Lyddington Bede House

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The village of Lyddington lies on the northern edge of the valley of the River Welland where the Hlyde, from which Lyddington takes its name, forms a tributary valley. The forest of Rockingham provided an ideal hunting ground for the Norman kings and was the basis of the Bishops of Lincoln decision to develop their estate at Lyddington. Located conveniently near the centre of the diocese, the rural palace became an important seat of ecclesiastical administration. The palace served the princes of the church up to the sequestration of episcopal property by the Crown in 1547. It then passed to the Cecils of Burghley in 1600 and the surviving buildings were converted by Sir Thomas Cecil into the Jesus Hospital, later known as the Bede House, to house pensioners. The buildings served this purpose and continued to be occupied until 1930. It was acquired by the Ministry of Works in 1954 and has since been restored.

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Originating as the medieval wing of the palace, archaeological evidence suggests that the surviving buildings are only the end cross wing of a great 14th century hall. It is thought likely to have been built by Bishop Burghersh who was given licence to crenellate in 1336. The main upper chambers were refenestrated and re-roofed in the latter part of the 15th century. The archaeological evidence has also revealed that the position, splendour and size of the former hall was greater than that constructed by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Mayfield in Sussex. Running along the front of the building is a lean to verandah which was erected in 1745 to provide some shelter for the old folk of the bede house.

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At the top of the stair to the ceremonial apartments is a landing with two very fine doorcases (above). Dating to the early 14th century, they survive from the newly crenellated residence of Bishop Burghersh. The shields in the spandrels may well have been painted and gilded but no trace of this now survives.

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The Chapel (above) was probably once part of the bishop’s private chapel. Originally there was a window in the wall (now blocked) which would have allowed those in the Great Chamber to hear mass. The room was later used by a bedeswoman and the invalid chair also dates to this period.

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The Great Chamber (above) was the most magnificent room in the bishop’s private quarters. It later became the common hall of the bedehouse. The room is bathed in light from the mullioned and transomed windows which date to the late 15th century. Below the exceptionally beautiful early 16th century cornice (below), the walls had fine tapestries and hangings. This room was where the bishop received eminent guests – high clergymen, heads of monastic houses, courtiers and kings.

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When the palace was converted in 1601, the great chamber became the bedesmen’s common hall. The residents would gather here to say prayers and recite the Lord’s Prayer. Four times a year they would also listen to the warden reading the rules of the bedehouse. With the dispersal of the bishop’s household it is probable that the fine furnishings were stripped out with anything of value being sold to supplement the royal coffers.

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The Presence Chamber is a room in which medieval bishops conducted their business. The room has a blocked doorway that originally lead up to the presumed gallery above the great hall. The room features a fine fireplace (above) with five carved panels datable by analogy to 1480-1520. With its ornamental fireplace and handsome ceiling, the room would have been impressive and furnished with a canopied bed, rich hangings and decorated chairs. Bishop John Longland was possibly the last bishop who occupied the room. He was King Henry VIII’s confessor and was caught up in the king’s struggle against the Church. The king and Catherine Howard stayed at Lyddington in 1541 and met with his privy councillors before continuing north. After the conversion of the palace in the 17th century, this room and those beyond it were used by the warden of the bedehouse.

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In the medieval palace, the attic floor was probably no more than roof storage. Moulded tie beams indicate that these were visible before the fine ceiling of the great chamber was inserted. Part of the floor is laid in gypsum plaster on reed – a flooring technique common in the east Midlands from the late medieval period onwards. The attic floor has a series of fine knee-braced collar trusses with curved windbraces to the single level of butt purlins. The fine roof structure dates to the mid 15th century and was probably built by Bishop Alnwick before his death in 1449. Gabled dormer windows were inserted in the 17th or 18th century and a small iron fireplace indicates that at least one of the attic rooms was used and heated in the 19th century.

Lyddington Bede House is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade I Listed.

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Berlin: Qaṣr al-Mshattā

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Qaṣr al-Mshattā was a Umayyad Palace built in the Jordan desert in circa 8th century AD. The Mshatta façade is richly decorated with reliefs and was part of an enclosing wall of the palace. The facade walls stand upon limestone masonry and are built of fired brick. The wall is divided by a zigzag moulding into triangles with a central rosette in each triangle. The Mshatta south façade was a gift from the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid to Kaiser Wilhelm I and is on display in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.

