Dr Cheryl White
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Dr Cheryl White
London Trip 2016

Hampton Court Palace    The grandest Tudor residence in England.  Built from 1514 onwards by Cardinal Wolsey as a country home, he presented it to King Henry VIII in 1525 who continued to build until 1540.  Sir Christopher Wren added extra buildings from 1689 for King William III and Queen Mary II.
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London the Capital City of England & the United Kingdom         Within a few years of invading Britain in 43AD the Romans had built forts and towns across the land.  They linked these outposts with a number of well constructed roads, some of which had to cross a wide tidal river (Thames).  The Roman engineers eventually picked a crossing point from generally marshy ground on the South bank (with islands of firm ground) to an area on the North Bank situated on two low hills, these hills formed the highest and driest site on the tidal river.  At this point the Romans built their bridge and before long a settlement grew up on the hills and then a City took shape, the Romans called it Londinium.  The landscape that greeted the Romans now lies deep beneath the modern city, upto 8 metres deep, the reason, every new building over the past 2,000 years was built on top of the rubble of the old.
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River Thames                     One of the longest rivers in England at 215 miles in length, it flows from its source near Cheltenham to the sea through some of the most beautiful countryside before becoming the main artery that the wealth of Britain has been bourn.  No river can have influenced a nations destiny more, from Roman times to the present day. 
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London Eye                        Opened in January 2000 as a part of the Millennium celebrations it is 135mtrs high and is the worlds highest observation wheel.  The fourth tallest structure in London. It is 35mtrs taller than Big Ben, 30 mtrs taller than St Pauls, three times as high as Tower Bridge and a third taller than the Statue of Liberty.  The 360` rotation will take approx 30/35 minutes.  The wheel has 32 fully enclosed capsules holding up to 25 people each. From its highest point passengers can see 25 miles in each direction on a clear day.
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Westminster Abbey                          Legend has it that the first Church built on Thorney Island in the Thames was built by King Segbert in the 7th Century, there is also mention of a Charter from King Offa of Mercia to the people of Westminster granting land.  We also have a Charter from King Edgar in the 10th Century for the restoring of the Benedictine Abbey.  It is also written that a substantial foundation existed in Westminster when King Edward the Confessor became King in 1042.  We do know that Edward started to build a Church here close to the previous building and it was consecrated on 28th December 1065.  Eight days later Edward died and he was buried in front of the high altar.
William the Conqueror was crowned in that Abbey on Christmas Day 1066. this Coronation began a tradition and all Kings and Queens of England (Britain) with the exception of Edward V & Edward VIII have been crowned in the Abbey since that date.
Work began in 1245 in rebuilding the Abbey. The work proceeded rapidly and by 1269 the Quire and one bay of the Nave was completed.  At this time the body of St Edward was removed and laid to rest in a Chapel bearing his name.  In 1272 Henry III died and his body was buried in the front of the high alter where Edward`s had once lain.
The complete history of this famous Abbey would take many pages to write, hence it is possibly to conclude by saying “many Kings and Queens together with famous people lie buried within its walls and therefore this one building is a unique testament to 1,000 years of the history of the British people”.

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Houses of Parliament       The present building occupies the site of the old Royal Palace.  The oldest surviving part of this palace is Westminster Hall (some of the walls dating back to 1097/99).  In 1840 Sir Charles Barry with the help of his eccentric assistant, Pugin began building the neo Gothic new house which still graces Parliament Square.  Although it was badly bombed in 1941 the Commons Chamber was completely destroyed, the new one was opened in 1950.  As you look at the palace from the square the commons are on the left and the lords on the right.  Standing a little to the left of the building is Westminster Hall.  This ancient hall is 290ft long, 68ft wide and 92ft high, it was built in 1097 by William II and modernised by Richard II in 1399.  It was here that Charles I was condemned to death in 1649, Edward II abdicated in 1327, Oliver Cromwell was installed as protector and the Guy Fawkes conspirators sentenced to death.  It was the centre of London life, a very public place in which to have sentence passed. it remains lofty, beautiful, impressive and empty, the oldest part of the palace and the most lovely.
