PAUSE FOR THOUGHT: The Castle Study

We learn that when you are defending higher ground is better.

In North Wales we had to climb a steep hill to the castle, and find the various forms of defence used in medieval times. We learned about the portcullis, the moat and the murder holes, through which fire and other undesirable matter was poured onto attackers.

We learned how they cooked over open fires, how they had to fetch water from the well, and the origins of ‘turning the tables’ and ‘getting the wrong end of the stick’.

We heard stories of dragons and ghosts, beautiful princesses and brave men.

Ordered by Edward I and begun in 1282 by Henry de Lacey Denbigh Castle was part of the ring of castles intended to subdue the Welsh who lived there. And around the castle is the old town wall that enclosed the community. Standing within it, one can imagine the busyness and noise of the castle and its surroundings.

And there, in the centre of the grounds, are the remains of a church, built for the inhabitants of the castle and the town to worship God, and often used by the enemy for sanctuary.

The idea was, that where God was, there you were safe. And where God was, there should be no murder. St Hilary’s Church, now with only the tower remaining, was a place of worship until 1874, and all but the tower demolished in 1923.

700 years on, the significance of a church, built nearly 1300 years after Christ, is still evident in its position, its tradition and its history. What evidence of our faith will we leave behind?

Pippa Cook

E-mail: info@stibbardmethodists.org.uk