1166 Photographs of 128 Historic Sites and Event

by Craig Thornber


In 1722, Daniel Defoe set off on his Tour Through the Eastern Counties of England. In 1724, he began A Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain. William Cobbett started his Rural Rides on 30 October 1821. A century later, H.V. Morton went by car and wrote In Search of England.  A few years later, J. B. Priestley made his English Journey. In the 1930's John Betjeman initiated the Shell Guides and in the 1960s made his programmes on country towns, mainly in the South West, which are now available on video. Beryl Bainbridge followed in Priestley's footsteps with her English Journey: or the Road to Milton Keynes, in 1984, which was made into a series of eight television programmes.     Itineraries of travel writers

In the 1930s, Arthur Mee edited a series of 41 county volumes in 'The King's England' series. It covered 10,000 towns and villages and gives an accessible account of the principal buildings. The books do not include references to original sources but still provide ready access to the principal historical events associated with each location. After the war, Nikolaus Pevsner produced books for each county in the series 'Buildings of England'. They are rich in architectural detail but do not attempt to cover historical events. New revised editions are in production.

Now, for the 21st century, I set out, digital camera in hand, in search of places of historic interest in England. Here you will find some English Heritage and National Trust Properties, which are much photographed already, but in addition some of the small jewels scattered in profusion around the country. If there is a preponderance of old churches among my selections it is in part for practical reasons. Firstly, in any village, the church is likely to be the oldest building. Secondly, the churchyard is open to the public and you may be fortunate to gain access to the church itself.   If you do, you may find something of the history of the village, either in the monuments or in a booklet about the church.  E. A. Greening Lamborn, in his book The English Parish Church, wrote in 1929:

"The most precious inheritance of the English is their poety and their parish churches. These are our unique possessions, our peculiar treasures; and no Englishman can take a just pride in his race or country who has not learned to appreciate and love them. The parish church is hallowed not merely by its purpose but by its age-old associations. Thirty generations have worked upon its fabric and revealed in their work their needs in this life and their ideas of another; it as been associated not merely with the great crises of their lives, with baptisms, marriages and burials, but with the daily round, the common task, the common amusement; its bells measured out their days and called them to work and rest as well as to prayer."

H. V. Morton in his In Search of England puts it even more poetically:

"These great churches are the urns which hold the ashes of England's history. The dim aisles are sacred to a past which is the splendid mother of the present, for in them are gathered the men whose lives shaped, through stress and storm, through the dense drive of arrows and the smoke of conflict, through a war of words, and through victories, and defeats and losses more magnificent than gains, the destiny of the English people."

In each article I give a brief account of the site, which is not intended to be comprehensive but to give a summary of the main features that attracted my attention. Full bibliographic details are provided for all my sources of information, without which this website would be only a collection of photographs.

"There is a forgotten, nay almost forbidden word, which means more to me than any other. That word is England" Sir Winston Churchill



