The Choir of St Thomas's New Haven, CT
Lacock Abbey and Village
The old English word "Lacuc" means small stream. Recorded in the mid Ninth
century as "Lacok". A small tributary to the River Avon runs close by.
Very much a Cathedral city
and dominated by it, the existing building was started in 1180 continued in
stages until 1424. Many of the buildings in the Cathedral precincts are
used today for much the same purposes as that for which they were originally
built. The Vicars Close consists of a cobbled street with a total of 42
small houses built in the 14th Century for the Vicars of the Cathedral.
The Cathedral school was started in 909 and while closing for one short period
of 6 years in 1861 now records over 600 pupils. On the West front there
are 294 sculptures left of the original 386 some damaged beyond recognition, 3
new ones were unveiled by the Prince of Wales in 1985. The Chapter House
reached by an ancient stone stairway is octagonal in shape and part of a two
storey building, could be one of the most beautiful Chapter Houses in Britain.
The Cathedrals South doors lead to beautiful 15/16th Century cloisters
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.
The Romans built a city
here and called it Aquae Sulis. It grew up around the Baths establishment,
one of the foremost of its kind in the Western empire. Its remains form an
impressive monument to Roman Britain. In the 18th Century Bath became a
fashionable resort for society presided over by Beau Nash. It was at this
time that the work of providing a suitable environment began. From the
early 1700s - to the early 1800s many beautiful buildings, streets, squares and
crescents were completed. The pump room in 1795 and the only bridge left
in England built with shops, Pulteney Bridge completed in 1777 by William
Pulteney. The city abounds with acres of parks and gardens which sets off
the formality of the Georgian architecture.
name means bath, it
is not Roman but a pure English word. The Romans did originally call the
area Aquae Calidae (hot waters) then Aquae Sulis (waters of sulis, referring to
their pagan god) the Anglo-Saxon name was Akemanchester, which is generally
regarded as being derived from the latin Aquae (ake) and the Roman road of
Akeman Street which ran via Bath. Also the old English word Ceaster
meaning Roman Fort.
Abbey first stood on this site followed by a Norman one. It was not until
1499 that a Gothic Church was erected. Progress was very slow and by the
dissolution only the choir and the walls had been completed. However the
west front had certainly been given its famous turrets and ladders. After
the dissolution the Abbey was looted and the church was given to the parish.
The building was soon enclosed by houses and the North aisle became a walk
through for towns people. In 1864 a new rector Charles Kemble at his own
expense began a reconstruction of the building. Hence what we see today is
a Victorian replica of the original Tudor designs.
Developed from the
Anglo Saxon words Cot and Wold, Cot meaning sheep pen. Wold meaning high windy
ground, that certainly can describe the area well, especially in the winter.
The soil is poor on the Wolds and not a lot of it but a great area for rearing
sheep. Hence the numerous villages with lovely churches (known as wool
churches) built by wealthy landowners centuries ago. The area is also
famous for the Cotswold stone a soft stone which yellows with age. Many
cottages will be seen built of Cotswold stone.
The Capital of Dobuni
when as Corinium Dobunorum in 43A.D. it became one of the chief Roman
administration centres for South West of England. In the 4th Century with
the withdrawal of the Romans the town went into decline until an Anglo Saxon
town was built. It slowly regained its importance with the development of
sheep rearing on the rich Cotswold meadow lands. The wealth from the wool
trade was tremendous, so much so that the merchants of the town were able to
build one of the greatest wool churches in the town. The 15th Century St
John the Baptist Church with its superb tower and three storied fan vaulted
porch. It has been judged one of the most beautiful perpendicular churches
Can certainly lay claim
to being one of the most beautiful Cotswold towns. A superb High Street
slopes gently down to a three arch bridge spanning the River Windrush.
Some of the buildings such as the Bear Inn, Crown Inn and the Grammer School can
readily identify their roots in the 15th Century. A fine church
exists, St John, hidden from view down a lane at the foot of the High Street.
A wonderful mixture of accretion (add on's as and when money became available or
persons so decided) the tower is definitely Norman so is the West Doorway.
The Guild of Merchants chapel circa 1200 but remodelled in the 15th
Century. In May 1649 Cromwell imprisoned a group of mutineers in the
church for 3 nights after which they were to be shot. When three had been
executed Cromwell relented, one of the group “Sedley” scratched his name on the
font. In even earlier times the Anglo Saxons defeated the Mercians at the
battle of Edge now a playing field near the church. It is also written
that in 683 a council was convened at Burford attended by the King of Mercia at
which the date of Easter was fixed for the English church. The wealth of
the region coming from the surrounding sheep country during the middle ages.
To really appreciate Burford take time to walk the High Street.
Best seen in the fading
light of a warm summer evening, the houses of golden stone many with cottage
gardens facing the River Coln. William Morris described Bibury as the most
beautiful village in England. Sit on the wall by the river watch the trout
running in the crystal clear water and across on the island a protected nature
reserve with wild duck and many species of bird.
It is believed by many
people that under the waters of a spring on the slopes of its Tor Joseph of
Arimathea buried the chalice used at the last supper. That when on a
nearby hill, he thrust his thorn staff into the ground it took root to produce
the distinctive Glastonbury Winter flowering thorn tree, and that, on what was
later to be the site of the great Abbey round which the town grew, he built a
church of daub and wattle. Briefly this is the legend which has drawn
pilgrims to this place for centuries. In 688, King Ine of Wessex gave it a
Monastery, majestic, rich and the most beautiful in Britain which is clear from
the ruins of the church. It is also believed that King Alfred and Queen
Guinevere were re-buried in the Abbey. In the town St Johns church is a
fine 15th Century example. The George Inn was built in the 15th Century to
lodge pilgrims and the handsome market cross is 19th Century.