Churches

Churches are places of Christian worship, of any denomination, that serve, or once served, a community of any description. Most of Britain’s parish churches are medieval in origin.

A journey to Glastonbury Tor

Glastonbury Tor, Somerset, Britain

Legendary Britain is a more illusive place than it once was.  But there are still places where it is sometimes hard to tell where fact ends and fiction begins.  Mysterious Glastonbury Tor, a natural feature rising some 500 feet above the watery Somerset Levels, has been a sacred site since before the Romans came.  It […]

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Bosham, Cnut, the king’s daughter and Harold

Bosham, Sussex, Holy Trinity, church

For centuries, Bosham was a fishing village, famous for its oysters.  You’ll find it on a small peninsula in Chichester Harbour in West Sussex; a bit of a yachting place, also beloved by artists, walkers, cyclists and casual visitors.  Yes, Bosham (say ‘Bozzum’) can be a busy spot, particularly on a fine day.  There are

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Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel, moody and mysterious

Sooner or later, the curious traveller will end up at Rosslyn.  Not far from Edinburgh, it is a magnet for mystics, myth-lovers, madmen, movie-goers and the mildly interested.  It has been claimed that the chapel was built by the Knights Templar, on the site of a temple of Mithras, and modelled on Solomon’s Temple in

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The dastardly shooting of Lorna

Exmoor, Lorna Doone

The Victorian novel, “Lorna Doone – a Romance of Exmoor”, is generally assumed to be a work of fiction, set in a stunning location on the borders of Devon and Somerset and against the turbulent historical backdrop of the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685.  Yet some believe that the author, R D Blackmore, drew upon illusive

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Imagine if George Washington had been Lancastrian

Washington House

There are two villages called Warton in Lancashire, both of them with connections across the Pond.  One, just west of Preston, is known for the airfield used by the United States Army Air Forces during World War Two.  Further north, the other Warton nudges the border with Cumbria.  And there, inside the medieval parish church

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Mitfords, Fettiplaces and P514

St Mary's, Swinbrook, Oxfordshire

My chum Dave was at it again.  Like me, Dave is tickled by the past and finds there’s more and more of it each day.  “You must visit Swinbrook,” he said over a pint at The Olde Ruptured Duck one Friday.  “Fettiplace memorials in the church.  Amazing.  Would go well on A Bit About Britain.”

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St Ninian’s Chapel

St Ninians Chapel on the Isle of Whithorn

We thought we should go to the Cradle of Christianity in Scotland; the place where St Ninian, Scotland’s first Christian missionary, landed in 397AD and showed the pagan Picts The Way.  There is a chapel there, near the Saint’s alleged landing place on the Isle of Whithorn, at the south-east corner of the Machars Peninsula

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St Hubert’s, Idsworth

St Hubert's, Idsworth, Bit About Britain

We came upon St Hubert’s, my good friend and I, very late one night and many years’ ago.  We were young, and had been indulging that well-known youthful pastime, ‘Visiting Old Places After Dark To See If You Get Scared’.  As we walked up the hill through the still Hampshire night toward the church, it

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The Vampire of Dent (and other stories)

Dent, Cumbria

You’ll find the small village of Dent, sometimes known locally as Dent Town, on the western edge of the Yorkshire Dales.  This was once part of Yorkshire’s West Riding but is now inside the county of Cumbria.  The narrow roads through achingly beautiful Dentdale seem never-ending; it’s almost a relief to arrive amongst Dent’s old

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The Castle at Castle Acre

Bailey Gate, castle, Castle Acre, Norfolk

Toki lost his lands when the Normans came.  The new foreign aristocracy following Harold’s defeat at Hastings in 1066 swept aside Anglo-Saxon landowners, and poor Toki was one of the casualties.  He was a thegn – which could mean a variety of things – but in any event a man of property in the settlement

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In search of Robin Hood

Robin Hood is one of England’s enduring legendary heroes.  Deprived of his rightful inheritance and outlawed, Robert of Locksley (or Loxley) shelters in the King’s forest of Sherwood, where he assumes natural leadership over the vagabonds and other outlaws in hiding there, all victims of medieval England’s harsh laws and brutal penalties for infringement.  Robert

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Eyam, 1665

Eyam, Derbyshire

This is a story about bravery and love.  It covers just one chapter in the long history of the village of Eyam (pronounced ‘Eeem’ *), tucked away in Derbyshire’s Peak District just north of Bakewell.  Casual travellers between Chesterfield and Chapel-en-le-Frith would pass it by without comment – unless they knew: in that case, they

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