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Avebury Ring                The largest stone circle in Europe.  It formed the centre of one of the most impressive Neolithic ceremonial landscapes in Britain.  Built in the Late Neolithic period (2,500-2,200 BC).  Consists of a massive circular earthwork, enclosing an area of Approx 28acres. While we are not sure of the original height of the bank (today 13ft to 17ft high) at its base it measures 70-90ft wide. 
The great circles: 200 standing stones arranged in an outer ring of 98 large upright Sarsens set at intervals of 36 feet and 2 inner circles
Northern inner circle:  Comprising of two concentric circles of Sarsens, Circle a: 160ft in diameter and constructed from 27 stones.  Circle b: 64ft in diameter. And constructed from 12 stones.  At the centre is a group of 3 Sarsens called the cove.
Southern inner circle
340ft in diameter and constructed from 29 Sarsens set at intervals of approx 36ft.  Within this circle stood the obelisk and a irregular line of 12 smaller stones.
It is thought the circles may have taken many centuries to complete.
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Beaulieu                    Originally a 13th Century Cistercian Abbey, the stately home grew up round the gatehouse and became the home of the Lords of Beaulieu.  Today a very popular attraction which encompasses the ruins of the Abbey, the house, gardens and the national motor museum of over 250 cars.  Take advantage of some fun things such as go-karts, fast trax (motor racing simulator) and miniature motors.
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Bere regis (kingsmere)        A small town situated on the South West road out of London.  The town has a superb Medieval church famous for the Ravaged Tombs of the Turbervilles the family which inspired Thomas Hardy`s Tess of the D`Urbervilles.
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Blandford Forum        Has the most handsome and uniform Georgian red brick and stone town centre in the South West, due mainly to the great fire of 1731. The fire began on the site of the present Kings Arms, within one hour all fire engines were burned together with all ladders and in the end over 400 houses.  From reports of the time eye witnesses stated that the church bells dissolved and ran down in streams.  Today the town is a hub of a rich farming area.  I am sure no one will need telling that Blandford was Thomas Hardy`s - Shottesford Forum.
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St Peter & St Paul, Blandford forum     The books tell us that the design of the new church after the fire is “Vernacular Baroque” and reflects the design of new churches in London during the reign of Queen Anne.  We must thank the bastard brothers, William & John who where both architects and builders for the legacy of the present building.  However the building sits easy with the eye as it over looks the High Street and its classical tower is the towns most prominent landmark.  The interior is imposing, a grand arcade of widely spaced ionic columns, supporting a heavy entablature.  Original numbered box pews and a pulpit that originally came from a wren church in London St Antholins.
The charity boards in the north transept with all mention of the Town blacked out (to stop any invading Germans during WW II identifying the town) an interesting but different church.
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Bucklers Hard              Situated on the banks of the Beaulieu River in the heart of the New Forest National Park, the village consists of just one broad street flanked by charming terraced 18th Century houses.  In the late 18th Century this was a centre for ship building.  The great New Forest oaks were felled and brought here to build some of the Navy’s finest ships, many of which fought at the Battle of Trafalgar.
The maritime museum gives an insight into the history of the village while a walk along the riverbank provides an opportunity to see some of the abundant wildlife living in the area.
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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.
Enjoy this superb castle with a history to match.
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Chichester                   An ancient city dating back to 43AD when the Romans landed nearby and established a base here.  Evidence of their occupation can be seen in the remains of the defensive walls, They also built a Palace at nearby Fishbourne, one of the largest Roman buildings uncovered in Britain.  When the Romans left, the Saxons established a settlement here and the area continued to be quite peaceful and prosperous.  The present City lay out follows the original Roman plan of walls and roads.  North, South, East & West Streets crossing at the 16th Century Butter Cross.  Many fine Georgian houses exist especially in a delightful street called Little London and the flat landscape makes it a fine and very easy place to explore divided up as it is into four quadrants separated by the main thoroughfares. 
