Friday, 22 April 2016

Britain from A to Z - E

For the letter E in our A to Z of Britain, we travel from the north of Scotland, through East Anglia and end up in London.

We start right in the north of Scotland on Mainland, Orkney, with the Earls Palace.
Earls Palace
This fine courtyard castle was built between 1569 and 1574 by Robert Stewart, half-brother to Mary Queen of Scots, and the illegitimate son of James V by his mistress Euphemia Elphinstone. When Mary’s son, James VI, created him Earl of Orkney, Lord of Shetland and Knight of Birsay in 1581, the castle became his principal country residence in Orkney. The overthrow of the Stewart earls in 1615 effectively ended the story of the Earl’s Palace, Birsay. An inventory drawn up in 1653 by Cromwell’s troops, then stationed here, suggests neglect had already set in. By 1700 the palace was roofless and decaying.

Travelling back in time even earlier than the Earls Palace, we next take a look at Ely Cathedral.
Ely Cathedral - West Tower
Ely Cathedral - The Lady Chapel
Ely Cathedral, has its origins in AD 672 when St Etheldreda built an Abbey Church. The present building dates back to 1083, and cathedral status was granted it in 1109. Until the reformation it was the Church of St Etheldreda and St Peter, at which point it was refounded as the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Ely, continuing as the principal church of the Diocese of Ely, in Cambridgeshire, England. It is the seat of the Bishop of Ely and a suffragan bishop, the Bishop of Huntingdon. Architecturally it is outstanding both for its scale and stylistic details. Having been built in a monumental Romanesque style, the galilee porch, lady chapel and choir were rebuilt in an exuberant Decorated Gothic. Its most famous feature however is the central Octagonal tower, with lantern above, which provides a spectacular internal space and, along with the West Tower, gives a unique exterior landmark that dominates the surrounding landscape. Ely Cathedral is the only UK building to be listed as one of the “Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages”. Visible for miles around, the Cathedral is often referred to as “The Ship of the Fens”.
Egyptian Goose
Travelling towards London we see an Egyptian Goose on the banks of the River Thames at Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.
Elizabeth Tower
We finish this journey in the centre of London with a view of The Elizabeth Tower which houses The Great Clock and Big Ben, which is the name of the largest of the five bells which hang in the clock tower.

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