As castles go, Hadleigh Castle isn't quite Framlingham or Pembroke ... these are ruins that really have been knocked about a bit (or more accurately the land is prone to subsidence, so bits keep tumbling down) ... but don't look down on this corner of Essex, 'cos Hadleigh is OK. OK!
I went for a stroll there today with my old mate Martin Plaut - he's taken the black-and-white photos and given his blessing to a couple being posted here. Thank you maestro!
Hadleigh Castle goes back to 1215 - though the bits still (sort of) standing date from 150 years later. Just about as soon as it was built, stuff started dropping off. But there's enough there - particularly one largely complete drum tower - to give it a touch of majesty. Edward III was, apparently, so fond of the place he often stayed here ... hence his nickname, TOKIE, The Only King In Essex.
Just a five minute wander away is Hadleigh Farm, the Salvation Army's first farm colony, set up in the 1890s to give some of those who they were trying to help a break from the squalor of London's slums. It's still an educational farm, with tea rooms attached - and still run by the Sally Army.
And at the end of our walk from Benfleet via the castle, there's the seafood stalls and buzz of Leigh-on-Sea, still pulling in the punters. The tide was out when we were there ... allowing me to take one of my better photographic efforts, don't you think?
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