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Splendid, large, mostly 14th century.

Must be really, really annoying to have worked your way up to the position of Admiral, sailed all over the Med and the Caribbean, supported both sides in the Civil War and somehow got away with it, fought the Dutch and even killed the commander of their fleet, become a member of parliament, been knighted, featured in Pepys's diary, and then after all that tourists only come and photograph your grave because you have the same name as your kid who got famous in America.
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Seville's cathedral is one of the largest in Europe. Parts of the 12th century mosque that previously stood on the site were recycled and incorporated, including the large minaret which is now the cathedral's iconic tower (the 'Giralda'), and the mosque's courtyard with its inlaid geometric water channels. Although I knew all this it was still a little surprising to see Islamic and Christian gothic pressed up against each other. It felt like being given a tour of Canterbury cathedral and then being shown the older, Hindu part of the building. Culturally, subconsciously, I am the product of an inward-looking Christian bubble.

The interior is vast. I expected vast but was still surprised by the size of the solid silver altar, a team of men crawling all over it with polishing cloths. Christopher Columbus is there too. He travelled almost as much after his death as he did in life, his bones being transferred from Spain to Dominica, then Cuba, then back to Spain again, spending a while in a convent in Seville and then ending up in this heroic, 20th century pre-Raphaelite-looking monument in the cathedral. I quite fancy something like this for myself, please.

In contrast to Britain's Occupy protesters, who are being evicted by St Paul's cathedral, some young unemployed Spanish school teachers had set up a permanent protest inside their cathedral, seemingly with full consent.
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Buxted

A 15th century ancestor of the Pac Man.

Buxted church stands oddly alone in a deer park. It's alone because the surrounding village was moved by the owner of Busted Park House (now a hotel) in order to make way for the deer park. Seems a little harsh but, as my neo-con economist friend keeps telling me, property is the foundation of liberty!

It's a nice early-English, mostly 13th century pile, with a plaster ceiling from 1600. There's an ancient yew outside which the guide leaflet enthusiastically explains is around 1300 years older than the church. Rather puts us ephemeral human beings into perspective, doesn't it? May flies; that's all we are.

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Thanks to a crash which closed the M4 motorway yesterday I was able to divert us through Malmesbury on our way home from Bristol. Now I've had an intense nerdish urge to visit this place ever since I read that the tomb of King Aethelstan is there in the abbey. Aethelstan was technically the first king of the whole of England in the 10th century. So, here he is, supposedly. I'm not sure what to make of this tomb though. Seems a bit of a mish-mash of later medieval stuff. The face isn't even original; it's been cut off something else and stuck on.

Let's just pretend that it's Aethelstan, shall we? There, I feel less aggitated now.
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I've been itching to look at this church for ages. We keep passing it on the way to Seaford. For the last two years or so it has sat in the middle of a new A-road junction construction project, looking rather forlorn amidst the traffic cones. I finally got inside it today.
 
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We keep speeding past this village on the way to my parents' house and I was determined to pay it a special visit today so I could take a proper look at its medieval church and other buildings.


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This made me laugh. I found this memorial in All Saints' Church in Kingston-upon-Thames yesterday. It depicts London-based Scottish merchant Henry Davidson, who died in 1827. The Davidsons were a wealthy family who owned, amongst other things, plantations and slaves in the West Indies.

Anyway, Henry died in 1827 and this impressive life-sized monument was carved for him. Then his wife, Elixabeth Caroline died the following year. Where is she commemorated? Hmmm. Somewhere small, convenient and cheap. That's her in the jar. If you look closely you can see her name and dates. Being Henry's wife evidently didn't carry much status.