Saturday, 31 October 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. Godstow Abbey

Q2. Woodstock

The initial clues seem to place us at the ruins of Godstow Abbey, which appears to lie South east of the Godstow road, near the river Thames, between Wytham and Wolvercote, in the county of Oxfordshire. According to some of the sources I checked, this may be the burial site of 'Fair Rosamund' (aka 'Rose of the World' aka Rosemund Clifford born c 1140/1150, died c 1175/76) and mistress of Henry II. The Abbey was probably constructed around 1133, for Benedictine nuns. Henry II donated money and building materials to extend the place because Rosamund was buried there.

Travelling three miles or so North East of Godstow Abbey, would bring us to the village of Woodeaton, where according to the Ashmolean museum, a Romano-Celtic temple, dedicated to an unknown diety, lies buried. It appears that some archaeological excavations were conducted in the fields around the village c 1952, by Joan Kirk and Richard Goodchild, which revealed artefacts indicating that this was probably the location of a temple.

A mile north of Woodeaton sits the village of Islip and according to some of his biographies, this is where Edward the Confessor was born, c 1004. Five miles west of Islip is the Village of Bladon and St Martin's Church, which is the final resting place of Winston Churchill's father, Lord Randolph Churchill, who appears to have been appointed Secretary of State for India c 1885. Some of his bios claim that he actually visited India, which was unusual for a politician in those days.

A world heritage site, designated as such by UNESCO c 1987, is Winston Churchill's old house, Blenheim Palace. Blenheim palace is situated close to the town of Woodstock and it is here that Edward of Woodstock (aka 'The Black Prince') was born, in the same year (c 1133), as a singer called Joe Cocker, who liked to play gigs there. Two princesses who were also born in Woodstock are probably 'Mary of Woodstock' (born c 11/12 March 1278), sixth or seventh daughter (depending on which source you check), of the nasty old fascist, Edward I and Isabella, Countess of Bedford (born c 16 June 1332). Isabella was the daughter of Edward III.

Blenheim palace was designed in part by a playwriting ex squaddie cum architect, called Sir John Vanbrugh (though by some accounts Nicholas Hawksmoor gave him a few tips on the subject, as he largely had no formal training). This is possibly why the duchess of Marlborough was said to be very unhappy with the extravagance of the design and wanted Christopher Wren to build the place instead.

Subtracting nine pennies from a shilling, leaves thrupence or 'Half a Sixpence', which is the title of a 1967 film starring Tommy Steele, which was shot at Blenheim palace. I did find some references to advertising slogans for the film which said 'It strolls, it struts, it razzles and it dazzles'.

N.B. Due to the number of people who normally write poison pen letters in green ink posting on his page, the Eastender has moved to moderated comments but rest assured, if you have a non abusive comment related to solving the puzzle, he will endeavour to publish it.

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