Month: October 2017

Buckland Abbey and Buckland Monachorum

I hired our driver, Michael, to take us to Buckland Monachorum in search of the church where my ancestor, Robert Booth was baptized in 1616.  The small, quaint village of Buckland Monachorum (monachorum means “of the Abbey” according to village locals) is approximately 10 miles north of Plymouth.  There’s probably been a church at the heart of Buckland Monachorum since Saxon times.  The present building was erected ca.1490 during the reign of Henry the VIIth. Parish records are maintained in Plymouth at the Plymouth and Devon Records Center except for current records.  I spent 2 hours at the center researching my Booth and Sherrill ancestors.  I didn’t find the info on the Booth line, but I hoped to find perhaps a tombstone in the churchyard.  There were lots of old graves, but several of them were so old they were no longer legible.  It must be the right church since it is the only one in the village.

We then got directions and headed to the Abbey.  What a pleasant surprise!   We learned that it was the home of Sir Francis Drake and it included lots of his treasures from his adventures.  We toured the home, the barn, and the gardens on the beautiful sunny afternoon.

Drake purchased the Abbey including 500 acres of land from the Grenville estate for 3,400 pounds in 1580.  The money was part of the 10,000 pounds Queen Elizabeth told him to keep for himself from the bounty he acquired by attacking Spanish treasure ships off the coast of Peru.  Drake was the most famous private citizen in the world and the first English sea captain to encircle the globe.  The Queen knighted him aboard his own ship, The Golden Hind.

Drake fell victim to dysentery and died 28 January 1596 leaving his estate to his younger brother, Thomas.  He was buried at sea in a lead coffin.  The Abbey remained with the Drake family heirs for several hundred years.  In 1946, a local landowner, Captain Arthur Rodd purchased the Abbey and presented it to the National Trust.

 

St. Andrew’s Churchyard
St. Andrew’s Church
St. Andrew’s Churchyard
St. Andrew’s Churchyard

 

St. Andrew’s Churchyard
Stained Glass Window Behind Altar

 

Stained Glass Window
Altar
Baptismal Font

 

Incumbents of Buckland Monachorum
Buckland Monachorum School

 

Buckland Monachorum Street View

 

Buckland Monachorum Street View
Drake Manor Inn

 

Drake Manor Inn Sign

 

Buckland Abbey
Buckland Abbey

 

Buckland Abbey
Buckland Abbey
Buckland Abbey
Drake’s Drum
Armor

 

Treasures
Treasures

 

Sea Chest
Piano

 

Kitchen Staff
Drake’s Coat of Arms

Plymouth in County Devon

We planned to spend the week at the Whitsand Bay Hotel in Portwinkle in Cornwall.  We spent one night there; but, with no internet service, Buddy was anxious to depart.  A nice lady named Helen in their office was very helpful.  She let me use her computer to book a new hotel since I didn’t have internet on my computer or my phone.  After battling train delays and cancellations due to winter storm Brian, on our journey to Cornwall, we were happy to finally be settled in Plymouth.

I wouldn’t describe Plymouth as a pretty city.  The Plymouth Hoe (Hoe is a Saxon term for high ground) is very nice on a warm sunny day and the Barbican area with its marina and shops is interesting.  Our hotel, the New Continental was modern and comfortable and located within walking distance of the city center, Barbican and the Hoe.

After the wonderful shopping in Leeds, Plymouth was a disappointment.  Its city center is a large pedestrian area with several streets, but the shops and restaurants need updating.  We were also not impressed with the food.  We ate breakfast and lunch in the Barbican and found both restaurants mediocre at best.  Our best dining experiences were the Revolution, purveyor of interesting cocktails and fall off the bone ribs, and Bella Italia, a busy Italian restaurant serving a very tasty beef and red wine ravioli with Bolognese sauce.  Two good meals in six days isn’t a good record.  We hope for better luck in Canterbury.

