Top 10 Heritage Sites for Norfolk

Grimes Graves
Galleries at the bottom of Pit 1 at Grimes Graves (2015) © David Gill

I have been thinking about my Top 10 heritage sites in Norfolk. This is very much a personal choice, and the locations are placed in (rough) chronological order. I have tried to include a variety of types of heritage site. How can you decide between Norwich Cathedral and Norwich Castle? Or between Felbrigg and Blickling? Castle Rising and Castle Acre?

Grime’s Graves. You can descend into the Neolithic flint mines.

Burgh Castle
The Roman fort at Burgh Castle © David Gill

Burgh Castle. One of the best preserved Roman forts of the Saxon Shore.

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Norwich Cathedral © David Gill

Norwich Cathedral. The cathedral is an architectural gem and dominates the city.

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Binham Priory © David Gill

Binham Priory. Part of the Benedictine priory is still in use as the parish church.

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Castle Rising © David Gill

Castle Rising. This well-preserved keep is dominated by a series of earthworks.

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Oxburgh Hall © David Gill

Oxburgh Hall. The moated hall at Oxburgh contains fabulous tapestries.

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Felbrigg Hall © David Gill

Felbrigg Hall. The 17th century front to the house is a gem.

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Holkham Hall © David Gill

Holkham Hall. One of the most magnificent houses and Grand Tour collections in Norfolk.

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North Norfolk Railway, Sheringham Station © David Gill

The North Norfolk Railway (The Poppy Line). The journey between Sheringham and Holt provides views of the coast as well as the Norfolk countryside.

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Sandringham © David Gill

Sandringham. The Royal residence sits in the middle of extensive landscaped grounds.

Elgin cathedral: guidebook

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1938 (2nd ed. 1950, 8th impress. 1973)

The first See of Moray was created in 1107. However the present location (juxta Elgyn) was only consecrated in July 1224 when it became the cathedral church of the diocese.  The constitution of the cathedral was based on Lincoln. After the reformation the building fell into risrepair and the roof was removed in 1567.

The guidebook, subtitled, The Cathedral Kirk of Moray, was written by J.S. Richardson (description) and H.B. Mackintosh (history). A fold-out plan is placed inside the back cover.

St Andrews cathedral: guidebooks

StAndrews_cathedral_MPBW
1950 (8th impress. 1966)

The remains of the cathedral at St Andrews were placed in State Guardisanship in 1946. Stewart Cruden prepared the first guidebook for The Cathedral of St. Andrews and St. Regulus Church (1950) (although the cover only shows the shorter form).

It starts with an extensive glossary, The guide is divided into two sections, each divided into history and description: first on St Regulus church, second on the cathedral.  A plan of the cathedral is placed in the centre pages, and a fold-put plan of the precinct appears inside the back cover.

StAndrews_Cathedral_HS
1993 (revised 2003; repr. 2007)

The Historic Scotland official souvenir guide was prepared by Richard Fawcett, and was subsequently revised by Sally Foster and Chris Tabraham. This has a guided tour followed by the story of the cathedral.

St Andrews Cathedral

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St Andrews Cathedral © David Gill

The cathedral at St Andrews was constructed from 1160. Services were taken by the Augustinian canons. It continued in use until the reformation of the church in Scotland in 1560.

To the east of the cathedral lay the earlier St Rule’s church, dating from the previous century.

The cathedral ruins were placed in State Guardianship in 1946.

Top 10 Heritage Sites in England: a personal view

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Castle Howard © David Gill

Historic England has published a list of its Top 10 Heritage Sites in England. But what would be on my personal list? The oldest site on their list was the Anglo-Saxon ship-burial site at Sutton Hoo, but I would like to push the list back a little further. I would place two key sites:

  • the first, the prehistoric mound of Silbury Hill near Avebury in Wiltshire.
  • the second, the monumental Roman frontier of Hadrian’s Wall that cuts across Northumberland and Cumbria.

Cathedrals are equally hard to list. I think top of my list would be Durham. What can beat the view of the cathedral from the train? I would also place the magnificent Norwich Cathedral in the rankings.

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Norwich Cathedral © David Gill

I would like them to be joined by one of the Yorkshire abbeys, and Fountains is probably the  one that heads the list. But should there be a castle on the list? Pevensey Castle brings together the Roman fort with the later medieval castle, and with hints of the Second World War inserted into the masonry.

