Metropolitan United Church, London, Ontario
A combination of Roman and
Medieval relics, as well as many fine timber framed buildings, makes Chester
(Roman city of Deva, one of England's most interesting cities. Roman
occupation in the later 1st Century made Chester an important military point.
During most of the Roman occupation it was the headquarters of one of the three
Roman legions in Britain. The present city wall follows the line of the
Roman wall and in places incorporates pieces of it. The most important
Roman area is the amphitheatre. It is the largest amphitheatre so far
discovered in Britain. Built of stone it covers an area of 314ft by 286ft
with an arena of 190ft by 162ft. The rows, a unique feature of the city
can be found in Watergate Street, Eastgate Street and Bridge street. You
can inspect modern shops in the appropriate stretches of the streets, take the
first flight of stairs you find between shops and find yourself walking on the
roofs of the shops besides another row of shops set further back, an interesting
form of pedestrian precinct.
During Saxon times King
Aethelred of Mercia is credited with founding the church of St Peter & St Paul
on this sandstone mound. It is also reported that the bones of Mercian
Princess and Nun St Werburgh where bought to the church for safe keeping to be
protected from the Danes. The church being re-dedicated to her. In
1092 St Anselm from the Benedictine monastery of Bec in Normandy arrived to
build a monastery next to the church. The small Minster containing St
Werburgh`s bones was therefore enlarged and became the Abbey Church. Just
prior to the dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540 the bones of St Werburgh
were moved to a safe place out of reach of the soldiers of Henry VIII.
Fortunately they were stored very safely, so safe their whereabouts are still
unknown to this day. However during this period of upheaval the Abbey
Church came through the reorganisation very well and by 1541 it was designated
as the Cathedral Church of the newly formed diocese of Chester and rededicated
to Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Church & Monastery survived the
worst of the dissolution process and the buildings we have today are seen as
they were intended all those years ago. The refectory is superb, the
cloisters which up-to one hundred years ago were still not glazed, now provide a
wonderful oasis in which to walk. Do look at the quire stalls and
misericords, being of wood construction they have weathered far better over the
ages than the soft sandstone construction of the building which has needed
constant repair. These original carved workings are certainly a direct
link with the monks of the Middle ages and are possibly the Cathedrals greatest
The mighty castle and
complete town walls on the river bank make Conwy a picturesque and richly
historic centre. It is probably one of the finest and most complete walled
towns in Europe. The walls themselves are over three quarters of a mile in
length with 22 towers and three original gateways. Conwy`s setting on the
edge of the Snowdonia National Park and the Western bank of the River Conwy is
unrivalled, as is its colourful history. The Romans arrived in the area
during the First Century A.D. and many invading kings from the East endured
great hardship trying to cross the river to subdue the Welsh Princes on the
Western bank. When Edward I did eventually seize the bank, he built a
castle to strengthen his position. The population now spreads beyond the
town walls to nearby Deganwy and Llandudno. Along the quay in the shelter
of these ancient walls is an old world full of interest. Together with a
house reputed to be the smallest in Britain and furnished as a mid Victorian
The castle was
built by Edward I between 1283 and 1289. He made it his headquarters for
the struggle against the Welsh Prince Llywelyn. Edward was himself
besieged there by a large Welsh force from the hills in 1290. The castle`s
shape is actually dictated by the very rock on which it stands. It has
barbicans at either end and eight massive towers. First impressions are of
tremendous strength, a dominating position and yet with a compactness of design
which renders it one of the most picturesque Welsh castles.
Wales`s premier seaside
resort, unspoilt with its carefully preserved Victorian architecture and superb
natural setting. Fine shops, cafes, restaurants and local attractions.
Set in a crescent shaped bay, the promenade adjoins the wide 2 mile long sandy
beach guarded by cliffs at both ends.
attractive old town with a wealth of ancient houses and timbered inns. The
Hop Pole being a good example, with a fine 14th Century fireplace before which,
in dickens book, Mr Pickwick warmed his coat tails. Tewkesbury is famous
for 2 reasons.
Developed from the
Anglo Saxon words Cot and Wold, Cot meaning sheep pen. Wold meaning high windy
ground, that certainly can describe the area well, especially in the winter.
The soil is poor on the Wolds and not a lot of it but a great area for rearing
sheep. Hence the numerous villages with lovely churches (known as wool
churches) built by wealthy landowners centuries ago. The area is also
famous for the Cotswold stone a soft stone which yellows with age. Many
cottages will be seen built of Cotswold stone.
