Bio Reading Someries Castle

Again I embarrassingly  admit that I have not visited yet another of Bedfordshire’s sites of Historical importance.  I had no idea that there was a castle, within Luton. 

What was I going to find? I was told that this castle was haunted and that unusual things might occur while I was there!   I left early in the morning, feeling a bit apprehensive.

On initial approach to the site, you turn down a road leading towards a tunnel, reminding me of the animated film ‘Spirited away’ directed by noted Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki. The tunnel takes you from one dimension into another. The name Someries Castle derived from the Somery Family of Dudley. Built in the 15th Century by Lord John Wenlock(who is supposed to be the ghost), Chamberlain to Queen Margaret of Anjou, wife of King Henry VI.

"The house is unique in that it is regarded as one of the first brick buildings in England",

Visitors are asked to respect the grounds and adhere to some set guide lines whilst here. 

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As I sat and sketched the remains of the building (the sounds of gun shots can be heard, to scare off the pigeons away from the airport), I imagined what it would have been like  when this building was in its glory days. It would have been of great  importance and costed substantial funds to make the bricks.  One visitor said that in his country of origin,  the size of the bricks would be known as 2’s for the depth of the brick being 2 fingers thick. 

I had several visitors  over the day, from a walking group having lunch within the grounds on such a glorious sunny day, to the local police monitoring what I was up to! Not sure if they got it but it’s good to see that they are keeping an eye on this important historical building.

That might be due to the location or the fact that last week this historical building was defaced with offensive language. (Please beware if taking smaller children).


In the past I have given several lectures on graffiti, and the desire to leave a mark upon a surface to be seen by future generations. This is apparent in the oldest cave painting known,  the 40,800-year-old red disk from El Castillo, in northern Spain, possible religious importance to the Neanderthals. 

 Is graffiti the resolute, for the insignificant to encapsulate their existence upon an object that has more stature than themselves? Is graffiti the way out for a person who has a mindset of personal insignificance,  the remedy and elixir to eternal life here on earth. I personally think that someones essence is passed on through what you say, who you are and how you treat others than having your tag carved into a surface. It’s the essence of yourself that will have more of an impact than defacing a surface. 

Is it too stronger thing to say, that graffiti is like the pillaging an object ?  The offender takes ownership of that object and that space, without any cost to them. What I found at Someries Castle was a historic time-line of different tags being carved and sprayed onto the surface of the remains. I struggled to look at the historical carved letters of past individuals in the same way as the offensive language more recently added, but they are of the same vain or is it just taste that separates them. 

This brings into question the work of notoriously known artist Banksy. placing art within the public domain to expose the irony within social hierarchical differences.  And if so, then does this validate the work as important, or does it still fall into the same camp as all other Graffiti? Personally I enjoy looking at Banksy’s imaginative and aesthetically creative responses to the irony of life.

However, the  Graffiti on the walls of this historic building are very offensive and to remove them will take time, important resources, let alone the cost that could have been used elsewhere.

Someries Castle is a great place to have lunch and take home 6 free range eggs for £1 from the Farm next to the castle.  I met the Farm worker collecting the eggs in the morning for that days' sales. His family are from this location and have been stewards of this land for generations. A great advocate to the memory of life working on the land.  The Farm house next to Someries Castle was the dwelling place of Poet Joseph Conrad, he published  'The Secret Agent' in 1907. The book has been made into a TV programme  in 17 July 2016 for BBC one. I am looking forward to getting to know his work further through reading this Polish-English writer.

"The novel deals broadly with anarchism, espionage and terrorism. It also deals with exploitation of the vulnerable in Verloc's relationship with his brother-in-law Stevie, who has a learning difficulty."

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