A place of worship, such as a church, temple, mosque or other sacred site.

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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Earls Barton, our finest Saxon church tower

All Saints church, Saxon, Earls Barton, Northamptonshire

There’s no need to hurry to see the unique Saxon church at earls Barton in Northamptonshire; it’s been there for a thousand years or more and will probably wait for you. There was probably a settlement at Earls Barton as early as the 6th century – possibly even a Celtic one before that.  By the

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Brixworth – All Saints’ church

Norman window, Saxon arch, Roman bricks. All Saints' church, Brixworth, Northamptonshire

Northamptonshire is blessed with some fine Saxon churches.  And the largest – in fact the largest Anglo-Saxon church in Britain – is at Brixworth.  Actually, a monastery was founded at Brixworth sometime before 675AD, more than 1300 years ago, when this part of the country was in the Kingdom of Mercia and England did not

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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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Swinside Stone Circle

Swinside Stone Circle, Cumbria, looking east

You cannot visit a stone circle, not even a little one, without being impressed.  Think about it.  Apparently, there are around 1,000 stone circles in Britain.  Each one would have taken organisation, willpower and a heck of a lot of muscle to build.  Imagine a conversation starting, “Hey, I’ve got this great idea…” Stone circles

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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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West Kennet Long Barrow

West Kennet Long Barrow

Tumuli, tombs or burial chambers, in varying shapes and sizes, litter the British Isles.  Long barrows are (roughly) rectangular tumuli, ranging from about 60 feet to more than 300 (28 – 100 metres) in length, usually with a stone (or wood) burial chamber at one end, the whole covered with soil and rubble dug from

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Fountains in Yorkshire

Visit Fountains Abbey, the largest monastic ruins in the UK

There was trouble at St Mary’s Abbey in York.  Some of the monks felt that monastic practices had strayed too far from the original values set out by the blessed St Benedict.  In 1132, influenced by a band of Cistercians passing through the city, thirteen of St Mary’s monks rebelled.  However, Archbishop Thurston sympathised with

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National Service of Remembrance

Poppy wreaths, Cenotaph

Amazing; moving; humbling; impressive: words you could choose to describe the annual National Service of Remembrance held in London on Remembrance Sunday, the second Sunday in November.  Thousands attend every year; thousands watch it on TV; thousands more attend similar, albeit slightly more modest, services throughout the United Kingdom – and beyond.  It is an

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Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral, near Framwellgate Bridge

Durham’s story is a fascinating piece of the story of England.  It is partly a tale of saints and kings and moving bones, and it begins back in the 7th century. The founding of Durham Cathedral Actually, it was mostly Cuthbert’s fault – with some help from the Danes, a lost cow and perhaps a

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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 Davids, too much beer and the lost apostrophe

St Davids Cathedral - the largest cathedral in Wales in Britain's smallest city.

The River Alun trickles through the neat Cathedral Close, between the Cathedral Church of St Davids and the majestic ruins of the 14th century Bishop’s Palace.  In this little green valley, tradition says that St David, son of King Sant and St Non (sainthood ran in the family) and Patron Saint of Wales, established a

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Ladies of the Vale

Lichfield Cathedral, Staffordshire

There are few things more agreeable than pootling around and about a medieval cathedral.  I found Lichfield’s reflected in the Minster Pool, a small reservoir which has been used by the city since the 11th century.  You’d think it couldn’t get any better, wouldn’t you?  Then you wander up the Cathedral Close, past Erasmus Darwin’s

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