St Matthew Church, Pacific Palisades, CA
It is not only the lover of
architecture who will be thrilled by Durham. It is one of the most
visually exciting cities in Britain. The magnificent Norman Cathedral and
the Castle stand proudly on a sandstone hill almost enclosed by a steep banked
wooded bend of the River Wear. It is a scene well worth looking at from
every vantage point. The best views are obtained from the railway station,
Prebends Bridge, South Street, Silesgate and also Palace Green. The Castle
was built in 1069 by the Norman invaders and the town grew up under the Castle
walls between the two river crossings at Elvet and Framwellgate. Durham is
not a large city but is a centre of local government and education (Durham
University was created as the third university in England by an act of
Parliament in 1832)
The Cathedral was
founded as a shrine for the body of St Cuthbert. When Viking raids forced
on Lindisfarne to flee in
875. They carried with them the body of the saint, they reached Durham in
995 after time at Chester le Street and Ripon. In Durham the coffin seemed
to become rooted to the ground and the spot for the new shrine was revealed in a
vision. By 998 they had built a church (nothing remains of this early
building) it quickly became a place of pilgrimage. The Bishops became
Prince Bishops of Durham giving the city the right to raise armies, own
nobility, coinage and courts. All these privileges were ended in 1836.
The present Cathedral Church of Christ and blessed Mary the Virgin was built
between 1093 and 1133 to a plan of Bishop William of Calais. He died but
the work continued under Bishop Flambard. It is possibly the finest Norman
building in Europe. St Cuthberts body was brought to his shrine behind the
high altar in 1104. The Cathedral was the first in Northern Europe to be
covered with stone ribbed vaulting and it has the earliest pointed transverse
arches in England. There are few monuments because of a long held rule
that no one should be buried in the shrine of st cuthbert. From the South
side aisle a door leads to the monks dormitory, a great timbered hall 194ft by
39ft where some of
the Cathedrals prized possessions can be seen, they include St Cuthberts
illuminated manuscripts. In front of the font is a line of marble, the
nearest point that women were allowed to get to the altar. Almost no
amount of time is to long to spend in this unique place of worship.
Alnwick Still looks like a
stronghold of the Earls and Dukes of Northumberland. You may enter from
the South through the narrow medieval arch of Hotspur Tower and within moments
confront the great barbican guarding the gateway to Alnwick Castle. Within
the town, age speaks for itself from the narrow streets, cobblestones,
passageways, sturdy grey buildings and monuments. The town grew up on the
River Aln beside the great border castle whose walls enclose 7 acres.
Below and around the castle are grounds landscaped by Capability Brown in 1765
which now form a beautiful park. In the town a broad main street with slopping tree shaded
cobblestone parking space alongside, passes near a market square. A free
standing 18th Century hall has an arcade for shops on the ground floor and
assembly rooms above. A very interesting town steeped in history and the
ravages of this wild border country.
The main seat of
the Duke of Northumberland. this great border castle whose walls enclose 7 acres
of park has survived many battles during its chequered history. Below and
around the castle are grounds landscaped by Capability Brown in 1765 which now
form a beautiful park. The castle was begun by the Vesci family in the
early 12th Century. When the last legitimate member of the family line
died in 1297 the castle was held in trust by the then Bishop of Durham who
subsequently sold it on to Henry Percy in 1309. The family Percy
eventually became Dukes of Northumberland and have lived here ever since.
Outwardly the castle has altered little since the 14th Century. However it
was severely damaged during the border wars and stood as a ruin for nearly 200
years before the 1st Duke restored it in the 18th Century.
Some of the state rooms in the castle are open to the public displaying superb
paintings by Titian, Tintoretto, Canaletto & Van Dyck. Augmented by
collections of Meissen pottery and superb furniture the fine library is the
largest room in the castle and the main staircase exquisite.
Gardens The rose garden with over 2,000 roses, the grand cascade linking
over 120 water jets into a display utilising 7,000 gallons of water per minute.
Ornamental Garden, woodland walk and much more as this garden opened only very
recently begins to grow.
Holy Island (Lindisfarne)
Lindisfarne is famed as the
birthplace of English Christianity. A 3 mile causeway connects the island
with the mainland at low tide and can be crossed during six hour spells between
tides. approx 300 people live on the island, with fishing and tourism the main
employment. In 635 A.D. St Aidan came on the invitation of King Oswald
from Iona on the West Coast of Scotland to teach Christianity to the Angles of
Northumbria. Linidsfarne Monastry was established and the first English
diocese founded. The Sixth Bishop was St Cuthbert who came to the island
in 664A.D. and was buried here until the monks fled
with his coffin ahead of the Danes in 875A.D. The Danes destroyed the
Abbey and the island lay deserted until a Priory was founded by a Benedictine
order in the 11th Century.
