“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 […]
Places, people or events associated with the Tudor monarchs of England, or that period generally in 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
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
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
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
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
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
Bess of Hardwick, Countess of Shrewsbury, was one of the characters of Elizabethan England. Like the winner of a reality show, rising from relatively humble beginnings to rub shoulders with royalty, Bess is famous for being famous, a status assured through her cannily accumulated and managed wealth. In her case, prosperity arrived by means of
We strolled to Walmer Castle from Deal in September sunshine. Infamous as the place where the Duke of Wellington died, Walmer Castle was one of Henry VIII’s so-called ‘device forts’, a network of artillery strongholds built to protect England against possible French invasion. Naturally, we have retained a few of these, just in case. Walmer
In the story of the Mary Rose, we took a brief look at the history of the famous Tudor warship, said to be a favourite of Henry VIII’s, that sank without warning on 19 July 1545, with the tragic loss of about 500 lives. Now, we hear a bit about her recovery, her treasures, what
Every now and again, something takes our breath away. I thought I knew roughly what to expect when visiting the Mary Rose Museum. I broadly knew the story: the 16th century English warship, a favourite of Henry VIII’s, that sank with the tragic loss of most hands. I remembered when she was raised from the
England’s King Henry VIII is usually thought of as the nasty big bloke with all the wives; the chap who officially stopped his subjects being Roman Catholic, gave them the Church of England instead and closed down all the nice monasteries. He is not usually seen as a builder – but he was; picture him
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.
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