Followers

Monday, 2 September 2013

Colchester.......

Another lovely day dawned at Down Hall and another hearty breakfast consumed, it was time to meet our fellow travellers to wait for our coach to transport us to Colchester, Britain's oldest recorded Roman town and, for a time, the capital of Roman Britain.


Our first stop in the town was the Castle, an example of a largely complete Norman castle and which is being renovated at the moment.


The castle was ordered by William the Conqueror and designed by Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester. Building began between 1069 and 1076 under the supervision of Eudo Dapifer, who became the castle's steward on its completion. Building stopped in 1080 because of a threat of Viking invasion, but the castle was completed by around 1100.


In 1215, the castle was besieged and eventually captured by King John, following the altercation with rebellious nobles that eventually led to the Magna Carta.  The castle has had various uses since it ceased to be a royal castle. It has been a county prison, where in 1645 the self-styled Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins interrogated and imprisoned suspected witches. In 1648, during the second English Civil War, the Royalist leaders Sir Charles Lucas and Sir George Lisle were executed just to the rear of the castle. Local legend has it that grass will not grow on the spot on which they fell. A small obelisk now marks the point. In 1656 the Quaker James Parnell was martyred there.


 Castle Park (60 acres), situated in the grounds of Colchester Castle and the Hollytrees Mansion, is divided into an upper and lower park by the Roman town wall of Colchester. The upper park consists mainly of formal gardens while the lower park has a more natural feel - situated on the banks of the River Colne.

In the next photograph you can see the Roman wall and the lower park in the distance behind MWM.

Another interesting feature we found behind the castle was this beacon, I hope you are able to biggify the pic to read the description.

After a quick lunch we wandered around the town, looking in the shops, before it was time to meet the coach again to take us on our next visit which was to Castle Hedingham a small village in northeast Essex

It developed around Hedingham Castle,  the ancestral seat of the de Veres, Earls of Oxford. The first earl, Aubrey de Vere III, finished the initial building of the keep and established a Benedictine nunnery, Castle Hedingham Priory, near the castle gates.  Hugh de Vere, Fourth Earl of Oxford, purchased the right to hold a market in the town of the crown in the mid-13th century. He also founded a hospital just outside the gates of the castle around 1250.  The village's main attractions are the well preserved castle, the Colne Valley Railway and its many timber-framed medieval buildings.  Unfortunately we didn't have time to see the castle as our destination was the railway,


where we had a short (very short as the track is little more than a mile long) ride on the railway, before enjoying a pot of tea and some freshly made fruit scones.

Of course we had to take some photos of the engines, MWM's passion.



Then it was time to get back on the coach

to go back to the hotel for dinner and bed as we were headed home the following day.

We really enjoyed our visit to Down Hall and the surrounding area, I hope you did too.    No more travelogues now until late September when we get back from our trip to Canada and the Rocky Mountaineer.

32 comments:

Banker Chick said...

This seems to be a leisurely trip with lots to see. I am enjoying it.

Ron said...

Oooo....I love the picture of the castle! Love the stone and brick work!

And a LOVELY photo of you as well, m'dear!

Looking forward to seeing more of your trip!

X

Akelamalu said...

Glad you're enjoying it Bankerchick sorry I somehow managed to post this when I was only half-way through writing it, so you haven't seen all of it!

Ooops sorry Ron, I somehow managed to post this when I was only half-way through writing it, so you haven't seen all of it! Glad you liked the pics you saw though. x

Ron said...

Yup...I'm back to read the rest. I had a feeling something happened with posting because it ended so quickly.

And what a GREAT rest of your tour!

Love the photos the beautiful gardens and the topiaries. They're just lovely! And yes, I was able to enlarge the photo to read the description.

And of course, being a train lover myself, I enjoyed the photo of the engines - WOW!

Thanks for sharing trip, m'dear. And I look forward to the one you take to Canada at the end of the month!

X

Cloudia said...

I love gadding about weigh YOU, my companionable friend :-)



Aloha, Ake

Banker Chick said...

