Wander through the streets
Stamford is a especially right place to follow the advice. The walking off Welland river and through these ancient stoned streets is a must do. Photos never are close to the real thing but I show you some of them for your enjoyment.
The George Hotel
Really ancient -about 1.000 years of history- and beautiful, this prominent Stamford's building is proud to carry a whole encyclopedia of stories and charm inside its stones. Important for centuries and owned by key characters along Britain's history it has been rebuild and refounded, growing from a small inn to a greater one engulfing two religious buildings with its yards and it's still at work.
King Charles I and king William III slept here and Sir Walter Scott was a frequent visitor too. Visiting this nice place is getting closer to England's History.
St. John's church
Not being of the biggest ones, here's another nice medieval Stamford church. Very near from All Saints', southwards from it, the actual building dates from XVth century but originally it was founded in XIIIth century. It's done in Perpendicular Gothic style and is surrounded by a small and quiet graveyard. It's worthy a visit, certainly.
Barn Hill Street
This not very long but well known Stamford street ascends from All Saints' Place -where the nice church stands-. It's a nice one and shows some fine views downwards and some interesting buidings, being the most remarkable ones:
- Trinity Methodist Church.- A small urban church and a stoned one, of course.
- Former William Stukeley's home.- For some years this one was the home for prominent Stukeley: a not very famous but highly interesting English man who is considered key for pioneering Archaelogy studies in Britain. He was a physician and was appointed vicar of All Saints' church at Stamford. While living here he worked with famous astronomer Edmund Halley while studying Stonehenge and Avebury and was friend of Isaac Newton. His important biography about him is of the best ones and was of the first sources talking about the story of the "fallen apple" and formulation of gravitation theory. He was fond about francmasonry and druids and did considerable research about it. The house is marked with a blue plate.
Burghley House: the very best Tudor
"Greatest Elizabethan house". This is the official heading on tourist leaflets and I'll say it's true. It's surely the greatest, perhaps not in size but in its unrival quality. This fantastic, splendorous building, is a continuous surprise for those who visit it.
Built at XVIth century for William Cecil, Secretary and Treasurer of Queen Elizabeth I, this mansion is simply espectacular due to its unique features, quality and variety. From its fantasy roof details to the genuinely preserved old kitchen, the suntuous rooms, its ornaments, colours and furnitures, the old pictures and some absolutely amazing rooms completely orned with paintings from Antonio Verrio in a 3D visual effect that surrounds you and fools your mind, everything is worthy here. I.e.: when exiting from the state rooms, walking down the stairs you feel like something at your back and, turning over your step you discover you're on the superb Hell's Staircase, walls and ceiling of which are completely painted and covered with figures that try to show the Mouth of Hell. Another show of Verrio's mastership among many other masters inside.
Especial mention for Orangerie's cafe kitchen for I had a pastry dish absolutely tasty while seeing the garden.
Burghley House holds gardens, of course, but not for my taste, really. They're called "Surprise Gardens" and have been renewed with modern sculptures and artifacts intended to create an amusement and surprising effect on people but, being as original as it may be, I really prefer those from Harewod House, Castle Howard or Burghley House that can only be regarded as "Pure Beauty".
Visiting Stamford and having this art-piece house so close turn the visit to this England's corner another must-do undoubtedly.
*Note: No photos inside. Sorry, but it's 100% justified with whole walls full of splendorous paintings.
All Saints' church
This one, the leading church in Stamford, dates from as early as XIth century and has undergone many architectural changes since then. At XVth century, when War of the Roses, Stamford suffered wide destruction and the church was not an exception but, from then on, with increasing local prosperity, it regained splendor and many works were done on it. Rich wool merchants from Browne family were especially related with this change rebuilding and embellishing the place in an English Perpendicular style and they are regarded with some brasses and stone marks in here. It's nor an spectacular building not has such a wonderful tower as St. Mary's but it's a very nice one. Placed in the core of Stamford, it is undoubtedly a must-see when being here due to its quiet beauty and historic importance.
St. Mary's church
This beautiful medieval church greets you when crossing the bridge at St. Mary's hill showing an impressive face, especially due to its beautiful tower that rules the skyline. And around, as many other ancient churches, a small cemetery surrounds it. If the first impression is the most important, undoubtedly Stamford is aware of it.
Film makers have been attracted to Stamford for a long time. There are hardly any buildings in the town centre built after about 1840, and this means film companies have the perfect backdrop for many a 'costume drama' production.
'Middlemarch' and 'Pride and Prejudice' are prime examples. There are walking tours (mainly on particular sundays) based around these productions - ask at Tourist info.
In addition, Burghley house has been used on numerous occasions for production, including recently ' The Da Vinci' code where it doubled for a number of venues in Italy.
