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Archive for the ‘Palaces and castles in UK’ Category

Revisiting the City of Winchester pre-pilgrimage 19.08.2018.

I’ve been to Winchester many times, the first in 2003 not long after I arrived in the UK. It is quite one of my favourite cities and a revisit is never hard to do. Besides London it is the city I have visited most often in the 16 years I have lived in the UK. Since the Pilgrim’s Way starts in Winchester, it was imperative that I spent a day revisiting favourite places and especially following the King Alfred Walk, before starting on my walk the next week.

There’s so much I could tell you about Winchester, but that would require a very long blog…so instead I’ll stick with the more pertinent and juicy bits….

The area around Winchester had been inhabited since pre-historic times and there are 3 iron-age sites nearby.

Winchester, built around 70AD, was known as Venta Belgarum, “Venta of the Belgae” during Roman times and there are small remnants of Roman wall near the East Gate bridge. The 5th largest town in Roman Britain.

Winchester became known as Wintan-ceastre (“Fort Venta”) in Old English. In 648, King Cenwalh of Wessex erected the Church of St Peter and St Paul which was later known as the Old Minster. There are remnants of this that you can see in the grounds of the cathedral.

Winchester was once the capital of England, ruled by Alfred the Great, King of Wessex from 871 to 899.

peninsula barracks winchester, the westgate museum, the great hall winchester palace, st swithuns church winchester, explore winchester, the pilgrims way, king alfreds walk

Winchester Coat of Arms

Starting at the cathedral I’ll take you on a circular tour of the city….

The fabulous medieval Winchester Cathedral, originally built in 1079; is one of the largest in Europe, and distinguished by having the longest nave and overall length of all the Gothic cathedrals in Europe. It’s architecture spans the 11th – 16th centuries.

The cathedral houses the Shrine of St Swithun (born in Winchester – died 863 AD); an Anglo-Saxon bishop of Winchester, he became the 19th bishop in 852 and subsequently patron saint of Winchester Cathedral.

Winchester is the start of St Swithun’s Way and The Pilgrim’s Way to Canterbury.

Take a look at the ruins of the Old Minster to the left of the west door, and be sure to visit Queen Eleanor’s garden , accessed through the cathedral.

Pilgrim’s Hall – situated in the Cathedral Close, and known as the Pilgrim’s Hall as it was used to accommodate pilgrims who visited St Swithun’s shrine. It’s the earliest hammer-beamed building still standing in England.

pilgrims hall winchester, winchester cathedral, city of winchester, the pilgrims way, st swithuns shrine, queen eleanors garden, old minster winchester

The Pilgrim’s Hall

Two of the 5 city gates are still standing: Kings Gate and the West Gate.

Just before Priors Gate is the mid-15th century timber-framed Cheyney Court; once the Bishops Court House is a mid fifteenth-century timber-framed house.

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Cheyney Court, Winchester

Still within the precincts of the cathedral is the Priors Gate

St Swithun-upon-Kingsgate; located above the medieval Kings Gate, one of the principal entrances to the city. Built in the Middle Ages in the Early English style, the church is unusual in that it forms a part of the fabric of the old city walls, and first appears in 13th century records – mentioned in 1264. It is mentioned in Anthony Trollope’s novel The Warden under the fictional name of St Cuthberts.

Jane Austen lived in a house near the cathedral and died in Winchester on 18 July 1817. She is buried in the cathedral.

jane austens house winchester, winchester, city of winchester, explore winchester, king alfreds walk, st swithuns church

the house where Jane Austen lived in Winchester – I was fortunate enough to visit her house in Chawton during my walk

Wolvesey Castle – these stunning ruins, standing on the site of an earlier Saxon structure, were once the Norman bishop’s palace, dating from 1110. Enhanced by Henry de Blois during the Anarchy of his brother King Stephen’s reign, he was besieged there for some days. In the 16th c, Queen Mary Tudor and King Philip II of Spain were guests just prior to their wedding in the Cathedral. The building now a ruin and maintained by English Heritage, its free to explore, the chapel was incorporated into the new palace built in the 1680s, only one wing of which survives today.

Roman city walls – a small section of the old Roman city walls can be seen opposite the The Weirs alongside the river near the bridge.

The River Itchen; flowing through the mill and beneath the old Eastgate bridge, is noted as one of the world’s premier chalk streams. Designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, it supports a range of protected species as well as watercress beds (I saw the watercress beds near Alresford on Day 1 of my walk). The settlement of Itchen Abbas on the river is given as Icene in the Domesday Book of 1086.

The Eastgate Bridge – although the gate is long gone, this pretty bridge crosses the river just before the mill. If you cross the bridge away from the city, just beyond the roundabout you’ll find…..Chesil Rectory.

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The Eastgate Bridge, Winchester

Chesil Rectory – is the oldest house in Winchester; the sign says it’s dated 1450. A link with Queen Mary I; along with the water mill, she gave the rectory to the City of Winchester as compensation for the expense of her wedding. It’s now a restaurant.

the weirs river itchen winchester, wolvesey castle winchester, jane austens house winchester, winchester, city of winchester, explore winchester, king alfreds walk, river itchen, eastgate bridge, chesil rectory

Chesil Rectory, Winchester – built 1450

The Water Mill – this beautiful, working mill, is situated on the River Itchen in the centre of this ancient city; Winchester. Restored and now a Grade II listed building, it is managed by the National Trust. First recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, it was known as Eastgate Mill until 1554.

