Cover photo

Traveling Through History

Issue 6


This week I’m writing to you from the Longleat Forest as we take our annual holiday to CenterParcs with friends.

The forest here has the largest collection of Redwood trees in the UK and is home to the tallest one in the country. Will share more about this next week.

We had a busy time last week. John and I went to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival. I’ll talk more about that in this week’s ‘Out & About’ section.

Then on Friday night we went to London Olympic Park to the London Stadium (home of West Ham United football club) to see The Weeknd in concert. It was a terrific night with the only downside being us and 80,000 other people, all wanting to get to the train station afterwards! We finally got home 3 hrs after we left! Lol But a good time was had by all.

I’ve taken all of my boys to their first concerts and so was happy to take Josh to this.

I’ll see you next week but until then, enjoy this week’s Traveling through History.

Savvy Travel Historian

June Theme: Priories

St Olave’s Priory – Norwich

Also sometimes known as Herringfleet Priory, St Olave’s was an Augustinian priory of black canons founded in 1216 by Sir Roger Fitz Osbert from Somerley during the reign on Henry III.

The canons at St Olave’s were called ‘Black Canons’ due to the fact that they wore black cloaks, and they followed the teachings of St Augustine of Hippo.

The priory is located 31kms south-east of Norwich (approx. 35-minute drive) and is near to River Waveney.


Sir Roger gave the priory 40 acres of land to earn an income from, when he established it near the ancient ferry crossing across the River Waveney.

The name St Olave, came from a dedication to Olaf, the 11thC king and patron saint of Norway.

When he died in 1239, his body was buried in the priory church along with his son and daughter-in-law (later on), who also gave the canons an income from a nearby estate (an advowson) to assist with the running of it.

On July 29 each year, they were allowed to hold an annual fair on St Olave’s Day.

Like most small parishes, the priory went through times where they had enough income and paid their taxations on time and others where, they claimed not to be able to live properly due to insufficient funds.

It was normal for monasteries to be visited every few years to assess the running and to check on their assets and the performance of the clergy.

Over the centuries, there were at least two occasions where the prior was deemed ‘quarrelsome’ or had failed to show the house accounts to the canons that visited.

In August 1536, the Commissioner for the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Sir Humphrey Wingfield, arrived and inventories were taken of the priory’s assets.

St Olave’s was shown to have had two silver chalices, a cooper cross, two candlesticks of latten (a brass like alloy of copper and zinc), alabaster table and a linen alter cloth, and along with cattle, farm implements and grain were worth around £27.

By March 1537, along with a great number of smaller monasteries, it was suppressed, and its contents surrendered to the crown. It’s last prior, William Dale was given a pension of 10 marks; he had been there since 1514.

Henry VIII assigned the priory and its possessions to a Henry Jerningham in the 1540s and in 1547 he converted some of the buildings into a private house, but this too was demolished in 1784 when the priory was dismantled.

In around 1825 the refectory undercroft floor was raised and it was converted into a cottage and was lived in until 1902.

The site is maintained by English Heritage.


The priory consisted of a church (with some walls of the nave still standing), a cloister and a refectory with an ornate undercroft.

Refectory Undercroft

The vaulted brick ceiling of the 14th C undercroft is one of the most impressive early uses of brick in England.

The Purbeck marble columns are almost still intact, and a large amount of the original plasterwork can be seen.


Only a few wall sections of the church survive.

The south aisle, west wall and a part of the north wall are the only sections left to see.

West Range

This section of the cloister wall, made from flint includes a 14thC doorway.

Jerninghams’s 16th-Century house

The house Jerningham constructed in the 16th century was located at the back of the refectory and some of it still remains, including a doorway dating back to the 14thC which was reused.

Visiting the Priory

The priory can be accessed for free during daylight hours all year round.

Directions to it and the facilities available can be found here:

Museum Corner

Rosetta Stone – British Museum

[Photo credit: British Museum Website] 

This week in history tells us that the Rosetta Stone was discovered on July 15, in 1799.

You can see it on display in Room 4 of the Museum, with information on the stone here:

Out & About

RHS – Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) holds a number of flower shows a year. The most famous of these is the Chelsea Flower Show, held in London each year in spring.

The summer show though, has been held at Hampton Court Palace for the past 30 years.

Around 135,000 people were expected to attend in 2023, to view the gardens and exhibits over the 31 acres, in the rear garden of Henry VIII’s famous palace.

If you love gardening, then you will love an English flower show.

The RHS, not only commissions people to create, what they call ‘Show Gardens’, but the best and the brightest in horticulture, from plants, garden tools, furniture, accessories and greenhouses are all on display.

The Landform Mental Health Garden was our favourite. A beautiful calming palette of lilacs, subtle pinks, calming blues and whites, that include shrubs and perennials that are arranged to assist pollinators including hedgehog and bee houses, and bird feeders.

It was divine!

Traditionally, flower shows have large rose displays and Hampton Court was no exception.

One of the most famous rose growers in the UK is David Auston Roses. They have been developing roses since 1961. It takes over 12 years to produce a new rose variety and 120,000 development plants to produce one that is worthy of commercial production and sale.

Older English varieties, that were near extinction, have been revived by David Auston and their displays were breathtaking.

My favourite rose was this traditional, old style hybrid tea rose from 2000.

In honour of Dame Edna, we had a photo taken in front of the huge Gladioli display.

One of the most stunning bulbs grown in the UK are Alliums and there were many growers who had huge displays of them in a variety of colours like this group of them.

Overall, a great day out. If you are looking for ideas for developing your garden, or gaining inspiration for what you can do at home, then you can’t beat a good garden show!

More Information

Booking in advance, if you are visiting the UK in early July, is highly recommended.

Tickets are available for members days and general public days and are priced from £28.85.

This Week in History

July 11

1533 – Pope Clement VII excommunicates King Henry VIII over his attempt to break away from the Roman Catholic Church

1914 – Babe Ruth makes his MBL debut as a pitcher for the Boston Rex Soxs

July 12

1804 – Alexander Hamilton dies after being shot by Vice-president Aaron Burr

1962 – The Rolling Stones perform for the first time together at the Marquee Club in London

July 13

100BC – Julius Caesar was born

1837 - Queen Victoria becomes the first monarch to live in Buckingham Palace

July 14

1077 - Bayeux Tapestry was likely first displayed in Notre-Dame Cathedral in Bayeux, Normandy.

1789 - Bastille Day - The French Revolution begins with the storming of the Bastille in Paris

July 15

1799 - Rosetta Stone is found in an Egyptian village during Napoleon's Egyptian campaign

July 16

1377 - King Richard II was crowned king at only 10 years of age

1439 - Kissing is banned in England to stop the Black death from killing people

July 17

1203 - Siege of Constantinople begins during the fourth Crusade

1774 - Captain Cook arrives in the New Hebrides (Vanuatu)

1918 - The Russian Tsar and his family (the Romanovs) are murdered in Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg, Serbia.

Michelle is a speaker, author, content marketer, historian and mother of 3 boys.

After 25 years in business and as the ‘Content Marketing Queen’ for the past 12 years, she has helped countless small businesses understand and develop their content strategies and focus on a customer first approach.

Savvy Travel Historian is her passion project, and her weekly newsletter is available on Substack, Paragraph and Mirror. The latter two allows you to collect each Issue as an NFT.

Michelle is co-host of the Web3 By Three Podcast, a weekly show which talks about current stories in the Web3 space and how it applies to B2B marketing, sales and operations. The show is recorded live every Wednesday at 4pm EST/ 9pm UTC on LinkedIn, YouTube & Twitter Spaces.

You can follow Michelle in these places:
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