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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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Southwark cathedral, London, viewed from the Shard.

An afternoon well spent within a small area around London Bridge railway station.
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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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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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A little antiquarian mystery for those of my readers who are so inclined. This structure is in the cemetery opposite the Franciscan monastery in Votice, Czech Republic. It was built in the 18th century and is supposed to be a replica of the edicule (a small building inside the main one, which protects the holy spot, like a kind of giant jewellery box) inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, based on exact measurements taken by monks who visited the original. Now take a look at the original below. They're really not very alike, are they? I've thunk up some rival theories as to why this should be.............

  1. The monks were damned liars, had never visited the original in Jerusalem at all but based their replica on second-hand measurements and bad pictures instead.
  2. The monks were not liars, but the structure of the edicule has changed a great deal since the 18th century, seeing the removal of the porch and old tower, and building of a new tower and parapet.
Answers on a postcard, please.

UPDATE: Ah! I found this on Wikipedia: "The Franciscan friars renovated it further in 1555, as it had been neglected despite increased numbers of pilgrims. A fire severely damaged the structure again in 1808, causing the dome of the Rotonda to collapse and smashing the Edicule's exterior decoration. The Rotunda and the Edicule's exterior were rebuilt in 18091810 by architect Komminos of Mytilene in the then current Ottoman Baroque style. The fire did not reach the interior of the Edicule, and the marble decoration of the Tomb dates mainly to the 1555 restoration. The current dome dates from 1870."

So, does this mean that the Votice edicule is actually an accurate 3D 'photograph' of the original in its pre-1808 form? I find that rather spine-tingling.


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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.
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The churchyard of the medieval village of Lindfield, which is near me, contains these strange double ended 18th-19th century 'ledger' tombs. The inscription faces away from the body. They're not that common, but seem to have been popular here. I've posted a few pics of them on the [livejournal.com profile] victorianera and [livejournal.com profile] darkvictoria groups. They quite liked them. Somebody mentioned that they look like comfy beds.