Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Hall Place, Bexley

Posted: July 3, 2020 in History, London, UK
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Join me on a visit to hall place in Bexley (Pre-Lockdown)

More details on hall place and its history can be found at https://petesfavouritethings.blog/2019/11/27/hall-place/

Always interested to read new things and was fascinated by this article by Stephen Liddell on Anglo Saxon refugees following the Norman Conquest.

Everyone knows about the New England colony that was established on the eastern coast of North America but much less known about and something I’ve long been interested in is that accounts of a creation of a New England on the shores of the Black Sea around 500 years earlier than the one in North […]

Nova Anglia – The Anglo Saxon refugees who built the original New England on the Black Sea. — Stephen Liddell

At the end of the 12th century, relations between the military and the clergy, whose cathedral church was sited within the castle defences, at Sarum, just north of the city were bad. So early in the 13th century the clergy decided to move to a new site in the river valley a few miles to the south. The foundation stone was laid in April 1220 and the cathedral buildings were finished by 1260. The iconic tower and spire were added in the 14th century – when the spire at Lincoln cathedral collapsed in 1549, it became the tallest spire in the country. However, it has taken a lot of rebuilding work over the centuries to prevent it from going the way of many of its contemporaries and collapsing.

Salisbury Museum

Posted: April 2, 2020 in History, UK, Wiltshire
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On my last trip to Salisbury, I had the opportunity to visit the museum, which is situated in The King’s House, which is on Cathedral Green, opposite the entrance to Salisbury Cathedral.

It focuses on the history of Salisbury and also a collection of works of art

A small but interesting museum, I found the galleries on the city’s history very interesting.

This church was built within the walls of Portchester Castle around 1130. Originally it was intended to be part of an Augustinian Priory within the walls of the castle. There is evidence of a cloister and some domestic buildings present on the site, but shortly after it was completed the Canons moved to Southwick, perhaps because they lacked space to expand their monastery within the confines of the castle. The church was damaged by a fire set by Dutch prisoners of war in the castle in 1653 and was repaired in 1706 and further restored in 1888.

Adjacent to the church is a lovely cafe, which is highly recommended as a place to stop for a drink or lunch.

A military installation at Portchester dates back to Roman times. Excavations have revealed what was probably a base for the Classis Britannica, the Roman fleet based in the UK. It probably dates from 285-290 AD. The remains of the curtain wall of this base can be seen at Portchester today.

The fort continued in use after the Romans left Britain, as evidenced by the presence of a 10th century Anglo-Saxon hall within the walls and in 904 records show the castle passed into the ownership of the crown. The castle as we see it today dates from the 11th century and was built by William Maudit. He sought where possible to include as much as possible of the still-standing Roman walls within his construction. In 1154 the castle passed to King Henry II and it would remain in royal control for almost 500 years. King Henry and King John were recorded as visitors and it was used to house important prisoners. In 1216, Portchester surrendered to Prince Louis of France, who commanded the French forces supporting the Barons rebelling against King John. It was recaptured by John’s son, Henry III the following year and eventually, the French forces left Britain a few months later. Portchester was important as it was an embarkation point for troops going to France to defend the royal lands there.

The castle was refortified by Edward II in the fourteenth century and it continued to be used by armies campaigning on the continent. Queen Elizabeth, I visited the castle in 1603.

In 1632 Charles I sold the castle to Sir William Uvedale. It was used as a prison, often with prisoners of war from the Anglo-Dutch war (1665-1667), the War of Spanish Succession (1702-1712) and the Napoleonic Wars (19th century).

The memorial, which stands in front of the Guildhall in the Market square in Salisbury was dedicated in February 1922 as a memorial to the citizens of the city who had lost their lives in the First World War.

A panel was added after world war II dedicated to those who lost their lives in the “Second World war and all conflicts since”

Henry Fawcett was born in Salisbury in August 1833. He was educated at Kings College School and the University of Cambridge. In 1856 he became a fellow of Trinity Hall. Two years later he was blinded in a shooting accident, but this did not stop him applying to Lincoln’s Inn to study Law, although after a years study he withdrew preferring to concentrate on his study of economics.

He was a defender of Darwin’s theory of evolution and spoke in favour at a number of meetings. In 1863, he was appointed Professor of Political economy at Cambridge. He wrote a number of influential books on economics and in 1883 he was elected rector of Glasgow University.

Fawcett combined his academic career with one in politics. After a number of defeats he was elected as MP for Brighton in 1865 and he held the seat until 1874, when he was elected as MP for Hackney in London a seat which he held until his death 10 years later.

