Ford and Etal

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Ford & Etal
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FORD VILLAGE                                 

A ponderous model village of the mid-19th c,  Ford could be a prosperous suburb instead of an auxiliary to an ancient castle.  Ford Castle, owned by Lord Joicey and used as  a county educational and cultural centre, was started in 1287 by Odenel de Forde and crenellated in 1338.  It was demolished by the Scots in 1385 and attacked again in 1549.  It was in the style of four corner towers with a curtain-wall, and three of the original towers survive.  The castle was extensively restored and altered in both the  18th and 19th century.  St Michael's church in the castle grounds is early 13th century with a thorough 19th century restoration.

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Ford Smiddy with it's
very unusual entrance


Photo by Stuart Brown

Ford village as seen today is the work of Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford, who developed it as a memorial to her husband who suffered a fatal fall from a horse in 1859.  Tastes may differ about the result (to the 19th century historian Tomlinson there was 'no sweeter village outside Arcadia')  but her Biblical paintings in the former village school are a memorial that requires no defence. Lady Waterford was a talented artist in the Pre-Raphaelite style.  She spent 22 years (1860-82) on this series of watercolours on paper which was applied to canvas and then fitted into the walls and gables of the long school hall.  Residents who attended classes there tell how the Bible lessons were drawn from Lady Waterford's pictures.  She used villagers for models and paid the children 6 pennies  and a gilly piece(bread and jelly) for their sittings. 

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Etal castle


Photo by Stuart Brown

ETAL VILLAGE                     

Etal village as well as Ford village sees its fair share of tourists. It's a village with the odd thatched cottage and thatched public house. The large manor house stands at one end of the village, with a large crumbling castle ruin at the other. This gives Etal it's own distinctive aspect among the county's villages The cotages are set behind flower gardens , and trees shelter the site on the  River Till.  The manor house is not open to the public, but the grounds and gardens are, at certain times of the year.  The Manor house was built for Sir Willaim Carr in 1748 and enlarged a few years later.  In its grounds stands the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, designed by William Butterfield in 1850 for Lady Augusta FitzClarence in memory of her husband and child.  All that remains of the castle is the south east gate-tower and a portion of curtain-wall with parts of two other towers.  It was built in the  14th century for Sir Robert de Manners and destroyed in 1496 by James IV of Scotland.  The village's most charming building is the thatched and white-washed Black Bull Inn.

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The Black Bull Inn
with it's thatched roor



Photo by Stuart Brown

A recent addition to the village is the minature railway that links the village to Heatherslaw mill about a couple of miles up stream. Tickets can be purchased at Heatherslaw mill, where there is ample parking for cars, this allows you to see the village while enjoying a short trip along by the River Till towards Etal village itself.

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Etal castle at the bottom of the village


Photo by Stuart Brown

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