Photos © Ruud Leeuw

A vacation in England we focussed mainly on general history, castles & pubs - but a few aviation items passed my way too.
Our plan was basically to circle Greater London, landfall was made in Dover and we sailed from Harwich.
Read on!

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Upon entering Dover harbour I noticed something what I thought to be a military patrol. For illegal immigrants?

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From Dover, where we arrived at 1300, we drove to Herstmoncieux for our first stay. Slow progress and a
drizzle that turned into rain changed our plan to visit (e.g.) a castle to a stay in the cosy bar of the Horseshoe Inn.


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The next day we drove to Battle Abbey; the weather was cloudy but dry. We started on the trail of '1066'.
Battle Abbey is a partially ruined Benedictine abbey in Battle in East Sussex. The abbey was built on the site of
the Battle of Hastings and dedicated to St Martin of Tours.

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The Grade I listed site is now operated by English Heritage as 1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey and Battlefield, which includes the abbey buildings and ruins, a visitor centre with a film and exhibition about the battle, audio tours of the battlefield site, and the monks' gatehouse with recovered artefacts. -Wikipedia

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The historic center here is also worthy of a walk and a bit of sightseeing.



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In the afternoon we drove to Pevensey Castle, which only has the outer wall and castle walls.
The walk on the castle mound was nice and we had a pleasant chat with someone who was walking her dog.
The Royal Oak & Castle pub is worthy of a visit too!

The castle has a long and interesting history:
"Pevensey Castle is a medieval castle and former Roman Saxon Shore fort at Pevensey in the English county of East Sussex.
Built around 290 A.D. and known to the Romans as Anderitum, the fort appears to have been the base for a fleet called the Classis Anderidaensis. The reasons for its construction are unclear; long thought to have been part of a Roman defensive system to guard the British and Gallic coasts against Saxon pirates, it has more recently been suggested that Anderitum and the other Saxon Shore forts were built by a usurper in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to prevent Rome from reimposing its control over Britain.

Anderitum fell into ruin following the end of the Roman occupation, but was reoccupied in 1066 by the Normans, for whom it became a key strategic bulwark.
A stone keep and fortification was built within the Roman walls and faced several sieges. Although its garrison was twice starved into surrender, it was never successfully stormed.
The castle was occupied more or less continuously until the 16th century, apart from a possible break in the early 13th century when it was slighted.
It had been abandoned again by the late 16th century and remained a crumbling, partly overgrown ruin until it was acquired by the state in 1925.

Pevensey Castle was reoccupied between 1940 and 1945, during WW2, when it was garrisoned by units from the Home Guard, the British and Canadian armies and the United States Army Air Corps.
Machine-gun posts were built into the Roman and Norman walls to control the flat land around Pevensey and guard against the threat of a German invasion. They were left in place after the war and can still be seen today."

There are descriptive plaques in the castle grounds with drawings and texts to describe the castle's history.
See also the www.english-heritage.org.uk for details, including some nice aerial photography.


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St. Nicolas Church is the parish church of Pevensey, with its daughter church, St. Wilfrid's, serving Pevensey Bay.
It is named after Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of seafarers. The Church’s origins can be traced to the Roman
occupation of Britain and is built on the original site of a Saxon or Priory church, dating from the 5th century.

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The church would have overlooked the sea in its early existence, now some half a mile distant. The Church we see today
was built in its present form in the medieval period, between 1205 and 1216. The completed St. Nicolas Church
remains a splendid example of ‘Early English’, or ‘Early English Gothic’, architecture.

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This castle, Herstmoncieux Castle, has nothing to do with our '1066' trail but was so near that we simply had to visit.
The castle operates as an International Study Centre for Queens’ University in Canada and is not freely open to the public;
tours are scheduled around timetables and other uses including conferences/weddings. We enjoyed a walk in the gardens.

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Herstmonceux Castle Gardens & Grounds are set within 300 acres of carefully managed woodland with themed
formal gardens to the rear. The 15th century moated castle embodies the history of medieval England
and the romance of renaissance Europe.

