Woburn Abbey Built on the site of a
Cistercian Abbey, this superb 18th Century mansion stands in 3,000
acres of parkland where some 1,000 deer roam. Since 1574 it has been the
home of the Dukes of Bedford. It is presently occupied by the Marques &
Marchioness of Tavistock and their family. The house is complete with many
works of art in a collection consisting of Canaletto, Rembrandt, Van Dyck,
Reynolds and Gainsborough. In the Canaletto room are 21 views of Venice by
Antonio Canale. The collection is further enhanced by English and French
period furniture together with English, continental and oriental porcelain.
14 state apartments are on view and some private apartments when not in use by
The Capital of Dobuni
when as Corinium Dobunorum in 43A.D. it became one of the chief Roman
administration centres for South West of England. In the 4th Century with
the withdrawal of the Romans the town went into decline until an Anglo Saxon
town was built. It slowly regained its importance with the development of
sheep rearing on the rich Cotswold meadow lands. The wealth from the wool
trade was tremendous, so much so that the merchants of the town were able to
build one of the greatest wool churches in the town. The 15th Century St
John the Baptist Church with its superb tower and three storied fan vaulted
porch. It has been judged one of the most beautiful perpendicular churches
Developed from the
Anglo Saxon words Cot and Wold, Cot meaning sheep pen. Wold meaning high windy
ground, that certainly can describe the area well, especially in the winter.
The soil is poor on the Wolds and not a lot of it but a great area for rearing
sheep. Hence the numerous villages with lovely churches (known as wool
churches) built by wealthy landowners centuries ago. The area is also
famous for the Cotswold stone a soft stone which yellows with age. Many
cottages will be seen built of Cotswold stone.
Can certainly lay claim
to being one of the most beautiful Cotswold towns. A superb High Street
slopes gently down to a three arch bridge spanning the River Windrush.
Some of the buildings such as the Bear Inn, Crown Inn and the Grammer School can
readily identify their roots in the 15th Century. A fine church
exists, St John, hidden from view down a lane at the foot of the High Street.
A wonderful mixture of accretion (add on's as and when money became available or
persons so decided) the tower is definitely Norman so is the West Doorway.
The Guild of Merchants chapel circa 1200 but remodelled in the 15th
Century. In May 1649 Cromwell imprisoned a group of mutineers in the
church for 3 nights after which they were to be shot. When three had been
executed Cromwell relented, one of the group “Sedley” scratched his name on the
font. In even earlier times the Anglo Saxons defeated the Mercians at the
battle of Edge now a playing field near the church. It is also written
that in 683 a council was convened at Burford attended by the King of Mercia at
which the date of Easter was fixed for the English church. The wealth of
the region coming from the surrounding sheep country during the middle ages.
To really appreciate Burford take time to walk the High Street.
Best seen in the fading
light of a warm summer evening, the houses of golden stone many with cottage
gardens facing the River Coln. William Morris described Bibury as the most
beautiful village in England. Sit on the wall by the river watch the trout
running in the crystal clear water and across on the island a protected nature
reserve with wild duck and many species of bird.
Probably owes its
origins to the erection in the 7th Century of an Anglo Saxon convent.
However it was the later Benedictine Abbey founded by Leofric, Earl of Mercia in
the 11th Century that gave the town its impetus to grow. It was granted
its first charter in 1553. The mechanization of the 19th Century brought
the manufacture of sewing machines and bicycles right into the city. The
Daimler company produced the first English motorcar in 1898 and the car industry
increased rapidly, giving rise in turn to aircraft production. It was the
aircraft production Germany came to bomb in 1940, it was a cold November night
in 1940 when much of the city was wiped out by a devastating fire bombing air
raid, thousands of people killed and injured, the Cathedral was also destroyed,
leaving only a tower and a spire standing.
In 1951 an open
architectural competition for a new Cathedral was held and won by a design by
Basil Spence. A new Cathedral was born, started in 1954 it was finished in
1962. Today thousands of visitors are drawn to the new building, acclaimed
as one of the most striking examples of modern architecture. The nave is
270ft long and 80ft wide with the focal point a superb 75ft high tapestry
designed by Graham Sutherland and woven in France. The theme
reconciliation and unity by all people from whatever religion of whatever creed
or colour, the rising of hope from the ashes of war.
Kenilworth castle Started as a wooden fortress in 1112 by Geoffrey De Clinton. The Keep which
still stands today was built in 1162. King John visited several times during his
reign. In 1199 the De Clinton family surrendered all rights to the King.
Henry III gave it to his Sister who was married to Simon De Montfort. In
1361 the castle came into the hands of Blanche of the Lancastrian house who then
married John of Gaunt. It was John that transformed the building from a
fortress to a grand castle. The castle passed from John to his son Henry
IV and remained a royal residence till Elizabeth 1st gave it to
Robert Dudley. This was the height of influence at Kenilworth. Queen
Elizabeth visited many times. But after Roberts death the castle went into
slow decline. During the Civil War Cromwell ordered the castle to be
dismantled. After the restoration it passed into the hands of the
Clarendon family who eventually passed it into the care of the state.
