Tag Archives: Historical buildings

A Bishops Castle

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Croc had learnt quite a bit about history and religion in his short visit to Wells. He was surprised how the two often went hand in hand. Darwin had a completely different kind of history to this country, and the Northern Territory certainly wasn’t the place for grand Cathedrals and huge, ancient buildings, more rock paintings and lots of red dirt! The cyclones in Darwin would flatten the stone structures he had seen so far and the heat and red dirt would stain the walls, like it did with everything in the desert regions. White was never really white in the Northern Territory!

As they rounded a corner, Bertie and Croc peeped out from the zip in the camera bag eager to see where they were going to next. They heard the birds before they saw them! Now if you have been reading Bertie and Croc’s adventures for some time you may recall Croc had a nasty introduction to swans (click here to read the post)……he wasn’t quite over this. There, in front of him, as they rounded the corner were……SWANS!

Croc tried to drive deeply into the bottom of the camera bag but he got wedged between the lens of the camera and the wall of the bag. Bertie, seeing his friend was in trouble, gave Croc’s tail a tug and pulled him loose. Bertie held Croc’s trembling claw and pointed to what was beyond the swans.

Croc’s eyes widened……it was a castle!!! He suddenly forgot the swans. Bertie explained that while Croc was wedged in the camera bag, they had stopped by a sign which told the story of a swan learning to ring a bell for his tea. The castle wasn’t a castle. It was called the Bishops Palace and the Bishop would often come out and feed the swans when he lived there a long time ago.

Croc was confused. Why would a Bishop need a palace? From what he had learnt from history so far, only Kings had palaces? Bertie explained that the Bishop was VERY powerful and that is why statues of the Bishops were next to those of the King of the Cathedral in Wells. The Bishop was worried that people would try to kill him so he built a palace with a proper portcullis and moat and EVERYTHING.

Croc was relieved when they moved away from where the swans were located. He relaxed and began to enjoy the view. It was a truly beautiful day. He began to wonder what it would be like to live in a palace……..?

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Bertie’s tour of Wells…..

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Croc woke with a sudden jerk. This was because Bertie had poked him with his paw. For a teddy bear, with soft stuffing and fur, Bertie had quite a solid paw when he wanted Croc’s attention!

Blurry eyed Croc dragged himself out of the bottom of the camera bag and peeped into the bright sunshine. He let his eyes adjust so he could see where his travelling buddy had disappeared to now. Bertie was sat proudly on a stone wall. Croc was beginning to get use to the fact that everything in the UK felt slightly cold to touch. He was use to the heat of the Australian sun warming everything until you would get serious burn marks if you dared to plant your bottom on it!

Croc was impressed with the sharp blue skies in this country. There was something about the crispness of an early morning that he liked.

Wearily Croc gingerly stepped onto the cold wall and made his way quickly to his travelling companion. Bertie pointed at the huge, gothic building in front of them and explained it was a Cathedral, called Wells Cathedral. It was built between 1175 and 1490. Croc thought that was a really long time to build something!

Croc had never seen a Cathedral before. They didn’t have structures as grand as this in Darwin and he began to wonder how a building this ornate and detailed would stand up to a cyclone or an earth quake.

The more Croc looked the more he could see. There were statues of Kings and Bishops nestled in their own crevices in the buildings architecture. Croc giggled as he noticed some of the  statues were now faceless after years of weathering, and they looked a little weird and slightly intimidating. Bertie explained that the statues alternated to show the historical relationship which the church and the rulers of the country had. Croc was too busy wondering why the building needed so many windows!? He kept loosing count of them all? How many can you count?

Gargoyles and zebras

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Waving goodbye to their new found friends in the Toy Shop window Bertie lead Croc towards the large, towering structure in front of them. Croc was too excited about his new friends to at first to look up, until Bertie gave him a little nudge and pointed towards the sky.

Croc’s jaw fell open revealing a very impressive set of teeth. The building in front of him was like nothing he had ever seen before. Croc was looking at the impressive York Minister. Bertie instantly went into tour guide mode explaining, to a rather overwhelmed Croc, that the stone York Minister was badly damaged in a fire during an uprising in 1068 and the Normans built a new minster in around 1080. This was the basis of the present impressive Minister he was looking at today.

It was indeed impressive, thought Croc. He felt slightly dizzy looking up at the tall spires on the Minister. The gargoyles looking back down at him and Bertie made Croc do a little shiver and he sank a little deeper into the pocket he was in. Soon he had forgotten the stony stares and had become immersed in the ornate detail everywhere he looked. As they walked around the side of the building, Croc also noticed the impressive towering windows. Where Croc was from this building would not have survived this long as a cyclone would have destroyed it by now he thought as he posed happily and proudly for a photograph in front of the entrance. Bertie smiled to himself noting Croc’s new found confidence in having his photograph taken.

Bertie took Croc all the way around the outside of the Minister, allowing him to take in all the details of the huge building. He then pointed to a smaller building which was in front of them. Peeling his eyes away from the impressive shadow of the Minister Croc saw the most unusual building he had ever seen. It looked like an architectural zebra!

Bertie laughed at Croc’s description and told Croc that it was a classic tutor building from around the 16th to 18th Century. As the walked along admiring the architecture, Bertie knew exactly where to take Croc next…..

The only time Croc took his eyes away from the Minister!
The only time Croc took his eyes away from the Minister!

Photographs and content copyright of Samantha Key

The Toy Shop

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When Bertie was just an untravelled bear he was quite introverted and was extremely cautious about other toys. What did they want? Why were they being nice to him? He would often think as a rouge bear would try to start a polite conversation with him. In fact, Bertie had become so introverted that he had buried himself at the bottom of the toy bin in the hope that everyone would just leave him alone.

