Interesting and historical facts about England.
There are 116 England facts.
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- The Peak District was Britain's first designated National Park, created in 1951, followed closely by The lake District and Dartmoor
- The name Canterbury - a cathedral city in southeast England - is derived from the French Caen. Canterbury Cathedral has a lot of Caen stone.
- St. Giles Church, Hampton Gay. This tiny church serves the people of the hamlet of Hampton Gay, Oxfordhire. It has not heating or lighting, so on dark nights, services are held by candlelight.
- Adolf Hitler hoped to use the city of Oxford as his capital should he succeed in conquering England. This is the reason Oxford was never bombed during WWII.
- According to the Guinness Book of Records, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford was the first museum in the world to have opened its doors to the public when it first opened in 1683.
- The poet Matthew Arnold was the person who first called Oxford the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’ in his poem 'Thyrsis' which was written in December of 1865.
- The Botanic Gardens in Oxford are the oldest botanic garden in Britain.
- The oldest colleges in Oxford are University College, Balliol, and Merton, established between 1249 and 1264.
- Professor Stephen Hawking was born in Oxford, where he also studied.
- Sir Winston Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock. He was Prime Minister from 1940-45 and 1951-55.
- The 'Inklings' were a group of 19 men who frequented the Eagle and Child Public House in St Giles, Oxford to discuss each others literary works, which included C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.
- The first dinosaur bone was discovered in a limestone quarry at Cornwell village, near Chipping Norton in 1676. It was analysed by Robert Plot at the University of Oxford, who concluded it to be a thigh bone of one of the giant humans mentioned in the Bible. It has since been identified as belonging to a Megalosaurus.
- The village of Great Milton, Oxfordshire, is the home of French chef Raymond Blanc's restaurant and hotel, Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons.
- The market town of Abingdon, in Oxfordshire, lays claim to the title 'Britain's oldest continuously occupied town'.
- C. S. Lewis died the same day that J F Kennedy was assassinated 22nd November 1963.
- In 849, King Alfred the Great was born in the market town of Wantage, Oxfordshire. He was one of only two kings to be given the epithet "The Great", the other being King Canute.
- High Wycombe, the largest town in Buckinghamshire, is the only town in the world that weighs its Mayors. It does this to see if they've gained any weight at the taxpayers expense!
- Chesham used to be known for its 4 B's--boots,beer,brushes, and Baptists. Woodenware was a notable industry in the past too.
- Every year on Shrove Tuesday, the ladies of Olney, Buckinghamshire, compete in the world famous Pancake Race, a tradition which dates back to 1445.
- Sir Edward Elgar is buried at St Wulstan's church, in Little Malvern.
- The famous 'Worcestershire Sauce' was first made by two dispensing chemists, John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins, in Worcester where it has been produced since 1837.
- Britain is home to more than half of the world's population of bluebells.
- The House/location of the famous Battle of Malvern Hill (1862) in Virginia USA during the American Civil War was named after the Malvern Hills in England.
- There is an area of Selsley Common (A Cotswold beauty spot) known locally as 'Dead Mans Acre'. It is said that a man was told that he could have as much land of the common that he could enclose in one day. The effort though, proved too much for the man and killed him.
- The Cotswolds is the largest 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' (AONB) in the UK.
- The Cotswolds has a network of drystone walls equivalent in length to the Great Wall of China!
- The Cotswolds is one of the most rural regions of England, with much of it made up of Farmland.
- The Romans arrived in the Cotswolds in AD47, building famous roads such as 'the Fosse Way', and great towns such as Cirencester.
- The Cotswolds local sheep 'The Cotswold Lion' once provided wool for half of England's cloth, bringing great prosperity to the region.
- The local limestone (which is still quarried today) is what gives the buildings in the Cotswolds their beautiful rich golden colour.
- By the end of the first world war, only a few flocks of the Cotswold Lion (sheep) remained and it became a rare breed. Thankfully, due to conservationists, there are now more than 50 flocks, with many of them in the Cotswolds.
