Sunday, 11 January 2015

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. Colchester

Q2. Sir George Biddell Airy

The initial clues seem to place us in the town of Colchester, in the county of Essex. According to English heritage, there does seem to an Augustinian priory there, St Botolph's, which was built c 1100. It was badly damaged by cannon fire during the English civil war and the seige of 1648. Work on Colchester castle, which according to some references, was built upon the site of the Temple of Claudius, started c 1076. The dimensions of the keep are given as one hundred and fifty two feet by one hundred and twelve feet, giving an area of  seventeen thousand and twenty four square feet. This makes it one of the largest in Europe.

The quote about "Britain is/a world by itself" appears to originate with Shakespeare and can be found in his play 'Cymbeline'. The lines containing it are spoken by a character called Clotten: 

"There be many Caesars,
Ere such another Julius. Britain is
A world by itself; and we will nothing pay
For wearing our own noses. "

Cymbeline was Shakespeare's name for Cunobelin, king of the Catuvellani, who minted coins there c 10 ad. The CAM on the coins probably refers to the Celtic name for the town Camulodonum. The settlement has a team of Fallschirmjager garrisoned there (The 16th Air Assault Brigade formed c 1999) and their insignia is maroon and blue with an eagle on it. The author referred to seems to be Margery Allingham (born c 1904). She published some books with a character who was a type of detective/counter intelligence agent, called Albert Campion. Campion had a criminal sidekick called Lugg and the first novel (published c 1929) was called "The Crime at Black Dudley". Allingham was educated at Endsleigh House School, Colchester c 1915 - 1918.

Jumbo probably refers to a water tower in Colchester, built c 1883, which is said to be around one hundred and sixteen feet high. The mill referred to is most likely Bourne mill, which is set in a idyllic location and looks like it might once have been inhabited by Hobbits. The National Trust web page says it used to be a fishing lodge (constructed c 1591 and converted into a mill c 18th century). Travelling west from the mill,  brings us to Grymes Dyke, Iron age earthworks which were probably built by Cunobelin for defence of the town's western edge.

An astronomer royal, born c 1801 and educated at Byatt Walker's School, in Colchester, is probably Sir George Biddell Airy.


  1. Hi East Ender, Lots of interesting detail in your excellent
    solution this week but I think you missed the last clue about the brightest star in the sky (Sirius or Dog Star) and the quote from Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star written by 18th century sisters, Jane and Ann Taylor who lived in Colchester.

  2. Many thanks for that very interesting snippet of information David.....(you are correct, I did not have time to dig into this one very far ;-) )

  3. Why are my comments not being saved here!