Saturday 8 October 2011
"But it says we have to go into THAT door next... or is it upside down?"
The tree which shades our intrepid explorer, is Lady Anne's Yew, planted here in Conduit Court, Skipton Castle, in 1659, to shade future visitors, and allegedly, as a symbol of Lady Anne's belief in the longevity of her castle. Yews are sacred trees, from long before christianity, they're seen as protection, of the warding away of evil.
Back in the 1600s, there was a bloody civil war in England.
Skipton castle, royalist, held out in a three-year siege by Cromwell's parliamentarian army. There followed a negotiated surrender.
The garrison was allowed to surrender the castle, and march out in full military order, whilst retaining their arms. This was significant, the defenders were not to be taken prisoner, but to be allowed to march unhindered and unmolested, to another town of their choosing, which remained in the hands of the Royalists. Many, however, acknowledged that for them, the war was over, and returned to heir homes.
Skipton was the last great castle in the north to fall. Part of the surrender treaty agreed that the parliamentary army would respect and take care of the property of Lady Anne.
Cromwell ordered that all those castles which had stood against him should be 'slighted', that is, their walls should be broken down, their power destroyed. In Skipton, however, unlike in most other castles of the north, it seemed that respect for its countess, the only woman to have defied Cromwell for so long, protected it. the roofs and upper battlements were torn off, but much of the fabric remained. Lady Anne petitioned parliament for the right to restore her castle, and was granted it, with the proviso that the roofs were not to be remade strong enough to ever again support cannon.
Those interested in this history might find it here.
More on Lady Anne Clifford.