Blenheim Palace!

Today we went to Blenheim Palace! How exciting. It was the birthplace of Winston Churchill. You may have heard of him. It is also where the Duke of Marlborough lives. It is also the only palace not owned by Royalty or the Church of England. Here is a picture of the gates upon our first viewing. The gate was a great distance from the palace, and before we even could clearly seed the palace, it was easy to tell that incredible wealth was present here. If you can afford to have a super long driveway, you’ve got some serious cash. 

Image

The palace really only grew in size as we reached it. The picture below shows a portion of the courtyard and one of the wings of the Palace. The stone you see is limestone. 

Image

Because I know that all of you are very interested, here is the layout of the Palace. Everyone say ooh, and ah. Now all together. It’s really quite amazing, and this is just part of the grounds! And this picture doesn’t give the immense detail that is put into every part of the property. There are lots of signs that tell you to keep off the grass. For good reason too. The grass is well-trimmed and very green.

002_blenheim-palace_theredlist.jpg

Below is the dining table that is traditionally used for Christmas dinner. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? 

Image

They also have an organ, because why not? The man pictured below played a few things for us on the organ and explained how some of the organ works. He was very good. I’m sure videos will be posted at some point. 

Image

Have you ever thought about having a chapel of your own? Blenheim Palace has its own chapel. Is it worshipping God? Take a look.

Image

Can you guess who those statues are supposed to be? These are members of the Churchill family (though they are now known as the Spenser-Churchills because of a genealogical curve). If you were able to look around the chapel, you would be able to see that the rest of the room is plain in comparison. This is because during the period in which it was made, Protestantism was very popular. Before this was built there was a period of persecution of the Catholics, and in this context, of religious statues. It was considered Idolatry. This is why the chapel is exceedingly plain, but there can statues of the family. Humorous? Yes. 

Below is a lovely bridge that leads to more property. 

Image

Because we received a tour of the Palace with an emphasis on filming sites, we were told that the tree below was in the Harry Potter films. In my opinion I would say that this was really only the basis for that site. It sits across the bridge on the north side. 

Image

 

Our guide also mentioned that Johnny Depp and Jack Black were both in films that were shot at Blenheim. Perhaps you’ve seen Gulliver’s Travels? These are just the more recent films. He mentioned many other films that most of us haven’t heard of, but it is definitely a popular spot for filming because of its amazing architecture and grounds. 

Words and pictures can hardly describe the awesomeness and the lavishness of this Palace. I hope this post has helped give you an idea of the Palace as well as informed you on some interesting facts. Tomorrow we’re heading to Stratford-Upon-Avon, and some Shakespeare in performance (Henry IV, Part 1)! 

 

Day 7: The Archive and Allan Bank

Hello everyone!

Today started off a little rainier than normal, but nothing that a good rain jacket couldn’t stop. Today was our first morning in Ambleside, which is part of the lake district. The YHA sits right next to Windermere Lake and even sports a dock for recreational purposes. Today we explored Grasmere which included tours at Dove Cottage and Wordsworth Museums. Gretchen’s blog will feature those in greater depth.

As we were studying William and Dorothy Wordsworth, we went to the archives of the Wordsworth Trust, which owns the most texts on the Wordsworths. Here are some pictures of the archive.

Image

 

Image

At the archive, we viewed many manuscripts of William’s, Dorothy’s, and Samuel Coleridge (a contemporary and a friend of the Wordsworth’s). Here our group is examining the different versions of one of Wordsworth’s (William’s) poems. We attempted to transcribe what was written. Here is a sample of the writing.

Image

As you can see, revisions made transcribing the journals and letters somewhat challenging.

Image

In this photo, Nicole is showing off the 1st edition Frankenstein that we got to pass around. It came in three small volumes and was estimated at over 80,000 pounds, which is about $135,000. Needless to say, we were careful when handing it.

After finishing in the Archive, we took a break for lunch. In the afternoon, we explored Allan Bank where Wordsworth had stayed. Today it is being used as a National Trust site, which featured activities to inspire such as trails around the extensive property, bird watching, drawing/painting, writing with quills and typewriters, teas and juices, reading, and exploring the house. Before jumping right into the activities, we discussed our readings for the day in front of the landscape that inspired Wordsworth.

All in all, the lake district, Ambleside, and Grasmere provided inspiration for our discussions of Wordsworth and the Romanticism of that period, which provided ample justification for the poetry we read. Don’t forget to check out Gretchen’s post!