St Mary's, VA

Episcopal High School
St Mary's, VA
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Compline Choir
St Johns, TX



St Mary's Church, Arlington, VA
Choir Director Gregory Hooker
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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.

London 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.

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.

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.
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River Thames                     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 present day. 
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Westminster Hall                This ancient hall is 290ft long, 68ft long 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.
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Churchill 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. 
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Buckingham Palace         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.
The British Monarchy

Banqueting House            Completed 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.
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Westminster Abbey                          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.
William the Conqueror was crowned in that Abbey on Christmas Day 1066. this Coronation began a tradition and all Kings and Queens of England (Britain) with the exception of Edward V & Edward VIII have been crowned in the Abbey since that date.
Work began in 1245 in rebuilding the Abbey. The work proceeded rapidly and by 1269 the Quire and one bay of the Nave was completed.  At this time the body of St Edward was removed and laid to rest in a Chapel bearing his name.  In 1272 Henry III died and his body was buried in the front of the high alter where Edward`s had once lain.
The complete history of this famous Abbey would take many pages to write, hence it is possibly to conclude by saying “many Kings and Queens together with famous people lie buried within its walls and therefore this one building is a unique testament to 1,000 years of the history of the British people”.

Lincoln                        The most ancient part of this historic city occupies a rugged hill top rising over 200 feet above the river Witham.  Evidence has been found of occupation by Celtic people who called the settlement Lindon.  On the arrival of the Roman IXth legion in A.D.47 the name was Latinised to Lindum Colonia.  Geographical position, elevation and the river all helped to make Lincoln an important centre even from those pre Roman days.  Roman Lincoln had fine colannaded streets and elaborate public baths, also drinking water supplied in earthenware pipes under pressure from over one and a half miles away.  When the Romans departed they left behind a road and canal system, sewers, working farms and a wealth of tiles and stone.  During the Anglo-Saxon times, Lincoln was a part of the kingdom of Mercia.  With the arrival of the Danes Lincoln became a part of the Danelaw where streets like Saltergate, Danesgate & Hungate bear witness (similar to York)  The Normans made Lincoln one of the most important cities in the kingdom.  The castle was built in 1068 just 2 years after the Battle of Hastings.  The city is full of wonderful buildings, cobb hall 14th Century, a fine Norman house at 15 The Stait.  The castle square some lovely 16th Century buildings, Greyfriars a 13th Century building originally designed as a Church (now the museum) the list is endless.  The city is now a busy place providing employment to many thousands in the engineering industry.

Lincoln Cathedral        The third largest in England occupying approx 57,000 sq ft. the original building was started in 1072 and fully built by 1092 but after a great fire and of all things an earthquake a new Cathedral was started in 1192 built in the English style and today we see it as the triple towered cathedral church of St Mary.  An important feature of the Cathedral is the arcade designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1674 which was the year he started the rebuilding of St Pauls.
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Lincoln Castle                Founded by William the Conqueror in 1068, built to be a invulnerable stronghold.  The battlemented castle is most impressive.  The enclosed area encompasses approx 6 acres with lawns and trees. The walls are 8 to 10ft thick and double that amount in height.  Two great detached mounds on the South side are the observatory tower, with great views of Lincoln and the uprights of the Norman keep.  Cobb Hall was added in the 14th Century to be used as a place of punishment.  One can still see the iron rings to which prisoners where fastened to.  The roof of the tower was a place of public execution till 1868.  One of the original copies of Magna Carta is still kept here.  One other interesting feature to look out for within the passage of the castle gateway is all that is left of the Eleanor Cross.  This was positioned close the priory where the body of Eleanor of Castile, the wife of Edward the 1st was embalmed before starting on its famous journey South to Westminster Abbey. This, the first of the crosses erected at each resting place of her body on its funeral procession from Nottinghamshire to the Capital.  The last one at Charing Cross in London where the body lay on the final night before burial at the Abbey.

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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St Botolph's Church, Boston   One of largest and grandest Parish Churches in England, it could be said almost Cathedral like in its proportion.  It was started in 1309, although the magnificent West tower (known as the stump) rising to a height of 272ft the tallest in England, was not started until 1450 and completed in 1520.  The tower is crowned by a lovely octagon and once carried a beacon to guide ships into Boston harbour, on a clear day Lincoln Cathedral can be seen.
Below the tower the superb stone vaulted roof erected in 1853 stands 137ft above the floor.
In a room over the porch is possibly one of the finest parish libraries in the country, containing nearly 1,200 books printed between 1500-1600. Including a rare copy of the first English prayer book (circa 1549) and a first edition of the book of the martyrs by John Foxe who was born in Boston.
Outside the tower on the South West buttress are marked high water marks from the flowing river next to the church.  Many interesting things to see inside the Church, including a huge coat of arms erected in 1634 and in the South West corner of the Nave a bronze knocker dating back to 1250.
Strong connections to the American colonies are depicted in the East Chapel window with scenes showing the departure of citizens in 1630 to found the city of Boston in Massachusetts.

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Sheffield Cathedral        Formerly the Parish Church of Sheffield and the history of Christianity on this site go back nearly 1,000 years.  It was in the early 12th Century when William de Lovetot built the first Church on this site.  The present Cathedral was started in 1439 and is perpendicular in style with a crocketed spire. However, this building has been extensively altered and enlarged over the centuries.
The Shrewsbury chapel was added in about 1520 by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, George Talbot the 4th Earl of Shrewsbury, as a private family chapel with a burial vault beneath.
St Georges Chapel is dedicated to the York and Lancaster regiment formed in 1758 and disbanded in 1968.  During the First World War it was known as the “Sheffield pals” and many members were killed on 1st July 1916 during the first day of the battle of the Somme.
St Katherines Chapel celebrates the ministry of women in the church and was added to the church in the 1700s.  The chancel, sanctuary, tower & spire were built in the 15th Century and formed the structure of the Medieval parish church.  The Sanctuary is the most Easterly part of the original church and the East wall contains several stones from the original Norman Church, dating back to the 11th Century.  The Crypt is dedicated to All Saints and is situated beneath St Georges Chapel constructed with arches and vaulting.

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