Archive for September, 2020

Sunset reflections

Posted: September 29, 2020 in Landscape, Natural History
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What a glorious sunset

Through My Lens

On this night in 2018 Fraser Island treated us to a visiting dingo and a blazing sunset reflected in the wet sand.

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Went to Bough Beech Reservoir in Kent yesterday and was shocked to see how little water there was! The main reservoir was very low and the northern basin was totally devoid of water. Was this the result of the recent changes in wildlife management or was there some other reason for the change?

Another Birder told me he had recently visited Abberton Reservoir which is in Essex on the other side of the Thames and that was very low too. So it seems it is just a reflection of the dry summer we had. Let’s hope it rains soon to replenish supplies.

Verdun Tree

Posted: September 22, 2020 in Hertfordshire, History, UK
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This tree, near the Abbey in St Albans, was one of a number planted as war Memorials in England following the First World War. They came from acorns and chestnuts collected from trees that remained standing on the battlefield of Verdun, which were then brought to England and distributed to Towns and cities across the country. Some such as the one at Lichfield have been replaced by trees grown from acorns of the original Verdun Trees planted in this country and in 2016 the Woodland Trust launched a project to ensure the continuation of the Verdun Trees by growing new trees from their acorns, which can be used to replace any that die.

The tree in St Albans was planted in 1976 from an original Verdun acorn.

St Albans Cathedral

Posted: September 18, 2020 in Hertfordshire, History, UK
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The first Benedictine Abbey at St Albans was founded in 793 by Ulsinas. It is thought that this may have been on site further up the hill than the present building which was begun in 1077. It is a building which includes many architectural styles: Norman, Romanesque (11th Century) Gothic and 19th Century.

The Story of St Alban

Posted: September 15, 2020 in History, UK
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St Albans

Posted: September 11, 2020 in Hertfordshire, History, Roman History, UK
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St Albans

Posted: September 8, 2020 in History, UK
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The City of St Albans is situated just north of London. It dates back to the Iron age when it was a local tribe capital called Verulamium, which lay just to the south west of the current city centre. When the Romans arrived in AD50, they developed it into a ‘municipum’. In 61 AD it was sacked by Boudica during the Iceni rebellion, but this was only a short break in its continued development. There were town other significant town fires, one in 155 and the other in 250, which caused significant damage.

When the Romans withdrew between 400 and 500 the town continued and eventually became an Anglo-Saxon Regional centre. An Abbey was founded on the hill overlooking the Roman town and gradually the centre of the town shifted to the area around the Abbey. The present abbey was begun in 1077 and contains much building material taken from abandoned Roman Buildings.

The life of the town continued pretty much unimpeded during the middle ages, although St Albans was the site of 2 battles during the War of the Roses.

In 1877, it was granted city status and the church became a Cathedral on the formation of the Diocese of St Albans in the same year.

The Salt Tower was built around 1230 as part of Henry III’s curtain wall. It has an upper chamber which has been used as accommodation for prisoners. The most famous of these was John Balliol, King of Scots from 1296-1299. It has a display of prisoner graffiti.

The E is thought to refer to the future Elizabeth the First. The signature is of John Baptiste Catiglione, Elizabeth's Italian tutor who was imprisoned here by Queen Mary.

The E is thought to refer to the future Elizabeth the First. The signature is of John Baptiste Catiglione, Elizabeth’s Italian tutor who was imprisoned here by Queen Mary.

This globe is by Huw Draper, Bristol inn-keeper and Astrologer who was imprisoned on charges of socery

This globe is by Huw Draper, Bristol inn-keeper and Astrologer who was imprisoned on charges of sorcery.

John Lyon ws  imprisoned  in the Salt Tower on charges of importing a Catholic book into the country

John Lyon was imprisoned in the Salt Tower on charges of importing a Catholic book into the country

The Wakefield Tower was built by Henry III sometime between 1238 and 1272. In early records, it is sometimes known as the Record or Hall Tower as from 1360 it was used to store the records of the Kingdom. Its current name seems to date from the holding of prisoners in the tower following the battle of Wakefield in 1460. Its most famous prisoner was King Henry VI who lived here from 1465 until he was briefly restored to the throne in 1470.

Wakefield Tower

Wakefield Tower

However, it was not long before he was returned to his prison on 21st May 1470. He was murdered in his chamber the following day.

Entrance to lower chamber of Wakefield Tower

Entrance to lower chamber of Wakefield Tower

In the lower chamber is an exhibition on torture at the Tower. Surprisingly torture was not as frequently used in the middle ages as we might think. Between 1540 and 1640 records show only 81 cases in which its use was sanctioned – of these 48 were carried out at the Tower of London. In this exhibition is a replica of a medieval rack, which is based on plans drawn up in the 18th century from the remains of an original medieval rack discovered in a Tower store room.

Replica of Rack

Replica of Rack