Silent Sunday….a Time to Relax


Sunday for many of us is a time to relax and put our feet up (well maybe not everyone and maybe not every weekend).  As the weather forecast for today is not that promising I guess a pot of coffee, some relaxing music on the CD player and a good book may just be the solution.

Sadly my Library of books is not as old, interesting and lavish as the Family Library at Alnwick Castle….  Oh for the chance to explore these shelves.

3rd September

(C) David Oakes 2017



Silent Sunday…..So Off to Church


Valle Crucis Abbey, Llantysilio, Wales

Not really a Church this weekend but an Abbey. It is Valle Crusis Abbey and can be found in a deep sheltered valley at Llantysilio near to Llangollen in Denbighshire, Wales.



Built circa 1201 under the instruction and sponsorship of Madog ap Gruffydd Maelor the Prince of Powys Fadog it was a Cistercian Monastery.  For much of its working life the Abbey was prosperous and productive agriculture centre and the main occupation of the inhabitants who numbered maybe a couple of hundred at its height.  It survived the bitter and bloody Welsh Wars of the 13century and later the Abbey also enjoyed a reputation for a welcoming hospitality for travellers and the needy.

Its downfall was in 1537 and the Dissolution of the Monasteries on the order of Henry VIII.  After that it became and remains a ruin (though part of the Chapter House was later converted for a time to  Manor House).

We are lucky that the main structure still survives which allows us to gain a true feeling of the original size of  Valle Crucis as well as much of the detailed stone Tracery, Vaulting and Corbelling. The Abbey is now well cared for by CADW the Welsh Heritage Organisation with a rather good exhibition centre telling the story of Valle Crucis.


27th August

(C) David Oakes 2017

DP Weekly Photo Challenge – Heritage

via Photo Challenge: Heritage


Levant ‘Tin’ Mine, Pendeen, North Cornwall

Here in the UK we are blessed with a rich Heritage.  The country side and towns are littered with buildings from long before Stonehenge to modern times…every generation creating its own piece of history and leaving behind a footprint for those that follow.

I have to admit to having a preference for the architecture that has been left by the early industrialist.

Today Cornwall is perhaps best known as a holiday destination (and a great one at that) but in days gone by it was the centre of a mining industry.  Below the surface the land was rich in minerals, Lead, Arsenic, Coal, Fluorspar and China Clay… perhaps those familiar with the Poldark Saga will immediately think of Tin.

Levant Mine above was just one of many Tin Mines.  Dangerous places to work, rock falls, explosions, gasses and working in the dark with just a candle fixed to a felt ‘Hard Hat’.  The search for the elusive veins of mineral even so some mines extended their workings in long tunnels under the sea.

Levant Mine is now a Heritage Museum with a Beam Engine…well worth a visit but maybe like me you may just like to sit and take in the Heritage that is in the air, even today long after these mines were abandoned.

My suggestion for this weeks DP Photo Challenge.  It is fun to see what other have suggested, click on this link :-

19th May

(C) David Oakes 2017

Sunday…So Off to Church. As its Easter its a Special Church


Hereford Cathedral, Herefordshire

Standing proud on the banks of the River Wye, Hereford Cathedral perhaps looks it best in the early spring light, with Weeping Willow and Daffodils gracing the gardens that surround the Cathedral.  It is a magical Cathedral, not the largest of British Cathedrals, however its layout and architecture lends much added character.

Of course like most Cathedrals early life was of a more humble Church.  Dating back to the 670’s and possibly earlier the Church was dedicated to two Saints.  Saint Mary the Virgin and Saint Ethelbert the King.  Ethelbert was beheaded in 792 on the whim of Offa, King of Mercia.  There is a tomb to Ethelbert in the Cathedral.

It has to be said that after that  Hereford Cathedral had both a violent part to play in history and was also subject to a great deal of rebuilding, extending and alteration. Being so close to the Welsh Border and Welsh Marches it did get caught up in the cross border conflicts and was burnt down by Welsh and Irish Forces.  Reconstruction started in 1079, with major adaption in 1409 and at frequent intervals over the centuries that followed.


The Lady Chapel

Today the Cathedral is always busy with visitors. Despite these numbers, many would find todays very real tranquillity within these high walls, a dramatic contrast to its turbulent history.


West Doorway

Herford Cathedral is also the home of the famous and unique Mappa Mundi.  Dating to the 1300’s this early map is a representation of the world as imagined. Information gleaned from ecclesiastic travellers and others.  Surprisingly places that supposedly were not know of at that time are represented on the map and even more surprising in reasonably accurate locations. A definite Bucket List addition.

As I cannot show you any images of this treasure you may find this link useful:-

16th April

(C) David Oakes 2017