Leicester Guildhall

On the day that we visited Leicester Cathedral and the temporary Richard III exhibition, we also visited the Guildhall. What a beautiful building!

It’s a Grade I listed timber framed building, with the earliest part dating from c. 1390. The Guildhall once acted as the town hall for the city until the current one was commissioned in 1876. Although some parts are earlier, the majority of the building dates from the 15th century. It is located in the old walled city, on a street now known as Guildhall Lane, just across from the west door of the cathedral.

Leicester Guildhall Leicester Guildhall

Library door, Leicester Guildhall Library door, Leicester GuildhallBehind the street frontage there was the most wonderful little courtyard. You can see the spire of the cathedral over the roof. I can just imagine killing time sitting on that bench with a book.

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There was also an unusual clock on the wall. On each full hour the little figures move out and face each other to clang out the hour (for some strange reason I was reminded of Punch and Judy!!).

Clock in the courtyard at Leicester Guildhall Clock in the courtyard at Leicester GuildhallDSCF2834Inside on the ground floor is The Mayors Parlour. The room is dominated by a fireplace with a wonderful over mantel. It was build in 1637.

Over mantel in The Mayors Parlour, Leicester GuildhallThe mayors chair is there as well, and there is also a seat for the representative of the ruler of the land. It has the motto of the Monarch of the United Kingdom (Dieu et mon Droit) over the seat. Mind you it looks a bit uncomfortable!

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Next door is the Great Hall. It was built around 1390 as the meeting place of the Guild of Corpus Christi (founded in 1347); the guild was a group of businessmen and gentry who had religious connections. The Guildhall was used for banquets, festivals, and as a home for a priest who prayed for the souls of Guild members in the nearby St Martins church. By 1495 in was in use as the Town Hall and remained so until the remarkably late date of 1875. The hall was used for many purposes, including council meetings, feasts, as a courtroom, and for theatrical performances.

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The hall has the most wonderful wooden vaulted ceiling.

Upstairs there’s a small bedroom and the library.

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This was an unexpected gem to find on our day in Leicester. There is also an old jail on the site with some interesting inmates! And apparently there are five resident ghosts…

It is a beautiful building with a great sense of history throughout…. and I think it’s a wedding venue as well!

Opening times (as far as I know)

Open daily: 11am – 4.30pm
(February – October)

Open November – January for special events.

Address:

The Guildhall
Guildhall Lane
Leicester
LE1 5FQ

 

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Richard III and Leicester Cathedral

I keep seeing these ads on the telly for the re-interment of the remains of Richard III in Leicester. You might remember him as the King in the Car Park, whose remains were discovered in Greyfriars in September 2012.

We had visited the Cathedral and exhibition back in 2013 (I’d planned to write this back then but the real world got in the way!!). We had already been to the Bosworth Field site to learn more about the actual battle, but this was a chance to see a little bit more.
All the photos included here are a year old; apparently the Cathedral has undergone some serious building works in preparation for the reburial, but I thought I would include them anyway.

At that time there was a very basic exhibition centre in the Guildhall , but there were plans for a more extensive structure. The former Alderman Newton’s School, located right next to the spot where the king’s remains were found, was purchased and transformed into a new Exhibition Centre. The former school – a Victorian Gothic revival building built partly on the site of the former Grey Friars Church and in the heart of Leicester’s Old Town – had stood empty since 2008 when its last occupants, Leicester Grammar School, moved out. The car park looked much like a building site when we were there (there were further digs planned), and it was strange to think of Richard lying there for over 500 years. I loved the Bear standing guard over the car park from the roof of an adjoining building. The Bear and Ragged Staff was the symbol of the Earl of Warwick, who was a huge presence in Richards early life, but was later used by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.

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Leicester Cathedral itself is a beautiful building. There has been a church dedicated to St Martin on the site for about a thousand years, with the first one recorded in 1086, when the older Saxon church was replaced by a Norman one. The present building is a Grade II* listed building and dates to about that age. The spire was added in 1862, and there have been various restorations throughout the years.

Exterior of  Leicester Cathedral, south door

Exterior of Leicester CathedralWe entered through Vaughans Porch on the south side of the cathedral. This is so-named for the carved saints over the door set in sandstone niches, all of whom are listed below.

