Balliol College and Matyrs’ Memorial. Oxford, England


Oxford, Balliol College and Matyrs’ Memorial.
c.1910
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co

Google Street View.

Balliol has existed as a community of scholars on its present Broad Street site without interruption since about 1263. By this token it claims to be the oldest college in Oxford, and in the English-speaking world. In 1260 a dispute between John de Balliol and the Bishop of Durham erupted into violence and Henry III condemned Balliol’s behaviour. The Bishop had Balliol whipped, and imposed a penance on him of a substantial act of charity. This he did, by renting a property and creating a house of scholars, which was soon known by his name. After John de Balliol’s death in 1269, his widow, Dervorguilla of Galloway, guaranteed the future of the ‘House of the Scholars of Balliol’ by establishing a permanent endowment and giving it Statutes in 1282 – so bringing into being Balliol College as we know it today.
Balliol College

The Martyrs’ Memorial, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott and built of magnesium limestone, has stood as a focal point at the south end of St Giles since its completion in 1843, when it replaced “a picturesque but tottering old house”. It was modelled on the Waltham Cross. The Martyrs’ Memorial was erected almost 300 years after the event it commemorates, and says as much about the religious controversies of the 1840s as those of the 1550s. It commemorates three Protestant martyrs (Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer) who were burnt at the stake in Oxford in 1555.
Oxford History

Abbey Gateway, Reading, England


The Abbey Gateway, Reading
1904-1908
Publisher: Knight Brothers (British Mirror Series)

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The Abbey Gateway was originally the inner gateway of Reading Abbey, which today is a large, mostly ruined abbey in the centre of the town of Reading, in the English county of Berkshire. The gateway adjoins Reading Crown Court and Forbury Gardens and is one of only two abbey buildings that have survived intact, the other being the Hospitium of St John the Baptist. It is a grade I listed building, and includes a porters lodge on the ground floor and a large open room above the gate. The gateway marked the division between the area of the abbey open to the public and the section accessible only to monks, with the abbot’s lodging just inside the gateway. The gateway thus became the meeting place between the abbot, who commanded considerable powers within the town, and the people of the town.
Wikipedia.


“Reading Abbey gateway”, by Rev. Thomas James Judkin, 1788-1871 (Wikimedia Commons)

The Abbey Gateway divided the monks’ private living quarters from the more public areas of the abbey. In the 1560s, Queen Elizabeth I turned the abbot’s house, which stood just through the gateway, into a royal palace. After Elizabeth’s death, the palace fell out of use and eventually new houses were built alongside the gateway. In the 18th century one of them was home to the Reading Ladies’ Boarding School, which used the gateway as a classroom. From 1785-86 a particularly talented pupil studied here: the future novelist Jane Austen. In 1861 the Gateway collapsed in a storm, shortly after funds had been raised for vital conservation. Instead the Gate had to be substantially rebuilt. This work was completed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, a Victorian architect known for his Gothic Revival work.
Abbey Quarter

Portchester Castle, Portchester, England


Portchester Castle, Saxon tower and wall
1910s
Publisher: A.H.S, Southsea (possibly A.H.Sweasey)

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Wikipedia.

Saxon Shore forts were heavily defended later Roman military installations located exclusively in south east England. They were all constructed during the third century AD, probably between c.AD 225 and AD 285. They were built to provide protection against the sea-borne Saxon raiders who began to threaten the coast towards the end of the second century AD, and all Saxon Shore forts are situated on or very close to river estuaries or on the coast, between the Wash and the Isle of Wight. Saxon Shore forts are also found on the coasts of France and Belgium. The most distinctive feature of Saxon Shore forts are their defences which comprised massive stone walls, normally backed by an inner earth mound, and wholly or partially surrounded by one or two ditches.
Historic England

Portchester Castle was begun as a Roman fort, one of the series of coastal forts now known as the Forts of the Saxon Shore. These forts were built over the course of the 3rd century, to meet the threat presented by Saxon pirates who were then raiding the south coast of Roman Britain.