Sightings of otters passing through have been recorded by night-vision cameras.

Statue of King Alfred the Great – located just beyond the bridge, on the Broadway, this towering statue dominates the streets. He is one of only two English monarchs to be given the epithet “the Great”, the other being Cnut The Great. The statue was designed by Hamo Thornycroft, R.A., and erected in 1899 to mark one thousand years since Alfred’s death.

The fabulous Victorian Guildhall, built in the Gothic revival style, it looks very similar to St Pancras Station in London. The lovely tourist office is located at street level.

The High Street – Following his rise to power, Alfred obliterated the Roman streets and laid down the grid you can still see today; the High Street is the oldest known road in the world (this I gleaned from articles on the web).

the high street winchester, the guildhall winchester, city of winchester, explore winchester

view of the High Street, Winchester – seen from the roof of the West Gate, looking towards the King Alfred statue on The Broadway

The City Cross aka the Buttercross, located on the High Street, and now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, has been dated to the 15th c, and features 12 statues of the Virgin Mary, saints and various other historical figures.

The West Gate – now a museum, is a must visit. One of two surviving fortified gateways in Winchester, the earliest surviving fabric is Anglo-Saxon.  Once a debtors’ prison you can see prisoners’ graffiti engraved on the inner walls. Amongst a fantastic collection of artefacts, the museum houses a unique collection of weights and measures and a Tudor ceiling from Winchester College. There are fab views of the city and the High Street from the Westgate roof. The museum is free to visit.

The Great Hall – all that remains of the 12th century castle, beyond a few underground passageways and walls, and one of my favourite buildings in Winchester, it houses the famous King Arthur’s Round Table, dating from the 13th century, which has hung in the hall from at least 1463. It was painted for Henry VIII in 1522 and features the names of the legendary Knights of the Round Table around the edge and surmounted by King Arthur seated on his throne.

The Peninsula Barracks – The barracks, originally known as the Upper Barracks, Winchester, were built in the early 20th c on the site of King’s House, an unfinished palace designed by Sir Christopher Wren for Charles II which was destroyed by fire in 1894. Some parts of the barracks remain Grade II listed buildings in their own right including the Green Jackets Headquarters and the Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum.

If you approach the Peninsula Barracks from St James’s Lane there is a short flight of steps leading up to the square, these mark the perimeter of the old city walls, of which there are a few remnants near the river on The Weirs.

peninsula barracks winchester, the westgate museum, the great hall winchester palace, st swithuns church winchester, explore winchester, the pilgrims way, king alfreds walk

these steps mark the boundary of the city

and of a more quirky nature; located on Great Minster Street and The Square, there are 24 bollards – painted by The Colour Factory between 2005-2012 in the style of famous artists of the likes of David Hockney, Henri Rousseau, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Leonardo da Vinci. They are quite lovely.

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And this brings to you back to the cathedral precinct.  If you enquire at the Tourist Information Centre at the Guildhall, they will provide you with a self-guided tour of the city which pretty much covers the route I’ve taken you on, except it starts near the King Alfred statue statue and goes clockwise.

Further snippets:

The Book of Winchester was the Domesday Book compiled by officials of William the Conqueror on his orders and published c1086.

John Keats stayed in Winchester from mid-August to October 1819, and wrote “Isabella”, amongst other well-known works while there.

There is so much else to see in Winchester;

The Hospital of St Cross – somehow I missed visiting this place on my recent visit (I’ll have to go back 😉 ).  I’ve attached a link to the history of the church  http://hospitalofstcross.co.uk/history/

St Lawrence Church – probably of Norman origin, and said to have been the chapel of William the Conqueror’s palace (built 1069-70, destroyed 1141) it is now a Grade II listed building.

Near the Great Hall are the fascinating old passageways from the castle/palace and the Hampshire Jubilee sculpture which is really beautiful

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the castle passageways. not always open but pop in if they are

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Hampshire Jubilee Sculpture near the Great Hall

The site of Hyde Abbey : a medieval Benedictine monastery just outside the walls of Winchester, it was dissolved and demolished in 1539.

St Bartholomew’s Church : originally the parish church of Hyde, a villages outside the walls of Winchester, the church was est 1110 and dissolved and demolished in 1539. Now a Grade II listed building, it lies directly alongside the early part of The Pilgrim’s Way.

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St Bartholomew’s Church Winchester

I had a wonderful 5 hours walking around Winchester and of course a visit to the cathedral, after which I hopped on the train back to Southampton….delighted to have spent more time in this fabulous city. I was now getting really excited for my upcoming walk on Tuesday 21st August.

Once back in Southampton I stopped off for some dinner and now its time for London Pride at the appropriately named Spitfure Pub. Its been a very humid day, started off totally overcast, then blue skies after 2pm. I do love Winchester. The King Alfred walk takes you past so many fascinating places. I met 2 ladies who were just starting the Southdowns Way to Eastbourne….so cool.