The Romans called this place Noviomagnus meaning new market from the two Celtic words Novus meaning "new" and Magus meaning "plain".  When the Saxons came, Aella, first King of the Southern Saxons, gave the word Ceaster meaning "Roman town" to his eldest son, Cissa.  Hence we have “Cissa`s Ceaster”.  By 895 the settlement was recorded as “Cisseceastre”
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Chichester Cathedral    The main building began in about 1076 under the leadership of Bishop Stigand and continued under Bishop Ralph De Luffa.  A fire in 1114 hindered progress but most of what we see today existed by 1123.  The Cloisters were built in approx. 1400, followed by the seven light window in the North Transept.  The Chapter House was also completed at about this time.  The detached bell tower was built during the early part of the 15th Century and while many Cathedrals once had such a building, only the one at Chichester remains today.  It was built to take the weight of the eight massive bells from the Central Tower.  The spire and The Arundel Screen are also 15th Century.  The original Arundel Screen was removed in 1859 and this possibly precipitated the collapse of the tower in 1861.  In 1961 it was restored to its original position as we see it today.  The Prebendal School where the Choristers are educated stands alongside the Cathedral and is the oldest school in Sussex and was originally endowed by Edward Storey, Bishop in 1478.  The vicars hall bordering South Street is Circa 15th Century.  The 12th Century Undercroft is now the restaurant.  The Vicars' Close also early 15th Century.  The Deanery was built in 1725 and the gateway at the end of Canon Lane leading to the Bishops Palace is Circa 1327.  The Palace just South of the Cathedral contains a lovely 12th Century Chapel.  The gardens and serenity of this Cathedral is a joy to behold.
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Exbury Gardens          Few gardens in England can celebrate the glory of spring quite like Exbury.  Here in a peaceful corner of the New Forest, this remarkable 200-acre woodland garden overlooking the Beaulieu River was created by Lionel de Rothschild in the 20 years leading up to the Second World War.  The gardens now contain one of the most spectacular and colourful displays of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and magnolias anywhere.
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Fishbourne Roman Villa            The site of one of the largest non military Roman buildings yet discovered in Britain. Foundations came to light in 1960 when a new water main was being laid for a housing estate.  Excavations uncovered a luxuriously fitted villa with over 100 rooms, it is thought to have been built between 75AD – 100AD for King Cogidubnus leader of the Atrebate tribe. He co-operated with the Romans and his reward a magnificent palace.
The building was occupied between the 1st and 3rd Centuries. The main buildings were thought to have been destroyed by fire around 320AD. You can see sections of walls, plumbing and heating systems together with over 25 different floor mosaics.
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Guildford         An old town first mentioned in the time of Alfred the Great.  The original Anglo Saxon fortifications was built on an artificial mound.  The Normans eventually built a keep on this mound and the castle grew up around it.  Today only this keep remains, a solid structure some 60ft high.
Many old buildings in the City still survive:
The Abbotts Hospital in the High Street founded by George Abbott and built in 1619 as a home for 12 old men and 8 widows.
The Guildhall also in the High Street built in 1683 with its famous clock also in the Royal Grammer School built in the latter part of the 16th century.
Guildford House was built in 1660.a fine timber framed building.
The oldest building in the town is St Marys Church in Quarry Street near to the Castle.  Originally built in Anglo Saxon times but the construction mainly dates back to the 11th to 13th Century’s.
Famous people to have stayed in the City—of course Lewis Carroll who actually never resided in the City but he spent much time with his 6 unmarried sisters who lived in a rented property called “The Chestnuts” where he died in 1898. This house is a private residence now and not open to the public, Lewis was buried in the local Mount Cemetery.

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Guildford Cathedral         The Cathedral of the Holy Spirit stands on Stag Hill about a mile outside the City.  It was the first Cathedral built on an entirely new site in Southern England since the reformation.  It was designed by Sir Edward Maufe in a simply Gothic style.  The foundation stone was laid in 1936 but work ceased in 1939 due to the outbreak of the Second World War and not started again until 1952.  Eventually the work was completed in 1961 and consecrated on 17th May of the same year.  Cruciform in shape and designed to hold  over 1700 people.
