Archive for the ‘UK’ Category

This monument to Sir Francis Drake, Elizabethan explorer, privateer, slave-trader and naval Admiral can be found on Plymouth Hoo.

In a story, which may be apocryphal, it is recorded that Drake received the news of the approaching Spanish invasion fleet, the Armarda, whilst playing bowls on the Hoo. He is reported to have told his companions that there was plenty of time to finish their game and still beat the Spaniards too. A combination of the English navies tactics and the weather conspired to force the fleet to sail north up the English coast and around Scotland in order to escape. More than a third of the fleet of 130 ships never made it back to Spain.

Statues and Monuments: The Anchor

Posted: August 6, 2019 in Devon, History, UK
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The Anchor from HMS Ark Royal, an aircraft carrier was presented by the Royal Navy to the City of Plymouth in April 1980

Statues and Monuments: The Messenger

Posted: August 2, 2019 in Devon, UK
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The Messenger is a large bronze statue of a crouching woman which stands outside The Theatre Royal in Plymouth. It is by the Cornish sculptor Joseph Hillier.

It is based on an actress in the play Orthello, which Hillier observed when attending a rehearsal at the theatre. Others have been less kind dubbing it as a skateboarder, a surfer or even a female sumo wrestler.

The National Maritime Aquarium in Plymouth is based around 3 large tanks. The first depicts the coastal region off the British coast, the second the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the third which contains sharks. In addition, there are a number of other displays of sea-life from around the world.

Around the Sound

Posted: July 30, 2019 in Devon, UK
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The harbour trip around Plymouth’s harbours leaves from Sutton Harbour near to the place from where the Pilgrim Fathers sailed to the new world in 1620 in the ship Mayflower, where they founded the colony of Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Sutton Harbour
The Citadel

Making our way past the Hoo, where Frances Drake is reputed to have been playing bowls in 1588 when he heard that the Spanish Armada fleet was approaching England.

Crossing Plymouth Sound, a large natural harbour, we first pass the Old Dockyard and Provisioning centre, which has now been converted to residential and business use.

We then pass the current Naval Harbour with ships being maintained or awaiting decommissioning.

Travelling back across the sound there are views of HMS Queen Elizabeth, one of the two new Aircraft Carriers in the Royal Navy, which is moored outside the harbour.

The entrance to the Royal Citadel

Just outside the entrance to the Royal Citadel at Plymouth Hoo stands the memorial to 29 Commando Royal Artillery, who are based at the Citadel. It was unveiled in 2011 and commemorates the men of 29 Commando who have died in service since the regiment was formed in 1962.

Views of Bristol

Posted: July 22, 2019 in UK
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Warkworth Castle is, to my mind anyway, one of the most complete and finest examples of a medieval castle in England. It is built on a hill contained within a loop of the River Croquet, just a few miles inland from the river’s entry into the North Sea at Amble.

Gatehouse

Gatehouse

The castle as it is seen today dates from around 1200 and was built by Roger Fitz Roger, Sheriff of Northumberland. It replaced an earlier castle which had suffered as a result of the Scottish invasion of 1173.  King Edward I stayed at Warkworth in 1292 during his campaigns against the Scots. In 1328   it passed into the hands of the Percy family (formerly Earls and later Dukes of Northumberland).

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The Tower dates from 1377 and was built by the first Earl of Northumberland. The castle passed to the Crown when the sixth Earl died in 1527 and although Crown officers continued to use it but by 1550 it was described as falling into decay. It was restored to the Percy family in 1557 and they set about repairing the decay, but Warkworth continued to pass between the Crown and the Percy family as the family’s fortunes waxed and waned.

Tower Chapel

Tower Chapel

During the civil war, the castle was held by Parliamentary forces and when they withdrew they were ordered to make sure the castle could not be held by any other force. It is recorded that materials from the castle were used in buildings elsewhere in the area. In the 19th century the Percy family began to renovate the castle. The Dukes of Northumberland, now living at Alnwick, would bring guests to Warkworth for picnics in the Great Tower. The castle passed into State guardianship in 1922 and into the hands of English Heritage in 1984.

Stairways to upper floors

Stairways to upper floors

 

Remains of passage from lower ward to tower bailry

Remains of passage from lower ward to tower bailry

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It is not certain when the first castle was built at Alnwick. It was probably between 1070 and 1090 as it is recorded that King Malcolm III of Scotland tried to take the castle in 1093 and was killed at the battle that ensued. Some remnants of both an 11th century and a 12th century stone castle can be found in the castle today, but it is likely that the original castle was a wooden structure. Most of the castle that can be seen today dates from the time when the Percy family took control of Alnwick after purchasing the land from Bishop Bek of Durham in 1309. Baron Percy retitled himself ‘1st Lord Percy of Alnwick’. Many of the early lords of Alnwick carried out redevelopment and improvement. It is reputed that the 2nd Lord used money obtained from ransom of Scottish prisoners following the Battle of Neville’s Cross to finance his redevelopments.

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Despite the important part that the Percy family play in the history of England, Alnwick itself seems to have been untroubled by these events. By the 16th century the family had moved south and the changing political and military scene meant that Alnwick was no longer so important as a garrison castle and it began to fall into disrepair. So much so that it was used as a prisoner of war camp during the English civil war.A reference to the castle in 1750 mentons its state of disrepair.

In 1750, the first Duke of Northumberland, a Percy through his maternal line, decided to establish a residence in his Ducal county and chose Alnwick. He began a programme of repair and redevelopment to turn the ruined medieval castle into an 18th Gothic mansion.

Alnwick in the 18th century

Alnwick in the 18th century

In the 19th century the 4th Duke undertook a plan to re-medievalise the castle removing some of the features added by his Great-Grandfather. Whilst he tried to turn back the clock outside he was also responsible for building the lavish state rooms in the keep on an Italian theme.Unfortunately there si no photography inside the castle and so I cant show you the interiors of his keep.

The castle remains the family home of the Dukes of Northumberland – the current occupant being the 12th Duke. the latest in a long line of the Percy family which has owned Alnwick castle for over 900 years.

In 1623 a survey of the Tudor castle at Southsea found that many of the guns were unusable and that the garrison had no gunpowder stored on site. The deterioration of the castle continued following a fire in 1627 which gutted many of the buildings. It was still in use however during the Civil War and in 1642 it was captured by the parliamentarians. In 1680, following the restoration, Charles II built an enlarged castle with 30 guns.

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However by 1770 things had been allowed to deteriorate and a document describes the castle as being a shameful ruin and plans were made for its demolition. However renewed risks of French invasion called for these plans to be put on hold and the castle was further strengthened in 1793 and in 1814.

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In the 1820s the lighthouse was added to the castle and this remained in service to 1927.

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