St Thomas, MI
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St Thomas Episcopal Church, Battle Creek, MI
Choir Director Stephen White

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Trafalgar Square        Was formally part of the Great Mews attached to Whitehall Palace and once included part of what is now known as Charing Cross.  In 1812 architect John Nash developed the area between Charing Cross and Portland Place leaving this elegant Square, the largest in London.  It was not officially known as Trafalgar Square until 1830, having been named to celebrate the great naval victory over the French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
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Nelsons Column        Standing 167ft 3 inches tall, the monument to Admiral Lord Nelson, who led the British fleets to a resounding victory at the Battle of Trafalgar but unfortunately lost his own life at the same battle.  Erected in 1843 at a cost of £47,000, the Bronze lions at the base were not added until 1867.  The lions were designed by Sir Edwin Landseer who initially used a dead lion as a model for the sculptures.
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St. Martins in the Field      The present church designed by James Gibbs was completed in 1726.  However St Martin in the Fields has been a place of worship since 1220.  The parish boundary passes through Buckingham Palace.  Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was a parishioner and the Prince of Wales although baptised in the palace his record is kept in the baptism book held in the church.  The church is renown for its choral music the organ being one of the finest in Europe.  The church plays host and is famous for its lunchtime concerts given free on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 1.05pm
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The National Gallery    Situated on the North side of Trafalgar Square, it was built between 1832-38 from a design by William Wilkins.  In 1824 Parliament accepted the idea of a national collection of pictures and voted £60,000 to buy a collection of 38 pictures from John Angerstein.  30 years later the Government decided to make a regular grant to buy more pictures and since then the gallery has built up arguably an unrivalled collection covering the period from the 13th Century to the present day.  Particularly strong in Italian, Dutch, Flemish and French art.
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Victoria and Albert Museum    Founded originally as the Marlborough House Museum of Ornamental art in 1852 and then moved to South Kensington in 1857.  The present renaissance style building was designed by Sir Aston Webb and opened in 1909.  Today it constitutes the greatest collection of fine and decorative art in the world.  There is also a collection of John Constable paintings and drawings given by the Constable family.  So many galleries so much to see!
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British Museum                 Founded in 1753, it is the oldest museum in the world.  The original collection was started by the physician Sir Hans Sloane but over the years it as been added to many times over.  The immense hoard of artefacts spans nearly 2 million years of world history.  It is stored in 94 galleries covering over 2 miles of displays.  Some of the treasures include Egyptian mummies, the Mildenhall Saxon silver tableware found after being ploughed up in a Suffolk field in 1942, Lindow man preserved in a bog since the first century AD, pottery from Greece and Rome, Lindisfarne Gospels from the 7th Century, an original copy of Magna Carta from 1215. Together with specimens from all over the world which bring the very history of our civilisation alive.
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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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Tower of London               Built by William the Conqueror because he did not trust his new people.  Over the years it has been a garrison, armoury, prison, royal mint and royal palace.  Among well known heads that have rolled or languished in the tower were Kings of Scotland, France and England.  Lady Jane Grey, Duke of Monmouth, Queen Elizabeth for six months, Sir Walter Raleigh and many more.  There is even a gate directly off the river called traitors gate.
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St. Martins in the Field                     The present church designed by James Gibbs was completed in 1726.  However St Martin in the Fields has been a place of worship since 1220.  The parish boundary passes through Buckingham Palace.  Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was a parishioner and the Prince of Wales although baptised in the palace his record is kept in the baptism book held in the church.  The church is renown for its choral music the organ being one of the finest in Europe.  The church plays host and is famous for its lunchtime concerts given free on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 1.05pm.
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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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St. Augustines Abbey Canterbury     The ruins of St Augustines Abbey are probably one of the most important ecclesiastical sites in England.  An Abbey was first built here in the time of the saint but was subsequently torn down more than once.  The 7th Century remains tell us much of the life in an early Christian monastery, buried in the grounds, St Augustine and many of the early archbishops of Canterbury.
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St Martins Church Canterbury           St Martins “the oldest church in continuous use in England” is hard to contest, although the small Chapel at Escomb near Durham also lays claim.  We do know as fact that St Augustine set up his mission here when he arrived from Rome in AD597.  However it is written by the Venerable Bede that a Church dedicated to Martin had been built in Roman times approx AD90 to the East of Canterbury.  It is also written by Bede that Queen Bertha the wife of the Saxon King Ethelbert of Kent had worshipped here prior to the arrival of Augustine.
Archaeological evidence in the neighbourhood does seem to confirm this thesis.
Therefore we can safely say that an original place of worship was founded on this site in approx AD90 which was eventually demolished and a new church built over the Roman remains in approx AD560.
The exterior is a tapestry of different building materials, Roman tile, ragstone, flint, brick and any other material that came to hand on the day.
The Church is known in all English speaking Christendom as St martins - the mother church of our Motherland and the Whole Anglican Communion
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Leeds Castle           Established for over a thousand years on two islands in the middle of a natural lake.  Leeds castle is one of England's oldest and most romantic stately homes.  Known affectionately as the Ladies Castle, Leeds was home to six of the Medieval Queens of England and most infamous of monarchs King Henry VIII.  The castle now houses a magnificent collection of Medieval furnishings, tapestries and paintings. administered by a charitable trust.  Surrounded by over 500 acres of rolling parkland and gardens a natural home to many varied varieties of waterfowl.
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Dover Castle           The inner keep and bailey dating back to 1180, the royal apartments and chapels used some 800 years ago.  The oldest part of the castle is the Roman lighthouse situated next to the Saxon church. the well 289ft deep is considerably older than the castle itself.  Take a walk in the 13th century underground fortifications originally dug in 1216 at the time of the French attack.  The battlements and towers protecting the castle. Over a thousand years of history within the walls, throughout this long history, until the late 1960s the castle has been a military headquarters and garrisoned continuously.
Beneath the castle and within the White Cliffs are the World War II tunnels where some 700 men and women masterminded the evacuation of 330,000 British and allied troops from Dunkirk in 1940.  They also actively reported the movement of ships and aircraft over the channel during the 5/6 years of war.
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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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Grimsthorpe castle, park & gardens    Home to the Earls of Lancaster, the De Eresby family have lived here since 1516.  There has been a building on this site since the reign of King John (1199-1216) and that tower can still be seen in the building standing today.  The building, as you see it, mostly dates back to 1540’s but has been altered and added to many times.  Henry VIII visited a number of times and members of the family were Lord Great Chamberlains to seven Kings, helping them to accumulate a great wealth.  The treasures housed inside have been collected by generations and display a cross sections of British history.  Including a dress worn by Charles I in a portrait by Van Dyck, robes worn by sovereigns since James II and the table Queen Victoria signed her accession.  Along with tapestries and art from the great masters.
The park and gardens extend to over 2000acres with parts landscaped by Capability Brown.  Formal gardens, woodland, lakes and deer parks something for everyone.
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York                                           The fascinating townscape of this walled city illustrates much of its nearly 2,000 years history.  York possesses in its Minster the largest medieval church in Northern Europe, the general scale of its building is small and human.  Even today York seems more medieval than almost any other English town.  The compact core is a treasure house for anyone interested in history, architecture or ancient crafts, and is best seen on foot.  The Romans called the place Eboracum, and built a fort in AD.71.  Under the Angles, York was capital of their Kingdom of Deira.  King Edwin was baptised here by Paulinus, who became the first Archbishop of York in 634.  The Danes captured and burnt York in 867 and it was their capital in England for nearly 100 years, they called it Jorvik and it is from this that the present name derives.  There is nothing left to see of Anglo Saxon and Danish York, but the use of the word gate for street is a reminder that the Danes did settle here.  The Norman's found a thriving little trading centre and burnt it in 1069 during their frightful ravaging of the North, and then rebuilt the walls, expanding them to take the present 263 acres.  Medieval York is everywhere, not least in the web of narrow streets.  The Shambles and Stonegate are two of the best preserved examples.  Too the East of the Minster is the half timbered St William's College.  Three of the nine Guildhalls still survive.  All the city walls are medieval rebuilt on the Roman and Norman foundations in the 13th Century.  A 2.5 mile footpath on the walls gives a circular tour of the city.  In the middle ages, York was England's second city a great religious and commercial centre.  A lovely city with much to see and enjoy.
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Web Link to Historic York

