On Thursday, Boo, E, and I went to Farnham Castle for a picnic lunch. It was a great day for it: warm and sunny, with just enough of a breeze to keep from getting uncomfortable. We had packed sandwiches, chips (cheddar & onion for me, salt & pepper for Boo), apples, and candy bars, along with fizzy drinks (seriously, there is so much soda here. It’s great!) Entry is free at the castle, so we just climbed the many stairs up to the top grassy area, then sat down to enjoy our lunch.
Technically, we were at the Keep, rather than the Castle, which is currently a conference center. Farnham Castle (this time referring to the whole complex) used to belong to the Bishops of Winchester, which was an exceptionally wealthy position—the wealthiest, in fact, in the English Church (until an Act of Parliament in 1869 made the bishops into salaried employees of the Church). It was originally built by the Saxons before being taken over by the Normans. It even played a part in the English Civil War; it was briefly held by the Royalists before being seized by the Roundheads, who maintained control of it until the end of the conflict. The last Bishop of Winchester to reside at Farnham did so until 1932, around which time the keep entered the guardianship of the state. Now an English Heritage site, it is open to the public—even for picnic lunches.