Recently I visited Studley Royal Park in North Yorkshire. It’s an amazing place – though expensive with it. But you can spend a day there, and we did spend a good part of a day there.
The area comprises of what was once two separate estates; the Studley Estate and the Fountain’s Abbey Estate, which were combined in the eighteenth century, when William Aislabie, owner of the former, bought the latter.
The Fountain’s Abbey Estate, as the name suggests, encompassed the ruins of Fountain’s Abbey, one of the two biggest draws of the park; the land was sold by the crown following the dissolution of the monasteries. Fountain’s Hall was built in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century; when the estates were combined, the Aislabie family stayed in Studley Royal House, but Fountain’s Hall seems to have been kept in continuous use. Some of it is now holiday apartments.
Mirror mirror on the wall
Who’s the one who’s just like me?
The one who claps their hands with glee
When others shake and cry and plea
The one who refuses to see
There’s not much further they can fall.
This will be my last post about the Isle of Man, and it’s about the two castles I visited while I was there, Castle Rushen and Peel Castle.
I’ll start with Castle Rushen, because that’s the one I visited first. It’s in Castletown, the ancient capital of the island, and is extremely well preserved. It was originally built for a Norse king, but saw development up until the sixteenth century. Over time it’s been used as a royal residence, a mint and a prison.
It’s one of those castles where there’s a set route round, making sure you see everything. There’s plenty of information boards and historical artifacts on display (mostly in a couple of rooms put aside for this), and little scenes set up with models, showing life in the castle.
This post is about the Manx Electric Railway and the Snaefell Mountain Railway. The former goes from Douglas to Ramsay, with lots of stops along the way, and you transfer to the latter at Laxey Station. As the name suggests, it goes to the top of Snaefell, the only mountain on the island.
The Manx Electric Railway was built between 1893 and 1899 and is the longest ‘narrow gauge vintage electric railway system’ in the British Isles, and uses the original Victoria and Edwardian rolling stock. I’m not one hundred percent sure what all of that means, but it sounds quite significant. Two of the trams are the oldest tram cars in the world that are still regularly used.
The Snaefell Mountain Railway was first approved in 1888 but didn’t get built until 1895. This also still has original Victorian rolling stock. While looking stuff up for this post I’ve discovered that there was an incident earlier this month where the brakes of a tram didn’t work, which led to the service being suspended for a while, but it’s back on now with a lower speed limit. Nobody was hurt, they did manage to stop the tram, but that’s still somewhat alarming to hear, and I felt obligated to mention it.