Monday, 1 December 2014

Quiz Night

We held our ever popular Quiz Night back in October.  Eight teams battled it out in a keenly fought contest, covering typical quiz subjects but also included a round about paintings and artefacts in the Castle.  The questions were pitched at just the right level - so much so that victory was decided by a single point......

See you there next year!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Tapestry Conservation

We have recently embarked on a major project to repair and conserve some of the tapestries in the Castle.

These are important artefacts, many of which are in a poor state of repair and so prompt action is required to preserve them for future generations.

Here are a couple of photos showing work on the tapestries in the Dining Room.

Watch this space and the Buttress for updates.....

Harvest Celebration

In October, the Castle hosted a Festival of Harvest, celebrating all aspects of the harvest.

Here are a couple of photos from that event, showing traditional logging techniques and making linen from flax.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Visit to St Mary's, Berkeley

In September, the Friends visited St Mary's Church in Berkeley.  We were treated to a very interesting talk and tour by Peter Yardley, focusing on the many and varied links between the Church and Castle.  An excellent afternoon was rounded off by plenty of tea, coffee and an array of home-baked cakes!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Friends of Berkeley Castle Summer Party

On Sunday 17th August 40 Friends of Berkeley Castle & their guests enjoyed the annual Friends’ Garden Party hosted by Charles & Daisy Berkeley. The refreshments were of the usual high standard, and this year we had the pleasure of a sunny evening in the shelter of the keep garden. 

Dr Stuart Prior, of Bristol University, and his wife Catherine were our guests. This year Stuart has made some fascinating discoveries in one of the outer keep walls which provide compelling evidence that the castle keep used to be much larger than the structure that we see today. Stuart led a number of intrepid Friends to the top of the keep wall to see this architectural evidence - as well as to enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

Come and join us next year!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Berkeley Show 2014

Despite a wet Berkeley Show, Friends and visitors were welcomed onto the Friends stand to relax and share a drink......

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

FoBC Summer Party

It was our annual Summer Party at the Castle last Sunday.  As usual, the Pimms was flowing freely, there were canapés a-plenty and to round off a perfect evening, the sun even shone!


Man the battlements!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Kentchurch Court Visit, June 2015

The Friends visited Kentchurch Court in Herefordshire in June - as usual, a good time was had by all!

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Battle of Agincourt, 1415, & Battle of Waterloo, 1815

Next year sees two highly significant anniveraries:  the 600th anniversary of Henry V's famous victory at Agincourt and the 200th anniversary of Wellington's defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo.

We are hoping to mark these momentous occasions with two great talks at Berkeley Castle during 2015 and are in dialogue with eminent historians to reserve slots in their diaries.

Watch this space!

Long Bow

Take aim.......

This long bow has recently been made for the Friends and will soon be on display in the Castle.

Berkeley Archeological Dig Tour, June 2014

What a fascinating afternoon the Friends had when we recently visited the Berkeley Dig. Dr Stuart Prior met us near "The Yurt" where he began by telling us about the now almost certain existence of a Minster at Berkeley which, according to their findings, would have been roughly the same size as the one at Winchester.

Moving on to the old gift shop, we heard from an enthusiastic Stuart that their discoveries told them that the original siting of the Castle keep and its towers was quite different to what we have been led to believe! Ditches, walls and doors which lead to nowhere have convinced him that the Castle is not all that it appears to be!

On walking down to the Paddock, Stuart proudly showed us his "Trench of Many Ages"! Evidence has emerged of Roman, Saxon and Norman times and at the time of our visit, a Tudor Inn, complete with pig-pen was being excavated by the University students.

It's truly amazing what digging and scraping can reveal, and we're very lucky to have Stuart in charge of the Berkeley Dig.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

10th Year of the Berkeley Dig - Talk by Dr Stuart Prior, 2 May 2014

Once again, a large group of Friends of Berkeley Castle were entertained by the inimitable Dr Stuart Prior as he brought us up to date on the Berkeley Dig, now in its 10th year, and in the process managed to turn history on its head!
This year’s Dig in Berkeley will concentrate on the Paddock, hoping to find more evidence of Robert Fitzharding’s ‘Norman Town’ with its houses down both sides of High Street; the Norman Hall, or house, discovered a couple of years ago at the west end of the paddock, alongside the High Street, is very similar in layout to a rare ‘Jew’s House’ in Lincoln and indeed to Robert Fitzharding’s own house in Bristol which was excavated in the 1980’s.  Also under investigation will be Anglo Saxon layers in the Paddock and the Norman Cess Pits which were placed on top of a massive Anglo Saxon ditch and which have already yielded good finds.  As there are also signs of a Roman road or trackway, it looks as if there may have been continuity of Christianity in Berkeley from Roman times to the present day! 

Much more to follow in the next issue of “The Buttress”!

Being an Auctioneer of Fine Art & Antiques

Immediately after the 14th April 2014 FoBC AGM, the Friends and guests were given an excellent talk on “Being an Auctioneer of Fine Art & Antiques” by John Harvey, Director of Chorley’s Art & Antiques Ltd.

John gave some fascinating insights into his visits to country houses for the purpose of assessing their contents for house sales. One example concerned the discovery of a valuable sundial pedestal and gnomen, signed by Thomas Tompion, which had been produced for a specific house to accompany a Tompion clock. This was of particular interest to the Friends, bearing in mind the splendid Tompion longcase clock in the Dining Room at Berkeley Castle.

Full article to follow in the next issue of “The Buttress”.....

John is shown below (centre), together with Mr Berkeley and  Paul Walkden, Friends of Berkeley Castle Chairman.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Tudor Ladies at Berkeley Castle

Look who we bumped into at the Castle today.....

Volunteers Wanted

We are looking for extra pairs of hands to help with various Friends' activities, including:
  • Helping out at Friends' events
  • Collating and issuing the Buttress
  • Marketing and publicity
  • Reviewing events for the web-site & blog
All contributions gratefully received!

If you could help out in any way, please contact us on 01453 810303, or email

Or leave a comment against this blog!

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