Burg Eltz Castle is located in Münstermaifeld, Germany. This medieval castle sits high upon a rocky crag, towers over the Moselle River, and is surrounded on three sides by the Elzbach River. The castle was built along an important medieval trade route, which allowed the nobles to protect the route and collect taxes and tithes from passing merchants. Thirty-three generations of the Rübenach and Rodendorf families have lived in the castle since the 12th century, and this continues today, as Dr. Karl Graf currently owns the castle. The castle is divided into many sections, which allowed different branches of the families to make Eltz Castle their home. The Romanesque keep is the oldest part of the castle and dates to 1157. The castle was not built for defense, but as a grand rural home for German nobles. In essence, it’s three castles in one, where each family built different sections during various architectural periods. This melding of architecture makes it a hodgepodge of Medieval, Late Gothic, Baroque, and Romanesque. It has the fairytale appearance that I love. Eltz Castle is open to the public.
Blair Castle is located in the village of Blair Atholl in Perthshire, Scotland. The castle is strategically located in the Strath of Garry, making it the gatekeeper to the Grampians, and the most direct route to Inverness. John I Comyn, Lord of Badenoch, owned Blair Castle. While Lord Badenoch was fighting in the Crusades, his northern neighbor David I Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl built upon Badenoch’s land. Upon his return, Badenoch won back his land and incorporated the new tower into his own castle. Although the castle was built in the 13th century, the majority of construction was done during the 15th century. The castle was under siege twice, once by Cromwell’s army in 1652 and again in 1746 by the Jacobites. Apartments were added in the mid-18th century. The clock tower was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1814. In 1870’s, the castle was remodeled in the Scots Baronial style, and a ballroom was added. A new ballroom wing was added during further remodeling in 1885. There is a Grand Fir tree on the property, which is considered the second-tallest tree in Great Britain. The castle is open to the public.
Powis Castle is a medieval castle located in Powys, Wales. Powis castle was the fortress of a dynasty of Welsh princes in Mid-Wales. The castle was built by Welsh prince Gruffudd ap Gwenwynwyn in 1252 AD. He wished to establish his independence from the North Wales princes, who were traditional enemies. Powis Castle was built by the Welsh, unlike many of the castles in Northern Wales, which were built by the English. Gruffudd was forced into exile in 1274 and the castle was destroyed. Within three years, Gruffudd returned and rebuilt Powis Castle. With no male heir, the castle and lordship passed to an heiress, Hawise, who married Sir John Charlton from Shropshire. Descendants of Charlton held the castle for over 100 years. Again, due to the lack of a male heir, the castle passed to two daughters. In 1578, Sir Edward Herbert leased the castle and eventually purchased it in 1587. In 1644, Powis Castle was captured by Parliamentary Troops and not returned to the family until the restoration of King Charles II. The fortress is known for its remarkable State Bedroom, extensive gardens, deer park, and beauty. The castle is under the ownership of the National Trust.
L. A. Hilden: Regency TIme Travel available for a free e-book, this weekend only. June 20-22
Kilkenny Castle is located in Kilkenny, Ireland. The castle was built for William Marshal, the fourth Earl of Pembroke in 1195 AD and completed in 1213 AD. The defensive structure was built to control the crossing point of the Nore River. The castle dominates the “High Tower” of Kilkenny City and serves as a symbol of the Norman occupation. The original structure was made of wood and designed in the motte-and-bailey style, twenty years passed before the first stone structure was built. Three of the original stone towers have survived to this day. The Castle became the home of the powerful Butler family when James Butler, the third Earl of Ormonde, purchased the castle and established himself as a ruler of the area in 1391. Through the centuries, the castle underwent renovations and additions, making it a structure of many architectural styles. For nearly 600 years, the Butler family thrived, but by the 18th century the castle had become rundown as the Butler family suffered financial misfortunes. In 1967, the sixth Marquess of Ormonde sold the abandoned castle to the Castle Restoration Committee. In the 20th century, the castle was restored and opened to visitors.