The hospital built by Browne
When you live in the county of Lincolnshire you begin to realise that it Mediaeval times the county was one of the wealthiest around. This was due in no small part to the great success of the wool industry. The wool merchants were the 'fat cats' of their day. Instead of spending it all of Champayne, sports cars and high class hookers, the merchants took their community and religious duties seriously : giving huge donations to projects in the town where they made their pile.
Stamford is a good example, the Browne family bestowed much upon the town, including a hospital witha fine chapel. This building (despite Victorian renovations) still remains with some fine Mediaeval features still remaining, such as some very fine stained glass.
The rooms you can see are are only opened at weekens and on Bank holidays, but you can always wander into the courtyard area behind the main building (now private residences) , bedecked in roses and other flowers, it is about as perfect, pretty and quaint as you could imagine.
By heck he was a big chap.....
Daniel Lambert was not what you would call petite. At one point he weighed about 52 stone !
This famous lard-arse who ate ALL the pies finally ate his last meal in Stamford.
There is more detail about the amazing man on another tip, but this one is for children : if this doesn't gob-smack them, then nothing will.
Go into Stamford Museum in Braod street (it's FREE) and go up to the top floor. Here stand a model of the great man next to Tom Thumb. Their sillouttes also stand by the wall, so you can measure yourself up against them. I could get both my legs comfortably within just one trouser leg of Mr Lamberts.
Guaranteed to amuse children for at least two minutes.
Modern art in an historic setting
Burghley house, one of the finest stately homes in the land has other tips to it's name, but I would also strongly advise a visit to the very impressive sculpture park. Modern art is not exactly Sourbugger's bag, but on a summer's day it won me over.
Set in the grounds of the stately home it features a good range of modern art pieces, and they often have a theme for the year.
Best of all, it is FREE to vist from November through to March, and included in the cost of the visit to Burghley at other times. You can also visit the park by itself, for just over three quid in the summer months.
- Arts and Culture
- Castles and Palaces
One of England's finest stately homes.
Within walking distance (a couple of miles) from the centre of Stamford lies one of the most impressive and magnificent of England's stately homes. Places like Chatsworth, Blenheim or Castle Howard may get more visitors but Burghley is clearly in the 'premier division' of Stately piles.
Burghley was built during the first Elizabethan Age, mostly designed by William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I, between 1555 and 1587
The main part of the House has 35 major rooms on the ground and first floors. There are more than 80 lesser rooms and numerous halls, corridors, bathrooms and service areas.
The state rooms are wonderfully grand, but I also like the fact that you can see where the servants worked - the kitchen is (without overstateing it) amazing.
Other Facilities include the Orangery Restaurant, Gift Shop, Sculpture Garden and walks around the historic parkland laid out by Capability Brown and still occupied by a herd of fallow deer.
- Castles and Palaces
The tale of Daniel Lambert
In 1809, the the heaviest man England , Daniel LAMBERT, came to see the Stamford races He collapsed and died while staying at the Horse and Wagon Inn. At 52 stone (728 pounds) his burial presented somewhat of a challenge !
His coffin was rolled on four wheels into a sloping grave in St Martins churchyard - though They had to remove the window window and part of the wall in his room to get the coffin out. His coffin was then rolled on four wheels into a sloping grave in St Martins churchyard .
General Tom Thumb, the celebrated American midget, was as fascinated as anyone to compare his size with that of Lambert. While visiting Stamford in 1846 he left a suit of his own so that future visitors might make a comparison.
Sites associated with him in the town :
1) The Stamford Museuem has a full-size model of him and of General Tom Thumb
2) The Grave is in St Martin's Churchyard : This is the inscription -
In Remembrance, of
that PRODIGY in NATURE
a Native of LEICESTER
who was possessed of
an exalted and convivial Mind
and in personal Greatness
had no COMPETITOR
He measured three Feet one Inch round the LEG
nine Feet four Inches round the BODY
FIFTY TWO STONE ELEVEN POUNDS!
He departed this Life
on the 21st of June
AGED 39 YEARS
As a Testimony of Respect
this Stone is erected
by his Friends
3) A famous painting of him hangs in the entrance area of 'The George' Hotel (see seperate tip)
One for the swingers !
Don't miss the very unusual 'gallows' sign to the George Hotel (see seperate tip).
The huge oak construction bridges the road outside of the hotel across what was the Great North Road from London to Scotland.
The sign acted as great advertising (and still does) for the George, but also as a kind of subtle warning for Highwaymen such as the infamous Dick Turpin.
I have unfortunately been unable to find out if such gentleman were actually executed in this manner on this spot.
Walk down to the River
It's quite nice to walk down to the Town Bridge, down the hill from St. Peters chuch. It spans the River Welland.
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