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Split: Papalić Palača

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Papalić Palača is located on Papaliceva Street, north of the Peristil, and is home to the City Museum. Built in the 15th century, the palace was designed by the sculptor and architect Juraj Dalmatinac.

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The Gothic palace features the well preserved courtyard with loggia and carved staircase. Beautifully carved Ionic columns adorn the staircase balustrade and windows.

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The interior reveals glimpses of arched stone openings of the former palace building.

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The City Museum contains many artefacts from Split’s history including sculptures, statues, paintings and medieval weaponry.

Split: Porta Aurea

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One of four gates into the ancient Palace of Diocletian is Porta Aurea – Golden Gate. The ancient Roman palace was built between 295 and 305 AD for the emperor Diocletian to serve as a city palace, sea fortress and luxury villa.

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The Porta Aurea is on the north wall of the palace and was once richly decorated with sculptures and statues adorning the niches.

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Egg and dart decorates the carved stonework of the archway. The Palace of Diocletian is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Berlin: Humboldt University

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Located on the Unter den Linden (under the Linden trees) in Mitte is Humboldt University. Founded in 1809 by the Prussian philosopher, Wilhelm von Humboldt, it is one of the oldest universities in Berlin. The main building of the university was built between 1748-1766 by Johann Boumann and was designed by the Prussian painter and architect Georg Wenzeslaus. Originally the palace of Prince Heinrich von Preuben, King Friedrich Wilheim III bestowed it on the university in 1810.

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Humboldt is now a state university and has a tradition of holding a book sale at the gates.

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Located on the Bebelplatz is the Faculty of Law (above), formerly the Royal Library. On 10th May 1933, National Socialist students burned the works of hundreds of scholars, journalists, free writers and philosophers in the middle of the square.

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Dubrovnik: Rector Palace

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A fabulous example of one of the finest monuments of secular architecture in Dubrovnik is the Rector’s Palace.

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 This Gothic and Renaissance palace owes its present appearance to many additions and reconstructions throughout its history. A defence building once stood at the site of the present palace in the early Middles Ages. It was referred to in the Statutes of 1272 as castrum. In 1296 it was castellum  i.e. fortress.

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After the fire of 1435 which gutted the building and its towers, the government decided to build a new, more beautiful, palace. Onofrio della Cava, the master builder who had previously built the aqueduct, was entrusted to build the new palace. He designed a two-storey Gothic building with a pillared porch between two side towers. The beautiful capitals and sculptural ornaments of the palace were made by master Pietro di Martino of Milan.

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The Rector’s Palace is home to the History Department of the Museum of Dubrovnik today. In addition to the style furniture, there are numerous portraits and coats of arms of the noblemen, paintings of old masters, coins minted by the Republic, the original keys of the city gates and a number of copies of important state documents.

Dubrovnik: Sponza Palace

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Located at the end of Place is the well preserved Gothic-Renaissance Sponza Palace. Its name is derived from the word for the spot where rain water was collected Spongia – meaning alluvium. The palace was built between 1516-1522 and housed the mint, the bank, the treasury and the armoury in the time of the Republic. The building was designed by Paskoje Milicevic and is a large rectangular building with an inner courtyard.

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The Sponza Palace was not damaged in the earthquake of 1667. The most important cultural institution of Dubrovnik – the Archive, is now housed in Sponza Palace. In the times of the Republic, the archives were kept in the Rector’s Palace.

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Almost all documents that cover the period between the 12th century and the fall of the Republic are to be found in Sponza. Such is the wealth of records, it is one of the most important historical archives in the world. The official languages of the documents were Latin and Italian but many are in Croatian,Turkish, Spanish, Russian, New Greek and Arabic.

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In the time of the Republic this palace housed the custom office and bonded warehouse. It was often referred to as Divona derived from dogana meaning “customs”. The word ‘dogana’ is above the doorway entrance into the palace and underneath the coat of arms.