Sunday, 1 April 2012

The Castle Keep and the Regency Ball

A few weekends ago the Early Dance Circle (a historic dance society based in Norwich) were holding their biannual conference at Farnham Castle. At every conference a ball is held and this year it was a Regency ball, so of course I had to go. :) Quite a few members of my 19th century dance group are also members of EDC, so a few of us decided to go. 

Farnham Castle, built in 1138, was originally the home of the Bishops of Winchester, but is now a hotel and conference centre. Sadly my room wasn't in the main building so I have no idea what the bedrooms in the castle are like, but my one was decidedly modern-bland. Anyway, I didn't go to the castle just to look at the guest rooms! The actual room where the ball took place was really lovely.

My friend and I got the train down from London in the early afternoon so that we would have time to do some wondering. First we went to the castle keep, which is quite an impressive ruin with some beautiful views of the surrounding countryside which can be seen from the top.

The Entrance to the keep - where the drawbridge used to be

View of the main part of the castle from the keep

Inside the keep
The ruins of a later addition to the keep

View of castle gardens from keep

Inside the keep. The wall-less barn-like structure covers some really deep wells

The building that my room was in. A beautiful Georgian building on the outside with a hideous modern interior.

A close-up of the later additions. I think it is amazing how the fireplaces have stayed so intact. 

A view of the wells from a viewing stage 

More photos of the main building. The 3 large windows are the room were the ball was held.

The main entrance gate. Definitely a later edition. I think it might have been built around the same time as the stables.

After looking round the Keep, we strolled down into the town of Farnham and did some shopping. Small towns always seem to have shops I love, whereas I can never find anything in London!!

A fabulous car that was parked just off the High Street

After shopping we came back to the castle, met up with a few people from our dance group and then had supper. Sadly it was not a Regency Banquet, far from it in fact. The food was pretty rubbish and the service was so slow - we got our food nearly an hour later then we should have which meant we had no time to change and so were late for the ball!! Most people had been clever and changed beforehand, but we thought we were being clever in not changing until after supper in-case there was a giant food spillage!!

When we finally got to the ball I did have a good time. :)

People chatting in-between dances. Not everyone there had done Regency dancing before (I think the EDC focus on Medieval and Tudor dancing), so we were a mix of levels. The clothing was also a mix - Regency, modern formal, modern casual, Georgian, early Victorian - but there were some gorgeous Regency gowns. One lady was wearing a beautiful green and white gown, but sadly I never managed to get a photo of it. :( 

More people talking

My friend Suzy wearing her lovely new gown.

A rather blurry photo - this was about the 5th attempt at a photo so we were looking a bit stressed!

Finally the photo worked! Me with a few friends - Sandra, Suzy and (my mind has gone completely blank! Well she is a lovely lady who is a member of the dance group)

Infront of the giant fireplace with friends Sandra and Jackie 
(Sandra's photo)

With friends Sandra, David and Jackie 
(Sandra's photo)

Overall, despite the bad meal, it was a lovely evening. :) The only thing I don't understand is why balls are always held in rooms where the windows don't open??!!! It was sooo hot!!!

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