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As one walks through the themed gardens you will work your way towards the woodland trails, where one can enjoy a peaceful stroll and take in the carefully managed flora and fauna of the estate. Discoveries such as Woodhenge, 300 year old Chestnut Trees, the Folly and Secret Garden as well as our Lake and Moat Walk all add to the escapism of everyday life.
We stayed only in the gardens, for lack of time, and even had to forego on refreshments at the Chestnuts Tea
Room. Maybe a next time, we love the British cream teas!


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A visit to Lewes and its castle.
Lewes Castle stands at the highest point of Lewes, East Sussex, England, on an artificial mound constructed with
chalk blocks. It was originally called Bray Castle.

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The castle and mound towers high over the town.

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Lewes Castle was built in 1069 by William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey, the son-in-law of William the Conqueror.
When the last of the Warennes, John (the 7th Earl), died without issue in 1347, he was buried in Lewes Priory. His title passed to his nephew Richard Fitzalan who was also Earl of Arundel.

Besides an obvious interest in William the Conqueror, I also have an avid interest in Simon the Montfort (who laid the groundworks for the British Parliament). He fought a batlle here.

'The Battle of Lewes was one of two main battles of the conflict known as the Second Barons' War.
It took place at Lewes in Sussex, on 14May1264. It marked the high point of the career of Simon de Montfort,
6th Earl of Leicester, and made him the 'uncrowned King of England'.
Henry III left the safety of Lewes Castle and St. Pancras Priory to engage the Barons in battle and was initially successful, his son Prince Edward routing part of the baronial army with a cavalry charge.
However Edward pursued his quarry off the battlefield and left Henry's men exposed. Henry was forced to launch an infantry attack up Offham Hill... where he was defeated by the barons' men, defending the hilltop.
The royalists fled back to the castle and priory and the King was forced to sign the Mise of Lewes, ceding many of his powers to Montfort.'
On Simon de Montfort, see en.wikipedia.org:_Simon_de_Montfort

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Lewes does have a parking problem and it may involve some driving around to get lucky.



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This is Amberley Castle, in use as a hotel/restaurant. We were allowed to walk around and I hope to stay here some day!
The castle was erected as a 12th-century manor house and fortified in 1377.

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The route through Sussex AONB was a joy to ride.

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I spotted this brewery on Google Maps and as I'm interested in microbreweries, we found ourselves on
the doorstep of Langham Breweries. There was work in progress and due health & safety regulations we could not
walk around freely but it was small enough to take in with one sweep and the men had time for a friendly chat.
Most importantly, the brews we took home tasted fine!

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langhambrewery.co.uk: an independent steam powered microbrewery situated between the Sussex towns of
Midhurst and Petworth, in the beautiful South Downs National Park. With awards to show for it!


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Waverley Abbey was the first Cistercian abbey in England.
It was founded in 1128 by William Giffard, Bishop of Winchester. Located in Farnham, Surrey, about 2 miles (3.2 km) southeast of the town centre, the abbey is situated on a floodplain, surrounded by current and previous channels of the River Wey.
It was damaged on more than one occasion by severe flooding, resulting in rebuilding in the 13th century.

The abbey was closed in 1536 as part of King Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries.
Subsequently largely demolished, its stone was reused in local buildings, including 'Waverley Abbey House', which was built in 1723 in the northern portion of the former abbey precinct.

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The ruins of the abbey are currently managed by English Heritage and open to the public. In fact when
we approached the ruïns we met maintenace men working in the grounds. We had a lengthy and informative chat
on the maintenance of such sites. It appeared these men, father and son if I recall correctly, worked for
Sykes & Son, a firm with a history of over 250 years itself and a long history with English Heritage!

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Despite being the first Cistercian abbey in England, and being motherhouse to several other abbeys, Waverley was "slenderly endowed" and its monks are recorded as having endured poverty and famine.

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Guildford Castle, in the centre of town. Esspecially the gardens were magnificent!
It is thought to have been built shortly after the 1066 invasion of England by William the Conqueror.

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Another for our '1066' trail, the last one for we were moving north.
After the Battle of Hastings in 1066 William the Conqueror led his army to Canterbury and then sacked towns
along the Pilgrims' Way, including Guildford. Later William, or one of his barons, built Guildford Castle.
There is no record of it in the Doomesday Book, so construction probably started after 1086.

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A quick look in Guildford for lunch (nice tearoom in the Visitor's Centre) and some (book) shopping at Waterstone's.

