Melrose Abbey in Scotland is in the town of the same name in the Scottish Borders. Virtually all historic buildings found in the Borders (the border area between England and Scotland) have been destroyed numerous times by the English. Melrose Abbey is no exception.
What makes it important is that despite being destroyed and now only ruins remain, many decorative parts still remain. Like the gargoyles and the Gothic rose windows.
One of the many reasons why this abbey is famous is because it is said to host the heart of Robert Bruce, the famous king of Scotland in the Middle Ages. Other medieval Scottish kings were buried here.
The history of Melrose Abbey
Let’s start from the beginning, the abbey was built in 1100 by Cistercian monks under the order of King David I. It was located in the same place as another monastery, this one dedicated to St Aidan of Lindisfarne. The Cistercian abbey was followed by the town of Melrose, being an important religious centre, there was no lack of trade.
The abbey was almost destroyed by the English king Edward I in 1322 and then rebuilt. It was later set on fire by Richard II and its reconstruction lasted over 100 years.
In 1544 it was again damaged by English troops when the British wanted Mary of the Queen to marry the son of Henry VIII. After this event the abbey was never restored and was never a functioning monastery again.
It suffered further damage later from the cannon fire of Oliver Cromwell’s army. In the end, the poor abbey never managed to stand up for long.
In addition to visiting the ruins, you can also start from here St Cuthbert’s Way, a path that goes up to the monastery of Lindisfarne in Northumberland. It had been the route taken by St Cuthbert himself in 650 from the old monastery of Melrose. In all it would be about 100 km, but you don’t have to do it all. However, it crosses some very beautiful landscapes. Melrose itself is a nice little town even if it doesn’t have much of a memorable one.
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.
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.
There is a real Roman temple in Windsor Park
About 8 km south of Windsor Castle, still within the large park is Virginia Water, a very beautiful place famous for its lake and waterfall. However, not everyone knows that there is a Roman temple here. The lake is surrounded by a path leading east to Blacknest Gate, which extends along the water’s edge on the south side of the lake where there are several woods. About a mile east of the gate, the avenue leads into a grassy clearing overlooking the water, leading to the ruins of the Temple of Augustus brought from Leptis Magna to what would now be Libya in 1818, restored and erected by Sir Jeffry Wyatville 1824-6.
The temple was seen by a guy called Warrington who heard that the Earl of Elgin had brought half the Parthenon to Britain, and thought of doing the same with this temple hoping to become a hero in his home country. He had problems with the locals, who wanted to keep the temple, not for artistic or historical interest, but to reuse the marble. So poor Warrington couldn’t get the whole temple. The temple is not only found here, In 1600 600 columns of Leptis were taken by Louis XIV for his palaces in Versailles and Paris.
In ancient times, the city of Leptis reached its greatest importance under the emperor Septimius Severus about 200 years after Christ. At that time it was the third most important city in Africa, after Carthage and Alexandria. The emperor had a new and magnificent forum built and enlarged the quays, as well as giving the city a huge basilica full of ornate carved columns. Thereafter, a dramatic decline began. A large tsunami in 365 devastated Leptis along with much of the Mediterranean coast. This was followed by the invasion of the Vandals in the fifth century and the arrival of Muslim armies in the seventh century which eventually left the city in ruins. Since its abandonment, Leptis had been used as a quarry by the local population and a place looted by the Europeans.
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