Scarlett Stahl’s Merry Olde Trip to England

Written by Rick Wright. Posted in Features, Weekend Update

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ScarlettEngland

Published on December 21, 2013 at 1:00 am with 6 Comments

Scarlett Stahl’s been off on one of her wonderful trips abroad again. This time she is generously sharing her experiences and photos from her trip to England! ~~Rick

My Merry Olde Trip to England

By Scarlett Stahl

As my heritage is almost 100% English, I had been planning on making a pilgrimage to England for some time. Now when I say almost, that is because one of my cousins traced our Carr family back to Scotland and even visited two family castles there. As Pocahontas is my tenth generation great grandmother, that adds a small percentage of Native American as well.

On the plane to Manchester, which is in the northern part of England, the man seated next to me asked why I was going to Manchester, which took me by surprise. As I looked quizzically at him, he explained that he could tell by my accent that I was American and Americans don’t go to Manchester as it is an industrial city, which is why he was going there on business. He also said that I looked like a tourist and there weren’t any tourist attractions there. Hesitantly I told him that I wasn’t going to Manchester but would be taking a coach (the English name for a bus) to Bradford in Yorkshire. Again he commented that Bradford was a smaller industrial city so again asked why I was going there. When he learned that I was going to visit Bolling Hall, which is now a museum, but belonged to my Bolling family in the 1300’s, 1400’s and 1500’s before my eighth generation great grandfather, Robert Bolling, immigrated to Jamestowne in the 1600’s and married Jane Rolfe, the granddaughter of Pocahontas and John Rolfe, he exclaimed that my trip was much more interesting than his.

A coach at Bradford Airport owned by Jim Bell coaches called Stinkerbell

A coach at Bradford Airport owned by Jim Bell coaches called Stinkerbell

Linda and Scarlett with Bradford City Hall in the background

Linda and Scarlett with Bradford City Hall in the background

After arrival, my friend Linda Swisher and I found the coach area at the airport and purchased our coach/bus tickets. After a traffic jam on the highway we arrived at the coach/train station in Bradford and learned that our Hilton Hotel was right around the corner, which was convenient.

City Hall at night

City Hall at night

In fact it was right across from City Hall, which was an older pretty building near a little shopping park area, which was also pretty at night all lit up. However most of Bradford was just an industrial city and it appeared that the youth hung out in the park area as there wasn’t much to do.

Bradford at night

Bradford at night

The next morning we took a coach to Bolling Hall. Linda asked how I felt going there and I told her that I was filled with excitement and anticipation. It was a beautiful well maintained building with a lovely front and back lawn, which did not disappoint.

Scarlett with Bolling Hall behind

Scarlett with Bolling Hall behind

Oldest part of Bolling Hall

Oldest part of Bolling Hall

However the nearby neighboring buildings looked like tenements with laundry hung on lines at the back of the buildings. Bolling Hall is the oldest public building in Bradford and has been a museum since 1915. There is a gift shop in the oldest part of the building and in the guide book, which I purchased, it explained “Although now surrounded by modern housing, Bolling Hall was originally a fourteenth century pele tower, built in heavily wooded countryside to protect the owners against attackers.” Through the generations the building was added onto. The ashlar wall from the fourteenth century is the remains of the Great Medieval Hall.

The ashlar wall from the fourteenth century is the remains of the Great Medieval Hall

The ashlar wall from the fourteenth century is the remains of the Great Medieval Hall

Back garden of Bolling Hall

Back garden of Bolling Hall

Back of Bolling Hall

Back of Bolling Hall

Plaque of Bolling Hall

Plaque of Bolling Hall

The helper in the gift shop knew much more about Bolling Hall than I did and explained that the Bolling family had been on the losing side in the English Civil War and had been taxed out of their home in the 1600’s. I shared with him that Robert Bolling had come to Virginia and made his family home there in the 1600’s. Then in the 1800’s his descendants fought on the side of the Confederacy during the US Civil War. As they were on the losing side, they were taxed out of their homes again! If you read the history of Edith Bolling, who was the wife of President Woodrow Wilson and a Bolling cousin, she refers to that fact.

