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The Devil
(or Gargoyle)
is in the Details

A Photo-Essay by Irma Hale

All photographs copyright © 1998 by Irma Hale

Different people photograph castles in different ways. Some focus on a castle's overall structure, individual towers and halls and such, while others concentrate on what is often referred to as "finer detail." Youíve probably heard this phrase a lot, but what does it actually mean when someone says that a particular castle retains some interesting "finer detail"? This catch-all phrase usually denotes certain details that were common to most medieval castles, but today survive in relatively few. They include elements like decorated doors and windows, stairways, fireplaces, latrine chutes, statues, corbels, and other figures carved in stone, including gargoyles.

Irma Hale has contributed a collection of some of her favorite finer details from certain castles. The collection covers castles from all four corners of Wales - from Chepstow in the south to Denbigh in the east, Caernarfon in the north, Pembroke in the west, and others in between. This is a welcome addition to the Castles of Wales web site that Iím certain youíll enjoy. The exhibition begins below.

Gargoyle at Beaumaris Castle (left) & a statue
of King Edward II over the King's Gate at Caernarfon Castle (right)

          

Two figures from Chepstow Castle:
a gargolye (left) & a carved figure on top of the Marten Tower (right)

          

Two figures from Denbigh Castle:
the worn statue of Edward I over the main castle entrance (left)
& the lion's head corbel in the basement of the Green Chambers (right)

          

A carved head over the third floor window of the keep at Pembroke Castle (left)
& another carved gargoyle (a bat?) at Denbigh Castle (right)

          

Not everything is carved in stone: below are two wonderful
wooden carvings found on the later gatehouse at Stokesay Castle.

          

Two figures from Llawhaden Castle:
a corbel supposedly depicting a queen on the south range porch doorway (left)
& a carving on the gatehouse - possibly a lion's head? (right)

          

Two carved figures from Ludlow Castle

          

More gargoyle/figures at Ludlow.

          

Below: carved set of arms found over the entrance to the inner bailey at Ludlow Castle

A beautifully carved Norman doorway at Ludlow Castle (left)
& an additional wooden carving at Stokesay Castle (right)

          

 

Other contributions by Irma Hale

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Copyright © 2009 by Irma Hale and the Castles of Wales Website