Archive for the ‘Kent’ Category

Old dockyard buildings

Lower Gun Casement. Upnor Castle

Upnor Castle

 

 

Upnor Castle was constructed between 1559-67 to defend the Chatham Dockyard and Reach which was at the time the primary port for the British Navy. In June 1667, the Dutch launched a surprise raid on Chatham. The entered the reach and burned and captured a number of ships. The defensive positions such as Upnor were severely hampered by a lack of ordinance supplies and thus were unable to prevent the progress of the Dutch fleet up the river. They were resupplied overnight and when the Dutch returned the next day intent on burning the dockyard, Upnor and the other positions were successful in driving them off before they reached their target. However, the raid had shown that any raid needed to be stopped before it got that close to the dockyard and so a series of larger forts were built nearer the Thames. Upnor became a gunpowder and cannon store for ships visiting the Dockyard. It remained a military establishment until 1945 when it passed to the Dept of Monuments and is now open to the Public and managed by English Heritage.

Medway Tugs

The Medway is a major leisure location

Motor launches at the Royal Engineers Station on the Medway

The Royal Engineers Station on the Medway

Rochester Cathedral with the Castle beyond

Our River cruise on the Medway took us past Chatham Historic Dockyard

Reminders of Chatham’s military history now blend into the environment

Old Dockyard sheds

HMS Cavalier, a destroyer launched in 1944 which served for 28 years in the Atlantic, Pacific and Baltic oceans.

The tower of HMS Ocelot, a submarine, shows over the dock wall. It was the last naval ship built in the Dockyard at Chatham. Launched 1962.

HMS Gannet, a sloop, built at nearby Sheerness in 1878. Used as a patrol and communications boat.

The Submarine sheds. Now used as repair shops for ferry boats.

Dockyard cranes

 

 

Recently Keith and I went for a boat trip along the River Medway.

Our boat – The Jacob Marley

Leaving the pier at Rochester with the Castle in the background.

The Old Russian Submarine moored at Strood

Frindsbury Church

Rochester Cathedral and Castle from the river

A reminder of Rochester’s maritime heritage

An old accommodation barge

Chatham Riverfront

 

 

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

Rainham Marshes

After a trip to IKEA at Lakeside, Sue and I dropped into the RSPB reserve at Rainham Marshes for a coffee and a quick walk around the woodland area of this large marshland reserve.

The woods were full of song, much of it from newly arrived migrants and Common Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Blackcap were seen. Sedge and Reed warblers were calling from the nearby reed beds and we came across one very tolerant Reed Bunting which happily posed for pictures. There were also good numbers of butterflies with Orange Tip particularly numerous. A single Swallow was the first sighting of this summer migrant for me this year.

Orange-Tip

Orange-Tip

Reed Bunting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later we stopped for lunch at Bough Beech and were rewarded with sightings of Garganey and Little Ringed Plover both recently arrived from their Winter homes, together with my first House Martin of the year.

Bough Beech

Little Ringed Plover

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garganey (from archive)

 

 

Grey Heron

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Garganey (Anas querquedula)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Little Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius dubius)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Linnet [sp] (Carduelis cannabina)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Rochester Castle

Posted: January 16, 2017 in Kent, UK
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Rochester Castle

Rochester Castle

The first castle on this important site where the London Road crosses the River Medway was built by  Odo, the half-brother of William the Conqueror shortly after their victory in 1066. In 1088, following Williams death, Odo supported the King’s eldest son Robert for the crown and the castle was besieged by forces supporting the eventually successful son William Rufus. Records show that the following year repairs were made to the castle by Gandalf, Bishop of Rochester. The tower keep, much as it is seen today, was built in 1127 by William, Archbishop of Canterbury,  who had come into possession of the castle.

The Keep at Rochester Castle

The Keep at Rochester Castle

In 1215 the castle was taken by the rebel barons and was subsequently besieged by the forces of King John. The defenders held out for two months but eventually, starving, they had to surrender the castle. It was besieged again in 1264, this time holding for the King against rebel barons although the outcome was different as the castle was relieved after a week by Royal forces.

The Castle Keep

The Castle Keep

In 1381  the castle was captured and ransacked during the peasant’s revolt. It was badly damaged and this seems to have made it turning point in the castle’s history  as although repairs were carried out and people continued to live in the keep, the records show that the amount of repair work done was insufficient to keep the castle in a fully functional state and eventually it fell out of use. Much of the stone from the external walls and outbuildings was carried away and used on other building projects such as nearby Upnor Castle.

One of the few remaining portions of the external walls of Rochester Castle

One of the few remaining portions of the external walls of Rochester Castle

In 1870, the site was opened as a public park and eventually passed into the hands of the local authority, then the ministry of public works and finally to English Heritage.

 

Views of Rochester (2)

Posted: January 12, 2017 in Kent, UK
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Rochester Castle

Rochester Castle

A Rochester town-house

A Rochester town-house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cathedral gatehouse

Cathedral gatehouse

Rochester High Street and war memorial

Rochester High Street and war memorial

Catapala Tree (American Indian Bean Tree) outside Rochester Cathedral. It is over 100 years old.

Catapala Tree (American Indian Bean Tree) outside Rochester Cathedral. It is over 100 years old.

Views of Rochester (1)

Posted: January 5, 2017 in Kent, UK
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The Keep at Rochester Castle

The Keep at Rochester Castle

Rochester Cathedral from the Castle

Rochester Cathedral from the Castle

Rochester Cathedral from the Castle

Rochester Cathedral from the Castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

River Medway from the Castle Terrace

River Medway from the Castle Terrace

Road Bridge over the River Medway

Road Bridge over the River Medway

A Rochester Terrace

A Rochester Terrace

The main reservoir

The main reservoir

A bright sunny winters day and so Sue and I decided to spend a couple of hours at Bough Beech Reservoir.

As we arrived it was clear that things were not going to be plain-sailing as the sun was low and straight into our eyes as we looked over the main reservoir. This made bird identification quite difficult as all appeared as dark shapes without any colour. The exception to this was the group of Mandarin Duck hauled up on the bank as the sun caught the orange in their plumage. Also present were Grey Heron, Little Egret together with Eurasian Teal and Greylag Geese in large numbers. A group of Great Crested Grebe could be seen on the water but there was no sign of the party of Goosander that had been recorded earlier in the week.

Little Egret

Little Egret

 

Turning our attention to the northern section (looking away from the sun) a Buzzard could be seen in a tree being harassed by the crows. A few Moorhens could be seen and a single Common Snipe made a brief foray from the reeds into open water.

Northern reservoir

Northern reservoir

Common Snipe

Common Snipe

At the reserve visitors centre there was a hive of activity around the feeders with large numbers of Blue Tits and Great Tits together with Blackbirds, Chaffinches and Dunnocks. A pair of Fieldfare together with single Coal Tit were also seen along with a very brief sighting of a flying Brambling as it disappeared into the hedgerow never to re-emerge into sight.

View from reserve centre

View from reserve centre

Fieldfare

Fieldfare

Blue Tit bathing

Blue Tit bathing

Back at the causeway, 2 Peregrines were located when they spooked a group of Woodpigeons and a Buzzard flew overhead giving excellent views. Still no sign of the Goosanders although a single Gadwall was found amongst the ducks on the bank.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Peregrine Falcon [sp] (Falco peregrinus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla)