1103 Photographs of 110 Historic Sites and Events

Excluding Cheshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire, covered in separate sections

by Craig Thornber


In 1722, Daniel Defoe set off on his Tour Through the Eastern Counties of England. In 1724, he began A Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain. William Cobbett started his Rural Rides on 30 October 1821. A century later, H.V. Morton went by car and wrote In Search of England.  A few years later, J. B. Priestley made his English Journey. In the 1930's John Betjeman initiated the Shell Guides and in the 1960s made his programmes on country towns, mainly in the South West, which are now available on video. Beryl Bainbridge followed in Priestley's footsteps with her English Journey: or the Road to Milton Keynes, in 1984, which was made into a series of eight television programmes.

    Itineraries of travel writers

In the 1930s, Arthur Mee edited a series of 41 county volumes in The King's England series. It covered 10,000 towns and villages and gives an accessible account of the principal buildings. The books do not include references to original sources but provide ready access to the principal historical events associated with each location. After the war, Nikolaus Pevsner produced books for each county in the series Buildings of England. They are rich in architectural detail but do not attempt to cover historical events. New revised editions are in production.

Now, for the 21st century, I set out, digital camera in hand, in search of places of historic interest in England. Here you will find some English Heritage and National Trust Properties, which are much photographed already, but in addition some of the small jewels scattered in profusion around the country. If there is a preponderance of old churches among my selections it is in part for practical reasons. Firstly, in any village, the church is likely to be the oldest building. Secondly, the churchyard is open to the public and you may be fortunate to gain access to the church itself.   If you do, you may find something of the history of the village, either in the monuments or in a booklet about the church.  E. A. Greening Lamborn, in his book The English Parish Church, wrote in 1929:

"The most precious inheritance of the English is their poety and their parish churches. These are our unique possessions, our peculiar treasures; and no Englishman can take a just pride in his country who has not learned to appreciate and love them. The parish church is hallowed not merely by its purpose but by its age-old associations. Thirty generations have worked upon its fabric and revealed in their work their needs in this life and their ideas of another; it as been associated not merely with the great crises of their lives, with baptisms, marriages and burials, but with the daily round, the common task, the common amusement; its bells measured out their days and called them to work and rest as well as to prayer."

H. V. Morton in his In Search of England puts it even more poetically:

"These great churches are the urns which hold the ashes of England's history. The dim aisles are sacred to a past which is the splendid mother of the present, for in them are gathered the men whose lives shaped, through stress and storm, through the dense drive of arrows and the smoke of conflict, through a war of words, and through victories, and defeats and losses more magnificent than gains, the destiny of the English people."

In each article I give a brief account of the site, which is not intended to be comprehensive but to give a summary of the main features that attracted my attention. Full bibliographic details are provided for all my sources of information, without which this website would be only a collection of photographs.


