|For a long time I’ve had an admiration of John of Gaunt who was undoubtedly the most famous Duke of Lancaster, so this was a city I’ve always wanted to visit. It’s a lovely old place with history from the Bronze age to the Romans to the Saxons & Vikings to the Normans.
I started off in the City Museum which is where they were supposed to have information about the 8th Regiment but still no luck. Not long ago, the 8th Regiment was consolidated with the 4th (King’s Own Lancashire) Regiment & all the historical stuff they had here was about the 4th. I’ve got the phone number of a bloke who might have some information but he’s on holiday until Friday.
The City Museum is an older style museum where they put things in chronological order so I did learn a lot about Lancaster through the ages but first of all, to my great disappointment, I learned that it’s estimated that John of Gaunt spent about 9 days here in his entire life. He was immensely rich & powerful so the Duchy of Lancaster was just a speck in his vast possessions even though it was his major title.
He was possibly the richest man of all time but when his son, Henry Bolingbroke became King Henry IV in 1399, the title & all the wealth of the Duchy became the property of the crown but has always been separate from any other possessions, not just thrown into the general pot. The title belongs to the monarch (male or female) so the Queen is the current Duke of Lancaster. Nobody could tell me if that made Phillip the duchess.
Yes, there was another castle but this one is very different. Up until last year it was actively used as a prison & is still a working court. The only way you can see it is by guided tour so that’s what I did. Fortunately there were only about 10 of us on the tour & all the other people asked sensible questions so it was very good. There were areas we couldn’t go because the criminal court was in session but we could see the beautiful Shire Hall which is where the Civil cases are heard. It was added to the castle in 1808 but we also saw areas which were built in the time of King John in the early 1200’s & got to explore some of the Medieval prison cells which were rediscovered in the 1980's.
After the tour, in my normal fashion I just wandered around the old city centre. I found the old market hall & lots of fascinating old laneways, some of them still reflecting the layout of the old Roman city.
One of my other objectives today was to see the Lancaster Canal & especially the Lune Aqueduct, completed in 1797, where the canal crosses the River Lune. The girl at the Tourist Information centre told me to park at the Holiday Inn then it was just a short walk along the river to the viaduct. After accidentally getting on the M6 & driving nearly to Kendal before I could turn around, I finally found the Holiday Inn. It was a pleasant walk but a lot longer than I expected & the sky was getting very threatening, however I managed to get there & back without getting wet. I would have liked to go on a boat ride on the canal but apparently it’s still too early for them.
Again back home the long way around. I just followed interesting looking signs & when I was totally lost eventually told the SatNav to take me home.