Who’s ruffled my feathers!
Staff at Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted, Essex were delighted when they recently discovered their first Easter chicks wandering around with their proud mum within the grounds of the medieval village. They are a rare breed called Frizzles which have feathers that grow curling backwards towards the head.
They look eggsactly like they have had their feathers ruffled, and it’s no yolk! We think it’s because their eggs have been secretly hidden around the historic castle grounds and also within the toy museum which is part of the castle complex so that over the Easter holiday children can join in the fun of finding the missing eggs and claim a prize.
The Easter Egg Trail runs from Saturday 1st April until Monday 17th April and is free to participate – just normal admission fee applies. Lots of family fun in store for the whole of the Easter break.
Here are the latest additions to our ever growing animal family. They are Frizzle chicks hatched today and are so cute.
Many of the chickens here at Mountfitchet Castle are breeds that the Normans would have kept in the medieval times. Lots of them are rescued from less fortunate backgrounds and battery farms.
We also have some rare breeds here which we like to keep. The most striking of these rarer breeds are the Frizzle Chicken.
A Frizzle is a type of chicken with feathers that curl outwards and back towards the head rather than lying flat as in most chickens.
Mrs Frizzle is very chuffed with her brood and will soon be displaying them in the grounds of the castle for all our visitors to enjoy.
Battery Hens Donated to Mountfitchet Castle
15 rescued battery hens have been donated to Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted, Essex where they are now receiving the best possible care and attention. Although the hens were healthy, they were in a very sad state, almost bald with missing feathers and terribly overgrown toenails and very frightened. With continuing care, kindness and patience from Miss Johanna Brown, who cares for the animals at the castle, they are already beginning to grow new feathers and beginning to explore and will soon be allowed to mingle in with the many other rescued animals including deer, goats and sheep and lots of other feathered friends within the safety of the 10 acre medieval castle grounds.
Meet Grace our new goat
A lovely friendly goat has been kindly donated to Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted, Essex to join all our other rescued animals including deer, sheep, other goats and lots of chickens, ducks and other feathered friends.
She is a one year old Saen/Boer and Toggenburge cross called Grace and has settled into castle life a treat.
She already loves to greet all visitors and being hand fed and will now live out her life in luxury and safety roaming freely throughout the 10 acre medieval site.
Orphaned baby deer meets her new pals at Mountfitchet Castle
Little Petal, a Fallow deer, was orphaned at just a few days old and was found near Barnston, Dunmow by a very worried couple on 26th June this year. They contacted us at Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted, Essex for help and we immediately took her into our care.
After three months of hand rearing at a quiet location Petal was moved to the medieval village yesterday where she met her new life-long friends in the shape of the resident five strong herd of rescued Fallow deer already living within the castle grounds.
She has settled in beatifully with all the other deer and she loves nothing better than to be hand fed by everyone and is looking forward to the many visitors coming next week for half term.
A tiny baby Fallow deer was found abandoned in a garden in Barnston, Essex when it’s mother failed to return. Fearing she would finally starve if left untouched Richard and Lynnette Ellis contacted Mounfitchet Castle on Saturday 20th June knowing they have rescued deer in the past. Little tiny Petal was handed over to staff who have been giving her around the clock care and attention and are pleased to announce that she is doing very well indeed. She is being cared for away from the Mountfitchet Castle site until she is old enough to be introduced to the five other rescued deer and live out her life in safety along with all the animals which roam freely throughout the 10 acre site.
Medieval ‘Banter’ going on at the castle! Archaeological work being carried out on the 12th Century Barbican wall at Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted, Essex by English Heritage has uncovered a very significant find within the first hour of digging, some Norman stonework called ‘Banter’ which is very scarce to find in Motte and Bailey castles. Representatives from English Heritage are working on the site for several days this week before full restoration work begins on the original 12th Century Barbican wall located at the entrance to the inner Bailey where the Baron and his family would have resided during it’s medieval occupancy. This vital work is being carried out to save our disappearing heritage and will also ensure that thousands of school children and visitors will all be able to view and learn about history for many generations to come. English Heritage are overjoyed to find such a significant discovery within the castle grounds and with the further restoration work scheduled for August it makes you wonder what else lay undiscovered on this site that has been occupied for over 2000 years.
