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St Mark's Church, Berkeley, CA
Choir Director George Emblom
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Ely                                            The Town stands above the River Ouse on a bluff which was formerly an island, accessible only by boat or causeway until the fens were drained in the 17th and 18th Century.  It was the scene of Hereward`s resistance to William the Conqueror.  A quiet oasis away from the hustle and bustle of modern city life around the precints of the cathedral are the houses of the Kings School founded by Henry VIII.  Nearby is the Bishops Palace and St Mary`s church, in the vicarage of which lived Oliver Cromwell and his family from 1636-1647.
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Ely Cathedral                                            The Cathedral was founded by St Etheldreda in 673 but work on the present building did not commence until the appointment of Abbot Simeon in 1081.  It is only on entering the Cathedral that the length of the nave becomes apparent (537ft in length) with a wonderful painted wooden ceiling 72ft high, conceived by Alan Walsingham over 600 years ago.  The effect of its design with its beautiful fan vaulting and delicate tracery makes it one of the highlights of English architecture.  The chapels which surround the extension contain some of the most elaborate and extraordinary carvings to be seen in England.
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Peterborough                       A prosperous city and an important market town.  In its centre is the market place where the Guildhall, built in 1671, dominates.  Nearby is St John the Baptist’s Church built in 1402.  The best Georgian houses are in Priestgate on the corner of which is the three storied Angel Hotel.  The Town Hall in Bridge Street was built in the 1930s in a mock Georgian style.
Peterborough: first mentioned in a document of 750 as Medeshamstedi Anglos Saxon settlement probably meaning homestead by the whirlpool.  Two hundred years later the settlement was destroyed by the Danes but was rebuilt in the 10th Century.  In the Doomsday book the place was simply known as Burg.  However a document of the 12th Century defines the name as Medeshamstede qui Modo Burgdicitur (taking the meaning to be Medeshampstead which is now only called Buirg) by 1333 the city became known as “petreburgh” 
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Peterborough Cathedral                       Founded as a monastery by King Peada of Mercia in 655.  Destroyed by the Danes in 870 and re-founded by King Edgar over 100 years later.  Hereward the Wake attacked and plundered it about 1070 and approx 40 years later it was completely destroyed by fire.  The present church was begun in 1118 and the church was dedicated in 1238.  The building is of Barnack stone, 481 feet long by 206 feet wide and approx 81 feet high with the tower reaching 143 feet into the heavens.  The nave is a superb example of Norman architecture dating from the second half of the 12th Century.  The painted wooden ceiling is unique in all England and dates back to 1220.  In the retrochoir the ceiling has magnificent fan vaulting and the “hedda stone” an important piece of Anglo-Saxon sculpture dating from about 800.  In front of the retrochoir are two burial places one the tomb of Catherine of Aragon first Queen of Henry VIII who was buried here in 1536.  The second tomb was that of Mary Queen of Scots buried here in 1587. However her son James I had her body removed and reburied in Westminster Abbey in 1612.  Henry VIII founded and endowed the Kings school where the future choristers were to be educated. 
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Stamford                                            This quiet town built largely of mellowed local stone has a long and historic background.  In Danish times it was the selected capital of the Fens area and one of the original five Boroughs of the Danelaw.  The town charter was granted by Henry III in 1254 but received quite allot of damage during the Wars of the Roses in the 15th Century.  The town does have the finest collection of Medieval Churches of any small town in England and really does try to keep them all open;  St Mary, St George, St Martin and All Saints together with excellent examples of Queen Anne Houses and Georgian Mansions.
The town also as a profusion of groups of Almshouses (provided for old people) known locally as “Callises” these where built by rich wool merchants.
The oldest building in
Stamford is St Leonard’s Priory founded in the 7th Century by Wilfred Bishop of York.
Daniel Lambert supposedly the biggest Englishman ever is buried in St Martins Churchyard he died in 1839 and at the time of his death he was 5ft 11inches tall, with a waist of 9feet 4inches but weighed 53 stone.
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Burghley House                   The largest & grandest house of the first Elizabethan age. built between 1565 & 1587 by William Cecil.  The house is still a family home yet full of superb paintings and antiques, a treasure to feast upon.  The art collection is one of the most impressive 17th Century Italian painting collections in the world, with over 300 great works on display in the state rooms, which also includes work by Gainsborough, Kneller and Lawrence.  The tour will allow access to over 18 state rooms filled with superb porcelain from all over Europe and a collection of early Japanese ceramics, together with furniture of the highest quality including a bed once used by Queen Victoria.  Try and find time to wander in the grounds, acres of park land, originally landscaped by Capability Brown.  Mature trees and plenty of space for the youngsters to let off some steam.
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Cambridge                             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.
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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.  
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Bristol                 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 in Newfoundland.  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 area.
