The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Across the South

Friday, 18 October.

...across the south of England, that is.

We've done some serious traveling during the last two days. Yesterday morning we left the cottage in Chawton and drove to the town of Arundel, nor far from Portsmouth. And there we visited a most remarkable castle, Arundel Castle, the home of the 18th Duke of Norfolk, aka the Earl of Arundel, aka the Earl Marshall of England, aka Edward Fitzalan-Howard. He is the premier duke among all the English peers. When we arrived I noticed the duke's flag flying over the castle keep, so we know he was at home, But for some obscure reason (the poor man was probably not feeling well), he didn't meet us at the moat. You can see his flag flying high in the photo...

The duke did, however, graciously permit us entry and let us roam around the castle, the keep, and the gardens for a mere £14.50 each (the "Gold+" pass, senior rate). Actually it was worth every pence. The place is beautiful, and when you consider how much the duke's predecessors had to endure over the centuries, it's amazing the complex still stands. Below is a photo of the current duke.

I won't go into all the history, but suffice it to say the present duke (along with all his forbears) is Catholic. This is no big deal today, but back in Tudor-Elizabethan times being a Catholic duke was a enough to guarantee you a room in the Tower of London. Several Dukes of Norfolk took residence in theTower, and the 4th Duke was executed by Elizabeth I for his support of Mary, Queen of Scots. Over the ups and downs of the centuries the family has lost and regained the title, but throughout it all they kept the Faith.

I was not permitted to take photos inside the castle itself, but I took many in the ancient keep and on the grounds. The below photos will give you an idea of the size of this remarkable structure. Of course, we stopped by the gift shop and helped our friend, the Duke, pay the bills.

If you're interested in reading more about the castle, click here. I've included several photos below, including one of the tomb of an early duke and his wife, and one of me outside the chapel in which this couple are entombed.

After Arundel, we drove farther east along the south coast to Beachy Head to view the cliffs there -- perhaps not as famous as those at Dover, but equally majestic, and really more accessible. We were able to approach them from below on the rocky beach at Birling Gap, a National Trust site. Sunset was imminent so I took advantage of the dusky light. That same sunlight has given the chalky white cliffs a rosy hue in a few of the photos below.

We had a wonderful time yesterday, even if the day was a longer than usual.

Tomorrow I'll fill you in on today's equally wonderful journey from Chawton to Lyme Regis and finally to Bath.

Blessings to all...

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