|Baby Gosling needs a name.This cheeky little chap is one of the newest spring arrivals at Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted, Essex. Mother goose proudly strutted out of her pen this morning with a very cute little ball of fluff following behind her. Staff are very pleased to welcome him into the medley of all the other animals living happily within the grounds of the Motte and Bailey castle which includes deer, goats, sheep, ducks, turkeys and chickens. But this poor little fellow needs a name – all suggestions would be very welcome and can be emailed in to:- email@example.com|
Wham! – chick us out before you go-go … … anywhere this May Bank Holiday weekend. Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted, Essex have just become the proud owners of a newly hatched batch of chicks. As soon as they are strong enough they will be integrated into the castle grounds to join all the other animals including deer, goats, sheep, ducks, geese, turkeys and chickens which all roam freely throughout the 10 acre site. Mother hen will be proudly showing off her entourage of chicks just in time for the Bank Holiday visitors to the Norman Motte and Bailey Castle. All the animals love being hand fed and are very tame.
|So much for Zebra Crossings – we want a Peacock Crossing!
Last Thursday mysterious Peacock Crossing signs popped up overnight in the village of Stansted in Essex. A flock of Peacocks, belonging to Mountfitchet Castle which is located in the centre of the village, are often seen out window shopping along the street and are generally adored by residents, visitors and shop keepers – however some do find them too noisy! A local goodwill citizen has gone to the time and expense of having three signs made and erected around the medieval village to warn drivers to slow down after tragically one Peahen was run over and killed.
A spokesperson for the tourist attraction has commented that they are very grateful to the kind donator of the signs as the Peacocks are all kept free range and not penned up so that they can come and go as they please. We also feel it makes the village different from others in a quirky and quaint way.
Election Stuffing! Who’s going to get a stuffing at the election?! Who will be catapulted into power and tower above the rest? David, Nigel, Ed, Nick and Natalie the five rescued turkeys that now live at Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted, Essex have all been named after the leading politicians and live in the castle grounds with all the other rescued animals. The party leaders are all ‘tie-ing’ for victory and talking turkey to the electorate, but whoever wins the election the appropriately named turkey will go on to rule the roost with his friends at Mountfitchet Castle and live out the rest of their lives in peace and survive many happy Christmas’s to come.
Two chickens have found a ‘boring’ place to nest! These two chickens have decided to nest right next to the wild boar in the medieval village at Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted, Essex. They will be left in peace to sit quietly on their eggs but we just hope they won’t make a ‘pigs ear’ of it!
Mother’s done a runner! A box of 11 tiny abandoned ducklings were found on the doorstep at Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted, Essex early this morning. Local residents know that the castle will always take in animals in need so they must have been left by some caring people knowing they would be given the necessary care before being integrated in with the many other rescued animals that roam freely within the castle grounds. They were obviously either orphaned or the mother had simply abandoned them. Ducks are notoriously bad parents to their babies but luckily these little fellows, which are Indian Runner ducklings, will now live out the rest of their lives in the safety of the Norman Village hidden behind the palisade walls.
Our latest editions – Little Indian Runner ducklings already enjoying castle life.
Norman No Mates the lonely pigeon photo bombs a visitors pictures on their visit here to Mountfitchet Castle. A visitor to our attraction sent in these photo’s which they thought were great. Maybe he was trying to get a birds eye view!
For many years the search has been on for the entrance to a secret tunnel located here at Mountfitchet Castle but it has always eluded historians. Elderly residents remember this tunnel from before the war as very young children and being prevented from entering by an iron grill which was consequently covered with earth sealing the entrance and location forever. This spell of hot weather we are currently experiencing in this country has once again revealed the outline of the entrance to this tunnel and at last it seems the mystery may now be solved. No one is sure where this ancient tunnel may lead to and what treasures and interesting artefacts lie at the end of it – only time will tell.
Percy the Peacock and his wives who live at Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted, Essex have divided the village by often taking a jaunt and leaving the Castle grounds to wander up the high street to do some ‘window shopping’ much to the amusement of a lot of the villagers and residents but also to the annoyance of a number of other villagers who think the ‘calling’ cries are a nuisance and that they should be kept locked up. Mountfitchet Castle rescues and re-homes animals and has a policy of ensuring their freedom and happiness, so refuse to clip their wings as this would make them very vulnerable prey to the marauding foxes who like nothing better than to eat them, just as the Baron of the Castle would have done in the medieval times.
