Tag Archives: history

Hampton Court

3 Nov

I love living in England.  I love the fact that you live, work and walk in history.  I love that the castles I used to read about in history books are close enough to visit.  I love that I’m able to walk through the hallways.  When it was mentioned that we could visit Hampton Court, I jumped at the chance.  I said yes right away.

Hampton Court gates, Nov 2011

I tried to pretend to be all serious and business-like when we walked through the gates today to get our tickets at the shop.  In my head I was saying, “OhmyGod!  OhmyGod!  OhmyGod! OhmyGod!”  I was living one of my dreams!

Dragon, Great Gate House

They were doing restoration work on the Great Gate House (you can see the red netting of the scaffolding behind the dragon) so I thought I’d take a picture of the dragon just outside the doorway to the Great Gate House instead.  I was, after all, born in the year of the Dragon.  I thought it was apt.

Lantern, Great Gate House

I thought this lantern was really interesting.  I was wondering whether this was an old lantern that Henry VIII and his wives looked up at when they came to Hampton Court or whether it was an addition that King William and Queen Mary chose when they did their improvements to Hampton Court.  In hindsight, I probably should have gotten one of those audio doodads!

Man at the wall, Base Court

I thought this figure was quite interesting.  There were no markings and no signs around this figure.  I went through the guidebook but didn’t see anything mentioned about this interesting man.  I’ve decided to call him Mystery Man at the Wall in Hampton Court.  I wonder if he had anything to do with Anne Boleyn?

Entrance to the Chapel Royal

This chapel has been in active use since Thomas Wolsey built it in the 1500s.  This was were Henry VIII prayed!  According to history, Henry VIII was closeted inside the chapel in prayers when Catherine Howard rushed here, desperate to speak to the king and plead her innocence.  According to stories, there has been sighting of a ghostly figure of a girl running to the chapel and it is said to be Catherine Howard’s ghost.

Chapel Court Garden

Only one of the many lovely gardens in Hampton Court.  This is one is the Chapel Court Garden.

Henry VIII's Astronomical Clock

This clock was apparently King Henry VIII’s astronomical clock.  Can you imagine that?  It’s been looking over this courtyward for almost 500 years?

King William III's Presence Chamber

This was William III’s Presence Chamber.  I thought the tapestries were amazing and all the swathes of fabric were very regal.  Can you imagine being one of the people eager to see the king and walking into this great room?  How very daunting!

King's Staircase and Guard Chamber

King William wanted to inspire awe in the people who came to visit him.  They had to come up this staircase to get to the main floor.  When I saw it I went “Wow!”  Nearly 300 years later, King William III is still inspiring awe in the people who come to visit the main floor of his apartments!

Great Gate House

There’s something to be said about these castles.  They’re huge and you can lose your way around it.  I came to see King Henry VIII’s apartments and guess what?  I missed the entrance to it!  So there I was walking around this huge castle wondering when I would get to the good stuff (everything relating to the Tudors!).  As I was walking out, I saw the steps up to this archway with a sign that said “King Henry VIII’s Apartments” and I had a Homer Simpson moment!

I really need to go back to Hampton Court because I missed the best bit (am an absolute Anne Boleyn fan, you see!).  Anyone want to come with? 🙂

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The Queen B

11 Jun

It’s just occured to me that I want to do a research paper.  I want to find out everything I can about this person and write about her.  She is mostly vilified in history and portrayed as the scheming seductress that caused Henry VIII to break away from the Catholic Church.

There wasn’t a lot written about Anne Boleyn…well, my theory is, there was but after she fell from grace everything was destroyed.  But because I believe the best in most people, I don’t think she was as bad as she was portrayed.  According to history, she was a strong supporter of the Reformation and was intelligent.  She encouraged her ladies in waiting to read the bible and pray.  That’s the woman I want to meet.  That’s the woman I want to find out more about. Of course, I haven’t got this fairy tale image of Anne Boleyn.  She obviously had her faults as well as her charisma.  But it would be interesting to find out what I can learn about the woman who was mother to the woman who is, arguably, the most popular monarch of England.

