How Useful is the site-evidence and other sources for telling us about the Elizabethan Range at Carlisle Castle? Essay

In 1990 a very detailed survey was conducted called ‘Carlisle Castle: A survey and Documentary History’ by MR McCarthy, HRT Summerson and RG Annis. This survey due to the amount of detail and depth of the survey is very reliable. This survey talks about the existence of an ‘Elizabethan Range’ which ran from the keep to Regimental Museum, formally the Medieval Palace and along the City-facing wall. On-site evidence shows a vertical line a rough stone-work down the corner of the Regimental Museum this rough stonework shows that something has been ‘knocked off’, that another wall had previously been joined on.

This wall ran from the Medieval Palace to the Keep. Other on-site evidence is 4 blocked up fireplaces along the inside of the City-facing wall which would have been the back-wall of the Elizabethan Range. There are 4 blocked up fireplaces and what appears to be a blocked up oven, these fireplaces and oven suggest that the Elizabethan Range was used as a kitchen. On-top of the City-facing wall there are remains of a small building running from the Keep to the Regimental Museum, there are 10 post holes in the City-facing side of the Keep about half way along.

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These post holes show that there was a roof here. Some of the stones used in the walls still remain and there is evidence of a window on the left-side wall and a doorstep facing the city. The lower stonework on the side of the keep where the Elizabethan Range would have been is cleaner and less weathered than the stonework higher up this shows that these stones were protected from the elements at some point.

There is also evidence that the Elizabethan Range wasn’t a new building but a reconstruction, “Summerson has argues that the rebuilding work undertaken by Lord Scrope in the 1570s represented not so much the construction of a wholly new building, but a reconstruction of one that previously existed. ” Some evidence for this is the different dates of the construction of the fireplaces. “The characteristics of the masonry… suggest that [the fireplaces] are medieval rather than Tudor. ” The Elizabethan Range was built around 1577, so some of the fireplaces that have been blocked up were built before the Elizabethan Range.

Other evidence that the Elizabethan Range is a reconstruction is ‘Garnforth’s Map’ from 1545 which shows a building running from the Keep to the Medieval Palace this may have been the beginning of the Elizabethan Range but more likely it was a previous building. Another plan done of the castle in 1550 by an unknown artist also shows a building running from the keep to the Medieval Palace, these two maps back each other up making them reliable. This evidence tells us that the Elizabethan Range was a reconstruction of a previous unknown building and that the Elizabethan Range was probably a kitchen.

On the wall adjacent to the Keep is a plaque erected in 1577 it says that ‘Queen Elizabeth erected this work at her own expense while Lord Scrope was Warden of the West March. ‘ This tells us that the Elizabethan range was either started or completed in 1577 and that Queen Elizabeth I paid for it. Robert Carlyle, who was born in Carlisle in 1773 and painted for historical record and was very accurate, he was a leading artist at that time this makes his painting, the ‘Long Hall’ very reliable.

The Long Hall from 1719 shows the Elizabethan Range, this painting proves the existence of the Elizabethan Range. It also shows a line of stonework running just above the second floor this was probably a pervious roof and that the upper two floors were added at a later date. The styles of windows also provide evidence for this, the windows from the lower two floors are Tudor in style while the windows from the upper two floors are Georgian in design. This evidence supports the addition of two floors at a later date.

Another painting done in 1835 by Matthew Nutter also shows the Long Hall and Elizabethan Range, it was painted 20 years after the Elizabethan Range was knocked down however. Although Nutter’s painting does back up Carlyle’s however Nutter probably copied Carlyle’s painting due to the outstanding similarities plus Nutter haa previously copied Carlyle’s’ work and because the Elizabethan no longer existed when Nutter painted the Long Hall and Elizabethan Range.

On the other hand they are both primary sources and done by reliable artists so overall they’re reliable. The paintings are useful for telling us about the Elizabethan Range because they prove the existence of the Elizabethan Range, show us some details about the Elizabethan Range, tell us where it was situated and indicate that the upper two floors were added later. The site evidence is useful because it tells us where the Elizabethan Range was situated, that is was probably a kitchen and that is was probably a reconstruction.

Garnforth’s Map and the Anonymous Map are useful because they prove that the Elizabethan Range was a reconstruction. I think that the Paintings are the most useful because they tell us the most about the Elizabethan Range however the site evidence is useful for backing up the paintings. The paintings do not tell us however that the Elizabethan Range was a reconstruction.


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