Archive for the ‘Post medieval history’ Category

HMS Warrior had a crew of 705 which comprised three groups – the engineering staff (98), the Royal Marines who responsible for the gunnery (115) and the Royal Navy crew. The conditions under which the crew lived were very similar to those of their counterparts 100 years earlier. They shared their mess deck with the main battery of guns and slept in hammocks strung from the superstructure of the ship

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in the middle of the mess deck is the galley where all the food was prepared for the crew and the officers. The main meal of the day would be taken at noon and each seaman took it in turn to do a week’s duty as a mess Cook. This meant that he had to collect and prepare the days food for his mess and take it to the galley where it would be cooked by the seaman who worked there.

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The galley also provided the food for the captain’s cabin, which was at the rear of the mess deck and the officers quarters and wardroom which were immediately below it.

Captains day room

Captains day room

Captains dining room

Captains dining room

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HMS Warrior is an unique ship within the history of the Royal Navy. She was launched in 1860, having been built as a response to recent developments in the French Navy. As the first ship built of iron, rather than using metal cladding she represented a major step forward in the evolution of fighting ships. When she was launched she attracted much more attention than any other preceding ship had ever had.
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She was a hybrid between the first modern battleships and the classical ships of the line from the preceding Napoleonic period. She had the capability both sailing under her engines and under sail. Her unique features include retractable steam funnels, so that when she was under sail power the profile of the funnels did not interfere with the flow of the wind. Her gun layout and her facilities were still very reminiscent of ships of the Napoleonic era.
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HMS Warrior remained in active naval service for 22 years during which time her guns never fired in anger. By the time he was retired from service ship design had already moved on and the turn-of-the-century would see the dispensing with the gun arrangements of the previous era and the introduction of deck based pivot guns as on modern battleships. Indeed even in 1860 Warrior has a very early prototype of these guns in the arrangements of her bow and stern chases, the direction of file which could be changed through 100° arc home side to side by mechanical means.

The trackway on the deck enabled quick change of direction of fire

The trackway on the deck enabled quick change of direction of fire

After active service, HMS Warrior used by the Navy in a number of different roles with in ports. Because of her construction, the hull lasted very well and eventually she was sold by the Navy for use as a floating jetty. She ended her working life as a floating oil jetty in Milford Haven in south-west Wales. In 1979, recognising the importance that the ship had played in the development of warships she was purchased, towed to Hartlepool and underwent restoration to her original 1860s condition. She is now on permanent display at the Portsmouth historic dockyard not far from that other great Royal Naval vessel HMS Victory.

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The Lesnes Mulberry tree is believed to be descended from a tree planted at Lesnes in the early 17th century by James I who was trying to establish a British silk industry. Unfortunately, the project failed because the trees sold to the King were Black Mulberry and silkworms feed on White Mulberry.

Whether this was a genuine mistake or whether the King was scammed, we will never know

 

Eltham Palace is approached from the town centre across a bridge which spans the moat and leads you into the inner garden which runs alongside the northern wing into the area which would have formed the courtyard of the Medieval Palace.

 

The gardens which incorporate the remains of the medieval palace along with the house are a great place to walk in the summer and are a great place for butterflies and dragonflies. They also give some great views of the House.

At one point in the garden, there is a great vista looking north towards central London.

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John Donne, a poet, writer and cleric, was born in London in January 1572 as the middle of 6 children into a Roman Catholic family, at a time when the practice of the Roman rite was outlawed in England. At 11 he attended Hart Hall (now Hertford College) in Oxford and at 14 entered Cambridge University. He completed his studies but did not graduate as he was unwilling to take the oath of supremacy. Following Cambridge, he entered the Inns of court in London. In 1593 his brother Henry was arrested for hiding a Roman Catholic priest and whilst in prison contracted bubonic plague and died. His death seems to have had a profound effect on John regarding his Roman Catholic beliefs. In 1597 John was appointed as secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. During this time he met and fell in love with Anne More, Sir Thomas’ niece and in 1601 they wed in secret as both Sir Thomas and Anne’s father opposed the wedding. John found himself briefly in Fleet prison and although he was released after a short while, his career was in ruins. During this time, he scraped a living as a lawyer and a writer of poetry and anti-catholic pamphlets. Anne and John were reconciled with her family in 1609 and the following year he acquired a patron in Sir Robert Drury, who gave them a house in Drury Lane. In 1615, at the suggestion of James I, he was ordained priest in the Church of England and was appointed a Royal Chaplain. He finally received a degree from Cambridge University. However, in 1617 Anne died, having borne John 12 children in 16 years of marriage. In 1621 he was appointed Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, a position he held until his death in 1631. He had become famous for his preaching and his poetry and hymn writing. He was buried in St Pual’s and a memorial was set up in the churchyard. This survived the Great Fire of 1666, unlike the Cathedral. but was moved inside once the new St Pauls was finished. In 2012 this bust of John Donne by Nigel Boonham was unveiled in the churchyard.

