Henry III of England
Henry III known as Henry of Winchester, was King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Aquitaine from 1216 until his death. The son of King John and Isabella of Angoulême, Henry assumed the throne when he was only nine in the middle of the First Barons' War. Cardinal Guala declared the war against the rebel barons to be a religious crusade and Henry's forces, led by William Marshal, defeated the rebels at the battles of Lincoln and Sandwich in 1217. Henry promised to abide by the Great Charter of 1225, which limited royal power and protected the rights of the major barons, his early rule was dominated first by Hubert de Burgh and Peter des Roches, who re-established royal authority after the war. In 1230, the King attempted to reconquer the provinces of France that had once belonged to his father, but the invasion was a debacle. A revolt led by William Marshal's son, broke out in 1232, ending in a peace settlement negotiated by the Church. Following the revolt, Henry ruled England rather than governing through senior ministers.
He travelled less than previous monarchs, investing in a handful of his favourite palaces and castles. He married Eleanor of Provence, with. Henry was known for his piety, holding lavish religious ceremonies and giving generously to charities, he extracted huge sums of money from the Jews in England crippling their ability to do business, as attitudes towards the Jews hardened, he introduced the Statute of Jewry, attempting to segregate the community. In a fresh attempt to reclaim his family's lands in France, he invaded Poitou in 1242, leading to the disastrous Battle of Taillebourg. After this, Henry relied on diplomacy, cultivating an alliance with Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. Henry supported his brother Richard in his bid to become King of the Romans in 1256, but was unable to place his own son Edmund on the throne of Sicily, despite investing large amounts of money, he was prevented from doing so by rebellions in Gascony. By 1258, Henry's rule was unpopular, the result of the failure of his expensive foreign policies and the notoriety of his Poitevin half-brothers, the Lusignans, as well as the role of his local officials in collecting taxes and debts.
A coalition of his barons probably backed by Eleanor, seized power in a coup d'état and expelled the Poitevins from England, reforming the royal government through a process called the Provisions of Oxford. Henry and the baronial government enacted a peace with France in 1259, under which Henry gave up his rights to his other lands in France in return for King Louis IX recognising him as the rightful ruler of Gascony; the baronial regime collapsed but Henry was unable to reform a stable government and instability across England continued. In 1263, one of the more radical barons, Simon de Montfort, seized power, resulting in the Second Barons' War. Henry mobilised an army; the Battle of Lewes occurred in 1264, where Henry was taken prisoner. Henry's eldest son, escaped from captivity to defeat de Montfort at the Battle of Evesham the following year and freed his father. Henry enacted a harsh revenge on the remaining rebels, but was persuaded by the Church to mollify his policies through the Dictum of Kenilworth.
Reconstruction was slow and Henry had to acquiesce to various measures, including further suppression of the Jews, to maintain baronial and popular support. Henry died in 1272, he was buried in Westminster Abbey, which he had rebuilt in the second half of his reign, was moved to his current tomb in 1290. Some miracles were declared after his death. Henry was born in Winchester Castle on 1 October 1207, he was the eldest son of King Isabella of Angoulême. Little is known of Henry's early life, he was looked after by a wet nurse called Ellen in the south of England, away from John's itinerant court, had close ties to his mother. Henry had four legitimate younger brothers and sisters – Richard, Joan and Eleanor – and various older illegitimate siblings. In 1212 his education was entrusted to the Bishop of Winchester. Little is known about Henry's appearance. Henry grew up to show flashes of a fierce temper, but as historian David Carpenter describes, he had an "amiable, easy-going, sympathetic" personality.
He was unaffected and honest, showed his emotions easily being moved to tears by religious sermons. At the start of the 13th century, the Kingdom of England formed part of the Angevin Empire spreading across Western Europe. Henry was named after his grandfather, Henry II, who had built up this vast network of lands stretching from Scotland and Wales, through England, across the English Channel to the territories of Normandy, Brittany and Anjou in north-west France, onto Poitou and Gascony in the south-west. For many years the French Crown was weak, enabling first Henry II, his sons Richard and John, to dominate France. In 1204, John lost Normandy, Brittany and Anjou to Philip II of France, leaving English power on the continent limited to Gascony and Poitou. John raised taxes to pay for military campaigns to regain his lands, but unrest grew among many of the English
Magna Carta Libertatum called Magna Carta, is a charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215. First drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to make peace between the unpopular King and a group of rebel barons, it promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, limitations on feudal payments to the Crown, to be implemented through a council of 25 barons. Neither side stood behind their commitments, the charter was annulled by Pope Innocent III, leading to the First Barons' War. After John's death, the regency government of his young son, Henry III, reissued the document in 1216, stripped of some of its more radical content, in an unsuccessful bid to build political support for their cause. At the end of the war in 1217, it formed part of the peace treaty agreed at Lambeth, where the document acquired the name Magna Carta, to distinguish it from the smaller Charter of the Forest, issued at the same time.
