St James School Choir, Hagerstown, MD
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. Georges 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This great university
town is, for its history and associations and for its architecture, one of the
most rewarding in all England. In spite of recent industrialisation, its
beauty and dignity have emerged relatively unscathed. The university is
the second oldest in Europe, acknowledging only the Sorbonne in Paris as its
senior. In fact evidence of organised teaching can be traced to the 12th
Century. A Chancellor was appointed in 1214 and the collegiate system
began in the latter part of the 13th Century with the establishment in Oxford of
various religious orders.
Quite unique, a
Cathedral serving the Diocese of Oxford and a College Chapel serving Christ
Church College. It was made a Cathedral by King Henry VIII in 1545 after
cardinal Wolsey had made it a Chapel of the College in 1525. The building
however dates back to the 12th Century when it was a Priory of Augustianain
Cannons. The first recorded church on the site was in the 8th Century.
The spire incidentally, constructed during the 13th Century was the first in
England the lovely Gothic chancel added in the year 1500. A superb
collection of stained glass windows still exists dating back the 14th Century
with the oldest being the magnificent Becket window in the South transept (a
rare example of 14th Century glass in situ).
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.
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.
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.
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
St. John the Baptist Church, Cirencester One of the
oldest Parish Churches in England and has been used as a place of worship for
over a thousand years.
Best seen in the fading
light of a warm summer evening, the houses of golden stone many with cottage
gardens facing the River Coln. William Morris described Bibury as the most
beautiful village in England. Sit on the wall by the river watch the trout
running in the crystal clear water and across on the island a protected nature
reserve with wild duck and many species of bird.
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.
Bourton on the Water
A picturesque village with
the River Windrush flowing under low arched bridges alongside the main street,
beside grassy lawns and Cotswold stoned cottages.
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.
Very much a Cathedral city
and dominated by it, the existing building was started in 1180 continued in
stages until 1424. Many of the buildings in the Cathedral precincts are
used today for much the same purposes as that for which they were originally
built. The Vicars Close consists of a cobbled street with a total of 42
small houses built in the 14th Century for the Vicars of the Cathedral.
The Cathedral school was started in 909 and while closing for one short period
of 6 years in 1861 now records over 600 pupils. On the West front there
are 294 sculptures left of the original 386 some damaged beyond recognition, 3
new ones were unveiled by the Prince of Wales in 1985. The Chapter House
reached by an ancient stone stairway is octagonal in shape and part of a two
storey building, could be one of the most beautiful Chapter Houses in Britain.
The Cathedrals South doors lead to beautiful 15/16th Century cloisters
It is believed by many
people that under the waters of a spring on the slopes of its Tor Joseph of
Arimathea buried the chalice used at the last supper. That when on a
nearby hill, he thrust his thorn staff into the ground it took root to produce
the distinctive Glastonbury Winter flowering thorn tree, and that, on what was
later to be the site of the great Abbey round which the town grew, he built a
church of daub and wattle. Briefly this is the legend which has drawn
pilgrims to this place for centuries. In 688, King Ine of Wessex gave it a
Monastery, majestic, rich and the most beautiful in Britain which is clear from
the ruins of the church. It is also believed that King Alfred and Queen
Guinevere were re-buried in the Abbey. In the town St Johns church is a
fine 15th Century example. The George Inn was built in the 15th Century to
lodge pilgrims and the handsome market cross is 19th Century.
The Romans built a city
here and called it Aquae Sulis. It grew up around the Baths establishment,
one of the foremost of its kind in the Western empire. Its remains form an
impressive monument to Roman Britain. In the 18th Century Bath became a
fashionable resort for society presided over by Beau Nash. It was at this
time that the work of providing a suitable environment began. From the
early 1700s - to the early 1800s many beautiful buildings, streets, squares and
crescents were completed. The pump room in 1795 and the only bridge left
in England built with shops, Pulteney Bridge completed in 1777 by William
Pulteney. The city abounds with acres of parks and gardens which sets off
the formality of the Georgian architecture.
name means bath, it
is not Roman but a pure English word. The Romans did originally call the
area Aquae Calidae (hot waters) then Aquae Sulis (waters of sulis, referring to
their pagan god) the Anglo-Saxon name was Akemanchester, which is generally
regarded as being derived from the latin Aquae (ake) and the Roman road of
Akeman Street which ran via Bath. Also the old English word Ceaster
meaning Roman Fort.