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always time for London Pride

I did try to keep it short…I promise LOL Winchester is a treasure trove of history and a must visit…you’ll need at least a full day to get the most out of your visit.

references:

https://www.visitwinchester.co.uk/things-to-do/history-heritage/

http://www.localhistories.org/winchester.html

https://www.britainexpress.com/counties/hampshire/winchester/westgate.htm

wikipedia (of course 😉 )

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I was chatting to my daughter yesterday and remarked that I had been particularly blessed this year. Usually when you get to the end of the year you kinda feel like there is more that could/should be done before the year ends (well I do), and the last few days of December are spent cramming in just a few more activities. But this year I can truly say that I have had a year jam-packed with adventures, and for that, I am truly grateful.

inspirational quotes

Die with memories, not dreams

So to that end I decided to list my 2017 adventures, and was astounded at how much I had actually done, and how many places I have actually been to besides all my Camino 2017 practice walks that took me to some fantastic places. So this is my final blog for 31 Days of Gratitude – Day 31 – 2017 in review.

January

New Year’s Day swim 01.01.2017 Broadstairs Beach, Isle of Thanet, Kent

New Year's Day, Broadstairs

New Year’s Day, Broadstairs

Wedding Dress shopping with my daughter

wedding dress shopping with my daughter

wedding dress shopping…so much fun

Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England

visit the isle of wight

A visit to the isle of Wight

Places I went while I was there; Nettlestone (1086 Domesday Book village),20170116_144130-01 Bembridge Windmilll, Brading Roman Villa, Carisbrooke Castle, Cowes, Ryde, rode on a Hover craft, The Needles and Quarr Abbey.

And Osborne House


Magic Lantern Festival – Chiswick Park, London

Canterbury, Kent

Canterbury, Kent

Canterbury, Kent

February
Oxted, Surrey – the Greenwich Meridian runs through the town

Oxted

A closer look at Oxted

Limpsfield, Surrey – a Domesday Book village

Down House – home of Charles Darwin

Down House; home of Charles Darwin and his family

Down House; home of Charles Darwin and his family

Tatsfield, Surrey – a Domesday Book village

tatsfield surrey

South East England’s highest village; Tatsfield. Ref wikipedia: “In Anglo-Saxon England, Tatsfield lay within Tandridge hundred. In 1086 it was held by Anschitill (Ansketel) de Ros from the Bishop of Bayeux. Its Domesday assets were: ? hide. It had 2 ploughs. It rendered 60 shillings (£3) to its feudal overlords per year.”

Tandridge & Crowhurst, Surrey

Tandridge & Crowhurst

Tandridge & Crowhurst

Dublin, Ireland

 

Trim Castle & Trim, Ireland

March
City of Winchester, Hampshire, England

Winchester

Winchester

Torquay, seaside resort – Devon

torquay

Torquay

April

Pisa, Florence, San Gimignano, Poggibonsi, Sienna, Lucca – Italy

 

May

Newcastle, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

Newcastle, Ireland

Newcastle, Ireland

Belfast, Northern Ireland

 

Giants Causeway, Northern Ireland

 

Dark Hedges – Game of Thrones, N. Ireland

the dark hedges northern ireland

The Dark Hedges – scenes for Game of Thrones were shot in this area

Sevenoaks, Kent, England

 

June
Tonbridge, Kent, England

Ironbridge, Shropshire, England – UNESCO World Heritage Site

Lenham, Kent, England

Lenham

Lenham

July
Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales route – Southwark to Canterbury

Battle of Britain Airshow, Headcorn

St Augustine’s Way – Ramsgate to Canterbury

August
Arundel, and Arundel Castle, West Sussex, England

Bromham, Houghton House with my lovely friends Lynne & Tim and Elstow (birthplace of John Bunyan) – Bedfordshire, England

Bronham, Houghton House, Elstow

Bromham, Houghton House, Elstow

Zip Line with Zip World in London with my daughter

September
Walked the Caminho Portuguese – Porto, Portugal to Santiago, Spain 240 kms – Both UNESCO World Heritage sites

Coimbra, Portugal – UNESCO World Heritage Site

Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

October
Montgomery Castle, Montgomery, Wales

Montgomery Castle, Montgomery, Wales

Montgomery Castle, Montgomery, Wales

November
Caernarfon Castle, Wales – site where Prince Charles was crowned Prince of Wales

Caenarfon Castle, Wales

Caenarfon Castle, Wales

Ffenistogg Railway Line Train ride; Caenarfon to Portmadogg through Snowdonia

Ffenistogg Railway line Caenarfon to Porthmadogg, Wales

Ffenistogg Railway line Caenarfon to Portmadogg, Wales

Climbed Mount Snowdon, Snowdonia National Park, Gwynedd – highest mountain in Wales

Mount Snowdon, Wales

Mount Snowdon, Wales

Montgomery, Powys, Wales – The Treaty of Montgomery was signed 29 September 1267 in Montgomeryshire. By this treaty King Henry III of England acknowledged Llywelyn ap Gruffudd as Prince of Wales.

Montgomery, Wales

Montgomery, Wales

December
Snow in Wales

Snow in Wales

Snow in Wales

Christmas in Broadstairs, Isle of Thanet, Kent

xmas 2017

Christmas 2017 with my delightful family

And in total, between 01.01.2017 & 31.12.2017 I have walked well over 1100 miles.

