England Travel Journal – Day 11

Rye Pottery–nothing to do with the theme of our tour

Our destination for the day was Rye. What is there in Rye related to the Christianization of England, you ask? Nothing, I say.

But certain members of the GSB team, having lost sight of our mission, wanted to visit the Rye Pottery factory, where they make collections of figurines based on themes like Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and the Bayou Tapestry. I conceded, hoping my example of self-sacrifice would encourage a return to our itinerary or at least would heap burning coals on their heads.

Rye, though small, is a beautiful town and draws tourists and many from the the surrounding countryside. Those who come will find many antique shops and a castle. Those who come looking for Christian history will find many antique shops and a castle.

Asserting the principle of “Driver’s Discretion”-an obscure rule first mentioned in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles stating the driver of the automobile has the right over passengers to choose the route–I chose to drive back to Brighton along the coast through a town called Eastbourne only to avoid the same route I had already driven three times.

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England Travel Journal-Day 10

The battlefield, Battle of Hastings

William the Conqueror was a devout Christian. He was married and faithful to one (Mathilda) woman, which is one of the best evidences of a medieval monarchs’s born again bona fides. William transformed England into a unified nation and, like Alfred, strengthened the church. William laid the foundation for an empire that would become, like the Roman Empire before it, the means by which the gospel would be taken to the far reaches of the world.

Our first stop today was Battle, 7 miles north of Hastings and the site of the Battle of Hastings. So, why didn’t they call it the Battle of Battle? I think because the name came after the Battle, although we were never able to confirm that because the GSB Research Division was too busy shopping.

William had a hereditary claim to the throne of England as a descendent of Alfred the Great and cousin to English king, Edward the Confessor. Edward promised William the throne, and Harold Godwinson, a rival to the throne, had sworn before God, William, and many witnesses in Normandy that he would not dispute William’s claim to the throne when Edward died.

However, when Edward died, Harold was present and alone with Edward and claimed Edward whispered to him his dying wish that he become king. This did not sit well with William. So, Williams checked with the Pope, who blessed William’s claim to the throne and his proposed military action against Harold.

In 1066, William landed with his army and traveled north of Hasting where he met Harold and his army. Before battle, William sent a monk to Harold with 3 alternatives to battle: 1) accept William as a king and be given a dukedom within England; 2) submit the dispute to arbitration before the Pope; or 3) engage in single combat with William, mano y mano, for the throne.

Harold should have chosen door #1. Instead he rejected all three. The battle lasted all day, and at the end of the day Harold had been killed and his army defeated. William, honoring Harold, had a church built and buried Harold under the altar in the church. At that spot is what is now called the Harold Stone.

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England Travel Journal – Day 9

Alfred Statue, Winchester -“To the founder of the kingdom and nation.”

Today we left Oxford for Brighton. through During dinner last night I planned how to pack the most King Alfred stops into our drive south before arriving in Brighton. After leaving Oxford the complaints started.

“There are too many stops,” and “We will not have enough time to shop in Winchester,” they said. I reminded them they made no objection during dinner, but they persisted.

Attitudes improved when we caught our first view of Sherborne Abbey. Sherborne Abbey is where Asser, our posthumous guide and author of Life of King Alfred, was bishop from 892 until 909 A.D. Sherborne Abbey is also where Alfred’s two older brothers and predecessors as king, Aethelbald and Aethelbert, were buried.

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England Travel Journal – Day 8

Hotel room view of Oxford

Oxford is beautiful, as I have been reminded every day when I rise and look out our hotel window. But Oxford is still the world, and even in times we would consider more Christian than today, those who pressed into God were persecuted by men.

The morning was spent at Oxford Castle, which like much of what we have seen at Oxford, was located just a short walk from our hotel. Oxford Castle was established by William the Conqueror and was completed in 1071. It was converted into a prison in the twelfth century and remained as such until 1997 when it was closed. Most of it now has been converted into a very clever looking hotel. This is kingdom stuff. Taking an unbiblical use of a building (the Old Testament law made no provision for prisons) and turning it into a source of blessing.

Oxford Castle Prison converted into posh hotel – Kingdom stuff

The unconverted part of the prison has been turned into a gift shop and tour, complete with a tour guide in costume, who led us through the halls of the prison and spoke of the horrors of life there. Absent was any mention that John and Charles Wesley and other members of the Holy Club, who met just a few blocks away, would visit with and minister to the prisoners.

Instead, the only reference to the spiritual was the telling of the obligatory ghost story. The books in the gift shop displayed a similar bias. They were almost exclusively about the vikings. Modern secularists want to rewrite history by glorifying the vikings, rather than calling a spade a spade, and even in Oxford, where they should know better, they go along with it.

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England Travel Journal – Day 7

The Kilns, C.S. Lewis’s home, Oxford

The theme today was books and those who write them. I started in the Bodleian Library. I use the word “I” because I was the only one on the team willing to get up early enough to get in line at 9:00 a.m. to buy a ticket. I can see the inside of my eyelids at home. Why fly halfway across the world to sleep late?

TheBodleian Library is one of the oldest and largest in the world. It is the home of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien letters and original manuscripts, as well as the Gutenberg Bible. Knowing this, I suggested Ann go to the Bodleian and ask to check out the Gutenberg Bible. “Just tell them you will be taking it across the street to the hotel and will return it later in the day, “ I said, “and if they refuse, politely remind them that it is a library. . . . and that you are part of the GSB team, of course.”

Duke Humfrey’s Library, Oxford

My motive in taking the tour was to see the Duke Humfrey’s Library in the Bodleian. I am a library connoisseur, and I am always looking for ideas on how to improve my own. Duke Humfreys’s did not disappoint, as you can see from the picture. It was also in the Duke Humphrey library where C.S. Lewis spent much time writing his first academic work on medieval literature, The Allegory of Love.

The rest of the team joined me in the afternoon for a rare treat: a visit to C.S. Lewis’s home in Oxford, called The Kilns. We saw almost all the rooms in the home, including Lewis’s den, study, and the room in which died on November 22, 1963.

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