Alfriston, Sussex   Gainsborough Old Hall.  Rievaulx Abbey, North Yorkshire
Attingham Park, Shropshire Gaskell's House, Plymouth Grove, Manchester Rodney's Pillar, Montgomeryshire
Banbury, Oxfordshire Goodrich Castle, Herefordshire   Rufford Abbey, Nottinghamshire
Belchamp Walter, Essex Great Chalfield, Wiltshire Rushton Lodge Northamptonshire
Berrington Hall, Herefordshire Great Tew, Oxfordshire Ryhall, Rutland
Blickling, Norfolk Hanbury Hall and Church, Worcestershire Sankey Valley, Lancashire
Bolton Priory, Yorkshire       Harvington Hall, Worcestershire Sawley Abbey, Lancashire
Boscobel House, Shropshire Helmsley Castle, North Yorkshire Severn Valley Railway, Worcestershire & Shropshire
Bosham, West Sussex Herringfleet, St. Margaret's, Suffolk Sizergh Castle, Cumbria, formerly Westmorland
Boston, Lincolnshire Heysham, St. Peter's and St. Patrick's, Lancashire Shap Abbey, Cumbria
Breedon on the Hill, Leicestershire Holker Hall, Cumbria Shifnal, Shropshire
Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire (3 pages) Hospital of St. Cross, Winchester Somerleyton Hall, Suffolk
Bridgnorth, Shropshire Hoghton Tower, Lancashire Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire
Brighton and Hove   Kenilworth Castle South Wraxall, Wiltshire
Brockhampton, Herefordshire Kilpeck, Herefordshire South Yorkshire Stately Homes (five properties)
Bromyard St. Peters, Herefordshire Kirby Hall, Northamptonshire Speke Hall, Lancashire
Buckler's Hard, Hampshire Knole House, Kent Stoke-by-Clare, Suffolk
Byland Abbey, Yorkshire Lacock, Wiltshire Stoke near Hartland, Devon   
Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight Levens Hall, Cumbria Stow-in-Lindsey Minster, Lincolnshire
Cartmel, Cumbria Lilleshall Abbey, Shropshire Tong, Shropshire
Castle Combe, Wiltshire Louth, Lincolnshire Tyntesfield, Somerset
Charlbury, Oxfordshire Lowther Castle, Cumbria Titchfield Abbey, Hampshire    
Chateau Impney Ludlow Castle, Herefordshire Upton House, Warwickshire
Chenies Manor, Buckinghamshire    Market Drayton, Shropshire Warkworth Castle, Northumberland
Child's Ercall, Shropshire Moreton Corbet, Shropshire Welcombe, Devon
Clifton Hampden, Oxfordshire      Muncaster Castle, Cumbria Westwood, Wiltshire
Cockersand Abbey, Lancashire Netley Abbey, Hampshire Whalley Abbey, Lancashire
Conishead Priory, South Cumbria Oakham, Rutland Whitby Abbey, Yorkshire
Doddington Hall, Lincolnshire Oxburgh Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire
Dorchester on Thames, Oxfordshire Pencarrow, Cornwall Wissington, Suffolk
Dudmaston Hall, Shropshire Penrith Castle, Cumbria Witley Court, Worcestershire
Elmley Castle, Worcestershire Portland Bill, Dorset Woolfardisworthy, Devon
Furness Abbey, Cumbria Ribchester, St. Wilfrid's, Lancashire Wroxeter Roman City, Shropshire
    Wymondham, Norfolk



Here are illustrations of some great days out in England.

Festival of History 2007 Festival of History 2009 Festival of History 2010
Manor Farm, Hampshire The Great Northwood Bowmen Black Country Museum
Weald and Downland Museum Chiltern Open Air Museum Navy Day, Portsmouth 2010



A few years ago, Ken Livingstone, then Mayor of London, proposed removing statues of Generals Havelock and Napier from Trafalgar Square on the grounds that nobody knew who they were. The bronze statue of Napier in Trafalgar Square, by G. G. Adams was erected by public subscription. Adams also executed a marble statue of Napier, which can be seen in St. Paul's cathedral.  Ken Livingstone probably suspected that Havelock and Napier had been active in events that it was not politically correct to recall. Perhaps Mr. Livingstone has forgotten that General Charles Napier was sympathetic to the Chartist Movement in the 1840s when he was commander of the army in 11 Northern Counties.  These men did what their country wanted and were undoubtedly brave and resourceful. They did not create their times, they accepted them as normal. Perhaps 100 years from now, our great grandchildren will tear down monuments to people in the early 21st century and say, "How could they be so blind, ignorant and selfish that they constanly strove to increase their consumption of natural resources leading to environmental degradation and climate change with millions of people all over the world suffering from the effects of drought, flooding, storm damage and mass migration?" "How could they have polluted the land, air and sea to such an extent that they caused mass extinction of plants and animals and threatened the human race? We have been warned by climate scientists for many years and we can all see the changes around us. However, it is only human nature for people to want a bigger car or house, more consumer goods and more long-haul holidays. It is the be-all and end-all of governments to acheive "economic growth" i.e. ever more consumption.

I will be adding short articles on a few British heroes whose monuments I have encountered in my travels around the British Isles.


General Napier Admiral Saumarez Admiral Benbow Admiral Rodney Admiral Nelson



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Page updated 26 May, 2022
Links checked on 16 Dec 2021

Craig Thornber, Cheshire, England, UK.  Main Site Address: https://www.thornber.net/

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