What an extraordinary year; 2017.IMG_20171231_100927_404

p.s. Days 14-30 Days of Gratitude will follow shortly….I eventually ran out of time 😉

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I thought it was apt that today’s day of gratitude should be about my job. In this capacity I get to meet people from a very wide spectrum of humanity and I get to travel the country, mostly for 2 weeks at a time and sometimes for a longer stint…currently I’m at a 31 day position in north west Wales.

I have a love/hate relationship with my job; as a Carer for the elderly. Sometimes the assignment I am allocated is amazing, and sometimes its just plain awful – you never know which it will be till you get there. One thing I have learned in this job is that there are so many very unhappy people in the world, and there are some lovely folk who are a daily pleasure to be with.

In my capacity as a Carer I get sent all over the UK and sometimes even to Ireland. Its a fantastic way to see the country and mostly I don’t mind the travel, even though occasionally it takes anything up to 8 hours to get to a place from home; door to door. Fortunately I have social media to keep me occupied and every now and then I pull out my knitting and knit a few more squares for my motor-home blanket.

I’m grateful that I am able to visit some of the most historic, quirky and amazing places in all 4 countries that make up the UK. It was during a visit to the Isle of Wight that Project 101 really took off….when one day while out walking I noticed the village sign board; Nettlestone 1086 🙂 wowwwww a Domesday Book village.

31 days of gratitude, domesday book villages, nettlestone 1086, travel the uk, working as a carer for the elderly, not just a granny travels, project 101

Nettlestone 1086; a Domesday Book Villages

Intrigued, I decided to see how many of these I had already visited over the last 16 years. Before then I had merely been counting the islands I visit with a goal of 100, but since I saw that sign I decided to find out how many Domesday Book villages, towns or cities I had visited….currently it’s 107!!

I was astounded and that got me to thinking about other places I had been, and so Project 101 was born.

I am grateful too that I have work. During uncertain times, it is in fact a bonus to have a job, especially a job that I mostly enjoy. I’ve been with the same agency now for 10 years and in that time I have travelled to just about every county in England, a good few in Scotland (I worked in a castle once!!), 1 county in Ireland and currently I’m in Wales.

31 days of gratitude, domesday book villages, nettlestone 1086, travel the uk, working as a carer for the elderly, not just a granny travels, project 101

some of the many, many places I have worked in the UK

It’s not always an easy job and sometimes I leave after 2 weeks absolutely drained; emotionally, mentally and physically. Old people can be very challenging, on all 3 levels mentioned. But I have learned some fascinating stories…when someone is prepared to talk about their lives, you hear some extraordinary tales. I often wish they would put their stories into a book. Especially when it relates to WW2. So many personal accounts of life during the war are lost and we’re left with the ‘official’ accounts.

I am grateful for my job because it allows me to satisfy my highest value; travelling. I get to meet interesting people, see fantastic places, and steep myself in the amazing history of this country. And at the same time, I can pay my bills LOL 💸💸💸💸

I’ve also learned to be extraordinarily patient, to create interesting and colourful meals and occasionally I get to enjoy an assignment that is so lovely, that I got back again and again.

31 days of gratitude, domesday book villages, nettlestone 1086, travel the uk, working as a carer for the elderly, not just a granny travels, project 101

preparing nutritious and colourful meals

I also get to meet all manner of pets, and now and then I fall in love with a real beauty.

I also get to meet all manner of pets, and now and then I fall in love with a real beauty.

a beautiful little boy

 

 

 

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How lucky am I that I get to walk in so many amazing places in the United Kingdom. My current location is in a tiny village in the stunning Welsh county of Mongomeryshire, right on the border of England’s beautiful Shropshire.

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graveyard in the church

I usually have a 2 hour break every day whilst working, so if it’s not raining I take myself out for a walk. Today I had a free hour in the morning, and since it’s a stunning day and not raining (for a change), popped out for a quick walk to the castle and back.

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Montgomery Castle, Montgomeryshire, Wales

The views across the Welsh countryside and into Shropshire are just beyond description from that elevation; 85 meters. The UK truly is a most beautiful country.

walk 1000 miles, walks in wales, montgomery castle wales, camino 2018 practise walks

looking toward the county of Shropshire in England from Montgomeryshire, Wales

I was quite surprised that I managed to walk that elevation with barely any heavy-breathing LOL The Camino route I’m planning for September 2018 has elevations of 360 meters on one or two days, so I shall have to get in more practice with higher altitudes before then, but for now it’s good to be out and walking with my Camino goals in mind.

As for my 2017 goal of walking 1000 miles, I reached that in Santiago in September; boots on miles from 01.01.2017 till 24.09.2017. Since then I have walked a further 73.15 miles (117.03 kms) in places like Barcelona, Broadstairs, Caterham, Montgomery, Caenarfon, Porthmadog, and along the Miner’s Track up Mt Snowdon from Pen-y-Pass

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walking up Mt. Snowdon from Pen Y Pass

mount snowdon caenarfon, pen y pass snowdownia, walk 1000 miles, walks in wales, montgomery castle wales, camino 2018 practise walks

a walk up Mt. Snowdon

and briefly along Offa’s Dyke on the Welsh/English border.

offas dyke, walk 1000 miles, walks in wales, montgomery castle wales, camino 2018 practise walks

along Offa’s Dyke

Participating in the #walk1000miles 2017 challenge and practising for my #Camino2017 along with Project 101,  has taken me to some fascinating places in the UK and Europe.