The walls of the Roman fort seem to have housed a community for most of the long period between the end of Roman rule and the Norman conquest of 1066. Evidence of four huts with sunken floors, a well, and signs of ploughing, datable to the 5th century, has been found. In the 7th to 9th centuries a number of timber houses and ancillary buildings were built, perhaps forming two residences. Around the end of the 9th century there seems to have been a break in occupation, with extensive dumping of rubbish over the sites of earlier buildings. In 904 the Bishop of Winchester gave the fort to the English king Edward the Elder (reigned 899–924). Following this, the fort became a burh – one of a series of fortified places which protected the kingdom from Viking attack.
English Heritage

Following the Norman Conquest, Portchester was granted to William Maudit and it was probably he who raised the castle. The Roman Walls were utilised to form the perimeter around the Outer Bailey whilst a moat and timber barrier were used to separate the north-west corner of the fort which then became the Inner Ward. When William died in 1100 the castle passed to his son, Robert Maudit, but he was killed in the White Ship disaster in 1120. Thereafter the castle passed through marriage to William Pont de l’Arche. William commenced rebuilding the Inner Ward defences of Portchester Castle in stone including raising the Great Tower during the 1120s and 1130s. William also built St Mary’s church to serve an Augustinian Priory he founded within the walls although by 1150 this community had relocated to Southwick.
Castles Forts Battles

Guildhall, Totnes, England


Guild Hall, Totnes
c.1910
Publisher: W. Denis Moss

Photos on Google Maps

The current building was originally part of Totnes Priory, which had been established by Juhel de Totnes, feudal baron of Totnes. Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII in the 1540s, his successor, King Edward VI, granted Totnes a charter, in 1553, allowing one of the former priory buildings, which had been used as the monks’ refectory, to be converted into a guildhall. Part of the first floor of the building was converted for use as a magistrates’ court in 1624. Soldiers were billeted in the building during the English Civil War: the council chamber at the west end of the first floor hosted a meeting between Oliver Cromwell and Thomas Fairfax at the oak tables there in 1646. The lower hall was used as a public meeting room as evidenced by the names of over 600 town mayors, who have served since 1359, listed on its walls. After prison cells had been built in the basement, the building was also used as the town gaol until 1887. The building was extended to the east by the addition of a loggia in front of the original building in 1897: the extension was designed with Doric order columns which had been recovered from the Exchange which had been demolished in 1878.
Wikipedia.

Circa 1553, reconstructed in 1624 (wall tablet)and extensively altered in 1829. On the site of the Benedictine Priory of St Mary founded by Judhael in 1086. After the Dissolution in 1536 the greater part of the priory church of St Mary was adapted for use as the parish church (qv), and the convential buildings, on the north side, were granted to Walter Smythe and, in 1553, to the Town Council who incorporated them in the new Guildhall buildings. The Courtroom appears to be on the site of the monastic refectory and retains some of the original window openings.
Historic England

Hastings Castle, Hastings


Hastings | The Castle
c.1910
Publisher: J. Davis, 24 Queen Victoria St, E.C.

Google Street View (approximate).

Hastings Castle is a keep and bailey castle ruin situated in the town of Hastings, East Sussex. It overlooks the English Channel, into which large parts of the castle have fallen over the years. Immediately after landing in England in 1066, William of Normandy ordered three fortifications to be built, Pevensey Castle in September 1066 (re-using the Roman Saxon Shore fort of Anderitum), Hastings (prior to the Battle of Hastings) and Dover. Hastings Castle was originally built as a motte-and-bailey castle near the sea. Later that year, the famous Battle of Hastings took place some miles to the north of Hastings Castle, in which William was victorious. In 1070, William issued orders for the castle to be rebuilt in stone, along with the St Mary’s Chapel.

