An A – Z of the UK – ‘ARUNDEL’

   The UK is rich in well documented history and in my A – Z of the UK I am going to look at, not just the towns but the wonderful history that is still in evidence today. The pictures of random stones are of Stone Age tools, dug up in places we have lived or found in the garden around the rural Chichester area. These relics triggered off many a happy ‘hunting expedition’ when my children were young and opened up the wonderment of discovering evidence that primitive man lived in the very same places many hundreds of years before us. Burial mounds, Roman Villas, historic forests, medieval villages and museums, we have lived amongst them all. There is nothing I love investigating more than the history of towns and surrounding areas and trying to imagine how these people lived. Having lived on the south coast all my life there are many towns I am familiar with along that route but I have visited many other places too.

My first town in the A – Z of the UK is going to be Arundel. Driving west down the A27 at night, I have often commented on the castle nestled in the town and the majestic cathedral towering over the town. Both are lit to show off their magnificence at night and I am ashamed to say that, because we were usually on our way home from a family trip at Hastings, we never stopped to visit. However, since doing some research I think we might just make a point of exploring Arundel.

The castle is a Motte and Bailey fortress built around the early twelfth century. Badly damaged twice by first Royalists the later Parliamentarians the medieval buildings were either rebuilt or encased by Charles Howard who also formed the Ducal residence in the late 18th century. Today it is still the ancestral home of the Dukes of Norfolk and Edward Fitzallen Howard is the present Duke of Norfolk. The castle is a centre-point for many activities throughout the year, there are open air activities, including Shakespearian plays to be enjoyed. It also boasts a cricket ground.

Arundel is a town, despite my understanding that towns with a cathedral held city status. Other snippets about Arundel are: In 2004 the town gained Fairtrade status; it has the one of the oldest scout groups having been founded only weeks after scouting began; if you are born in the town you are known as a ‘Mullett’; festivals include music, art, open air theatre; there are also firework displays, a hot air balloon glow – depending on the weather of course, street entertainers and ghost walks. The other most prominent feature is of course the Cathedral.

The cathedral was built and dedicated as a parish church in 1873. As you drive west along the A27 French Gothic architecture, a design popular with the Dukes of Norfolk in the 1400s, dominates the skyline north of the town. It only became a cathedral in 1965. Something unique lies between the cathedral and the castle in the Parish Church of St Nicholas. This church is the only building in England that houses two churches, one catholic the other Anglican. They are divided by a glass partition and an iron grill.

On a religious note there is also a Convent of poor Clares in Arundel, who are sisters sharing a prayerful life along with the ‘work, laughter and struggles, living accordingly to the Form of Life drawn up St Clare of Assissi in 1253.’

Another must visit site is the old jailhouse. Built in 1836 and situated beneath the Town Hall at the end of a passage, it once housed the inmates who had been tried and convicted in the court room above in the Town Hall. To enter you pass through an iron cell and there is reported to be a lot of paranormal activity. Many paranormal investigations have been carried out there. During the day there are ghost tours but at night the jailhouse becomes an underground club where patrons can share a cosy drink, from the fully licensed bar, sitting in one of the cells with friends or enjoy some of the best music, comedy or theatre on the South Coast.

In 1963 the undercroft of the Town Hall – the prison cells – also housed the original museum. The museum has moved several times but is now, as far as I know, being permanently housed, thanks to lottery and other funding, opposite the lower castle gate on the previous site of St Nicholas Hall.

There is a long history of brewing in Arundel dating back from 1738 when beer was safer to drink than water because it had been boiled for at least an hour and a half.

There is a whole lot more to Arundel apart from the history and as I have yet to visit and explore the town, and its wonderful architecture, I shall save any more details until I have done so. Meanwhile, and another ‘A’ place, I must mention nearby Amberley Museum. Some years ago I did visit the wonderful museum with my children. It was a fantastic experience of stepping back in time,  36 acres of everything you can imagine in an open air museum ‘dedicated to the industrial heritage of the south-east.’ You can travel on vintage transport to visit each of the exhibits from transport based collections to industry based workshops that home resident crafts people who work in traditional methods. This is one museum that kids will love, with space to run about too.

9 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Hi Marie,

    We loved Arundel castle. One of hubbys favourite places

    Following on from my A-Z post I created a new blog over the weekend where I am going to feature bloggers. Would you like me to add you to the list?

    All the best Carole?

  2. 2

    wordangell said,

    I must go there myself Carole, it is a small world isn’t it… Lovely idea, do add me to the list, that would be grand, some places take time to research but it keeps me busy. Methinks Bristol next, have ancestral connections there myself… Marie

  3. 3

    LOL we used to live near Bristol! What a small world 🙂

  4. 4

    wordangell said,

    Oh Wow! that small. I’ve never lived there but one of my sons does at the moment… hope you find my next blog interesting then, you can correct me if I get it wrong… : ) x

  5. 5

    Reblogged this on My Global A-Z and commented:
    What is Arundel?
    Please check out WordAngels’s blog and encourage her with you comments and likes.

  6. 7

    restlessjo said,

    Sorry Marie, thought I’d already liked this post, but there was so much going on at one point that I must’ve “can’d out” and there you were, gone! Nudge from Piglet kept me on track! Nice to meet you.
    Raises the old town/city debate- how DO you define a city if not by the Cathedral? I’ve done posts on Durham and thankfully didn’t have to think twice. I’m up on the north-east coast so I’ll be lending moral support to the UK.

    • 8

      wordangell said,

      Bless you Jo, I know very little on the north of UK apart from a couple of holiday trips, Scarborough and Scotland.I shall be doing a lot more research. It is lovely to meet you too, a fellow Brit is brilliant. Looking forward to reading more of your blogs too.. M

Comment RSS · TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: