Please note that the TimeRef website is currently being redesigned. This page shows what the rest of site will eventually look like.
3D Virtual Reconstructions
Transport yourself back up to a thousand years and explore historical buildings as they may have appeared in the past.
Built using the popular game development tool Unity 3D, these reconstructions allow you to walk around medieval buildings as they may have appeared in the past.
These reconstuctions should work on the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge for Windows 10.
Explore a virtual UK landcsape
Explore a virtual UK landscape.
PLEASE NOTE: If you experience issues when turning around in Chrome please try using Edge or Firefox instead. I am currently working on a fix for this problem.
Reconstructions of real castles
How about exploring a Northumberland castle built near the Scottish border. An excellent example of a tower house with improved fortifications.
Skenfrith Castle (Beta version)
Skenfrith Castle is one of the 'Three Castles' granted to Hubert de Burgh by King John in 1201. The other two castles are White Castle, also known as Lantilio, and Grosmont Castle. Hubert de Burgh was a wealthy baron who had learnt much about castle defence on his trips abroard. Soon after taking control of the castles he began rebuilding work at Skenfrith and Grosmont. Skenfrith castle has four sides, though not in the shape of a perfect rectangle. The central keep is circular and pictured opposite. The river Monnow passes the eastern side of the castle and a moat was dug outside the other three sides allowing the river to flow completely around and act as a very good barrier from attack. The north side of the outer wall had a gateway, but this has been destroyed.
Built with Unity 3D - A plugin is required to explore these reconstructions
Built using the popular game development tool Unity, these reconstructions allow you to walk around medieval buildings as they may have appeared in the past. Please take time to install the Unity plug-in and explore these reconstructions.
Please Note: Support for the Unity 3D Web Player is being removed in Google Chrome and is not supported in the Windows 10 Edge browser. Currently the plug-in should work in Firefox and IE 11. To run IE 11 on Windows 10 ask Cortana to find Internet Explorer.
These reconstructions are being redeveloped so they should work in all web browsers that support WebGL.
Hall keeps were very common and most Norman barons and Saxon thegns depended on the protection they gave. These hall keeps needed to be large enough to house not only the baron's family, but his supporters and their animals. Inside, the hall keeps looked like large barns with huge posts supporting the roof.
A large fire was situated at the centre of the hall away from any wood that could catch alight. The smoke would rise into the rafters and exit through a small hole in the roof above or through a gap at the end of the hall.
One of the most important types of building in the time of William the Conqueror and William Rufus were the Norman keeps. Although many were rebuilt in the following century there are many good examples still remaining. The White Tower in London (pictured left), Dover and Rochester in the south east, Newcastle, Appleby, Carlisle, Brough, Richmond in the north are all examples of this type of castle. Other examples include Portchester, Guilford, Goodrich, Norwich, Castle Rising, Hedingham and Colchester.
A keep was also known as a donjon, a French word. This word was probably altered over the years and its meaning changed so now the word dungeon means a small room used as a prison.
From medieval times through to the modern day the Church has inspired people to visit religious sites. These included taking the long journey to Rome or further to the Holy Land and Jerusalem. The people who undertook such journeys are called Pilgrims. For those pilgrims who could not travel such large distances cathedrals and abbeys served the same purpose. By containing the remains of important religious people and the relics of saints they became the focus of pilgrimages. Especially if miracles took place. It was thought that the sick could be cured by visiting the site where these remains were held.
Works-in-progress - A Medieval Theatre
Hopefully coming 2017 - Walk around a reconstruction of a medieval theatre.
A Medieval Mystery
There appear to be some strange connections between the fourteenth century Old Wardour Castle and ancient stone circle Stonehenge.
Old Wardour Castle appears to be aligned to ancient sites in the Stonehenge landscape.
Stonehenge is aligned to the Summer Solstice. Old Wardour has a very similar alignment.
Could the builders of Old Wardour used mesaurements from Stonehenge to layout the geometrical keep?
TimeRef UK Castles Mobile App for Android Phone
This Android app allows you to find castles thar are near you. Currently the app includes only English and Welsh castles.
Download the app from the Google Play Store
Types of castles