 

Whitsand Bay Hotel
New Continental Hotel Plymouth

 

Whitsand Bay Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

Plymouth Barbican Marina
Plymouth Barbican Mariana Yachts
Plymouth Barbican
Plymouth Barbican
Plymouth Barbican

 

Mayflower Museum Exterior
Mayflower Model
List of Mayflower Pilgrims
Mayflower Museum
Mayflower Museum
Mayflower Museum
Mayflower Steps
Roanoke Colonies Plaque
Plymouth Hoe
Plymouth Hoe View
Smeaton’s Tower
Plymouth Hoe Monument

 

Sir Francis Drake Statue
Sir Francis Drake Plaque
Plymouth Hoe Sign

 

Plymouth Hoe View
Plymouth Hoe View

Caernarfon and the Castle

Caernarfon (pronounced Carnarvon) is a royal town, community and port with a population of just over 9,600 in the far north of Wales.  The peaceful little town is host to a constant stream of tour groups.  Our hotel, the Celtic Royal, had three or four groups there some nights during our stay.  The hotel dates from the late 1700s and has been updated several times managing to keep its charm and character.  The hotel staff was primarily young people from a variety of countries on work visas.  They were well trained, very responsive to everyone’s requests, and we never saw any of them not working.  The food at lunch and dinner in the Bistro was excellent.  Everything we ordered was delicious and inexpensive.

One evening we decided to try the restaurant being touted as the “best in town”.  In America it would be picketed.  The Black Boy Inn dates from 1522 and is a quaint inn with a small very booked restaurant.  We secured a reservation our second night in town, and we had to agree it was fantastic.  I had the best grilled lamb chops ever and the sticky toffee pudding was wonderful!  The prices were inexpensive for the quality and amount of food served.

We toured the 13th century Caernarfon castle built by Edward I early one morning before the crowds were out.  They’ve done a remarkable job restoring and maintaining the huge castle, one of the largest built by the English in Wales.  Every castle needs a resident dragon and this one is no exception.  Also, worth viewing was the Royal Fusiliers Museum and the Game of Crowns room.  In the Game of Crowns room, a video of Prince Charles’ investiture as Prince of Wales in 1969 at the castle showed constantly.

Caernarfon wasn’t an easy town to get to.  The train took us to Bangor, and then a taxi took us the last six miles.  It was well worth the time and effort to get there.  We enjoyed our stay in this lovely little place despite the weather from the remnants of hurricane Orphelia the first two days.

Caernarfon Castle Square
Caernarfon Castle Entrance
Caernarfon Castle Square
Caernarfon Castle Square
Caernarfon Castle
Caernarfon Castle
Caernarfon Castle Dragon
Caernarfon Castle
Caernarfon Castle

 

Caernafron Castle
Caernarfon Castle
Caernarfon Castle
Game of Crowns
Game of Crowns

 

Queen’s Chair
Edward I and II

 

Caernarfon Castle Sign
Caernarfon Castle Sign

 

Caernarfon City Wall
Royal Fusiliers Museum
Black Boy Inn
Black Boy Inn
Black Boy Inn Bar
Black Boy Inn Bar

 

Black Boy Inn Restaurant
Black Boy Inn Signs
Celtic Royal Hotel

Welsh Highland Railway

After two days of windy, blustery weather, Wednesday morning was gorgeous as we headed to the Caernarfon station to purchase our tickets for the Welsh Highland Railway.  Our trip took us 2 ½ hours to the harbor town of Porthmadog.  We traveled approximately 25 miles across the picturesque foothills of Snowdon.  The track twisted and turned up and down the steep grade with the train stopping several times at local stations and twice to take on water.  We enjoyed every minute of our leisurely journey through some of the most beautiful scenery in Snowdonia.

I spent the morning portion of the trip taking photos from the train, which was a challenge.  The train doesn’t go fast, but it’s a narrow-gauge steam engine and it turns sharply and sometimes curves back around in a horseshoe curve.  The weather began to cloud up as we approached Porthmadog, so I was glad I had taken advantage of the earlier sunny weather.