In 1880 Fawcett was appointed Postmaster-General and introduced Post Office Savings Stamps, which allowed people to save at a penny a time. He was also responsible for the introduction of parcel post and postal orders. He was a strong supporter of Women’s Suffrage. He died in November 1884 following an illness and was buried in Cambridge.

This statue can be found in the Market Square in Salisbury

Salisbury

Posted: February 27, 2020 in History, UK, Wiltshire
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The city of Salisbury in Wiltshire is one of the latest in the UK to be founded. The original settlement of Old Sarum was 3 miles to the north and had been occupied since c 600 BC. The Normans built a new castle and a cathedral on this site, completed in 1092.

Salisbury seen from the site of Old Sarum.
Photo by Edward Nicholl (https://www.flickr.com/photos/grey-panther/)

There are a number of stories as to why the settlement moved. One says that the castle and its settlement fell into disrepair following the civil war in the late 12th century. Another says that the Bishop and monks wanted to get away from living in the settlement, which was really just an expanded castle and where the military forces held command. There is also a legend that an archer fired an arrow from Old Sarum and the cathedral was built where it landed, but as this is 3 miles this seems unlikely. A variant of this legend suggests that the arrow hit a deer and that this then ran 3 miles before falling down dead.

Bishop Richard Poore set about building a new cathedral on land he owned in the valley of the River Avon, south of Old Sarum. At first, it was called New Sarum, but eventually became known as Salisburies, after the land on which it was built. Work began in 1221 and was completed in 1259. King Henry III had given the new city a charter in 1227 and by the 14th century, it was the largest settlement in Wiltshire.

In 1450, riots over the decline of the cloth trade resulted in the murder of Bishop Ayscough. In 1483 Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham revolted against King Richard III and was eventually executed at Salisbury. In 1665, Charles II, having left London because of the Great Plague, held his court at Salisbury Cathedral. In 1688, James II mustered his army at Salisbury to counter the Glorious Revolution led by William of Orange, later William III. But after 7 days and a number of defections he retreated to London, before eventually fleeing the country.

Salisbury remains a delightful medieval city and a lovely place to visit with many medieval buildings still in use.

Walter Raleigh was born in Devon in 1552 (or 1554). Little is known of his life. He took part in the French religious wars on the side of the Huguenots, studied for a year at Oxford and joined the Middle Temple (later in his life it was stated he had never actually studied law). At the age of 20, he was in the army that suppressed the Desmond rebellion in Ireland and came into the ownership of some property confiscated from the rebels. He was granted a royal charter to explore the Americas and led two expeditions to South America and also organised the expedition that founded the colony at Roanoke in North America, although he did not personally accompany it. In 1585 he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall and Vice -Admiral. He was a member of Parliament for Devon in 1585 and 1586. In 1591 he was made Captain of the Yeoman of the Guard and received a number of gifts of property from Queen Elizabeth I. However in June 1592, he was imprisoned on her orders as it was discovered he had secretly married one of the Queen’s ladies in waiting without royal permission. In August he was released to lead a raid on Spain and although he captured an incredibly rich prize, he was put back in the Tower on his return to England. He was finally released early in 1593 and resumed his place in parliament, this time representing Cornwall. He spent much of his time on his estate in Sherborne with his family. In 1594, he travelled to Guiana in search of a fabled golden city, but by 1596 he was back in royal service at the capture of Cadiz, where he was wounded. In 1597 he led a raid on the Azores and was involved in the defeat of the Armada. The same year he was elected as MP for Devon and 4 years later for Cornwall. From 1600-1603 he was Governor of Jersey.

Queen Elizabeth died in 1603 and Raleigh was arrested in July, accused on being involved in a plot against James I, who had succeeded Elizabeth to the English throne. He was tried and convicted, but King James spared him execution. He remained in the Tower until 1616, when King James granted him a charter to return to Guiana in search of the golden city. Unfortunately, a group of soldiers disobeyed Raleigh’s command not to attack any Spanish forces they encountered. On his return to England, the Spanish ambassador demanded the death sentence originally passed on Raleigh in 1603 be reinstated (It had been part of the terms of his release that he undertook no offensive action against Spanish interests). King James had little option but to agree to the ambassador’s demands. Walter Raleigh was executed at the Palace of Westminster on 29th October 1618.

This statue of Raleigh can be found in the grounds of the Royal Naval College at Greenwich.