A morning run along the River Trent today and I was rewarded with this scene. Built in 1135 by Bishop Alexander, Newark Castle was where ‘Bad’ King John breathed his last in 1216, whilst trying to put down one of the many rebellions of his reign. Dysentery is the likeliest culprit but poisoned peaches are fun too. On the outbreak of the civil war in 1642 Newark declared for the crown and remained a Royalist stronghold despite three sieges by the Roundheads. Towards the end of the first bloody war it was in Newark Castle, in 1646, that King Charles I dismissed his famous nephew, Prince Rupert (and his white hunting poodle, Boy), for having surrendered Bristol. Their relationship never recovered and Rupert and his captains left Charles and the Royalists to defeat and execution in 1649. By the end of the war Newark was riddled with bubonic plague, tearing through its overpopulated, starving population. It wasn’t until this had died down that the Parliamentarian troops entered the town and tore down large parts of the castle, leaving the ruins that stand today.