10/17/14

Day 1 - London - Part 4

Since it lies at the foot of the bridge, it's impossible to miss Lambeth Palace and the "church" next door...

Lambeth Palace Gate House is the red brick building to the left; the Palace has been the London base of the Archbishop of Canterbury for 800 years.  It wasn't open that day, so that's something else we'll have to go back to see.

The church is no longer a church (St. Mary at Lambeth) .  It is now the Museum of Garden History.  We went in because all I noticed was that it had a cafe and it was past lunch and past time to sit down!  But it turned out to be wonderful, in addition to the chair and the food.

The museum was set up in 1977 and was the only way to save the building from demolition.  Not only is the garden itself wonderful, it contained the tombs of John Tradescant (considered to be the first great gardener and plant-hunter in British history..quote from the guide) and Captain Bligh (yes, the one from Mutiny on the Bounty).

The garden behind the building was sweet and relaxing...with a wonderful knot garden in the center...

And it was kind of cool to find the tomb of Captain Bligh...
the tomb's inscriptions read: 
"Sacred to the Memory of William Bligh, Esquire, E.R.S. Vice Admiral of the Blue. The celebrated navigator who first transplanted the bread fruit tree from Otaheite to the West Indies. Bravely fought the battles of his country, and died beloved, repected, and lamented on the 7th day of December 1817, aged 64."
"In this vault are deposited also the remains of William Bligh and Henry Bligh who died March 21, 1794 aged 1 day.  The sons of M. Elizabeth and Rear Admiral Bligh; and also William Bligh Barker, their grandchild, who died Oct 22, 1805, aged 3 years."
"Sacred to the memory of Mrs. Elizabeth Bligh, wife of Rear Admiral Bligh, who died April 15th, 1812 in the 60th year of her age. Her spirit soar'd to Heav'n, the Blest Domain, where virtue only can its meed obtain. All the great duties she perform'd thro' life, those of a child, a parent and a wife."

That's supposed to be a breadfruit on top of the tomb.

It was kind of strange, because to Americans, he's always been portrayed as a villan - but he was actually very heroic and managed to get his men and small boat back to safety, a mean feat of navigation.  And he is much admired by the British.

So while the Captain has a more colorful story (I recommend the American version, starring Clark Gable...), the Tradescants have the more impressive tomb...

The top was basically unreadable...
 

So it took some research to find out about the Tradescants...
the Elder was head gardener to the 1st and 2nd Earls of Salibury, designed gardens for St. Augustine's Abbey in 1615-23, gardner to 1st Duke of Buckingham, then became Keeper of his Majesty's Gardnes, Vines, and Silkworms at the queen's palace of Oatlands; in all of his travels he collected seeds, bulbs and curiosities of natural history and ethnography and introduced many plants into English gardens that are still being used
so...that kind of explains all of the wierd stuff carved on the tomb!



although the Hydra has me concerned...wherever did he see that???
And, of course, there was much more to see both in the garden and in the former church...




 


poor Mr. Bacon - killed by lightning while standing at his window!

Afterwards, we headed up Lambeth Palace Road, back towards Westminster Bridge...

10/14/14

Day 1 - London - Part 3

We strolled away from the Palace and the Abbey on Abingdon Street, where you pass the Jewel Tower..
It was built around 1365 to house Edward III’s treasures and was known as the ‘King’s Privy Wardrobe’. One of only two buildings from the medieval Palace of Westminster to survive the fire of 1834, the tower features a 14th century ribbed vault.
We had no plans at this point, so we just kept walking to see what there was to see...Abingdon turns into Millbank Street, and there were enough architectural details to amuse us...





And it also passed by Victoria Tower Gardens...there was a lot of work going on in the garden, but we did get a glimpse of the Buxton Memorial ...

commemorates the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire in 1834
and the Nanny Goat statue...

Maybe on our next visit we can actually visit the Park...

We found ourselves at Lambeth Bridge, which was erected to replace the ferry from Lambeth Palace and Westminster.

And provided some excellent views of the Thames and of the South Bank...
Downriver view towards Parliament and Westminster Bridge
Southbank
the Shard on the Southbank

The glass building is the Parliament View Aprtments


and this is the view upriver toward the Vauxhall Bridge
Next up - the Garden Museum...

10/10/14

Day 1 - London - Part 2

No matter where we travel, we try to have only one or two "goals" in a day - everything else (and sometimes there's a lot of it) is bonus...

Day 1's real goal was St. Margaret's Church. 

You might not realize it, but on the grounds of Westminster Abbey, is St. Margaret's.  The monks of the newly-founded (dedicated 1065) monastery of St. Peter in Westminster were disturbed by the people of Westminster who came to hear Mass, so the monks built a smaller church on the grounds next to the Abbey where the local people could go; they dedicated the church to St. Margaret of Antioch.  It was built in the latter part of the 11th century, remodeled during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) and again in 1482-1523; also restored in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries but the structure stayed substantially the same as the 1482 re-do.

Our reason for going there was that this was the church for Dave's 11th great-grandparents, John Bray (d.1615)+Margaret Haslonde (d. 1588) and his 10th great-grandparents Thomas Whitney (d.1637)+Mary Bray (d.1629; daughter of John & Margaret).

It is a most-pleasant church...and is still an active church and is known as the parish church of the House of Commons, with a pew set aside (since 1681) for the Speaker.  It is the church where Winston Churchill was married, and the poets John Milton &  John Skelton, and Sir Walter Raleigh are buried (among many others).
The tower was largely rebuilt in the 1730s and contains a ring of 10 bells
The four sundials were added in 1982 to commemorate a service held at
St. Margaret's for the 10th annual session of the North Atlantic Assembly,
which was attended by Members of the Parliaments of NATO countries
The East Window is Flemish glass made in about 1526 and was made to commemorate the marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon and it isn't known for which church it was orignally intended; it was bought by the church wardens for St. Margaret's in 1758.


The church contains many fine memorials with sculpture and/or heraldry...


Lady Dorothy Stafford (d 1604) who was Elizabeth I's Mistress of the Robes


 

 
The church was damaged during the bombing in WWII and the South aisle windows were lost.  They were filled with glass designed by John Piper and executed by Patrick Reyntiens.

the Houghtons


Marie, Lady Dudley (d. 1600) -
daughter of William Howard, First Baron Howard of Effingham-
first married Edward Sutton (4th Baron Dudley, also buried in St. Margaret's)
and secondly Richard Montpesson , Esq.



Since the line into Westminster Abbey was at least 3 hours long, we opted to just walk on down the street between the Palace and the Abbey toward Lambeth Bridge.

a look at the Abbey...
Next up - Millbank Street and Lambeth...