England Travel Journal – Day 13

Bow Windows Book Shop, Lewes

The women wanted to go wine-tasting but didn’t want to take the double decker bus with the commoners. There was talk of hiring a private wine tour guide, but they could not find one.

So, I agreed to forget about what I wanted to do and offered to drive them around all day to the vineyards. I rarely drink wine anymore–not for religious reasons but gastrointestinal ones–and planned on just waiting in the car and finishing my book on Augustine of Canterbury.

The words of Jesus came to mind:

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

John 15:12-13

Granted, my sacrifice was not on the scale of martyrdom, but it wasn’t nothing either. I have to admit too that in the back of my mind was the possibility that if they finished with the grape before 5 p.m., on the way back to Brighton we could stop in Lewes, where I had heard there was a great antiquarian book shop.

We left around 11 am and drove to Ridgeview Wine Estate. It was closed. Then we drove to Court Garden Farms. Closed. I then decided to save us a drive and check on Artelium Wine Estate (our next stop) on the internet. Closed. I sympathized with the rest of the team. I told them I was sorry because I knew how they were looking forward to the wine-tasting. The Wife then said, “Well, let’s just go to Lewes.”

No wine tasting today
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England Travel Journal – Day 12

Canterbury Cathedral-outside being renovated, inside the same

Canterbury is the Anglicans’ Rome, and it is where Christianity was reintroduced in 587 A.D. by Augustine (not of Hippo) and where it finally and permanently took root.

Between 450 A.D. and 597 A.D. Angles and Saxons from Europe invaded England, bringing their pagan beliefs. What was left of the Church in western England was separated from Rome.

Toward the end of the sixth century, Queen Bertha of Kent, wife of King Aethelberht, requested the church in Gaul send Christian leaders to evangelize their kingdom. Bertha, was a Christian; Aethelberht was not.

The church in Gaul sent no one, so Bertha made the same request of Pope Gregory in Rome.

In response, Gregory sent Augustine. Augustine got as far as Gaul when the rest of his group upon hearing of the brutality of the Angles and Saxons, rebelled and refused to go further. Augustine returned to Rome to meet with Pope Gregory to ask to abandon the mission. Gregory denied the request and encouraged Augustine to continue on to England. Augustine was obedient and did exactly that.

Although Aethelberht was initially reluctant, he became a Christian. Many of his leaders followed. Augustine then went into to oother surrounding towns and into the country making disciples. He also had a cathedral built in Canterbury, along with an abbey, and became the first Bishop of Canterbury.

Augustine’s obedience included a false start and may not have been perfect, but he did the will of the Lord in the end. We are still talking about Augustine of Canterbury. The church leaders in Gaul who did not respond to the call to make to disciples have been lost to history.

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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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