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St Luke's Episcopal Church, San Antonio, TX
Choir Director Russell Jackson
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Harlow Carr Gardens              Set in the heart of rural Yorkshire, a delight for nature lovers, amateur gardeners and plant enthusiasts.  This 58-acre site is a haven of peace and tranquillity.  Highlights include the colourful herbaceous borders and wildflower meadows, the kitchen and scented gardens and alpine zone.  Along with the woodland and streamside walks.  These gardens are also home to the famous Bettys cafť tea rooms.
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Ripon                                        A small market town dating back to early Saxon times.  We have the Crypt in the Minster from circa 672 and a belief that the town name is based on a tribe of people known as the Hreope who inhabited the area in pre Saxon times.  In local documents the town was recorded as Hrypis in 715 and as Rypum in the year 1030.  We can therefore safely establish that a settlement has been here dating back over 1500 years.  The town is dominated by the Cathedral but the heart of the town is the rectangular market place with its dominating 90ft obelisk raised in 1781.  One of the oldest houses in the town is situated near one corner of the square.  The house was built in the 13th Century and the Wakeman or Night Watchman lived there. 
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Ripon Cathedral            On entering you will be standing in the oldest Cathedral in England, the first stone church was built by Wilfred in 672, the original and surviving crypt is one of the oldest Christian Shrines in England.  It is interesting because it is built to what was believed at the time to be the exact dimensions of Christís Tomb.  The original church was destroyed in 950 and the second laid waste by the Normanís in 1069. the present building therefore dates back to the 11th and 12th centuries.  Many interesting things to see in this lovely building including the Harrison organ which dates back to 1914.
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Fountain Abbey  (Declared a world heritage site)          The majestic ruins of possibly the Greatest Abbey in England, stand in this scenic valley of the River Skell.  Just a few miles South West of Ripon.  Even today so much of the building is still visible.  From very humble beginnings, a rise to power then total Dissolution under Henry VIII.  It was from St Mary`s Abbey York, that the prior and some followers left to establish a new Cistercian order here at Fountains in 1132.  They started to build and over the years the community grew in property, prosperity & recruits. Unfortunately this power and wealth replaced the original Cistercian ideals and was a great prize for Henry VIII during the Dissolution.  He sold it to Sir Richard Gresham in 1540.  One can clearly see from the ruins the picture of what life in a Monastic institution was like during the middle ages.  The tower stands a remarkable 168ft in height with the church extending some 360ft.  In 1738 William Aisdale who owned the adjoining Studley Royal Estate purchased Fountains and continued to mould the two together.  Landscaping and gardening as he went along.  Today the Cistercian Abbey ruins are the largest in Britain blending in naturally with a landscape of ornamental lakes, cascades, bridges, river walks and eye catching vistas.  A 500 head deer colony live in the deer park and at night the whole area of the ruins are floodlit.
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Hawes                    One of the highest market towns in England.  Known as the capital of Upper Wensleydale.  Set amongst a thriving farming area of outstanding beauty home to thousands of sheep and cattle.  A small town with broad cobbled streets where local industries such as cheese making, pottery and rope making still survive.  Small shops offering local produce together with antique shops offer glimpses of times gone by.
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Wensleydale Cheese            The story of cheese making in the Yorkshire dales dates back to possible Roman times.  However it was Cistercian Monks from Jervaulx arriving here in the 12th Century who bought with them a knowledge of cheese making which they used to produce a soft, blue veined cheese made from Wensleydale Ewes milk.  By the 17th Century most farmhouses had their own recipes which were passed down from generation to generation.  The first commercial creamery in Hawes was set up in 1897.  Then followed a history of high points and a very low point reached in 1992 when the creamery was closed.  However within 6 months some ex managers a local businessman together with skilled help from former workers re-opened for business. Today going from strength to strength the creamery once again is proud to produce the real Wensleydale cheese.
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York                                           The fascinating townscape of this walled city illustrates much of its nearly 2,000 years history.  York possesses in its Minster the largest medieval church in Northern Europe, the general scale of its building is small and human.  Even today York seems more medieval than almost any other English town.  The compact core is a treasure house for anyone interested in history, architecture or ancient crafts, and is best seen on foot.  The Romans called the place Eboracum, and built a fort in AD.71.  Under the Angles, York was capital of their Kingdom of Deira.  King Edwin was baptised here by Paulinus, who became the first Archbishop of York in 634.  The Danes captured and burnt York in 867 and it was their capital in England for nearly 100 years, they called it Jorvik and it is from this that the present name derives.  There is nothing left to see of Anglo Saxon and Danish York, but the use of the word gate for street is a reminder that the Danes did settle here.  The Norman's found a thriving little trading centre and burnt it in 1069 during their frightful ravaging of the North, and then rebuilt the walls, expanding them to take the present 263 acres.  Medieval York is everywhere, not least in the web of narrow streets.  The Shambles and Stonegate are two of the best preserved examples.  Too the East of the Minster is the half timbered St William's College.  Three of the nine Guildhalls still survive.  All the city walls are medieval rebuilt on the Roman and Norman foundations in the 13th Century.  A 2.5 mile footpath on the walls gives a circular tour of the city.  In the middle ages, York was England's second city a great religious and commercial centre.  A lovely city with much to see and enjoy.
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Web Link to Historic York

York Castle (Cliffords tower)     In 1068 William the Conquer built 2 Motte & Bailey castles in York.  Both where later destroyed by a Danish fleet helped by the people of York. Eventually William rebuilt the two castles and the mound on which now stands Cliffords Tower became a part of the main fortress.  However except for the tower very little of the original castle now exists.  The tower was built between 1245 & 1272 and has been the scene of many historical events.  It is reported that the rebel leader Robert Aske was allegedly hung from the walls in chains and starved to death.  The tower also played its part in the Civil War siege of York in 1644.  Then between 1825 & 1935 it was used as a prison.  But its most infamous historical reference is the Jewish massacre of March 1190, when an estimated 150 Jews, the entire Jewish Community of York, Died after taking refuge in the Royal Castle.
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York Minster                    The Minster is York's chief glory, appropriate to the dignity of an Archbishopric, built between 1220 and 1470, it contains England's greatest concentration of medieval stained glass, principally from the 13th and 14th Centuries.  The two most famous windows being the five sisters and the magnificent 15th Century east window, the largest in the world.  The Ministers length is 518ft and is 241ft wide at the transept.  The central tower rises 198ft and is the largest lantern tower in Britain.  The 14th Century Chapter House with seven lovely window walls has no central support for its conical roof, just the great buttresses on the eight sides.  The Choir was completed by 1400 and its great climax the east window with 2,000 sq ft of ancient glass by John Thornton of Coventry was finished in 1408, the massive towers came last.
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Harewood House                  This magnificent 18th Century mansion planned by Robert Carr and decorated by Robert Adam is situated in landscaped grounds completed by Capability Brown in 1772 and set in rolling countryside.
Room after room reflects exquisite craftsmanship of the 18th
Century. Superb chimney pieces, ceilings, carpets, mirrors and furniture by Chippendale.  Harewood also has a notable collection of paintings by Tintoretto, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Sargent, Turner & a host of other Italian Masters.
Do make time to see the sweeping terrace designed by
Sir Charles Barry (architect of the Houses of Parliament) which overlooks the formal gardens.
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