Short of funds, Henry reissued the charter again in 1225 in exchange for a grant of new taxes. His son, Edward I, repeated the exercise in 1297, this time confirming it as part of England's statute law; the charter became part of English political life and was renewed by each monarch in turn, although as time went by and the fledgling English Parliament passed new laws, it lost some of its practical significance. At the end of the 16th century there was an upsurge in interest in Magna Carta. Lawyers and historians at the time believed that there was an ancient English constitution, going back to the days of the Anglo-Saxons, that protected individual English freedoms, they argued that the Norman invasion of 1066 had overthrown these rights, that Magna Carta had been a popular attempt to restore them, making the charter an essential foundation for the contemporary powers of Parliament and legal principles such as habeas corpus. Although this historical account was badly flawed, jurists such as Sir Edward Coke used Magna Carta extensively in the early 17th century, arguing against the divine right of kings propounded by the Stuart monarchs.
Both James I and his son Charles I attempted to suppress the discussion of Magna Carta, until the issue was curtailed by the English Civil War of the 1640s and the execution of Charles. The political myth of Magna Carta and its protection of ancient personal liberties persisted after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 until well into the 19th century, it influenced the early American colonists in the Thirteen Colonies and the formation of the American Constitution in 1787, which became the supreme law of the land in the new republic of the United States. Research by Victorian historians showed that the original 1215 charter had concerned the medieval relationship between the monarch and the barons, rather than the rights of ordinary people, but the charter remained a powerful, iconic document after all of its content was repealed from the statute books in the 19th and 20th centuries. Magna Carta still forms an important symbol of liberty today cited by politicians and campaigners, is held in great respect by the British and American legal communities, Lord Denning describing it as "the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot".
In the 21st century, four exemplifications of the original 1215 charter remain in existence, two at the British Library, one at Lincoln Cathedral and one at Salisbury Cathedral. There are a handful of the subsequent charters in public and private ownership, including copies of the 1297 charter in both the United States and Australia; the original charters were written on parchment sheets using quill pens, in abbreviated medieval Latin, the convention for legal documents at that time. Each was sealed with the royal great seal: few of the seals have survived. Although scholars refer to the 63 numbered "clauses" of Magna Carta, this is a modern system of numbering, introduced by Sir William Blackstone in 1759; the four original 1215 charters were displayed together at the British Library for one day, 3 February 2015, to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. Magna Carta originated as an unsuccessful attempt to achieve peace between royalist and rebel factions in 1215, as part of the events leading to the outbreak of the First Barons' War.
England was ruled by the third of the Angevin kings. Although the kingdom had a robust administrative system, the nature of government under the Angevin monarchs was ill-defined and uncertain. John and his predecessors had ruled using the principle of vis et voluntas, or "force and will", taking executive and sometimes arbitrary decisions justified on the basis that a king was above the law. Many contemporary writers believed that monarchs should rule in accordance with the custom and the law, with the counsel of the leading members of the realm, but there was no model for what should happen if a king refused to do so. John had lost most of his ancestral lands in France to King Philip II in 1204 and had struggled to regain them for many years, raising extensive taxes on the barons to accumulate money to fight a war which ended in expensive failure in 1214. Following the defeat of his allies at the Battle of Bouvines, John had to sue for peace and pay compensation. John was personally unpopular with many of the barons, many of whom owed money to the Crown, little trust existed between the two sides.
