Belvoir Castle dominates the landscape around the Vale of Belvoir, so it doesn't take much to see why the Normans built the original castle on the site, nor does it take too much working out to why they named it 'beautiful view'. Of course, if you are wondering how to pronounce it, the locals pronounce it 'beaver'.
The current 'castle' is a Regency house in a castle style, surrounded by a landscape envisaged by Capability Brown*.
The original castle had fallen into ruin by Tudor times, and had been rebuilt by Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland. It is this second incarnation of the castle that became a thorn in Parliament's side.
Belvoir was ideally located to protect the route from Oxford to Newark, the garrison used the castle as a stronghold from which to sally forth and disrupt Parliament's machinations in Lincolnshire, and Newark.The castle was owned by John Manners, 8th Earl of Rutland a Parliamentarian and Covenanter. In January 1643 one of 'his gentlemen', Sir Gervase Lucas, facilitated the opening of the gates to Royalist troops, who quickly over ran the castle. Lucas would become governor of the castle, and his garrison would become known as the Belvoir Cormorants, an apt description of their raiding techniques.
|A young Charles, a dark unlabelled portrait at the bottom of the 'stairway of the Earls'|
|The guard room is dominated by portraits of the Stuarts and a number of flags - including this First World War Kriegsmarine ensign.|
|Just ignore the Victorian lower legs|
|Charles II after Van Dyck|
|Charles I by Edward Bower|
|Civil War era finds from the grounds, incongruously displayed next to a modern 50p (cropped out of view - this is a Civil-War-centric blog after all)|
* Brown's vision was never fully utilised, and what had been 'built' was overgrown and neglected; the discovery of Brown's original plans were used to recreate Brown's landscape. The work was documented by Alan Titchmarsh for Channel 4. The first episode is available on YouTube (sadly the rest of the series isn't available on either 4OD or YouTube).