Glastonbury Abbey

If you are in the Mendips region of Somerset you really shouldn’t miss visiting the wonderful Wells Cathedral nor the historic town of Glastonbury, possibly the quirkiest town in England. Steeped in history, myth and the smell of incense, it may not be for everybody.

However, do not let that put you off visiting the beautiful site of Glastonbury Abbey. Since Medieval times, the abbey has held legendary status as the earliest Christian foundation in Britain linked to Joseph of Arimathea and the burial place of King Arthur.

It’s a peaceful place – 36 acres of grounds to explore. Plenty of benches to sit and relax and take in the atmosphere. The remains of the abbey to walk around, which must have been enormous in its day. A medieval herb garden. Views of the Glastonbury Tor.

The abbey was built on the myth that followers of Christ settled here within the 1st century CE and built ‘The Old Church’. Abbot Dunstan remodelled and expanded the abbey and by the time of the coming of the Normans, the abbey was the wealthiest in England.

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Wells Cathedral

The West Front (around 300 of the original 400 medieval statues remain.)

Our visit to Wells last May would not have been complete without a visit to the cathedral there. One of the many that we have not visited previously and a main reason for choosing to stay in England’s smallest city. Not that either of us is remotely religious, but we can’t help admire the craftsmanship that goes into these beautiful buildings, and even I can appreciate the peacefulness that can be found inside.

Master mason William Joy  proposed the Scissor Arches (below) to prevent the collapse of a tower after a lead covered wooden spire was added in 1313. This proved to be too heavy for the foundations. Put in place between 1338 and 1348, they still stand today and are one of the most magnificent architectural features of Wells Cathedral.

The ‘new’ church which was to become the cathedral of the Bishop of Bath & Wells was the first to be built in the Early English Gothic style, during 1175 – c. 1250.  It was built on a new site to the north of an old minster church. Over the following three hundred years there was extension and revision, in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles in turn, as architectural fashion dictated.

The famous Wells clock is considered to be the second oldest clock mechanism in Britain, and probably in the world, to survive in original condition and still in use. The original works were made about 1390 and the clock face is the oldest surviving original of its kind anywhere. When the clock strikes every quarter, jousting knights rush round above the clock and the Quarter Jack bangs the quarter hours with his heels.

With its intricately painted interior dial depicting the Earth surrounded by the sun, moon and stars, it’s unique in showing a geocentric worldview – when the clock was created in 1390, most people still believed that the Earth was at the centre of the Universe. 

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World Photography Day

World Photography Day is an annual, worldwide celebration of the art, craft, science and history of photography.  And this year it is the 19th August.

Lacock Abbey

I thought I’d share some photos of Lacock Abbey once home to William Henry Fox Talbot, polymath and pioneer of Victorian photography, who moved to Lacock Abbey in 1827 and created the earliest surviving photographic negative in 1835, taken of a small window in the Abbey’s South Gallery. Not much bigger than a stamp!

When we visited in late May only part of the building was open, including the north cloisters. I do like a cloister though this one is quite small and the light was challenging.

Flashback Friday #28

This post was originally posted for the WordPress weekly Photo Challenge about symbols back in 2015


The Wars of the Roses

As a child growing up in West Yorkshire I knew that a friendly rivalry existed between Yorkshire and Lancashire, our neighbours on the other side of the Pennines. Later on at grammar school I learnt a little about the Wars of the Roses and was astonished to discover that it wasn’t a war between the two counties as I had believed, but a series of battles fought in medieval England from 1455 to 1485 between the House of Lancaster and the House of York.

The name of the battles derives from the symbols used by the two sides:

comtesse d'Oxford
Red Rose  – House of Lancaster
House of York
White Rose – House of York

On moving to Ludlow a few years ago I found out that one of the major battles of these wars took place only a few hundred yards from where I now live. The Battle of Ludford Bridge 12 October 1459. The Yorkist factions gathered here to make a push into Worcestershire, but fell back when they encountered a large group of Lancastrians led by Henry VI. The two sides took up positions on the opposite banks of the River Teme, but many of the Yorkists deserted during the night and the rest retreated the next day. So a victory for the Lancastrians. It is such a picturesque spot now that it is hard to imagine a battle taking place here.


This post is a contribution to Fandango’s Flashback Friday. Have you got a post you wrote in the past on this particular day? The world might be glad to see it – either for the first time – or again if they’re long-time loyal readers.

Life in Colour

A bonus Salmon Pink.

Pinkish bricks of the Maws building in Shropshire

The Maws Craft Centre and Maws Creative Spaces are a collection of art, craft and design studios situated in the picturesque Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, 1.5 miles from the historic Iron Bridge. Housed in the refurbished Victorian tile factory of Maw & Co, once the world’s largest tile manufacturer. The building now comprises independently run studios – a mix of artists, designers & makers, galleries, a holistic therapist, a plant shop, the Tile Press café a craft supplies shop, the Gorge Parish Council office, IT consultants and media companies.

Can you find any pink architecture?