In 1287, violent storms battered the south coast for many months and the soft sandstone cliffs eventually succumbed to the elements. Large sections of the face fell into the sea along with parts of the castle. In both 1339 and 1377, the town was attacked by the French leaving many burnt buildings which included homes. Throughout the next century erosion was unchecked and gradually more of the castle was lost to the sea. The mid 16th century saw the castle receive another blow as Henry VIII commissione

The site was purchased by Thomas Pelham on 23 June 1591. After the purchase, the site was purchased by the Pelham family and used for farming until the ruins had become so overgrown they were lost from memory. In 1824, the then owner the Earl of Chichester commissioned some archaeological investigations of the ruin. As a result of these, the chapel floor and parts of the chancel arch and walls were re-constructed out of blocks found lying on the ground.


Motte under construction Wikimedia Commons

Following the death of King Edward the Confessor in 1066, the English throne was claimed by William, Duke of Normandy. However, the English chose Harold Godwineson as Edward’s successor and accordingly William raised an invasion army. It eventually sailed from Saint-Valery-sur-Somme and landed near Pevensey on 28 September 1066. King Harold however was in the north, where just days earlier he had defeated another rival at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. This gave William time and he used it to build castles to protect his beachhead. Hastings was one of them (the others were Pevensey and Dover). All three were adjacent to important harbours and, in the case of Hastings, the site of a Saxon burh (fortified town).

Hastings Castle is one of the few Norman structures that can be dated with certainty. Not only is there is a picture on the Bayeux Tapestry, its narrative states William the Conqueror “commands that a castle be dug at Hestengaceastra”. The castle is also mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the Domesday Book (1086). Finally the Chronicle of Battle Abbey stated William I built a “wooden castle” at Hastings. Together these sources strongly suggest the castle was started before the Battle of Hastings (which wasn’t fought until 14 October 1066) using wooden prefabricated parts imported from Normandy. William was probably accommodated within its walls prior to the battle and in the immediate aftermath it would have been crucial as a secure logistical hub ensuring his sustainability in the south east.

The original castle consisted of a motte, which would have been topped by a timber palisade and tower, with a large broadly rectangular bailey to the west. An outer bailey, probably used for livestock, was located to the east. The castle was built on top of a cliff overlooking the Saxon settlement, markedly different from elsewhere which saw Norman castles stamped on top of former urban settlements (good examples can be seen at Exeter, Totnes and Wallingford).
Castles Forts Battles

Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow


The Art Galleries, Glasgow
1910s
Publisher: Valentine

Google Street View (other side).

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is a museum and art gallery in Glasgow, Scotland. It reopened in 2006 after a three-year refurbishment and since then has been one of Scotland’s most popular visitor attractions. The museum has 22 galleries, housing a range of exhibits, including Renaissance art, taxidermy, and artifacts from ancient Egypt. . . . The construction of Kelvingrove was partly financed by the proceeds of the 1888 International Exhibition held in Kelvingrove Park. The gallery was designed by Sir John W. Simpson and E.J. Milner Allen and opened in 1901, as the Palace of Fine Arts for the Glasgow International Exhibition held in that year. It is built in a Spanish Baroque style, follows the Glaswegian tradition of using Locharbriggs red sandstone, and includes an entire program of architectural sculpture by George Frampton, William Shirreffs, Francis Derwent Wood and other sculptors.
Wikipedia.

Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh


The Palace of Holyrood House, Edinburgh
Publisher: J. Salmon

Google Maps.

The Royal Collection Trust: Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Palace of Holyroodhouse, commonly referred to as Holyrood Palace or Holyroodhouse, is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland, Queen Elizabeth II. Located at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle, Holyroodhouse has served as the principal royal residence in Scotland since the 16th century, and is now a setting for state occasions and official entertaining. . . .The palace as it stands today was built between 1671–1678 in a quadrangle layout, approximately 230 feet (70 m) from north to south and 230 feet (70 m) from east to west, with the exception of the 16th-century north-west tower built by James V. Sir William Bruce designed the 3-storey plus attic classical palace for Charles II, upon the restoration of the monarchy.
Wikipedia.