Long may it last…..

I’ve joined the #walk1000miles with Country Walking Magazine challenge for 2018, and along with planning my 2nd Camino for September 2018, I’m aiming for 2018 miles next year.

inspirational quotes

Take a walk, not a pill….

 

 

 

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I have the very good fortune to work in many different places in the UK. Currently I’m based in Wales, very near the border of the English county of Shropshire.

Having decided to walk, and in the midst of planning my 2nd Camino, I kicked off my #Camino2018 training with a practice walk from Montgomeryshire to Shropshire; a walk from Wales to England.

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Welcome to Shropshire. Welcome to Wales.

Thursday was the first day we had sunshine since I arrived the previous Sunday, and so a walk was in order.

a walk from wales to england, walk 1000 miles, camino practice walks, camino ingles, nordic walking poles, offas dyke, walks in the uk

beautiful trees on a beautiful day

It was terrific to finally be out walking again. The last couple of months have seen me mostly in front of my computer writing blogs about my 1st Camino. I do wish I could hasten the process, but with my need to describe almost every detail of the walk (LOL) and with all the research about the places I walked through or stayed in, it sometimes take 3 or 4 days to write one article. That’s beside editing the photos!!!

This was the first time I’ve walked with Gemini, my Nordic walking poles, and my absolute #1 Camino item, since I got back from Spain in September. They’ve been on sabbatical, and quite rightly too, considering how hard they worked to keep me upright on The Way to Santiago.

Heading downhill along the Forden Road I branched off along New Road but ended up going the in the wrong direction…no arrows to point the way LOL. I soon realised my mistake and returned the way I had come and followed the opposite side of New Road to the Chirbury Road along which I walked till I reached Shropshire 🙂

To my delight, not long after crossing over into England, I stumbled across Offa’s Dyke. Hoorah. I would love to walk along this route sometime, so after climbing over the stile, I took a quick bimble along the dyke, closely observed by a flock of daffy sheep that ran as I approached and followed when I turned and walked the opposite direction. Silly creatures.

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Offa’s Dyke

The sun was setting behind the hill and I could just see the outline of Montgomery Castle peeping out from behind the trees. It’s a rather remarkable building and must have been quite imposing in it’s heyday.

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Montgomery Castle on the crest of the hill

Unfortunately I only have a 2 hour break each day, so had to hasten back before too long. But oh my, how lovely it was to be out striding along the asphalt with Gemini in my hands again. Although I must say that my left hand, between the thumb and forefinger was quite sore when I got back…it will take some getting used to, this walking with poles again….need to get back into my stride again….pun intended. 😉 Sorry.

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Montgomery circa 1227

With just over 10 months till I cross the English Channel from Plymouth in England to Santander in Spain, I will have to get some serious walking in. Fortunately I have the Country Walking #walk1000miles challenge to spur me on again, as well as the knowledge that the Camino Inglés crosses some serious elevations – ergo I have to practice and practice a lot.

Walked 5.84 kms / 3.65 miles. 8809 steps. Elevation 87 meters….that is not enough!! I believe there will be some mountains to climb out of Ferrol; 360 meter ascents….so I gotta find a mountain to climb…Oh wait I did……

 

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I remember the first time I saw Arundel Castle in the distance from the train. I nearly fell off my seat in excitement. Just a quick look as we whizzed past was enough to make me foam at the mouth…I HAVE to go there. That was about 6 or 7 years ago LOL Meanwhile life got in the way and work prevailed and I had so many other places to go to too! But finally, as part of my current Project 101, I set the date and squeezed in a few days between assignments. The market town of Arundel was finally on my horizon.

the Market Town of Arundel; a Domesday Book village

the Market Town of Arundel; a Domesday Book village

Oh my gosh, my excitement as we chuffed into town knew no bounds. I had booked accommodation via AirBnB and my host very kindly collected me from the station…huge suitcase and backpack…we only just managed to squeeze it all into her car!! I had arrived quite late in the day, having come straight from an assignment so even though it was too late to visit the castle, it wasn’t too late to go see it. 🙂 My host directed me towards the riverside and before too long I was on my way.

The River Arun heading upstream towards Arundel Castle

The River Arun heading upstream towards Arundel Castle

Arundel Castle is truly a fairy-tale castle. It is beautiful; turrets, and towers, hidden corners, a moat and all thin windows; you could almost expect to see Rapunzel let down her hair…it is exactly that type of castle. It also reminded me very much of the Disney castle in Florida. Just a different colour. 😉 Just wow.

arundel castle

Arundel Castle

As I walked along the River Arun drawing closer to the town the castle loomed large on it’s rocky promontory, towering over the village and river below. You can believe that it would have been an intimidating sight for travellers of old. How I longed to be able to sail into the town on a boat…how awesome that would be. The River Arun is a tidal river which I didn’t at first realise. As I walked along the riverbank I remember thinking how interesting it was that it flowed so fast….what I didn’t realise at the time was that the tide was going out. Later on after my walk I checked the mapmywalk app and that’s when I realised it flowed into the English Channel at Littlehampton and is tidal as far inland as Pallingham Quay, 25.5 miles (41.0 km) upstream from the sea. A series of small streams form its source in the area of St Leonard’s Forest in the Weald, West Sussex. It’s the longest river entirely in Sussex.

