Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Ireland-UK Trip: England Day 8 - Canterbury, Deal and Walmer Castles

Martha and I explored the town of Canterbury today, site of the Canterbury Cathedral where Thomas Becket got murdered by knights under the command of King Henry II.  More info here: LINK

We were staying in the small town of Littlebourne just outside of Canterbury so driving there only took a few minutes and we parked immediately outside the town walls, a short walk and we were right at the gate to the cathedral.

 Canterbury Cathedral, with it's southern main window under restoration,

 A section of the church is devoted to remembering "The Buffs"
The Royal East Ken Regiment...note their battle flags.

 Stained glass window inside the Chapel of Saint Anselm

 The spot where St. Thomas Becket was murdered.

 Notice the small heraldic shields/symbols on the ceiling in the archway corridor above?
Below is a closeup of one section:

After exploring the cathedral, and its definitely one of the more interesting cathedrals we've visited, we wandered around Canterbury town for a bit.  We decided to rest a bit, by riding on their "River Cruise".
More like a canal ride than a river actually but still quite enjoyable and relaxing.  Our boatman/guide was Rob Nye aka Captain Nye and he regaled us with tales about Canterbury and the buildings we passed during the cruise.

 Boatman Rob Nye

 The lodgings of the Black Friars, the order which participated in the Inquisition
Not the guys you wanted to get on the bad side of....

Among some of the historical tidbits offered up by Rob as he paddled our small boat along the smoothly running river were:

Mentioned in one of the Canterbury Tales by Chaucer, the pace used by horses of the day to travel towards Canterbury, aka "the canter".

Origin of the word "Hangover":  As they didn't have Netflix and such back in "the day", one of the ways folks  sought entertainment was the attending of the hangings of accused witches.  Once found guilt through the dunking stool (see below), they'd take the poor accused and hang them!  There would be festivities accompanying this "entertainment" and the alcohol would naturally flow.  The "Hangover" was how one felt after the hanging.  Get it?

Legging it.  The act of laying on one's back by a boatman, and using one's legs and feet to push one's boat along under a low bridge instead of trying to paddle.  Back in the day, horses were used to pull boats or tows up a river, obviously you couldn't put the horse in the river to pull the boat, so short men or grown boys would come aboard, lay on their backs and use their legs/feet to push the boat upstream until it was clear of the low bridge.

Main gate into Canterbury Cathedral

Today's meager Moto content.

After lunch in a Chinese restaurant, we tried to go to the Canterbury Heritage Museum but it was closed on Tuesdays.  So we decided to check out a nearby Artillery Fort/Castle built under the orders of King Henry VIII.

Deal Castle is located right on the seashore, one of three castle/forts built in the age of artillery and designed accordingly.  Their mission was to defend the Southern Downs, a sheltered area of seashore which was highly desirable for invading armies.

 Entrance into Deal Castle.

 Evidence of a "Bad Day" for this particular cannon's crew.

 You can see how close and how good a view of the nearby shore
was enjoyed by this Tudor fort.

 The round bastions formed a "Tudor Flower", I read in one of the many
panels dotting the fort, explaining things.

 I supposed you can call it a flower eh?
Photo of an aerial photograph from years ago.

Built functional and to fight artillery duels, this castle and its mates were not
built exactly for imposing looks.

Walmer Castle, the second of three artillery forts built for defense of the coast, was nearby and a short drive later we were touring it.  This castle was also home to the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, the royally appointed official who oversaw the defense of the Cinque Ports.   Over the years, other Lord Wardens would be famous individuals such as the Duke of Wellington (of Battle of Waterloo Fame) and William Pitt, one of the more famous of the British Prime Ministers.  Both of them have rooms inside this castle containing memorabilia and possessions with connections to them.  Another famous person would be Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who was the first female Warden.

 Martha and a view of the fort from the Queens Garden

By this time, were were tired and pretty much done with historical things.  We drove back to Littlebourne and got some rest and dinner later on.  I had work to do as well as a meeting to attend so just as well.

Tomorrow, we go to the London-Heathrow airport area to return the rental car and perhaps take the metro in to London to take a look around, we'll see how things go.


Bob and Sharon said...

Seriously check out St Pauls Cathedral while in London, The Brits made a great memorial to the United States for our war effort, right inside. Also check out the dome and the whispering wall inside the dome. Great view of the city from the top of th church.

Love your writing


Trobairitz said...

Wow, more good stuff. The "Tudor flower" was intriguing.

Thanks again for sharing all the lovely photos.

redlegsrides said...

Bob and Sharon, will try for St Pauls while in London to be sure. We tried Westminster Abbey but it was closed by the time we got to it this afternoon and it's closed all day tomorrow, so no go on that abbey.

Thanks Trobairitz, glad you like the photos, I found the fort design symmetric and deadly.