The exterior is made from handmade bricks using local clay.  The roof is copper and the tower is over 160ft high and surmounted by a gilded angel.  The actual foundation stone rests on stones taken from the fabric of both Canterbury and Winchester Cathedrals. There is a clear uncluttered view down the great vaulted Nave, Crossing and High Altar reaching up to a fine rose window at the east end.  The Chancel and Sanctuary are paved with Purbeck marble and the Bishops throne made of gilded oak
The Crypt was the local Parish Church until the Cathedral was consecrated and is now a part of the Cathedral.  At the top of the steps leading from the Couth Ambulatory is the Jerusalem stone quarried in Jerusalem.
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Godshill                          A small village situated on the main Newport Road which attracts many visitors to see and admire the lovely thatched cottages.  The Church of All Saints stands on a slight incline in the centre of the village.  It has a rare double Nave, possibly built to separate clergy and public.
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Goodwood House     One of the finest Stately Homes in the country, home to the Dukes of Richmond & Lennox for over 300 years.  The 1st Duke of Richmond was the natural son of King Charles II and his French Mistress, Louise de Keroulle.  Goodwood was originally bought as a hunting lodge and subsequent Dukes have enlarged the existing Jacobean House to create the magnificent house we see today.
The house contains an outstanding art collection formed by successive generations of the family, this includes paintings from Van Dyck, Canaletto, Stubbs and Reynolds, porcelain from Sevres and many fine examples of English and French furniture.
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Hardy`s cottage            Built in 1801 by Hardy`s Great Grandfather.  Hardy was born here in 1840 and wrote some of his best known works here. 
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Highclere Castle            Highclere Castle is one of England’s 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 greatest creations.
The Carnarvon family have lived at Highclere since 1679 and the current castle stands on the site of an earlier house which in turn was built on the foundations of a palace once owned by the Bishops of Winchester for some 800 years.
The castle is the present home of the 7th Earl and Countess Carnarvon and it was the present Earls grandfather who in 1922 with Howard Carter discovered and opened Tutankhamen’s tomb.
The family have a keen interest in horse racing and the present Earl is the Queens racing manager
The house became even more famous when it became the setting for the Television drama "Downton Abbey".
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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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Kingston Lacy House    The original brick house built in 1665 by the banks family was encased in stone by Sir Charles Barry in 1835.  Who was of course the builder of the Houses of Parliament.  The house is one of England’s finest treasure houses, distinguished for its architecture and fabulous art collections.  The interior is lavishly fitted out to provide a wonderful setting for the outstanding collections of paintings and other notably works acquired by William Banks.  The highlight must be the Spanish room panelled in gilded leatherwork with a magnificent gilt ceiling.  A collection of old masters includes works by Velazquez, Rubens and Titian.  Together with wonderful Egyptian artefacts dating from 3000 BC.  The garden contains award winning Azaleas and is set within a lovely wooded parkland, grazed by a herd of Red Devon Cattle.
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Lacock Abbey and Village            The old English word "Lacuc" means small stream.  Recorded in the mid Ninth century as "Lacok".  A small tributary to the River Avon runs close by. 
The village with its twisted streets, gabled roofs and timber buildings is one of the prettiest in England.  Most buildings span the centuries, medieval to 18th Century.  The local church of St Cyriac with a fine perpendicular roof dates back to 1450 although early records do indicate a monastic building on this site in 850AD.
The abbey was founded by Ela Countess of Salisbury in 1229.  She became the Abbess and served for 17 years.  In the 17th Century the Abbey passed to the Talbot family under very romantic circumstances.
Olive a Daughter of the house was locked up by her father so she would not continue with an affair with a Talbot.  Olive leapt from the Abbey into her lovers arms, nearly killing him in the process.  Both in fact were saved by the petticoats that Olive wore.  As she fell they billowed out so breaking her fall.  By her courage and devotion to a Talbot her father let her marry and the Abbey and Village remained in the Talbot family until 1944 when Miss Matilda Talbot gave everything to the national trust.