Te River Arun

The River Arun

Within 10 minutes I was in Arundel proper 🙂 whoo whoo. Oh my gosh the houses are lovely. I passed the oldest pub in Arundel; The King’s Arms C1625 wow. I popped in for a quick look but sadly it’s fairly dull with no outstanding features beyond it’s age.

King's Arms, Arundel

King’s Arms, Arundel

I decided to walk up the hill; Kings Arms Hill which is clearly a medieval street with marvellous cobblestones from top to bottom.

Kings Arms Hill, Arundel

Kings Arms Hill, Arundel

At the very top on the hill I could see what to me was an utter surprise….the cathedral!!! I seriously had not see it before..or perhaps I did but was so enchanted with the view of the castle it didn’t register at the time. But oh my word, did it ever register now!!! It is fantastic and reminds me ever so much of the Notre Dame in Paris with pointed arches, steep-sloping roofs and fancy carvings. Gorgeous!!!

Cathedral in Arundel

Cathedral in Arundel

The architectural style is French Gothic (hence the reason it reminded me of the Notre Dame), and the interior is simply stunning. I had no idea what to expect, but when I stepped in through the door I stopped dead in my tracks, my mouth agape and all I could say was wow wow wow. Not one of my finest descriptions!! LOL It is so beautiful that you can’t quite believe what you’re seeing. Not overly ornate as some cathedrals tend to be, it’s better described as exquisite….the cream stone arches soar heavenwards to a vaulted ceiling, light streaming through the windows captured dust motes dancing like delicate fairies on the sunbeams in the otherwise still air.

Cathedral in Arundel

Cathedral in Arundel

I wafted around in sheer bliss just absorbing the elegant stillness and admiring the gentle beauty of the arches and niched sculptures and the large rose window adorned with exquisite stained glass. The Lady Chapel can best be described as serene.

The Lady Chapel, Cathedral Arundel

The Lady Chapel, Cathedral Arundel

I love these churches. So simple, so elegant, so beautiful. I stopped at the shrine to St Philip Howard. Quite an extraordinary story.

St Philip Howard, Arundel Cathedral

St Philip Howard, Arundel Cathedral

I could have stayed for hours, but I had a castle to see….I was saving my first glimpse, savouring the anticipation 🙂

During my walk I noticed a fantastic 14th century church; The Parish and Priory Church of Saint Nicholas Arundel…although the church proper was closed at that time I did explore the churchyard and planned to visit the next day.

The Parish and Priory Church of Saint Nicholas Arundel

The Parish and Priory Church of Saint Nicholas Arundel

I meandered the streets, slowly making my way towards the castle. I passed a divine little cottage; the Bakers Arms Cottage, at the junction of Maltravers Streets and Bakers Arms Hill, is a British listed building with a pitched tile roof, is timber-framed and fronted with red brick. Absolutely fabulous. There are so many wonderful old houses in the town ranging from 15th – 19th century, many of which are British listed buildings. The history in those houses is just phenomenal.

Bakers Arms Cottage, Arundel

Bakers Arms Cottage, Arundel

I stopped to marvel at the Town Hall – just an amazing building that looked more like a medieval gate than a town hall.

Town Hall, Arundel

Town Hall, Arundel

The High Street is home to a darling array of wonderful old buildings, one of which had sections cut out of the facade exposing the original flint wall and beams behind. Amazing!!! I loved the configuration at the end of the street forming a V with a tiny island that played host to an amazing War memorial. I was so pleased to note that there were few of the usual High Street chains; Tesco, Starbucks, Sainsburys and so on. Although there were a few charity shops mostly it was artisan bakers or antique stores, a local butcher and a few bookshops and of course a number of antique stores.

High Street shops in Arundel

High Street shops in Arundel

From there I made my way over to the castle entrance….To my intense disappointment the castle gates were already closed but I did walk along the avenue of trees on the perimeter and managed to get a fantastic image of the silhouette with the sun setting behind. My daughter was due to visit and spend a night with me in a couple of days and we agreed to visit at that time; wow, what an extraordinary place.

Arundel Castle, Arundel

Arundel Castle, Arundel

I crossed over towards the river and noticed that it was now flowing in the opposite direction….ahhh, a tidal river 🙂 I explored the remains of the Dominican Friary and then crossed the old town bridge.

Blackfriars Dominican Priory, Arundel

Blackfriars Dominican Priory, Arundel

Arundel was registered as a port in 1071 and by the mid 19th century the Arun was linked by canals to London and Portsmouth. By the early 20th century the port was moved to Little Hampton. On another day, when the tide was way out, I noticed the remains of the wharves sticking up out the mud. Intriguing.

