I imagine there is a name for it: defending your own personal space. We walk through the busy shopping precincts,[Malls],we queue at the checkouts, each one of us defending that infinite gap of privacy from the people around us. As a single diner you would smile at the efforts that folk take in not occupying one of the three vacant seats at your table. The village pub, posh restaurant, theatre, soccer match,a moorland walk and most obvious of all, the beach – we huddle alone or in groups ‘defending’ our [dubious] ownership of a table,chair,area of sand. Then an Englishman,invented the WWW. [Yes another British invention]. The internet was soon available to us all. We could speak to people all over the planet – from our isolated dens/bedrooms. The screen and the electrical impulses, as near as we allowed anyone to get close to us. I am amazed on reflection that I have been part of this revolution for some ten years now. The first rule is that you create and sustain your anonimity. My first effort reflected the strange world I was entering – ‘Alien Dream’. In French you are aware they have masculine and feminine words, even in English AD was deemed to be ‘feminine’. The problems are obvious!

My hobby is Genealogy, the history of my family. It will be plain to all that history is my favourite subject. History, is usually written by the main players, I find it more interesting to learn about how our ancestors coped with the social and economic problems of their days. The Hymn, All things bright an beautiful, says: ‘The rich man in his castle, The poor man at his gate. Well my lot were both. All civilisations have protected family, in barrows, pallasaides and castles. The Anjovian Empire extended from the borders of Scotland to the Mediteranean Sea…….dotted around on rivers, on estuaries were castles. Some large some small. Testimony to the rich accomplishments of England and France. They are foreboding structures. Haunted by the spirits of the past. My fascination with castles began when I heard the methods employed during sieges. Two of which were the hurling of rancid meat into the castle for the starving defenders to eat. The catapult like structure, bears the name of one line of ancestors – did they make them?….Did they fire them ? …..!! Another was the idea of the besiegers digging under the castle foundations and shoring the castle up with tarred wood. This was ignited, [later gunpowder was used], and the wall of the castle collapsed. . On holiday we would visit the places like Conwy and Scarborough…..they put huge carpets up on the walls to stop the draughts and called them tapistries. Castle stairs apparently spiral to the right almost universally. The reason for this is most people are right handed and hold their sword in this hand. An attacker running up the stairs is therefore hampered by the central supporting column of the staircase. The defenders however did not suffer such problems. They drank and caroused the days away between battles. The castle owner paid for all these festivities and this became a recognised method for the monarch of the day to stop his followers from becoming too rich, and powerful! .

Sir William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, in 1766 made an impassioned defence of private homeowners against discretionary government searches.He enunciated on the right of an Englishman to be secure in his home: "The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail — its roof may shake — the wind may blow through it — the storm may enter — the rain may enter — but the King of England cannot enter; all his forces dare not cross the threshold of that ruined tenement." In England, law is created by precedent – not a written constitution, so it is that this right dates back to 1604, the year that Shakespeare presented Othello. An individual named Semayne complained that his home had been broken into and his assets seized by the sheriff. The judgment that followed declared: ‘The house of everyone is his castle.’ It went on to say,’ that if a door is open, a sheriff may enter but that it is not lawful for the sheriff, on request made and denied, at the suit of a common person to break the defendant’s house.’ One 18th-century commentator wrote: ‘The law of England has so particular and tender a regard to the immunity of a man’s house, that it styles it his castle, and will never suffer it to be violated with impunity. For this reason, no doors can in general be broken open to execute any civil process; though, in criminal cases, the public safety supersedes the private.

This right, ‘…of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.’ is enshrined in the constitution of the Commonwealth of United States. [Fourth Amendment ].

The above is a rather convoluted explanation of why my space is named as it is. So yes I do live in a castle, my home IS my castle. As with most strategic edifices, it is built on a hill, overlooking the Trent Valley. Unlike nearby Ashby Castle it has double glazing and the larder is always well stocked. [This latter fact comes from my genes who leant to hoard during War time rationing!]. Whilst having had the title by document – it seemed that Glencairn was an appropriate name to use on the internet. I do not display a picture of the real Castle Glencairn for obvious reasons. As children we would play, King of the Castle, today I play on the internet from my castle. It is the refuge from whence I travel around the world from this book lined room, isolated from, but close to, friends the world over.


8 thoughts on “KING OF THE CASTLE

  1. Greetings.
    I have enjoyed reading \’KING OF THE CASTLE\’. Always nice to have a little bit of background. I too have a well stocked lader but not influenced by past war time rationing ….  Yes the intenret is a wonderful \’playground\’ with few tangible boundaries. However at times it can invite jerks……
    Wishing you a very good week end.

    Wonderful piece, Interesting write on \’a man\’s castle\’…….here in the US this is beginning to crumble.  Glad to hear it is still intact across the sea.  Another reason to move……but family is here, and that of course comes first. 

  3. hi,
    just a line to say hello,….linked to you from sarah\’s site, liked your castle piece, i love \’old\’ places, they have an air about them that speaks volumes.
    love and light, ej

  4. Hello, I linked here from a comment you left on my friend Sarah\’s sight, thought I would pop in and say hello as you mentioned one of my favourite author\’s Jean M Auel.  Clan of the CB shows that discrimination has always existed and how easily ignorance breeds contempt.  I love all that set of books, the second one, Valley of the Horses, has to be my all time favourite, I would love to be Ayla, living in that cave.  Jean writes with such knowledge and passion for the subject – you can really "live" her books.  Enjoyed your King of the Castle blog, and you are so right – our homes are our own little empires which we build and rule as we see fit, sometimes leaving our borders to visit neighbouring empires, other times flying around the globes on the wings of our WWW chariots – there is no limit to where our imaginations can take us…..Earthmother xx 

  5. Hello,How are you?
    To me,castle is beautiful,but  an inhibited and closed place.If a person lives in castle for a long time,i think he/she must be lonely.So I suggest that you had better walk out as passible as you can.To listen to the birds singing,to look at the flowers smiling,to hear the raining dancing,ok?
    At last,May you happy everyday and take care^^

  6. How disappointing – and like many of your lady fans I thought you really lived in a castle

  7. Hi again – sorry I have been so long coming back. Yes, the internet is a strange beast. Have you visited Funky little white girl lately? – the internet has had quite an effect on her life! Yes – you do live in a castle – but oh, some people would have hoped it was large and draughty. I have an interest in genealogy as well – my ancesters came to New Zealand in search of a better life – no castles in their background I suspect. Strangely, the vessel they (some of them!) arrived on in 1870, is in a maritime museum in San Diego – now called the Star of India.

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