A short trip to England, july 2007

Depature from the lounge In July 2007 we took the carferry from Rotterdam to Hull; sitting in the lounge on Deck 12 (!) we awaited our departure, which was a little late but our arrival in Hull was prompt on schedule.
Comparing this mode of travel with present-day commercial airlines, this is quite a pleasure! At most airports passengers are looked upon as potential criminals and everything seems to proceed in a frenzied, stressed, chaotic way while boarding here was civilized, smooth and efficient. Quite a pleasant change!


Lovely church, chance visit We docked at 08:00 and disembarked some 30 minutes later, passed immigrations and we were on our way.
I have driven in the UK since the 1970s, so adjusting to driving on the "wrong side of the road" is no problem for me anymore (though one is always a little more concentrated and attentive).
On the carferry we had rented a cabin for the night, so we started out well rested.
It was a pleasure to find excellent weather awaiting us as the UK had heavy rains and downpours the previous weeks, which resulted in flooded areas in some parts of the country. We would have our share of rain later in the afternoon.
En route to our destination we came across this lovely church in Market Weighton; the church is the oldest building in this town, parts of the "Parish Church of All Saints" date back to Norman times.
The dates go back ages...
Market Weighton is a small town and one of the main market towns in the East Yorkshire Wolds. It lies midway between Hull and York, about 20 miles from either one.
According to the 2001 UK census, Market Weighton parish had a population of 5,212.
Historically it is listed in the Domesday Book as "Wicstun" and was granted its charter to become a market town in 1251. (Wikipedia).

Rivaulx Abbey This was our destination that morning: Rievaulx (a.k.a. Rivaulx) Abbey, near Helmsley.
Rievaulx was the first Cistercian Abbey to be founded in the North of England and became one of the most powerful monasteries in Europe. These impressive ruins were once home to the greatest spiritual writer of the Medieval Ages, St Aelred, who described it as everywhere peace, everywhere serenity, and a freedom from the tumult of the world.
Rivaulx Abbey
Rivaulx Abbey
Rivaulx Abbey
Present and past
Past en present
The Archbishop of York, was very anxious to have a monastery of the newly founded and fervent order of Cistercians in his diocese; and so, at his invitation, St. Bernard of Clairvaux sent a colony of his monks, under the leadership of Abbot William, to make the desired foundation.
After some delay Walter Espec became their founder and chief benefactor, presenting them with a suitable estate, situated in a wild and lonely spot, in the valley of the rivulet Rie (from whence the abbey derived its name), and surrounded by precipitous hills, in Blakemore, near Helmesley. The community took possession of the ground in 1131, and began the foundation, the first of their order in Yorkshire.
Within a very few years after its foundation the community numbered 300 members, and was by far the most celebrated monastery in England.
St. Ælred, its third abbot (1147-67) had been, before his entrance into the cloister, a most dear friend and companion of St. David, King of Scotland.
The estates of this ancient abbey are now in the possession of the Duncombe family.
Source: www.newadvent.org/cathen/13054b.htm
Here are 3 images to show-
  • a. Rievaulx Abbey in the general area
  • b. Rievaulx Abbey (reconstruction) mid-12th century, at the height of its popularity under Aelred
  • c. Rievaulx Abbey (reconstruction) in about 1250
  • Helmsley is a market town in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire, England on the River Rye. The Cleveland Way leads out of the town, past Helmsley Walled Garden, into the North York Moors.

    The town is associated with the Earls of Feversham whose ancestral home Duncombe Park was built overlooking the castle.
    A statue of William Duncombe, 2nd Baron Feversham, stands in the town's square (below).

    Towering over the town is its castle and other buildings.
    Rievaulx Abbey lies nearby.

    During the English Civil War, the castle was besieged by Sir Thomas Fairfax in 1644. Sir Jordan Crosland held it for the King for 3 months before surrendering. Parliament ordered that the castle should be slighted to prevent its further use and so much of the castle's walls, gates and the eastern half of the east tower were destroyed.
    Since we had spent our cultural energy visiting the Abbey, we gave this castle a miss, something for another visit.
    Mr Scarecrow

