Surviving the school holidays

The summer holidays are and have always been too long.

That’s my view anyway. And I am sure plenty of kids would agree with that too. 

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66 miles of new England Coast Path opens in Kent

National Trust Press Office

The National Trust is today supporting the launch of 66 miles of the England Coast Path in Kent and East Sussex.

The conservation charity cares for six miles of coastline in Kent, including the White Cliffs of Dover and Sandwich and Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve.

An event marking the opening of the path will take place at the National Trust’s White Cliffs visitor centre.

The England Coast Path is an initiative of Natural England, the government’s natural environment agency. When the full path opens in 2020, the 2,700 mile long England Coast Path will be the longest continuous walking trail in the world.

Visitors walking their dog along the clifftop at The White Cliffs of Dover, Kent, on a sunny day in August. Visitors walking their dog along the clifftop at The White Cliffs of Dover, Kent, on a sunny day in August.(c) National Trust Images / John Millar

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National Trust launches £250,000 coastal appeal to protect stunning Cornish clifftop

A £250,000 fundraising appeal is today  being launched by the National Trust to raise money to protect and care for one of my favourite parts of the UK coastline – Trevose Head near Padstow in Cornwall. 

 

Source: National Trust launches £250,000 coastal appeal to protect stunning Cornish clifftop

A New View of 1066

  • Battle of Hastings Battlefield and Abbey Undergo Major
    Re-Presentation to Mark 950th Anniversary
  • Stone Marking Spot Where King Harold Died Relocated
  • Rooftop of Battle Abbey Gatehouse Opens to Public for First Time

 A major re-presentation of the Battle of Hastings battlefield and abbey has been revealed by English Heritage, in this the 950th anniversary year of the most famous and arguably the most important battle in English history.

For the first time, visitors can access – through the original 13th century doorway – the abbey’s huge dormitory where the Benedictine monks once slept. © English Heritage

For the first time, visitors can access – through the original 13th century doorway – the abbey’s huge dormitory where the Benedictine monks once slept. 

The Great Gatehouse at Battle Abbey, where a new exhibition and rooftop viewing platform give a whole new perspective on the Battle of Hastings. © English Heritage

The Great Gatehouse at Battle Abbey, where a new exhibition and rooftop viewing platform give a whole new perspective on the Battle of Hastings. © English Heritage

A new exhibition, two previously unseen areas, and a new location for the memorial stone that marks the spot where King Harold fell in battle, opened to the public on Friday.

English Heritage Battle Abbey, East Sussex Picture by Jim Holden

English Heritage
Battle Abbey, East Sussex

For the first time, visitors will be able to stand on the roof of Battle Abbey’s Great Gatehouse – founded by William the Conqueror on the site of battlefield – and get a whole new, 360-degree perspective on the surrounding landscape where fierce fighting raged on 14 October 1066.

English Heritage - Battle Abbey, East Sussex 05/07/16 Picture by Jim Holden

English Heritage – Battle Abbey, East Sussex

Also for the first time, visitors can access – through the original 13th century doorway – the abbey’s huge dormitory where the Benedictine monks once slept.

For the first time, visitors can access – through the original 13th century doorway – the abbey’s huge dormitory where the Benedictine monks once slept. © English Heritage

For the first time, visitors can access – through the original 13th century doorway – the abbey’s huge dormitory where the Benedictine monks once slept. © English Heritage

The stone memorial marking the spot where according to tradition King Harold fell, has been moved by English Heritage to a new location following a new study of the 1066 battlefield and abbey. New advances in our understanding of the layout of the abbey’s church reveal that the site of this altar was further east than previously thought.

From at least the early 12th century the site of the high altar at Battle Abbey was identified as the spot where King Harold’s body was discovered after the Battle of Hastings In his Deeds of the Kings of England, William of Malmesbury wrote that the abbey’s church was built “on the very spot where according to tradition, among the piled heaps of corpses Harold was found”, with the high altar located – according to the Chronicle of John of Worcester – “where the body of Harold (slain for the love of his country) was found.”


The location of the high altar was lost when the abbey church was demolished after the suppression of the abbey in 1538 and the ground on which it stood cultivated as a garden. In 1817, an excavation revealed a crypt which marked the east end of the church and, mindful of the link between the high altar and the location of Harold’s death, contemporaries regarded this newly discovered feature as marking the place where Harold fell. They were unaware that the abbey church had been extended in the mid-13th century and that the exposed crypt stood about 25 metres to the east of the end of the church founded by William the Conqueror, now King William I. Until the rediscovery of the east end of the Norman church in 1929 the accepted site of Harold’s death was therefore some distance away from the location marked by William’s church.

As part of the re-presentation of the abbey in the early 1980s the plan of the Norman church was laid out and a marker stone placed at the east end to show the general location of the high altar. English Heritage has moved this stone approximately 6 metres further to the east to more accurately mark the location of the high altar. This reflects our understanding that within Romanesque great churches the high altar was placed on the chord of the apse, in other words on the line where the semi-circular end of the church began to curve.


A new exhibition inside the Great Gatehouse gives a blow-by-blow account of the battle, from the very different preparations of the opposing forces the night before to the final outcome. Beautifully carved oak figures – including a Norman knight on horseback and an Anglo-Saxon shield wall – are installed across the battlefield, evoking the two armies and the drama of the battle.

