Norwich Part I: History and Architecture

Norwich was founded by the Saxon North Folk (“North Folk” became “Norfolk”) at the confluence of the Yare and Wensum rivers sometime around the 6th century.

My first visit to Norwich and it rained. After days of unseasonable heat and blue skies in early September the forecast for the Saturday that we intended to visit the county capital of Norfolk was sadly correct. But since the main attraction was the cathedral it didn’t deter us and in fact it worked out rather well. I am going to split the posts up otherwise they would be far too long and photo heavy, so posts about the cathedral itself may be a while down the line.

Today we are going to walk through the city from the bus station to the cathedral. We left the car at Thickthorn Park ‘n Ride and took the bus into the city centre as we had no idea of where to park in the city. It proved to be a good idea. The first destination was the information office at the Forum so we could pick up a map or two! Getting there was a bit tricky though, as we took a wrong turning, but imagine my delight when we found ourselves outside the delightful Art Nouveau Royal Arcade (more of that to come) which was one of my ‘must see’ sights.

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Exiting the arcade we discovered the market place; the City Hall, the Guildhall and the church of St Peter Mancroft.

Market Place
Market Place
Guildhall
Guildhall

Continue reading Norwich Part I: History and Architecture

Black and White Sunday: Heckington Windmill

The eight sail windmill was built in 1830 with five sails, but after a gale in 1890 destroyed both the cap and sails it was rebuilt by John Pocklington using machinery from Skirbeck mill in Boston, Lincolnshire.

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Now the only eight sail windmill in Western Europe it is fully working and producing flour again.

Black and White Sunday

St Edmundsbury Cathedral

The parish church of St James became St Edmundsbury cathedral in 1914. The original church was founded in the  twelfth century in the precincts of the abbey. Changes were made in the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries with additions in the second half of last century. The crowing glory came in 2005 when the tower, built with a Millennium grant together with local fundraising, was completed.

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In 869, Edmund, King of the East Angles, met his death at the hands of the Danes. He was tied to a tree and shot with arrows. Legend says that his severed head was thrown into the woods and found being guarded by a wolf. Edmund was the patron saint of England, until St George replaced him. His feast day is 20 November.

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Inside the cathedral is a superb medieval hammer-beam roof, ornamented with figures of 30 angels. The roof is boldly painted and gilded, and though ornate, is nothing like so ornate as the extraordinary font and font cover at the west end of the nave – a riot of colour. Continue reading St Edmundsbury Cathedral

Bury St Edmunds

Another stop en route to Norwich was Bury St Edmunds primarily to see the Abbey and the Abbey gardens, but when we got there we were enticed into the cathedral instead. Bury St Edmunds grew up around the powerful Abbey of St Edmunds in the Middle Ages. For 500 years pilgrims came from all over the world to worship at his shrine. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries (yep – good ole Henry VIII again), the abbey church – one of the largest Norman buildings in Europe – fell into decline.

But before I take you into that wonderful building here’s a glimpse of the Abbey and surrounding area.

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We parked in Angel Hill, a cobbled square which is opposite the Cathedral and the Abbey Gate and in front of the very colourful Angel Hotel (above). When I drive through historic places like this I always feel guilty – cars ought not to be allowed, just pedestrians and maybe a horse and carriage. Continue reading Bury St Edmunds

Black and White Sunday: A View fit for a Queen

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The Queen’s View in Highland Perthshire overlooks Loch Tummel. Queen Victoria is said to have remarked that the spectacular view was named after her, when she visited the area in 1866. However, it has also been suggested that the view was in fact named after King Robert the Bruce’s wife, Isabella, over 550 years earlier. Although she never actually became queen as she died in 1296 ten years before Bruce was crowned king. She was just 19 years old.

Whichever version you prefer, the view is stunning.

Black and White Sunday