Transfiguration, TX
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St Matthew, CA
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Dr Cheryl White
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Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, Dallas, TX
Director of Music, Joel Martinson
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Cambridge                             Cambridge is one of the most important and beautiful towns not only in East Anglia, but also in Britain and even Europe.  The quality of its buildings in particular those belonging to the University and the particular atmosphere caused by the felicitous combination of river and gardens have given the city a place in the itinerary of every visitor to this country.  The history of Cambridge began many hundreds of years before the first college was founded, a Celtic settlement had arise on Castle Hill 100 years prior to the Roman conquest.  At the foot of the hill was a ford across the River Cam.  It is thought the Romans built a bridge here.  The site of Cambridge became of great strategic and commercial importance.  With the departure of the Romans the town continued to spread to its present position on the East Anglian side of the river.  The coming of the Normans only increased expansion they even rebuilt the Castle.  Then in the 13th Century saw the founding of the first Cambridge College, Peterhouse College, established in 1281 by the Bishop of Ely and moving to its own hostels in 1284.  So was established the first College and the consequent increase in the importance of the city as a seat of learning and a centre of communal life.
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Kings College, Cambridge                    One of the most outstanding buildings in Britain and the finest Gothic building in Europe.  It was begun in 1446. its unusual dimensions, 300ft long, 80ft high and 40ft wide, prepare the visitor for its extraordinary system of spatial relationships.  The effect of the interior is breathtaking. the shafts on either side of the chapel lead the eye up into the roof where the profusion of delicate fan vaulting appears to be made of lace rather than stone.  The organ case (1606), screen and choir stalls (1536) stained glass windows (1515 incidentally the year the chapel was completed) act as a perfect foil to the magnificent roof.  Does this give meaning to look upwards to heaven for the splendours that are above.  
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Ely                                            The Town stands above the River Ouse on a bluff which was formerly an island, accessible only by boat or causeway until the fens were drained in the 17th and 18th Century.  It was the scene of Hereward`s resistance to William the Conqueror.  A quiet oasis away from the hustle and bustle of modern city life around the precints of the cathedral are the houses of the Kings School founded by Henry VIII.  Nearby is the Bishops Palace and St Mary`s church, in the vicarage of which lived Oliver Cromwell and his family from 1636-1647.
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Ely Cathedral                                            The Cathedral was founded by St Etheldreda in 673 but work on the present building did not commence until the appointment of Abbot Simeon in 1081.  It is only on entering the Cathedral that the length of the nave becomes apparent (537ft in length) with a wonderful painted wooden ceiling 72ft high, conceived by Alan Walsingham over 600 years ago.  The effect of its design with its beautiful fan vaulting and delicate tracery makes it one of the highlights of English architecture.  The chapels which surround the extension contain some of the most elaborate and extraordinary carvings to be seen in England.
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St. Albans                            This ancient city, with narrow, twisting streets was once one of the largest and most important Roman towns in the country.  The Abbey is visible from miles around.  A British settlement existed here prior to the Roman invasion of 54A.D. by the middle of the 1st Century this settlement had become so important it was elevated to the status of Municipium, the only British city to attain such an honour, which accorded the inhabitants the right of Roman citizenship.  The remains of Verulamium were only excavated in the present century, parts of the original city walls up to 12 feet thick can be seen.  The Roman theatre (only one in Britain) has been excavated and restored, semi circular in shapes is 180 feet across and provided seats for over 1,600 people.
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St. Albans Cathedral                         The Cathedral, St Albans Abbey was built on the site where the first British Martyr, Alban was beheaded in 209A.D.  The existing Abbey was constructed by Paul of Caen using materials collected from the ruined Roman city (brick and flint taken from Roman remains) started in 1077 much of the original church remains today.  The church is over 900 years old but the materials used to build it are nearly twice that age.  The nave measures over 275 feet and is the longest in Great Britain, the tower is 144 feet high constructed entirely by the Normans with red bricks from the old Roman city.