Staff at Mountfitchet Castle were stunned yesterday when one of the resident chickens scratched up within the grounds of the historic village a ‘rowel’ from a medieval Knight’s spur. A visitor to the attraction in Stansted Essex witnessed the event and thinking this ‘trinket’ could be something of historical importance immediately handed it into the visitor centre. After a quick wash of the item, the owner of the attraction Jeremy Goldsmith quickly identified it as a part of a spur as worn by Knights over 1000 years ago. Pictured is Maria, a member of staff at the tourist attraction, holding the rowel which dates back to Medieval times and is the spinning wheel part of the spur. The rowel will be put out on display for all visitors to see over the Easter holidays.
Over the winter period we revamped and decorated the dining room and installed a log burner which warms the room beautifully and gives a lovely ambience on a cool day. There are also lots of interesting artefacts and relics displayed on the walls with lots of information and photo’s.
Ghostly figure spotted at Castle! This photograph was taken on the night of Halloween just before one of our Zombie Horror tours were about to commence. You can just make out a dark, sinister looking figure just off centre of the photo. There was nobody on the grounds at the time the photo was taken so who or what was captured? Another spooky happening at this ancient Castle.
No ‘Chickening’ out this Halloween! Little John, the world record breaking cockerel at Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted, Essex, who became world famous for his gigantic size, has amazed staff by becoming a father at this very late time of the year, just in time for Halloween! This morning, staff were surprised when Betty the Brahma Chicken strutted out into the medieval village with a brood of seven little chicks. Betty is the wife of Little John and never leaves his side, so no foul play is suspected. Mum and chicks will now receive extra special care until the chicks are old enough to be integrated in with the many other rescued animals that roam freely throughout the 10 acres site including deer, goats, sheep, turkeys, ducks and chickens. It is hoped that they will grow up and become giants just, like their father, and live happily ever after at the castle.
Halloween at Mountfitchet Castle – Zombie Horror Tours This photograph was taken in the Grand Hall within the medieval village situated at Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted, Essex. The night watchman had commented on several occasions of feeling ‘not alone’ in this vicinity, so a time delay camera was set up and captured this sensational photograph. We are hoping that the ghost will make an appearance at our Halloween event this year which is titled Zombie Horror Tours. During the evenings of 29th Oct to 1st November the medieval castle and village will be taken over by Zombies under the cover of darkness. Groups of up to 20 visitors will be guided around the grounds which is plagued by evil Zombies whose only desire is to infect every living soul! Will you survive? Spaces are strictly limited, to book your space please call our head witch Juliet on 01279 813237. Or visit www.hillofhorrors.com
Our Living History Weekend held here last weekend on 17th & 18th August was an astounding success!
The Norman village was brought back to medieval life by the Medieval Combat Society who came along with more than 30 members and their children to put on an amazing display of unique medieval crafts and talents including cooking, woodworking, candle making, a herbalist (sometimes known as a white witch) with her ancient potions made from herbs and spices, Arrow making, Armoury and Weapons plus ‘Have a go Archery’. There were medieval games and story telling, basket weaving and Spinning to mention some of the activities that took place within the Norman village hidden behind the Castles walls. The weekend was attended by a record breaking amount of visitors who all came along to enjoy the spectacular.
Look out for next years special events on our website.
New for summer 2013 – Huge Invaders Battering Ram. Walk through this impressive ram with 8ft high wheels and standing almost 16ft tall. Imagine yourself as part of the invading army by being inside this great piece of medieval engineering.
New for the 2013 summer season – Try some Jousting! Children – come along and have a go at Jousting on Harold our new horse. Put on the helmet and shield, sit on Harold and lift the Lance – experience how the jousting Knights of medieval times felt when upon their trusty steeds during a tournament. A great photo opportunity.
