mesmerising and a joy
to watch, an ambitious project to build
a Mediaeval castle from the ground up
is followed step by step in the dont-
miss BBC documentary series
now available on DVD Secrets Of
BRINGING MEDIAEVAL HISTORY TO LIFE, Secrets Of The Castle gets down
to bare bones to tell a compelling story of how people in bygone times dressed,
ate, fought, built homes and lived from day-to-day and, most fascinating of
all, how they constructed their castles.
Britain has some of the finest mediaeval castles in the world dominating the
landscape, but it was the Normans invading in 1066 that we have to thank for
that. Historian Ruth Goodman joins archaeologists Tom Pinfold and Peter Ginn
to turn back the clock to show how these wonderful buildings were constructed.
Of The Castle…
A mesmerising and
thats as informative as it
amazing and ambitious 25-year project is taking place in the Burgundy Region
of France, where the remains of Guedelon Castle are being used on which to build
a Thirteenth Century castle using the same tools, techniques and materials available
at the time to mediaeval artisans, whose hard work is responsible for some of
the most beautiful buildings in the world.
records about real Thirteenth Century life exist but, using what is known, the
castle is being pieced together in the most authentic way possible with the
help of French specialists, including master mason Florian Renucci
who has drawn some inspiration from the late 12th Century Basilica of St Mary
Magdalene in Vezelay, from where King Richard the Lionheart set off on the Third
The team, including site administrator Sarah Preston, is at pains to ensure
everything, including clothes worn, is as accurate as possible as they recapture
an era. A flour mill is reconstructed with the help of stonemason Philippe Delage
and carpenter Sophie Wintzer.
Guedelon Castle was built during the reign of Louis IX and the interior walls
would have been covered with render and a lime wash. Secrets Of The Castle reveals
a colourful world of castle interiors as Ruth demonstrates how paint is mixed
from natural sources and even manages to find some badger hair to make her own
Learning ancient skills and crafts from the Guedelon masons including
stonemasons Jean-Paul Masseron and Clement Guerard, blacksmith Martin Claudel,
Dyer Karin Grunau and ropemaker Yvon Herouart the team is rewarded
as over six months the castle gradually begins to take shape, during which time
they experience the daily rigours of life, including the art of combat.
Secrets Of The Castle is an intriguing look at a world of talented builders
and craftspeople who travelled the globe taking with them the creativity of
the stonemasons, the magical metalwork of the blacksmiths and the sophisticated
geometry of the carpenters. The series ends with the re-creation of a spectacular
limestone window specially constructed for the castle chapel.
Building a castle is an incredible feat involving both skill and muscle. This
tantalising vision of the past demonstrates the work that went into the construction
of a castle and the harsh life of the builders who lived on site. A mesmerising
and compulsive series that is as informative as it is remarkable.
Secrets Of The Castle benefits from excellent narration by Paul McGann and
the music of Matthew Winch, Andy Hamilton and UPPM. Executive Producer is David
Upshal; Filmed and Directed by Stuart Elliott with Blythe Tinker and Giulia
Of The Castle aired on BBC Two and is released on DVD in the UK as a two-disc
set courtesy of RLJ Entertainment's Acorn Label on 26 January 2015. Running
Time: 316 Minutes Approximately | Special Features: Behind The Build Featurette
and Picture Gallery | Catalogue Number: AV3198 | RRP: £19.99.
"Secrets Of The Castle… A mesmerising and compulsive series that's as
informative as it is remarkable" Maggie Woods