Category: 12th Century

The Major Oak: capturing the imagination for centuries

Oak trees loom large in English history.  From the sacred oak groves of pre-Roman Britons and the oak wands used by Druids to the oak tree that sheltered the future King Charles II as he escaped from the forces of Oliver Cromwell and the…

The hidden courtyard of one of England’s best preserved castles

It may not be the first place that springs to mind when one thinks of England’s great castles, but in the North Yorkshire town of Skipton a fine medieval castle dominates the skyline.  Skipton Castle, the earliest parts of which date from the Norman…

The precious Romanesque carvings at Lincoln Cathedral

John Ruskin once described Lincoln Cathedral as being “out and out the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles.”  Sitting at the summit of the hill that Lincoln is built on, the cathedral occupies a commanding position over the surrounding area.  It’s…

Temple Church: the hidden church founded by the Knights Templar

The term “hidden gem” gets bandied around a lot in relation to all sorts of places in London – bars and restaurants, museums, galleries and historic buildings.  It’s a bit of an overworn phrase, but the subject of today’s post definitely fits the criteria…

Pepperpot towers, Gothic splendour and Parisian stained glass: exploring Southwell Minster

A few weeks ago, I was spending the weekend with old friends in Sheffield, and on the Saturday afternoon we drove out to Southwell, a pretty little town in Nottinghamshire.  I wasn’t sure what to expect – my friend had sold Southwell to me…

St Bartholomew the Great: a Romanesque gem in the City

Nestled between pubs, restaurants and the hospital buildings of St Bart’s on West Smithfield is a Tudor gatehouse.  During the week office workers, hospital staff and the traders of nearby Smithfield Market hurry past this structure without giving it a second glance, but groups…