Set on a sheltered
ridge between the high Cotswolds and the Severn Vale the town enjoys a pleasant
and equable climate. Cheltenham is one of the finest Spa towns in Europe,
with a wealth of regency houses bordering elegant squares, crescents, terraces
and open spaces. George III an inveterate frequenter of spas, visited the
town in 1738 and set his seal of approval by staying at Bayshill lodge.
Lansdown Place and Montpellier Parade, among similar thoroughfares and the
Rotunda, the design for its dome being based on the Pantheon in Rome.
Montpellier walk with its shops separated by Caryatids must be one of the most
unusual shopping precincts in the world. Out on the Bath Road are two of
Cheltenham`s famous schools, Cheltenham College for boys was originally built
between 1841 and 1843. With the nearby Cheltenham Ladies college founded
by Miss Beale, the ardent Victorian champion of good education for girls.
Once one of the most
important ports in the country, the earliest records of its commercial activity
going back to Edward II in the 10th Century when silver coins were minted here.
All this due to the fact that the River Severn and Avon was navigable to this
point. It was from
Bristol in 1497 that John Cabot and his Bristol born son Sebastian set sail with
18 sailors in the 100 ton ship “Matthew” before reaching the mainland of America
A centre for trade and commerce for over 1,000 years, the city still has much to
offer and although the large container ships now dock at the entrance to the
Avon Gorge at Avonmouth, much activity still remains around the old dock side
Augustinian Abbey founded in 1142 by Robert Fitzharding. In 1542 it became
the Cathedral Church of the newly formed Diocese of Bristol. It still
retains much of its Norman solidarity, particularly the fine Chapter House.
The Church building is known as a “Hall Church” type where high Chancel, aisles
and an Eastern Lady Chapel are of equal height. The Choir is full of
absolutely fine woodwork dating back to the 1500s and the Misericords of great
interest depicting as they do Biblical scenes. The organ was built in 1685
by Renatus Harris and all the pipework is original. Grinling Gibbons
created the superb organ case. Choristers are educated at the adjoining
Cathedral school. One important feature in the Berkeley Chapel: a Medieval
candelabrum (understood to be the only one of its kind in England recorded) has
being given to the Temple Church in Bristol
during 1450 and passed on to its present home during the terrible blitz of World
St. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol
A superb example of Medieval
architecture and once described by Queen Elizabeth Ist on a visit to Bristol as
“the fairest, goodliest and most famous parish church in the kingdom” in all
respects it is the size of a Cathedral with a 240ft Nave and a Spire added in
the 19th Century rising 285ft from street level. The Church owes
much of its construction to William Canynge in the 14th Century and
further work completed by his son.
The Manor of Powderham was mentioned in the Doomsday book. It came into the
Courtenay family by way of the dowry of Margaret de Bohun on her marriage to
Hugh de Courtenay son of the first Courtenay Earl of Devon. Margaret bore her
Lord nine daughters & eight sons and from this marriage descends all the
subsequent Courtenays Earls of Devon. She left the Castle to her Sixth son
Philip and it was he who began building the castle as we see it today in 1319.
A lovely seaside town with nice beaches and an outstanding feature of a lawn,
laid out in 1813 along the stream which flows through the town, with tiny
waterfalls and black swans from Australia, given to the town in 1937.
The Capital of Dobuni
when as Corinium Dobunorum in 43A.D. it became one of the chief Roman
administration centres for South West of England. In the 4th Century with
the withdrawal of the Romans the town went into decline until an Anglo Saxon
town was built. It slowly regained its importance with the development of
sheep rearing on the rich Cotswold meadow lands. The wealth from the wool
trade was tremendous, so much so that the merchants of the town were able to
build one of the greatest wool churches in the town. The 15th Century St
John the Baptist Church with its superb tower and three storied fan vaulted
porch. It has been judged one of the most beautiful perpendicular churches
Can certainly lay claim
to being one of the most beautiful Cotswold towns. A superb High Street
slopes gently down to a three arch bridge spanning the River Windrush.
Some of the buildings such as the Bear Inn, Crown Inn and the Grammer School can
readily identify their roots in the 15th Century. A fine church
exists, St John, hidden from view down a lane at the foot of the High Street.
A wonderful mixture of accretion (add on's as and when money became available or
persons so decided) the tower is definitely Norman so is the West Doorway.
