Which England?

Hatfield House.
The magnificent Palace Hall of Hatfield House, where Elizabeth I was told that she was 'Queen of England'

Which England incorporates 24 historical accounts told through the places where important events were played out. Priority has been given to places and monuments that can be associated with the 118 year tenure of the Tudor monarchs but there are also descriptions of ancient structures and locations that were important to Anglo-Saxon and Megalithic settlers.

This book can be read in isolation or in conjunction with Why England and Whose England It provides detailed evidence of how and where England grew. It can serve as a gazetteer or as narrative.

Stonehenge and Avebury are renowned for their mysterious constructions. The book explains the history of those spectacular sites and confirms that at least one of them was being used 9000 years before the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were created.

The glorious ship-burial at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk contained the remains and possessions of a great Anglo-Saxon warrior, possibly King Raedwald. The discovery and excavation of this 7th century site is examined in detail.

The two former capital cities of Winchester and York are dealt with in the book. Both cities have particularly rich histories; their connections with Roman, Viking and Anglo-Saxon leaders including Alfred the Great, William the Conqueror and the wonderfully named Eric Bloodaxe are all described.

England is probably best known for the towns and villages, which sit quietly in the countryside. Battle in Sussex, Lavenham in Suffolk and Fotheringhay in Northamptonshire are excellent examples of those hidden treasures. The exquisite architecture is evidence of past glories but is still an inextricable part of these locations today.

Seven chapters are devoted to the history of medieval castles including the following:

  • Windsor, the oldest occupied castle in the world.
  • Hever, the former home of Anne Boleyn.
  • Kenilworth where Robert Dudley hosted fabulous entertainments for Elizabeth I.
  • Sudeley, which was owned and occupied by Sir Thomas Seymour; Catherine Parr, Princess Elizabeth and Lady Jane Grey lived there together under his supervision.

Some wonderful Tudor properties have been described including;

  • Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire, which was built by the remarkable ‘Bess of Hardwick’, the direct ancestor of our current Queen Elizabeth II.
  • Hatfield House is a splendid Elizabethan and Stuart creation. It was in the grounds of this Hertfordshire palace that Elizabeth I was told she had succeeded to the throne. The Princess was educated at Hatfield by the best academics of the day and she used the building as her operational HQ when her succession was threatened.
  • Little Moreton Hall is a unique example of a timber-framed manor house built during the Tudor and Stuart reigns. The structure provokes the imagination and offers a marvellous impression of life for a wealthy 16th century English family.

One chapter is set aside for the service history of The Mary Rose, the flagship which sank within sight and hearing of Henry VIII. The account of the recovery of this iconic vessel is a story of determination and skill beyond belief.

Which England details the construction and histories of three great cathedrals. Canterbury Cathedral is synonymous with the arrival of Christianity in England; Westminster Abbey is the world’s oldest royal necropolis and Salisbury Cathedral is the tallest medieval structure in the world. Between them, these edifices contain some of the most beautiful tombs, artefacts and manuscripts in England’s medieval heritage.

The stones of these remaining gems of English architecture speak clearly to us today of all that has passed in the intervening centuries.