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Fountains Abbey © David Gill

Country houses are difficult. Chatsworth is an outstanding residence, but I think that I would place Castle Howard, Yorkshire above it. Queen Victoria’s residence, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, has spectacular views over the Solent and should be on the list.

On a more modest scale, Cherryburn in Northumberland linked to Thomas Bewick, is an intimate location.

I feel that there should be some industrial heritage in the list. Stott Park Bobbin Mill, tucked away on the edge of Windermere in the Lake District, is one of those captivating sites. Local resources and energy supplies provided a key component of Britain’s trade.

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Stott Park Bobbin Mill © David Gill

Top 10 Heritage Sites in England

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St Paul’s Cathedral from Tate Modern © David Gill

Historic England has issued a list of the Top 10 Heritage Sites in England (Mark Brown, “New top 10 of heritage sites maps out the history of England”, The Guardian 12 June 2018).

The sites are:

      • Sutton Hoo, Suffolk
      • Angel of the North, Gateshead
      • St Paul’s Cathedral
      • Coventry Cathedral
      • Tate Modern
      • the Barbara Hepworth museum and sculpture park, St Ives, Cornwall
      • the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield
      • Kelmscott Manor, Oxfordshire
      • Chatsworth House, Derbyshire
      • the Minack theatre, Cornwall

     

What would be in your top 10 sites for England?

Old Sarum: guidebooks

OldSarum_souv
1965

I have noted before the 1922 Office of Works guide to Old Sarum. In 1965 H. de S. Shortt prepared an illustrated guide to Old Sarum for the MPBW in the format that had been produced in the 1950s for other sites in State Guardianship. The cover is based on the 1819 map prepared by Henry Wansey. One of the first features is a double page spread (pp. 4–5) providing a plan for the castle, the outer bailey and the original cathedral. The guide starts with the situation, noting paintings by John Constable (reproduced in the centre pages), before moving into the historical outline with sub-sections on prehistory, Roman-Britain, Anglo-Saxon, Norman, and then later periods. It includes reconstructions by Alan Sorrell. There is then a guide to the remains, both the inner bailey, as well as the old cathedral. There are two appendices: A note on the name of Old Sarum; Saint Osmund; Excavations at or adjoining Old Sarum.

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1984

The guide continued to be in print until 1990. The plan of the castle had been placed on a foldout sheet inside the back cover.

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1988 (1990)

The 1990 guide has the Gateway logo.

OldSarum_EH
1994 [2003]
Derek Renn prepared the English Heritage guide (1994). The two main sections are ‘What to see’ (no longer, ‘a tour’ or ‘a description’), and ‘The story of Old Sarum’ (not ‘a history’). A pictorial ‘tour’ is provided in the centre pages. It contains sections on prehistory, Rome, as well as the Normans. One section addresses ‘From city to rotten borough’.

Renn had earlier prepared the MPBW souvenir guide to Shell Keeps in Devon and Cornwall (1969), and the English Heritage guidebooks for Orford and Framlingham Castles (1988), Goodrich Castle (1993).

OldSarum_EH_red
2006

The latest English Heritage guide is by John McNeill, with fold out plans inside the front and back covers. The two main sections are the tour, and a history, with features on the demolition of the cathedral and beneath the ramparts, showing some of the early investigations of the site.

Old Sarum: cathedral

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Old Sarum, cathedral © David Gill

The cathedral at Old Sarum was probably started under Bishop Hermann (d. 1078), when the see was moved from Sherborne (in 1075); much of the work was conducted by his successor Bishop Osmund (d. 1099). This structure was placed inside the outer walls of the castle (that follow the line of the Iron Age hillfort), and completed in 1092.

The cathedral was rebuilt by Bishop Roger (d. 1139) and expanded by Bishop Jocelin de Bohun (d. 1184). The foundations of the new Salisbury cathedral were laid in 1220 under Bishop Richard Poore (1217-28), and the remains of the first three bishops of Salisbury were moved from Old Sarum in June 1226. The old cathedral was then dismantled and the stone reused for the new building.

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Old Sarum, cathedral and castle © David Gill

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus

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The Cathedral from the Bishop’s Palace, St Davids © David Gill

We would like to wish all readers of Heritage Futures Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus (Happy St David’s Day).

The former Bishop’s Palace is in the care of Cadw.

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