Christ Church, Short Hills, NJ
This ancient city, with
narrow, twisting streets was once one of the largest and most important Roman
towns in the country. The Abbey is visible from miles around. A
British settlement existed here prior to the Roman invasion of 54A.D. by the
middle of the 1st Century this settlement had become so important it was
elevated to the status of Municipium, the only British city to attain such an
honour, which accorded the inhabitants the right of Roman citizenship. The
remains of Verulamium were only excavated in the present century, parts of the
original city walls up to 12 feet thick can be seen. The Roman theatre
(only one in Britain) has been excavated and restored, semi circular in shapes
is 180 feet across and provided seats for over 1,600 people.
St. Albans Cathedral
The Cathedral, St
Albans Abbey was built on the site where the first British Martyr, Alban was
beheaded in 209A.D. The existing Abbey was constructed by Paul of Caen
using materials collected from the ruined Roman city (brick and flint taken from
Roman remains) started in 1077 much of the original church remains today.
The church is over 900 years old but the materials used to build it are nearly
twice that age. The nave measures over 275 feet and is the longest in
Great Britain, the tower is 144 feet high constructed entirely by the Normans
with red bricks from the old Roman city.
The Royal Botanical
Gardens at Kew are the worlds most famous gardens, set up as a scientific
institution for the accurate identification and classification of plants and
plant materials and for the distribution of botanical information to all parts
of the world. Kew is also a quarantine station for plants being sent from
one country to another. It trains botanists and gardeners for
establishments all over the world, in the course of its work over many years,
over 25,000 specimen plants have been assembled. The first garden on this
site belonged to Augusta, mother of George III, she lived in Kew house and in
1759 had a garden of 9 acres planted here The garden was acquired for the
state in 1841 Queen Victoria also gave property to the garden in 1898. In
1904, the whole 300 acres of the site became the property of the state, to
fulfil its scientific and popular functions. The park now houses a
tranquil temperature house with a rich collection of plants from all over the
world, a rhododendron dell, landscaped by Capability Brown, the restored
Japanese gateway and more than 9,000 trees throughout the gardens.
Cambridge is one of the
most important and beautiful towns not only in East Anglia, but also in Britain
and even Europe. The quality of its buildings in particular those
belonging to the University and the particular atmosphere caused by the
felicitous combination of river and gardens have given the city a place in the
itinerary of every visitor to this country. The history of Cambridge began
many hundreds of years before the first college was founded, a Celtic settlement
had arise on Castle Hill 100 years prior to the Roman conquest. At the
foot of the hill was a ford across the River Cam. It is thought the Romans
built a bridge here. The site of Cambridge became of great strategic and
commercial importance. With the departure of the Romans the town continued
to spread to its present position on the East Anglian side of the river.
The coming of the Normans only increased expansion they even rebuilt the Castle.
Then in the 13th Century saw the founding of the first Cambridge College,
Peterhouse College, established in 1281 by the Bishop of Ely and moving to its
own hostels in 1284. So was established the first College and the
consequent increase in the importance of the city as a seat of learning and a
centre of communal life.
Kings College, Cambridge
One of the most
outstanding buildings in Britain and the finest Gothic building in Europe.
It was begun in 1446. its unusual dimensions, 300ft long, 80ft high and 40ft
wide, prepare the visitor for its extraordinary system of spatial relationships.
The effect of the interior is breathtaking. the shafts on either side of the
chapel lead the eye up into the roof where the profusion of delicate fan
vaulting appears to be made of lace rather than stone. The organ case
(1606), screen and choir stalls (1536) stained glass windows (1515 incidentally
the year the chapel was completed) act as a perfect foil to the magnificent
roof. Does this give meaning to look upwards to heaven for the splendours
that are above.
Probably owes its
origins to the erection in the 7th Century of an Anglo Saxon convent.
However it was the later Benedictine Abbey founded by Leofric, Earl of Mercia in
the 11th Century that gave the town its impetus to grow. It was granted
its first charter in 1553. The mechanization of the 19th Century brought
the manufacture of sewing machines and bicycles right into the city. The
Daimler company produced the first English motorcar in 1898 and the car industry
increased rapidly, giving rise in turn to aircraft production. It was the
aircraft production Germany came to bomb in 1940, it was a cold November night
in 1940 when much of the city was wiped out by a devastating fire bombing air
raid, thousands of people killed and injured, the Cathedral was also destroyed,
leaving only a tower and a spire standing.
In 1951 an open
architectural competition for a new Cathedral was held and won by a design by
Basil Spence. A new Cathedral was born, started in 1954 it was finished in
1962. Today thousands of visitors are drawn to the new building, acclaimed
as one of the most striking examples of modern architecture. The nave is
270ft long and 80ft wide with the focal point a superb 75ft high tapestry
designed by Graham Sutherland and woven in France. The theme
reconciliation and unity by all people from whatever religion of whatever creed
or colour, the rising of hope from the ashes of war.
Stratford upon Avon
Situated on the West
bank of the River Avon. Many 15th and 16th Century timber framed houses
still exist and in many of its streets the essential character of a thriving
market town still purveys. However it can not be denied that it is justly
famous because on or about 23rd April 1564 William Shakespeare was born here and
a few days later baptised at the Parish Church of Holy Trinity. There is
however evidence of a Bronze age settlement in the area and a Romano British
village. A Monastery was founded in Anglo Saxon days and by the year 1196
the town was granted the right to hold a weekly market.
The town name means
ford by a Roman road. In this case over the River Avon and the Roman road
is the one joining the Roman settlements of Alcester and Tiddington. The
ford was actually at the point where Bridgefoot Crosses the River now.
The name was recorded as Stretford approx 700 years ago.
Shakespeare Birthplace Museum
The Cottage was the childhood home of William
Shakespeare. The cottage is authentically furnished throughout with both
original and replica items from this time period of his life. To the rear
is a lovely garden and adjoining is a superb exhibition charting his
professional and private life including a first edition of his colleted plays
published in 1623.
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
Highclere Castle is one of Englandís most beautiful Victorian Castles. Designed
by Sir Charles Barry (architect of the Houses of Parliament) and set in 1,000 acres
of spectacular parkland, landscaped by Capability Brown and said to be one of his
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.
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
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.
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.
Built by Robert Cecil,
1st Earl of Salisbury in 1611. The state rooms are rich in paintings fine
furniture and Medieval armour, throughout the house are examples of superb
Jacobean Craftmanship. Take a stroll in the gardens where the surviving
wing of the old Royal Palace of Hatfield dated 1497 still stands.
Elizabeth I spent much of her childhood here and it is in the great hall where
she held her first council of state in 1558 after she inherited the throne on
the death of her sister Mary. The gardens date back to the 17th
Century and are considered by many to be some of the finest in Britain.