Bodiam Castle. This is just about as quintessential as it gets. Located near Robertsbridge in East Sussex, this traditional British castle comes complete with a moat and drawbridge. It was fortified by order of Richard II in 1385, for the purpose of defending the south coast from the French. For centuries this proud building was left to fall slowly into decay, only to be purchased in the early 19th century by local builder “Mad Jack” who stripped the castle for building materials. At last, the castle was purchased by Lord Curzon in the early 20th century. Lord Curzon showed great sensitivity in his restoration of the castle walls, and he also restored the surrounding landscape. At his death in 1925, Lord Curzon passed Bodiam Castle to the National Trust, and it remains in their care to this day.
Luke and I visited this beautiful castle back in March. He drove with me 4 hours just to take pictures. Is he the best husband or what? We are blessed to have such amazing travel opportunities.
William the Conqueror first ordered Lincoln Cathedral to be built in 1072. However, fire and an earthquake destroyed most of the original structure. What stands today was finished in 1280, but repairs and remodeling continue. Lincoln Cathedral is know for possessing one of the four remming copies of the Magna Carta (signed in 1215), which required King John of England to proclaim certain liberties and accept that his will was not arbitrary. The charter was an important part of the extensive historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law in the English speaking world.
With its tall spires, Lincoln Cathedral was reputably the world’s tallest man-made structure for 300 years, surpassing the great pyramid of Giza which held the record for almost 4,000 years. It remained the tallest structured until it was surpassed by St. Olaf’s Church in Tallin, Estonia in 1500.
I’ll never cease to be amazed by the sheer oldness of this country! I drove past church the other night on my way home from a friend’s house. It was built in the 13th century! It’s located in Fornham All Saints, just outside Bury St Edmunds, a small village that once hosted a very important battle in ancient Britain. This area was once known as the Kingdom of East Anglia, but ceased to be an independent kingdom when the Vikings defeated the East Anglians in battle. The exiled Æthelwold of Wessex induced the East Anglian Danes to wage a disastrous war on his cousin King Edward the Elder. The final battle took place in this small village, and East Anglia was forced to submit to Edward. As a result, East Anglia was incorporated into the kingdom of England
While escaping to the sea on an extraordinarily hot day in England, I found myself lost on an old country road in the middle of Norfolk. Somewhere between Wells-next-the-Sea and Fakenham, I came upon on these abbey ruins. Randomly happening upon 13th century ruins isn’t something this American is accustomed too, so I was thrilled and enchanted by these crumbling walls bathed in the golden sunset.
Meet Creake Abbey. It was founded in 1206 as an almshouse for the poor. For 300 years this was its main function, something common to most abbeys. Although it gained the backing of aristocratic patrons, it was never large or rich enough to make such an impact as other Norfolk abbeys did. Eventually it was destroyed by fire and plague. Today it stands in an exceptionally peaceful rural spot, by the River Burn about a mile north of the village of North Creake. Well cared for and surrounded by farmland, it is in a particularly beautiful part of the county. Perhaps this part of Norfolk does not look much different than it did when this chapel was founded 1206.
It was a cold day in January. And I mean really cold. My husband suggested a trip to Mount Snowdon in Snowdonia National Park, Wales. He rarely makes trip suggestions, so I was eager to go anywhere he wanted to go. Little did I know just what I was getting myself into. We drove 3 hours to the town of Llanberis, were we stayed in a charming bed and breakfast at the foot of the mountain. The next morning, my husband decked me out in cold weather gear and we started up the Miners Track on the east side of the mountain. I was feeling fine as we winded our way through the valleys and lakes. But as soon as we hit our first ridge, I experienced some of the coldest weather of my life. The wind was relentless, and the lack of cloud cover didn’t help. After scrambling up the last bit to reach the summit, we were rewarded with a beautiful 360 degree view of the area. What a site! So although it was one of the coldest days in January, it was also one of the sunniest so the visibility was fantastic. Thanks to my hubby for pushing me up the mountain (sometimes literally).