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St Mark's Episcopal Church, Geneva, IL
Choral Director Patti Mangis
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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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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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Museum of London          Telling the story of London from prehistoric times to the present day.  Highlights include the Lord Mayors Coach, together with artefacts, jewellery and furniture from all the periods of occupation.
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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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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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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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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.
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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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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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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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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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Covent Garden                  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.
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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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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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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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Science museum   Shows the application of science to our lives directly and though industry.  A replica of Stephensons first locomotive The Rocket.  The evolution of the motor car.  The aeronautical exhibition and much, much more.
The South Kensington museum from which the science museum developed was founded in 1857.  It sprang from the confidence and prosperity of a generation for whom Britain`s manufacturing industry led the world
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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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Southwark Cathedral                       Hiddern away beneath the modern arches and bridges of busy London.  This jewel is known as “Londons hidden glory” Londons oldest Cathedral.  The doomsday book records that in Anglo Saxon times a Monasterium was situated on this site, some recent excavations have unearthed some Roman remains but the origins of the church unfortunately are lost in the mists of time.  The church was rebuilt in 1106 and was closely linked to the Bishops of Winchester.  The present choir was constructed in the 13th Century, the tower in the 14th and the altar screen in the 16th Century.  It finally became a Cathedral in 1905 to serve what was a growing population on the South bank.
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Worcester                                          Worcester a city with a river, cathedral, famous pottery and history around every corner.  Situated in the centre of the county and built on the banks of the River Severn.  The area has known many marauding armies using the town as a base and river crossing.  Romans, Anglo Saxons, Danes and the Welsh have all contributed to its colourful history.  The Civil War inflicted  terrible damage, it was the first city to declare for the King and the last to surrender in 1646.  It also saw in 1651 the final battle for Cromwell when Charles I was completely defeated.  The Cathedral was started in 1084 and is a beautiful place of worship.  Many interesting houses are situated in the city some dating back over 500 years, however today the cities main claim to fame must surely be the home of the Royal Worcester Porcelain works situated near the Cathedral right in the centre of the city.
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Web Link to Worcester Diocese

Worcester Cathedral                     Worcester received it first Bishop-Bishop Bosel in 680.  It is thought the first Cathedral stood very close the present one.  We do understand that Bishop Oswald built a new Cathedral in 962 and it is thought that some of the existing stonework is incorporated in the present building.  In 1084 Bishop Wulstan started the building of a new Church on the present site.  The crypt and chapter house remain substantially as the Norman builders left them.  King John visited many times and asked that on his death he be buried in the Cathedral which was agreed.  The new Cathedral was consecrated in 1218 but further enlargement followed ending in about 1375.  From 960 to 1540 the Cathedral was a Monastery under the rule of the Benedictine order. One interesting point the whole length of the Cathedral seems to be built in one piece when in fact the two West bays are Norman and the North side built in 1345 is far better finished than the South side which due to the intervention of the Black Death was built some 40 years later. 
Interesting history items.
 For 500 years pilgrims came to visit the shrines of St Oswald & St Wulstan here in Worcester.  From the great Cathedral tower Charles II saw his troops routed in the last great battle of the Civil War.  Today Worcester together with Hereford & Gloucester host the world famous Three Choirs Festival of music.
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Worcester Porcelain                      Famous for its bone china since 1751 when its founder Dr John Wall promised, "porcelain so precise as to be easily distinguished from other known English Porcelain". the company has been in continuous production ever since.  The Dyson Perrins museum houses the worlds largest collection of Worcester Porcelain including pieces made during the first year of production.  A feast for the eyes to feed upon whether a connoisseur or just a lover of fine artistry.
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Ludlow                                           The castle was built in 1085 by either the Earl of Shrewsbury Robert Montgomery or Roger De Lacy.  Built to ward off those marauding Welsh natives.  The massive structure stands today much as it did when it was built and seen by Edward IV, Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII's brother Prince Arthur who died here.  The massive structure stands today much as it did when it was built and seen by Edward IV, Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII's brother Prince Arthur who died here.  The parish Church of St Laurence is one of the largest parish Churches in England.  Largely 15th Century. Interesting Misericords in the church choir.  The East window in the Chancel is 30ft high by 18ft wide and depicts the life, history and miracles of the patron Saint in 27 separate scenes containing approx 300 figures.  The finest thoroughfare in Ludlow is broad street where every building dates back to the 14/15th Centuries.  Tucked into a yard off Church Street is the Rose and Crown first licensed in the 16th century.  The Feathers Hotel in the bull ring is a lovely 17th Century half timbered building. it is believed the entrance door is more than 300 years old.  Few towns in England have as much to show for their history as Ludlow.  Enjoy it in the time you have.
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Cardiff                                The capital city of Wales boasts a castle with 1,900 years of history first built by the Romans, some of the 10ft thick walls still remain.  The Normans came and built their castle which has been in continuous occupation ever since.  Some of the area surrounding the castle is now occupied by a superb modern shopping centre.  Hundreds of acres of parkland situated right in the city centre, museums, the civic centre, University of Wales. St Davids Hall, a 2,000 seat concert and conference centre.  To take the city into the millennium the new Cardiff Bay project, a redevelopment of the old Cardiff docks area.
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Tintern                             Large impressive Cistercian Abbey in beautiful riverside location in the Wye valley.  It has been the subject of a poem by Wordsworth and a painting by Turner.  The order was founded in 1131 by Walter de Clare.  Little is left of the original building, it was built here deliberately, in keeping with the strictness and austerity of the order.  The abbey was completely rebuilt in the 13th Century and in 1326 Edward II stayed here for 2 nights.  The Abbey continued to be active and generally undisturbed until the dissolution in 1536.   From then on the Abbey became neglected and fell into disrepair.  Greatly regarded by the romantic movement in the late 18th Century for its peace and tranquillity.
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Haw Bridge Inn                Built in 1630 as a stop over place for boats, where the old toll bridge crossed the river Severn.  Many a boatman has taken a sip of ale and a Ploughman’s lunch within these walls, while watching the boats plying their trade on this once busy stretch of river.  Today, just pleasure craft glide slowly by. But the Inn still retains the ambiance of a bygone age nestling as it does on the banks of the river.  Flagstone floors, oak panelling & oak beamed ceilings.  Collections of horse brasses and Toby jugs adorn both walls and ceilings.  Home cooked food, enjoy this little piece of real England.
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Composer Edward Elgar 
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You May find this link useful, it offers some discounts on entries into places in London and also discount at some restaurants.  Charter Travel does not have any connection to the company offering the discounts but we found it on the Web and thought it may benefit you during your visit.
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