If you go on working with the light available, you will meet your Master, as he himself will be seeking you.

Ramana Maharshi

Reflected Light

12 Comments CherryPie on Apr 19th 2015

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Today was a perfect spring day so after lunch we set off into the Shropshire countryside in order to drive up the steeps slopes to the top of the Long Mynd. As we drove along the country lanes the scenery was outstanding in the spring sunshine and we were provided with clear views from the summit of the hill.  We took the longer route back down from the summit and a different countryside route home. This route took us towards Clun, along a road where we followed not one but two Morgans, one black and one silver, both gleaming in the sunshine.

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The Long Mynd is one of two prominent hills in this part of the Shropshire landscape, the other being the Stiperstones ridge:

Visually, these two ‘hills’ are very different – the Long Mynd is a large and long plateau, while the rugged outline of the Stiperstones ridge is unmistakable. Together, they make up the largest area of heathland in the Shropshire Hills. Come late summer these hilltops are a sea of purple and not to be missed. Along with the heather a variety of other plants flourish here including bilberry (known locally as whinberry), and this in turn attracts many insects and birds – look out for a green hairstreak butterfly or stonechat on the gorse.

As well as a wealth of wildlife, the area is steeped in history and folklore. Shooting Box is one of sixteen Bronze Age burial mounds found on the Mynd and the 5,000 year old ridge-way, the Portway, once carried Neolithic traders high and dry above the wet and wooded valleys.

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12 Comments CherryPie on Apr 18th 2015

Lucy Tower

The Lucy Tower is a polygonal keep, a stone wall surrounding open space at the top of a mound. Shell keeps are relatively early transitional stage from a wooden palisade, and this fits with the latest thinking that the Lucy Tower’s mound is the original Norman one, set in a dominant position on the cliff-edge in the south-west corner of the castle bailey. Timber buildings would probably originally have been built against the inside of the wall. Although the name ‘Lucy is first associated with this tower in documents from the 18th century, it is assumed to be the tower ‘fortified by the countess Lucy’ mentioned King Stephen’s charter to Lucy’s son, the earl of Chester.

The surviving walls have been reduced in height, but they still contain two original entrances: the main gate on the north-east side, and a smaller one to the south.*

By the early 19th century the interior of the keep was derelict and the space began to be used as a burial place for the unfortunates who had been executed in the prison or had died of natural causes there, even though it was not a consecrated area.*

*Lincoln Castle guide book – Scala Arts & Heritage Publisher Ltd 2015

6 Comments CherryPie on Apr 17th 2015

Lincoln Castle

Lincoln Castle is unusual in having two keeps and a complete curtain wall,

and its highly strategic position has given it a continuing historical importance. The site of battles and sieges and some complicated medieval wheeling and dealing, it is also a major centre of administration and justice, containing a former prison building and a working Crown Court. And it houses one of the four surviving exemplars from 1215 of that crucial document, Magna Carta.*

Wall Walk

The great stone curtain wall which is still one of the most dramatic features of the castle today was constructed on top of an earth rampart to encircle the inner bailey of the 12th-century castle, and was in turn surrounded by a rock-cut ditch. One of the triumphs of the Lincoln Castle Revealed project has been the creation of a complete Wall Walk, and this in turn has allowed a certain amount of archaeological investigation of the structure of the whole curtain wall, although it has been much restored and rebuilt over the centuries. The south wall still retains the remnant of a medieval parapet on its northern face, and a 13th-century sally port door can be seen halfway along the north wall. The west wall forms one of the most impressive stretches, with large areas of herringbone masonry, suggesting a late 11th-century or early 12th-century construction.*

Prison Building and Wall Walk

Wall Walk and Lincoln Cathedral

*Lincoln Castle guide book – Scala Arts & Heritage Publisher Ltd 2015

12 Comments CherryPie on Apr 16th 2015

Exchequer Gate

Located at the cathedral end of Castle Hill, this is where tenants who rented property from the church came to pay their rents. A chequered cloth was used to aide the counting of the rent monies, and it is from the alternating black and white pattern of the cloth that we get the word ‘Exchequer’. The gate was built in the 14th century, and probably acted as the main, ceremonial access point to the Cathedral close.

To call this lovely building a ‘gate’ does not convey a sense of how grand the structure really is. There are actually three gates, or passages through Exchequer Gate to the cathedral precinct; two smaller postern gates flank a pointed central arch, vaulted with brick. Octagonal turrets flank the central arch, and the whole structure is topped with battlements.

Above the arches are two further floors of rooms, which were at one time let as dwellings. The origin of the building is uncertain, but tradition holds that it was constructed during the reign of Edward I.

Exchequer Gate

12 Comments CherryPie on Apr 15th 2015

Priory Gate

A very short distance from the east end of Lincoln Cathedral stands Priory Gate, which marks the location of one of the old medieval gates that gave access to the cathedral close. The current gateway, surmounted with battlements as if it still served a defensive purpose, straddles the north end of Pottergate.

It is a Victorian structure replacement for the medieval gates on this site. A similar gateway arch stands at the south end of Pottergate, and Exchequer Gate, a true medieval survivor, stands near the cathedral west front

10 Comments CherryPie on Apr 14th 2015

Newport Arch

This arch, built in the 3rd century AD, is the most famous and best preserved of all Lincoln’s Roman monuments. Through this gate legions left the upper city to begin their march north to York along Ermine Street. You can get a better idea of the level of the Roman road by looking at the level of the path that goes through the pedestrian arch.*

Newport Arch

Newport Arch

It is the only surviving Roman gate in Britain open to traffic, acting as a gateway to the historic core of the city, as it has done for almost two millennia.

The north gate was built in the early 3rd century and spanned Ermine Street, the colonia’s most important thoroughfare. This was also the main London to York road.

In the 4th century, the colonia’s defensive walls and gates were massively strengthened, in line with its status as a new provincial capital and centre of  Roman civilisation. At its grandest, the north gate consisted of a central carriageway with pedestrian arches to either side, topped by an upper storey and flanked by tall semi-circlular towers.

What is visible above the road today is only the upper section of the central arch from the inner wall of the gate. The outer wall was demolished in the 1700s. The base of the western gate tower can be seen in the excavation, which also shows the Roman street level. In Roman times, the whole structure would have stood about 8 metres (26 feet) above ground.

The gate did not, as far as we know, face serious attack whilst under Roman control. However it has survived numerous assaults since, from medieval knights in the 13th century to delivery lorries in the 20th. Because of recent vehicle damage, steel pins have been inserted to hold the masonry in place.**

Newport Arch

The damage that the lorry caused in 1964. Repairs cost £1595. - image from signboard next to the gate

*From Pitkin Lincoln City Guidebook
**From a signboard next to the gate

10 Comments CherryPie on Apr 13th 2015

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