The Liberei in Braunschweig –
a medieval library ahead of its time
Braunschweig in approx. 1550 (Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)
The Liberei in Braunschweig is a unique medieval building: 1. It was the first free-standing library building in Europe north of the Alps. 2. It was the southern-most example of Backsteingotik. 3. It was one of the first public libraries in Germany. 4. It was a famous centre for research. Quite remarkable for a building of just 5 by 5 metres. Continue reading
The Redemption Windows
in Leicester Cathedral
On 24 April this year, two new stained glass windows were dedicated in Leicester Cathedral. I had a chance to see them, face-to-face, in the beginning of June. A much-anticipated visit and I was not disappointed!
Redemption Windows, Leicester Cathedral
Braunschweig Now and Then:
The Gewandhaus in
Eastern facade of the Gewandhaus
One of the present-day tourist attractions of Braunschweig is the Altstadtmarkt with its historic buildings: the Altstadtrathaus (town hall), St Martin’s Church, the Altstadtbrunnen (fountain) and the Gewandhaus. Altstadt (old town) refers to one of the five medieval parts of Braunschweig, the others being the Neustadt (new town), Hagen, Altewiek and Sack. Each had its own market, church and town hall. The two most important parts, Altstadt and Hagen, also had their own Gewandhaus (cloth merchants’ hall). Only the one in the Altstadt has survived, so this is the one which is referred to as the Gewandhaus today. Continue reading
The Manor of Ware in Hertfordshire during the Middle Ages
The town of Ware has a long history. The oldest dateable artefacts found in the area go back to the late Paleolithic period (c.25,000 – 10,000BC). There is evidence for a more permanent settlement in the Mesolithic period (8,000 – 5,000 BC). The Romans were also there and so it goes on into the Middle Ages, which is the period this post will be dealing with.[i] Continue reading
The Eulenspiegel Fountain in Braunschweig
Braunschweig, in Lower Saxony, Germany, is a city rich in history. This became clear to me, when I recently had the opportunity to revisit the city where I was born. We moved away when I was seven, long before its history held much interest to me. Seeing it again, brought back to me the stories my grandfather used to tell me. He was a wonderful story-teller. His range covered stories by others (sometimes embellished to make them more attractive for his little granddaughter), and above all stories he made up on the spot, linking them to the buildings or monuments around us.
I would like to share with you a monument to one of the heroes of the stories he told me: Till Eulenspiegel. It’s not very often that you get a chance to touch one of the heroes of the stories of your childhood. However, this was what I able to do when I saw the Eulenspiegel for the first time, at the age of four or five. Needless to say, I went back to say “hello” to Till now.
Eulenspiegel Fountain in Braunschweig
Today would be the 101st birthday of David Guy Barnabas Kindersley, stone-carver and type designer. He was born on 11 June 1915 in Codicote, Hertfordshire. Among his extensive work is the Richard III Memorial Stone. Some of David Kindersley’s work is at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
The memorial stone was originally in Leicester Cathedral. It had been a project of Rev T.C. Hunter-Clare, to which the Richard III Society had contributed. It was dedicated in August 1982.
Since January 2015, just prior to Richard III’s reburial in Leicester Cathedral, the memorial stone has been on permanent display at the King Richard III Visitor Centre, Leicester.
David Kindersley died on 2 February 1995 in Cambridge.
The photograph was taken in 2013, showing the memorial stone in its original position in Leicester Cathedral.
Richard III Memorial Stone
To learn more about David Kindersley, you may wish his obituary in the Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituariesdavid-kindersley-1571426.html
Congratulations to Leicester City on winning the English Premier League title. This morning, this was the first thing I read, when checking the overnight news on my phone. Imagine me cheering loudly in a still sleeping house.
Anyone who knows me, realises how utterly unlikely this reaction is. I’m not interested in sport, never have been, and least of all in soccer. Nevertheless, here I am supporting a soccer team on the other end of the world. Just don’t expect any technical analysis of the Leicester’s game plan from me here. Continue reading
The German Reinheitsgebot –
the oldest, currently valid consumer protection law in the world
Today we are celebrating a very important anniversary: the German ‘Reinheitsgebot’ (purity law) is 500 years-old. On 23 April 1516, the co-regents of Bavaria, dukes Wilhelm IV and Ludwig X, passed a decree that beer may only be made of barley, hops, and water.[i] Continue reading
Book Review: How to Bury a King:
The Reinterment of King Richard III
Pete Hobson, How to Bury a King: The Reinterment of King Richard III. Zaccmedia, 2016
On 26 March 2016, the one year anniversary of Richard III’s reinterment in Leicester Cathedral, three books and a CD were launched in St Martin’s House adjacent to Leicester Cathedral.
The launch was held in the great hall of St Martin’s House, with the choir singing to publicise the release of the CD. He lieth under this Stone features much of the choral music performed at Leicester Cathedral during the reinterment week in March 2015. Of course, it also includes ‘Ghostly Grace’, composed especially for the occasion by Judith Bingham.
The three books were How to Bury a King by Rev Peter Hobson, acting canon missioner at Leicester Cathedral, Flowers for a King by Rosemary Hughes, who was responsible for the floral arrangements in the Cathedral, and Richard III – His Story, by Leicester artist Kirsteen Thomson. Continue reading
Hatfield before Hatfield House –
the 15th century ‘Old Palace’
In this final part of Hatfield before Hatfield House, we look at the last medieval manor at Hatfield, and the only one of which a part is still standing.[i]
In 1478, a new bishop of Ely was appointed: John Morton. Morton was a dedicated supporter of the Lancastrians and would be on very good terms with Henry VII, though considerably less so with Richard III. However, he is not only remembered for political mischief, but also as one of the great builders of his age. Soon after being elevated to the bishopric of Ely, he set about rebuilding the manor at Hatfield, as well as Wisbech Castle, which also belonged to the Diocese of Ely. Another project was a great dyke, which was cut through the fens from Peterborough to Wisbech, and is considered a pioneer effort in drainage. In 1486, a grateful Henry VII had him translated to the see of Canterbury, where he completed the Angel steeple on the cathedral and further buildings of the archdiocese, as for example the gatehouse of Lambeth Palace (also built of brick).[ii] Continue reading