Archive for the ‘History’ Category

On a recent visit to Rochester, Keith and I visited the Museum which is housed in the Old Guildhall (1687) and the previous offices of the Medway Conservancy (1909) next door.

The Medway Conservancy building with the Guildhall beyond

Detail on the Medway Conservancy building

Guildhall building

It contains a number of exhibits on the history of Rochester from its Norman foundations around the Castle and the Cathedral situated at the crossing of the River Medway to its civil war exploits and the Battle of the Medway in 1667 when the Dutch entered the River and captured or destroyed a large part of the British Fleet in 1667.

Attack on Rochester Castle

A civil war tableau

Battle of Medway 1667

An unusual Green Post Box

The upper floor of the Guildhall is the Guildhall chamber which has been used both as a court and as a council chamber during its history.

Guildhall Chamber

Her is another digital reconstruction showing how Hadrian’s villa would have looked

Video by Matthew Brennan and made available through Youtube.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a link to a tour through a virtual reconstruction of Rome of 320AD. Here is another video which looks at the remains of the Forum as they are today and what they were like when they were built.

Video by Jane Eyre and made available through You-tube

The Nave from the west door

The church of St Saviour’s in Dartmouth dates back to the 14th century and contains many beautiful artefacts from its ancient history.

The font

The pulpit

Screen. 15th century, restored in the 16th century

Detail from the screen, 15th-century images of saints

Lady Chapel

Gallery, made from wood taken from Spanish ships captured from the Armada (1588).

Coat of Charles II, added to gallery in commemoration of the restoration of the monarchy (1660)

Thought to be an original medieval church door. It displays the lions of the royal house of Plantagenet which reigned from 1154 -1485. It is dated 1631, but this is generally thought to be a date of restoration.

 

 

 

I recently visited an exhibition on the ‘Archaeology of Crossrail’. Crossrail is the building of a new railway line in London which goes from the east to the west through central London. It will be known as the Elizabeth line when it is completed and opens in 2018-9. During the construction of the line, a number of archaeological sites have been excavated by the full-time archaeology team attached to the project. This exhibition shows some of the finds.

Mammoth Tusk

Mesolithic Flints

Roman writing Stylii

Bone ice-skate. records as early as 12th-century record people strapping pieces of bone to shoes and skating on frozen marshland. Found at Moorfield Marsh.

Tombstone from New Churchyard (1570-1740). 1665 was the year of the great plague in London. Testing remains from this cemetery has revealed the first identification of the 1665 plague pathogen enabling scientists to formally link it to the Bubonic plague of the 14th century, known as the Black Death.

Food manufacturers Crosse and Blackwell were founded in 1830 and moved to a site near Charing Cross Road in 1838. Archaeologists found over 13000 pieces of ceramics on this site.

 

 

Bison bone – dating reveals it to be 68000 years old.

 

 

The earth removed from the tunnels has been used to create a new RSPB nature reserve in Essex at Wallasea Marsh.

 

The exhibition runs until September 2017 at the Museum of London Docklands, West India Quay.

Ascent of Everest

Posted: May 29, 2017 in History
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Mount Everest. derivative work: Papa Lima Whiskey 2 (talk) – from Mount Everest as seen from Drukair2.jpg:, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18262217

The 29th May 1953 was the date on which a New Zealander Edmund Hillary and a Nepalese Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mount Everest, the first ever people to do so.

Hillary and Tenzing. By Jamling Tenzing Norgay – http://www.tenzing-norgay-trekking.de, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11252058

The news was relayed back to the base camp of the success and the Times correspondent there sent the following message back to London – “Snow conditions bad. Advanced Base abandoned yesterday”. It was, of course, a coded message so that anyone who saw it would not be able to scoop the paper on its story. It read, to those who knew the pre-arranged code, “Summit reached-Hillary-Yesterday”. The news was broken in London on the morning of June 2nd, the day of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Sir Edmund Hillary 1953. By Photographer unidentified. Retouched by TimofKingsland. – Pascoe, John Dobree, 1908-1972. Edmund Percival Hillary. Ref: 1/2-020196-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://beta.natlib.govt.nz/records/22676310, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20034296

Tenzing Norgay. By Edmund_Hillary_&_Sherpa_Tenzing.jpg: Kete Horowhenua : Horowhenua Historical Society Inc. derivative work: Elviper (Edmund_Hillary_&_Sherpa_Tenzing.jpg) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hillary, Tenzing and Colonel Hunt (the expedition leader) were all honoured by the British, Indian and Nepalese governments for their achievement.

Sir Edmund Hillary: Photo by brewbooks (Flickr: Sir Edmund Hillary) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Statue of Tenzing Norgay – Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. By Colin Ashe (tenzing norgay statue) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0), GFDL via Wikimedia Commons

London Stone (on display in the Museum of London) May 2017

The London Stone is a city landmark which traditionally stood in a grilled alcove in a wall at 111  Cannon Street. It is the remains of ageing much larger limestone object, which seems to have stood on the site, or nearby, for many centuries.

