Girls day off the boat. Sherie drove us to Chirk castle and back through villages that were near but not seen from the boat. It was bit rainy but a fun day
The owner of the castle had been a Director of the East India Company so there were lots of oriental artifacts and furniture. But the well preserved rooms and furniture from over the years (last changes to some rooms were in the 50's) weren't the highlights here.
What made the difference to other places was the welcoming by people in costume. And who stayed in the times they were portrying. With totally straight faces they had never heard of Australia. When they named the countries they knew we twigged. We were in the 13Th century (or thereabouts!) WE learned all about bows and archery. When Alyssa (who goes to school in England) said she didn't know about archers but only about princes and princesses and squires. The Archer told her what he thought of lazy squires who expected to be helped from their horses. There were several areas where the children could dress up and play in period costume.
The gardens were extensive and we saw only part, but worth a look
We had noticed several HAND hotels and Hand Streets and wondered where the name had come from. We found out here. Its from the Castle. There are two stories of how the Hand had gained significance. The one we liked was that the dying Earl had decided the inheritor of his estates would be the son who in a race would reach his bedside first. THe one who was at risk of losing chopped off his hand and flung it through the bedroom window. It reached the bed before his brother!
The more likely story was that the king was short of funds to maintain his army (against the Welsh) so offered some favours including that of having a hand on their coat of arms to anyone who donated over 1200 pounds. THe hand is definitely in the centre of the coat of arms and as said previously, in many names in the area.
It also featured in the public art that was everywhere.