Hartlebury Castle (The Bishop’s Palace)

The land that Hartlebury Castle sits on was granted to the Bishop of Worcester by King Burghred in the late 9th century, although the foundations of the building that now stands here are believed to date back to the 13th century. 

Since the 12th century, it has been a centre of ecclesiastical and administrative power in Worcestershire with its resident bishops involved in some of the significant events of British history from political and military guardians of a frontier with Wales to active participants in political decision making in modern times.

The building is grade 1 listed and it contains the famous Hurd Library was built by Bishop Hurd in 1782. It still contains his extensive and unique collection of books including works from the libraries of Alexander Pope and William Warburton. The copy of the Iliad from which Pope’s translation was made is among them.

The grounds include a period cider mill, A Transport Gallery which has amazing Romney Gypsy wagons and The Worcestershire County Museum which houses the servants’ quarters of Hartlebury Castle. The house also has the period rooms which displays including a schoolroom, nursery and scullery, and Victorian, Georgian and Civil War rooms. The exhibits focus on local history and include toys, archaeology, costumes, crafts by the Bromsgrove Guild, local industry, and area geology and natural history. You are now able to walk along the old moat and enjoy local produce at the shop. 

We had a fantastic time, and hope you will take a trip to Hartlebury Castle too.

 

Writer’s Statement.

Writer’s Statement.

I’m Seraphim Bryant and I write for young adults who like thrillers and a bit of fantasy. Also, I write and illustrate picture books in young children’s fiction which are frequently about social issues and citizenship.

My style is very open, it’s quite conversational. This is because I like people so much and I love talking to them about their life, theories, and what their passions are.

That that’s how my writing often sounds; I write like a person who is telling you a story about what they’ve witnessed. The tone of my work can be quite serious, but I always have a dash of humour. Humour and love are essential in my writing because It’s my belief that life itself is full of humour and held together by love; it’s how people survive though hard times and massive challenges. I want my characters to go through parts of a real life too.

I was brought up on traditionalist writers like Beatrix Potter, Enid Blyton, CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien and stories from the Bible. I was very lucky to be read to as a child by my dad. These writers gave me a great sense of imagination, of new worlds, and the importance of people’s values and beliefs. Unfortunately, I was very sick child in my early years so I didn’t have a lot of schooling and this made be very slow to learn to talk, to read and ultimately communicate with the written word. For a long time, I struggled, and avoided reading.

Thankfully, in high school an amazing English teacher, Mr Young took the time to know me. He would constantly give the books that he knew I wouldn’t put down. This meant I felt compelled to read and I was launched into high fantasy, Gothic fiction and thrillers. From famous writers like Stephen King and Piers Anthony, to new writers at the time such as Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Christopher Paolini, Phil Pullman and Sally Green. My head was now full of stories, stories and escapism that I wanted to hear for myself. Ideas of the kinds of magic that I thought would interest me. Until I felt duty-bound to write too. This lead me into a degree in Creative writing and Illustration, bonding my two passions into production.

This is why I write, read, and I love, young adult fiction and I’m sure I will be buried with a children’s novel in hand.

SB

 

 

Why do you write?

Why do you write what you write?

Why does it matter that you write?

Why do you put the time and effort into writing?

What are you trying to convey to readers through your writing?

What do you want your writing legacy to be?

How did you become a writer?

Travel journal

An Oxford education

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A captured and stolen history can be found in Oxford. Its museums, galleries and universities; pool, collate, and collect culture. Its own British Empire heritage and that of its once discovered or conquered limits. All boxed and viewed in glass. It holds it up showing it off and in its own way Oxford holds itself up in high regard.

Is it always beauty and class?

I hold education in high regard. I am in awe of well cultured and educated people. I want to be educated too. Even if I am only from a council estate in middle England.

We took the opportunity to be on a coach trip to Oxford and see the free wealth of culture. I enjoyed being part of the art class again, only this time not as their art technician but as a student instead.

Architecture in historical abundance is the result of a stone built medieval town in England; small enough to explore on foot. History and education side-by-side in my favourite place, Radcliffe Square. After coffee and delicious homemade cakes in the Vaults & Garden, in the crypt of the University Church we had recovered from the long coach trip. We were now sketching people busy in the open market along the street.

The distance travelled in traffic jams I dislike a great deal. Oxford was built long before the combustion engine was invented. So motor vehicle access is restricted and parking expensive. Walk or cycle instead is the preferred mode of transportation for most.

My academic and creative brain went wild in an atmosphere cram packed with stories and mysteries from the ages gone by. I was so tired when I got back to the coach.

The light of the Ashmolean museum full to the brim with world Art. It made my eyes water they could not physically stare any longer over the patterns and shaped culture and beauty. The natural history museum’s open hall and stone-flagged floors contradicted to the dark and depths of Pitt Rivers snug atmosphere comparable to a Cotswold farmhouse. This one building brought me to the floor in stunned admiration. I had wondered around learning about evolution, and why animals have developed the way they have according to their environments (I felt like a boffin in the making) when I walked haphazardly through a carved archway. This was like having been drinking crisp bitter tea, then shoving a tray of dark chocolate sweets into one’s mouth. Pitt Rivers museum is a part of the natural history building yet is very different. A deep dark jungle of discovery that had belonged to one very enthusiastic collector. Many items are displayed together at once. There is no sorting except for the helpful staff “pots and pans there, boats over here, jewellery, swords, shields, are on the next floor and the Gods are to the left of the big totem pole Madame”- my case in point.