A map of 1550  shows the stone located opposite St Swithern’s church in Candlewick Street (now known as Cannon Street). The first documented reference is in 1598, when the London historian John Stow, records ” a great stone called London Stone”. He claims it was listed in a bible from the reign of King Aethelstan (924-39) in a list of properties of Christchurch Canterbury ( a.k.a. Canterbury Cathedral) ”  being near to London Stone”. A further reference is found in documents of 1098 and 1108 of a man called “Eadwaker aet lundene stane” (Eadwacker at London Stone), who gives a property, or properties, to the Cathedral. It seems this use in names became fairly common as there are a number of mediaeval references, where people add the term ” of London’s stone”  to their names. Most notable of these is Ailwen of London Stone,  father of Henry Fitz-Alwen, Mayor of London from 1193 to 1212. It is known that the Fitz-Alwen house was located in Candlewick Street.

In 1540, the rebel Jack Cade made his way to the city stopping at the stone.  He struck the stone with his sword claiming to be the Lord of the city. It is unclear whether this is something he had made up or whether there was some ritual regarding city Lordship which he was imitating.

Jade Cade at London Stone. By editor: Howard Staunton; artist Sir John Gilbert (1817-1897) – Works of William Shakespeare (London: Routledge, 1881) vol 8, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25663723

By Elizabethan times, the stone had become associated with King Lud, the legendary founder of the city of London. It is listed in Samuel Rowland’s ‘Sights of London‘ published in 1608. In 1671, members of the spectacle makers company confiscated a batch of spectacles from a shop in Cannon Street. These were taken to the Guildhall, where they were condemned as being of inferior quality and ordered to be smashed on the remains of the London Stone.

By 1742 the stone had become an obstruction to the passage of traffic and the remains were moved to the wall of  St Swithern’s church opposite.

St Swithern’s Church 1831.By artist: T. H. Shepherd; engraver: J. Tingle – original engraving, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25706799

 

The London Stone (1887). By Image extracted from page 559 of volume 1 of Old and New London, Illustrated, by Walter Thornbury. Original held and digitised by the British Library. , Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32463347

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The church was destroyed by bombing in 1940, but the section of wall containing the stone remained standing. The remains of the church were actually not demolished until 1962 and were then replaced by an office building.

London Stone niche in the remaining walls of St Swithern’s Church Cannon St (1962). By David Wright, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13733522

The stone was relocated in a grilled niche in the wall of this building, the ground floor of which was used as a stationer and newsagents. This was not a very satisfying relocation as being at ground level it rather looked like a ventilation grill. I wonder how many people walked past it each day and didn’t even know it was there?

The rather unassuming location of the London Stone in the wall of WH Smiths in Cannon St. By John O’London – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25664002

This building, in turn, was scheduled for the demolition in 2016 and the stone was moved to the Museum of London,  where it is currently on display until it can be relocated when the new office building on the site is completed. It is hoped that the new location will show the stone off so it can once again become a tourist attraction – the heart of the City.

So what was this stone?

Over the years there have been many suggestions: a Roman milestone; a sacred city stone (as with the golden milestone in the forum at Rome); a talismanic stone (as in the Palladium in Troy); a prehistoric or a druidic sacred stone; a stone from the remains of the Roman praetorium or governors Palace,which is believed to lie under Cannon Street station; a mark stone of ley-lines or in a recent book, the stone from which King Arthur pulled Excalibur. No one knows, but it has clearly played a part in the history and conscience of the city of London for many centuries.

The original parish church of the port of Dartmouth in Devon was St Clements situated on the hill above the Estuary. When King Edward I visited the town in 1286 to review the fleet, he granted permission for the residents of the port area and the lower town to build their own church. However, the Bishop of Exeter and the Abbot of Torre, who between them controlled appointments to St Clement’s objected that they had not been consulted in the decision and the church was not consecrated until 1372. It was originally dedicated to ‘The Holy Trinity’ but for reasons not known by 1430 had become known as St Saviour’s.

 

One interesting person buried in the Church is John Hawley (1340 or 1350 -1408). Hawley was 14 times mayor of Dartmouth and 4 times a member of parliament. He was also a wealthy ship owner and privateer (state-licensed pirate) operating in the English Channel. He also was briefly the Deputy Admiral of the English Fleet.

 

Japanese Garden, Dartmouth

Dartmouth, situated at the mouth of the river Dart in Devon is a town which has long-standing naval links. It was recorded in 1147 and 1190 as a departure port for the crusades and was twice raided and sacked during the Hundred Years War. This led to the practice of closing the estuary each night by stretching a chain across from Dartmouth to Kingswear on the other side.

Dartmouth Railway Station. Built in preparation for a railway connection to the South Devon line. Unfortunately, the Railway never reached the Town.

Naval references are found everywhere in the town.

Lots of little lanes ascend the hillside.

The town has many buildings dating back to the Middle Ages and Tudor periods.

The cherub public house, probably the oldest building in Dartmouth. Dating back to c 1380 it was originally the house of a townsman or merchant.

Inside The Cherub

It is home to the Royal Brittania Naval College, founded in 1863 and housed in an impressive hillside building overlooking the town, completed in 1905.

Britannia Royal Naval Academy

Have you ever imagined what Rome looked like? How did all those ruins link together?

Here is a tour of Rome in the year 320AD looking at the major sites as they looked then.

https://www.vox.com/2016/2/28/11129238/rome-reborn-video.

If you enjoy this tour you can go off and explore for yourself using an interactive map.

For details see: http://rome320ad.com/

Happy sightseeing!