Ascension, AL
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Ascension, AL
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Church of the Ascension, Montgomery, AL
Choir Director Rebecca Taylor
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Salisbury                       A town where there is no need to go looking for interests in dark corners, it is all around.  The city dates back to the 13th Century when it was decided to move the Bishops seat  from Old Sarum.  The Cathedral foundations were begun in 1220 and the city started to grow.  Salisbury was built on a grid or chequer system which left space between the blocks.  Cathedral Close is the most beautiful in all England and the list of buildings with interest is unending.  It is interesting to note that the main wall around the Cathedral Close was granted by license from Edward III.
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Salisbury Cathedral          The first sight of the Cathedral is most impressive an early example of English architecture.  Its spire soaring to a height of 404ft the highest in England which imposes almost 6,000 tons of stone on the four pillars of the crossing.  The Nave measures 198ft with a clear uncluttered beauty, little having changed since it was built.  With Foundations no more than 4 feet deep on a bed of gravel, the main building was begun in 1220 and completed in 1258.  The Cloisters and Chapter house being finished in 1280.  It was never a Monastic institution but staffed with Secular Clergy called Canons.  This arrangements continues today.  Canons would be away in their parishes for most of the year, just coming back to the Cathedral for short periods of time.  The present houses round the close are built on the sites of the former Canons' Houses.
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Winchester                    The historic city of Winchester has been welcoming groups for centuries, ever since the first pilgrims visited the shrine of St Swithun.  Already an important town in Roman times, it became the capital under the Anglo Saxons, and in Alfreds time 871-901 was a great centre of learning.  William the Conqueror kept Winchester as his capital and as late as the 17th Century Charles II planned a palace here.  The city is rich in important buildings, one such building is the Great Hall, completed in 1235 it is a magnificent example of 13th Century domestic architecture.  It is now an Assize Court. Sir Walter Raleigh was condemned to death here in 1603 and on the wall hangs what is called King Arthur's Round Table, marked out and inscribed for his knights.  However one building stands out above all others, the cathedral.
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Winchester Cathedral     The building was started in 1079 and consecrated in 1093.  Work from this period can still be seen in the crypt, transepts and East part of the cloister.  Between 1189 and 1204 the Lady Chapel was built and the Quire extended.  It is the longest Medieval Cathedral in Europe (556ft)  In 1110 the central tower collapsed and was rebuilt with the supporting piers greatly strengthened (they are now 20ft in width). Among its treasures is the Great Winchester Bible, dating back to the 12th Century.  This illuminated copy was written in the scriptorium at Winchester and is now preserved in the Cathedral library.
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Stonehenge                  There is nothing quite like this awe inspiring monument anywhere else in the world, yet at first sight it is curiously disappointing, probably because it is set on a plain so vast that in comparison the stones seem quite insignificant.  It is only when man stands close to the stones that he seems so puny in comparison and it is hard to imagine how centuries ago, with only primitive tools to help them, men could possibly have placed these huge boulders into position.
The actual building falls into three phases.  Phase one which took place in the late Neolithic period somewhere around 2,000 years B.C. but little is known of this work.  Phase two took place between 1,700 and 1,600 B.C. We do know at this point about 80 blue stones, brought over by sea from the Prescelly mountains in Pembrokeshire, Wales, were placed in two concentric circles, with the entrance at the N.E. this work was never finished.  Phase three which took place between 1,600 and 1,300 B.C. during the Bronze age.  At this time the blue stones were moved and about 80 enormous Sarsen stones were dragged here from the Marlborough downs.  The whole history of Stonehenge covers the period from about 2,200 B.C. to 1,300 B.C. but exactly why it was built remains a mystery.  One fact remains the axis of Stonehenge was carefully aligned with the sunrise on 21st June, the longest day of the year.  Was it built in order to calculate the annual calendar of the seasons?
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Old Sarum                         Such a historic place covering an area of approx 56 acres. Important due to its prominence above the countryside below.  First remains indicate a Iron age camp, followed by the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons, then the Danes who pillaged the area in 1003.  In 1070 William the Conqueror reviewed his troops on the plains below.  The site really moved forward just after William departed.  The Episcopal See was moved from Sherborne to Sarum and a new Cathedral and Castle where built on the site.  However by 1220 the area was becoming too small for the requirements of the community so a new Cathedral was planned nearby.(New Sarum or as it later became Salisbury) stones from the old Cathedral where carried away and used in the construction of the new Cathedral. 
Old Sarum---old refers to a former Iron age fort and Sarum is the abbreviated form of the Latin name
Salisbury
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Isle of Wight                   Approx 9,000 years ago this area was still a part of the British mainland, however the rise in sea levels at the end of the last great ice age opened up a waterway, turning the land into a small island accessible via a short sea crossing.  The island is situated off the South coast of England and measures just 23 miles by 13 miles.  It is however rich in history that can be traced back to the stone age. 
The Romans came and built lovely villas.  The
Normans built splendid castles and the Tudors built magnificent manor houses.  In 1845 Queen Victoria & Prince Albert made this their home.
It is also well known as being a part of the Jurassic coastline, a length of South coast famous for its fossil discoveries and mammoth tusks.
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Osborne house                Built by Queen Victoria’s husband Albert between 1845-1851 as a family retreat where the family could stay free from the state ceremonial.  Much loved by the Queen who right up till the late 1890s would spend at least 100 days a year living in the house.  In 1901 she returned to Osborne for the last time dying here in her 83rd year.  The rooms are still laid out in the way she left them with treasured possessions such as paintings, furniture, ornaments and personal bric a brac on show.
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Ryde                                The town stands on steep foothills and the area is well wooded.  The parish church of All Saints has the tallest spire around and is visible for miles.  A popular holiday resort with a population of approx 25,000. The famous pier is half a mile long and the sandy beach stretches over 7 miles.  A very nice place to wander and have a bite to eat.   Mermaid Street is well known for its steep cobbled road lined with 15th and 17th Century houses. With the Mermaid Inn a notorious haunt of smugglers in the 18th century.
The name rye represents the Olde English phrase "aet thaere iege" which means "at the island" the original town was built on an island in the marshes.
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Carisbrooke Castle            Dating back nearly a thousand years to the time of William the Conquer.  The Norman Keep is built on an artificial mound which is the oldest part of the fortifications.  The well house also contains the famous remains of the donkey wheel that was used to raise water from the well. 
The position of the castle however is almost certainly of Saxon origin.  Very historic and of course due to its location on an island off the southern coast of England of very high importance in the defence of the realm.
Once owned by King Edward 1st for the crown.  Between 1647 & 1649 Charles 1st was held here before his execution in London on 30th January 1649.  His son Henry and his daughter Princess Elizabeth where held captive here between 1650 & 1653.  Elizabeth died of pneumonia in 1650 and Henry was released to his family in Italy during 1653.
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Stourhead House & Gardens   This superb 40 hectare landscaped garden was laid out between 1741 & 1780 set in parkland and surrounding woods.  A central lake reflects splendid trees, flowering shrubs and offers a visual experience that many say is unequalled anywhere else in Britain. Exquisite buildings blend easily into the surrounding landscape.  The handsome house is a Palladian 18th Century mansion filled with paintings and fine Chippendale furniture.
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