York Minster                    The Minster is York's chief glory, appropriate to the dignity of an Archbishopric, built between 1220 and 1470, it contains England's greatest concentration of medieval stained glass, principally from the 13th and 14th Centuries.  The two most famous windows being the five sisters and the magnificent 15th Century east window, the largest in the world.  The Ministers length is 518ft and is 241ft wide at the transept.  The central tower rises 198ft and is the largest lantern tower in Britain.  The 14th Century Chapter House with seven lovely window walls has no central support for its conical roof, just the great buttresses on the eight sides.  The Choir was completed by 1400 and its great climax the east window with 2,000 sq ft of ancient glass by John Thornton of Coventry was finished in 1408, the massive towers came last.
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York Castle (Cliffords tower)     In 1068 William the Conquer built 2 Motte & Bailey castles in York.  Both where later destroyed by a Danish fleet helped by the people of York. Eventually William rebuilt the two castles and the mound on which now stands Cliffords Tower became a part of the main fortress.  However except for the tower very little of the original castle now exists.  The tower was built between 1245 & 1272 and has been the scene of many historical events.  It is reported that the rebel leader Robert Aske was allegedly hung from the walls in chains and starved to death.  The tower also played its part in the Civil War siege of York in 1644.  Then between 1825 & 1935 it was used as a prison.  But its most infamous historical reference is the Jewish massacre of March 1190, when an estimated 150 Jews, the entire Jewish Community of York, Died after taking refuge in the Royal Castle.
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Southwell Cathedral/Minster    The Manor of Southwell was given to the Archbishop of York in 956. It was not long before a College of Canons was formed and as a Collegiate Church served as an outpost of York until 1840, when it was reduced to little more than a Parish Church. However in 1884 it became the See for a new Diocese covering both Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. Eventually Derbyshire became a separate Diocese but Southwell had now become a Cathedral in its own right
The earliest Church on the site was Saxon but nothing remains of this building except a small area of tessellated pavement in the South transept. The Western towers, nave, central tower and transepts remain very much as they where built in the 12th Century.
The early English Quire was completed about 1250 and replaced an earlier Norman original.
The Chapter House is exceptional. It is octagonal and only 31ft in diameter, no central pillar and the vault is a remarkable star design. If one looks outside you will see massive buttresses taking the strain of this wonderfully unsupported vault.
The Minster is set in a lovely grassed churchyard and is remarkably well preserved for a mostly Norman building.
The Minster is well loved by the community and serves both as a busy parish Church and Diocese

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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.
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