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Lulworth cove                  An abundance of coastal walks around this unique and famous horseshoe harbour
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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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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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Portsmouth Royal Naval Museum     The historic dockyard is home to great ships, such as HMS Victory, Lord Nelson's Flagship from the battle of Trafalgar. HMS Warrior (1860) the worlds first iron-hulled, armoured warship powered by steam, still afloat in Portsmouth harbour.  Also the Mary Rose, one of the most famous ships in the world, built in 1510 and capsized and sank dramatically in an accident in 1545.  This great ship was raised again in 1982 and has undergone extensive preservation work ever since, with the new museum opening in Spring 2013.  The Dockyard also houses the Royal Navy Museum and many other attractions.
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Web Link to the Mary Rose

Romsey                         Like most Abbey towns Romsey grew up around the ecclesiastical site.  King John`s hunting box over the centuries has at various times been, abbey guest house, cottages and even a workhouse.  It is a flint and stone house and was only rediscovered during the early part of this century.  It is widely accepted that Edward I visited with attendants during the year 1301.  Evidence has been found scratched in the plasterwork of the upper rooms, of various heads, shields and mottoes associated with noblemen of the day, together with a life-size drawing of the King himself, resplendent in crown.  It is also recorded that King John had sent his daughter here to be educated just over a century before the visit of King Edward.
Romsey - means “Rums Island” it is thought that the island referred to is the somewhat higher ground situated away from the river around the Abbey where the town arose in the 10th Century.  The name was recorded in the mid 10th Century as “romeseye”.
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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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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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Shaftesbury                    Originally it was a Saxon fortified town set on a hill.  King Alfred gave it a nunnery in 880 with his daughter Ethelgiva it's first abbess.  It was to the Abbey in 981 that the body of Edward the Martyr was brought for burial.  From St Peters church (early 15th Century) and falling due South is the ancient, wide, curved and cobbled Gold Hill. (reputed to be the most photographed street in Dorset).
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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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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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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 choir 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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St Cross, Winchester        St Cross is almost a Norman Cathedral in miniature but also doubles as the local parish church of St Faith.  The structure is almost entirely of the late Norman period.  The Nave is dominated by massive Norman piers.  A closer look will see the Norman architecture giving way to Gothic walls and windows. The church was extensively restored by Butterfield in the 19th Century.  But it is outside that one finds a perfect gem, England’s oldest and most perfect Almshouses.  Begun in 1136 to house 13 poor men and feed a 100 local people each day.  The founder was Henry De Blois the half brother of King Stephen.  It was the Almshouses that saved the Church after the Dissolution in 1536.  The Almshouses are still in use today serving 12 or so Brothers and are situated round two Tudor quadrangles.  The quaint intentions of the founder is still honoured today.  Every traveller knocking at the door receives a morsel of bread and a horn of beer (known as the Wayfarers Dole)
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St Thomas Church, Salisbury   This large town Church was originally built as a place of worship for the stone masons working on the 13th Century Cathedral.  It was rebuilt in the 15th Century.  The tower was originally detached until the extension of the 15th Century.  The Nave and Aisles are perpendicular and the rooves are superb, especially the Nave with crested and painted beams and over 100 angels in various locations.  The South chapel was built approx 1450.  Yet a chance of history preserved above its Chancel arch the most complete doom mural in England dating back to approx 1450-75, we know the work was painted over in 1593 but discovered again and restored in 1881.  We do know from pre-restoration drawings that the composition is original.
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Wilton House   nr Salisbury            Work began in 1543 on a Tudor house incorporating parts of the old Abbey. Then in the 1630s the 4th Earl of Pembroke remodelled the house in the Palladian style.  The 11th Earl made further alterations in the early 19th Century.  Today we see the results of this work in a fine house surrounded by beautiful landscaped parkland.  Lovely rooms to wander round, such as the famous double cube room, possibly the finest surviving 17th century stateroom in England.  Paintings by Rembrandt, Brueghel, Rubens and Reynolds. together with fine sculpture, furniture and porcelain.
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