Scarlett and Linda in the kitchen, which is in the oldest part of the building

Scarlett and Linda in the kitchen, which is in the oldest part of the building

Window of the crests in the Dining hall

Window of the crests in the Dining hall

The Bolling crest

The Bolling crest

In “the Ghost Room” I met a University teacher with her students and asked information re the Room. She explained that they were there studying ghosts and the Earl of Newcastle had stayed in that room on the eve of a siege of Bradford. He had said he would kill everyone in the town the next day. The story goes that he was visited that night by a ghost lady in white, who pled for him to “Pity the poor people of Bradford,” which caused him to change his mind. The teacher was surprised to see me there and after I explained the family connection, she introduced me to her students, who were very interested in meeting me.

The Ghost Room

The Ghost Room

Of course I purchased a few items from the gift shop but admit there wasn’t a lot there, other than pencils, pens, erasers and rulers. I was able to purchase a booklet on the history of Bolling Hall, which meant a lot to me.

Bolling Hall pencil and notebook

Bolling Hall pencil and notebook

Bolling Hall pencil sharpener

Bolling Hall pencil sharpener

Bolling Hall pencil sharpener

Linda and I took a coach to Haworth, which was also in Yorkshire, to visit the Bronte Family Parsonage, which was now a Museum. Both of us had read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and knew of the novels of Anne Bronte. We both admitted that we liked Wuthering Heights best of all. Their home/parsonage was high on a hill, with a graveyard in their backyard and a resident cat visiting there amongst the tombstones. As both Linda and I love cats, we enjoyed his attention.

The cat in the graveyard

The cat in the graveyard

Bronte sign in Haworth (Yorkshire)

Bronte sign in Haworth (Yorkshire)

The Bronte family home

The Bronte family home

The graveyard and the church

The graveyard and the church

On the other side of the graveyard was the church, where their father had preached and where they are buried, while nearby was a school, where they had taught. Their father, Patrick, was from Ireland. Born on St. Patrick’s Day (17 March 1777) he was an Anglican curate, as well as a poet and writer. Their mother, Maria, was English and she passed away when she was only 38. The two oldest of six children died as children, while the others sadly also all died young. Their brother, Branwell was a painter and a writer, who became addicted to alcohol and laudanum. The oldest was Charlotte, who died at only 29, while expecting her first child!! The father outlived all his children.

Scarlett in the garden with the statue of the three Bronte sisters

Scarlett in the garden with the statue of the three Bronte sisters

Scarlett in the graveyard

Scarlett in the graveyard

There were many shops leading down the hill to the town and small houses available to rent for tourists. It was a charming place to visit and I am sorry that we hadn’t stayed there, rather than Bradford.

The view of Haworth going down the hill from the Brontes

The view of Haworth going down the hill from the Brontes

We took a train from Bradford to Leeds and transferred from there to Kings Cross Station in London. Then we took the underground to a suburb of London, called Hammersmith, which was a nice peaceful neighborhood. It was so easy to get around that we went everywhere by using the underground, trains and some coaches. We really didn’t use coaches too much as our time was limited and there were traffic jams often as we were told. Speaking English made everything much easier for us.

Unfortunately the English pound was much stronger than the US dollar…in fact it took almost $2 for one pound so we really didn’t buy much. Lodging, transportation, admittance to attractions and food were our main priorities. Yes, I would have liked to see the ballet and theatre but they were too pricey. In fact the first night we shared a pizza and each had a glass of wine at the hotel, which came to $52! As this was my birthday trip, I do admit to splurging on one gift for myself at the Tower of London, a sterling silver small crown charm to wear on my own sterling silver necklace, which cost 50 pounds!