A magnificent sight to see, when it’s red sandstone towers, keep and wall glow
brightly in the morning sun.
The Town stands above
the River Ouse on a bluff which was formerly an island, accessible only by boat
or causeway until the fens were drained in the 17th and 18th Century. It
was the scene of Hereward`s resistance to William the Conqueror. A quiet
oasis away from the hustle and bustle of modern city life around the precints of
the cathedral are the houses of the Kings School founded by Henry VIII.
Nearby is the Bishops Palace and St Mary`s church, in the vicarage of which
lived Oliver Cromwell and his family from 1636-1647.
The Cathedral was
founded by St Etheldreda in 673 but work on the present building did not
commence until the appointment of Abbot Simeon in 1081. It is only on
entering the Cathedral that the length of the nave becomes apparent (537ft in
length) with a wonderful painted wooden ceiling 72ft high, conceived by Alan
Walsingham over 600 years ago. The effect of its design with its beautiful
fan vaulting and delicate tracery makes it one of the highlights of English
architecture. The chapels which surround the extension contain some of the
most elaborate and extraordinary carvings to be seen in England.
Cambridge Cambridge is one of the
most important and beautiful towns not only in East Anglia, but also in Britain
and even Europe. The quality of its buildings in particular those
belonging to the University and the particular atmosphere caused by the
felicitous combination of river and gardens have given the city a place in the
itinerary of every visitor to this country. The history of Cambridge began
many hundreds of years before the first college was founded, a Celtic settlement
had arise on Castle Hill 100 years prior to the Roman conquest. At the
foot of the hill was a ford across the River Cam. It is thought the Romans
built a bridge here. The site of Cambridge became of great strategic and
commercial importance. With the departure of the Romans the town continued
to spread to its present position on the East Anglian side of the river.
The coming of the Normans only increased expansion they even rebuilt the Castle.
Then in the 13th Century saw the founding of the first Cambridge College,
Peterhouse College, established in 1281 by the Bishop of Ely and moving to its
own hostels in 1284. So was established the first College and the
consequent increase in the importance of the city as a seat of learning and a
centre of communal life.
Kings College, Cambridge One of the most
outstanding buildings in Britain and the finest Gothic building in Europe.
It was begun in 1446. its unusual dimensions, 300ft long, 80ft high and 40ft
wide, prepare the visitor for its extraordinary system of spatial relationships.
The effect of the interior is breathtaking. the shafts on either side of the
chapel lead the eye up into the roof where the profusion of delicate fan
vaulting appears to be made of lace rather than stone. The organ case
(1606), screen and choir stalls (1536) stained glass windows (1515 incidentally
the year the chapel was completed) act as a perfect foil to the magnificent
roof. Does this give meaning to look upwards to heaven for the splendours
that are above.
American War Cemetery
Commemorating the brave
American servicemen who gave their lives during the Second World War to help
keep this island and the rest of the world free. 8,312 are buried here
together with a memorial to the 5,126 missing in action. Never let us
forget their help and ultimate sacrifice in helping to keep our island home free
from those across the water who wish to subjugate us into their world which we
are not part. Their sacrifice must be a lesson to us all to never drop our
guard, no matter how sweet the music sounds.
The largest & grandest
house of the first Elizabethan age. built between 1565 & 1587 by William Cecil.
The house is still a family home yet full of superb paintings and antiques, a
treasure to feast upon. The art collection is one of the most impressive
17th Century Italian painting collections in the world, with over 300 great
works on display in the state rooms, which also includes work by Gainsborough,
Kneller and Lawrence. The tour will allow access to over 18 state rooms
filled with superb porcelain from all over Europe and a collection of early
Japanese ceramics, together with furniture of the highest quality including a
bed once used by Queen Victoria. Try and find time to wander in the
grounds, acres of park land, originally landscaped by Capability Brown.
Mature trees and plenty of space for the youngsters to let off some steam.
Sandringham Sandringham House is
the family residence of the Royal Family. The estate was purchased by the
then Prince of Wales in 1862. The 18th Century house was
elaborately refurbished by the Prince who later became Edward VII. It now
retains an appropiate Edwardian atmosphere. The estates are extensive and
include several villages, farms and woodlands which are managed on behalf of the
family. By tradition it is to this very quiet place that the family comes
each Christmas. King George V died here in 1936 and King George VI (Queen
Elizabeths father) died here in 1952. It is also recorded that King George
VI was born and baptised here.
Duxford Europe’s top aviation
museum located at a former R.A.F. Battle of Britain fighter station. Over
140 historic aircraft from the First World War up to the present day including
the recently opened American museum.