  • Guthlac c 673–713 was a Christian saint from Lincolnshire who lived when Leicester was first made a diocese in the year 680
  • Hugh of Lincoln c 1135–1200 was a French monk who founded a Carthusian monastery and worked on the rebuilding of Lincoln Cathedral after an earthquake destroyed it in 1185. In Norman times Leicester was situated within the Diocese of Lincoln.
  • Robert Grosseteste c 1175–1253 was an English statesman, scholastic philosopher, theologian, scientist and Bishop of Lincoln. He is also the most famous of the medieval Archdeancons of Leicester.
  • John Wycliffe c 1329–1384 was an Oxford scholar and is famous for encouraging two of his followers to translate the bible into English. Foxe’s famous “Book of Martyrs” (which commemorates the Protestant heroes of the reformation era) begins with John Wycliffe.
  • Henry Hastings c 1535–1595 was the 3rd Earl of Huntingdon. The Leicester home of the Earls of Huntingdon was in Lord’s Place off the High Street in Leicester, and Mary, Queen of Scots stayed there as a prisoner on her journey to Coventry.
  • William Chillingworth 1602–1643 was an Oxford theologian, a friend of Jeremy Taylor and nephew of Archbishop Laud. He was Master of Wyggeston Hospital and became a Chaplain to the Royalist army in the Civil War.
  • William Connor Magee 1821–1891 was Bishop of Peterborough and encouraged the building of many of Leicester’s famous Victorian churches and a large number of parochial schools. He appointed the first suffragan Bishop of Leicester, Francis Thichnesse, in 1888. Magee later became Archbishop of York.

Carvings over the Vaughan Porch, Leicester Cathedral Vaughan Porch, Leicester CathedralInterior of Leicester Cathedral

There are three separate chapels in the cathedral, each dedicated to a separate saint.

The side chapels are St Katherine,s and St Dunstan’s and are used for small services and vigils. St Georges chapel is at the rear of the cathedral and commemorates the armed forces, especially those from Leicester who have been killed in past conflicts. Hanging overhead are a collection of colours from those forces. These are the battle honours of the Regiment, and the names of those killed in the Crimean, South African and two World Wars are recorded and remembered; standing there you cannot help but think of the number of battles those flags were carried into and the number of young and old men who gave their lives. Dulce et decorum est……….

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I’ve added a few photos of the interior of the church. Like I said, the photos were taken a year ago and there have been changes with the planned reburial. But it is a beautiful church and well worth a visit.

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At the time there was a memorial slab to the memory of Richard III in the main chancel of the church. I’m presuming the new tomb will replace this.

Memorial stone to Richard III; Interior of Leicester CathedralWe popped across the street to the Guildhall where the exhibition was housed at that time. There were a number of battle field artefacts from the battlefield at Bosworth where Richard was killed and also exhibits about his life and kingship. Most of this I had seen before in Bosworth, but there was an exquisite 15th century alabaster sculpture with the Yorkist symbols of the Sun in Splendour and the White Rose.

15thcentury alabaster sculpture with the Yorkist symbols of the white rose and the Sun in Splendour. The White Rose of York The Sun in SplendourThe details of the reburial and the planned routes are on the King Richard in Leicester website. Hopefully this time he will rest in peace.

 

The Road Less Travelled in the Hazelwood………

When we take the dogs for walk, we tend to try for places where they won’t annoy other people. That may sound a bit strange, but we like to let them run free where possible, and there are a lot of people who are wary of dogs.

We can’t guarantee that Missie won’t jump on the next child she sees or that Alfie won’t disappear like a rocket up the track to herd up the family ahead of us ( no matter how much training we have done). We’re very aware that every dog owner has a responsibility to be in control of their animals at all times, so in an attempt to preempt any issues, we keep them on leads where there are loads of people round and then let them loose off track through the woods or sand-hills.

One of our current walks is through the Hazelwood Demesne, about 5km outside Sligo. There are a series of walks here starting at Half-moon Bay, and stretching along the shores of Lough Gill.

