"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on August 31, 2017 by Sioux under General
2 Comments

 

My holiday in SA over, I headed back to the UK and directly up to Liverpool as good friends of mine were tying the knot. The venue was Leasowe Castle on the Wirral. What an awesome place for a wedding!     

Leasowe Castle was originally built in 1593 by the 5th Earl of Derby; 2nd heir to the English throne. It was named ‘New Hall’ and consisted of only one octagonal tower. The walls were a meter thick, and the door was placed 1.8 meters above ground level to protect against rising tides and for security. It is thought that ‘New Hall’ was built for use when sporting activities were occurring, such as hawking and for a high viewpoint for horseracing, for which the area was well known. Over the years, each new owner has added new towers, wings, turrets and outbuildings; and at the end of the 17th century, it was deserted and left derelict; and landed up being renamed ‘Mock Beggar Hall’. 

                                                                                                                   During the late 17th – early 18th centuries, the castle became an hotel,

                                                                                                                    although unsuccessfully; and was then converted into a home. Oak

                                                                                                                    from the (now vanished) submerged forests off the coast was brought

                                                                                                                    in for use in the library and some of the paneling from the old Exchange Buildings was obtained before the buildings 

                                                                                                                     were demolished. The Star Chamber at the Exchange Buildings was named this due to the bright stars that 

                                                                                                            decorated the ceiling. It is said that this was so convicts could gaze up at them while being sentenced. This same ceiling 

                                                                       and four tapestries depicting the 4 seasons were brought to the castle and installed in the Star Room. 

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The stone and iron staircase, aptly named ‘Battle Staircase’ due to the name plates of famous British battles set into the wrought iron railings. The name plates also display the battle dates, the name of the reigning sovereign and generals in command of the troops. The building was renamed ‘Leasowe Castle Hotel’ in 1891.

 

The name ‘Leasowe’ comes from the Anglo-Saxon Leasowes or ‘Meadow Pastures’. It was used as a convalescing home for retired railwaymen from 1910 right up to 1970. For a brief period during WW1 it was also used to accommodate German prisoners of war. The castle again stood empty after 1970 until it was bought in 1982, and restored as one of the finest hotels on the Wirral. 

While the wedding party got themselves all suitably attired, I explored the castle grounds and besides getting chased off the golf course (how was I to know I was walking on the greens?), I got some fab photos. There were loads of bees around, so I had my choice of which ones to use as “practice-makes-perfect” shots! 

There was a fantastic sunset happening, so I headed down to the beach. One of the guests was strolling along the walkway, and was rather happy with the candid shots I got of him! The sunset was brilliant, but the party was starting! And what a fabulous party it was too! I danced until my feet hurt!

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And then it was wedding bells, and party time! 

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The day after the festivities, I went for a bit of a walkabout, to the lighthouse along the coast, ‘Leasowe Lighthouse’. It was built in 1763 and

is the oldest brick-built lighthouse in Britain. According to local tradition its foundations were built on bales of cotton from a nearby shipwreck.

 

Around 1763, what may have been the first parabolic reflector in a lighthouse, was installed. It was one of four lights on

the North Wirral foreshore, the others being two at Hoylake and another – a lower light – at Leasowe. The latter was

soon destroyed by the sea and replaced in a different area. The lighthouse was operational until 1908, with the only

known female lighthouse keeper in those days, a Mrs. Williams. It became a tearoom for a period, but was unused for

many years, until 1989 when it became the base for the ranger service of the North Wirral Coastal Park. The building

now houses a visitor centre and is occasionally open to the public.

 

My holiday had had a perfect ending, and it was time to head to my next assignment.

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2 responses to “New stories; old history”

  1. Pauline Smith says:

    Wow – as usual, your history lessons are quite amazing …

  2. Cheryl Wilkinson says:

    Interesting info on the castle & as usual stunning pics!

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