England: A Monument and Memorial in Penrith
The first thing a visitor sees upon arrival in Penrith is the ruins of its castle, appropriately visible from the train station.
The castle holds a lot of significant English history. Originally a earthen fortification constructed by the Romans, the site was selected as a good place to build a castle in the early fifteenth century and was owned over the centuries by a variety of squabbling lords, among them the future Richard III.
Today it stands in muted silence, mostly seen by travelers on their way to the lake district. Probably its last function was that of a quarry for local residents.
But I saw that teenagers in the area find the ruins useful, too, perhaps as a place to get away from adults and engage in teen-age activities. Out of sight from the street, if not from curious foreigners.
The easy chair carefully placed in the ruins escaped any logical explanation.
But the view from the chair was pretty nice, I had to admit.
On a more serious note the street entrance to the castle contains a small but emotionally moving memorial to the fallen soldiers of Penrith from World War I.
photo: public domain by “Old Monkey,” panoramio.com
Around the dark, moldy interior a series of plaques hang on the walls (one of them can be seen in the above photo on the right hand side of the interior doorway), each one listing fifty names. Together the plaques add up to several hundred young men, surely the bulk of the area’s military-age male population. Here they are memorialized forever, forgotten in the dark, mostly forgotten by history, just like the devastating war for which they gave their lives.