Built on a towering outcrop 150ft above the sea this was chosen to be the
seat of the Kings or Northumbria or Bernicia as it was known, as early as 547AD.
The name Bambrugh comes from the time of 607AD when King Aethelfrith rained.
He gave the Castle to his wife Bebba and the castle was renamed to Bebbanburgh
in her honour. King Oswold, later St Oswold was the eldest son of
Aethelfrith, when he came to the thrown he invited Aiden to come to his lands to
convert his people to Christianity. It was at this time that he gave the
island of Lindisfarne for a Monastery, which still stands today. During
700-800AD the Northumbrian Kingdom started to dissolve with regular attacks from
other Kingdoms and the Vikings. in 993AD the Vikings attacked Bamburgh and
the Castle fell into disrepair.
contrasting church styles set in one building. The old church to the East
comprising the magnificent Crossing and Chancel. Together with Temple
Moores Scholastic Nave started in 1905 to the West. Hexham has suffered
more than most from its prime location, not far from Hadrians Wall. The
7th Century foundation by St Wilfred was burnt and plundered by the Vikings.
The restored Augustine Priory refounded in 1113 was then attacked by the Scots
under William Wallace at the end of the 13th Century, the Nave was
destroyed and not rebuilt. Therefore it is to the East end one naturally
is drawn, early Gothic architecture in a Parish Church. It is in this area
where the transept is dominated by the Priory`s famous night staircase.
Described by many as one of the finest Monastic relics in an English church.
A treasure trove of architectural gems. Lest not forget the Crypt,
beneath the Nave a Saxon Tunnel vaulted chamber built primarily of Roman Stones
its arch reputedly dating from the 7th Century. Many Celtic and
Roman relics of their occupation adorn the fabric of this lovely Church
Possibly the remains of the most complete Roman Fort in Britain. Superb position
with commanding views all round, spectacular scenery. See the foundations
of the fort, granaries, barrack blocks, hospital, latrines. Excellent views of
the wall as it joins the fort.
most important monument built by the Romans in Britain. It is a world
heritage site and is by far the best known frontier in the entire Roman Empire.
Built by order of Emperor Hadrian on his visit to Britain in 122AD. It
took 6 years to build and is 73 miles in length, 15ft high and runs from
Wallsend in the East to Bowness on Solway in the West. It was built to
separate the Romans from the Barbarians.
When the Romans left in about 400AD the wall became derelict and stones where
used in buildings and walls all, over the area.
probably in 673. In 670 he was sent school in Monkwearmouth but stayed
only two years before being sent to Jarrow in 672. He loved knowledge and
found the libraries of St Pauls fascinating. He enjoyed astronomy,
numbers, Latin and wrote the life of St Cuthbert. He also wrote a famous
history book. The first of its kind about the English Church and People.
He also loved the Bible and was working on St Johns Gospel when he died on may
25th 735. He was 62 years old. He was buried in Jarrow. During
the 11th Century his bones were stolen and brought to Durham. At the time
they were put in the same coffin as St Cuthbert. However in the 13th
Century they were separated and brought to a new tomb in the Galilee Chapel also
in Durham Cathedral.
St. Pauls Church, Jarrow
Church of St Pauls Jarrow has been a place of worship for 13 Centuries.
The Church & Monastery was built on land given by King Ecgfrith of Northumbria
in 681AD. The Chancel of St Pauls is the original Saxon Church built as a
separate Chapel and thus offers at least a relic of Bede`s time. Much of
the cut stone is Roman, do look for the three single splayed Saxon windows, the
middle one containing Saxon stained glass made in the monastic workshops, it was
excavated from the site in 1980 and inserted here in the Chancel.
Reputedly the oldest such glass in Western Europe. The Monastery where
Bede came as a boy thrived in the 7th & 8th Centuries. Outside the church
are the remains of the domestic buildings of that monastery, it was here that he
lived, worked and worshipped. The buildings where sacked by the Vikings in
794AD. It was not until 1074 that the church was repaired by the Normans and the
Monastery re-founded by Aldwin, Prior of Winchcombe Abbey in Gloucestershire.
Do look for the original dedication stone of 685 (above the Chancel arch)
supposedly the oldest in England. Although St Martins Church Canterbury
does predate Jarrow by maybe 100 years and therefore holds the honour of oldest
church in England.
Fountain Abbey (Declared a world heritage site)
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.
Famed as one of
the earliest and most important centres of Christianity in England. In 657 St
Hilda founded the Abbey for King Oswy of Northumbria in thanks for his victory
over the heathen Penda of Mercia. It was also the setting for the Synod of
Whitby in 664 who committed the English Church to the Roman Rite rather than the
Celtic one and also fixed the Precise date on which Easter should be celebrated,
the exact formula which is still in use today.