Medieval

Places, people or events associated with the Medieval period in Britain, also known as the Middle Ages.

Coombes

Coombes Church, chancel arch

The tiny, downland, Church of Coombes is one of the most extraordinary English churches I have ever seen.  There are thousands of medieval churches in Britain, each one illuminating parts of our nation’s story.  Though not a religious man, I am a long-standing member of the “Oh Look, There’s a Church, Let’s Go in” Club […]

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Why hadn’t I heard of Holme Cultram?

Holme Cultram Abbey feature on A Bit About Britain

“Do you want to go into the church?”  The neatly dressed middle-aged lady beamed at us. It was a little late in the day and it seemed she was just about to lock up. “Well, if it’s not too much trouble…”. Visiting Holme Cultram was one of those happy accidents.  I had never heard of

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Stocking fillers?

Stocking fillers, books, about Britain

Someone remonstrated with me the other day, saying that I could do more to promote my books.  Being the sort of chap that always takes advice, I have consequently embarked upon a brazen, crass, plug of the most vulgar kind.  Buy one of my books!  No – buy two!  If I publish another, buy that

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Spurn

Spurn Head

Here is a dramatic tale – of shifting landscapes, lost settlements, abandoned military installations and wobbly legs.  It features the spindly, exposed, crooked finger of Spurn Head on the East Yorkshire coast.  Spurn is an enigmatic, fascinating and slightly scary place, a low-lying spit of glacial clay, sand and shingle, washed on one side by

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The ghosts of Wycoller

Wycoller Hall

It is a wild, wind-blown, rain-lashed winter’s night.  A spectral horse gallops up to the moss-covered ruins of old Wycoller Hall, the rider a man dressed in early 17th century fashion  He slides swiftly from the saddle, enters the house and dashes up long-vanished stairs.  A door is flung open.  Terrified shrieks pierce the pitch

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Royal Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey Lady Chapel

Westminster Abbey is part of a World Heritage Site. It has been at the centre of English, and British, state occasions – coronations, weddings, funerals, services of commemoration – since William the Conqueror was crowned there on Christmas Day 1066.  In fact, its roots are pre-Conquest.  The powerful bishop, archbishop and later saint, Dunstan, established

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St Giles’, High Kirk of Edinburgh

St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh

St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh is more properly known as the City Church, or High Kirk of Edinburgh, as well as the mother church of Presbyterianism.  As a shining example of one of those confusing curiosities that we Brits love so much, it is not technically a cathedral at all, although most people still refer

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The Palace of Holyroodhouse

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Unlike Balmoral, which is a private home, the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh is the Monarch’s official residence in Scotland.  And parts of it are open to the public.  So, assuming you don’t get to visit palaces too often, you should pop in when you’re next in town.  It is situated at the eastern end

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Cilgerran Castle and the Princess Nest

Cilgerran Castle and Princess Nest

Once upon a whenever, Wales is said to have had more than 640 castles.  We may have mentioned that before.  Of those 640, at least 100 have survived.  Some, such as Caernarfon or Conwy, are recognisably mighty fortresses; others are little more than remote ruined forts; and then there are the ones in between, like

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Blessed Virgin Mary and St Leodegarius

The manor of Ashby St Ledger and the church of St Leodegarius

Someone on Twitter was talking about Ashby St Ledgers.  This is a small, attractive, village in Northamptonshire, famous for being home to the Catesby family and for its associations with the Gunpowder Plot.  Then I remembered a brief winter’s morning visit to the peaceful old church, and that it is dedicated to St Leodegarius.  Leodegarius

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A walk round Montgomery

Montgomery, Powys

We went to the small town of Montgomery, in Powys, for some much-needed peace and quiet – and found it.  Girdled by lush landscape, the old county market town of Montgomeryshire has a Georgian appearance and is a peach, a place to mentally recharge.  There is little to attract the seeker of brash entertainment, or

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St Martin’s and Rupert Bear

St Martin's, Canterbury

The Venerable Bede tells us that, in 597 AD (1425 years ago in 2022), St Augustine landed on the Isle of Thanet, in Kent, with some forty companions.  Their purpose was to spread the news of eternal joy in heaven and an everlasting kingdom with the living and true God.  In those days, the most

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A bit about port wine

Port wine, vintage port

I’m partial to a drop of port and normally keep a bottle of late bottled vintage in the cupboard. Although port wine is, of course, enjoyed all over the world, there is something quintessentially British about it, a product forged through trade and a long friendship with Portugal. It seemed to me that an article

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