St Peters, NC
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Master Singers of St Peters, Charlotte, NC
Choir Director Ben Outen
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Windsor                                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.
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Windsor Castle                   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.
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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 castle.
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Canterbury             A very ancient city with more than 2,000 years of history and the site of Canterbury Cathedral.  There were Belgic settlements here pre-Roman time and Julius Caesar took the area by storm in 54B.C. after their conquest in 43A.D. the Romans established a centre here called Durovernum.  In 597 St Augustine arrived on his mission to spread Christianity in England and built his first cathedral.  Something like half the Medieval walls which encircled the old city on the Eastern side still remain.  They date from the 13th & 14th Centuries, they were partly built on Roman remains.
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Canterbury Cathedral   The Cathedral of course dominates the city, the original was built by St Augustine but nothing remains.  In fact nothing pre-Conquest does remain.  A little while after the Conquest a new Cathedral was built by Lanfranc, the first Norman Archbishop.  Since that time there have been many additions, the oldest remaining part of the Cathedral is the crypt dating from 1100.  Only one English monarch is buried here, Henry IV, who lies with his Queen Joan in Trinity Chapel.  The tomb of Edward, the Black Prince is close by and described by many as the most magnificent in England.  In Trinity chapel you will also find the shrine of St Thomas a Becket, Archbishop from 1162-1170 when he was murdered by four knights of Henry II after a long and bitter feud.  The nave completed in the early 15th Century is 187ft in length, 71ft in width and 79ft in height.  The tall central bell tower which dominates the external views of the cathedral dates back to 1498 and is certainly one of earliest large brick structures in England.  Viewed from inside all but the top 50ft is visible.  130ft above the floor level is the magnificent fan vaulted ceiling, the South window is a splendid example of 12th Century art and the whole Cathedral is alive with stained glass, despite the Civil War and the Second World War damage.
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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.
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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, Wellington and 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.
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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”.

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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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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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London Eye                        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.
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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.
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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. 
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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.  
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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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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.
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The British Monarchy
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Salisbury                       A town where there is no need to go looking for interests in dark corners, it is all around.  The city dates back to the 13th Century when it was decided to move the Bishops seat  from Old Sarum.  The Cathedral foundations were begun in 1220 and the city started to grow.  Salisbury was built on a grid or chequer system which left space between the blocks.  Cathedral Close is the most beautiful in all England and the list of buildings with interest is unending.  It is interesting to note that the main wall around the Cathedral Close was granted by license from Edward III.
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Salisbury Cathedral          The first sight of the Cathedral is most impressive an early example of English architecture.  Its spire soaring to a height of 404ft the highest in England which imposes almost 6,000 tons of stone on the four pillars of the crossing.  The Nave measures 198ft with a clear uncluttered beauty, little having changed since it was built.  With Foundations no more than 4 feet deep on a bed of gravel, the main building was begun in 1220 and completed in 1258.  The Cloisters and Chapter house being finished in 1280.  It was never a Monastic institution but staffed with Secular Clergy called Canons.  This arrangements continues today.  Canons would be away in their parishes for most of the year, just coming back to the Cathedral for short periods of time.  The present houses round the close are built on the sites of the former Canons' Houses.
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Isle of Wight                   Approx 9,000 years ago this area was still a part of the British mainland, however the rise in sea levels at the end of the last great ice age opened up a waterway, turning the land into a small island accessible via a short sea crossing.  The island is situated off the South coast of England and measures just 23 miles by 13 miles.  It is however rich in history that can be traced back to the stone age. 
The Romans came and built lovely villas.  The
Normans built splendid castles and the Tudors built magnificent manor houses.  In 1845 Queen Victoria & Prince Albert made this their home.
It is also well known as being a part of the Jurassic coastline, a length of South coast famous for its fossil discoveries and mammoth tusks.
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Osborne house                Built by Queen Victoria’s husband Albert between 1845-1851 as a family retreat where the family could stay free from the state ceremonial.  Much loved by the Queen who right up till the late 1890s would spend at least 100 days a year living in the house.  In 1901 she returned to Osborne for the last time dying here in her 83rd year.  The rooms are still laid out in the way she left them with treasured possessions such as paintings, furniture, ornaments and personal bric a brac on show.
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Ryde                                The town stands on steep foothills and the area is well wooded.  The parish church of All Saints has the tallest spire around and is visible for miles.  A popular holiday resort with a population of approx 25,000. The famous pier is half a mile long and the sandy beach stretches over 7 miles.  A very nice place to wander and have a bite to eat.   Mermaid Street is well known for its steep cobbled road lined with 15th and 17th Century houses. With the Mermaid Inn a notorious haunt of smugglers in the 18th century.
The name rye represents the Olde English phrase "aet thaere iege" which means "at the island" the original town was built on an island in the marshes.
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Carisbrooke Castle            Dating back nearly a thousand years to the time of William the Conquer.  The Norman Keep is built on an artificial mound which is the oldest part of the fortifications.  The well house also contains the famous remains of the donkey wheel that was used to raise water from the well. 
The position of the castle however is almost certainly of Saxon origin.  Very historic and of course due to its location on an island off the southern coast of England of very high importance in the defence of the realm.
Once owned by King Edward 1st for the crown.  Between 1647 & 1649 Charles 1st was held here before his execution in London on 30th January 1649.  His son Henry and his daughter Princess Elizabeth where held captive here between 1650 & 1653.  Elizabeth died of pneumonia in 1650 and Henry was released to his family in Italy during 1653.
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Winchester                    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.
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Winchester Cathedral     The 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 Quire 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.
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Beaulieu                    Originally a 13th Century Cistercian Abbey, the stately home grew up round the gatehouse and became the home of the Lords of Beaulieu.  Today a very popular attraction which encompasses the ruins of the Abbey, the house, gardens and the national motor museum of over 250 cars.  Take advantage of some fun things such as go-karts, fast trax (motor racing simulator) and miniature motors.
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