On the trail of John Keats

  Has this ever happened to you?  Sometimes when you work on a new project, a name pops up again and again and you start seeing references to it everywhere you go.  What do they call it – Six degrees of separation? So it was for me with the poet John Keats who is thought to…

The beauty of architecture: The Grange at Northington

There is something very appealing about a partially derelict building – and something very sad about its abandonment too.  My visit to The Grange at Northington evoked both of these emotions but principally, the great pity of an unloved but beautiful house. The track leading up to the mansion is basic, to say the least, but…

The Garrison Church – a memorial to the fallen

When walking along the seafront, close to Old Portsmouth, I often passed The Garrison Church without really thinking much about it.  Finally, one day, seeing the doors open, I entered the building and became intrigued as to history of the site. Research tells me that it was originally part of “Domus Dei”, a hospital founded in 1212…

Pawprint Series: Hindhead Commons, Surrey

It’s a particular pleasure for me to return to Hindhead at least once a season.  For years, I suffered in wearisome traffic jams on the A3 motorway at Hindhead’s crossroads – a notorious traffic congestion spot now thankfully bypassed by the Hindhead Tunnel.  So I love the fact that the region has returned to an…

Regal Ruin – Netley Abbey

I chanced upon Netley Abbey when flicking through my English Heritage handbook so, one sunny day, I set off on a “ruin hunt”. Accessed via an inauspicious tiny car park (don’t worry – you can park in neighbouring roads easily), you are not really prepared for the vastness and the romanticism of this venerable ruin….

Battle: Where a new England was formed

You have heard the throwaway phrase, 1066 and all that – but when you visit Battle (yes, the name of a village in East Sussex), with its rather impressive castle, you are aware you are stepping in the footsteps of history.  For this was the start of Norman Britain – the last successful military invasion of…

Regal Ruin: Waverley Abbey – a treasure lost

I love a good ruin and heard via a friend about the remains of Waverley Abbey located on a peaceful loop of the River Wey in Surrey, now looked after by English Heritage.  It’s free to visit and can be accessed within “any reasonable time in daylight”. This Abbey was the first Cistercian house to be established…