|Medieval Combat Weekend 2013The Medieval Combat Weekend held on 6th & 7th July was yet again another roaring success, please see the photo’s. The Medieval Combat Society once again put on an amazing show in the fabulous setting of the castle grounds.If you missed this years spectacular don’t forget to make a date for 5th & 6th July next year.|
We’ve got the Goosebumps at Castle! Staff at Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted, Essex had a such a surprise on Saturday morning it gave them all Goosebumps! Unbeknown to everyone at the Medieval Castle and village, Guinevere the Goose had secretly been sitting on an egg and hatched out this little surprise … a baby gosling proudly showing off his little bump of feathers which is unique to his rare breed – an ancient Roman tufted Goose. The mother and baby appeared from behind a wood-pile and proudly strutted across the castle’s outer bailey. Roman tufted Geese are kept along with other rescued animals at the Castle because the famous fortified mound was used as a Roman Signaling Fort before the Mountfitchet Castle and Norman village were built here in about 1066 and are known for their distinctive tuft or bump on their head. Mother and baby can both be seen happily wandering around the 10 acre site along with all the other animals which include deer, goats, sheep and rare breed chickens. They will be welcoming the visitors to the castle this coming weekend at the Medieval Combat weekend where brave Knights will be battling for the hands of their fair Ladies whilst Archers will be showing their skills and Maidens gracefully acting out everyday life in a medieval village. The little gosling has yet to be named and Mountfitchet Castle would welcome any suggestions that you can come up with. Please email your ideas via the Contact Page
Mountfitchet Castle smashes tallest chicken record for the third time! Little John is a one year old Brahma cockerel who measures a staggering 26 inches tall and lives at Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted, Essex with all the other animals that roam freely throughout the 10 acre site. He has smashed the Castle’s previous tallest chicken record holders Bertie & Melvin who were 16.1 and 24 inches tall respectively and both are entered into the Guinness World Records. Staff feel his impressive height is due to the many visitors that hand feed him and the lovely lifestyle he leads. He will continue to grow until he is 2 years old, so who knows how tall he will end up? What is the mystery ingredient at the Norman village that makes our animals thrive so well…is it the grass? is it in the air? Or is it just the medieval magic….. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-
Chick me out! Freddie the resident Labrador at Mountfitchet Castle, Stansted, Essex has adopted an orphaned rare breed chick called Harold. The pair have bonded and become the best of mates, although being a parent has made poor old Freddie so dog tired.
The animals within the castle grounds always look happy see the sprinkling of a new snow fall and seem to enjoy the pretty scenery all around them. They always receive lots of extra food and hay and deeper straw in their beds during any cold spells – very pampered pets indeed!
Channel E4 have got their filming crew – IWC Media – here at Mountfitchet Castle, Stansted, Essex today filming for a period style blind date themed programme called ‘My Little Princess’. They specifically chose Mountfitchet Castle for their medieval section and will be filming here all day. The programme is scheduled to be screened in January 2013.
After lasting an amazing 28 years the Kitchen in our medieval village is receiving a new roof! This was the original roof from when the Norman village was faithfully reconstructed in 1984 and has lasted much longer than we had hoped for. The new roof is being crafted from wooden hand made tiles to produce a Shingle tiled roof which dates back to medieval times.
Priscilla the Peahen has become a very proud mum to four new baby Peacocks. She is already happily showing them off to the public but would like some help in finding new names for the babies. All the Peacocks that live at Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted Essex have names that begin with the letter ‘P’ and we would like to ask all the local children to offer their ideas for names for the new babies. All suggestions can be sent by email via Contact Page. Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted, Essex is open 7 days a week including all Bank Holidays.
A great day out for all the family to enjoy all for one great admission price. So much to see at Mountfitchet Castle.
These gorgeous baby peacocks hatched to Peggy and Peter Peacock who are very proud of their babies and will be presenting them to the public to show them off very soon.
|[break]On Tuesday 12th June the BBC Antiques Road Trip visited and filmed at Mountfitchet castle and the House on the Hill Toy Museum. They interviewed owner and curator Alan Goldsmith and filmed the presenters looking around the whole castle and vast toy museum site – to be screened in the winter of 2012.|
|[break]On Wednesday June 13th BBC Blue Peter came to film a school trip Mountfitchet castle, to show all of the Blue peter younger viewers the BBC program how educational and hands on the castle can be for school children , it is a unique visitor attraction for school groups and since opening 1985 the castle has had over 1 million school children visit.|
|The hot summer weather has finally come, and the two South Down rare breed sheep (Doris and Larry) at the castle finally got their hair cut this week, although Doris the sheep doesn’t look too happy with her new fringe!|
