The Retirees go Abroad – Greg’s Visit to Nottingham – Lincoln Castle and the Magna Carta.

We walked across Castle Square to the castle. I caught a conspiratorial conversation between Kerry and Greg in a photo. Plotting more shopping I thought. Not before we see the castle says I. Outside the eastern gate is another Baron.

2015 is the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta. Only four original copies of Magna Carta remain from when it was sealed by King John in 1215. Copies of the charter were spread to religious houses in England – Hugh of Wells, later canonised to become St Hugh, the then Bishop of Lincoln, was present at the sealing and made sure a copy was brought back to Lincoln Cathedral.

Lincoln is also the only place in the world where you can find an original copy of Magna Carta together with the Charter of the Forest, issued in 1217 to amplify the document and one of only two surviving copies. The two charters are housed in Lincoln Castle in a specially made vault.

– See more at: http://www.visitlincoln.com/magnacarta#sthash.J0ZtMrvi.dpuf

For those of you who have forgotten the importance of the Magna Carta here is a shortened extract from Wikipedia

“Magna Carta (Latin for “the Great Charter”), also called Magna Carta Libertatum (Latin for “the Great Charter of the Liberties”), is a charter agreed by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215. It promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown, to be implemented through a council of 25 barons. Neither side stood behind their commitments. At King John’s request, the charter was annulled by Pope Innocent III, leading to the First Barons’ War. After John’s death, the regency government of his young son, Henry III, reissued the document in 1216, stripped of some of its more radical content, in an unsuccessful bid to build political support for their cause. At the end of the war in 1217, it formed part of the peace treaty agreed at Lambeth, where the document acquired the name Magna Carta, to distinguish it from the smaller Charter of the Forest which was issued at the same time. Short of funds, Henry reissued the charter again in 1225 in exchange for a grant of new taxes; his son, Edward I, repeated the exercise in 1297, this time confirming it as part of England’s statute law.

The charter became part of English political life. At the end of the 16th century there was an upsurge in interest in Magna Carta. Lawyers and historians at the time believed that there was an ancient English constitution, going back to the days of the Anglo-Saxons, which protected individual English freedoms. They argued that the Norman invasion of 1066 had overthrown these rights, and that Magna Carta had been a popular attempt to restore them, making the charter an essential foundation for the contemporary powers of Parliament and legal principles such as habeas corpus. Although this historical account was badly flawed, jurists such as Sir Edward Coke used Magna Carta extensively in the early 17th century, arguing against the divine right of kings propounded by the Stuart monarchs. Both James I and his son Charles I attempted to suppress the discussion of Magna Carta, until the issue was curtailed by the English Civil War of the 1640s and the execution of Charles.

The political myth of Magna Carta and its protection of ancient personal liberties persisted well into the 19th century. It influenced the early American colonists in the Thirteen Colonies and the formation of the American Constitution in 1787.

Research by Victorian historians showed that the original 1215 charter had concerned the medieval relationship between the monarch and the barons, rather than the rights of ordinary people, but the charter remained a powerful, iconic document, even after almost all of its content was repealed from the statute books in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Magna Carta still forms an important symbol of liberty today, often cited by politicians and campaigners, and is held in great respect by the British and American legal communities. The four original 1215 charters were displayed together at the British Library for one day, 3 February 2015, to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.

 

The Retirees go Abroad – Greg’s Visit to Nottingham – Lincoln

The day starts with the BBC news for the weather and the score in the cricket and to pick up what has happened at St Andrews. Boy how the programming changes with two men in the house. The weather is okay for today – we can visit Lincoln but take a jumper. Not so certain about Friday though. A low has developed in the Atlantic and is moving toward the UK. We may have to reschedule golf for Friday.

The drive over to Lincoln is trouble free and my research on parking has proved very worthwhile as we are able to park between Lincoln Castle and Lincoln Cathedral (they face one another) at the top of Steep Hill (named because it is bloody steep). We arrive before tourist hour (10.00am) so we wander along Bailgate to Newport Arch. We start at the tourist information centre in Castle Square and walk past the Church of St Mary Magdalene which is the parish church and dates from the 13th century. It is overshadowed by the cathedral immediately behind it.

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Further down Bailgate is the Lion and Snake pub and set into the road outside the pub are stone circles marking the location of 19 columns which once formed the colonnade of a roman forum. The place is littered with roman relics. Further on we pass the County Assembly Rooms where the local Rotary Club meets. In front is one of the “Barons” celebrating the anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. There are 15 – the same number as opposed King John and forced his signature to the Magna Carta and they will be auctioned off for charity. We finish our walk at Newport Arch; a roman archway still used by traffic today (I’ll bet it is a nightmare at busy times). Built 1800 years ago as the north gate to the roman fortress on the site.

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Don’t worry Kerry is keeping an eye on the shopping as we pass by the shops. I was taken by some bespoke ironwork in one – a replica penny farthing and a replica pushbike in the shape of a Harley Davison. She has even infected Greg who is shopping for scarves also.

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Enough of this. I drag them back to one of our goals – the Cathedral.

 

 

The Retirees go Abroad – Newark and the Civil War Centre

Newark is north east of Nottingham and during the Civil War (1642 -1646) was a Royalist stronghold surrounded by Parliamentary strongholds in Nottingham, Lincoln, and Hull. The New Model Army besieged Newark on three occasions during the Civil War and it was ultimately captured because Charles I surrendered and ordered the garrison at Newark to surrender. Therefore Newark more than any other city can claim the right to be the National Civil War Centre.

The centre opened on May 2nd and we visited a few days later. It is in a very early stage of development and the displays do not cover the civil war period but rather Newark during that period and how Prince Rupert brought the plague to Newark when relieving the city from Parliaments siege. It also had displays on the effects of civil wars in the 20th century. In my opinion it is not yet the centre for civil war history but it has made a good start.

After visiting the centre we walked through the old town, visiting the cathedral and looking at some of the Tudor heritage preserved in the buildings in the city. One of the oldest buildings now houses a business called “Charles I Coffee Shop”

During a visit to the High St in Long Eaton we found a book on Canal and River Walks in Nottinghamshire and one of those walks was along the River Trent in Newark. We moved the car so that we could take that walk and visit the castle. As soon as we saw the ruins of the castle both of us recognised that we had been to that park some time ago in summer. So we had lunch and then walked along the banks up to the locks and along the heritage trail.

After our walk we decided we would go back to Nottingham through Southwell. As we drove through the villages we came upon Kelham. This is where the Scots held Charles after he approached them to change sides. Kelham House still exists today but it is now used as Council offices. After the family who built the house sold it to pay debts it became a monastery and then it was purchased by the Council. The monks added a domed extension for their prayers and now this chamber is the council chamber. The council also added an extension for all of its administration staff. When we visited the staff were counting votes in the recent election in which we voted. Now the council is selling the property to a hotel chain and the council will move into purpose built premises.

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After Kelham we made it to Southwell and the Admiral Rodney Hotel. It had been threatening rain all day and now it was pouring so time to have an afternoon tipple and wait for the shower to finish before going home at the end of a long day.