Saxon

Places, people or events associated with the Anglo-Saxons, or the Saxon period in Britain,

Molly visits Pevensey Castle, a Very Important Place

Pevensey Castle

We bowled up to Pevensey Castle on a blue-sky day in the company of Molly.  Molly, I should say, is a small dog of exceptional poise and dignity, but has no relevance whatsoever to our story.  She is mentioned merely in a cynical attempt to win the cute dog vote.  Sorry, Molly.  We have included […]

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A Bit About Britain’s History repeats itself

A Bit About Britain's History

Finally – A Bit About Britain’s History (From a long time ago until quite recently) is available as both an e-book and paperback on Amazon. A Bit About Britain’s History is a light introduction to Britain’s fascinating story.  It could be a selective reminder of what you might have learned at school; or if you

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A pilgrimage to Lindisfarne, the Holy Island

Lindisfarne

To visit Lindisfarne, a tidal island at the tip of north-east England, is to enter a different world.  It is a world of saltwater, seabirds and saints, a world of mudflats, mead and mystery that is still revealing its secrets. Our story begins in the shadow times before places like England, Scotland and Wales had

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The importance of Eamont Bridge

Eamont, Athelstan, Cumbria

It is hard to wrap your brain round, but the small Cumbrian village of Eamont Bridge was once an international frontier crossing.  Well – kind of.  At first glance, it seems a nondescript sort of place, stretching along the A6 in typically linear northern fashion, so that both ends of the village could be blocked

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Exploring Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square, treasure buried?

Trafalgar Square is one of those places that have always seemed to be there.  It is so famous, such a focal point, and featured in so many news clips and photographs – including those taken by most of London’s tourists – that it’s easy to take it for granted.  Its name commemorates, as most people

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Is the Cerne Abbas Giant one of Britain’s most loved figures?

Cerne Abbas, Giant, Dorset

This is an appropriate question, since it is rumoured that couples creep up to the Cerne Abbas Giant at night in order to make babies.  As the Giant is cut into a hill with a reasonable degree of slope on it, the mechanics of their actions must be somewhat of a challenge; but each to

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Thank God for Southwell Minster

Southwell Minster

There are so many reasons to visit Southwell Minster that it’s a good job someone decided to build it… A few miles north-west of Nottingham, in the English East Midlands, Southwell is neither on a major route to anywhere, nor in traditional tourist-land. So, for most people, going there is a premeditated act; it took

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Was England born in Athelney?

Sign to Alfred's monument at Athelney, Somerset

Christmas in the year 877 did not turn out as Alfred planned. One minute he was celebrating, the next his hall was overrun by screaming, violent, bloody-weaponed, pagan warriors.  He escaped with his life and a small band of followers, ending up in hiding in the swamps around Athelney, in Somerset. Today, Athelney is a

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Who haunts Scarborough Castle?

Scarborough Castle, North Bay

Scarborough Castle dominates the Victorian Yorkshire seaside resort from a massive precipitous headland bulging up from the North Sea.  The fortress has a fascinating three and a half thousand year, often bloody, story to tell, but one of its more dubious charms seems to be that the ghost of Piers Gaveston, Earl of Cornwall, and

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Formidable Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle, visit Edinburgh, Historic Scotland

You can’t imagine Edinburgh without Edinburgh Castle – it is one of the City’s landmarks, dominating the skyline, perched on a seemingly impregnable, daunting, volcanic rock at the end of The Royal Mile.  On a bright day, perhaps at festival time and viewed through the colours of Princes Street Gardens, it is ambiguous; fearsome yet

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From a house in the clouds to a fort

Thorpeness, meare, House in the Clouds, Suffolk

We are in the east of England, on the Suffolk coast.  The town of Aldeburgh was once a thriving Tudor port; that’s where we’ll find the fort. And Thorpeness, well – Thorpeness was purpose-built in the 20th century – and that’s where we’ll find our house in the clouds. Few people now will have heard

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St Patrick’s Chapel, Heysham

Ruins, Chapel, Heysham, stone graves

This is one of our friend Jeni’s favourite places and she said we should go; so of course we did. Heysham (pronounced ‘hee-shum’, not ‘hay-sham’) sits on Lancashire’s coast at the southern end of Morecambe Bay.  I knew of Heysham as a ferry port, offering services to the Isle of Man and Ireland, as well

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Give us a song, Caedmon

Parish Church of St Mary's, Whitby

This is the story of England’s first known poet. Once upon a time, many many years ago, there was a good herdsman who lived on a cliff top called Streaneshalch.  The herdsman’s name was Caedmon; he was no spring chicken and was actually quite shy.  Nearby on the cliff top was a great Abbey, ruled

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Whitby Abbey and the Easter problem

Whitby Abbey, the ruins of the abbey church

The Yorkshire coastal town of Whitby is celebrated for its fish and chips, the semi-precious gemstone, jet, its associations with the explorer Captain Cook, Dracula – and its abbey.  It is less well-known as the place where the timing of Easter was decided. “When is Easter this year?” I hear you say; I’m very glad

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