A tragic quarrel between Danish soldiers in 17th Century Yorkshire

St Mary’s Church in Beverley, East Yorkshire, would probably be more well-known were it not for the famous and imposing Gothic Minster that also graces the town.  Even when compared to that grand building – which houses the shrine of St John of Beverley – St Mary’s Church is still impressive: it is one of the largest parish churches in Britain, a Grade I listed building, and has been in existence since the 12th Century, although the main fabric of the church dates from later than that.  It is a truly beautiful example of medieval Gothic architecture.  It was while exploring the church’s beautiful exterior, taking in the many carvings and details in the stonework, that I came across an intriguing memorial.

P1010998

Continue reading

The ruins of Christ Church Greyfriars and the grave of a “she-wolf”

I remember the first time I saw Christ Church Greyfriars – I was on my way to a job interview near the Old Bailey, and as I was walking up Newgate Street from the tube station by St Paul’s I saw the ruins of a church.  Intrigued, I went over to the ruin to read the sign explaining what the site was.  I’ve always been fascinated by ruins – not just the reasons why a building became a ruin, but also why the ruin itself was preserved.  When one considers how valuable every square foot of space is in the City of London, it’s quite something to come across a ruin that’s stood there for over seventy years.

DSCN0151

Continue reading

The many reinventions of Winchester Castle’s Great Hall

Winchester, England’s ancient capital, is home to a great many fascinating old buildings.  The area was originally settled in the Iron Age, then became the Roman town of Venta Belgarum and there has been a cathedral in the city since the 7th Century.  King Alfred the Great was buried at Winchester and his links with the city are commemorated by an imposing Victorian statue of him in the city centre.  Visitors to the city flock to the grand Gothic cathedral and its beautiful cathedral close , the medieval almshouses of St Cross and Winchester Castle’s Great Hall, which is the subject of today’s blog post.

Winchester Great Hall (Image by Johan Bakker on Wikimedia Commons)
Winchester Great Hall (Image by Johan Bakker on Wikimedia Commons)

Continue reading

Fallen comrades: Caroline of Brunswick’s life and death in Hammersmith

Hammersmith, with its riverside factories and wharves, was badly bombed during the Second World War – but that’s a story for another blog post.  Amongst the postwar concrete of the immediate area around Hammersmith tube station, a few older buildings and facades remain: a Georgian building that now houses a Chinese restaurant, rows of 19th Century villas leading down towards the river, and the splendid Gothic church of St Paul, built from a distinctive pinkish stone.

St Paul's Church, Hammersmith
St Paul’s Church, Hammersmith

Continue reading