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Looking towards Avon beach from Highcliffe beach, Highcliffe, Dorset


in the county of Dorset

St Andrews Church a Ruin, at Roudham, Norfolk


in the county of Norfolk

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Pictures of Raby Castle

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

About Raby Castle

Arriving close to Staindrop from almost any direction the view of Raby Castle, built by the powerful Nevill family in the 14th-century and said to have a hall in which 700 knights could meet, is awesome in its stark grandeur. The castle walls hold secrets uncovered for over a thousand years, leading back to the time when in the 11th-century King Cnut had the first castle here.

The Nevill family had but one aim - the Crown, and to help them in their quest they built for themselves the magnificent fortress we see today. Its walls were built to be unassailable, its towers and turrets, large hall and stone minstrels' gallery, all were significant of their might, wealth and ruthless ambition.

There is no place in the north of England like Raby, even its kitchen is said to be the grandest in the country. It is of majestic proportions, it has gleaming Victorian copperware and in spite of being used until quite recently, it is seemingly little altered since in was built in the 14th-century. The great Barons Hall, is where the Nevill family mustered hundreds of knights to aid Mary Queen of Scots in her bid for the English throne during 1569. A bid which was to fail and cause the demise of the Nevill's.

In 1626 the castle passed into the hands of the Vane family, Earls of Darlington and Dukes of Cleeveland. They added the magnificent Entrance Hall and dramatic Octagon Drawing Room. Lord Barnards family have lovingly cared for and preserved the castle since that time and although many original medieval features remain, most of what we now see dates from alterations in 1765 and the mid-19th century. The house contains English, Dutch and Flemish paintings, elegant furniture and a magnificent collection of porcelain. In the coach house visitors can see the family carriages and other vehicles.

Gentle deer nuzzle the grass of the surrounding 200 acre parkland where visitors can stroll in walled gardens and enjoy lovely views of the local countryside.

This is an evocative place to visit, there is much history attached to the two families that have owned Raby. There is also talk of the castle being
haunted. Charles Nevill is said to stalk the Barons Hall, Henry Vane, supposedly without his head, haunts the library and the first Lady Barnard has made various appearances in all parts of the castle.

Raby Castle hosts regular events and is open to the public.

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