A triumph would have strengthened his position, but in the face of his de
Northamptonshire, archaically known as the County of Northampton, is a county in the East Midlands of England. In 2015 it had a population of 723,000; the county is administered by Northamptonshire County Council and by seven non-metropolitan district councils. It is known as "The Rose of the Shires". Covering an area of 2,364 square kilometres, Northamptonshire is landlocked between eight other counties: Warwickshire to the west and Rutland to the north, Cambridgeshire to the east, Bedfordshire to the south-east, Buckinghamshire to the south, Oxfordshire to the south-west and Lincolnshire to the north-east – England's shortest administrative county boundary at 19 metres. Northamptonshire is the southernmost county in the East Midlands region. Apart from the county town of Northampton, other major population centres include Kettering, Wellingborough and Daventry. Northamptonshire's county flower is the cowslip. Much of Northamptonshire's countryside appears to have remained somewhat intractable with regards to early human occupation, resulting in an sparse population and few finds from the Palaeolithic and Neolithic periods.
In about 500 BC the Iron Age was introduced into the area by a continental people in the form of the Hallstatt culture, over the next century a series of hill-forts were constructed at Arbury Camp, Rainsborough camp, Borough Hill, Castle Dykes, Guilsborough and most notably of all, Hunsbury Hill. There are two more possible hill-forts at Arbury Thenford. In the 1st century BC, most of what became Northamptonshire became part of the territory of the Catuvellauni, a Belgic tribe, the Northamptonshire area forming their most northerly possession; the Catuvellauni were in turn conquered by the Romans in 43 AD. The Roman road of Watling Street passed through the county, an important Roman settlement, stood on the site of modern-day Towcester. There were other Roman settlements at Northampton and along the Nene Valley near Raunds. A large fort was built at Longthorpe. After the Romans left, the area became part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, Northampton functioned as an administrative centre.
The Mercians converted to Christianity in 654 AD with the death of the pagan king Penda. From about 889 the area was conquered by the Danes and became part of the Danelaw – with Watling Street serving as the boundary – until being recaptured by the English under the Wessex king Edward the Elder, son of Alfred the Great, in 917. Northamptonshire was conquered again in 940, this time by the Vikings of York, who devastated the area, only for the county to be retaken by the English in 942, it is one of the few counties in England to have both Saxon and Danish town-names and settlements. The county was first recorded as Hamtunscire: the scire of Hamtun; the "North" was added to distinguish Northampton from the other important Hamtun further south: Southampton – though the origins of the two names are in fact different. Rockingham Castle was built for William the Conqueror and was used as a Royal fortress until Elizabethan times. In 1460, during the Wars of the Roses, the Battle of Northampton took place and King Henry VI was captured.
The now-ruined Fotheringhay Castle was used to imprison Queen of Scots, before her execution. George Washington, the first President of the United States of America, was born into the Washington family who had migrated to America from Northamptonshire in 1656. George Washington's ancestor, Lawrence Washington, was Mayor of Northampton on several occasions and it was he who bought Sulgrave Manor from Henry VIII in 1539, it was George Washington's great-grandfather, John Washington, who emigrated in 1656 from Northants to Virginia. Before Washington's ancestors moved to Sulgrave, they lived in Lancashire. During the English Civil War, Northamptonshire supported the Parliamentarian cause, the Royalist forces suffered a crushing defeat at the Battle of Naseby in 1645 in the north of the county. King Charles I was imprisoned at Holdenby House in 1647. In 1823 Northamptonshire was said to " a pure and wholesome air" because of its dryness and distance from the sea, its livestock were celebrated: "Horned cattle, other animals, are fed to extraordinary sizes: and many horses of the large black breed are reared."Nine years the county was described as "a county enjoying the reputation of being one of the healthiest and pleasantest parts of England" although the towns were "of small importance" with the exceptions of Peterborough and Northampton.