Hazelwood was the seat of the Wynne family who owned the house and most of the surrounding lands for 300 years.  The Wynnes were a very important Sligo family and included members of parliament and High Sherrifs within their ranks. However in recent years the house has lain empty.
A factory was built on the grounds of Hazelwood House in the early 1970s for the Italian nylon manufacturer Snia. This factory closed down in 1982 and the premises were sold to Korean company Saehan Media which made video tapes at the plant for 15 years until 2006. Recently the entire site has been bought by Dublin entrepreneur David Raethorne and a new future secured as a tourist attraction and whiskey distillery!
Val has written a piece on the house in her blog Magnumlady.

We tend to head through the forest instead of along the waters edge.

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Halfway through the forest we cut through the woods to the edge of the factory grounds. We never go through the grounds as it is clearly sign-posted as private property. There is no path as such, but it is walkable.

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The dogs love it as they just play chase through the trees. No need for fancy obstacles courses here! And we obviously are not the first to come this way as we found the Sligo version of the sword in the stone: the knife in the tree!

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And when finally get through the woods, the view along the Garavogue River towards Dooney Rock and Benbulben are stunning.

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Heading in the direction of Sligo  brings you to a very strange little building. It’s at the back gate to the old factory and I’ve been told that it was a pump house. I presume that the pump house was used to pump pressurised water into the factory as a source of energy. If anyone knows the hos and whys I would love to hear.

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You can continue on, but it leads to the side entrance of the House. There is a barbed wire fence across the end of the lane so we don’t go there. We come back along the shoreline part of the way, before cutting onto the track we started on. It’s a lovely walk at anytime of the day, but on Saturdays you might get to spot the local rowing club at play.
There used to be a collection of wooden art here when I first came to Sligo in 1991. Sadly the toadstools are the only remaining piece that I can find

*Sections of this route cross Coillte property, for up to date information on diversions/closures due to tree felling, please visit www.coillteoutdoors.ie

After the time out…….

I haven’t been here much in the last year…….. actually that’s an understatement; I wrote one piece in 2014 and that was that!

After Snook died, there was a lot of grief and anger inside me. Not at Snook or the world, but at myself. I had missed so many days out with Bob, Snook and Skip because I spent so much time in Facebook on the laptop or phone. There was always a comment to look at or an ‘interesting’ post to read… I missed out on precious moments.
So I made a decision that that would not be the case with the new pups. I decided that I was going to take them for walks on the beach or in the woods, or spend time in the garden and that I would reduce the amount of time spent on the laptop.
I may have overdid it slightly……….

Anyway another year has arrived and so I’m going to try for a bit of balance. Walk the dogs and blog a bit as well.

Any of you that followed me purely for viking related and wool topics may be a bit disappointed as Bob and I don’t seem to be doing as much as we did. Bob is still busy making swords and the like, but I seem to have lost my wool dying mojo. It’s still there but honestly I would much prefer to walk the dogs or work in the garden than dye wool. But we shall see where that goes………..

So I mentioned the new pups. And I guess I better introduce them to you as they will probably feature here from time to time.

I explained about Indie in the previous post. He has turned into a smashing dog. He has a great personality and is very affectionate. He’s grown a lot in the year and we love him to bits.

IndieHe is also completely water mad and loves to swim. Typical Labrador!!

IndieNext to arrive was Missie. She’s a collie/lab X with who knows what else in the mix, and she arrived in February last year. Another rescue dog, she had been found abandoned on a street when she only five or six weeks old. She was so tiny, but she too has grown quite a bit in the year. She’s smaller than Indie, but that doesn’t stop her from ruling the roost at home!

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Last to arrive was Alfie. He ‘appeared’ outside our house during the Fleadh last year. His dew claws had been removed and he was really skinny. He stayed here for a while but had to go when Missie came into heat. So Sligo Animal Rescue put him into kennels and tried to rehome him. But as winter approached he needed somewhere warmer and so we took him back as a foster. But before we knew it, he had wriggled his way into our hearts and we ended up adopting him as well!! But he’s a real sweetie and he’s here to stay. He’s a collie/whippet X with two speeds, fast and flat out so getting photos of him is pretty difficult!!

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So we’ll see where we go from here. You might find that posts are more about where we go with the dogs and what we do in the garden, but I hope you enjoy it, x.

An end and a beginning; Snook and Indie.

