It was crisp and clear again this morning and we ventured out under a blue sky but with clouds piling up on the horizon. Everything looks so different in the sunshine when you’ve had a succession of gloomy days, doesn’t it? The Dog and I wandered along, with the pale sun giving out barely perceptible warmth to take the chill off the nose, ears and fingers. There was one point in on our stroll that seemed to be just the right place to take a photo of the green field below and the blue sky above, so I stopped there and took a few pictures this way and that. Then I started to zoom out a bit and to my surprise there appeared to be a small castellated building a few fields away.
It took me a minute or two to realise what I was looking at. As we drive home, once we’ve turned off the main road and are making our way down the country lanes, we pass a a very large and pretentious farm house that looks very like a castle or perhaps more like the keep inside a castle would look. This is Toppin Castle, built a century or so ago for George Head Esq.
The story goes like this – in the dim and distant past, a small farmer, or yeoman, called Toppin, lived on the site of the current castle and he built himself a new house there. At the house warming party (in those days, given to thank all your neighbours for their help and contributions) after the ale had been flowing for a while, in response to a toast to his good health, Mr Toppin launched into a long rambling dissertation on the hardships of agriculture and the state of the nation. In his speech he mentioned that ‘An Englishman’s home is his castle’. From then on the homestead became known as Toppin’s Castle.
Some time in the 1800s the property was purchased by Mr George Head and during his extensive remodelling of the buildings on the site he added a tower of four floors and a turret containing the staircase.
And this is what I was looking down on – the top floors and staircase turret of Toppin Castle.