In summer, the county hosted "a great number of wealthy families... country seats and villas are to be seen at every step." Northamptonshire is still referred to as the county of "spires and squires" because of the numbers of stately homes and ancient churches. In the 18th and 19th centuries, parts of Northamptonshire and the surrounding area became industrialised; the local specialisation was shoemaking and the leather industry and by the end of the 19th century it was definitively the boot and shoe making capital of the world. In the north of the county a large ironstone quarrying industry developed from 1850. Prior to 1901 the ancient hundreds were disused. Northamptonshire was administered as four major divisions: Northern, Eastern and Southern. During the 1930s, the town of Corby was established as a major centre of the steel industry. Much of Northamptonshire remains rural. Corby was designated a new town in 1950 and Northampton followed in 1968; as of 2005 the government is encouraging d
Northampton is the county town of Northamptonshire in the East Midlands of England. It lies on the River Nene, about 67 miles north-west of London and 54 miles south-east of Birmingham, it is one of the largest towns in the UK. Northampton had a population of 212,100 in the 2011 census. Archaeological evidence of settlement in the area dates back to the Bronze Age and Anglo-Saxon periods. During the Middle Ages, the town rose to national significance with the establishment of Northampton Castle, an occasional royal residence and hosted the Parliament of England. Medieval Northampton had many churches and the University of Northampton, which were all enclosed by the town walls, it was granted its first town charter by King Richard I in 1189 and its first mayor was appointed by King John in 1215. The town is the site of two medieval battles. Northampton's royal connection languished in the modern period; the town suffered the Great Fire of Northampton which destroyed most of the town. It was soon rebuilt and grew with the industrial development of the 18th century.
Northampton continued to grow following the creation of the Grand Union Canal and the arrival of the railways in the 19th century, becoming an industrial centre for footwear and leather manufacture. After the World Wars, Northampton's growth was limited until it was designated as a New Town in 1968, accelerating development in the town. Northampton unsuccessfully applied for unitary status in 1996 and city status in 2000. According to Centre for Cities data in 2015, Northampton had a population growth of 11% between the years 2004 and 2013, one of the ten highest in the UK; the earliest reference to Northampton in writing occurred in 914 under the name Ham tune meaning "home town". The prefix "North" was added to distinguish it from other towns called Hampton, most prominently Southampton; the Domesday Book records the town as Northantone, which evolved into Norhamptone by the 13th century and Northampton by the 17th century. Present-day Northampton is the latest in a series of settlements. Remains found in the Briar Hill district show evidence of a Neolithic encampment within a large circular earthwork where local farmers assembled for tribal ceremonies and seasonal events from 3500 BC to 2000 BC.
During the British Iron Age, people lived in protected hill forts. Present-day Hunsbury Hill is an example of this settlement. In the Roman period, a small rural settlement is thought to have existed in the present-day district of Duston. Following Danish invasion, the central area of the town was turned into a stronghold called a burh and became the base for one of the Danish armies in 850. A ditch was dug around the settlement and it was fortified with earth ramparts. Having conquered Mercia, the Danes turned the settlement into a centre for military and administrative purposes, part of the Danelaw. In the 9th century Regenhere of Northampton an East Anglian Saint with localised veneration was buried in Northampton. By 918, Northampton had an earl and an army dependent upon it, whose territory extended to the River Welland; the settlement was recovered by Edward the Elder the same year, turning it into the centre of one of the new shires, which prospered as a river port and trading centre. In 940, it resisted the invading forces of Danish opposition in Northumbria, but was burnt in 1010 by a Danish army, again in 1065 by the rebellious northern earls Edwin and Morcar.
Despite this, the Domesday Book records Northantone as possessing 316 houses with a population of 2000 people, ranking between Warwick and Leicester in size. With the Norman conquest of England, the town rose to national significance: its geographical location in the centre of England made Northampton a valuable strategical point for government and as a convenient meeting place for political, social and military events. Northampton Castle is thought to have been built by Simon de Senlis, who became the first Earl of Northampton, circa 1084, it was an earth and timber stockaded construction, rebuilt in stone. The castle became an occasional royal residence from the reign of King Henry I in 1130 until that of King Richard II. King John stayed at the castle and moved The Treasury there in 1205; some 32 Parliaments, were held there. The last Parliament at Northampton was held in 1380. Significant events in the castle's history include the trial of Thomas Becket in 1164, the publication of the Assize of Northampton in 1176, the declaration of peace with Scotland in the Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton, the passage of the Statute of Northampton in 1328 and the imposition of poll tax in 1380.