I haven’t posted here since we came back from the New Forest back in October. When we got home we discovered a lump on our beautiful Snook’s back leg. So we took him to the vet, and we were told it was a fibrosarcoma.
Sad day…… I work in a hospital and any word with sarcoma in it is generally bad news.

SnookSo we did what we could. After much thought and discussion, we took him to a specialist vet and decided that removing the tumour would be the best thing to do. Off we went to Galway and left our boy to have his operation. It went well; the vet was very positive. We got daily phone calls to tell us how he was doing, and the staff were so good to him and to us.
Finally we got the phone call to come and collect him; our boy was coming home!!

He collapsed as he was coming out of the van and never got up again. Half an hour later our beautiful boy had gone to the rainbow bridge.

To say that we were distraught would be the biggest understatement of the century. We had found Snook in a pound in Co. Tyrone as a eight week puppy. We raised him, played with him, trained him, took him to vike events, dealt with his sometimes uncertain temperament, but most of all we loved him. He was our boy. He meant the world to us. And he loved us back!

We buried Snook on December 21st. The turning of the year. And we tried to continue our lives, but there was this great big hole in our lives where the black dog had been.
So on Christmas Eve, Bob rang Dorothy from Sligo Animal Rescue to offer our home as a foster home for any dog that may need help. They were very grateful and said they would get back to us.
And on Stephens Day we got a call; someone had tied an eight week Labrador puppy to a tree on Christmas morning and they needed a foster home. We arranged to go and get him and met a little black puppy!!
We called him Indie as we were watching ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ the night he arrived.

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Four months later Indie is still with us, and we have adopted him permanently. He is a wonderful boy and sometimes I think he was an angel sent to look after us!; as one door closed another one opened!
Oh and as he is such a clever lad, he has his own Facebook page, so if you want to drop in and say hi!
Indie; 5 months old.

Moesgard Viking Camp

Over the past year I’ve often thought about posting about viking camp life.
I have posted about Moesgard before, but this selection of photos are from this year. They are mainly of the camp itself and the beach and I hope you enjoy them.
To be honest I don’t think any major description is needed so I will just leave them for you to enjoy!

Anf if you enjoyed these, you may also like my post on Swimming with the Horses!

Tewkesbury Abbey.

We stopped off in Tewkesbury recently, on our way to the Hrafnslith training weekend at the ATC in Cranbourne.
We’d stayed in Tewkesbury some years ago, and I’d always fancied returning there to have another wander round the Abbey and it’s grounds.

Tewkesbury Abbey.Officially known as The Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin, Tewkesbury Abbey is in the English county of Gloucestershire, and is a former Benedictine monastery. It is thought to be one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Britain; in simpler terms, it is a stunning Norman building!

Tewkesbury Abbey.The entrance to the grounds is through an ornate gateway. There is a coat of arms at the top of the gateway, but I cannot seem to find any information about whose they are. Any ideas?

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The  pathway to the Abbey entrance is lined by Yew trees.Pathway to entrance of Tewkesbury Abbey. Entrance of Tewkesbury Abbey.Once inside there is something to look at in every direction. The walls and ceiling have intricate carvings. When you think that these carvings were made over 800 years ago, without the advantages that modern labour saving techniques provide, I have to say that it is pretty impressive. Many of the carvings are on the walls and ceilings of the tombs that lie throughout the Abbey. One tip though if you do decide to visit; don’t forget to look up!

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There is a wonderful organ in the Abbey as well. The Milton Organ was originally built in 1631, but was bought by the Abbey in 1736.

The Milton Organ - Tewkesbury Abbey.The wooden carved stalls are in the choir of the Abbey.

The choir - Tewkesbury Abbey.There is also a modern bronze memorial plaque to Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales. Edward was the leader of the Lancastrian force that was defeated by Edward IV at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471 during the Wars of the Roses.

Memorial plaque to Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales.The Latin is translated as: “Here lies Edward, Prince of Wales, cruelly slain while but a youth, A.D. 1471, May 4th. Alas, the savagery of men. Thou art the sole light of thy mother, and thy last hope of thy race.” (W. G. Bannister, Tewkesbury Abbey, As It Was, and As It Is.)

The grounds of the Abbey are small, but are wonderfully peaceful to walk or sit in. Here are a few more of the photos I took while we were there.

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