A CELEBRATION OF ENGLAND

692 Photographs of 64 Historic Sites

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 not find many world heritage sites, which are much photographed already, but 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.  My page titles below give the counties as they were before the local government reorganisation of 1974.

"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 Dorchester on Thames, Oxfordshire Rufford Abbey, Nottinghamshire
Ashbourne, Derbyshire, (3 pages)   Elmley Castle, Worcestershire a slide show Rushton Lodge Northamptonshire
Banbury, Oxfordshire Great Chalfield, Wiltshire Ryhall, Rutland
Belchamp Walter, Essex Great Cubley, Derbyshire     Sankey Valley, Lancashire
Blickling, Norfolk Great Tew, Oxfordshire Sawley Abbey, Lancashire
Bolton Priory, Yorkshire       Hanbury Hall and Church, Worcestershire Shirley, Derbyshire
Boscobel House, Shropshire Hartington, Derbyshire Somersall Herbert, Derbyshire   
Bosham, Hampshire Harvington Hall, Worcestershire Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire
Boston, Lincolnshire Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire South Wraxall, Wiltshire
Boylestone, Derbyshire Kenilworth Castle, a slide show Speke Hall, Lancashire
Breedon on the Hill, Leicestershire Kirby Hall, Northamptonshire a slide show Stoke-by-Clare, Suffolk
Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire (3 pages) Lacock, Wiltshire Stoke near Hartland, Devon   
Bridgnorth, Shropshire, a slide show Longford, Derbyshire Stow-in-Lindsey Minster, Lincolnshire
Castle Combe, Wiltshire Market Drayton, Shropshire Swarkestone Bridge, Derbyshire
Charlbury, Oxfordshire Marston Montgomery, Derbyshire Titchfield Abbey, Hampshire    
Chenies Manor, Buckinghamshire    Melbourne, Derbyshire Welcombe, Devon
Child's Ercall, Shropshire Norbury, Derbyshire Westwood, Wiltshire
Church Broughton, Derbyshire Oakham, Rutland Whalley Abbey, Lancashire, a slide show
Clifton Hampden, Oxfordshire      Over Haddon, Derbyshire Whitly Court, Worcestershire, a slide show
Cockersand Abbey, Lancashire Radbourne & Dalbury, Derbyshire Wissington, Suffolk
Doddington Hall, Lincolnshire Rodney's Pillar Woolfardisworthy, Devon
    Youlgreave

 

GREAT DAYS OUT

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    

 

SOME BRITISH HEROES

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.  However, by the standards of their time, they 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

 

home

E-mail with no attachments please to  Craig Thornber
Please give your e-mail a title that relates to your enquiry, not one that could have been produced by a spam engine

(Page updated 28 November, 2013 )


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

  W3C XHTML 1.0Strict  W3CCSS