Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hammond Castle

If you’re ever in the Gloucester region, make a point to visit Hammond Castle.  It was a private residence built by the developer of Hammond organs (hence the familiar name), who also developed the system for stereophonic sound, as well as many other things related to the use of acoustics in war activities.  It’s a couple of miles from Gloucester center – a nice walk.  The castle is built on the rocky shore overlooking Norman’s Woe (read the poem The Wreak of the Hesperus, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow), in several styles: generally medieval castle, but with touches of French country chateau and gothic church.  The glass-covered courtyard, which the bedrooms overlook, was designed to resemble the ruins of an ancient Roman bath around which an old European-style town has been built.  The courtyard was equipped with overhead sprinklers to water the foliage, but Hammond would sometimes turn on them on during parties to surprise guests (surprise, your dress is ruined!).  The castle is full of items showcasing Hammond’s eclectic tastes, such as religious icons (though he wasn’t particularly religious himself), weapons and armor, beautiful stonework and funky architecture, as well as this gruesome little turret scene below of a skeletal prisoner with ball and chain.  Of course, the ocean views were incredible.  The $10 entry fee was well worth the price, as we wandered around the castle and grounds for about four hours, and still didn’t see everything close up.

1 comment:

  1. Anne,
    I have always remembered Mom reading "The Wreck of the Hesparus" to us as children and have been meaning to find it to read to my kids. I don't know why I have such clear memories of it but it obviously made an impact. I had no idea it was by Longfellow!! I am going to find it now.