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An Englishman's home is his castle

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Carrie Carrie | 15:01 UK time, Friday, 17 June 2011

Hi everyone,

A couple of weeks ago, on my way to Cornwall, I visited the last castle to be built in England.
It's built on a hill, overlooking a deep gorge in Devon - and is not yet 100 years old.

Castle Drogo

It was built by a rich English businessman, but because of the First World War it wasn't completed until a year before he died. His family continued to live there until 1974, when they gave the castle and gardens to the National Trust. The views from the castle are really beautiful

View from castle Drogo

...but to my mind it's not a real castle. It's certainly not how I imagined a castle to look, when I was a child. The castles of my childhood were populated by King Arthur and his knights. Or by wizards and dragons (maybe that's why I collect dragons now?). Or by The Famous Five. Who? The Famous Five are characters from a series children's books written by Enid Blyton in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. They (4 children and a dog) have a whole series of adventures - the first one in a ruined castle - and do all sorts of exciting things like camping and exploring. As a child, that was my idea of heaven. What was your idea of heaven when you were a child?

Oh dear, I've got sidetracked! I was only going write about castles - and I've ended up writing about children's literature and collecting dragons! So, back to castles. The idiom in the title of this blog means means that English people believe they should be able to control what happens in their own homes, and that no one else should tell them what to do there. When I was writing that, I started thinking about other idioms about castles. Can you work out what these idioms mean? (No cheating and looking on the internet ;-) )

  • To build castles in the air
  • To be king of the castle

Finally, while I was in Cornwall I took a couple of other photos of castles and homes that I thought I would share with you:

Who do you think lives behind this door?

Door in St Ives

This one is definitely a kind of house that the Famous Five would have enjoyed. I know it's not really a castle, but....


Castle Drogo

...and my favourite kind of castle


Take care


gorge: a narrow, steep-sided valley
gorge: an of south west England
to my mind : in my opinion
sidetracked: to forget what you are suppose to be doing and start doing something else


  • Comment number 1.

    Hello Carrie!

    Thank you for the real English post!
    Yes, the UK is famous for its castles. And it’s true that children’s imagination is so rich that even a neglected shed can be a castle for them. But I can’t imagine how it is to live in a castle. I mean an ordinary big castle. Perhaps because I haven’t lived in any of them so far :). I like airy with a lot of space inside flats or houses, but castles are too big for me.
    The picture with the grey door and ladder reminds me ‘Alice in Wonderland’ :), it looks like the hole of the March Hare :).
    I don’t know a lot about dragons, but I love animals, even unreal ones. Although, it’s a question whether dragons are so unreal :).

    Now, about the idioms...
    Hmm, if someone is building castles in the air, they are making unreal plans, they are dreaming. You know, we have the same idiom in Russian. And we aslo say that it’s easier to build castles in the air than to live in them :). But I think people should dream. Dreaming may lead to increadable inventions and discoveries. Of course, if you not only dream, but do something to make your dream come true :).

    As for ‘to be king of the castle’, I’m not sure, but maybe, if someone is king of the castle, he’s charismatic, strong, brave, powerful, having a strong personality. Or maybe, he’s a real owner, not according to the law, but because he looks like the owner of a particular house, flat or company, he behaves like the owner of it. He is the owner, and his appearance and behaviour demonstrate it.

  • Comment number 2.

    Hello Carrie,

    The title of your post is a new idiom on me and I am going to add it to my list of idioms. I really long to see a real castle one day as I have seen castles and read about them only in books and documentaries. I just wonder it wouldn't have been that difficult to build a castle over a century ago, because then property prices and the costs of building materials were not that much as they are now. Now one can only think of building a tree house as in one of the photos.

    Well, my childhood heaven was to build sand houses and to imagine that one day I would be having one of my own and thinking like that really pleased me then.

    Talking of the idioms you have left on us to answer, it is sometimes good to build castles in the air because you never know when your unreal dreams come true. The king of my castle reminds me a song line that's something like "Must be the reason why I am king of my castle". This defines a person who is confident and cares less about what others say and think about him.

    Have a great weekend,


  • Comment number 3.

    sure but you have mention something wrong... it was charismatic..

  • Comment number 4.


    I live near a castle , this were built in 1929 I have lucky look all days his beautiful is a gitf to eyes . but never I see inside I have inquisitiveness.



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