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Trinity Church, Boston, MA
Choir Director Richard Webster

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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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Wells - Bishops Palace    Situated adjacent to the Cathedral the ruins of this magnificent Palace bear testament to the influence and wealth created by the Church in Medieval times. Most of the construction was overseen by Bishop Henry de Gower in the mid 14th Century. He spared no expense on creating this lavish residence. Originally built with two sets of state rooms set around a courtyard. He used one set for private business and the other for the ceremonial entertaining. The Palace fell into disrepair in the 16th Century. It is said the then Bishop stripped the lead from the roof to pay for his five daughters dowries.
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Bath                    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.  The town 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.
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Web Link to Roman Baths

Bath Abbey        A Saxon 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.
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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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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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SS Great Britain            Launched in Bristol in 1843 the ship was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the very famous Victorian engineer who also designed the Bristol suspension bridge.  This was the first ship fitted with a screw propeller, first to have an iron hull and first to have a 1,000 horse power engine.  On her first voyage across the Atlantic she set a new speed record.
SS Great Britain continued on the high seas until 1894 after travelling 32 times around the world and completing nearly 1,000,000 miles of sailing.  Eventually she was abandoned in the Falkland Islands in 1937 after serving as a floating warehouse for over 40 years.  There she remained a rotting and rusting hulk.  But that was not the end of her story because in the late 1960s a fund was launched with the sole aim of bringing her back to Bristol.  In 1970 the dream was realised and a tremendous salvage exercise took place to bring her back home.
After many years of careful conservation she now rests in the same dry dock where she was originally built 166 years ago.
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ZaZa Bazaar                International Buffet, food from all over the world. Eat what ever you like, as much as you like.  On some of the food stations you can select ingredients and watch while they cook your dish fresh in front of you.
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Glastonbury      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.
Web Link to Glastonbury Abbey
Web Link to Glastonbury Town

Stonehenge                  There is nothing quite like this awe inspiring monument anywhere else in the world, yet at first sight it is curiously disappointing, probably because it is set on a plain so vast that in comparison the stones seem quite insignificant.  It is only when man stands close to the stones that he seems so puny in comparison and it is hard to imagine how centuries ago, with only primitive tools to help them, men could possibly have placed these huge boulders into position.
The actual building falls into three phases.  Phase one which took place in the late Neolithic period somewhere around 2,000 years B.C. but little is known of this work.  Phase two took place between 1,700 and 1,600 B.C. We do know at this point about 80 blue stones, brought over by sea from the Prescelly mountains in Pembrokeshire, Wales, were placed in two concentric circles, with the entrance at the N.E. this work was never finished.  Phase three which took place between 1,600 and 1,300 B.C. during the Bronze age.  At this time the blue stones were moved and about 80 enormous Sarsen stones were dragged here from the Marlborough downs.  The whole history of Stonehenge covers the period from about 2,200 B.C. to 1,300 B.C. but exactly why it was built remains a mystery.  One fact remains the axis of Stonehenge was carefully aligned with the sunrise on 21st June, the longest day of the year.  Was it built in order to calculate the annual calendar of the seasons?
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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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Portsmouth Royal Naval Museum     The historic dockyard is home to great ships, such as HMS Victory, Lord Nelson's Flagship from the battle of Trafalgar. HMS Warrior (1860) the worlds first iron-hulled, armoured warship powered by steam, still afloat in Portsmouth harbour.  Also the Mary Rose, one of the most famous ships in the world, built in 1510 and capsized and sank dramatically in an accident in 1545.  This great ship was raised again in 1982 and has undergone extensive preservation work ever since, with the new museum opening in Spring 2013.  The Dockyard also houses the Royal Navy Museum and many other attractions.
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Lacock Abbey and Village    The old English word "Lacuc" means small stream.  Was recorded in the mid 9th Century as "Lacok".  A small tributary to the River Avon runs close by.  The village with its twisted streets, gabled roofs and timber buildings is one of the prettiest in England.  Most buildings span the centuries Medieval to 18th Century.  The local church of St Cyriac with a fine perpendicular roof.  The Abbey was founded by Ela Countess of Salisbury in 1229, she became the Abbess and served for 17 years.  In the 17th Century the Abbey passed to the Talbot family under very romantic circumstances.  Olive a daughter of the house was locked up by her father so she would not continue with an affair with a Talbot.  Olive leapt from the Abbey into her lovers arms, nearly killing him in the process.  Both in fact were saved by the petticoats that Olive wore, as she fell they billowed out so breaking her fall.  By her courage and devotion to a Talbot her father let her marry and the Abbey and village remained in the Talbot family until 1944 when Miss Matilda Talbot gave everything to the national trust.
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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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