As a sort of conclusion to our orientation week, we had an ASE trip to several different historic locations on Sunday. The first (and oldest) was Stonehenge. While extremely cold, there was enough morning lighting for some beautiful pictures. It’s absolutely incredible to think that thousands of years ago, humans were able to use ingenuity and manpower to create these structures. Apparently the reigning theory regarding the purpose of Stonehenge is that it was a place focused on death and the afterlife (hence the burials in the area) and the winter solstice, while the nearby wooden structures were focused on life and the summer solstice.
We next visited Salisbury for a historic tour with Andrew (who has an incredible array of history knowledge while also being highly entertaining). Salisbury Cathedral was amazingly impressive.
The architecture is stunning, and we were told some of the interesting stories about some of the entombed inhabitants. Apparently Queen Elizabeth I did not appreciate people marrying without her permission. And never go to a dinner party hosted by someone who wants to marry your wife. Bad plan. You’ll end up with a mummified arsenic-tinted rat in your skull hundreds of years later.
From the Cathedral we were able to see the most well preserved copy of the Magna Carta. While reading a modern English translation of the document, it was apparent that it was a product of its times. In addition to revolutionary assurances of personal freedoms, the document also laid out that you cannot be forced to build a bridge across your river, and had many passages concerning the particular barons responsible for the document. After this, we were able to wander around the town, though unfortunately this wasn’t particularly comfortable because of the cold. At one point I went to Iceland (a frozen goods store) to warm up!
We ended our trip in Lacock, a beautiful historic village, often used as a filming location. Apparently the scenes for Godric’s Hollow were shot here for the Harry Potter movies!
Finally, we went to dinner at The George Inn. My dinner consisted of roast chicken and sticky toffee pudding (which interestingly reminded me more of a caramel brownie). All in all, it was a full day of exploring some of the history of England.