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Chastleton House- a Jacobean Gem



Chastleton House is a beautiful gem of a home just waiting to be discovered, sitting quietly rather like a grand old lady who has slid into genteel poverty but refusing to give up the grandeur of her youth. Nestled between fields and rolling hills Chastleton has a wonderful history and the feel of a place you could love and feel at home in .A Jacobean country house situated at Chastleton, Oxfordshire, England, close to Moreton-in-Marsh.

There are none of the usual things for sale at Chastleton, no tea shop or gift shop however there are sprawling beautiful Jacobean gardens with trees as old as 400 years for you to enjoy a picnic and the church next door does a wonderful job of providing tea and cake at weekends by volunteers to raise money for its upkeep. A secondhand book ‘shop’ is situated in the house alongside home grown produce so there are still mementos for you to explore and enjoy.

The land Chastleton sits on and the previous house that stood was owned by Robert Catesby, leader of the Gunpowder Plot but Walter Jones purchased the property in 1602, and construction started on the new building and by 1612 it was complete. 

In 1651 Arthur Jones, the grandson of the man who bought the house from Catesby, fought alongside Charles I at the Battle of Worcester. After their defeat, Jones fled to the house and, with Cromwell’s men in hot pursuit, hid in a secret room over the porch.

Having found Arthur’s exhausted horse in the stable, the Commonwealth soldiers thought that they had their man cornered and demanded supper and a bed from Jones’s wife, Sarah. She drugged their ale with laudanum, and, while they slept, Arthur escaped on one of his enemies’ horses.

Arthur Jones celebrated the Restoration by planting two oak trees at Chastleton which still survive. 

Chastleton has passed down the  branches of the same family, twice passing sideways to distant cousins in its 400 years history, before going into the protection of the National Trust in 1991.

One of the treasures here is the The Juxon Bible , one of a set of fifty ‘chapel bibles’ printed in 1629 and it  is said to have been used by King Charles I in his last days and most likely the bible that William Juxon, the Bishop of London, read from to Charles I on the morning of his execution in 1649.The bible was handed down through Bishop Juxon’s family at Little Compton (a manor located one mile from Chastleton), until his line died out in the late 18th century,and then found its way to Chastleton House. 

The house is made up of authentically furnished and restored Jacobean and Tudor rooms, which, whilst work has been done to restore and preserve unlike many other houses, this restoration has  left a building that seems  still a home and friendly not ostentatious.  The floors bend and buckle with ancient  timber, and you cant help but wonder at the feet that once trod the same piece that you  can now stand on. This upper floor chambertknown as the  long gallery occupies the entire length of the house. Here the roof is, unusually, barrel-vaulted, and beautiful plasterwork adorns every square inch of the ceiling. Unfortunately there is also evidence of the deathwatch beetle that has eaten away the fabric of the house over the centuries!

In the kitchens, which were in use until the 1950s, and you see the fairly primitive conditions in which food was prepared for hundreds of years here the blackened grime of centuries on the ceiling of the kitchens the evidence of local lore that an early resident declared that it was bad luck to clean kitchen ceilings, so it was never scrubbed or touched! 

In the beautiful gardens there are always croquet sets set out for you to play with and enjoy the game where here at Chastleton in 1865 the rules of lawn croquet were first codified. 

A wander around Chastleton is a foray into the past with a chance to take a deep breath and allow the air of tranquility to settle into your soul.

I'm a slightly deranged middle aged widow, living in the Cotswolds with two fabulously funny little dogs. A mother, grandmother, sister and friend. Determined to survive by writing to remember, to forget and to cope with grief. the memory of my husband supporting me, guiding me and probably laughing at me if there is a ‘somewhere’

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Douglas Corrigan, the man who flew to Ireland by mistake or maybe not…



We still don’t know if Douglas Corrigan intended to fly to Ireland or ended up there by mistake. We know that he became famous for a while and was even nicknames “Wrong Way”. But his story is still fascinating.  Another of his claims to fame was that he was one of the builders involved in the Spirit of St Louis, Charles Lindbergh’s place. He was born in Texas in 1907 and died in 1995. This story takes back to the romantic days of early aviation. 