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Bristol Cathedral                Formerly an 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 War Two.
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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.
Admiral Sir William Penn whose son also a William founded Pennsylvania is buried in the South Transept.  The close links with the United States are further strengthened by the restoration of the St John`s Chapel by the friends of St Mary Redcliff in America.

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Berkeley Castle            Built over 800 years ago and still the ancestral home of the Berkeley family who still live there, the family, of course, have close associations with Berkeley U.S.A.  The oldest castle in Britain to have been continuously lived in by the same family.  Built as a fortress and used as a home, during its chequered history it has been the scene of sieges during the civil war and terrible deeds.  Its walls in some places over 14 feet thick, turrets and towers stand majestic.  This was the scene in 1327 of the frightful murder of Edward II, he was imprisoned in a cell close to the castle dungeon, a deep pit into which rotting carcasses and half alive prisoners were thrown.  It was anticipated the stench and filth from the dungeon would overpower the prisoner in the cell.  However Edward survived for 5 months and ended up being tortured to death by his jailers.  The castle is also the site of the great hall where the West Country Barons met before setting off to meet King John for the signing of Magna Carta in 1215.  Small but a real example of how we think a castle should look.
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Tintern                             Large impressive Cistercian Abbey in beautiful riverside location in the Wye valley.  It has been the subject of a poem by Wordsworth and a painting by Turner.  The order was founded in 1131 by Walter de Clare.  Little is left of the original building, it was built here deliberately, in keeping with the strictness and austerity of the order.  The abbey was completely rebuilt in the 13th Century and in 1326 Edward II stayed here for 2 nights.  The Abbey continued to be active and generally undisturbed until the dissolution in 1536.   From then on the Abbey became neglected and fell into disrepair.  Greatly regarded by the romantic movement in the late 18th Century for its peace and tranquillity.
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Tewkesbury                    An 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.
Firstly it is was the scene of one of the bloodiest last battles of the Wars of the Roses.  On 4th May 1417, between Queen Margaret of Anjou for the Lancastrians and Edward IV for the Yorkists.  The Lancastrians where routed, quite a number finding refuge for the night in the Abbey before being turned out the next day, when they were arrested by the Yorkist followers and all executed in the town square.  The site of the battle is well known and can be seen clearly from Lincoln Lane just off the main A38 road.  The battle place is still known locally as Bloody Meadow. 
Secondly the Abbey, their is evidence that Monks were settled in the town by 715 and built a small church in the meadows by the river.  The present Abbey is Norman built between 1090 & 1121 by Robert Fitzhamon a kinsman of William the Conqueror.  The Abbey prospered for over 400 years before being handed over to King Henry VIII in 1540.  The townspeople to their horror, about to see their abbey being destroyed rallied round and raised the enormous sum (16th Century standards ) of £453 to purchase the church for their own use.  The Abbey's tower is the largest and finest surviving Norman central tower anywhere in the world, 46 feet square and 148 feet high.  The West front is dominated by the Great Norman recessed arch 65 feet high.  The massive wooded doors of the North porch are almost certainly the original circa 1121.  It is the second largest parish church in England.  The Abbey is 311 feet East to West, it is held up by 14 great Norman columns, which are the tallest in England, 31 feet high and 6 feet in diameter.  The 7 choir windows contain the original 14th century glass, in the centre of the choir is a brass plate which marks the burial place of Edward of Lancaster, Prince of Wales, who was killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury.  The chapels around the Abbey celebrate some of the families who have been associated with it during its long and somewhat turbulent history.
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St Mary's Priory Church, Deerhurst        The actual dates of the foundation of a Church in Deerhurst are unknown but there is evidence that a church existed here by 804AD
During the 9th & 10th Century Deerhurst was the Ecclesiastical centre for Hwicce a sub kingdom of Mercia.  In the 10th Century St Alphege began his Ecclesiastical career here moving on to become the Archbishop of Canterbury. Much of Anglo Saxon England actually revolved around Deerhurst, though you would never know that now by looking at this tranquil spot nowadays.
Major restorations in 1861 rediscovered most of the Anglo-Saxon features you see today.  St Mary’s is one of the finest and most complete buildings in England to survive from before the Norman Conquest.  A substantial part of the building is considered to belong to the first half of the 9th Century.
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Odda's Chapel                    Dating back to 1056AD this ancient building was lost for a while until it was rediscovered in 1865.  The building had been incorporated into the 16th Century building next door and had been used as a barn for many centuries all memories of its hidden past were forgotten.  Earl Odda had built this to remember his brother Aelfric who died on 22nd December 1053.  Earl Odda was a relative of Edward the Confessor and governed this part of the Kingdom. The lands and Priory at Deerhurst were conveyed to the hands of Westminster Abbey shortly before Edward the Confessor died.
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