King Alfred in the Somerset Marshes – Part 2

Figure 1: Looking east from the land below Athelney towards Burrow Mump on a misty morning. Whilst the land is reclaimed and cultivated nowadays, it was a patchwork of marshes, reeds and flood water. Low islands stood above the wetlands, only accessible by punts and...

King Alfred in the Somerset Marshes – Part 1

Figure 1: Low-lying mist looking across the Somerset Levels from Aller Church at dawn In this post and the next one I want to concentrate on an area in the Somerset Levels that was a key turning point in the history of Wessex and England. This first post is to provide...

Finials & Niches – Tudor ornamentation at Longford & Montacute

Figure 1: Longford Castle Entrance Facade (1591). On a summer visit to Longord Castle in Wiltshire my eye was caught by some ornamental details that reminded me of Montacute House in Somerset. Whilst a completely different building to Montacute, I found myself...

Life on the edge – the Cistercian Abbey of Dunkeswell, Devon

Figure 1: Ruins of the north wall of west range at Dunkeswell Abbey, East Devon. Church of 1842 behind. Nestling in a valley of the Blackdown Hills, on the banks of the River Madford, are the enigmatic remains of Dunkeswell Abbey. Only fragments are left of the abbey...

Arcadia in Wiltshire – Longford Castle

Longford Castle lies to the south-east of Salisbury, close to the banks of the River Avon. Its origins are Elizabethan (completed circa 1591), when it was known as Longford House. It was restored, remodelled and extended in the 18th and 19th centuries. In this post I...

Tudor Balusters

Figure 1: Montacute House, Somerset. Balusters forming part of a balustrade on the roofline (circa late 16th C). Montacute House was a complete new build and elegant balusters were part of the design. The Tudor Renaissance Baluster The baluster became an architectural...

Exploring Building History

Exploring Building History is a website and blog dedicated to establishing a resource of historical information related to the built heritage of England. The regular blog posts aim to provide the reader with a diversity of architectural history subjects. This could be a particular building, individual, monument, subject area, architectural element or historical source. Downloadable factsheets, produced on a regular basis, provide a snapshot of relevant historical data for building history study.