Barbury Castle: some personal memories
Sunday 19th October
As has so often been the case with social media and this blog, yet again a Twitter interaction – this time with @lolliesmum when I published the post below about Barbury Castle, prompted her to share with me – and with you the listeners – some wonderful personal memories of Barbary Castle from her childhood. And here they are for you to enjoy. Then below that is an extract from the article by the Swindon Advertiser that kicked it all off in the first instance:
“Barbury Castle. What images and memories are conjured by those two words.
I spent part of my childhood on the base at RAF Wroughton, and being sound of limb and rather much younger than I am now, used to cycle and walk up the hill to the Castle. Long hot summer days, lying in the grass watching the swallows swoop and call, listening to the skylarks and sheep, and generally communing with nature. Or having fun as we called it. We’d sneak food from the cupboards (illicit picnics always taste better) and off we’d go. When Dad was on leave, we go up there in spring and autumn, flying kites, watching the Hercules fly into Lyneham and marvelling at how small and tidy Swindon looked from up there. Winter was for walking around, blowing the cobwebs away, wrapped up warmly on a frosty clear day.
Since those days, I still occasionally visit the Castle. I have introduced my friends to the beauties of the area, and on one memorable day went up there after work to fly kites because with my best friend because were stressed out with work. As a stress buster it worked superbly.
Even though the Hercules no longer fly, and Swindon sprawls hugely in the distance, it’s still a place of peace and beauty where you can hear the skylarks and watch kestrels and hawks hunt.”
Here’s a link to the council’s information about the place.
Wednesday October 2015
The Castle on the edge of the town – from the Swindon Advertiser
I just saw this rather nice article on the Swindon Advertiser on-line so thought I’d share it here on the blog as I haven’t got anything about Barbary Castle on here. For the full article do follow the link above but here’s a little bit of it to pique your interest:
“Over the years Barbury Castle has become a source of fascination, a place of contemplation, a breezy, bustle-free area of dog walking exploits, a vantage point with virtually unparalled views of the surrounding countryside …
… Oozing atmosphere, it has been invaded by Celtic tribes, slave traders, treasure hunters, cattle rustlers, Roman soldiers, American GIs, arsonists, vandals, worshippers of pagan gods – and I haven’t even mentioned King Kenrick and his cut-throat army of rampaging Saxons.
Erica was buried in her boots within a slingshot of the battlements around 1,300 years ago. For hundreds of years Barbury Castle was the heart of a thriving Iron Age community. During World War Two, artillery gunners took potshots at enemy aircraft from its lofty, windswept ramparts …
… But when and how did this mighty edifice, this immense structure, come to be? Spectacularly located just off one of the UK’s most important ancient routes, the 5,000 year-old Ridgeway, Barbury Castle first began to take shape around 2,500 years ago.
We can only imagine the colossal effort it must have taken – with the use of antlers as digging tools – to erect that pair of steep defensive earth ramparts and ditches that enclose the 12-acre fortress. You can only truly appreciate it by walking around it.
Its chalky ramparts – or banks – would have been bright white when first constructed, a glaring landmark for miles around, perhaps a status symbol.
Its purposes? A settlement, a gathering place and a defence for the Britons who built it to protect themselves from hostile tribes. A 1998 month-long survey found evidence of 40 hut circles from 400BC, suggesting it was a key Iron Age stronghold/settlement.”
That’s just a small section from the article by the Swindon Advertiser and it’s well worth a read: http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/11535860.The_castle_on_the_edge_of_town/?ref=twt