Arbour Low, Derbyshire Furness Abbey, Cumbria Ribchester, St. Wilfrid's, Lancashire
Ashbourne, Derbyshire, (3 pages)   Great Chalfield, Wiltshire Rievaulx Abbey, North Yorkshire
Attingham Park, Shropshire Great Cubley, Derbyshire Rodney's Pillar, Montgomeryshire
Banbury, Oxfordshire Great Tew, Oxfordshire Rufford Abbey, Nottinghamshire
Belchamp Walter, Essex Hanbury Hall and Church, Worcestershire Rushton Lodge Northamptonshire
Berrington Hall, Herefordshire Hartington, Derbyshire Ryhall, Rutland
Blickling, Norfolk Harvington Hall, Worcestershire Sankey Valley, Lancashire
Bolton Priory, Yorkshire       Helmsley Castle, North Yorkshire Sawley Abbey, Lancashire
Boscobel House, Shropshire Herringfleet, St. Margaret's, Suffolk Severn Valley Railway, Worcestershire & Shropshire
Bosham, Hampshire Heysham, St. Peter's and St. Patrick's, Lancashire Sizergh Castle, Cumbria
Boston, Lincolnshire Holker Hall, Cumbria Shap Abbey, Cumbria new
Boylestone, Derbyshire Hospital of St. Cross, Winchester new Shirley, Derbyshire
Breedon on the Hill, Leicestershire Hoghton Tower, Lancashire Somerleyton Hall, Suffolk
Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire (3 pages) Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire Somersall Herbert, Derbyshire   
Bridgnorth, Shropshire, a slide show Kenilworth Castle, a slide show Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire
Brockhampton, Herefordshire Kirby Hall, Northamptonshire a slide show South Wraxall, Wiltshire
Bromyard St. Peters, Herefordshire Knole House, Kent Speke Hall, Lancashire
Buckler's Hard, Hampshire Lacock, Wiltshire Stoke-by-Clare, Suffolk
Byland Abbey, Yorkshire Levens Hall, Cumbria Stoke near Hartland, Devon   
Calke Abbey, Derbyshire Lilleshall Abbey, Shropshire Stow-in-Lindsey Minster, Lincolnshire
Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight Longford, Derbyshire Swarkestone Bridge, Derbyshire
Cartmel, Cumbria Lowther Castle, Cumbria new Tyntesfield, Somerset
Castle Combe, Wiltshire Ludlow Castle, Herefordshire Titchfield Abbey, Hampshire    
Charlbury, Oxfordshire Market Drayton, Shropshire Upton House, Warwickshire
Chateau Impney Marston Montgomery, Derbyshire Warkworth Castle, Northumberland new
Chatsworth House, Derbyshire Melbourne, Derbyshire Weald and Downland Open-Air Museum, West Sussex
Chenies Manor, Buckinghamshire    Moreton Corbet, Shropshire Welcombe, Devon
Child's Ercall, Shropshire Netley Abbey, Hampshire new Westwood, Wiltshire
Church Broughton, Derbyshire New Mills, Derbyshire Whalley Abbey, Lancashire, a slide show
Clifton Hampden, Oxfordshire      Norbury, Derbyshire Whitby Abbey, Yorkshire
Cockersand Abbey, Lancashire Oakham, Rutland Whitly Court, Worcestershire, a slide show
Crich, Derbyshire Over Haddon, Derbyshire Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire
Doddington Hall, Lincolnshire Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk Wissington, Suffolk
Dorchester on Thames, Oxfordshire Pencarrow, Cornwall Woolfardisworthy, Devon
Dudmaston Hall, Shropshire Penrith Castle, Cumbria new Wroxeter Roman City, Shropshire
Elmley Castle, Worcestershire a slide show Portland Bill, Dorset Wymondham, Norfolk
  Radbourne & Dalbury, Derbyshire Youlgreave, Derbyshire



Here are some slide shows of some great days out in England.  Broadband connection is advisable.

Festival of History 2007 The Great Northwood Bowmen Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire
Manor Farm, Hampshire Festival of History 2010 Navy Day, Portsmouth 2010
Chiltern Open Air Museum Black Country Museum  



A few years ago Ken Livingstone, then Mayor of London, proposed removing statues of Generals Havelock and Napier from Trafalgar Square on the grounds that nobody knew who they were. The bronze statue of Napier in Trafalgar Square, by G. G. Adams was erected by public subscription. Adams also executed a marble statue of Napier, which can be seen in St. Paul's cathedral.  Ken Livingstone probably suspected that Havelock and Napier had been active in colonial campaigns that it was not politically correct to recall. Perhaps Mr. Livingstone has forgotten that General Charles Napier was sympathetic to the Chartist Movement in the 1840s when he was commander of the army in 11 Northern Counties.  By the standards of their time, these men did what their country wanted and were undoubtedly brave and resourceful. I will be adding short articles on a few British heroes whose monuments I have encountered in my travels around the British Isles.


General Napier Admiral Saumarez Admiral Benbow Admiral Rodney Admiral Nelson



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(Page updated 25 November, 2015 )

Craig Thornber, Cheshire, England, UK.  Main Site Address: http://www.thornber.net/

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