Saturday, 30 January 2010
Broughton Manor and Warwick Castle
Today was brilliant. I awoke before the sun to get some predawn work done on my philosophy paper before the OPUS excursion. This was the day we Oxford exchange students were journeying to Broughton Manor and Warwick Castle. At 10 AM we gathered outside of Hertford College and off we went into the sunny emerald pasture.
It was bright and cold today, but luckily the sun shone on our merry band all day. The first stop, Broughton Manor, is still inhabited by Lord and Lady Saye. The Great Hall of the Manor dates to the 13th century. William Wykeham, founder of New College, was one of the original owners of the Manor. Between the 17th century plaster mantel and oriental wall paper in the King Room and the tiny spiral stair case, which was the only staircase in the home for centuries, one is not sure where to look first. The Queen Anne room refers to the 17th century queen of King James I. The King room bedded both King James I (17th century) and King Edward VII (19th century). Lord Saye was a parliamentarian during the Civil War and held secret meetings in the upper most room of his manor. Cannon balls were found in the large mote that surrounds the manor from the civil war when the manor was attacked by royalists. Presently, the manor is not heated, even though the family still resides there!
After a satisfying lunch on the bus we had nearly arrived at Warwick Castle. Warwick Castle is very different from Broughton Manor. Instead of a guided tour we were given maps and allowed to roam about the castle grounds. It is much more commercialized than Broughton. I was disappointed to learn that the castle is owned by Madame Tussauds. It did explain the creepy wax figures adorning the castle though. The most discouraging aspect of the castle was the lack of historical information. Even when there was a minimal amount of interpretation one was unsure what in each room was real or reproduction. My time a President Lincoln's Cottage has made me into somewhat of a purest. I'd rather see an empty space than reproduced furniture from all periods in the same room. It was still really fun, and because it was so cheeky we got some pretty funny pictures with the wax figurines. The best part of the castle was the view from the towers. In addition to the castle mound, the oldest part of the castle dating to the 11th century, Guy's tower and Caesar's tower offer wonderful views of the English country side and the magnificent cathedral in the town of Warwick.
By 6 PM we were safely back in Oxford, and I attended to the end of that philosophy paper. As stated above, today was brilliant, absolutely brilliant.