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'The Surrey Scholar'
The weather had improved and would remain so for the next 10 days.



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Visit to Henley-on-Thames for Henley's Royal Regatta!
Henley-on-Thames is a historic market town on the River Thames in Oxfordshire, 14 kms northeast of Reading and
37 kms southeast of Oxford (our next stop). One of its boundaries has the tripoint of Oxfordshire, Berkshire
and Buckinghamshire. It was sheer concidence we arrived here on this special day.
These ladies did me the pleasure of a portrait on this festive day.

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These kind young men explained to me the blazers worn in support of teams and Colleges (I believe).
Entered into the regatta this year (2017) were 578 crews! Blazers galore! They come from universities, colleges,
schools and independent rowing clubs from around the world. Normally more than 100 are from overseas.
It is indeed a wonderful and unique event and I hope I haven't seen the last of it!

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The Henley Royal Regatta (or Henley Regatta, its original name pre-dating Royal patronage) is a rowing event held
annually on the River Thames by the town of Henley-on-Thames, England. It was established on 26Mar1839.
The regatta is regarded as part of the English social season. As with other events in the season, certain enclosures
at the regatta have strict dress codes...

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Henley is a world-renowned centre for rowing!
Each summer the Henley Royal Regatta is held on Henley Reach, a naturally straight stretch of the river just north of the town. It was extended artificially.
The event became 'Royal' in 1851, when Prince Albert became patron of the regatta.
Other regattas and rowing races are held on the same reach, including Henley Women's Regatta, the Henley Boat Races for women's and lightweight teams between Oxford and Cambridge University, the Henley Town and Visitors Regatta, Henley Veteran Regatta, Upper Thames Small Boats Head, Henley Fours and Eights Head, and Henley Sculls... These 'Heads' often attract strong crews that have won medals at National Championships.

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From canoes to launches, a lot of fun can be witnessed on the water, away from the exclusive enclosures and expensive
bars and rowing clubhouses.

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I hope to visit it again, but staying in Henley-on-Thames is expensive. Perhaps in combination with a stay in London:
there seems to be trains running from Paddington Station directly to here.
Our stay was brief (places to go, schedule to keep!'), a more complete report can be seen here:


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On our way to Oxford I noticed a roadsign for the steamrailway of Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway,
something I am always keen to visit. I was lucky because a steamtrain was in and we could witness its departure.

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I have been in Oxford many times, even on extended visits and thus this time our visit had a defined target: some
bookshopping at Blackwell's on Broad Street. I passed the P&R stops and was very luck to find a place to park
my car on Broad Street itself! This shortened our stay to a mere hour, so I quickly did my shopping and instead of a
pint at the White Horse we visited the Trinity College, which was open for visitors and this had eluded me years before.

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Trinity College (full name: The College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity in the University of Oxford, of the foundation of Sir Thomas Pope!) is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England.

The college was founded in 1555 by Sir Thomas Pope, on land previously occupied by Durham College, home to Benedictine monks from Durham Cathedral.
Despite its large size, the college is relatively small in terms of student numbers at approximately 400. As of July 2013, Trinity had a financial endowment of £104.2 million.
Trinity has produced 3 British prime ministers, placing it joint-second with Balliol College in terms of former students who have held the office. -Wikipedia

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The chapel, though relatively modest in size compared to some of its Oxford counterparts, was the first college chapel to be designed entirely in the Baroque style.
It was designed by Henry Aldrich, with advice from Christopher Wren, and was consecrated in 1694.

The Trinity College Chapel Choir consists of up to eight choral scholars and over thirty voluntary singers. The College has one of the largest chapel choirs in the university with the majority of members from within the college.

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Since we had no time in Oxford to visit The White Horse, we decided to visit another Inspector Morse
hangout, The Trout Inn near Witney. Perhaps it also featured in the Inspector Lewis series, but despite
being a faithful fan of these series I did not recognize one bit.

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The weather was exquisite, the drinks refreshing and it is indeed a wonderful spot!

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The interior of the Trout Inn. Down the hall there are enlarged covers of Colin Dexter's Morse novels.

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The Trout Inn sits along the river Thames.

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As said in the introduction there were some aviation bits to enjoy; should you be interested see my aviation report.