What church in London has a long history with the theatre and arts? Which church contains memorials to some famous actors and actresses? It is St. Paul’s in Convent Garden.
St. Paul’s has a long association with the theatre and arts community. Since about 1663 they have been associated with the theatre. Performances have been on their grounds. St. Paul’s has been home to its own in house professional theatre company since 2007. They also have an orchestra in residence.
Some famous people are associated with the church. There are some famous people baptized at and St. Paul’s including Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan. Married at the church were Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale.
There are memorials inside the church dedicated to famous actors including Charlie Chaplin. The memorials line the walls inside of the church. A few are pictured below.
If you are making a trip to Convent Garden, stop in to St. Paul’s. They have a great garden in the back and a unique history for a church. When I visited in July they also had a resident church cat.
When you think of stone circles in Great Britain what comes to mind? Stonehenge? The stone circle in Outlander? There are other stone circles you can see in England and Scotland.
The truth is there are many stone circles in Great Britain. It is said there are 316 stone circles in England, 508 in Scotland, and 81 in Wales.
Within the county of Cornwall in England there are 17 stone circles and this includes the Merry Maidens. Merry Maidens is made up of 19 granite stones. The circle is a diameter of 75 feet (24m). It is in a perfect circle with each stone about 3-4 meters apart. The tallest is 1.4 meters. The stones gradually diminish in size from SW to NE. This is believed to follow the cycle of the moon.
Tales Behind the Stones
The Cornish legend behind the monument is the stone circle was the petrified remains of a group of local girls who had been turned to stone as a punishment for dancing on the Sabbath. Further away in neighboring fields are three other stones. One is said to have been a fiddler and the two others were pipers. The story is they are further away because they heard the church bells ringing out at midnight and they attempted to flee because they realized they were breaking religious rules. They were caught as well and were turned to stone. This story was most likely started to turn people to the church and away from pagan practices.
The stones are in a field next to the B3315 in the parish of St. Buryan in the West Penwith area. It has a small car park that can fit 4-5 cars.
If you are traveling to Cornwall and would like to see a stone circle up close and personal without the crowds of Stonehenge, then stop by this ancient group of stones. You will get to see something that could be over 3500 years old.
Where is the largest railway museum in the world? Where would a train enthusiast be on cloud nine? The location I am speaking of is the National Railway Museum in York, England.
To say this museum is large is an understatement. It has over 6,000 objects on display including signage, model trains, posters, tickets, nameplates, clocks, furniture and other items. Signage catches my eye, so I will include images of some of these items. The museum is massive and I think its best to not spoil it too much.
There are over 100 locomotives or rolling stock on display with other stock held elsewhere. It has the largest collection of train cars and locomotives held in what formally was the North York Locomotive Depot. On display are Queen Victoria’s railway carriage and other trains such as one used by Queen Elizabeth II. They also have international holdings such as a Japanese Bullet train and a Chinese locomotive. Train displays vary and they rotate displays with other museums.
They are open daily through out the year including bank holidays with the exception of 24-26 of December. Their hours are from 10-5 (10:00-17:00) most of the year, however, during the summer months they are open 10-6 (10:00-18:00).
If you are a train enthusiast, you could easily spend a blissful day at this museum. If you fancy trains, this museum should be on your bucket list. The historical aspect will appeal to others as well.
Would you like to see one of the best preserved medieval shopping streets in Europe? Are you a Harry Potter fan and are interested in seeing a street that is an inspiration for something in the novels? Then head to the Shambles in York, England.
Shamble is an old word for an open air slaughterhouse and meat market. The pavement is raised on both sides of the street to form a channel or ditch where butchers could wash away blood. The street was intentionally built narrow to keep sunlight from hitting the meat that was hung by hooks outside the shops. The buildings on the Shambles in York date back to between 1350-1475.
The Shambles is thought to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter films. Today there are a few shops related to Harry Potter on the Shambles, one of which is The Shop That Must Not Be Named.
The Shambles doubled for 18th century London in Knifeman. It also appeared in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.
Are you interested in medieval architecture? Do you fancy visiting Harry Potter filming locations and scene inspirations? Visit York and see The Shambles.
Are there some places you would like to go to or things you would like to do, but haven’t because you want to do them with another adventurous person? One such experience I tried this summer was getting a photo of the Milky Way over St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, England.
St. Michael’s Mount is an island that can be reached at low tide by foot. There is a castle and medieval church on the island. The site is maintained by the National Trust. During the day time, one can walk over and see some of the rooms inside the castle. At high tide there are boats that can ferry you across. The St. Aubyn family live in the castle.
I would never never attempted to do this alone, even if I had stayed in Marazion, the Cornish town on the other side of the causeway. Instead I completed a day tour with Photograph West Cornwall. Ken Whalley took me to scenic spots on the Cornish coast by day, then later at night we attempted to get these shots at St. Michael’s Mount. Ken is a outstanding landscape photographer who leads tours in Cornwall in villages south of Port Isaac. He is knowledgeable about the time tables for tides, events in the sky, and weather. He informed me long before I arrived this may be a possibility if the sky cooperated. The added bonus was Ken and his wife treated me like an old friend.
If you are interested in seeing Cornwall south of Port Isaac through the eyes of a landscape photographer, book a tour with Ken Whalley and Photograph West Cornwall.