    Lincoln Lincoln Cathedral (in full The Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln, or sometimes St. Mary's Cathedral) is a historic cathedral in Lincoln, England.
    It is highly regarded by architectural scholars; the eminent Victorian writer John Ruskin declared: "I have always held... that the cathedral of Lincoln is out and out the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles and roughly speaking worth any two other cathedrals we have."
    The Lincoln Cathedral is of such height that on a clear day it is possible to see all three towers from 30-40 miles away in all directions, the hill near the wash being the recommended spot from which to view the cathedral.
    Lincoln Cathedral William the Conqueror ordered the first cathedral to be built in Lincoln, in 1072. Before that, St. Mary's Church in Lincoln was a mother church but not a cathedral, and the seat of the diocese was at Dorchester Abbey in Dorchester-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.
    Bishop Remigius built the first Lincoln Cathedral on the present site, finishing it in 1092 and then dying two days before it was to be consecrated on 09May1092. About 50 years later, most of that building was destroyed in a fire... Bishop Alexander rebuilt and expanded the cathedral, but it was destroyed by an earthquake about forty years later, in 1185.
    Between the years 1307 and 1311 the central tower was raised to its present height of 83 m (271 feet).
    At this time, a tall lead-encased wooden spire topped the central tower but was blown down in a storm in 1549. With its spire, the tower reputedly reached a height of 525 feet, which would have made it the world's tallest structure, surpassing the Great Pyramid of Giza, which held the record for almost 4000 years !!
    In 1290 Eleanor of Castile died. As his Queen Consort of England, King Edward I decided to honour her with an elegant funeral procession. After embalming, which in the thirteenth century involved evisceration, Eleanor's viscera were buried in Lincoln cathedral, and Edward placed a duplicate of the Westminster tomb there.
    According to the cathedral website, over £1 million a year is spent on keeping the cathedral in shape.
    Lincoln Cathedral is at present, a very popular destination and is visited by over 250,000 tourists a year. The cathedral offers tours of the cathedral, the tower and the roof. The peak of its season is the Lincoln Christmas Market, accompanied by a massive annual production of Handel's Messiah.
    We sat down and listened to the choir practising.

    Bed and BreakfastThe weather was miserable and a good B&B can be a real comfort. We found that at this adress, on the road out of Lincoln (always a confusing event): 552a Newark Road, North Hykenham, the Eagles Guest House
    Our room.

    RAF Museum Hendon Hendon Aerodrome was an aerodrome in north London, England and between 1908 and 1968 was an important centre for aviation.
    It was situated in Colindale, 7 miles (11.3 km) north west of Charing Cross and became famous as a place of pioneering experiments which included the first airmail, the first parachute descent from a powered aircraft, the first night flights, and the first aerial defence of a city.
    In modern days it has lost the appearance of an aerodrome, but the museum is worthy of a visit.

    Initially we had planned to visit the Cathedral in St.Albans, however we got stuck in traffic as London was even more hectic than usual with Wimbledon Tennis Tournament in progress, the start of the Tour de France cycling event, Life Earth mega-music-festival at Wembley Stadium and the F1 Grand Prix racing at Silverstone...
    So instead we headed out into the country, looking for a nice place to stay. That is how we ended in Hertingfordbury, Hertfordshire, 13 miles from St.Albans.
    Hertingfordbury was recognised as being of architectural and historic interest and was designated a Conservation Area in 1968. The village was originally a Saxon settlement, running down the hillside to meadows bordering the River Mimram. It contains a number of historic buildings.
    A closer look at this particular house gave me the distinct impression it could play a part in a mystery movie, with haunted ghosts and such like. We did not act on the B&B sign on the fence...
    Instead we went to the nearby White Horse Hotel, across the road.
    The White Horse Hotel is a Georgian fronted building which actually belies a much older interior, with oak beams dating back some 400 years. We had a pleasant, restful stay here.
    Hatfield House is nearby, here Elizabeth I spent her childhood and learnt of her accession to the throne. We had visited Hatfield House on a previous visit to England.
    White Horse Hotel
    Splendid room
      A short stroll before dinner lead to a nearby church and though unattended, it was open. In my country I am sure people would have robbed the place!
    It looked fantastic, very atmospheric, the wind rattling the large wooden doors increased the impression it made on us.
    St Mary's Church stands on a prominent site on high ground. It was founded in the 13th century and built of flint with stone dressing. It was extensively restored in 1890 by the Seventh Earl and Countess Cowper of Panshanger, who added the Memorial Chapel dedicated to the Cowper family. We found a tomb, dedicated to a woman who had worked on nearby Hatfield House, during Elizabeth I era (photo bottom left).

    Every year the Duxford Imperial War Museum, near Cambridge, houses the Flying Legends air show, an impressive event with vintage warbirds zooming through the sky like they did in war-torn Europe in the 1940s.
    The weekend brought us excellent weather.
    Look for more photos of this event on my webpage Flying Legends 2007.
    WW2 Bombers and fighters

    On the final day of 4-day trip I could not resist a brief visit to a very interesting museum, dedicated to De Havilland aircraft factory and particularly dedicated the famous De Havilland Mosquito.
    This is De Havilland Heritage Centre, incorporating the Mosquito Aircraft Museum The museum is located at Salisbury Hall, where the Mosquito prototype was originally designed. the museum now covers all aspects of the de Havilland aircraft company and its products.
    One finds this museum between London Colney and South Mimms, off the B556 southeast of St Albans. It is signposted from Junction 22 off the M25. This unofficial website has a good list of aircraft on display.

    It was our intention to visit a castle near Rochester on our way to the ferry at Ramsgate, but the Tour de France got in the way; the road was blocked but while the cyclists had gone past some time ago (we did not see them) the roadblocks were kept in force and prevented us from reaching our destination. When we tried to visit the castle in Rochester town, we ran into the same problem.
    In the end we kept on driving to Ramsgate for our TransEuropa ferry to Ostend.

    Some helpful links:
    Church Crawler
    British History Online