St Peters, MA
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St Peters Church, Osterville, MA
Choir Leader Karen Crosby
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Windsor                                Dominated both in spirit and in fact, by its magnificent castle, yet the town itself is very attractive with Georgian and Victorian buildings, church street being one of its prettiest areas.  The parish Church of St John stands in the High Street with railings designed by Grindling Gibbons.  Nearby is the Guildhall designed at the end of the 17th Century by Sir Thomas Fitch and finished by Sir Christopher Wren.  However it is the castle that made the town and still attracts thousands and thousands of visitors every year.

Windsor Castle                   The castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world and covers over 13 acres.  Its story starts with William the Conqueror who quickly grasped its strategic position and the advantage of a forest for hunting close by.  Since then practically every sovereign has had a hand in the building, Henry II put up the first stone buildings including the round tower, but the defences are still those built by Henry III. Edward III was born at Windsor and loved it, he enlarged the royal apartments and founded the order of the Knights of the Garter, making Windsor a centre for chivalry.  The castle is made up of three parts, the lower ward, which includes St George's chapel, the upper ward in which lie the state apartments and the middle ward where the enormous round tower gives wonderful views over 12 counties.
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St. Georges Chapel, Windsor    A sumptuous and impressive building which yet gives an effect of light and spaciousness.  The perpendicular chapel was begun by Edward IV in 1475 and completed in the reigns of Henry VII and VIII.  Many sovereigns and famous men and women lie buried here, including Charles I, Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and the present Queens Mother and father.  Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert were also buried at Windsor but in the royal mausoleum at Frogmore in Home Park near the castle.
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Gloucester                      Began life as a Roman fort which guarded the lowest Severn crossing and the legions route into Wales (Glevum).  The city later became the residence of Norman Kings, while here William the Conqueror decided on the Doomsday survey.  The city has long been an inland port with its own harbour master.  Famous for its Cathedral it has also been the focal point of other important historic occurrences.  The city's main thoroughfares still follow the Roman roads and meet at the Cross.  In Brunswick Street is a memorial to Robert Raikes who founded the Sunday School movement in nearby St Catherine Street.  The New Inn in Northgate Street was a half timbered 15th Century pilgrims hostelry.  The Ravern Tavern in Hare Lane, once the home of the Hoare Family who sailed in the mayflower to New England.
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The Cotswolds               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.
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Cotswold Images

Gloucester Cathedral                    The present Cathedral was started in about 1089 by a monk called Serlo from Mont St Michael in France.  The building was consecrated in 1100 though work did continue for some years to come.  The great East window is the largest Medieval window in Europe.  A central tower was built approx 1450 to replace the Norman one.  The tower stands 225 feet high and is one of the glories of Gloucester, seen for miles around.  The first appearance is of a Gothic Cathedral, but further close inspection will reveal its Norman structure.  The cloisters are amongst the finest in England and are the earliest fan vaulted cloister still in existence.  They were built in the 14th Century and contain a magnificent lavatorium in the North range and study carrels in the South range.  The Kings school is very much a part of the foundation, where the Cathedral Choristers are educated.  Music is very much a part of the tradition of Gloucester and is the venue every 3 years for the three choirs festival.
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Blackfriars Monastery (Gloucester)    Founded in 1239 as a Dominican Friary the Church was consecrated in 1285.  The remains are the most complete Dominican Friary in England.  Still existing one of the first library buildings in Britain, complete with the original Carrells or compartments where the Monks copied out their religious texts.  The scissor beam roof structure is just as it was in the 13th Century.  The oak timbers used where probably 300 years old when cut from the the Forest of Dean.  See the remains of the church, cloisters and the refectory where the monks would have lived and the kitchen.
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Oxford                              This great university town is, for its history and associations and for its architecture, one of the most rewarding in all England.  In spite of recent industrialisation, its beauty and dignity have emerged relatively unscathed.  The university is the second oldest in Europe, acknowledging only the Sorbonne in Paris as its senior.  In fact evidence of organised teaching can be traced to the 12th Century.  A Chancellor was appointed in 1214 and the collegiate system began in the latter part of the 13th Century with the establishment in Oxford of various religious orders.
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Christchurch, Oxford                     Quite unique, a Cathedral serving the Diocese of Oxford and a College Chapel serving Christ Church College.  It was made a Cathedral by King Henry VIII in 1545 after cardinal Wolsey had made it a Chapel of the College in 1525.  The building however dates back to the 12th Century when it was a priory of Augustianain Cannons.  The first recorded church on the site was in the 8th Century.  The spire incidentally, constructed during the 13th Century was the first in England the lovely Gothic chancel added in the year 1500.  A superb collection of stained glass windows still exists dating back the 14th Century with the oldest being the magnificent Becket window in the South transept (a rare example of 14th Century glass in situ).
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Bath                    The Romans built a city here and called it Aquae Sulis.  It grew up around the Baths establishment, one of the foremost of its kind in the Western empire.  Its remains form an impressive monument to Roman Britain.  In the 18th Century Bath became a fashionable resort for society presided over by Beau Nash.  It was at this time that the work of providing a suitable environment began.  From the early 1700s - to the early 1800s many beautiful buildings, streets, squares and crescents were completed.  The pump room in 1795 and the only bridge left in England built with shops, Pulteney Bridge completed in 1777 by William Pulteney.  The city abounds with acres of parks and gardens which sets off the formality of the Georgian architecture.  The town name means bath, it is not Roman but a pure English word.  The Romans did originally call the area Aquae Calidae (hot waters) then Aquae Sulis (waters of sulis, referring to their pagan god) the Anglo-Saxon name was Akemanchester, which is generally regarded as being derived from the latin Aquae (ake) and the Roman road of Akeman Street which ran via Bath.  Also the old English word Ceaster meaning Roman Fort.
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Bath Abbey        A Saxon Abbey first stood on this site followed by a Norman one.  It was not until 1499 that a Gothic Church was erected.  Progress was very slow and by the dissolution only the choir and the walls had been completed.  However the west front had certainly been given its famous turrets and ladders.  After the dissolution the Abbey was looted and the church was given to the parish.  The building was soon enclosed by houses and the North aisle became a walk through for towns people.  In 1864 a new rector Charles Kemble at his own expense began a reconstruction of the building.  Hence what we see today is a Victorian replica of the original Tudor designs.
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