Archive for the ‘History’ Category

The original West Gate at Twickenham rugby stadium contains a number of memorials.

The Lion, one of a pair, originally stood in front of the Lion Brewery on the South Bank of the Thames near Waterloo Station. The Brewery was demolished in 1948 to make way for the Royal Festival Hall. This lion was in storage until 1972, when it was presented to the RFU on their centenary by the London Council. The other lion of the pair can be seen on Westminster Bridge.

On top of the gates are 4 statues by Gerald Olgivie-Laing from the 1990’s representing 4 rugby players

There is also a memorial to George Rowland-Hill, President of the Rugby Football Union at the beginning of the last century.

The Rose and Poppy gates by Harry Gray were installed in 2016 as a memorial to all rugby players who have died in conflicts since the foundation of the Union in 1871. It has the Rose, the emblem of the England Rugby team, and poppies of remembrance on it.

Osmington White Horse

Posted: January 30, 2019 in Dorset, History, UK
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The Osmington White Horse is a figure cut into a limestone hill just north of Weymouth. It dates from 1808 and is of George III riding a horse and celebrates the monarch who was a regular visitor to the town and referred to it as ‘ his first resort’.

The figure was restored in 1989 as part of a TV programme although the restoration subsequently drew much criticism for changes made to the figure and in 2011 pranksters added a horn to the horse making it appear as a unicorn. Subsequently, another restoration was performed in early 2012 as part of the town’s preparations for the Olympics (Weymouth was the venue for the sailing events) which returned it to its original likeness.

Sandsfoot castle

Sandsfoot castle

Sandsfoot castle was built in Wyke Regis on the north side of Portland Harbour by order of Henry VIII, fearful of attacks by Spanish and French forces. It was built at the same time as Portland Castle on the southern point of the bay and was completed in 1539. It is said that much of the stone for the castle came from the dissolved abbey at Blandon near Wool.

Looking from Sandsfoot castle towards Portland castle

Looking from Sandsfoot castle towards Portland castle

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During the English civil war it was held by the Royalists until 1644, when following a siege it was captured by the Parliamentarians, who used it as a storehouse. It continued in this role until around 1691, when coastal erosion was threatening to undermine the cliff on which the castle stands. This was addressed by the building of the Portland breakwater in 1849, but by this time the castle was in a dangerous state and had been abandoned.

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It was purchased by Weymouth Council in 1902 for the sum of £150 and Tudor gardens were laid out on the adjoining land and a public park created. It was not until 2009-2010 that in a joint project with a local community trust that funds became available to carry out the works needed to allow public access to the castle buildings.

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Jumbo Water Tower

Posted: January 18, 2019 in History
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Vidoeo by Alice Goss

A Roman chariot stadium in Colchester Esssex

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The Colchester Sphinx was discovered in 1821 near the Balkerne Gate, It is a small statue of a mythical creature with a human head between its claws and was carved from British stone. It is still an object of some mystery but is probably from the 2nd century AD and most recent suggestions are that it was a ‘grave guardian’ from a military tomb. It is on display in Colchester Castle Museum.

The Romans in Colchester (3)

Posted: January 15, 2019 in Essex, History, Roman History, UK
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Another thing that stood out for me from our recent visit to Colchester Museum was the examples of locally manufactured goods, particularly Glassware and pottery.

 

 

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Also some examples of fine mosaics found locally

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Some interesting religious connections from our trip to Colchester

Butt Road Church

 

The Apse at Butt Road church.

The Apse at Butt Road church.

In the 1980’s during the building of the new police station, a cemetery of 371 graves together with a narrow building were discovered. The original building dates from 320 to 340 A.D. The original building was rectangular in shape and an apse was a later addition. Whether it was originally a Christian church or whether it was converted to this function at a later date is unclear. If the former is the correct interpretation than the date 340 would make it the earliest known Christian church in Britain.

The body of Butt Road church

The body of Butt Road church

 

An artists impression of what Butt Road church would have looked like (Colchester Museum)

An artists impression of what Butt Road church would have looked like (Colchester Museum)

Longinus originally came from the area of modern Bulgaria and was a member of the First Thracian cavalry, which had come to Britain with the original invasion force. He rose to the rank of Duplicarius, second in command of a unit of 32 men. He was 40 when he died in A.D. 55.

The tombstone of Longinus (Colchester Museum)

The tombstone of Longinus (Colchester Museum)

 

Impression of what it might have looked like when new

Impression of what it might have looked like when new

Marcus Flavonius Facilis was the centurion in the 20th legion, when he died in A.D. 43, a few years after the invasion. The style of Tombstone comes from the Rhineland, where the 20th legion had been stationed prior to the invasion of Britain.

the tombstone of Marcus Flavonius Facilis (Colchester Museum)

the tombstone of Marcus Flavonius Facilis (Colchester Museum)

 

Impression of what it might have looked like when new

Impression of what it might have looked like when new

 

The Romans in Colchester (1)

Posted: January 14, 2019 in Essex, History, Roman History, UK
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Map of Roman Colchester

Map of Roman Colchester

A trip with the History group to Colchester in Essex.

Prior to the arrival of the Romans in Britain, Camulodunum had been the Royal seat of Cunobelin, Leader of the Trinovantes. When the Roman invaded in 43AD the Emperor Claudius himself (during his brief 14 day visit) led the Roman legions into the settlement, where they proceeded to construct a legionary fortress on the high ground overlooking the Trinovantes settlement, In the initial years of the Roman conquest this newly founded Roman settlement served as the capital of the province of Britannia.

By 49AD it had become a civilian colonia named Colonia Claudia and the military presence was mostly comprised of retired soldiers. A dispute in AD60 with the Iceni following the death of their king led to his widow Boudica leading the Iceni and the Trinovantes against the colonia. It was ill-prepared and the rebels stormed through the city burning and killing. Those that could took refuge in the Temple of Claudius, on the site of the current castle. Here they held out for 2 days waiting for relief that never came and finally the rebels burnt it down and massacred any survivors.

Model of Temple of Claudius (Colchester Museum)

Model of Temple of Claudius (Colchester Museum)

Roman helmet from destruction layer of AD60 (Colchester Museum)

Roman helmet from destruction layer of AD60 (Colchester Museum)

Building Material from destruction layer of AD60 (Colchester Museum)

Building Material from destruction layer of AD60 (Colchester Museum)

The colonia was rebuilt following the suppression of the rebellion, but lost it status as provincial capital to the fast growing settlement of Londinium. During this rebuilding a city wall was added to ensure that the city would never be undefensible again.

Roman city wall

Roman city wall

Balkerne Gate, Colchester. Built as one of the entrances through the city wall. It originally had 4 arches, two for pedestrians and two for traffic. This made it the largest entrance arch found in the UK. Today only one pedestrian arch survives as part of a stretch of the Roman city wall.

Balkerne Gate, Colchester. Built as one of the entrances through the city wall. It originally had 4 arches, two for pedestrians and two for traffic. This made it the largest entrance arch found in the UK. Today only one pedestrian arch survives as part of a stretch of the Roman city wall.