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Warton Rectory, Lancashire


in the county of Lancashire

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Pictures of Barnard Castle

a Castle in the town of Barnard Castle, in the county of County Durham

About Barnard Castle

This historic town is a picturesque centre for discovering the delights of Teesdale.

The town occupies a clifftop site above the River Tees, it grew up outside of the castle founded by Guy de Bailleul, and rebuilt by his nephew, Bernard Balliol, after 1150. The castle eventually passed to Royal Control in the 15th century. Of the romantic ruins on this amazing site, the most striking surviving feature is the cylindrical, early 13th century, round tower. The castle, a dramatic focal point of the town, is in the care of English Heritage and is open to the public.

Barnard Castle holds the building famous as the home of one of the country's finest art collections, the Josephine and John Bowes Museum. This extraordinary property is built in the style of a French chateau, to a design by Jules Pellechet. The museum opened in 1892 after the couple, he the son of the Earl of Strathmore and she, Josephine, a French actress, had died. Both were dedicated collectors of paintings, furniture and ceramics and visitors can see countless beautiful things, in the setting that was the dream of this celebrated husband and wife. Found west of the town, this important museum is a visit not to be missed, it has paintings by El Greco, Goya, Courbet, Boucher and other noted artists, superb tapestries, French 18th century furniture, costume, religious art and objects of art arranged in period rooms. One of the most delightful rooms is a children's room, here you can see wonderful dolls and doll's houses.

In the town centre there is an impressive Butter Market or Market Cross from 1747. This has served a variety of purposes, including usage as the town's lock-up! Dairy produce has been sold from here and it has also served as Town Hall and Court House.

This delightful town has been visited by many noted persons including Charles Dickens who stayed at the King's Head Hotel in 1838 whilst he was writing Nicholas Nickelby.

In the broad thoroughfares and old streets of Barnard Castle, visitors may note a rich variety of architecture and cobblestones. At the corner of the Market Place is St. Mary's Church dating from Norman times.

One and a half miles south-east of the town, on the eastern bank of the Tees, visitors can see the ruins of Egglestone Abbey, founded as a Premonstratensian Abbey in the late 12th century. The abbey flourished until the Dissolution of 1540, after this Henry VIII granted the lands to Robert Strelley who turned some of the buildings into an impressive private house. The house was abandoned in the 19th century and today the remaining buildings are protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument in the care of English Heritage. Hauntingly atmospheric, evocative of the time when religion, King and country where all, these magnificent ruins are well worth seeing.

Barnard Castle is not just a place for lovers of history, its location in the Upper Teesdale Valley makes the town a perfect base for the enjoyment of country pursuits such as walking, cycling and birdwatching. It is ideal for lovers of peace and tranquillity, and has immense appeal for botanists and archaeologists.

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