Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I told you last week I'd share some pictures of an author's home I once visited. While in England, my sister and I visited the home of the great English writer Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817). She was an English novelist whose books are still widely read today. Some of her books I enjoyed are Pride and Prejudice, and Emma. During her lifetime, her works brought little fame, and only a few positive reviews.

The first picture is of her home in Winchester.

This next picture is of the Wichester Cathedral where she was buried.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

English Cathedrals and Churches - Part 4

By C. LaRene Hall

Our trip to visit the many churches in England is almost over. We still wanted to see where our great-great grandfather Thomas Mayhew came from. After following the map to Tisbury, we located the old church, and visited with the priest who said, “I have something to show you inside.”

Once inside, he opened a short door located behind his desk and said, “This steep narrow staircase was used each night for hundreds of years by the priest to go up to the tower to sleep.”

Even though the steps were made of stone, I noticed the inside of each step so worn, that the inside was only a few inches thick while the outside of the step was larger. I’m short, and since the space was so limited, I think it would have been difficult to climb to the room above. He told us, that no one uses the stairs any longer.

In addition, he showed us a brass marker on the floor and said it was probably there at the time the Mayhew’s lived in the town. He allowed us to take pictures of the stain glass windows and the other fixtures in the church.

Since the early days of the church, an addition has been added. He also told us that the house across the street is probably one of the oldest houses in the town. The church has been changed from the Church of England to a St John’s Baptist church.

We then drove to the village of Dinton, where we saw another small church. We went inside and took a few pictures. There were many headstones in the graveyard, but the oldest one I could read was in about 1786. Many of the tombstones were not legible – they were old and had moss growing on them.

Next, we went to Salisbury to see the cathedral which is the tallest structure in England.

We went to the Winchester Cathedral, built in the 7th century. It is the burial place of saints, kings, bishops, and writers. The ceiling has many sculptures, and there are many stain glass windows. Also located inside is an impressive collection of ancient wall paintings, medieval floor-tiles, modern sculptures, and artifacts that seem to make the intriguing past come alive.

Thanks for visiting my blog on the churches and cathedral in England. I wish I could have shown you all the pictures and told you about all the wonderful things I saw. Visit next week and I'll show you a picture of the home where a famous writer lived.

Monday, March 9, 2009

English Cathedrals and Churches - Part 3

By C. LaRene Hall

Next, we drove to Coventry where we climbed the stairs to see the Cathedral.

While still in Warwick we went to the historic Collegiate Church of St Mary (the Thomas Beauchamp Chapel), that was built in 1086. It passed into the Beauchamp family about 1268. Thomas Beauchamp, planned to replace the 12th century church with a much larger structure. They extended the original crypt before his death.

To me, the most impressive feature in this chapel was the Tomb of Richard (1439) and Thomas (1369). I was particularly interested in seeing these tombs because they are my ancestors.

Richard Beauchamp, wanted his marble tomb built in the center of the Chapel. In his will, the final phase of medieval construction work was the Chapel of Our Lady, which took 20 years to complete. His wife Katherine Mortimer, is buried next to him. The tiny figures around the base of the tomb give a fine display of 14th century English fashion. Around the sides and ends of the tomb are the figures of 36 mourning relatives.

Several days later, we drove to Farleigh Hungerford Castle ruins near Trowbidge. There was a stunning church with beautiful stained glass windows. In a Medieval wrought ironwork enclosure was a memorial to Sir Thomas Hungerford who died in 1398 and his wife, Joan Hussey who died in 1412. Next to them were two other memorials of Sir Edward Hungerford who died in 1648 and his wife, Margaret Holliday.

The Hungerford family is also ancestors of mine, and I enjoyed looking around the walls at the many wall paintings, the Hungerford arms and flanking shields, as well as other coats of arms.

Next, we drove to see the 13th century Cathedral Church of St. Andrews in Wells. I had heard they had 365 carved Biblical life size figures. There were many sculptures on the wall outside as well as sculptures inside, and many stain glass windows depicting Biblical stories. The cathedral was very large and had an interesting clock. Every quarter hour the clock strikes, pauses and jousting knights go round in tournament.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Review of Brass Dragon Codex

When Rebecca asked volunteers to review the newest book in the Dragon Codex series, I immediately jumped at the chance. I went to her first book party, and definitely wanted to read the next book written by her – Rebecca Shelley (aka R.D. Henham).

Every gnome has a Life Quest, the need to create an invention, and Hector and his friend Amber are no exception. Hector’s latest invention causes lots of trouble for everyone. Shem, the human leader tells him to leave the city of Kaal and never return. During this adventure, he meets an orphaned brass dragon, many dangerous creatures in the desert, knights, dwarves, a thief, and the vicious blue dragon.

The important lesson learned in this story is that communication is important. Tumbleweed, the orphaned baby dragon is always talking. He interrupts, and never listens. Hector realizes that he is just like the dragon. He never pays attention to his friend Amber or to the dragon. Hector learned it’s no good to keep talking and never listen.

If you like dragons and gnomes, Brass Dragon Codex is a book with plenty of action. It’s part of a companion series to Mirrorstone’s Practical Guide to Dragon books. To check out Rebecca’s website go to http://www.rebeccashelley.com/

Sunday, March 1, 2009

English Cathedrals and Churches – Continued

By C. LaRene Hall

By afternoon, we found St Mary’s the Virgin Church, in Henlow, Bedfordshire. The church was made of stone in a perpendicular style. My Mayflower ancestor, Henry Sampson attended church here as a small boy.

His grandfather lived in the next village, Arlesey. The early thirteenth century church of St Peter was made of stone and was also decorated in a perpendicular style.

Tomorrow we are heading a different direction and I'll tell about that later.