We’ve recently heard crashes and rumbles from the old building, and so today I set myself the task of finding out what was going on. The obvious culprit was the chimney stack at the back of the castle. But the small apertures now appearing, while a problem for the chimney stack itself, would not a cacophony make.
As you’ll know we are presently working on the plans for the building, and much of the internal structure will be removed, so our only real concern is if the exterior is compromised. Externally it looks fine, but a fuller inspection was indicated.
So I went inside. To find the old library filled to head height with rubble, joists, plaster and shelving. I should add here, that I have an ulterior motive to this scouting about: at some point in the next week or so, I’ll be taking our minidigger into the structure to begin the mammoth task of clearing the castle out – the sort of job all men love, combining a good tidy up, including bonfire, with a good dose of danger!
As you can see from the photo above, the shelving is still in situ, but the blackened joists from the floors above have now all fallen in.
When you look up you begin to see how dangerous this structure is.
At the very top, in the chimney, is the double hole showing the side-by-side flues. Below that two door apertures, with spindly floor joists between – these would have been the joists which held up the floor to the chapel.
Below the first storey door, you then find the tops of the library shelves, which swiftly descend into all the materials which have fallen into this compartment of the castle both during the fire and after. Slate, plaster, lath, and stone is all visible and expected. The bracken and saplings are also present throughout the ruin.
What I didn’t expect (and therefore didn’t get a photo of) were the trio of bumblebees buzzing about the wall to the right of this picture – see the photo below which gives an idea of the scale of the internal structure, and an idea of the structures sheer immovability.
The apertures into the flues are very visible at the top of this picture. The flues are vulnerable in this way because of the weathering action of rain combined with the sulphur and other volatiles from years of coal and wood burning.
I’ll post photos from another ‘room’ shortly.
*With apologies to Joseph Conrad.