Sterling silver crown charm/pendant

Sterling silver crown charm/pendant

We went to the Tower of London to see the Crown Jewels, which we had both seen on previous trips and could never tire of seeing as they were so outrageously magnificent. We enjoyed tea and scones at the famous Harrods Department Store and looked at all the lovely souvenir items with Harrods name on them. Another day we went back into London to visit Westminster Abbey, which again we both had seen previously. We passed the impressive Big Ben clock on the way to the Abbey. There we were surprised to see and learn that King James, who took the throne after Elizabeth I died, had her buried in a small crypt with her sister, Mary (also known as Bloody Mary!). And from the small shape and size, it did appear that one was placed on top of the other. Also it did seem surprising as Elizabeth was Anglican and Mary was Catholic and they did not get along. However upon reflection I remembered that Elizabeth had had King James mother, Mary Queen of Scots, beheaded so that probably was a good enough reason. Mary, Queen of Scots, tomb was much more elaborate and impressive.

Tower of London

Tower of London

Scarlett and Linda with costumed performers at the Tower of London

Scarlett and Linda with costumed performers at the Tower of London

Scarlett with lion statues at Tower of London

Scarlett with lion statues at Tower of London

Tower of London with Tower Bridge in background

Tower of London with Tower Bridge in background

Instead of going in Buckingham Palace, which we had done before, we walked past it to the Royal Gift Shops, where we dug deep into our pockets to purchase Christmas gifts for friends and then back to Harrods for baked Alaska and wine as a treat. Yes, we had fish and chips one night. Another night at a pub we dined on steak pie, which I suspect was cooked in red wine as I am allergic to that. At that pub we overheard a gentleman speaking loudly to his lady companion that he no longer took heroin but had changed to cocaine. The proprietor had to ask him to leave after he started ranting about wanting to kill the IRA. That was an interesting but rather strange experience.

Linda and Scarlett in the Tourist Office in Gravesend (Kent)

Linda and Scarlett in the Tourist Office in Gravesend (Kent)

Scarlett and Linda having tea and scones at Harrods Department Store

Scarlett and Linda having tea and scones at Harrods Department Store

Scarlett with the Harrods Bear

Scarlett with the Harrods Bear

Harrods Window

Harrods Window

Another day we took the train to Gravesend, which was in Kent, as that is where Pocahontas, aka Lady Rebecca Rolfe, died and was buried in St. George’s Church graveyard.

Sign in garden of St George Church

Sign in garden of St George Church

There was a tourist office there with Pocahontas memorabilia for purchase and again I couldn’t resist the souvenirs. As there had been a fire and the church had been rebuilt after her death, it was not known just where she was buried. However there was a statue of her, which is a duplicate of the one at Jametowne, Va. on the lawn of the church, called the Princess Pocahontas Garden.

Pocahontas sterling silver necklace

Pocahontas sterling silver necklace

Pocahontas mini mug

Pocahontas mini mug

Pocahontas pencil sharpener

Pocahontas pencil sharpener

Pocahontas puppet

Pocahontas puppet

Story of Pocahontas

Story of Pocahontas

According to the guide book, which I purchased at the tourist office “the two nave windows were cut out in 1914 and filled with stained glass presented by the Society of Colonial Dames of America as a memorial to Princess Pocahontas. The south window represents the figure of Ruth and the north Rebecca, the name she took at her baptism. Both incorporate cartouches of Pocahontas; also depicted are her baptism in one and Ruth accompanying Naomi in the other. Within the borders one sees American plants – Virginia creeper. dogwood, saragas and redbud.”

Group going to a soccer game in train station

Group going to a soccer game in train station

Scarlett with stature of her 10th generation great grandmother, Pocahontas

Scarlett with stature of her 10th generation great grandmother, Pocahontas

St George Church and statue of Pocahontas

St George Church and statue of Pocahontas

Downtown Gravesend

Downtown Gravesend

There is a memorial tablet on one side of the church arch that commemorates Pocahontas who, in 1617, was buried in a vault of the original church beneath the present chancel. Pocahontas was only 22 years old when she died and no one really knows the cause of her death but she would have had no immunity to the illnesses of England, such as smallpox, pneumonia, or tuberculosis. In fact she had an entourage of at least ten Indians with her, who all died in England, except for three!!! This was a rather bitter sweet moment for me as I had come so far and yet there was no way of knowing her gravesite nor being able to see the inside of the church, as it was closed that day.

