Royal King of the Castles; ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS

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QUESTION Which is the UK's largest castle and which is the oldest?

THE oldest stone castle in Great Britain is Chepstow Castle, Monmouthshire, built in about 1067 on the west bank of the River Wye by William Fitz Osbern.

Iron-Age relics dating from the first centuries BC or AD have been found in the lower levels of the Dover Castle site.

The largest inhabited castle in the world is Windsor Castle. Dating from the 12th century, it is in the form of a twisted parallelogram measuring 1,890ft (576m) by 540ft (164m).

However, Dover Castle covers a greater area, 34 acres, with a width of 1,100ft (335.2m) and a curtain wall of 1,880ft (550m) - 2,300ft (700m) if underground works are included.

This compares with the 1,350ft (411m) by 825ft (251m) of Caris-brooke Castle on the Isle of Wight, including its earthworks.

Tim Mickleburgh, Grimsby, Lincolnshire.

QUESTION Who said: 'In the world of mules there are no rules'?

THIS line was first used by U.S.

poet Ogden Nash (1902-1971).

Nash published an enormous amount of short humorous verse, one of his best-known shorts being: 'Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker,' which exemplified much of his extravagantly rhymed couplets.

Fiona Jenkins, Bath.

QUESTION Why do we say 'off to a tee' when we get something right?

THE word tee is derived from an old Scottish term for a wee pile of earth pulled together by a golfer or his caddy.

These little mounds of earth eventually gave way to little wooden pegs, which were better as they lifted the balls rather than cushioning them, thus giving the player a cleaner strike.

Before the advent of plastic, tees were not a throwaway commodity and many players used highly elaborate handmade varieties, which they prized greatly.

The tee is practically unique as a piece of sporting equipment, the only equivalent being the plastic tee sometimes used to elevate a rugby ball for kicking.

The tee has spawned a vocabulary all of its own - to 'tee off', as well as hitting the first shot on a golf hole, is used informally as the beginning of a venture, thus it is most likely that this turn of phrase has been maintained to mean a successful venture also: i.e. 'off to a tee'.

Katie Dunn, Glenrothes, Fife.

QUESTION Why do churches have steeples?

FURTHER to the earlier answer, the measurements for the temple built by King Solomon are given in 1 Kings 6 and 2 Chronicles 3. The porch (vestibule) was 20 x 10 cubits (1 Kings 6, verse 3). …