Royal tournaments and feasts were held at the castle. Simon de Senlis is thought to have built the medieval town walls, which enclosed about 245 acres and had four main gates. Though demolished now, the circular pattern of the main roads surrounding the town centre marks the original position of the walls. De Senlis founded the Cluniac Priory of St Andrew's—where St Andrew's Hospital now stands—and built The Church of the Holy Sepulchre—one of four remaining round churches in England—and All Hallows Church on the current site of All Saint's Church, his son
Hertfordshire is one of the home counties in the south east of England. It is bordered by Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to the north, Essex to the east, Greater London to the south, Buckinghamshire to the west. For government statistical purposes, it is placed in the East of England region. In 2013, the county had a population of 1,140,700 in an area of 634 square miles; the four towns that have between 50,000 and 100,000 residents are Hemel Hempstead, Watford and St Albans. Hertford, once the main market town for the medieval agricultural county, derives its name from a hart and a ford, used as the components of the county's coat of arms and flag. Elevations are high for the region in the west; these reach over 800 feet in the western projection around Tring, in the Chilterns. The county's borders are the watersheds of the Colne and Lea. Hertfordshire's undeveloped land is agricultural and much is protected by green belt; the county's landmarks span many centuries, ranging from the Six Hills in the new town of Stevenage built by local inhabitants during the Roman period, to Leavesden Film Studios.
The volume of intact medieval and Tudor buildings surpasses London, in places in well-preserved conservation areas in St Albans which includes some remains of Verulamium, the town where in the 3rd century an early recorded British martyrdom took place. Saint Alban, a Romano-British soldier, took the place of a Christian priest and was beheaded on Holywell Hill, his martyr's cross of a yellow saltire on a blue field is reflected in the flag and coat of arms of Hertfordshire. Hertfordshire is well-served with railways, providing good access to London; the largest sector of the economy of the county is in services. Hertfordshire was the area assigned to a fortress constructed at Hertford under the rule of Edward the Elder in 913. Hertford is derived from meaning deer crossing; the name Hertfordshire is first recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 1011. Deer feature in many county emblems. There is evidence of humans living in Hertfordshire from the Mesolithic period, it was first farmed during the Neolithic period and permanent habitation appeared at the beginning of the Bronze Age.
This was followed by tribes settling in the area during the Iron Age. Following the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43, the aboriginal Catuvellauni submitted and adapted to the Roman life. Saint Alban, a Romano-British soldier, took the place of a Christian priest and was beheaded on Holywell Hill, his martyr's cross of a yellow saltire on a blue field is reflected in the flag and coat of arms of Hertfordshire as the yellow field to the stag or Hart representing the county. He is the Patron Saint of Hertfordshire. With the departure of the Roman Legions in the early 5th century, the now unprotected territory was invaded and colonised by the Anglo-Saxons. By the 6th century the majority of the modern county was part of the East Saxon kingdom; this short lived kingdom collapsed in the 9th century, ceding the territory of Hertfordshire to the control of the West Anglians of Mercia. The region became an English shire in the 10th century, on the merger of the West Saxon and Mercian kingdoms. A century William of Normandy received the surrender of the surviving senior English Lords and Clergy at Berkhamsted, resulting in a new Anglicised title of William the Conqueror before embarking on an uncontested entry into London and his coronation at Westminster.
Hertfordshire was used for some of the new Norman castles at Bishop's Stortford, at King's Langley, a staging post between London and the royal residence of Berkhamsted. The Domesday Book recorded the county as having nine hundreds. Tring and Danais became one—Dacorum—from Danis Corum or Danish rule harking back to a Viking not Saxon past; the other seven were Braughing, Cashio, Hertford and Odsey. The first shooting-down of a zeppelin over Great Britain during WW1 happened in Cuffley; as London grew, Hertfordshire became conveniently close to the English capital. However, the greatest boost to Hertfordshire came during the Industrial Revolution, after which the population rose dramatically. In 1903, Letchworth became the world's first garden city and Stevenage became the first town to redevelop under the New Towns Act 1946. From the 1920s until the late 1980s, the town of Borehamwood was home to one of the major British film studio complexes, including the MGM-British Studios. Many well-known films were made here including the first three Star Wars movies.
The studios used the name of Elstree. American director Stanley Kubrick not only used to shoot in those studios but lived in the area until his death. Big Brother UK and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? have been filmed there. EastEnders is filmed at Elstree. Hertfordshire has seen development at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden. On 17 October 2000, the Hatfield rail crash killed four people with over 70 injured; the crash exposed the shortcomings of Railtrack, which saw speed restrictions and major track replacement. On 10 May 2002, the second of the Potters Bar rail accidents occurred killing seven people.
