Showing posts from May, 2018

The Anglo-Saxon Village at West Stow

The Anglo-Saxon Village at West Stow is both a living museum and an archaeological site, surrounded by a popular country park. Some time around AD 450 a small settlement grew up at West Stow, on the banks of the River Lark. The village was built on a low hill, now overwhelmed by a sand dune. The settlement lasted until about AD 600 and evidence has been uncovered for around 70 buildings on the site. These buildings have described as 'sunken-featured', a style formerly known as pit houses. At its height there were at least 8 timber halls and over 60 other buildings. In 1849 an Anglo-Saxon cemetery was uncovered, and archaeologists began to explore the area. They found evidence of habitation as early as the Mesolithic period, but the major finds related to the Anglo-Saxon settlement. Aside from the timber halls, archaeologists discovered animal pens, pits, and boundary ditches. There was no sign of a fortification of any kind, suggesting that the inhabitants felt safe f

The cathedral city of Canterbury

We were hoping that today's rain would not be too heavy as we planned a trip to Canterbury to visit the cathedral primarily, but anything else in the town that took our interest.This was a place we had not visited before. Before we left for our visit,Mr fox was spotted again jogging through the field at the back of the property.  And so, via a convenient Park And Ride, we arrived in the center of Canterbury.  Not many photographs taken on the outside as the main west end was covered in scaffolding but just a few for the record! St Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, arrived on the coast of Kent as a missionary to England in 597 AD. He came from Rome, sent by Pope Gregory the Great. It is said that Gregory had been struck by the beauty of Angle slaves he saw for sale in the city market and despatched Augustine and some monks to convert them to Christianity. Augustine was given a church at Canterbury (St Martin’s, after St Martin of Tours, still stan

Vikings at Sandwich and Pegwell Bay

A rather dull day today - which only got worse! Our destination was Sandwich and Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve. We had a pleasant walk, saw few birds and the rain was beginning as we returned. Whitethroat - my only bird of the day! The Viking Ship Hugin on permanent display on the cliff top at Pegwell Bay, Ramsgate is a replica of a Viking ship which sailed from Denmark to Thanet in 1949 to celebrate the 1500th anniversary of the invasion of Britain, the traditional landing of Hengist and Horsa and the betrothal of Hengist's daughter, Rowena, to King Vortigen of Kent. Out of 53 crewmen, only the navigator, Peter Jensen, was a professional seaman. Viking conditions were faithfully observed and the only instrument carried was a sextant. The 'Hugin' was offered as a gift to Ramsgate and Broadstairs by the Daily Mail in order to be preserved for posterity. As there was no point in staying out, we returned via the shop and hoped for an evening walk

Dover Castle and the White Cliffs

A short trip to Dover was today's plan. The castle and the WW2 underground tunnels being our main focus, followed by a visit to the National Trust site to get a photo or two of the White cliffs. We parked our car, and ticket purchased, we made our way into the Castle area. It is breath taking in its scale and you can see why tourists flock here from abroad. Being near the ferry terminal might help! We spent several hours wandering around and reading and listening at the many information spots.  The Medieval Colton Gateway of Dover Castle - The entrance though which Roman, Saxon and probably their Iron Age predecessors once entered their respective fortifications. St Mary in Castro, or St Mary de Castro, is a church in the grounds of Dover Castle. It is a heavily restored Saxon structure, built next to a Roman lighthouse which became the church bell-tower. St Mary serves the local population and is the church of the Dover Garrison. There are records of

A visit to Howletts Wild Animal Park

Monday dawned a little dull- and got duller as we headed back along the A2 toward a wild animal sanctuary called Howletts Wild Animal Park. It is an amazing place to spend a few hours - or all day! Wikipedia says:  Howletts Wild Animal Park (formerly known as Howletts Zoo) was set up as a private zoo in 1957 by John Aspinall near Canterbury, Kent. The animal collection was opened to the public in 1975.To give more room for the animals another estate at Port Lympne near Hythe, Kent was purchased in 1973, and opened to the public as Port Lympne Zoo in 1976.  The collection is known for being unorthodox, for the encouragement of close personal relationships between staff and animals, and for their breeding of rare and endangered species.  Since 1984 both parks have been owned by The John Aspinall Foundation, a charity. Following his death, Aspinall was buried in front of the mansion house and a memorial was built next to the grave near the bison. A later extension to Howletts wa