Pictures of Fotheringhay
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The lantern tower of the Church of St. Mary and All Saints at Fotheringhay shines through the deepening shadows of the great trees that frame it, shadows matched in darkness by those less visible that haunt the village where the final tragedy of Mary, Queen of Scots was enacted.
A mound here once carried the grim castle in which Mary was imprisoned and executed in 1587. Today, the place in which Queen Mary met her death remains thistle-barbed and grassy and each summer Scottish thistles cover the site, growing tall and quite splendid as if reaching for the sky. It is said that Mary planted these Thistles shortly before she died. The castle was built in 1100 and was rebuilt in the 14th-century when it was used as a Royal residence. During the 17th-century, the castle fell into a state of decay and was demolished.
Fotheringhay parish church, the Church of St.Mary and All Saints has a most magnificent tower that can be seen from miles around. It rises in stages and is grandly topped by a gilt falcon, the badge of the illustrious House of York. This church is of Cathedral like proportions and it's size is matched by the treasures housed within, there are numerous windows which allow in floods of light. This is a building that looks quite magificent when an early spring sun illuminates the tower and equally so in high summer when the church is dappled in the late evening sunlight.
In the main street, limestone cottages stand solid and often four square with heavy slate roofs. At the east end of the village stands a house reputed to have been built as a hostel by Edward IV when he was resident at the castle, it has a 15th-century gateway and a Gothic arch.
Nowadays, the mellow old cottages and willow-hung banks of the river Nene create an air of pure tranquility, so much so that it difficult to imagine the macabre deeds of 1587. It is a pretty place strewn with a diversity of quaint old cottages and the grander, more elegant houses of a later build. The river Nene wends it's way through Fotheringhay as it does through much of the pleasant Northamptonshire countryside.
Close-by is the Nene Valley Railway, as is Sacrewell Farm and Country Centre. Prebendal Manor House, Elton Hall and the National Trust Property of Lyveden New Bield are all worthy of a visit. There is much of interest to see and do in this delightful region but long after you return home it will be the abiding memory of tall strong Thistles and a magnificent church dappled in late evening sunlight that will remain with you forever.
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