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Westminster hall                This ancient hall is 290ft long, 68ft long and 92ft high.  It was built in 1097 by William II and modernised by Richard II in 1399.  It was here that Charles I was condemned to death in 1649.  Edward II abdicated in 1327.  Oliver Cromwell was installed as protector and the Guy Fawkes conspirators sentenced to death.  It was the centre of London life, a very public place in which to have sentence passed.  It remains lofty, beautiful, impressive and empty, the oldest part of the palace and the most lovely.
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Buckingham Palace         Until the 18th Century the original site was occupied by Buckingham House which was bought by George III in 1762.  When George IV acceded the throne in 1820 he commissioned John Nash to build a palace fit for a King on the same site.  Much of the original structure and decoration survives to this day.
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The British Monarchy
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Banqueting House            Completed in 1622 and designed by Indigo Jones, it was the first building in London to embody the classical Palladium style together with the use of Portland stone in the construction.  Built originally as a part of Whitehall Palace it was the only building to escape the great fire which destroyed the Palace in 1698.  The main hall is 115ft long and 60ft wide but it is the ceiling which catches the eye.  Painted by Rubens for Charles 1st in 1629-34 it depicts the Apotheoses of the Stuart Dynasty in nine panels, which should be viewed from the far end of the room.  In 1649 Charles 1st stepped out of one of the windows of the hall on his way to the scaffold erected outside in the yard, to his execution.  Ironically Charles II celebrated his restoration to the throne here 20 years later.  Still used for state banquets and official functions by the Government and the Queen.  
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10 Downing Street            Has been the official residence of the Prime Minister since Sir Robert Walpole, the first Prime Minister lived here in 1732.  The street was named after its builder, Sir George Downing.  The iron gates were erected for security reasons in 1989.
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Cabinet War Rooms         In 1940 as the bombs rained down on London, Winston Churchill, his Cabinet, his Chiefs of Staff and intelligence chiefs were meeting below ground in a fortified basement in Whitehall, later to be known as the Cabinet War Rooms.  They offered shelter in which to work, sleep and live for as long as necessary.  When the war ended the lights were switched off and the rooms left silent and untouched for many years.  The rooms were in operational use from 27th August 1939 to the Japanese surrender in 1945 the war cabinet held more than 100 meetings in these somewhat cramped rooms.  Without doubt some of the most important decisions of the Second World War were taken here. 
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Horse Guards Parade      The former tiltyard or jousting field of Whitehall Palace, used for the ceremony of Trooping the Colour each June to celebrate the Queens official birthday.  The Horse Guards building by which one enters the parade ground from the direction of Whitehall was reconstructed in 1750 prior to which it was the gatehouse of the Palace of Westminster.  The horse mounted guards who stand duty under two archways either side of the clock tower stand guard for just one hour at a time not all day.  The soldiers belong either to the Life Guards (red tunics & white plumes) who formed the bodyguard for Charles I or the Royal Horse Guards (blue with red plumes) who grew out of a regiment formed by Cromwell.  Both regiments now belong to the Household Cavalry which provides the Queens Bodyguard on all state occasions.
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Trafalgar Square        Was formally part of the Great Mews attached to Whitehall Palace and once included part of what is now known as Charing Cross.  In 1812 architect John Nash developed the area between Charing Cross and Portland Place leaving this elegant Square, the largest in London.  It was not officially known as Trafalgar Square until 1830, having been named to celebrate the great naval victory over the French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
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Nelsons Column        Standing 167ft 3 inches tall, the monument to Admiral Lord Nelson, who led the British fleets to a resounding victory at the Battle of Trafalgar but unfortunately lost his own life at the same battle.  Erected in 1843 at a cost of £47,000, the Bronze lions at the base were not added until 1867.  The lions were designed by Sir Edwin Landseer who initially used a dead lion as a model for the sculptures.