English Heritage - Battle Abbey, East Sussex 05/07/16 Picture by Jim Holden

English Heritage – Battle Abbey, East Sussex

Visitors to the 1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey and Battlefield will also meet interpreters playing the part of a Norman knight and Saxon lady at weekends throughout the summer and discover updated exhibits in the visitor centre.

As part of its 1066: Year of the Normans programme, English Heritage is marking the 950th anniversary of 1066 with events across the country this summer, including a re-enactment of King Harold’s march from York to Battle in autumn, culminating in the annual re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings on 15-16 October at the battlefield site.

A Norman Soldier in battle at the annual Battle of Hastings re-enactment. The event takes place at 1066 Battle Abbey and Battlefield every October © English Heritage

A Norman Soldier in battle at the annual Battle of Hastings re-enactment. The event takes place at 1066 Battle Abbey and Battlefield every October 

For more information, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/1066

For more information on Battle Abbey, go to www.english-heritage.org.uk/battleabbey email battle.abbey@english-heritage.org.uk or call 01424 775705

 


English Heritage cares for over 400 historic monuments, buildings and sites – from world famous prehistoric sites to grand medieval castles, from Roman forts on the edges of empire to Cold War bunkers. Through these, they bring the story of England to life for over 10 million visitors each year. www.english-heritage.org.uk.

Battle Abbey is on the site of the Battle of Hastings, which took place on 14 October 1066, and was the most famous battle fought on English soil and resulted in the last wholly successful hostile invasion of this country.

The triumph of Duke William of Normandy over King Harold marked the end of Anglo-Saxon England, the replacement of its Scandinavian links by new ties with western Europe, and the imposition of a new and more cohesive ruling class. Society became bound by ties of feudal loyalty, leading to a greater concentration of power in royal hands, while the beginnings of the development of common law had consequences that still affect our lives today after nearly 1,000 years.

King William I marked his victory by establishing the great Benedictine abbey of Battle on the northern part of the battlefield. As a result of the king’s generous endowments, it became one of the richest monastic houses in England.

The abbey flourished for over 400 years until King Henry VIII suppressed the monasteries and disbanded religious communities in the 1530s. Henry gave Battle Abbey to his friend Sir Anthony Browne who demolished many of the monastic buildings, including the church. He turned the abbot’s lodging into a substantial private house, at the centre of an estate created from the former battlefield and abbey land.

 

 

Guided Tours galore at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire

Wrest Park in Bedfordshire now has so much more on offer thanks to a diverse range of fascinating guided tours

The tours not only give an insight into the history of the magnificent property, but also into 2000 years of English history.

The Garden History Tours

Available exclusively for groups, guided garden tours at Wrest Park take in some of the 90-acres of the beautiful landscape which represent almost 300 years of garden design, side by side, in one location.

They include many of its restored buildings and garden areas, which are the work of some of our greatest garden designers, including Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, whose 300th anniversary is being celebrated at Wrest Park this year, plus Batty Langley, William Kent, Thomas Wright and Thomas Archer.

Highlights directly outside the mansion include the French Parterre, which leads the eye down to the Long Water with the magnificent Archer Pavilion beyond, and the Italian Garden, Rose Garden, Walled Garden and Conservatory.  Other buildings dotted throughout the landscape include the Orangery, Bath House, Bowling Green House, Chinese Temple and Bridge and the original Dairy, which houses a sculpture gallery.

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‘Aladdin’s Cave’ Archaeology Tours

Guided tours with knowledgeable volunteers, take groups behind the scenes for a sneak peak at some of the 153,000 historical artefacts spanning 2000 years of English history, which have been brought together by English Heritage into a huge storage facility at Wrest Park.

Tour highlights range from small fragments of 17th-century painted window glass, buckles, brooches and coins, to larger objects such as 8 foot tall ‘bell jack’ figures of 16th century tradesmen taken from the roof of Colombia Market, plus fireplaces, staircases and even an enormous crane used for changing street light bulbs in Covent Garden.

Historical Wallpaper Tours

Groups can also pre-book ‘Wallpaper Tours’ to view the original hand painted oriental wallpaper on the walls of some of the rooms on the first floor of the mansion.

Inside Wrest Park’s 18th-century French style mansion groups can view the Countess Henrietta Sitting Room, furnished as it was in the 1840s and find out more about Wrest Park’s history in an interactive exhibition and also an exhibition which explains the role of the mansion as a convalescent home during the First World War.

The visitor centre houses a café with inside seating for 70 and outside seating for 50, an introductory exhibition, shop and plant sales area.

Wrest Park, Heritage Open Day, Chinese wall paper tour, Commissioned by Sarah Watson-Jones.

Wrest Park,
Heritage Open Day,
Chinese wall paper tour,
Commissioned by Sarah Watson-Jones.

All guided tours at Wrest Park cost £2.00 per group member (additional to admission charge) and are available to groups at any time, subject to availability.  

However they must be pre-booked by calling 01525 860000 or emailing wrest.park@english-heritage.org.uk. 

Maximum 20 people per group tour, with larger groups divided onto back to back tours.  

 

 

7 Things You May Not Know About the Battle of the Somme

This year marks the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, which took place between 1st July and 18th November 1916. The battle was a joint offensive by the British and French forces – fought along …

Source: 7 Things You May Not Know About the Battle of the Somme