Stuart

Places, people or events associated with the Stuart monarchs, or the Stuart period in Britain,

The Witches of Pendle

St Mary's, Newchurch, Lancashire

The story of the Witches of Pendle is one of the most sinister and troubling tales to come out of Lancashire.  It does not feature cackling old hags riding broomsticks across the night sky, but real living beings, victims of time and circumstance.  The broad facts are well-known locally, but lest you be unaware, in […]

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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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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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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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Test your lungs on Pendle Hill

Pendle Hill from the south east

Pendle Hill looms over East Lancashire between the towns of Clitheroe and Nelson.  With its distinctive humpback shape, visible for miles around from all directions, it is a local landmark, rising from an area of green beauty.  The district is dotted with tiny hamlets and farms, divided by ancient drystone walls and full of folklore

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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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A walk in Smardale Gill

Smardale Gill and Viaduct

Some years ago, we spent a happy couple of days with good friends in the Eden district of Cumbria.  For many, Cumbria means the Lake District – which is, of course, a wonderful place; but there is more to the county than that.  Eden, named for the river that flows north through it to the

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Inside Worcester Cathedral

Worcester Cathedral

The views of Worcester Cathedral, elegantly perched on the east bank of the River Severn, are surely among the best of any cathedral in Britain.  Inside, Worcester is also one Britain’s most fascinating cathedrals.  This compensates for it being a little hemmed in and its east end being crudely violated by a busy road, Deansway. 

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English Heritage or the National Trust?

English Heritage or National Trust

People often compare the relative merits of Britain’s two largest membership heritage organisations, the National Trust and English Heritage.  In fact, there are several heritage organisations in the United Kingdom that offer membership, the main ones being Cadw, Historic Houses, Historic Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland – as well as English Heritage and

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Blickling

Blickling Hall, visit Britain

Blickling is an extensive estate and stately home in Norfolk, with walks, gardens and a splendid house to enjoy wandering around.  People will tell you that it was Anne Boleyn’s childhood home, but don’t believe a word of it.  Anne was indeed probably born at Blickling, in 1501 or 1507, but there is no visible

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Domus Dei, a Portuguese princess and the Blitz

Portsmouth Garrison Church

My mother would love to walk from Point along Old Portsmouth’s walls, past the Sally Port, Square Tower and above Battery Row.  There was the Regency Grand Parade, scene of many ceremonial occasions in days gone by.  There was the statue of Nelson, who boarded HMS Victory nearby before the Battle of Trafalgar.  And below

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