Arundel Bridge and the River Arun

Arundel Bridge and the River Arun

On the other side of the bridge I noticed a now well-recognised wooden stake with a couple of discs nailed to it…hah! On closer inspection one of them hinted at what looks like a brilliant walk (?) The Monarch’s Way – a 615 mile walking trail following the escape of Charles II after the Battle of Worcester in 1651. oh my gosh. I need another lifetime LOL The Monarch’s Way is one of the longest of all English long distance footpaths. The Way follows the path taken by Prince Charles II as he fled to France following the sound thrashing of his army at the Battle of Worcester in 1651 in the English Civil War. At my current pace I should be able to walk that in ….oh maybe 41 days or 2 months. Hmmmm

I had a fab view of the castle as I crossed the bridge. On my way back to the B&B I noticed the Arundel coat of arms on the riverbank ‘Antiqua Constans Virtute‘ – Steadfast in ancient virtue. In case you’re interested here is a link to the details of the coat of arms.

Arundel coat of arms

Arundel coat of arms

I waked along Tarrant Street and noticed a fabulous old building; Belinda’s 16th Century Restaurant. A friend of mine on instagram, Pete and I had arranged to meet the next day for tea and cake…this seemed like the perfect venue, and so it was. We enjoyed a delicious tray of scones with jam and cream and a large pot of tea.

Belinda's 16th Century Restaurant, Arundel

Belinda’s 16th Century Restaurant, Arundel

I had the most perfect weather that evening so decided to walk downstream along the river to the town precincts where I had earlier notice an intriguing looking house and then home to bed.

River Arun Arundel

River Arun Arundel

After a bit of a lie-in the next day, I made my way back along the river into town and enjoyed a most wonderfully relaxing day meandering around the town, taking hundreds of photos, popping in at the antique shops, the Castle Chocolate shop where I bought some delicious chocolates and met Clive with the lovely smile, then over to the castle (seriously I could not wait to visit), then made my way over to the fabulous Swanbourne Boating Lake.

Swanbourne Lake, Arundel

Swanbourne Lake, Arundel

I had just intended a brief walk, but it was so beautiful out and the lake looked so lovely, the shady green trees inviting and since I had much time on my hands I decided to walk right around the whole lake….I’m glad I did, it was wonderful. ‘Amidst a backdrop of chalk cliffs & trees you’ll find Swanbourne Lake which has been in existence since pre-doomsday and is home to waterfowl of many varieties.‘ Apparently in 1989 when the lake dried up one summer, they discovered the remnants of a WW2 plane that had been shot down over Arundel. A German Ju88A01 was shot down on 13th August 1940 at 6.30am. Two of the airmen baled out and survivied, one baled out but die and the 4th baled out but was mortally wounded and died of his wounds a couple of days later. If you’re interested here are some facts about Arundel.

After my lakeside walk I crossed over the road and decided to walk back to town along the riverbanks. From the river, across the fields of green, you have the most amazing view of the castle on it’s hill with the town nestling at the foot.

Arundel Castle West Sussex

Arundel Castle West Sussex

I met up with Pete in the early afternoon and we had that most enjoyable tea and a lovely conversation at Belinda’s after which I walked him back to his car….for which I was rewarded with a lift back to the town 😉 After saying goodbye I set off downstream of the river once again and walked and walked, leaving Arundel far behind…such a gorgeous day.

Looking back upstream towards Arundel Castle

Looking back upstream towards Arundel Castle

After a very late start on the 17th I set off once again to explore the town and to visit the 14th century church; the Parish church of St Nicholas. Phenomenal. I’m always amazed that these places survive for so long and often remain a hive of activity in the community. The church was hosting a number of sculptures when I visited; part of a week’s events with sculptures around the town – a trail you could follow. The Priory Alms Houses next door were stunning and I was dying to get behind the gates and into one of them to see!! The Domesday Book records that a Church, dedicated to St Nicholas, existed during the reign of Edward the Confessor between the years 1042 – 1066.

Parish Church of St Nicholas, Arundel

Parish Church of St Nicholas, Arundel

I spent a fascinating 30 minutes exploring the church. There are remnants of some fabulous medieval paintings on the walls, which like many others I’ve seen in the churches on my Southwark to Canterbury walk, are quite simply amazing.

Parish Church of St Nicholas, Arundel

medieval paintings and brasses Parish Church of St Nicholas, Arundel

It’s incredible that they have survived at all. From inside the church you can see through a full-length glass wall into the The Fitzalan Chapel which is only accessible via the castle grounds and wherein are buried family members of the Dukes of Norfolk and Earls of Arundel. (we visited that side of the church during our visit to the castle).

Parish Church of St Nicholas, Arundel and the Fitzalan Chapel

Parish Church of St Nicholas, Arundel and the Fitzalan Chapel

My daughter arrived later that night and after a cup of tea and a chat we went into town for supper. It was so much fun having her there with me. We visited the castle the following day and bought the Gold ticket which gave us access to the gardens, the Norman keep, the Castle and the bedrooms.

Arundel Castle in one word : amazing!!! Sadly we were not allowed to take photos inside the castle, but I managed to slip in one or two before being told off LOL The grounds of the castle are huge with incredibly beautiful gardens you can lose yourself in.

Arundel Castle, West Sussex - home to the Dukes of Norfolk and Earls of Arundel

Arundel Castle, West Sussex – home to the Dukes of Norfolk and Earls of Arundel

We saw a most extraordinary sight in one of the formal gardens; The Collector Earl’s Garden – conceived as a light-hearted tribute to Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel (1585-1646), known as ‘The Collector’ who died in exile in Padua during the English Civil War, the gardens are beautifully laid out with the grand centrepiece a rock-work ‘mountain’ planted with palms and rare ferns to represent another world. This supports a green oak version of ‘Oberon’s Palace’, a fantastic spectacle designed by Inigo Jones for Prince Henry’s Masque on New Year’s Day 1611. Flanked by two green oak obelisks, the rock-work contains a shell-lined interior with a stalagmite fountain and gilded coronet ‘dancing’ on top of the jet.