So I don’t know which kind class you may be. However, I’m sure in Oxford you will find beauty.

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Oxford: The Ashmolean Museum

The present Ashmolean was created in 1908 by combining two ancient Oxford institutions: the University Art Collection and the original Ashmolean Museum.

The collections span the civilisations of east and west, charting the aspirations of humankind from the Neolithic era to the present day. Among its treasures are the world’s largest collection of Raphael drawings, the most important collection of pre-Dynastic Egyptian material in Europe, the only great Minoan collection in Britain, the finest Anglo-Saxon collections outside the British Museum and the foremost collection of modern Chinese art in the Western world.

The Ashmolean is also a teaching and research department of the University of Oxford, providing research and publications of the highest standard in the academic fields of art history, archaeology and history.

Refurbished in 2009, the way that the collections are displayed in the new galleries & enjoyed by the public became the driving force behind the transformation. The galleries are interlinked by one big theme, Crossing Cultures, Crossing Time. This encourages visitors to make new connections between the collections of the Ashmolean. Adding 39 new galleries to the original 1845 Cockerell Building, the Ashmolean’s new wing was designed by award-winning architect Rick Mather.

The Art class and I needed more than the few hours we had to full apriciate the vast collections. However we had a brilliant adventure exploring art history from around the world.

Week 4 Creative writing with WEA

Q; Today we visited St George’s church Kidderminster use the experience to write a short story or Travel piece about the church. (Include word count and header)

 

She stood at the bottom of the long sloping drive once more. Her collar turned up against the cold January wind, the bells were still ringing. Good she was not yet too late for Sunday service.

St George’s tower was a gray monolithic in the Kidderminster skyline. She pondered for the moment how the skyline had changed over the years, yet still he stood tall and strong against the winds of change. She wondered if he were alive, could he see his daughter churches of St Chad’s and St Cecilia over all the scurrying below.

Mandy had been to many places in her thirty years of life. Yet for reasons unclear she would always return to this cold old industrial town, middle England, middle class. She walked past the tall trees along the driveway, not as tall has the magnificent dark green pines of the Northern Rockies that she had lived with. Her heart ached a little for the huge openness of Canada. Mandy missed the clean air and the deep evergreen smell of those cherished days.

Pauls Jeep all shiny and black was parked close to the entrance; Mandy knew this meant Granny was already seated in her old hardwood pew. “Gann’s pew” Mandy smiled to herself, seventh from the back, not quite the middle, not too far away from where the clergy could see her presence but also not so close as to look un-Anglican. It was this kind of English behaviour that would have made her friends in Nevada and Utah laugh so much. There a jeep was used for the purpose it was designed for and very few where in the shinny category. Salty sand of the Great Basin Desert soon put nice paint jobs to brown work trucks. When it rained and snowed all that you could see was muddy wheels and snow covered hoods, not chrome alloys and a sun roof. Still it was good to know she was still going to church, it was reassuring to know that something’s in this world don’t changes as quick as the weather in the desert or the wind in the mountains.

Mandy paused in the towers entrance to straighten herself out a little before entering. How she wished mother had not insisted on her wearing a skirt to church, there was no written rule about this it was another of those “its what’s expected” things. It didn’t matter really she remembered how granny always used to tut at Ms Barkers huge bright colourer dresses and leggings. That lady’s floral patted scarf’s and mad curly hair were perfect for a Sunday school leader. She was brilliant and as good a reason for a young Mandy to have gone to church as any sermon they would preach to the adults.  How strange it was to think back now. Mandy’s mother brought her here on the day she was born to be blessed, here not straight home or to Granny’s house. Years on Mandy too bought little Jessica to show her to family and friends even though both were sick and weak. This entrance she had sheltered her when the big rain storm hit Kidderminster and Mandy had to wait for her farther to rescue her. It was so sad to see the huge gate that had to be install to keep vandals out no one would be sheltering here from the weather unless a service was on.

Mandy hurried along to Gann’s pew, it was one of the few that were left now. The back five rows had already been pulled out and replaced with chairs. Soon all the pews would be taken out and the choir stools too. The winds of change had blown in though St Georges old heavy oak doors, now in order to keep such history as a “Waterloo” church they had to gut it out and kit it up. Like the fire 1922 he will lose some of his history but be rebuilt for peoples use, and like the architect Sir Gilbert Scott they will rededicate stone by stone St George to His purpose.

Mother moved aside for Mandy without out words it was clear that she was expected, granny was waiting for her. “Sorry, I got delayed at Birmingham again” Mandy whispered discreetly.

Granny slowly lent over to Mandy’s ear “Lots of things change in years that pass, yet something’s cannot be changed only added to. St George’s is our family, our home we can return to. There can be no warmer welcome than the prodigal child’s return”