Anne Boleyn was the second of King Henry VIII’s wives and the mother of Queen Elizabeth I. Her childhood family home was located in Hever, Kent. However we were told not to take the train into Hever as there weren’t any cabs there and it would be a very very long walk. Instead we were advised to take the train to Edenbridge and get a cab from there, which is what we did.

Hever Castle in Kent

Hever Castle in Kent

Scarlett and Linda at Hever Castle

Scarlett and Linda at Hever Castle

Courtyard of Hever Castle

Courtyard of Hever Castle

It was a beautiful estate with a lovely little castle, full of history and an enchanting double-moat. The castle houses historic 16th century portraits, paintings, furniture, tapestries and treasures. There were 125 acres of spectacular gardens, which included Italian, Rose and Tudor gardens, topiary, yew maze and splashing water maze. You could take a stroll around the informal areas of Sunday Walk and Anne Boleyn’s Walk. There was even an area, where guests could stay…of course not in the main castle. Again this is a place we would have liked to stay but it is easier not to have to keep packing and unpacking. And of course there was a nice gift shop.

There are trains, coaches and boats to Hampton Court from London. I had been told the Royal Court would have gone to Hampton Court by boat and the scenery was beautiful. However as I had also been told the journey by boat from Westminster can take up to 4 hours, depending on the tides, we decided to take the train to maximize the time we could enjoy the Palace.

Taxi cab in Hammersmith

Taxi cab in Hammersmith

Linda and Scarlett at a pub in Hammersmith

Linda and Scarlett at a pub in Hammersmith

Scarlett in Hammersmith

Scarlett in Hammersmith

Train station

Train station

Gates at Hampton Court

Gates at Hampton Court

Hampton Court Palace began as a barn and evolved into a country house. Cardinal Wolsey developed it into a Tudor palace. By the time Henry VIII died, though he had more than 60 houses, none was more important to him or more lavish than Hampton Court Palace. William III and Mary II preferred a baroque palace. Wren and then Talman completely transformed the east and south facades of Hampton Court, replacing Tudor towers and chimneys with the grand and elegant baroque exteriors that dominate the Formal Gardens today.

Linda and Scarlett at Hampton Court 3102 Hampton Court

Linda and Scarlett at Hampton Court
3102 Hampton Court

Hampton Court

Hampton Court

Linda and Scarlett at Hampton Court

Linda and Scarlett at Hampton Court

Throne at Hampton Court

Throne at Hampton Court

Garden at Hampton Court

Garden at Hampton Court

Courtier, Scarlett and King Henry VIII

Courtier, Scarlett and King Henry VIII

Some of the things to see include the following: The Great Hall is England’s greatest medieval hall and one of Britain’s oldest theatres, the world famous Maze, the Tudor kitchens, the Chapel Royal (where the Choir boys were singing that day!), the Gardens, and much more. I had the pleasure of meeting King Henry VIII myself and he graciously allowed a picture to be taken. Or else he was really an actor, but one who looked so very much like King Henry VIII and sounded like him!!!!.

Choir Boys

Choir Boys

Linda is a BIG Peter Pan fan so of course we had to visit Kensington Gardens for her to see and touch the Peter Pan statue.

Linda at Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens London

Linda at Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens London

Swan with ducks in pond at Kensington Gardens

Swan with ducks in pond at Kensington Gardens

We would have liked to have taken the train to Oxford to have the Alice in Wonderland high tea at the University as I am a BIG Alice in Wonderland fan but we ran out of time!!!!! Linda had been so patient with my need to visit my family home, Bolling Hall Museum, and to go the gravesite of my ancestor, Pocahontas, that I couldn’t ask her to give up some of the other things to go to Oxford.