Much Wenlock is a small town and parish in Shropshire, situated on the A458 road between Shrewsbury and Bridgnorth. Nearby, to the northeast, is the Ironbridge Gorge, the new town of Telford; the civil parish includes the villages of Homer, Wyke and Bourton. The population of the civil parish, according to the 2001 census, was 2,605, increasing to 2,877 at the 2011 Census. Much Wenlock was the chief town of the ancient borough of Wenlock; the "Much" was added to the name to distinguish it from the nearby Little Wenlock, signifies that it is the larger of the two settlements. Notable historic attractions in the town are the Guildhall; the name Wenlock comes from the Celtic name Wininicas, meaning "white area", plus the Old English loca, meaning "enclosed place". The town was recorded in the Domesday Book as Wenloch; the Wenlock Olympian Games established by Dr William Penny Brookes in 1850 are centred in the town. Dr Brookes is credited as a founding father of the modern Olympic Games, one of the Olympic mascots for London 2012 was named Wenlock after the town.
Richard Fletcher mentions Much Wenlock as one of the possible locations where a Sub-Roman British Christian community may have survived the Anglo-Saxon occupation and integrated with the conquerors and influenced their culture. The town of Wenlock is known to have grown up around an abbey or monastery founded around 680 by Merewalh, a son of King Penda of Mercia, with the small town within its parish boundaries. King Penda installed his daughter Milburga as abbess in 687. Milburga of Wenlock was credited with many miraculous works; the abbey flourished until around 874. The Domesday Book of 1086 records the manor as'Wenloch' and forming part of the hundred of Patton, it was at this time a large settlement, with 73 households. The abbey is recorded in the book, separately. In the 11th century another religious house was built on the same site by Leofric, Earl of Mercia and Countess Godiva his wife. In the 12th century this was replaced by a Cluniac priory, established by Roger de Montgomerie after the Norman conquest, the ruins of which can still be seen and, now in the hands of English Heritage.
Early in the 12th century the hundred of Patton was merged with Culvestan to form the hundred of Munslow, but in 1198 Much Wenlock, together with the other manors held by Wenlock Priory, was transferred to the hundredal jurisdiction of the Liberty of Wenlock. In 1468 Edward IV granted the men of Much Wenlock a charter forming the Borough of Wenlock, at the request of Sir John Wenlock, "in consideration of the laudable services which the men of the town performed in assisting the king to gain possession of the crown." The charter was confirmed in 1547 by Henry VIII after Wenlock Priory was suppressed in the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. The charter was again confirmed in 1631 by Charles I. Over the years the borough asserted jurisdiction over the liberty of Wenlock; the lands of the liberty included rural areas and a number of detached parts well outside the town, this resulted in an unusual, geographically dispersed borough. At its height, it was – by area – the largest borough in England outside London and encompassed several of the towns that now constitute Telford.
The borough had unusual boundaries, covering Much Wenlock itself, but Little Wenlock and Ironbridge, a total area of 71 square miles. In 1836 the borough was reformed as a municipal borough under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, lost some of its rural areas and detached parts; the borough was further reduced in size in 1889, was abolished in 1966. 11-year-old Alice Glaston from Little Wenlock was hanged together with two men in Much Wenlock on 13 April 1546, for an unknown crime. She is the youngest known girl executed in Great Britain. Sir Thomas Wolryche, 1st Baronet was an English landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons for Wenlock between 1621 and 1625, he fought in the Royalist army in the English Civil War. In 1611, Thomas Wolryche's father, had taken over the mortgage of the manor of Hughley, about 6 km from Much Wenlock; the debt was cleared in 1623 in return for the freehold of an estate of 1,400 acres. In the 19th century the town and much of the surrounding land came into the possession of James Milnes Gaskell, from his wife's family the Williams-Wynns.
