Of Castles, Solars and Green Rooms
Not long ago I found myself spending a few days of holiday down near Southend on the Essex coast. One afternoon we climbed up the hill to visit the ruins of Hadleigh castle which stands overlooking the railway line and the Medway marshes of the Thames estuary. Built in 1215 by Hubert de Burgh in the reign of King Henry III, the castle was substantially rebuilt a century later by Edward III as part of the Medway defences against the French during the Hundred Years War. Edward III in fact made it his principal residence outside of London for much of his reign.
Little remains of Hadleigh castle today. It was built on an unstable outcrop of London clay and developed an unfortunate habit of collapsing at unexpected moments. Large quantities of the fallen stonework were sold and carted off in the Tudor period, you can still see the tiled hearth where the wreckers melted down the valuable window leads. John Constable painted an atmospheric...
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