We walked around in Porthmadog, and Buddy did some shopping before it was time to board the train for the return to Caernarfon.  I just enjoyed the beautiful scenery since I wasn’t concentrating on taking photos.

In 1878, the first passenger service started on the 2ft. North Wales Narrow Gage Railway.  The railway experienced a series of ups and downs before the Welsh Highland Railway Society was established in 1961.  Since that time, the railway has continued its expansion and work has started on a new terminus station for Caernarfon.  Many of the staff members working on the train are volunteers dedicated to keeping the award-winning railway on the rails.

The Little Engine That Did!
Welsh Highland Railway
Train as it rounds a curve
Welsh Highland Railway
Welsh Highland Railway
Welsh Highland Railway
Welsh Highland Railway
Taking on Water
West Highland Railway
Welsh Highland Railway
The Welsh Matterhorn
Welsh Highland Railway
Porthmadog Station
Porthmadog Harbor
View from Porthmadog Harbor Bridge
Porthmadog Sign
Ffestiniog Railway Banner
Our Engine Turning Around
Welsh Highland Railway
Welsh Highland Railway
Heading to Caernarfon

Leeds in County Yorkshire

The City of Leeds in Yorkshire was a pleasant surprise.  According to our Amber driver, Leeds is home to three universities with approximately 60,000 students.  Our hotel, the Radisson Blu was in the center of town and connected to a large glass-covered complex that included a Vue cinema and numerous restaurants and shops.  We were across the street from the Leeds Gallery and Museum and within a short walk from shopping that I wouldn’t have imagined in Leeds.  There were blocks and blocks of covered galleries and a huge glass-covered multi-story mall.  Nothing in the U.S. compares to the number of shops within proximity to the downtown district.

The shops in the Victoria Arcade were very high-end and one of the streets was covered in beautiful stained-glass.  It remined me of a smaller scale, Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle II, in Milan.  As we found in Durham, Leeds has its own version of El Mercado located in the Kirkgate Market.  Fortunately, my luggage space is limited or my credit cards would have suffered a severe meltdown!

As we walked past the square in front of the St. John’s complex, we stopped to watch a dance group perform.  They called themselves the Morris Dancers, a form of English folk dancing accompanied by music that is a tradition dating to the 1400s.  We enjoyed several nice restaurants in Leeds.  Our favorites were Brown’s Restaurant just across from the Radisson Blu and Almost Famous Burgers just down the street.  Leeds is also host to several concerts which flood the downtown area with attendees.  The last night we were in our hotel, it was filled with young girls attending the Little Mix concert.  The following weekend, a large outdoor concert was scheduled for one of the squares a few blocks from the Radisson Blu.  We were glad we were going to miss that one!

Radisson Blu
Browns Restaurant
Victoria Arcade
Morris Dancers
Morris Dancers
Kirkgate Market
Morris Dancers
Glass-covered Mall
Almost Famous Giant Daiquiri

 

Jervaulx Abbey

According to a chart in the Abbey tea room, my 18th great grandparents, Henry FitzHugh, Lord Ravensworth, and his wife, Elizabeth Grey de Marmion were buried in the Abbey in 1424.  I emailed the website for the Abbey to be sure the info I had from Ancestry.com was correct because I didn’t want to pay a driver to take me to the Abbey from Leeds if the information was incorrect.  I received a prompt reply from Anna, the current owners of the of the Abbey’s daughter, verifying the information.  I hired a driver from Amber cars, a very nice young Pakistani born and raised in Leeds, named Ali, to drive us to the Abbey and return.  The trip takes just over an hour and includes beautiful scenery and small villages along the way.

