Wednesday, 23 April 2008

St George's Day - 23 April

Happy St George's Day!!!! Sorry, who, did I hear you say......

St. George is the patron saint of England. His emblem, a red cross on a white background, is the flag of England, and part of the British flag. St George's emblem was adopted by Richard The Lion Heart and brought to England in the 12th century. The king's soldiers wore it on their tunics to avoid confusion in battle.

But, who was the real St George and how come he became the patron saint of England? St George was a brave Roman soldier who protested against the Romans' torture of Christians and died for his beliefs. The popularity of St George in England stems from the time of the early Crusades when it is said that the Normans saw him in a vision and were victorious. Saint George is popularly identified with England and English ideals of honour, bravery and gallantry, but actually he wasn’t English at all. Very little is known about the man who became St George.

St. George is believed to have been born in Cappadocia (now Eastern Turkey) in the year A.D. 270. He was a Christian. At the age of seventeen he joined the Roman army and soon became renowned for his bravery. He served under a pagan Emperor but never forgot his Christian faith.

The Emperor Diocletian gave him many important missions, and it is thought that on one of these he came to England. It was while he was in England that he heard the Emperor was putting all Christians to death and so he returned to Rome to help his brother Christians. He pleaded with the Emperor to spare their lives. Diocletian did all he could to persuade St. George to give up his faith, but he refused and was finally beheaded on 23 April, 303.

In 1222, the Council of Oxford declared April 23 to be St George’s Day and he replaced Edward the Confessor as England’s patron saint in the 14th century. In 1415, April 23 was made a national feast day. St George's Day is not, or certainly has not, been celebrated as other countries celebrate their patron saint.

There was a time from the 15th century when this day was celebrated much in the same way as Christmas. However, that waned towards the 18th century. Still, gradually over recent years the popularity of the tradition has seen a distinct rise in celebrations. So much so that a Member of Parliament has been pushing to make this day a Public Holiday.... hooray!

Some of the customs associated with this day were to wear the red rose but over years fashion has not encouraged this. Another custom wildly adhered to these days is to adorn public places, namely public houses, with the flag of England sporting the red cross on a white background. Remembering that this design makes up part of the Union Jack, the official flag for Britain which encompasses England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

St George is also the patron saint of the scout movement with many scouts taking part in parades on or near the 23 April.

Ironically, England is not the only country to celebrate this auspicious day. Catalonia (Spain), Georgia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Russia being among those that celebrate. In addition, St George is also patron saint of scouts, soldiers, archers, cavalry and chivalry, farmers and field workers, riders and saddlers, and he helps those suffering from leprosy, plague and syphilis.

Now there's a thought!

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

An historical link between UK and US

Last weekend we went to a magical place in Kent, South East England. It was after browsing through the National Trust booklet that we came across Ightham Mote and decided to take a drive. Here is what we found.....

.... a lovely 14th century medieval moated manor house! This house, or Great Hall, dates back to 1330 and has been totally restored to its former glory. In fact the National Trust (guardians of property and land in UK to preserve our history for future generations) used this project as one of the largest conservation projects it has ever undertaken. Now £10 million later the visitor can oooh and aah as they walk around the house and gardens. The original builder is unknown but the first known owner was Sir Thomas Cawne (c1360 -1374).

The link between UK and US is that its last owner was Charles Henry Robinson of Portland Maine USA, who bought it from a consortium of Kentish businessmen in 1953. He remained a batchelor so on his death the property was bequeathed to the National Trust. He never aspired to great heights and so the house was little changed.

The walls of the manor house rise from the moat; the half timbered upper storey sits above the lower stone walls. This together with the castle like tower of the central gatehouse on the west side and accessed via a bridge over the moat, gives a very wonderful appearance that has little changed since it was first constructed in the middle ages. Throughout its life various additions were included such as the Old Chapel and Crypt, Tudor Chapel with painted ceiling, Drawing Room with Jacobean fireplace, Victorian Billiards Room and the most recent Robinson apartments.

In 1521, Sir Richard Clement bought the Mote for £400!! A fortune in those days. Having minor associations with Henry VIII, he customarily filled his new home with symbolic tributes to the King, including the stained glass windows in the Great Hall and the painted roof boards of the New Chapel ceiling, both depicting the union of Henry VIII with Catherine of Aragon. You can just 'feel' the history as you walk around admiring everything!

Some of the rooms were only opened to the public from 2004 when the restoration was finally completed. In fact as you walk around examples have been arranged for the public to view how, for example, the walls were originally constructed from the wattle and dawb method using cow dung mixed with hay and slapped against a wooden frame work!
Here you can see some of the vegetable garden laid out, probably for herbs which have the box tree hedging to contain them whilst you can also see the canes to support other types of plants.

Some of the photographs I took during our visit coincided with the heavens opening up which accounts for the grey skies. Still, indoors we were able to soak up the atmosphere of the building as we walked from room to room.
All in all we are so lucky to have such wonderful examples of time gone bye on our doorstep!

Friday, 4 April 2008

I feel so honoured!

What a lovely way to end the week.......

One of my BBEST friends (Boomers and Beyond Esty Street Team), Pam from
Bags and More by Pam has featured my 'other' shop On a Whimsey in her blog. Apart from a very kind article giving a description of my work I would love you to see and read her blog too! So do go to Bags and More by Pam Etsy shop to see her wonderful products.

Sale Corner!

Occasionally I will show items that are for sale from me direct which can be paid for using Paypal. Always check to see shipping charges which will need to be added to the item amount!

For regular prices check out my Etsy shop, as well as my sister shop on Etsy which also sells encaustic art

Some paintings can be bought directly from my website

Some samples of my present & past work to give you inspiration for that special gift!
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