How different Bertie felt about life now!

Bertie had begun to notice that his friend Croc had similar characteristics to young Bertie. He would often hide in the bottom of the coat pocket and when Bertie first met Croc he was hiding at the back of the bunk bed in the dark. Croc had started to grow more and more confident within his own stuffing and Bertie had begun to feel a sense of pride at being able to help him on his journey to discover the inner Croc. After all, thought Bertie, what good is all this knowledge and experience if it is not shared and used to help others?

Today Bertie took Croc to meet some new friends, just to see how Croc would react. They emerged from the narrow pathway which lead to Barley Hall into the hustle and bustle of the busy streets of York again. There were so many people, thought Croc, unable to get his head around where they had all come from. The streets were so small and the buildings so close together Croc felt if he turned sideways he would cause several people to trip up over him.

Bertie grabbed Croc and dragged him out of the safety of the pocket, much to Croc’s protesting. He settled with Croc on a  windowsill of an old shop. Croc got such a fright when there was a tap on the window behind him. Turning around slowly, half expecting to see a ghost bear, Croc saw a large green Crocodile-like toy much like himself but stood upright waving at him! Croc looked on in shock as his brain processed the expanse of toys in front of him…..there were hundreds, all smiling and waving and there was no where for Croc to hide. He could either throw himself into the crowds of people or stay where he was and socialise.

Taking a deep breath, Croc did a small nod towards the other toys who responded with great joy at the acknowledgement he gave them. Looking over at Bertie Croc could see him grinning widely from underneath his small, blue, winter wooly hat and he felt instantly reassured. He was amongst friends for the first time in his short Crocodile life and it felt great.

 

Words and photographs copyright of Samantha Key 2016

The old boat house

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Croc was still recovering from his brief encounter with the English wildlife. He didn’t feel as confident as he did before he had seen the swan and there had been no more leaning out of the pocket. Instead Croc had taken to peaking with one beady eye while using Bertie and a wad of tissues he’d found in the pocket as support.

In complete comparison, Bertie was in his element. He was reliving the past and so many happy and pleasant memories were coming back to him like ghosts being awoken by the sights, sounds and smells he was experiencing.

Bertie could remember listening to the story of how Newmillerdam got it’s name. The village was originally called Thurstonhaigh, but got its current name when a grain mill powered by water from the dammed lake was built, changing the name to ‘New mill on the dam”.

Bertie was in a wave of memories when he suddenly squealed and grabbed a rather startled Croc. “Look, look, look!” shouted Bertie waving his paw in the direction of the outside world. A rather shocked Croc attempted to sink back into the warm, dark pocket thinking if he kept getting shocks like this he would age beyond his crocodile years, but Bertie was having none of it this time. He gave a big tug on Crocs tail as he was trying to make his escape and they were both catapulted into the daylight, much to Croc’s dismay. As their eyes became adjusted to the light Bertie was elated to find they had been placed on a log together over looking the 1820’s Boat House he had been getting so excited about and had wanted to show Croc. Croc hadn’t noticed the Boat House, he was too busy looking out for white swan ghosts again and identifying a plan of escape.

As Bertie chatted away to Croc about the history of the Boat House, how he had once been in there for a cup of tea when it was a cafe and how it was the most photographed thing at the lake, Croc slowly began to relax and found himself getting caught up in his colleagues enthusiasm. If Bertie isn’t scared when he has those stubbly little legs to help him escape, then I should be fine, thought Croc. It was at this moment that Croc truly began to take in the pretty cool scenery around him.

Ancient Castles and Cyclones

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It was a cloudy day in England when the two unlikely friends, Bertie and Croc, set out on another day of touring Yorkshire. Croc was being to realise how rich and diverse the UK was. He especially liked the historical buildings which he had seen so far as there was nothing like this where he came from in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Knowing Croc’s growing interest in historical architecture Bertie decided to take him to the ancient ruins of Sandal Castle. Sandal Castle sits high on a hill overlooking the River Calder and, like all good castles, has panoramic views of the surrounding town and countryside. The Castle is now just a shadow of its former glory.

The first castle to be built on the site was made from timber in 12th century. Since then Sandal Castle was rebuilt in stone and has seen many sieges, including playing a part in the historical Battle of Wakefield which was part of the War of the Roses. Following three sieges during the English Civil War in 1645 Sandal Castle became a ruin and was left to join the dust of the soldiers who had fallen at its feet.

The first thing Croc and Bertie saw was a large sign. Croc noticed the warning signs showing many different ways you could fall, he never knew there were so many! Being a Crocodile Croc had never learnt to read, Bertie did not know this. At the beginning of the tour it became clear to Bertie that, unfortunately the best bit he had planned would not be able to happen. The climb to the top of the highest point was closed and Bertie, remembering the Wellington Monument was also closed off, began to wonder if there was some mysterious power telling them not to climb tall buildings?

As they sat together on a bench Croc quietly asked Bertie if a Cyclone had destroyed the castle. Once Bertie had stopped laughing he explained to Croc that they did not get cyclones in the UK and certainly not anything near as bad as the cyclones they experienced in the Northern Territory. As they sat on the wooden bench Bertie explained to Croc about the historical battles which were fought at Sandal Castle. The longer Bertie’s story continued the wider Croc’s eyes became looking at the castle and trying to imagine the scene hundreds of years ago.

Bertie and Croc’s location

Did you manage to spot where Bertie and Croc were sat on the black and white photograph in my last blog: Wide Eyed Wonders ?

They were near the door on the Chapel, peeping round the corner at the camera.

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