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St. Martins in the Field      The present church designed by James Gibbs was completed in 1726.  However St Martin in the Fields has been a place of worship since 1220.  The parish boundary passes through Buckingham Palace.  Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was a parishioner and the Prince of Wales although baptised in the palace his record is kept in the baptism book held in the church.  The church is renown for its choral music the organ being one of the finest in Europe.  The church plays host and is famous for its lunchtime concerts given free on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 1.05pm
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The National Gallery    Situated on the North side of Trafalgar Square, it was built between 1832-38 from a design by William Wilkins.  In 1824 Parliament accepted the idea of a national collection of pictures and voted £60,000 to buy a collection of 38 pictures from John Angerstein.  30 years later the Government decided to make a regular grant to buy more pictures and since then the gallery has built up arguably an unrivalled collection covering the period from the 13th Century to the present day.  Particularly strong in Italian, Dutch, Flemish and French art.
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Victoria and Albert Museum    Founded originally as the Marlborough House Museum of Ornamental art in 1852 and then moved to South Kensington in 1857.  The present renaissance style building was designed by Sir Aston Webb and opened in 1909.  Today it constitutes the greatest collection of fine and decorative art in the world.  There is also a collection of John Constable paintings and drawings given by the Constable family.  So many galleries so much to see!
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British Museum                 Founded in 1753, it is the oldest museum in the world.  The original collection was started by the physician Sir Hans Sloane but over the years it as been added to many times over.  The immense hoard of artefacts spans nearly 2 million years of world history.  It is stored in 94 galleries covering over 2 miles of displays.  Some of the treasures include Egyptian mummies, the Mildenhall Saxon silver tableware found after being ploughed up in a Suffolk field in 1942, Lindow man preserved in a bog since the first century AD, pottery from Greece and Rome, Lindisfarne Gospels from the 7th Century, an original copy of Magna Carta from 1215. Together with specimens from all over the world which bring the very history of our civilisation alive.
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St. Paul's Cathedral, London        The original Cathedral was built on Ludgate Hill by the Anglo Saxons in 604A.D. built of wood it burnt down and was rebuilt on a number of occasions.  The present Cathedral was started by Sir Christopher Wren in 1675 and it took 35 years to build.  The Cathedral was damaged during the Second World War with bombs falling through the roof and destroying the alter and one damaging the North transept.  A famous picture taken at the time shows the cathedral surrounded by fire and smoke and through the gloom appearing unscathed the dome of St Pauls rising dominantly and defiantly from the inferno below, a source of inspiration to the whole country in its hour of need.  In the crypt lie buried, Wren, Nelson, Wellington and many other famous British people.  The peel of 12 bells is outstanding and the choir of 38 boys and 18 men maintain a very proud tradition.
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Tower of London               Built by William the Conqueror because he did not trust his new people.  Over the years it has been a garrison, armoury, prison, royal mint and royal palace.  Among well known heads that have rolled or languished in the tower were Kings of Scotland, France and England.  Lady Jane Grey, Duke of Monmouth, Queen Elizabeth for six months, Sir Walter Raleigh and many more.  There is even a gate directly off the river called traitors gate.
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Battle                    The town is built on the site of one of the most important events in British history—The Battle of Hastings, where William the Norman, defeated Harold and became the conqueror and King of England in 1066.  The town is dominated by the massive gatehouse of the Abbey at the end of the High Street.  The town itself contains many old buildings some dating back to the 13th & 14th Centuries.
The origin of the Abbey goes back to the day of the Battle when William vowed to god that he would build a Church on the site if he was victorious, this he did.

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The Battle of Hastings in 1066   
On the day of the battle William marched his men from Hastings and took up position on a hill approx 400yards South of the English army who where drawn up on a higher hill nearby.  After a number of unsuccessful uphill charges at the English shield wall the Normans retreated.  The English army viewing the retreat abandoned their excellent defensive positions and pursued them.  William immediately saw what was happening sent in his cavalry and destroyed the English forces before they where able to return to their defensive positions.
This single battle had such a significance, by winning William created a royal dynasty that can be traced right through to our present Queen, helped to create the English language that so many people speak today and united a Kingdom under one ruler that would have reverberations for the next 1,000 years.
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Bodiam Castle      
A young castle in English history at only 500years old but the view of the castle from the approach road, as you clear the wooded drive, is an impressive site.  The solid stone fortress seams to float on the water of the moat which surrounds it.  Built in 1385 as a deterrent against the French who threatened invasion, the fortification were never tested though and apart from a brief siege during 1480 its life has been peaceful.
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