What location has the longest medieval town walls in England? What place has gorgeous views from those walls? If you answered York, you would be correct.
York has an old section of town that is surrounded by the remains of the old city walls. You can walk around most of this section of the city on top of the wall. You will have some nice views of York Minster and other parts of the old city from the wall.
The original walls were built by the Romans in AD 71. However, the walls you see now were the upgrade to stone built in 1226. They are the longest Medieval town walls in England at 3.4 kilometers (about 2 miles) and are very well maintained.
It is open daily 8 a.m. to dusk. It is closed on Christmas and any days that the conditions are icy or slippery. As it is an old wall, it is not handicap accessible. Also, dogs are not allowed on the wall as most of it is narrow. Some areas do not have high ledges or railing on one side, so one has to take care. Someone with a fear of heights may not enjoy this walk.
If you are visiting York, hiking on the old city walls is a must to get another perspective on this lovely city.
Wayside (edge of road) crosses are one type of Christian Cross that could be erected in Medieval times (5th-15th century). What do you think was its purpose?
In England there are over 350 wayside crosses. They are mostly found in Southwest England in Cornwall and on Dartmor. They can also be found on the North Yorkshire Moors. Very few are found elsewhere. Other forms of Wayside crosses can be found in other European countries such as Germany and Ireland.
One function of a wayside cross was to reinforce the Christian faith amongst those who traveled past the cross. It was meant to reassure the traveler. In addition, they were way markers. They helped mark the areas that were generally unmarked routes.
This wayside cross is at the junction of B 3315 and Rectory Rd in Cornwall. It is near the Merry Maidens Stone Circle in Cornwall, England. The head of the Boskenna Cross is circular. On one side of the head is a cross. On the opposite side is a figure of Christ with his arms up stretched and his feet pointing outwards. Some other wayside markers in Cornwall are said to have rounded heads with a cross on one side and different carvings on the other side.
Wayside crosses are unique to Europe and the type found in Cornwall seems to be unique to Cornwall. If you visit Cornwall, see if you can spot one of these ancient monuments that has stood the test of time.
Which pub in Cornwall most likely has a name that is not duplicated with any other pub in England? The Bucket of Blood is very unique. It is a pub in Hayle that is said to be haunted and there is an interesting story behind it.
It is said an inn has been on that site for hundreds of years. It had a well from which they drew water for the inn and to brew the beer, a dark ale. Cornwall has been known for its miners, sailors, fishermen and smugglers.
The story is the innkeeper went to draw water, but instead drew blood. Upon search of the well a corpse was found. It is said the identity was unknown.
They say at night footsteps can be heard on creaking floorboards. There have been reports of people seeing ghostly figures crossing the road and then disappearing.
They say during the reign of King George III the name of the Bucket of Blood was changed to the New Inn. That lasted for about 250 years. In the 1980s the owner changed the name back to its original name- the Bucket of Blood.
I asked locals where the well was. They pointed me out to a well across the street and around the corner. However, a person who worked at the pub said there is no longer access to it. It is under what is now the ladies restroom/loo.
This inn serves nice meals. They do not serve puddings/desserts. If you are in the Hayle area make a stop at the Bucket of Blood. Its worth the trip. Ghost sightings are not guaranteed.
It resembles a man, but is surrounded by leaves or other plant life. It may have branches or vines protruding from its mouth or nose. It is seen on different pub signs and as grotesques on buildings or churches. What is it? It is the Green Man.
Although it can be seen in other cultures, the Green Man can be spotted around England. There are at least three Green Man Pubs in London and more are elsewhere. Several colleges at Oxford have the symbol on a door or as a grotesque on the side of a building. Churches and cathedrals in different counties have the Green Man decorating their edifice.
Although the true meaning may be unknown, there are many theories about it. Some see the Green Man as a symbol of rebirth or growth in spring. Others see it as a symbol of man’s reliance on nature. Another theory is it is a reminder that death awaits us all. One Christian interpretation is that the foliage coming from the mouth represents the life giving breath of the Holy Spirit. Other ideas about the meaning exist as well.
Whatever their meaning or purpose, they are interesting to find. Look them up on the web and see where some of them are located. This site lists some locations: click here. If you are planning a trip to one of these areas, stop in and find one.
I have seen sign posts in England at road junctions in different counties that mark the way to go as you are driving. Many consist of fingerposts to show the direction to different points of interest or villages. In the county of Dorset, they have some that are more unique to that county. They have road signs topped with finials.
The final is unique in appearance. Many are shaped like a London underground sign. While others are circular in shape. On the top part of the circle (on ones shaped like an underground sign) lists the county, Dorset, in case you are not sure. The bottom of the circle lists the grid reference. If it has a rectangular shape in the middle like a London Underground sign, it tells you the specific location of the sign.
According to Colin and Susy Varndell, authors of The Natural Beauty of Dorset, many of these fingerpost road signs were removed in 1940. The government decided that these signs could aid the enemy if they invaded. Many of the signs were sent for scrap with the finials. Councils are replacing these signs and adding finals back on the top with help of individuals, parishes, companies, or groups.
While other counties may have a few of these, they seem to be more common in Dorset. When in Dorset, England see how many finials you can find when on your travels. It is something that makes Dorset unique.