James was MP for Wenlock for many years. His son Charles Milnes Gaskell restored the Priory lodging as a home with his wife Lady Catherine, daughter of the Earl of Portsmouth. There they entertained many famous people of the day, politicians and explorers, among them Thomas Hardy, Henry Adams, Henry James, Thomas Woolner, Henry Morton Stanley, Isabella Bird and Phillip Webb. Much Wenlock has become known as the birthplace of Wenlock Olympian Games set up by Dr William Penny Brookes and his Wenlock Olympian Society in 1850. In 1861 he was instrumental in setting up the Shropshire Games and in 1866, the National Olympian Games. Dr Brookes is credited as a founding father of the Modern Olympic Games. In 1890 it was the turn of the Raven Hotel to be the venue for the annual post Wenlock Olympian Games' dinner, Baron Pierre de Coubertin was the guest of honour. Copies of some of the WOS's archive images are on display in the hotel, including letters from Coubertin to Brookes; the Wenlock Olympian Games, a nine-day event staged on eight sites across Shropshire, are still held annually durin
Glamorgan, or sometimes Glamorganshire, is one of the thirteen historic counties of Wales and a former administrative county of Wales. It was an early medieval petty kingdom of varying boundaries known as Glywysing until taken over by the Normans as a lordship. Glamorgan is latterly represented by the three preserved counties of Mid Glamorgan, South Glamorgan and West Glamorgan; the name survives in that of Vale of Glamorgan, a county borough. Although a rural and pastoral area of little value, the area that became known as Glamorgan was a conflict point between the Norman lords and the Welsh princes, with the area being defined by a large concentration of castles. After falling under English rule in the 16th century, Glamorgan became a more stable county, exploited its natural resources to become an important part of the Industrial Revolution. Glamorgan was the most populous and industrialised county in Wales, was once called the "crucible of the Industrial Revolution," as it contained the world centres of three metallurgical industries and its rich resources of coal.
The county of Glamorgan comprises several distinct regions: the industrial valleys, the agricultural Vale of Glamorgan, the scenic Gower Peninsula. The county is bounded to the north by Brecknockshire, east by Monmouthshire, south by the Bristol Channel, west by Carmarthenshire and Carmarthen Bay, its total area is 2,100 km2, the total population of the three preserved counties of Glamorgan in 1991 was 1,288,309. Glamorgan contains two cities, the county town and from 1955 the capital city of Wales, Swansea; the highest point in the county is Craig y Llyn, situated near the village of Rhigos in the Cynon Valley. Glamorgan's terrain has been inhabited by humankind for over 200,000 years. Climate fluctuation caused the formation and reformation of glaciers which, in turn, caused sea levels to rise and fall. At various times life has flourished, at others the area is to have been uninhabitable. Evidence of the presence of Neanderthals has been discovered on the Gower Peninsula. Whether they remained in the area during periods of extreme cold is unclear.
Sea levels have been 150 metres lower and 8 metres higher than at present, resulting in significant changes to the coastline during this period. Archaeological evidence shows; the oldest known human burial in Great Britain – the Red Lady of Paviland – was discovered in a coastal cave between Port Eynon and Rhossili, on the Gower Peninsula. The'lady' has been radiocarbon dated to c. 29,000 years before present – during the Late Pleistocene – at which time the cave overlooked an area of plain, some miles from the sea. From the end of the last ice age Mesolithic hunter-gatherers began to migrate to the British Peninsula – through Doggerland – from the European mainland. Archaeologist Stephen Aldhouse-Green notes that while Wales has a "multitude" of Mesolithic sites, their settlements were "focused on the coastal plains", the uplands were "exploited only by specialist hunting groups". Human lifestyles in North-West Europe changed around 6000 BP, they cleared the forests to establish pasture and to cultivate the land and developed new technologies such as ceramics and textile production.
A tradition of long barrow construction began in continental Europe during the 7th millennium BP – the free standing megalithic structures supporting a sloping capstone. Nineteen Neolithic chambered five possible henges have been identified in Glamorgan; these megalithic burial chambers, or cromlechi, were built between 6000 and 5000 BP, during the early Neolithic period, the first of them about 1500 years before either Stonehenge or the Egyptian Great Pyramid of Giza was completed. Two major groups of Neolithic architectural traditions are represented in the area: portal dolmens; such massive constructions would have needed a large labour force – up to 200 men – suggestive of large communities nearby. Archaeological evidence from some Neolithic sites has shown the continued use of cromlechi in the Bronze Age; the Bronze Age – defined by the use of metal – has made a lasting impression on the area. Over six hundred Bronze Age barrows and cairns, of various types, have been identified all over Glamorgan.
Other technological innovations – including the wheel. Deforestation continued to the more remote areas as a warmer climate allowed the cultivation of upland areas. By 4000 BP people had begun to bury, or cremate their dead in individual cists, beneath a mound of earth known as a round barrow. From c. 3350 BP, a worsening climate began to make agriculture unsustainable in upland areas. The resulting population pressures appear to have led to co