Thanks to everyone who came along to my guided walk and talk on Caludon Castle yesterday evening. It was quite a knowledgeable party including Coventry Ambassador Marie, established tour guide and Coventry historian Paul Curtis and two old members of the unfortunately now defunct "Friends of Caludon Park" group - Julian and Alan. All chipped in with good contributions to make for an enjoyable evening.
Alan introduced himself ahead of the walk by showing me a map of the part of present day Wyken which once constituted the Caludon estate. He had superimposed the borders of the fields and features of the estate onto the modern day map and helped to answer some questions that I had pondered for a while. One of these was the course of Caludon Brook which runs into the river Sowe close to the hospital entrance on Clifford Bridge Road. One of the features of the park is a gentle slope at the eastern end of the field between the castle ruin, Farren Road and the park road leading to the car park (which sits on top of the slope).
The slope is actually a centuries old small dam which was constructed during landscaping of the site. There had been a fishpond in that field from the times of the Segrave family in the 1200s. During the 16th century under the Berkeley family this became a mere based on the lake at Kenilworth Castle. When visiting Caludon I had often wondered what had happened to the brook. Alan answered this question by showing me that he had actually pencilled in the course of the brook onto the map suggesting a spring around the area of the Wyken Pippin pub (now the "New Pippin") feeding into the brook which now flows underground eastwards through Caludon Park before reaching the Sowe.
Other features shown on Alan's map include a field named "Lake Meadow" - now the fields alongside the Sowe below Caludon Castle School. Any old "Cally kids" of a similar age to myself would fully understand the name - at times these fields would flood up beyond the terraces designed to protect the school buildings and join up with Stoke Floods (close to Binley fire station).
Other names on the map give clues to the history of the estate - "Slaughter House Close","Little Park", "Deer Pen", "Sheep Pen Close", "Great Park", "Lawn Park" - which was developed as hunting grounds for aristocratic families from times following the Norman invasion through to the seventeenth century when it became "Caludon Farm".
As is usual with my talks I managed to veer off from the subject matter which I had prepared into a bit of a ramble about all sorts of Caludon related trivia! The history of the site is such that there is no way that a talk for an hour or so could do it justice - so perhaps more closely themed walks to follow at Caludon!