|[break]Starlings find a ‘deer’ place to nestStaff at Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted, Essex were amazed when they saw Starlings flying, on a regular basis, into a metal life-sized Deer statue located in the picnic area within the ancient grounds. Upon closer inspection a nest was found with four very young chicks inside. The statues named Peace and Harmony were made by the famous sculptor Tony Hillier and were commissioned by Mountfitchet Castle in memory of the many rescued animals and especially the Fallow deer that have lived their life out to a great age within the grounds of the historic site. Staff were so pleased the Starlings decided that Mountfitchet Castle was the safest place to nest, and will keep a close eye on the chicks and their devoted parents to ensure they make it safely to fledging time. Jeremy Goldsmith, owner of the castle, said ‘It is such an unusual site for the Starlings to choose to build their nest, they must know that they will be safe here from predators. We are very pleased to have them and promise not to charge them rent’|
|The dog and the duck: Labrador ‘adopts’ bird whose mother was killed by a foxDennis the baby duck was left for dead when its mother was mauled by a vixen.Read more…|
|Dennis the Duckling fathered by Fred the Castle Labrador Dennis was found abandoned next to the brook which runs adjacent to Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted, Essex after his mother was killed by a fox. Worries about how Dennis would keep warm and clean on such a cold day were soon dispelled when 4 yr old Fred immediately took over the situation and thoroughly washed him from beak to bottom which sent the orphaned duckling into a contented sleep snuggled up against him. They have been inseparable ever since. Jeremy Goldsmith, owner of the castle, said “Fred grew up with all the our animals and has such a loving nature that he always fathers any orphans, he even took over looking after Lupin a Fallow deer when she was tiny” Dennis will join the rest of the animals that already live a charmed life at the historic Castle where they all love to be hand fed by visitors. Many of the resident animals have been rescued over the years and come from less fortunate backgrounds including Fallow deer, goats, sheep, chickens and of course ducks. Mountfitchet Castle is open every day until November including all weekends and bank holidays.|
|Mountfitchet Castle in Stansted Essex have recently been contacted by Guinness World Records after reading an article in the Daily Mail about Holly our resident female Fallow deer being the oldest living deer in the world. Holly will be 22yrs old this July and has now succeeded the previous title holder 21yr old Clover, who sadly passed away three years ago due to her old age, and was also owned by Mountfitchet Castle, therefore we are in no doubt that Holly is now the oldest and are hoping that she will be awarded her well deserved certificate soon. She was brought into the Castle in 1989 as just a tiny baby when she had been tragically orphaned. The owners gave her 24 hours a day care and little Holly thrived and was immediately welcomed into the herd by the other Fallow deer. Over the years hundreds and thousands of school children and visitors have patted and hand fed Holly, they have all loved the uniqueness of actually being able to be close to and gently pat a live Fallow deer. Mountfitchet Castle is already the holder of three World Guinness Records for their animals which makes us wonder, what is it about the castle that makes animals live and thrive for so long?…is it the grass? is it the animal food? is it the love and attention they all receive from staff and visitors? We just don’t know, but we are very pleased that all our animals have a wonderful life and are hoping that the rest of our much younger resident deer will all follow in Holly’s regal footsteps.|
|Holly our lovely female Fallow deer is the world’s oldest living deer in captivity. She has lived here at the castle for over 21 years now and has actually out-lived the previous Guinness World Records title holder – Clover, who sadly passed away three years ago aged 21, also owned by Mountfitchet Castle. Read more by visiting the Mail Online Article|
|Norman Brooch found at mountfitchet castle Unearthed by workers recently at mountfitchet castle, the norman brooch believed to be a ladies cloak brooch was found by steps leading from the shop that had been eroded by heavy rain. The brooch will be on permanent display within the castle visitors center to see on your visit, a wonderful reminder of the people that used to live within the castle walls over 900 years ago.|
|Over the winter months of 2011/12 the House on the Hill Toy Museum has undergone a major revamp and we have added many more exciting new exhibits for you to enjoy. As well as even more wonderfully nostalgic items to look at there are lots of super new photo opportunities – come and stand next to life sized figures of Pirates, Cowboys, Clowns, Terminator and even a giant Polar Bear!|
|Watch out for exciting news on our ‘Hill of Horrors’ Halloween event – Friday 26th to Wednesday 31st October.After last years phenomenal success our Halloween event will be back again this year – but bigger and better! Due to demand we are going to have dedicated childrens tours and seperate adult tours. Don’t miss out! check out our Special Events page and watch the video if you dare!
|A date for your diary – 30th June & 1st July 2012 – Medieval Combat Weekend.For ‘Ye olde merriment’ visitors can watch Knights in armour fight with swords and axes for the hand of a fair maiden.Come and witness medieval life with its skirmishes and battles, enjoy the dancing and music, watch medieval displays including archery and interact with the actors by trying on a helmet or trying to lift a heavy sword.Spectacular not to be missed Fantastic fun filled weekend for all the family to enjoy.|
|New home for rescued orphan fawns.Three young Fallow deer orphaned when poachers shot their mothers in Norfolk have been rescued and re-homed. Read more…|
|Luftwaffe boardgame snapped up by eagle-eyed museum.A RARE Nazi board game has been snapped up at auction by a Stansted toy museum. Read more…|