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Bristol                 Once one of the most important ports in the country, the earliest records of its commercial activity going back to Edward II in the 10th Century when silver coins were minted here.  All this due to the fact that the River Severn and Avon was navigable to this point.  It was from Bristol in 1497 that John Cabot and his Bristol born son Sebastian set sail with 18 sailors in the 100 ton ship “Matthew” before reaching the mainland of America in Newfoundland.  A centre for trade and commerce for over 1,000 years, the city still has much to offer and although the large container ships now dock at the entrance to the Avon Gorge at Avonmouth, much activity still remains around the old dock side area.
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Bristol Cathedral                Formerly an Augustinian Abbey founded in 1142 by Robert Fitzharding.  In 1542 it became the Cathedral Church of the newly formed Diocese of Bristol.  It still retains much of its Norman solidarity, particularly the fine Chapter House.  The Church building is known as a “Hall Church” type where high Chancel, aisles and an Eastern Lady Chapel are of equal height.  The Choir is full of absolutely fine woodwork dating back to the 1500s and the Misericords of great interest depicting as they do Biblical scenes.  The organ was built in 1685 by Renatus Harris and all the pipework is original.  Grinling Gibbons created the superb organ case. Choristers are educated at the adjoining Cathedral school.  One important feature in the Berkeley Chapel: a Medieval candelabrum (understood to be the only one of its kind in England recorded) has being given to the Temple Church in Bristol during 1450 and passed on to its present home during the terrible blitz of World War Two.
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St. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol             A superb example of Medieval architecture and once described by Queen Elizabeth Ist on a visit to Bristol as “the fairest, goodliest and most famous parish church in the kingdom” in all respects it is the size of a Cathedral with a 240ft Nave and a Spire added in the 19th Century rising 285ft from street level.  The Church owes much of its construction to William Canynge in the 14th Century and further work completed by his son.
Admiral Sir William Penn whose son also a William founded Pennsylvania is buried in the South Transept.  The close links with the United States are further strengthened by the restoration of the St John`s Chapel by the friends of St Mary Redcliff in America.

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Berkeley Castle            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.
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Wells                            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
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Tintern                             Large impressive Cistercian Abbey in beautiful riverside location in the Wye valley.  It has been the subject of a poem by Wordsworth and a painting by Turner.  The order was founded in 1131 by Walter de Clare.  Little is left of the original building, it was built here deliberately, in keeping with the strictness and austerity of the order.  The abbey was completely rebuilt in the 13th Century and in 1326 Edward II stayed here for 2 nights.  The Abbey continued to be active and generally undisturbed until the dissolution in 1536.   From then on the Abbey became neglected and fell into disrepair.  Greatly regarded by the romantic movement in the late 18th Century for its peace and tranquillity.
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Chepstow Castle            Is one of the very first stone castles in Britain.  Built by the Normans soon after the Battle of Hastings, it was started by William Fitzosbern in 1067.  It was never attacked in the Middle ages but was besieged twice in the Civil War when being held by the King.
In various places one can see old red sandstone and yellow sandstone.  The castle stands on a natural limestone ridge with the North face falling on to a steep vertical cliff into the River Wye.  The castle occupies a very important position on the River Wye.  Being a very strategic crossing point from England to Wales.  Chepstow comes from the Olde English words of “Ceap Stow” meaning market place.
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Cardiff                                The capital city of Wales boasts a castle with 1,900 years of history first built by the Romans, some of the 10ft thick walls still remain.  The Normans came and built their castle which has been in continuous occupation ever since.  Some of the area surrounding the castle is now occupied by a superb modern shopping centre.  Hundreds of acres of parkland situated right in the city centre, museums, the civic centre, University of Wales. St Davids Hall, a 2,000 seat concert and conference centre.  To take the city into the millennium the new Cardiff Bay project, a redevelopment of the old Cardiff docks area.
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Stourhead House & Gardens   This superb 40 hectare landscaped garden was laid out between 1741 & 1780 set in parkland and surrounding woods.  A central lake reflects splendid trees, flowering shrubs and offers a visual experience that many say is unequalled anywhere else in Britain.  Exquisite buildings blend easily into the surrounding landscape.  The handsome house is a Palladian 18th Century mansion filled with paintings and fine Chippendale furniture.
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