Tuesday, April 19, 2011

History Lesson 101

There were a few things that I've found very interesting and surprising while exploring England and Wales so I thought I'd share them.

  • The London Bridge is actually not the big, beautiful bridge that everyone thinks. The big, beautiful bridge is Tower Bridge, which can be seen in the background of the picture below. London Bridge is actually a few bridges down--very plain and simple. The plain bridge is the bridge that was in mind when the nursery rhyme "London Bridge is Falling Down" was made because the bridge had a lot of difficult in the beginning with it staying up.

  • King George IV was said to be a very large and repulsive man. No woman would marry him and he turned to alcohol, which eventually led to depression. Have you ever heard the nursery rhyme Georgie Porgie? It is said to be after King George IV..." Georgie Porgie pudding and pie. Kissed the girls and made them cry."
  • When visiting the Tower of London we noticed a few ravens with their wings cut in half. We were pretty shocked to see that the wing wasn't just clipped but it was cut off. Hundreds of years ago, the tower was overpopulated by ravens and the king thought that if the ravens ever left the Tower then the Tower would fall. Unfortunately, the ravens were taking over the Tower so they had to be 'taken care of'. Now, there are 6 'active' ravens and 2 'back up' ravens that have their wings clipped and are allowed to live at the Tower. If any other raven comes to the Tower for too long, then they will be killed. There now has to be 6 ravens on the grounds at all times to ensure that the Tower superstition doesn't happen.
  • Conwy Castle was taken over for 16 days when a guard on the inside knew the other guards would be in church on Good Friday and away from their stations. Even to this day, a different flag is flown throughout Conwy during those few days when the castle was taken over. We happened to be visiting when the flag was different from the flag that is flown throughout the rest of the year.
  • At the Westminster Abbey there is a coronation throne in the front of the church. The throne has been used since the 1300 for the king and queen coronations. Surprisingly, it is covered with carvings (graffiti as they call it here) from the school children and visitors of the 18th and 19th century.

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