Lucky, I stopped for a while after your comment and when I refreshed my screen there was more.

Jenny Woolf said...

Went on the Colne Valley Railway with some kids and they had such a wonderful time! There used to be a youth hostel in one of the old houses at Castle Hedingham. I wonder if there still is...

Valerie said...

Fab pictures, Pearl. I really liked enlarging the one of the beacon. Three very special occasions to light it. I was surprised to see the Millennium 'cause my mind was still thinking about the Spanish Armada and the great Battle of Trafalgar.

Daryl said...

love love love the history .. and those chic trousers! you look wonderful

A Lady's Life said...

Have a great trip. We will also be going on our vacation when my son gets back from his in a few days.

Akelamalu said...

So glad you came back to read the rest Ron, I knew you would enjoy the train pics. x

I'm happy to have you along Cloudia. x

Ah what a stroke of luck Bankerchick, so pleased you saw the rest.

I don't know about the youth hostel Valerie we didn't have much time there unfortunately.

I knew you would like the history Daryl and thank you for the compliment. xx

Beach Bum said...

One of the things I want to see if my wife ever gets our vacation in Britain going are Roman ruins. I'd love to see Hadrian's Wall, read some history and it has always held a fascination for me.

Valerie said...

Youth hostel, Pearl?

CrystalChick said...

'Building began between 1069 and 1076' .... WOW! And what a history. Nice park in modern day. Looks like another very delightful trip. Glad you enjoyed it.

Flowerpot said...

What a great trip - well done Ak for making such good use of your time!

Akelamalu said...

Ooops sorry Valerie that comment was meant for Jenny! DOH!! I was surprised to see the Millenium listed on the Beacon's history too, I was more interested in the other two, more historic, occasions. Glad you enjoyed the photos. x

We are looking forward to our next trip Lady's Life, hope you have a good one too. x

Well we have some great Roman ruins in Britain Beach, I hope you get to Hadrian's Wall. x

Yes it's old Crystal Chick and the gardens are lovely. :)

We always try to see as much as possible when we go away Flowerpot, because we don't go back to places, there's too many other places to see. :)

Vanessa V Kilmer said...

Wonderful pictures of history.

Akelamalu said...

Thanks Vanessa x

Annelisa said...

Looks like a fun and interesting day out, Pearl...just the kind my kids and I enjoy! x

Akelamalu said...

It was Annelisa and I'm sure your kids would love it!

MorningAJ said...

I've not been to Essex in years so this was a nice reminder of some places I used to know well.

Akelamalu said...

Glad to be able to give you some reminders AJ x

Maggie May said...

Colchester is a lovely place and you obviously made the most of that trip.
Maggie x

Nuts in May

Akelamalu said...

It is and we did Maggie :)

Secret Agent Woman said...

Did you also like trains before you were married, or did your husband's love of them gradually capture you?

Gledwood said...

That's a cute-looking train... You luuuurve your travel don't you!

ps did I ever tell you you reminded me of Barbara Taylor Bradford...?

Margie said...

I enjoyed the tour!

A Lady's Life said...

So much history there and beauty.
I love the old trains.

Linda said...

What a great tour! I thoroughly enjoyed this. Your photos are lovely.

de engineur said...

Lovely compilation! I like historical places and would love to visit Britain one day.

Akelamalu said...

My husbands love of trains determines our travel destinations to a certian extent SAW, I just love travelling. :)

We do love travelling Gleds. Do I resemble BTB is my writing or looks? ;)

Glad you enjoyed it Margie

Yes there is LL x

So glad you enjoyed the tour Linda

I hope you do get to visit Britain de engineur x

Ann ODyne said...

Colchester birthplace of St Helena the finder of the one true cross?
The Armada, Waterloo, just a bit historic.
I wonder what anniversary will have that beacon next lit by some official wanting his name on a plaque?
By now you have been on the Canada train with the clear roof for viewing the mountains and I look forward to your coming posts with snaps of elks eating peoples gardens.