Saturday, 21 June 2014

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. Shrewsbury

Q2. Noel Hill (First Lord Berwick)

внимание друзья! Noel Hill is listed in some references, as first Baron Berwick but the National Trust, who look after Attingham Park, call him '1st Lord Berwick'.

The initial clues seem to place us around six miles north north west of Shrewsbury, which is listed as the county town of Shropshire. There were two castles in that area at one time, Wilcott castle near Nesscliffe and Shrawardine castle (parts of which lie either side of the river Severn). Shrawardine is the most likely fit with the clues, as it seems to have been destroyed by the Welsh c 1215 (by a force led by Llewelyn ap Iowerth). Some sources claim that it was rebuilt by John Fitz Alan (c 1244) and renamed 'Castle Isabela', after his wife. From the photographs of it, there seem to be only a few stones left standing on the site.

A ruined fortified manor house built c 13th century for Robert Burnell, a bishop who was appointed chancellor (c 1274), is most likely Acton Burnell castle, which lies around seven miles or so, south east of Shrewsbury.

An estate which sits four miles east/south east of Shrewsbury, is probably Attingham Park. The National Trust website, claims that it was built by the first Lord Berwick, who from a quick check of some of his biographies, was called Noel Hill (born c 1745 and appointed mp for Shrewsbury c 1768).

A ruined abbey which is situated three miles north east of the town centre is most likely to be Haughmond Abbey, which English heritage claim has a substantially surviving chapter house with a frontage richly bedecked with twelfth and fourteenth century carving and statuary.

Travelling five and a half miles from the abbey, would bring us into the vicinity of Morton Corbett castle, which English heritage say is a ruined medieval castle and a Tudor  manor house which once belonged to the Corbetts. The house was destroyed during the English civil war. Two miles north west of Haughmond abbey, is the site of the battle of Shrewsbury (c 21st July 1403). This looks to have been a bit of a donnybrook involving the exchange of a very large number of arrows, between the Lancastrian king, Henry IV and a gang of hooligans, led by Henry 'Harry Hotspur' Percy (aus Northumberland). The Northumbrians seem to have lost this battle.


  1. Its interesting that near Attingham park is Longner Hall which superficially seemed to be the correct estate as hinted by " I could pass an entire day here, maybe longer," but as you say , Lord Berwick looks like the correct answer. Usually i find the hints reliable but I cant see any obvious connection between the estates.

  2. Longner hall looks like it was built in the nineteenth century (c 1803) to replace an Elizabethan house (c 16th/17th century) so the dates do not fit with the clues given ie 'Star of the show is an eighteenth century mansion'. Noel Hill was born c 1745 and became the MP for Shrewsbury (c 1768) but Longner hall was owned by the Burton family. So the 1st Lord Berwick would seem to be a better match with the information given.....

  3. The construction date of the mansion at Attingham Park, is given as 1785 on the National Trust web site.