Oberon's Palace and the Dancing Crown, Arundel Castle

Oberon’s Palace and the Dancing Crown, Arundel Castle

Arundel Castle has been the seat of the Howard’s ancestors since 1102. A snippet of interest: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert stayed in Arundel Castle from December 1 to 3, 1846. Victoria notes in her diary for December 2 that year: “After breakfast, Albert and I sallied forth by a back way and walked along a path below the castle, commanding an extensive view, which put us in mind of the slopes at Windsor. The garden is very pretty and full of evergreens, which made Albert extremely jealous for Osborne House.”

We spent a few hours meandering around the gardens, visited the Fitzalan Chapel, the Norman keep,

views across West Sussex from the Norman Keep of Arundel CAstle

The Norman Keep, Arundel Castle

where you have the most amazing views across the castle grounds, the town, the river and far across the fields. Stunning.

views across West Sussex from the Norman Keep of Arundel CAstle

views across West Sussex from the Norman Keep of Arundel CAstle

The castle is still home to the Duke of Norfolk and most of the rooms are used on a daily basis…except when visitors are about. The private chapel is absolutely astounding, the library was incredible and some of the bedrooms just fabulous. We even saw the bed and bedroom where Queen Victoria slept during her visit. The halls and rooms are filled with paintings, statues, a Faberge sculpture, magnificent tapestries and some of the most interesting artefacts. There is a photocopy of a letter from Elizabeth I and some absolutely fabulous treasures.

a peek inside Arundel Castle

a peek inside Arundel Castle

Although not very big, and easily managed in a day’s sightseeing, Arundel is chock a block with oodles of history and you must set aside at least 3 hours for a visit to the castle, there’s so much to see.

And thus endeth my journey to Arundel to see a castle. With this trip I have added to 4 categories on Project 101; which now brings the totals to : Castles: 39 Cathedrals: 27 Rivers: 39 and Domesday Book villages: 106. 🙂

I’ll write more about Arundel Castle, the Fitzalan Chapel and The Parish Church of St Nicholas at a later stage. I’m preparing for my Camino 2017 and must focus on that.

 

http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/sussex/vol5/pt1/pp10-101

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After a fitful sleep brought about by a noisy crew at the inn (hostel) I woke early and partook of a hearty breakfast.

I had planned a side excursion for today – to the Battle of Britain Airshow at Headcorn Aerodrome…I wonder what Chaucer would have made of these flying beasts?? My train left from London Bridge which gave me the perfect excuse to explore the area before I left.
First I walked onto London Bridge once again; love that view.

 Then I popped in at The George Inn to get some photos before the place filled up with patrons intent on becoming merry!!

The George Inn is the last galleried coaching inn in London, and the current building dates from 1677; rebuilt after a devastating fire.

In Chaucer’s day there would have been many such inns, and in fact he and his pilgrims gathered at the Tabard Inn in Talbot Yard before setting off on their journey to Canterbury. I sought out and found The Tabard Inn blue plaque in Talbot Yard

and then made my way back to the station for my trip to Headcorn; the Airshow was fantastic. 😀😀 loads of photos.
I was back in London by 19:30 and went straight over to The George Inn for my final London Pilgrim’s meal; Battered Cod, chips and  mushy peas washed down with London Pride (of course 😉).

There were still a number of places I wanted to visit before setting off tomorrow; places Chaucer would have been familiar with, albeit some have changed dramatically and some are just remnants.  So after supper I waved fare thee well to the Patrons and set off on a quick whizz around the city:
1. Winchester Palace – once home to the very wealthy and powerful Bishops of Winchester.

2. The Clink Prison – oldest prison in London

3. Crossbones Garden – final resting place of the ‘Winchester Geese’, the prostitutes of the city and some of their children and babies.

4. The Ferryman’s Seat – Chaucer would likely have used a ferry to cross the River.

5. St Paul’s Cathedral – the one Chaucer knew would have been destroyed in the Great Fire of London 1666.

6. The Thomas a’Becket sculpture in St Paul’s Churchyard.

Thomas a’Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral and to visit his grave was the ultimate purpose of Chaucers journey.
7. All Hallows by the Tower Church – the oldest church in London; undoubtedly Chaucer would have visited.

8. The Tower of London – On 12 July 1389, Chaucer was appointed the clerk of the king’s works, a sort of foreman, organising most of the king’s building projects. During his tenure, but he conducted repairs on Westminster Palace, St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, and continued building the wharf at the Tower of London, as well as stands for a tournament held in 1390.

As I walked back across the River Thames via Tower Bridge I wondered what Chaucer would make of London today? Bet he wishes he’d hung around a few years longer for this view 😉

 And that brought my whistle stop tour to a close after which I hopped on a bus back to my abode.

Of course I also went past Southwark Cathedral that looked lovely with the light from the setting sun.

Tomorrow morning my walk begins. Wish me luck. 

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