Tag Archives: Folklore

Bessie Surtees House

Bessie Surtees House

On my first visit to Newcastle I was surprised to see old timber-framed buildings. For some reason I just wasn’t expecting to see any, but at Sandhill there is a group of impressive 17th century merchant’s houses including Bessie Surtees House.

Built in the 17th century, it was originally two houses, named after the merchants who lived in them – Millbank and Surtees. These five storey buildings are fine examples of Jacobean architecture, and even though they have gone through periods of neglect, today they are admirably cared for by Historic England.

To keep everything commercially viable most of the combined building is leased out for office space, but the impressive first floor is freely available for visitors to take a look at.

Continue reading

Please follow and like us:

A Wander around Winchester Cathedral

The Nave

A Wander Around Winchester Cathedral

What I like about Winchester Cathedral is not just its wonderful architecture, but also the human stories that have accompanied it throughout the centuries.

Architecturally, as soon as you set foot inside the West Door the magnificent perpendicular Nave stretches out in front of you right down to George Gilbert Scott’s ornate choir screen.

It didn’t always look like this though because the original Romanesque Norman church suffered badly from subsidence, and it took alterations from the 14th century onwards, firstly by Bishop Edington and then William of Wykeham, to produce what is my favourite style of church architecture.

If you can avoid the temptation to continue on down the Nave but walk down the North Aisle instead, you’ll soon come to the grave of Jane Austen, the author famous for writing such classics as Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey.

It’s not surprising that many people want to see where Jane Austen’s final resting place is, but they would miss a gem if they went straight past the nearby 12th century black Tournai marble Font. It’s not just old, but unusual and interesting as well.

Continue reading

Please follow and like us:

Guildhall

Inside the Great Hall

Guildhall

London’s Guildhall is the administrative and ceremonial centre for the City of London, and amongst other things, is where the Corporation and Liverymen elect and swear in the City of London’s new Lord Mayor.

Guildhall (and not The Guildhall by the way), comprises a number of buildings, but for the purposes of this review I shall just be talking about the Great Hall which can be regarded as the City of London’s town hall and is the third largest civic hall in England.

This Grade I listed building is the only medieval secular building in the Square Mile and is built over the top of the Roman Amphitheatre, the location of which is marked by a circle of block paving in Guildhall Yard, and the remains of which can be seen under Guildhall Art Gallery (see Londinium).

Guild derives from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘gild’ meaning payment, and a Gild Hall would have been where people had to pay their taxes, and there is evidence to suggest that there has been a tax office or Guildhall on this site since at least the 13th century.

Continue reading

Please follow and like us:

Stonehenge

Stonehenge

I don’t think I’m wrong when I say that Stonehenge is one of those places that sits high on many people’s list of life’s big disappointments, but with the right mental attitude and a bit of forward planning it can still be somewhere that you’ll be glad to say you’ve seen.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site lies about nine miles north of Salisbury and can be reached by the useful ‘Stonehenge Tour Bus’ which does a circuit between the city, Old Sarum, and Stonehenge.

(http://www.thestonehengetour.info/)

The first obvious detraction from this iconic site is its proximity to the main A303 trunk road which has been constantly debated about ever since I can remember.

Not so long ago the A360 road to Devizes and the inadequate visitor centre were also bones of contention, but were both rectified by the closure of the road and the re-positioning of a new modern visitor centre 1½ miles away.

Continue reading

Please follow and like us:

The Haunch of Venison

The Haunch of Venison

The Haunch of Venison is reputed to be 700 years old, and without doubt the most well-known pub in Salisbury.

In my experience pubs that have this sort of reputation can often be a let-down, but not this one.

The minute I walked in here I knew I was going to like it. It’s got all the credentials for being a great historical pub, with old oak beams, wood panelled walls, a good-looking bar – and most of all a friendly welcome.

 

Continue reading

Please follow and like us:

Daniel Gumb’s Cave

Daniel Gumb's Cave

 

Cornwall is a land full of tales, myths and folklore – many of which are somewhat economical with the truth, but Daniel Gumb was a real man who became a legend in his own lifetime.

Born to a humble family in nearby Linkinhorne in 1703, he worked as a stonecutter up on the moor around Stowe’s Hill. I’m not sure whether he was paid much for what he did, but he was obviously pretty good at it because he decided to build himself a cave out of the raw material that was readily available.

The 10×4 metres stone dwelling suited Daniel for several reasons, but whether his wife and nine children appreciated it as much as he did, I wouldn’t like to say.

Apart from saving himself money in the building and running costs, the Flintstone type existence enabled him to follow his love of astronomy. He also had a passion for mathematics, and if he wasn’t following the stars from the roof of his cave at night, he was solving mathematical problems during the day.

He became known as the ‘Mountain Philosopher’, and even Willam Cookworthy, who discovered China Clay in Cornwall, came here to see him.

Daniel Gumb finally went to that great big cave in the sky in 1776 aged seventy three, and his home could have gone to the bottom of the quarry floor if somebody hadn’t had the foresight to move it to a safe location when the quarry was expanded. Although it doesn’t look quite the same as it did back then, there are still some of the original slabs of stone on which he made some mathematical carvings.

The cave can be found on the way from Minions to the Cheesewring next to the quarry. The easiest way to find it is to walk around the edge of the quarry towards The Cheesewring and then just before heading uphill you’ll hopefully be able to see four grassy humps on your right hand side. The cave is tucked in between them.

OS Ref – Map 201 SX258724

Latitude – 50° 31′ 29.3″ N

Longtitude –  4° 27′ 28.51″ W

Continue reading

Please follow and like us:

The Steen and Lange Wapper

The Steen and Lange Wapper

The Steen is all that remains of a much bigger castle that was built over the site of a 6th c fortress in Oude Werf, the oldest part of Antwerp.

The castle was built around 1200 and was the first building to be built of stone (steen in Dutch) and was the home of the Burgrave of Antwerp. The complex included a church, courthouse and several other buildings, all of which were protected by a defensive wall surrounding it.

Around 1520 the castle was thoroughly renovated by Charles V and you don’t need to have gone to Specsavers to see where the old and newer stone joins up.

Up unto the 1820s it was used as a prison, but later that century a decision was made to demolish most of the castle and Oude Werf district to prevent the Scheldt silting up. The port was vital to Antwerp, and so the river was widened and new quays built. It must have been a difficult decision to make as it involved knocking down over five hundred historic buildings, and even the Steen was only saved from the chop by a single vote.

Continue reading

Please follow and like us: