Today I took the train to town of Tamworth, only 14 miles northeast of Birmingham’s city Centre, to visit its most impressive building--Tamworth Castle. Some day it will be a museum, but now it’s a residence. I had written a letter to the current occupant, a Mr. Thomas Cooke, telling him I was a historian from the University of Cambridge (well, that’s not a lie) and asking if I could visit. He sent me an lovely invitation.
Cooke is very proud of his home, even if he doesn’t own it. He said he loved showing it off. Even invited his workers here for outdoor tea parties. He knew all about it’s history and regaled me with stories as he showed me about the place.
|Cooke's Drawing Room in Tamworth Castle|
|Ariel View of Tamworth Castle|
|George Townsend II|
The ruined fortune of the Townsends forced them to rent out the property. In 1897 they will be have to sell and Cooke will have to move. Luckily for the rest of us the Tamworth Corporation will buy it and turn it into a museum opening in 1899. In the meantime, the castle is Cooke’s.
|Tamsworth Castle Museum Opening Day - 1899|
|Statue of Aethelflaeda|
erected on castle grounds 1913
1000 years after she built 1st castle
“You might get married again.”
Cooke snorted. “I’m fifty-eight, sir. What woman would want an old duffer like me?”
I suppressed a smile. My files show that Thomas Cooke in 1884 will marry Frances Wann, age thirty-five. They will have a daughter later that year and name her Aethelflaeda. Fitting that the last “queen” of Tamworth Castle will be named for it’s first.
Tamworth Castles official website -- more photos and history
You can follow Tamworth Castle on Twitter at @TamworthCastle
A video of Tamworth Castle museum
The Saxons Returned to Tamworth Castle