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The view from the top of Castle Hill.

The view from the top of Castle Hill.

What is the appeal of ruins? The details of this particular ruin escape me, but I am sure I paid to see it and probably enjoyed every minute of it; but why?

Perhaps it is because the ruined state leaves enough for my imagination to fill in the gaps and create something far more magical than the artists impression in any guidebook (and probably more magical than the original 11th Century fortress at Hastings, which was probably quite a business like affair).

The ruin also offers a unique opportunity to study how a building was constructed in the first place. A friend of mine, Scott, was very disappointed, on a memorable visit to the National Railway Museum in York, that the famous Flying Scotsman was in pieces in The Works, but I found it fascinating; it is not every day you get the chance to view the interior of a legendary steam train or a Medieval castle.

How marvellously Gothic.

How marvellously Gothic.

The irregularities in the stonework in contrast with the regular brickwork and concrete of my home town and places like it, the unique opportunities for shadows to play across the ground, the connection to a shared history, the novelty, the feeling of being enclosed whilst also being open to the elements; surrounded by thick stone walls and Gothic arches that let in views of the Channel and a large proportion of the Town below (in the case of Hastings Castle).

Am I a romantic fool? Most probably. Do I care? Not a jot.

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