The Guild of Merchants chapel circa 1200 but remodelled in the 15th
Century. In May 1649 Cromwell imprisoned a group of mutineers in the
church for 3 nights after which they were to be shot. When three had been
executed Cromwell relented, one of the group “Sedley” scratched his name on the
font. In even earlier times the Anglo Saxons defeated the Mercians at the
battle of Edge now a playing field near the church. It is also written
that in 683 a council was convened at Burford attended by the King of Mercia at
which the date of Easter was fixed for the English church. The wealth of
the region coming from the surrounding sheep country during the middle ages.
To really appreciate Burford take time to walk the High Street.
The Village Inn, Twyning
Set in the lovely village of Twyning on the banks
of the River Avon. The Village Inn is recorded on local maps as long ago
as 740AD and was mentioned in the Doomsday book of 1086. A very busy Inn
dating back to about 1457, nice garden to the rear and overlooks the village
green at the front.
The home of the present
11th Duke of Marlbrough. The first Duke John Spencer gave battle to the
Frence and Bavarian forces at the village of Blenheim in 1704. He took a
force of 50,000 men on a 600 mile march to the Danube were the enemy was waiting
in a strong position. By tactical brilliance and by the personal
inspiration he gave his troops, he achieved a great victory. When he
returned to England he was created a Duke and granted the Royal Manor of
Woodstock with a promise that a sumptuous palace should be paid for by a
grateful country. The architect of Blenheim Palace was John Vanbrugh who
worked with Nicholas Hawksmoor on both Blenheim and Castle Howard in Yorkshire.
Marlborough went on to other famous victories at Ramillies, Oudenarde and
Malplaquet. The Palace was built between 1705 & 1722, it is set in over
2,000 acres of parkland (landscaped by Capability Brown) Blenhalm Palace is the
birthplace of Sir Winstone Churchill who was born here on the 30th November
Dominated both in
spirit and in fact, by its magnificent castle, yet the town itself is very
attractive with Georgian and Victorian buildings, Church Street being one of its
prettiest areas. The parish Church of St John stands in the High Street
with railings designed by Grindling Gibbons. Nearby is the Guildhall
designed at the end of the 17th Century by Sir Thomas Fitch and finished by Sir
Christopher Wren. However it is the castle that made the town and still
attracts thousands and thousands of visitors every year.
The castle is the
largest inhabited castle in the world and covers over 13 acres. Its story
starts with William the Conqueror who quickly grasped its strategic position and
the advantage of a forest for hunting close by. Since then practically
every sovereign has had a hand in the building, Henry II put up the first stone
buildings including the round tower, but the defences are still those built by
Henry III. Edward III was born at Windsor and loved it, he enlarged the royal
apartments and founded the order of the Knights of the Garter, making Windsor a
centre for chivalry. The castle is made up of three parts, the lower ward,
which includes St George's chapel, the upper ward in which lie the state
apartments and the middle ward where the enormous round tower gives wonderful
views over 12 counties.
St. George's Chapel, Windsor
A sumptuous and impressive
building which yet gives an effect of light and spaciousness. The
perpendicular chapel was begun by Edward IV in 1475 and completed in the reigns
of Henry VII and VIII. Many sovereigns and famous men and women lie buried
here, including Charles I, Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and the present Queens
Mother and father. Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert were also
buried at Windsor but in the royal mausoleum at Frogmore in Home Park near 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Believed to have been
the Convent Garden of St Peters, Westminster, where the Monks sold surplus
vegetables. In 1638 the area was very residential developed by Indigo
Jones, with arcaded walks based on the Piazza D` Arme at Livorno. In 1671
by right of charter it became a small market which gradually filled the Piazza.
In 1830 the 6th Duke of Bedford rebuilt it in its present form. It became
the largest fruit, vegetable and flower market in the country. Since the
market moved South of the river the area has been redeveloped. Still
keeping the magnificent canopy and many of the buildings from the early 1800s.
the area is now well known for its restaurants, shops, market stalls and of
course the Royal Opera House. The Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London
Transport Museum, Theatre Museum and much, much more.
New Globe Theatre
Situated on the South
bank as close as possible to the site of the original Globe Theatre stands the
New Globe. Faithfully reconstructed to the Elizabethan design using the
same materials. The Globe now stands as a fitting memorial to Shakespears
work and also to the vision of the late actor/director Sam Wanamaker whose dream
it was to rebuild a theatre in the round.
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,
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.
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.