The Heritage TravellerTravel, History, and exploring British Heritage
What inspired JRR Tolkein's classic fantasty novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings? Literary historians have always assumed it was simply Tolkein's exposure to ancient myths and legends that he encountered in his role as a professor of linguistics at Oxford University. But could he have been inspired by an actual ring?
Read more: Tolkein 'Curse' Ring at The Vyne
Here's an interesting new resource for exploring historic churches in the north east of England; there's a new full-colour printed guide called Spirit in Stone that covers over 120 churches in County Durham, Tyneside, Newcastle, and Northumberland. Printed copies are available for free at tourist information centres and in churches across the region.
Read more: Spirit in Stone - Historic Churches in Northeast England
The news of the recently announced Academy Award nominations got me thinking; what if there were a similar set of [fun] awards for British castles? This is obviously a gaping need that I decided to fill with immediate effect. So by the power invested in me by myself I have founded the Academy of Castle Enthusiasts (ACE), named myself President of the Academy for Life, and come up with a list of nominations for the first ACE Awards.
Read more: British Castle 'Academy Award' Nominations
Yesterday I posted some resources I've found useful for determining if an historic church is likely to be open to visitors. That's all well and good, you might say, but how do you tell which historic churches are worth visiting in the first place?
Read more: Finding the Best Historic Churches to Visit
As anyone who has browsed around the Britain Express website will know, we enjoy visiting historic churches. I'm a huge fan of medieval architecture in particular, and enjoy nothing more than poking my nose into a medieval country church.
Read more: Visiting historic churches - is the church open?
If you like your history with a dose of art, have I got a website for you! Writer
David Santiuste and photographer Rae Tan have collaborated on a fascinating website combining history and wonderful black and white photographs to illustrate places associated with the Yorkist cause during the Wars of the Roses.
Read more: Reflections of a Yorkist Realm website
When I traveled to Lincoln a few years ago I ran into several medieval buildings related to a strong Jewish presence in the city. As an historian by training, I was peripherally aware that the Jews had been expelled from England by Edward I in 1290 - in part so that he woudn't have to repay loans to Jewish financiers. But I knew next to nothing of Jewish history in Britain either before or after that time.
Read more: National Anglo-Jewish Heritage Trail
Anyone who has poked around the Britain Express website will quickly realise that one of my abiding passions is the English country church. I love visiting, photographing, reading about, and writing about these wonderful historic buildings. It is always a great thrill when I get to meet others who share my enthusiasm.
Read more: Country Churches in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire
There are so many organisations across Britain which focus on one aspect or another of our heritage. I just became aware of another, and this one intrigues me. The Greater Churches Network is a group of over 30 of our most historic churches - but not including cathedrals. For the most part the member churches of the GCN exhibit all the characteristics of a cathedral - historic interest, large size, lots of visitors - but they are not actually cathedrals; they are just, um, 'great' churches.
Read more: Greater Churches Network