- Sheerness, in Kent, has the biggest pile of decaying explosives in the world sitting in a wreck a few yards offshore.
- In Dover market square is a timber-framed building called, 'Dicken's Corner Cafe'. So called as Charles Dickens placed his fictional character, David Copperfield, on the steps of the building that at the time was a bakery.
- Ramsgate in Kent was described by Daniel Defoe as a nice little place, but the people insist it be called "Romans Gate" But this has not been proved.
In fact the Romans came ashore a few miles away at Walmer.
- St Martin's Church in Canterbury is the oldest church building in England, and the oldest church in continuous use in the English speaking world.
- The Equestrian term "canter" comes from the name Canterbury. Pilgrims on their way to Canterbury to visit the shrine of famous martyr Thomas à Becket, would ride at a "Canterbury Trot" as they approached the city, which was less tiring than a gallop. The term was later shortened to canter.
- The Church of St Martin's in Canterbury was the private chapel of Queen Bertha of Kent, whose influence led to the introduction of Christianity to Anglo-Saxon England. Queen Bertha was canonized as a saint for her part in its establishment.
- Queen Victoria used to occasionaly worship at St Laurence Church just outside Ramsgate in an area known as St Lawrence, The different spellings are alleged to be the result of an error in the 1700's and perpetuates to this day.
- Biggleswade is a Market Town located on the River Ivel in Bedfordshire. It lies approximately 40 miles north of London.
- Thatcham in Berkshire is claimed to be the oldest town in Britain, with evidence that people settled there during the Mesolithic Age (10,000BC - 4,000BC).
- The iconic WW2 photo of US General Eisenhower talking to the paratroops on the eve of D-Day was taken at Greenham Common air base, near Newbury, Berkshire.
- In a layby along the A4 Bath Rd, near Aldermaston Wharf, Berkshire is where on March 2, 1919 the AA opened Britain's first roadside petrol station.
- On Christmas Eve in 1801 Richard Trevithick demonstrated his "Puffing Devil" , a high pressure steam engine which was for the first time mounted on wheels and self propelled. This was the first ever successful passenger carrying road vehicle ie the first car. Sadly a few days later on another trial it toppled over on the then uneven roads,after being righted and moved to the stable of the nearest tavern it blew up and destroyed itself and the stable-- no one had extinguished the boiler!!!
- Chapel Street in Penzance is home to many tales of the past including the first announcement of Nelson's victory at Trafalgar from the minstrel's gallery in the Union Hotel. Local fishermen had learnt of the fact from the ship hurrying to Falmouth to bring the news officially to Britain. The house at no. 25 Chapel Street was home to Maria Branwell before she moved to Yorkshire , married the Reverend Patrick Bronte and became mother to the famous Bronte family. She never lost her love of Cornwall, as she lay on her death bed she had the maid prop her up so she could watch the maid clear and prepare the grate as she did it the same way as it was done all those years ago, the Cornish way.
- All over Britain on Ordnance Survey maps there are heights and contours shown. All over Britain there are Ordnance Survey bench marks etched onto substantial buildings from which the height of the bench can be assertained, not to mention all the triangulation pillars with their heights recorded. All these heights all over Britain are based on the Ordnance Survey Datum level based on the mean sea level at Newlyn. There is a fundamental bench mark sealed in the end of the harbour pier.
- The Cornish Pasty, we all know of this icon, the miner's meal at "croust" time (break to eat time). What of one of Cornwall's other traditional industries? The Pasty and the fisherman does not go together, a skipper would not allow a pasty on his vessell--- to go to sea with a pasty/pasties on board is very bad luck!!!
- Lake Windermere in Cumbria is the largest lake in England
- Scarfell Pike in Cumbria is the tallest mountain in England.
- The Lake District National Park is the largest National Park in England.
- The famous poet William Wordsworth was born in 'Wordsworth House' in Cockermouth, Cumbria (The Lake District).