I’m not quite sure how to start.  I’ve got several books on Anne already on my Kindle which I’m quite desperate to read (am currently reading The Key Of Knowledge by Nora Roberts).  I need to think about how to start this little project.  I want to make sure I write well, because it’s really not worth doing if I don’t do well, don’t you agree?

Off to see Robin Hood today!

4 May

Well, not really.  I’m off to go look at a conference venue in Nottingham.  I know I’m not going to get to see much of anything today.  It’ll be train to London, tube to St Pancras, train to Nottingham (no changes, thank goodness!), taxi to venue, venue, taxi to Nottingham train station, train back to London, tube back to Liverpool Street and then back home.  It’s a lot of hullaballoo for not a lot of anything.

The sad bit is, when I was growing up, I had this Robin Hood obsession (mostly fuelled by Michael Praed and the Robin of Sherwood show).  I had several different versions of the Robin Hood story and anything Robin Hood, I read (I even read Ivanhoe because I’d read somewhere that there was a mention of Robin Hood in the story!).  I know I won’t see anything, not the sights, not the historical stuff and I know that even the slightest glimpse of Sherwood Forest will be an impossibility!

Such is the life of a meeting planner!  C’ést la vie!

In other news, it is my cousin Mags’ birthday today.  He, like me, is working away from home and his beautiful family.  I hope that he is blessed with happiness today despite the distance from his loved ones and that this day is doubly blessed.

Happy birthday Kuya!

Goodbye Durham!

30 Mar

The conference is finished and my long, protracted journey back to my lovely little flat is finished.  I’m back enjoying home comforts.  After a wonderful dinner of beef stew and dumplings (yum! yum!), I’m enjoying the quiet comfort. There’s something infinitely comforting about coming back to something wonderfully familiar.  I was tired but it was as if all my stresses just melted away the minute I stepped into the flat!

And to be quite honest, I was looking forward to sleeping in my own bed.  I was sleeping in student accommodation.  Now mind you, minus the TV, I think it could give the nearest single occupancy Premier Inn room a run for its money.  I’m not necessarily complaining.  But the walls were thin and there were far too many strange noises in the adjoining rooms.   And, let’s face it, there’s really nothing like sleeping in one’s own bed.

The conference seemed to be a success, although I wouldn’t suggest that venue again.  While I got a much-needed work out going up and down the hills of the University of Durham, it can be quite a chore.  It wasn’t a good feeling, feeling already tired before the day actually started.  A majorly major disappointment was that I didn’t get to see the Durham Cathedral.  I love visiting churches.  Every chance I get, when there’s a church or a small chapel, I go and look at it.  I don’t know why I’m so attached to churches   I only got to see the cathedral from afar.  I promised myself that I’d be able to visit the Durham Cathedral soon.  I would love to see this beautiful building up close and personal.

On the way back, I had to change trains at York.  I loved looking at the train stations on my way to Durham because the train stations looked beautiful with their tall arches.  I’m not sure what style the train station in York was, whether it Victoria, Georgian or Edwardian, but I loved the quaintness of it.

Anyway, while I was waiting for the train that was going to take me to London King’s Cross St. Pancras (where you can find Harry Potter’s Platform 9 3/4—if you’ve never been, there really is a Platform 9 3/4, with one half of a trolley still stuck to the wall!), I happened to look up and noticed the beautifully decorated arches.  Mind you, if I hadn’t just finished reading Philippa Gregory’s The White Queen, it wouldn’t have held as much significance to me.  It was the white flowers that caught my attention.  Then I noticed the coat of arms.  The white “flowers” were a representation of the white roses that the Yorkists wore during the War of the Roses (the war between the Yorks and the Lancasters).  I had to laugh at myself because there I was, clutching my little trolley case, smiling up at train station arches.  I must have looked so strange to the people walking past; this little weird Filipina (not that they would probably know I’m Filipino) smiling bizarrely at the train arches!  There is something to be said about reading books.  They make your surroundings come alive and become even more significant.  This is one of the reasons why I love living in England.  It is quite literally living in history.  I hope everyone in England appreciates how fortunate they are to be surrounded by so much history!