The Blue Boar Inn in Leicester

The Blue Boar Inn in Leicester – 

A ‘Grand Hotel’ of Richard III’s time

On his way to the battle of Bosworth, Richard III stayed in Leicester, leaving on 21 August.    According to tradition, he spent the night at the Blue Boar Inn[i], though Peter Hammond thinks it more likely that he stayed at the castle.[ii]  However, as this post is about the inn, it doesn’t really matter where Richard actually resided.

Blue Boar Inn, in: C.J. Billson, Mediaeval Leicester, 1920 (Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

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Hunsdon House

Hunsdon House – 

One of the most important medieval houses in Hertfordshire

A few years ago, an attempt to find traces of Richard III’s family in Hertfordshire led me to Hunsdon.  This is a small village in the south-east of Hertfordshire, near the border to Essex.  The former manor house, Hunsdon House, is situated to the south of the actual village, next to the church of St Dunstan (find it on a map here).

Hunsdon House

A glimpse of the present-day Hunsdon House

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The ‘Brückenmännchen’ in Bonn

The Brückenmännchen in Bonn –

a cheeky little sculpture on a bridge

When we visited Bonn earlier this year, we went for a walk along the Rhine, as you do.  To our surprise, we spotted on the Kennedy Bridge the sculpture of a man rather cheekily sticking his bum out at us, the Brückenmännchen, which translates as “little bridge man”. It turns out that this little sculpture plays an important part of the history of the bridge.

The Brückenmännchen in Bonn

The Brückemnmännchen in Bonn – also a welcome resting place for pigeons

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Bonn’s bridges across the Rhine

Bonn’s bridges across the Rhine –

Connecting Bonn to its eastern neighbours

Bonn is situated on the western side of the river Rhine.  Understandably, a way to cross the river has been important for a long time, both for commercial and military reasons.  On the opposite, the eastern, side of the river is Beuel. Beuel has since 1969 been a suburb of Bonn, incorporating all the area on the right-hand side of the Rhine, which consisted of various parishes.  One example is Oberkassel, where the couple from the Ice Age was found.

There is a legend that Julius Caesar had the first bridge built in 55 BC when fighting the Gauls.  However, archaeologists say that’s all that it is:  a legend. Continue reading

The Gewandhaus in Braunschweig

Braunschweig Now and Then:

The Gewandhaus in

Braunschweig’s Altstadt

The Gewandhaus in Braunschweig

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

Eulenspiegel Fountain, Braunschweig

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 Braunschweig

Eulenspiegel Fountain in Braunschweig

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Hatfield before Hatfield House, Part 4

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

Hatfield before Hatfield House, Part 3

Hatfield before Hatfield House –

the Medieval Manor of the Bishops of Ely

Part 1 and Part 2 of Hatfield before Hatfield House explained how the Bishops of Ely came to hold the estate and how the park and township developed.  Part 3 will deal with the medieval manor of the bishops of Ely at Hatfield.

It is known that the bishops of Ely had a substantial house at Hatfield from early on, though we don’t know exactly when it was first built or what it looked like. [i] Continue reading

St John the Baptist, Buckland – the Church

St John the Baptist, Buckland –  one of the first ecclesiologically correct churches in Tasmania

Buckland is situated approx. 60km north east of Hobart on the Tasman Highway (A3).  The original inhabitants of the area were the Paredarerme.  Europeans first settled in the 1820s in what was then known as Prosser’s Plains (after the nearby river).  In 1841, a probation station for new convicts was established.  Convicts also worked on the convict road, which ran on the north side of the Prosser River (an 8km walking track is left).[i]  Its oldest house, Woodsden, was built in 1826.  In 1846, the village was renamed Buckland, after William Buckland, professor of geology at Oxford and from 1845 Dean of Westminster.[ii]  However, as contemporary newspaper articles show, both terms continued to be in use for quite some time.

In the early years, the settlement did not have a church.  This changed quickly once the first chaplain, Frederick Holdship Cox[iii], was appointed to the area in 1846.  Born on 21 April 1821, Cox was the son of Revd Frederick Cox, of Walton, Bucks, and had studied at Cambridge. Before coming to Tasmania, he had been appointed assistant curate of Iping-cum-Chithurst, Chichester, Sussex.

St John the Baptist, Buckland – the Church

Church of St John the Baptist, Buckland Tasmania

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