English boys on train

English boys on train

Crowded Underground (subway)

Crowded Underground (subway)

Scarlett and Big Ben clock

Scarlett and Big Ben clock

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

School boys at Westminster Abbey

School boys at Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

England is a wonderful place to visit. Everyone is helpful and it is so very easy to get around. And I do admit that I would have liked to be able to find more pubs with typical English fare, rather than Italian, Chinese, etc, which were more prevalent. I never did find Shepherd’s pie, which I particularly like.

Scarlett with tea and Baked Alaska for her birthday at Harrods

Scarlett with tea and Baked Alaska for her birthday at Harrods

Please note that pictures were not allowed in many of the places we visited, which is why I have only shown outdoor pictures for some of them.

British candy tin

British candy tin

Crown magnet

Crown magnet

Crown trinket box

Crown trinket box

St George and the Dragon journal and decorative pen

St George and the Dragon journal and decorative pen

Royal ruler

Royal ruler

St Georges Church Guide

St Georges Church Guide

Buckingham Palace shower cap

Buckingham Palace shower cap

Buckingham Palace tote

Buckingham Palace tote

Tower of London cap

Tower of London cap

 

We’d like to thank Scarlett for sharing her delightful adventure in jolly olde England. Have you recently visited a theme park or family destination that you’d like to share with MiceChat? We’d love to hear from you.

PhotoGuy

About Rick Wright

Rick has been a long term MiceChat author and co-founder of the Weekend Update. You will often find Rick in the position of "Greeter" at official events due to his warm and welcoming spirit. If you've got photos, news or trip reports to share, Rick would love to hear from you: [email protected]

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6 Comments

Comments for Scarlett Stahl’s Merry Olde Trip to England are now closed.

  1. Thank you, Scarlett! I always like your trip reports and as an Anglophile, this one was special.

    How much was it to get into Westminster Abbey? I heard that Disney took over their pricing.

    And do the English still use the “F word” a lot more than American’s do?

    Request from the a touristy tourist to the next UK visitor: please feel free to include trip reports from Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum and (another) from the Harry Potter exhibit at Warner Bros. Studios.

    As a Beatles fan, I had a fun tour of Liverpool. Wouldn’t mind another report from there,
    or from Cambridge, Oxford, or Stratford.

  2. I love England. And while London is great (and similar in vibe to New York, if you ask me, just with accents and more history), it is fun to get out of London. I loved Hampton Court. Since I’m an amusement park nerd, I also visited Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, and Blackpool Beach, that latter two are more in the middle and northern parts of the country.

    One small piece of advice we discovered as we tried to get online tickets in advance … not all of the sites allow purchases from outside countries (specifically, Alton Towers). Not sure if that’s still the case now, though. But if you try to get an online ticket from the States and the site just keeps crashing or not go through, that could be why.

  3. Thanks you Scarlett. I’m so glad you enjoyed your trip to my country and my home town London especially. It also looks like you managed to visit when we had good weather!

    • Thank you for the suggetion of getting tkts in advance!!! I know where I want to go but didnt think of ordering tkts in advance!!!!

    • I actually have been before when the weather wasnt quite so lovely but have always enjoyed
      England as I am 100% English Isles (and mainly British!!!) on both sides as my families intermarried since the 1600′s. Though there is the 1% Algonquin Indian as Pocahontas was my 10th generation great grandmother. However I conside myself to be an English American and plan on more trips in the years to come. But next time I want to go to the Ballet, see a play (as I have done in the past), find some Shepherds pie to feast upon and be able to buy souvenirs at Harrods!!!!

  4. Thank you for your kind comments. My articles are really a labor of love….I love travel and enjoy sharing. And though my family came from England in the 1600′s, they all intermarried so I am 100% from the British Isles!!!
    Westminster Abby cost 18 pounds to enter. I didnt hear the F word used in England but as a female, maybe that is why. If I had more time, I would have gone to the Harry Potter exhibit and again back to Oxford for Alice’s High Tea at the University. Yes, I went to Strawberry Field in Central Park, when I visited my cousin. I am a touristy tourist myself and would like to go back again for more trips to many parts of England…. when they rate of exchange is affordable!!!!