Sunshine this morning and that stayed with us all day. Delayed start this morning as the Family Historian did some more research last night and we found the church and cemetery that we hadn't been able to find earlier. Not far away was the local Herstmonceux Church. What a church, small, built in the late 1200s and expanded over the next couple of centuries. The church still has the original spire and entrance and the later larger body of the church. Some renovations are obvious. It was repaired after bomb damage by a German bomb during the war. A review of Therese's earlier findings revealed that this church had played an important role in the family history.
We didn't find any graves of the family though. As with all these old cemeteries, no markers, unable to be read and in this case,it looked like a lot of the old grave stones had been moved and re-erected along the fence lines. Judging by the positions of newer grave stones, I would hazard a guess that the ground was being reused.
On to Brighton for a look around and a visit to the famous pier. Definitely set up for the visitor with plenty of ways to take the kids share of the holiday costs from them or the parents. Pavilions of games and rides for the younger ones and a fun park at the end for the older ones. Dodgems, roller coaster, merry-go-rounds etc. The beach is made of smooth small stones instead of our sand but I guess that the stones would be easier to get out of your togs. One interesting thing on the beach front was a 160 metre tall tower with a circular glass pod that travels up and down the tower providing spectacular views of the surrounding area. A drive along the foreshore was highlighted by a long row of beach huts. All painted the same colour from the rear, it appears there are strict rules about colour and sale of the huts.
From Brighton we headed to Arundel to view the castle and the Cathedral. The castle, built in 1068, is owned by the 18th Duke of Norfolk, he is also the Earl Marshall, a position that arranges ceremonial events for the King/Queen, coronations, parliamentary openings etc. The title is hereditary and the family can trace its history of living in the castle back over 800 years. This Duke and his family currently live there. The castle is in wonderful condition; while some sections, the Keep, Walls and various other sections are still the original walls, there are other areas that have been completely rebuilt. Very few castles of this age are still in livable condition. The entire wall around the castle grounds is also complete with a number of access gates.
Leaving Arundel we headed for Chichester on the way to Salisbury. Chichester has an old Norman Cathedral built in 1075. A very big building a with very tight streets, difficult to get a clear photo of it. Nearby is the Chichester or Market Cross, built by the Bishop of Chichester in 1503 so that the poor people would have somewhere to sell their wares, and as a meeting point.
On to Salisbury to take a look at the Salisbury Cathedral. This Cathedral has the highest church spire in the United KIngdom and the weight of the tower and spire has actually deformed the stone columns supporting. The Cathedral also has one of only four remaining original copies of the Magna Carta drawn up in 1215. The document, drawn up on parchment is in beautiful condition but is missing the formal wax seal. Only one copy still has the seal but that seal is damaged as the document survived a house fire. In the Cathedral is what is believed to be the oldest clock in the world. Powered by weights, the clock has no hands so cannot show the time, it was built to ring the bells in a bell tower between the Cathedral and the city gates. When the tower was demolished in the 18th century, the clock was moved to the Cathedral.
After the Cathedral, we dropped in for a quick look at an old Iron Age Fort from 400BC, It later was used by the Saxons and Romans during the 6th century then became the site of a castle around the 13th century. The castle and associated Cathedral was eventually demolished during the 1400 - 1500s and the materials used in the construction of the town.
Tonight we are in Amesbury, staying in an old Hotel that started life over 700 years ago.
Tomorrow we head for Stonehenge and Exeter.