Visits Programme in 2013The History Group welcomes non-members to join us on these outings. Bookings for these visits can be placed at the meetings in January, March and April alternatively contact Diana Smith on 01564782595 for further details.
Departure times should be verified at the time of booking.
Visit to Lichfield Cathedral and Cathedral Close
Tuesday 16th April
[Image: Attribution: Scu98rkr at en.wikipedia – Roger Robinson 2007] .
The cathedral’s greatest treasure is the Lichfield Gospels, an 8th century illuminated manuscript. The cathedral suffered much during the English Civil War being at the centre of hostilities between Royalist and Parliamentary forces. Virtually all the medieval stained glass was destroyed at this time. Much restoration work had to be undertaken which was to span some 200 years from the Civil War period. The cathedral now has much stained glass dating to the 1530s from a Belgian Abbey and many fine 19th century windows - look out for the work of Charles Eamer Kempe – his trademark was a golden garb or wheatsheaf located somewhere in the stained glass. Work on the cathedral in 2003 led to the discovery of an 8th century sculpted panel of the Angel Gabriel, now on display, which is dated to the 8th century.
The Cathedral Close surrounding the cathedral was once a fortified area with the Minster Pool to the south forming part of the defences. There are many beautiful old buildings in the Close and opposite the Cathedral’s west front is Erasmus Darwin House, a museum dedicated to his life’s work. The Bishop’s Palace, now the Cathedral School was built in 1687 with the early 18th century Deanery next to it. The Chapters Restaurant and Coffee Shop, with its unique thirteenth century walled garden, is in the Close.
Visit to the Lord Leycester Hospital and guided tour of Warwick
Tuesday 21st May
[Image: Attribution: Misterweiss at en.wikipedia] .
A medieval ‘hospital’ was a place of ‘hospitality’, which at the Lord Leycester means “a charitable institution for the housing and maintenance of the needy, infirm or aged". The 1st Earl of Leicester acquired the buildings in 1571, founding a hospital here for aged or injured soldiers and their wives, under a royal charter from Queen Elizabeth I.
Its establishment therefore predates that of a similar establishment in London, the Royal Hospital Chelsea, which was founded in 1682 by King Charles II to provide soldiers with a fitting home in their retirement.
The building has been used in filming for television productions which include Moll Flanders, Tom Jones, Pride and Prejudice and part of a 2007 episode of Doctor Who.
Part of the building is occupied by the Master’s Tearoom open to the public and to the rear of the property is the Master’s Garden which contains a 2000 year old stone vase.
The visit will also include a walking tour of parts of historic Warwick with a local historian as our guide – so you thought you knew all about Warwick? This will provide an opportunity to learn much more about this ancient town dating back to pre-Conquest times.
Visit to Crome Court Worcestershire
Thursday 27th June
[Image: Attribution: Bill Johnson] .
Interior design work was undertaken by Robert Adam; see Adam’s long gallery, along with work by James Wyatt. The park contains a number of delightful and romantic temples and follies.
The house has had its royal visitors: George III, Queen Victoria and George V. During the Second World War it was the home of the Dutch Royal family who had escaped from the occupation of Holland. It also saw ‘war service’ housing part of RAF Defford playing an important part during the war for the development of telecommunications and radar for use in aircraft.
The mansion has had a chequered history since the war with parts of it and the grounds in a perilous state by the 21st Century. The mansion was bought by the Croome Heritage Trust in 2007 and leased to the National Trust for 10 years whilst fund raising for its restoration is being undertaken. The Mansion opened to the public on September 2009 with the National Trust aiming to raise £4.8 million to secure the long term future of the Court.
On our visit we will have a talk about Crome Court and you will have a chance to explore the house and grounds along with a visit to 1940s style Canteen in the RAF Visitor Centre – you can also enjoy an afternoon tea in the grand setting of the old Tapestry Room in Croome Court.
The RAF Canteen is a licensed restaurant providing in a range of foods from salads to snacks, cakes, soups, drinks and cooked lunches. The Tapestry Room Tea Room is something a little bit special offering a relaxed atmosphere where you can take afternoon tea, in a room once full of incredible Robert Adam designed tapestries.
Crome now has a new gift shop recently opened for gifts, plants, books, local produce and even an ice cream.