By Unknown photographer –, Public Domain,

In the summer of 1938, Douglas Corrigan had landed in Dublin Ireland after a 28-hour flight from New York. Despite the grand achievement in the early days of solo transoceanic aviation, the pilot claims that he wasn’t supposed to travel to Europe. He actually filed to fly to Long […]

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In the summer of 1938, Douglas Corrigan had landed in Dublin Ireland after a 28-hour flight from New York. Despite the grand achievement in the early days of solo transoceanic aviation, the pilot claims that he wasn’t supposed to travel to Europe. He actually filed to fly to Long Beach, California! H

At the age of 31, Corrigan flew out to New York City from Long Beach. The pilot filed to return back to Southern California on July 17th, 1938, but during that foggy morning, he headed east from the 4,200-foot (1,300 m) runway of Floyd Bennett Field, flew into the mist, and vanished for over 28 hours. Nonetheless, he eventually appeared in Dublin, all the way across the Atlantic Ocean.

When explaining the situation to officials, Corrigan said that he left New York en route to California but had then gotten mixed up in the clouds and haze. He also shared that he had an issue with his compass. Overall, the airman expressed that he noticed the error after flying for approximately 26 hours. However, there is good reason to believe that this transatlantic hop wasn’t actually a mistake.

Importantly, Corrigan, a man of Irish descent, in 1935, applied to the federal government for permission to make a direct trip from New York to Ireland, which was turned down. Officials felt that the aircraft was not in the right shape to make this transatlantic hop. He then made several modifications and additions over the next few years but was continuously denied. Despite not being approved for transatlantic flight, the government did certify the plane for cross-country trips.

Moreover, the U.S Centennial of Flight Commission highlights that Corrigan grew frustrated with the bureaucracy by 1937 and flew to New York late at night after authorities had gone home. He would then have filled his tanks and set flight for Ireland. Unfortunately, there were several mechanical issues while heading to the East Coast and he lost his window of safe flying weather. Therefore, he decided to fly back west.


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The best UK attractions according to Tripadvisor



There are notable surprises in this list compiled by Tripadvisor users, for example you don’t find the great museums in London but we have museums in other places and two football stadiums. In first and second place we have two fairly predictable London attractions the Tower of London and Tower Bridge which are also close together although they don’t have much in common other than the name and proximity. The Tower dates back to 1100 and the bridge to 1800.

In third place we have Arthur’s Seat, the hill located in Edinburgh. Not only is this a nice walk, but once you get to the top you will have a nice view of the whole city. In fourth place we have Etihad Stadium, the Manchester United stadium. You can visit it when there are no matches, they organize a guided tour.

Arthur’s Seat

In fifth place we have Anfield Stadium, a practically sacred place for Liverpool fans. When there are no matches, the stadium is open for guided tours. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum ranks sixth, it is Scotland’s most visited free attraction. It has 22 themed galleries displaying over 8000 objects of international importance. Birmingham Back to Back is in seventh place, back to back houses were heavily used during the industrial revolution. Not really hygienic or comfortable and they don’t make us envy those times. The museum is a very informative blast from the past. Crumlin Road Gaol is in eighth place. An old Belfast prison closed in 1996 and reopened as a museum. There are guided tours of the prison and you can discover the story when women and children were held within its walls and of the political segregation of republican and unionist prisoners. In ninth place we have the magnificent National Railway Museum in York. Home to iconic locomotives and an unrivaled collection of engineering works, the museum celebrates the railroad’s past, present and future. What’s more, free. In tenth place we have the Churchill War Rooms which are located in London. Surprised? What did you expect to see in the top ten tourist attractions in the UK?

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The strange Egyptian house in Penzance in Cornwall



In all parts of the world there are always weird things to see and Cornwall is certainly no exception. If you go to Penzance, try to pass by the strange Egyptian house. It was built on Chapel Street by Plymouth architect John Foulston around 1835. At this time everything Egyptian was in fashion. In London at Piccadilly they had built the Egyptian Hall at the same time and the province tried to adapt to trends.

Photo: Jhsteel / CC BY-SA

It was a Plymouth bookseller who wanted this house, his name was John Lavin and he had a passion for maps and travel guides but he also traded minerals. He had then bought two properties here, which were in fact two cottages but he wanted to stand out so he had the two buildings join together with a single facade.

In addition to transforming the architecture of the two buildings, he also built a small mineral museum inside. The house still exists now and houses three apartments, it is a listed building. The interesting thing is that it is a precursor of the Art Deco that conquered the world a century later.

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