We were amazed at the size of the Abbey.  The Cistercian monks began construction in the mid-12th Century.  The Abbey grew and thrived until the General Suppression of the Monasteries under Henry VIII.   Jervaulx Abbey’s suppression in 1537 was a direct result of the Pilgrimage of Grace.  The last abbot, Adam Sedbar, one of the leaders of the Pilgrimage, was later executed for treason, and the Abbey fell directly to the King.  As with other monasteries of the time, the destruction included the church and buildings to prevent the monks from returning to their old home.  The destruction also included their art treasures usually destroyed for their scrap value.  The scale model in the tea room shows the Abbey as it would have appeared before the Suppression.  At the height of its prosperity, the Abbey owned half the valley of the Ure river.  Jer is a version of the name of the River Ure (or Yore), to the south of which the Abbey stands, and Vaulx means vale or valley.  The chart in the Abbey tea room depicts the history of the Abbey up to 1806, when the first Earl of Ailesbury started preserving the ruins.

The photos of the Abbey on the internet don’t begin to do justice to the site.  The current owners, Ian Burdon and his family, do an excellent job managing and preserving the Abbey.  Their Honesty Box form of payment allows visitors to access the beautiful site at any time.  I thanked Anna, the daughter who replied to my email.  She was gracious, welcoming and eager to share her knowledge of this meaningful site.

 

Jervaulx Abbey Chart
Jervaulx Abbey
Jervaulx Abbey
Sheep in pasture near Jervaulx Abbey
Jervaulx Abbey
Jervaulx Abbey
Jervaulx Abbey
Jervaulx Abbey Grave
Jervaulx Abbey
Jervaulx Abbey Grave
Jervaulx Abbey
Jervaulx Abbey
Jervaulx Abbey
Jervaulx Abbey
Scale Model Jervalux Abbey
Jervaulx Abbey Sign

 

 

 

 

 

Temple Newsam

Temple Newsam is one of the great historic homes of England.  It’s famous as the birthplace of Lord Darnley, husband of Mary Queen of Scots.  The Manor was owned by the Knights Templar in the 12th Century, hence the name Temple.   In 1307 the Templars were suppressed and in 1377, by royal decree the estate reverted to Sir Philip Darcy (created 4th Lord Darcy in 1362 and died in 1399).  In 1537 Thomas, Lord Darcy was executed for the part he played in the Pilgrimage of Grace and the property was seized by the Crown.  For 160 years the property was owned by the Darcy family.  Philip, Lord Darcy was my 19th great grandfather which made the trip to Temple Newsam a truly memorable experience.

The History of Temple Newsam is depicted in a document hanging in the 2nd floor hallway. The history shows the Darcy family period of ownership as part of the complete history of the property.  Also of special interest was a Darcy Family Crest that had been discovered hidden in a wall upstairs.  The entire house, including the art work and furnishings, is thoroughly documented throughout every room.  The pristine setting and views of the South garden are beautiful. When Sir Arthur Ingram bought the estate in 1622, it consisted of over 4,000 acres and was largely self-supporting.   Over time, parts of the property were sold for development.   In 1922, the Mansion and 917 acres of gardens and park land were sold to the City of Leeds, which has acted to secure the future of this historic place.

Temple Newsam
Temple Newsam View
Henry Lord Darnley and his brother Lord Charles Stuart

 

Temple Newsam History
Darcy Family Crest

 

Darcy Family Crest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gentlemens’ Passage
Chippendale Desk
Chinese Drawing Room
Dining Room
Dining Room
A Nymph Taking a Thorn Out of a Greyhounds Paw with Organ Clock in Background
The Gothick Room
The South Garden
Tea Room Building
Tea Room Courtyard
Trees Beginning to Turn
Trees Near Car Park

Keswick and the Lake District

We fell in love with the village of Keswick (pronounced Kessick) in the Lake District.  Our AirBnB loft was in an old building on St. John’s Street in the center of town.  Thursday afternoon when we arrived, the market was in full swing on Main Street.  Literally, everyone and their dogs were there.  We saw very few tourists without their dogs in tow.  Several of the bars and restaurants allow dogs in the dining area.