This article was originally posted in 2013. I am re-posting it as an introduction to some new blogs on the interior of the Palace.

The medieval moated manor house with extensive parkland was acquired by King Edward II in 1305. In 1470 King Edward IV added the Great Hall (which survives to this day). The last monarch who regularly used Eltham Palace was King Henry VIII. Afterwards, monarchs tended to prefer Greenwich Palace, probably because of easy access along the river from central London. In the mid-17th century Sir John Shaw, who by now owned the property, decided to build a new house, Eltham Lodge, about half a mile away from the current Palace site. The Palace fell into disuse and was used as a tenanted farm. The buildings fell into disrepair and it was only following a campaign in 1828, that the Great Hall was restored to a safe condition. It continued, however, to be used as a barn for the farm.
In the 1930s Stephen and Virginia Courthold had an ‘ultramodern’ house designed in the art deco style and built adjacent to the medieval Great Hall. They also had the gardens completely redesigned. They lived here until 1944 and at that time the building passed to the Army educational unit, who used it as a college until 1992. In 1994 English Heritage, having been given management of the property, started a four-year restoration programme to restore the building to the state it had been in the 1930s. The newly restored art deco house together with the Great Hall opened to the public in 1999.

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For details about visiting please go to: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/eltham-palace-and-gardens/

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Neville Place is a large house in the middle of Peterborough not far from the Cathedral. The original Tudor House was built in 1536 on this site by Humphrey Orme, a courtier of Henry VIII. In 1816 the Orme family sold it to Thomas Coke, a merchant, and in 1856 it became the home of Peterborough Infirmary, being enlarged in 1897 and again in 1902. In 1928 the infirmary moved away and it became a Museum.

It is still a museum today and has displays on various aspects of local history.

The house and it’s different uses

The history of Peterborough

A wonderful collection of craft items made by internees at Norman Cross Camp. The prisoners made these from wood and animal bone and sold them to the locals to make money to spend in the prison stores.

Norman Cross was a prisoner of war camp during the Napoleonic war. Prior to its construction prisoners had been held on old ships (Prison Hulks) and conditions were not good. So the government set out to improve things by building prisoner camps on land. Initially, the plan worked well and the conditions were far better than on a hulk. However, as the war drew on and the number of prisoners increased the conditions got worse and over a thousand prisoners were killed by an outbreak of Typhus in 1800. It is recorded that in the years of its operation (1796-1816) 1770 prisoners died, although some argue that many deaths were not recorded. It was demolished in 1816 and only the governers House remains standing.

Reconstructions of Peterborough houses through the ages

Our tour brings us to the Museum which contains items associated with the history of Charterhouse

19th-century property mark taken from a building owned by Charterhouse.

Matthew Bible (1549). One of the first English translations

A 17th-century chest used for storing valuables – Found at Charterhouse

15th-century-floor tiles from the monastery

Having finished our tour we emerge into the memorial garden.

The Memorial garden

The tomb of Sir William Manny, who built the first chapel on the site in 1349. In 1371 this chapel would become part of the Charterhouse monastery.

Memorial to the Carthusian monks from Charterhouse who were executed or died during the dissolution of the monastery

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On our recent trip to East Anglia, I had the opportunity to explore Peterborough’s magnificent Cathedral.

 

The first abbey on this site was founded in 655 but was destroyed in a Viking raid in 870. The site remained unused until a group of Benedictines arrived in the mid-10th century and begun to construct another abbey. This building was severely damaged during the resistance to the Norman Conquest in 1069 and the final destruction of this building was caused by a fire in 1116. The current church was begun 2 years later, although it took 120 years to complete. It is noted for its fine 13th century wooden ceilings and its fine lofty architecture.

The abbey closed in 1539 with the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII and it became a Cathedral. 2 Queens of England have been buried here. Katherine of Aragorn, first wife of Henry VIII and Mary Queen of Scots who was executed at nearby Fotheringhay Castle. However, only one remains today, as Mary’s remains were removed to Westminster when her son James I came to the English throne.

The Cathedral building has remained largely unchanged since the 12th century except for the Tower which was rebuilt in the 1880s as it was feared that the original would fall down.

 

Some pictures from a recent visit to Rochester in Kent

 

La Providence – The French hospital. Founded in London in 1708 by a rich Huguenot to care for poor Huguenot refugees fleeing from persecution in France it moved to Rochester in 1959. Today is still alms-house for people of Huguenot descent.

Restoration House, so called because Charles II stayed here on the night before his restoration to the Throne of England and Scotland

The Vines – originally the site of the vineyard of the priory of Rochester Cathedral

The Coopers Arms – dates from 1199

Medieval buildings in the High St

Bridge House – originally offices of trust that built and controlled the Medway Bridge

A reminder of Rochester’s maritime heritage

Rochester Castle