Perth, Scotland


Perth from Bridgend
Postmarked 1905
Publisher: Valentine

Google Street View (approximate).

The northernmost structure is Smeaton’s Bridge (also known as Perth Bridge and, locally, the Old Bridge), completed in 1771 and widened in 1869, which carries the automotive and pedestrian traffic of West Bridge Street (the A85). [Shown in top postcard.] A former tollbooth building, on the southern side of the bridge at the Bridgend end of the bridge, is a category C listed building dating from around 1800. It was J. S. Lees Fish & Poultry Shop later in its life. Next, some five hundred yards downstream, is Queen’s Bridge, which also carries vehicle and pedestrian traffic, this time of South Street and Tay Street. Queen’s Bridge was completed in 1960, replacing the old Victoria Bridge (1902–1960), and was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in October of that year. The third bridge in the centre of Perth is a single-track railway bridge, carrying trains to and from the railway station, 1⁄2 mile (800 m) to the north-west. It was completed in 1863. [Shown in bottom postcard.]
Wikipedia.


Perth from Barnhill
Postmarked 1905
Publisher: Valentine

Google Street View (approximate).

Clifford’s Tower, York, England


York, Clifford’s Tower
c.1910
Publisher: Francis Frith

Google Street View.

Much of York’s layout is the result of Roman and Viking construction but one iconic feature is distinctly Norman. The original mound of Clifford’s Tower, with a timber structure at the top, was constructed by William the Conqueror in 1068 as a statement of his power over the region. This building stood for just over a century before being burnt down in one of York’s bloodiest and tragic moments, when, in 1190, 150 Jews were massacred on the site.

Between 1190 and 1194, it was repaired at great expense, and the mound was raised to its present height. The second timber structure was destroyed (this time by a gale) in 1245. Under pressure from his wars with the Scots, Henry III ordered the tower to be rebuilt and strengthened, this time in stone. Master Simon of Northampton and Master Henry of Reynes, the senior carpenter and stonemason respectively in Windsor Castle, were sent up to York to consult on the new design of the castle. The result was a tower some 50ft (15m) high and 200 ft (61m) in diameter. Its design is ‘quatrefoil’, with four overlapping circles, resembling a four leafed clover.
History of York

The large stone tower, which we now know as Clifford’s Tower, was built in the 1250s during the reign of King Henry III.For much of the 14th and 15th centuries, Clifford’s Tower was used as treasury, exchequer, mint, gaol and seat of royal power. During the Civil War (1642-9), Clifford’s Tower was held by the royalists while the city was under siege. In 1684 the tower was reduced to a shell after a fire. Eventually, most of the castle buildings were swept away when a new prison and court were built in the 18th and 19th centuries, leaving Clifford’s Tower as the principal surviving remnant of the York Castle.
English Heritage

Cross, Eyam, England


Saxon Cross in Eyam Churchyard
Publisher: Francis Frith

Google Street View.

In the churchyard is an Anglo-Saxon cross in Mercian style dated to the 8th century, moved there from its original location beside a moorland cart track. Grade I listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument, it is covered in complex carvings and is almost complete, but for a missing section of the shaft.
Wikipedia.

At the south side of St Lawrence’s parish church at Eyam in the Peak District, Derbyshire, there is a beautifully sculptured 8 foot-high Saxon cross which is said to date from either the 8th Century or the 10th? It is also known as a Mercian Cross. Some of the design-work on the shaft and head bears some similarity to Celtic design. In the 8th Century Christian missionaries (from the north) set up the cross at Crosslow to the west of Eyam. The cross-shaft was originally a couple of feet taller than it is at present but, despite that, it is one of the best-preserved of all the Mercian crosses in the Midlands.
The Journal of Antiquities