The main reason we chose to stay in Keswick was my photography lesson was scheduled to begin Friday morning at 6am.  I booked the lesson with Martin Lawrence, a local photographer, months ago because I loved the photos on his website.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Martin was a great teacher!  He was patient and explained everything in detail as we progressed through the lesson.  Our first locale was Castlerigg, an ancient stone circle just outside Keswick.  We were there as the sun came up and took lots of photos.  It was a beautiful morning and Martin said it was the first day in two weeks that he hadn’t been teaching in the rain and wind.  We then drove further down the road and hiked up the hill to take photos over the tarn, (small lake or pond).  He had bought his wife’s wellies for me to wear since the ground was muddy and wet.  As we went past Castlerigg on our return, the hordes of tourists had begun to arrive.  Our last site was Derwentwater, the lake near Keswick.  After the photo shoot, we went to Martin’s studio at his home and his wife, Sheila, was kind enough to offer me a cheese sandwich and a cup of tea while Martin explained the finer points of Photoshop as we finalized our images.  What a great day!!

Buddy explored Keswick and took a ride on the Derwentwater launch during my lesson.  He also did some shopping and was sporting new hiking boots.  Keswick was a busy place with all the walkers and tourists in town for the weekend.  Finding a table at the restaurants was a challenge, but we were fortunate both nights and enjoyed the hearty fare served in the local pubs and inns.  The most memorable meal was Sunday afternoon at the George, next door to our flat.  Buddy had the Cow pie and I had the Farmhouse pie.  Our half orders were huge and we couldn’t begin to clean our plates.

Sunday afternoon we booked a local taxi to take us to Hill Top, Beatrix Potter’s home near Windemere, and to Dove Cottage, William Wordsworth’s home in Grassmere.  The tours were informative and the beautiful scenery added the perfect touch to our final day in Keswick.  Our driver’s paternal grandmother was George Orwell’s sister.  He recounted some stories of the author’s life as he drove us through the Lake District.  My photos weren’t as good as usual because I was experimenting with my camera, but Buddy got some nice shots during our visit.

Tewet Tarn with Skiddaw and Blencathra
Skiddaw Reflected in the Tarn
Blencathra Reflected in the Tarn
Castlerigg Stone Circle
Derwentwater Geese
Derwentwater

 

 

 

 

 

 

Man with Alpenhorn in Keswick
Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top
Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top

 

Keswick Market

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top
Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top
William Wordsworth
Dove Cottage in Grassmere

County Durham

We arrived in Durham after a lengthy train delay.  Our train left Waverly Station in Edinburgh at noon and we didn’t arrive in Durham until after 6:30. The emergency brakes malfunctioned and the train was stuck about an hour outside Edinburgh.  Six trains behind us were also stuck because of our train.  They finally sent a rescue train to pull us into Berwick, where we had to change trains and get on the next train behind us.  Consequently, it was a mess, many of us had to stand all the way to Newcastle.  The train proceeded to stop at every station until we finally reached Durham.  A short taxi ride took us to our hotel, the Radisson Blu.

Durham is a university town and it was “freshers” week, when all the new students showed up for their first week of university.  We enjoyed walking the town, visiting the cathedral, and shopping in Market Hall, the El Mercado of Durham.  We had one of the best lunches so far at a local restaurant, Tapas Factory.  The paella was excellent!  Our waiter, Rodrigo was relieved when Buddy spoke to him in Spanish.  The Radisson Blu was a nice hotel, but their food was mediocre at best.

I wanted to see several genealogy related sites and there wasn’t any bus service that would take us there, so we hired a driver one day to take us to Raby Castle, Brancepeth Castle, Horden, Harperley House, and Lumley Castle.  Kenneth was a great guide and we hired him to drive us to Keswick the next day to avoid several train changes and we weren’t sure of the impact of the projected rail strike.  It was money well spent.   We got to enjoy the lovely views and he stopped once again at Raby Castle for a photo op.  Someone must have notified the resident deer because they all showed up to have their photo taken!  Raby Castle, with its 200-acre deer park, is near Staindrop in County Durham.  It was built by my 23rd great grandfather, John Neville, 3rd Baron Neville de Raby between 1367 and 1390.

