Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire. I had come across Grimsthorpe in a brochure I had picked up. The brochure was really inviting so I decided to do a little more research into tickets as there seemed to be some good deals available. We opted for the 2019 Season Tickets because the ticket not only included admission to Grimsthorpe but also, a few special events, and one admission to Burghley House and Easton Walled Gardens. Burghley House is definitely on my list of places to visit.

A little history on Grimsthorpe Castle. It consists of the castle, gardens, and park. Grimsthorpe has been a home for the Willoughby de Eresby family since 1516. The home was granted by Henry VIII to William, Baron Willoughby de Eresby when he married Maria de Salinas, lady-in-waiting to Katherine of Aragon in 1516 (pop quiz: remember in a previous post...Katherine of Aragon was the first wife of Henry VIII who was banished for not producing a male heir and died at Kimbolton Castle following the last 22 months of her life there...this will come up again below). Construction of the castle is said to have begun in the 13th century and the oldest part is King John's Tower, which was built in the 13th century. In 1715, upon elevation to the Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven, Robert Bertie, 16th Baron Willoughby de Eresby, employed Sir John Vanbrugh to design a baroque front to the home to celebrate his new title (because doesn't everyone do that?!). Sir John Vanbrugh also designed Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard, also must sees. The Willoughby de Eres family still fulfills the hereditary office of Lord Great Chamberlain, the Monarch's representative at the Palace of Westminster, one of three families in England who fulfill this role. Some of oak trees in the park at Grimsthorpe Castle were likely to have been recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 (the big land survey) and were possibly still alive in the 20th century. Capability Brown, left his mark at Grimsthorpe as well, much to my dismay yet again, having designed the current park on the property. Grimsthorpe Castle also played a role both in World War I and World War II. The park was used as an emergency landing ground for the Royal Air Force in World War I and part of the central part of the park was used as a bombing range during World War II.

I've included links below to the Grimsthorpe website and Hidden England, which Grimsthorpe (and Rockingham Castle which we had visited previously around Christmastime) is a part of. I had not heard of Hidden England before, but I am sure we will be checking out some of the properties on there as well.

Grimsthorpe website: https://www.grimsthorpe.co.uk
Hidden England: https://www.hiddenengland.org

We really enjoyed Grimsthorpe Castle. We were able to do a 5.6 mile hike around the park and lake and saw some sheep and very curious deer. I included some pictures below from the trail. We arrived right when the property opened and had a wonderful walk with very typical English weather. Afterwards, we took a self-guided tour of the house. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos inside of the property. One of the most interesting things to me was in The South Corridor. The gallery there is lined with a series of thrones that various Kings and Queens used, to include: George IV, Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and Edward VII, in the old House of Commons. The Corridor also contained the rosewood desk in velvet that Queen Victoria signed her Coronation Oath on in 1838. George IV's throne was MASSIVE; he was apparently a large man with a 54 inch waist, according to the guide (apparently the nursery rhyme "Georgie Porgie" was an ode to George IV's size) . His coronation in 1821 apparently included a men's only 55 course meal; women/wives were banished to balconies to watch, according to the guide. The Gothic Bedroom in the house contained a canopy of state which supposedly hung over the throne of George IV. It was quite spectacular! The Chapel in the castle was also very beautiful. We were curious how the Willoughby family would have acquired these items as they do not receive money for their role mentioned above. The guide mentioned that the "payment," if you will, was the ability to ask for the thrones, desks, etc. Pretty sweet deal, if you ask me. She also mentioned that the house was technically part of a trust which avoids the dreaded inheritance tax. The inheritance tax could bankrupt families combined with the upkeep of the homes which is why a lot of families turn to trusts for their properties. The guide also enlightened us with a few interesting stories about Henry VIII during our visit. The first story was that Henry VIII prohibited visitors from seeing banished Katherine and Maria, being such a good friend (mentioned above) wouldn't listen, so she hopped on her horse and rode all the way from Grimsthorpe Castle to Kimbolton Castle where the guide told us that Katherine died in Maria's arms. What are friends for! Also, when Henry VIII visited Grimsthorpe Castle he took one look and realized he couldn't deal with the stairs due to a leg injury, so he stayed in a tent out back (probably "glamping") we were told. I am so glad we ran into this particular guide, she was wonderful and we had quite the conversation with her. After we finished in the house, we toured the various gardens. We really enjoyed Grimsthorpe and will hopefully return, if not just to take a walk through the park and gardens.

Grimsthorpe Castle:
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The back of the castle:
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Gardens:
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Trail:
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On to the next adventure!

Posted by LCP 08:20 Archived in England Tagged gardens home england walking castle trail hidden grimsthorpe

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Comments

Absolutely scenic and beautiful! I wish I could see what the inside of the these castles look like. I bet they are spectacular! I love seeing the sheep grazing. Something you don't see hanging in the Midwest! The gardens are just beautiful and seem so peaceful.

by Emily Bilpush

Are you guys sure traipsing is legal in Europe? I'd hate to see you end up in a dungeon somewhere. As for George IV, if only he'd known about the Jim Cobb diet.

by Ron Cobb

Another great blog post! I checked out the “Hidden England “ website and was surprised that (with the exception of Lincoln Cathedral) I hadn’t heard of these places. Thanks for the fascinating info!

by Lucinda C Cobb

Looks like the hike around the grounds and garden were spectacular! The castle web site was interesting too.

by rodesnyder

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