Archive for the ‘Post medieval history’ Category

 

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

 

On a recent visit to Rochester, Keith and I visited the Museum which is housed in the Old Guildhall (1687) and the previous offices of the Medway Conservancy (1909) next door.

The Medway Conservancy building with the Guildhall beyond

Detail on the Medway Conservancy building

Guildhall building

It contains a number of exhibits on the history of Rochester from its Norman foundations around the Castle and the Cathedral situated at the crossing of the River Medway to its civil war exploits and the Battle of the Medway in 1667 when the Dutch entered the River and captured or destroyed a large part of the British Fleet in 1667.

Attack on Rochester Castle

A civil war tableau

Battle of Medway 1667

An unusual Green Post Box

The upper floor of the Guildhall is the Guildhall chamber which has been used both as a court and as a council chamber during its history.

Guildhall Chamber

The Nave from the west door

The church of St Saviour’s in Dartmouth dates back to the 14th century and contains many beautiful artefacts from its ancient history.

The font

The pulpit

Screen. 15th century, restored in the 16th century

Detail from the screen, 15th-century images of saints

Lady Chapel

Gallery, made from wood taken from Spanish ships captured from the Armada (1588).

Coat of Charles II, added to gallery in commemoration of the restoration of the monarchy (1660)

Thought to be an original medieval church door. It displays the lions of the royal house of Plantagenet which reigned from 1154 -1485. It is dated 1631, but this is generally thought to be a date of restoration.

 

 

 

I recently visited an exhibition on the ‘Archaeology of Crossrail’. Crossrail is the building of a new railway line in London which goes from the east to the west through central London. It will be known as the Elizabeth line when it is completed and opens in 2018-9. During the construction of the line, a number of archaeological sites have been excavated by the full-time archaeology team attached to the project. This exhibition shows some of the finds.

Mammoth Tusk

Mesolithic Flints

Roman writing Stylii

Bone ice-skate. records as early as 12th-century record people strapping pieces of bone to shoes and skating on frozen marshland. Found at Moorfield Marsh.

Tombstone from New Churchyard (1570-1740). 1665 was the year of the great plague in London. Testing remains from this cemetery has revealed the first identification of the 1665 plague pathogen enabling scientists to formally link it to the Bubonic plague of the 14th century, known as the Black Death.

Food manufacturers Crosse and Blackwell were founded in 1830 and moved to a site near Charing Cross Road in 1838. Archaeologists found over 13000 pieces of ceramics on this site.

 

 

Bison bone – dating reveals it to be 68000 years old.

 

 

The earth removed from the tunnels has been used to create a new RSPB nature reserve in Essex at Wallasea Marsh.

 

The exhibition runs until September 2017 at the Museum of London Docklands, West India Quay.