My personal blog as a 'grown-up' Goth and Romantic living in the Highlands of Scotland. I write about the places I go, the things I see and my thoughts on life as a Goth and the subculture, and things in the broader realm of the Gothic and darkly Romantic. Sometimes I write about music I like and sometimes I review things. This blog often includes architectural photography, graveyards and other images from the darker side of life.

Goth is not just about imitating each other, it is a creative movement and subculture that grew out of post-punk and is based on seeing beauty in the dark places of the world, the expression of that in Goth rock. It looks back to the various ways throughout history in which people have confronted and explored the macabre, the dark and the taboo, and as such I'm going to post about more than the just the standards of the subculture (Siouxsie, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, et al) and look at things by people who might not consider themselves anything to do with the subculture, but have eyes for the dark places. The Gothic should not be limited by what is already within it; inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Wallingford Castle

In which I photograph everything but the castle...
Another place I went to on my travels earlier this year was the ruins of Wallingford Castle in Oxfordshire. I was in the town because it is near where some relations of mine live, and Raven and I were visiting them. There Wikipedia article on the castle's history can be read ::here:: and is a good place to start, although while long for a Wikipedia article, it only really skims what is a approximately a millennia of history. Considering the wars, sieges, and floods it has survived and its varied uses from defensive castle to prison to location for a stately home, it is a piece of land with a LOT of history! 

Exterior of College of St Nicholas
The weather kept changing between cloud and sunshine, and as such it was hard to get a consistent set of photographs. Unusually for me, I tried photographing mostly in colour as one of the interesting things about the ruins is how many colours of stone were used to build them and the vibrant lichens that grow upon them. Most of the photographs are from a Gothic and ecclesiastical building called the College of St Nicholas (which was an organised community of priests, not the modern usage of the word to mean an educational establishment) as that is one of the buildings that remains more intact than most of the castle, of which some sections of wall remain, but which is mostly surviving earthworks. 

Spring flowers and picturesque ruins - not that Gothic!
I had a nice day out, and went for a lovely stroll around Wallingford town. I wore a frilled jacket and layered skirts, as while it was quite bright, it was not overly warm outside (British springtime). Raven took a picture of my standing by the wall. My hair looks rather blue here, but I can assure that it is the same emerald green it has been for a while. The wall does not look that tall in the first photograph, and as I am 5'9" tall, that should give some sense of scale to the wall.

Being thoroughly distracted by
my adorable not-quite-2-yet niece!
I will be back in the future, that is almost guaranteed, as I try to go back to visit my family in England as often as possible. The next time I go, I will try to take some more atmospheric photographs, and to take more photographs of what remains of the castle itself. I have been photographed here before, a long while back, by Raven when we were first dating. I would think it a lovely location for a photo-shoot. 

Fancy monuments. 
Just off the edge of the castle grounds is a small and ancient graveyard, once that to All Hallow's Church, which is no longer there, and with the relocated monument to Thomas Bennett's charitable bequest to the town, which is now by the road and I think this has contributed to its need for renovation recently as the the fumes combined with British can't have contributed well to the sandstone's longevity. Inside the monument is a carving of a vaulted ceiling, which really requires clambering into it, or at least sticking your camera in and hoping for the best, to get a good view and therefore isn't properly photographed here. 


  1. Such an absolutely gorgeous place!
    I love what you are wearing, as well as how your hair colour stands out from the walls.

    I'd love to visit that place some day, thanks for sharing! ^^

    1. My hair here is far bluer than my hair is in real life! The castle is open to visitors during the day, but is closed late afternoon, and is a popular place for picnics. If you're visiting Oxford it's well worth taking the trip out of the city to visit some of the interesting places outside the city. Sinodun is an ancient (Iron Age) fort/camp at Wittenham Clumps which is also in that area and is worth visiting.

  2. Very picturesque photos. I noticed from Wikipedia's photograph that Wallingford Castle (not surprisingly) has a tower. I can't help but wonder if it's safe to go up there. Have you ever been?

    1. Do you mean the tower-ish looking thing in the background of the photograph of St. Nicholas' College? If so, that's not a tower, it's part of the remaining upper story of the building, and it is boarded up as it is unsafe. Looking at the remains of the window tracery there was possibly a turret above it at that point, or as an ecclesiastic building, maybe a church-style steeple or bell-tower.

    2. A tower you CAN go up is the remains of the old castle at the Tudor manner of Greys Court. I'd forgotten about that! And I have been up that tower.

    3. I had followed your link to Wikipedia and expanded the photo they provided of Wallingford Castle. On the far right is what I mistakenly considered a tower.

  3. These pictures are lovely. It is impressive how many historic buildings you can truly find around the UK, it looks like you have an amazing piece of history in every corner, and that is something really difficult to find in my country (Spain) for instance. When I was living in Surrey, I became a member of the National Trust and visited lots of locations, for me is admirable you worry enough to have a charitable society like that, just because you care enough to keep your heritage up.

    1. I am surprised that there's not a lot of historic buildings in Spain; it's got an architectural history as long England or Scotland. I think The National Trust and English Heritage do a brilliant job of keeping our heritage cared for; if I ever was as luck as to live in some grand old fancy house, I would bequeath it to them so that it would continue to be cared for. A lot of old buildings here get sold off to be subdivided as flats or turned into hotels, and while they do at least remain standing that way, a lot of the how the building /worked/ in terms of interior spaces gets completely changed.


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