Raby Castle was closed for the season, but I got some good photos of the grounds.  Brancepeth Castle was also closed and I took photos of the grounds and the churchyard, including a photo of the beautiful stained-glass window in the rear of the church.  I was disappointed that the church was locked since I had read about some interesting artifacts displayed on the interior walls of the church and it was supposed to be the burial place of my ancestor, Ann Liddle, who died in 1595.  Horden was a challenge to find.  Our driver/guide called his wife, who worked nearby, and one of her co-workers directed us to the Horden Manor House.  The Manor was being restored and it will be interesting to see the finished house.  Horden Manor was the birthplace of my ancestor Christopher Conyers.  We took a break at Lumley Castle for lunch before heading to Harperley to view Harperley House.  According to the internet, Meryl Streep shares my Wilkinson ancestors, who were the owners of Harperley House.  There was another Harperley Hall, the current site of the Police Academy training center.  It was a much larger site, but security prevents anyone from visiting.  I personally believe the internet may be wrong about the site of the Wilkinson family home.  I suspect it is probably the Police Academy site, since that building is more in keeping with the wealth and status the Wilkinson family enjoyed.

 

View During Train Delay
Brancepeth Castle Entrance
Brancepeth Castle Courtyard
Brancepeth Church Window
Harperley House
Lumley Castle Courtyard
Lumley Castle Reception

 

 

Horden Manor
Durham Market Square
Durham Market Square
Raby Castle Entrance
Raby Castle with Deer

 

Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle

The first morning we visited the Durham Cathedral, we agreed that it was by far the best cathedral we’ve seen so far.  We spent almost two hours viewing the cathedral and talking with two of the stewards, who act as guides for visitors.  On one of the walls, I saw the name Thomas Neville.  I knew the Neville’s were owners of Raby Castle, but I wasn’t aware of their connection to the Cathedral.  I purchased a guide book and later, back in our room, I learned that my 22nd and 23rd great grandparents lie in tomb chests in the Cathedral.

According to the guidebook, burials were discouraged in the building overshadowed by St. Cuthbert’s burial place, so there are few burials in the nave.  In the south arcade is the impressive tomb-chest of 1388, belonging to my 22nd great grandfather, John, Lord Neville, a wealthy benefactor of the Cathedral priory.  Nearby, is the mutilated monument of his father, Ralph, the first layman to be given the honor of a Cathedral burial for his victorious part in the Battle of Neville’s Cross in 1346.

The great stone reredos behind the altar in the sanctuary is the Neville Screen, one of the treasures of the Cathedral.  It was largely a gift of John, Lord Neville and was completed in 1380.  Made of stone thought to have come from Caen in northern France, it would originally have been brightly painted, and statues of angels and saints would have stood in each of the 107 niches.  All of this was swept away in the years that followed the Reformation.  However, the screen is still impressive for it purity and simple Gothic lines.

We returned to the Cathedral the next morning to view the tomb chests and further investigate the Neville connection to the Cathedral.  The feeling of touching the tomb chests of my great grandfathers is impossible to describe.  I will be forever moved by the experience.

Durham Castle wasn’t open for tours during our visit, so I had to be content with taking a few photos of the exterior and the courtyard.

Durham Cathedral Cross
Durham Cathedral
Cathedral Cloisters

 

Cathedral Cloisters

 

 

 

 

 

 

Durham Cathedral Interior

r

Durham Cathedral Altar Screen

 

John, Lord Neville’s Tomb

 

 

 

 

 

Durham Castle
Ralph de Neville’s Tomb
Durham Castle Courtyard

 

Durham Castle Courtyard