It turned out to be Egglestone Abbey, founded in the 1190s.
This is the bit we could see from the road to Barnard Castle. From the floor plan on the sign, I believe it’s the church. Those windows must have been spectacular with the late morning light streaming through them, given that they are even in ruin.
The church again, this time with the heavily defaced tomb of Sir Ralph Bowes of Streatham in the foreground.
Sir Ralph’s tomb again, this time with the chapter house and dormitories in the background. The cloister is to the left.
Humuhumu atop a tumbledown wall of the dormitories. (She then proceeded to jump off the wall and land on her feet unhurt, a feat that probably took a year off Mummy’s life, though she simply said, “Well done, what a big jump!”)
Slightly safer jumping, this time off the refectory wall.
Keiki walks along the refectory wall.
Back in the days when you had to carve your name in solid rock if you wanted to claim to be a “graffiti artist”.
Internal view from the novices’ room, behind the dormitories, looking down at the bloke, Humuhumu and Keiki.
External view from the novices’ room, over the neighbouring fields. Since you can’t see the dual carriageway in this direction, it’s hard to imagine that this perspective has changed much over the centuries.
Humuhumu leads the way through the dormitories.
Keiki climbs the stairs to the novices’ room behind the bloke. Humuhumu’s wellies can just be glimpsed in front.
Big walls, small boy.
Having worked up an appetite with all that jumping, we resumed our journey into Barnard Castle for a quick lunch. The caf we chose was off the main high street. I picked it when we were searching for a parking spot. It had a hand-drawn sign advertising hot chocolate out the front. Also, a full English with double servings of everything for £5. What’s not to like?
It wasn’t a large place, but it fell completely silent when we walked in and the occupants subjected us to a long hard stare that let us know you are not from round these parts; what are you doing off the high street, interlopers? The server, clearly anxious to compensate for the stony greeting of the other patrons, bustled around us smiling, and brought Humuhumu a hot chocolate with a pile of whipped cream on top that doubled the height of the mug. Breakfast was good too.
The children and I went back to the car and caught some Gen 2 Pokémon whilst the bloke ran in to Morrisons to pick up supplies. We returned to The Old Grammar School to meet with the out-laws. We strolled around the church again and had quick drive out to Ravensworth Castle, a lovely ruin which we discovered was inaccessible due to being firmly surrounded by barbed wire. Eventually we twigged that the automatic gunfire we were hearing was not from the start of the zombie apocalypse, but from the MoD firing range on the other side of the valley. Deciding not to argue with the logic of preventing inattentive ramblers from wandering into live fire, we retreated back to Kirby Hill and went down the pub.
Up next: Richmond Castle.
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