- The Lake District is home to England's longest Lake (Windermere), its steepest road (Hardknott Pass), its tallest mountain (Scafell Pike) and the World's Biggest Liar Competition!
- The Bridge Inn at Santon Bridge, Cumbria, is the venue for the annual 'World's Biggest Liar Competition'. The competition is held in memory of Will Ritson (1808–1890) a pub landlord from Wasdale, who was well known for his tall tales.
- Wastwater in Cumbria's Lake District is the deepest Lake in England at 258ft deep (79 metres).
- The computer billionaire Bill Gates is reputed to have purchased £1,500,000 of slate quarried from the Lake District, for use in his swimming pool.
- 'Long Meg and her Daughters' is the second largest stone circle in Europe dating from the Bronze Age and featuring 69 stones all 12ft high.
- The town of Whitehaven in Cumbria was used as a template for the expansion of New York during the mid 18th century.
- There are more listed buildings (250 of them) per square mile in Whitehaven, Cumbria, than anywhere else in the UK.
- Arnside is located within one of Britain's smallest Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty - the Arnside and Silverdale AONB.
Arnside is a vibrant and beautiful village in Cumbria, situated on the border with Lancashire, and facing the estuary of the River Kent. The Barrow to Lancaster railway crosses the river here on an impressive viaduct. The old pier opposite the Post Office is a reminder of the days when most of the local trade was done by sea. Arnside is fortunate to have a range of local shops and amenities - including two pubs, a post office, a bakery, fish and chip shop and three general stores.
Whilst attracting many tourists and holiday makers, Arnside is also a popular retirement haven, with a thriving and very active community life.
There are many interesting and scenic local walks - both along the shoreline and over Arnside Knott.
The Arnside Gateway website (www.arnside.co.uk) is designed to help residents and visitors access the many on-line resources related to Arnside and its immediate area.
- Lake Windermere's name comes from the Scandinavian for 'Lake of a man called Vinandr'
- Studland Beach, in Dorset, has been used by naturists for nearly 100 years. Two of its naturist visitors were author George Bernhard Shaw and children's authoress Enid Blyton. With her familiarity of the area, the nearby village of Studland was the basis for Toytown in her Noddy books and used again in her Famous Five stories.
- Dorset was the first county in England to cultivate cabbages, when it was brought across from Holland in 1539 by Sir Anthony Ashley (1551 - 1628). His beautiful ornate tomb can be seen in the church at the village of Wimborne St Giles, Dorset. The Polyhedron at the feet of the effigies of Sir Anthony and his wife, is believed by many to represent a cabbage.
- In the 1973 Hovis bread TV ad filmed on Gold Hill, in Shaftesbury, Dorset, the young lad pushing his bicycle up the hill was 13 year old Carl Barlow. He went on to a 30 year career with the London Fire Brigade.
- Studland Bay, in Dorset, is the only known breeding ground in the UK for the spiney and short- snouted sea horse.
- After the author H G Wells died in London in 1946, his sons decided to spread his ashes between Dorset and the Isle of Wight. Leaving Poole harbour, the Channel was very choppy bobbing their hired boat, The Diedre, about. They abandoned their original idea, and when abeam Old Harry rock near Swanage, spread his ashes to the wind there instead.
- The coastal town of Bridport in Dorset was once famous for its Rope-making, with some of the rope being used for making hangmen's nooses. These nooses became famously known as 'a Bridport dagger'.
- In 1651 after losing the battle of Worcester, Charles II stayed in Bridport before fleeing to France.
- Southend-on-Sea, Essex, has the longest pleasure pier in the world. It is an astonishing 1.33 miles long and was first built in 1830.
- Manningtree in Essex is England's smallest town.
- Welwyn Garden City was founded by Sir Ebernezer Howard as his design for a garden city. He's also the grandfather of actress Una Stubbs.
- Letchworth was founded by Sir Ebenezer Howard as his design for a garden city. He's also the grandfather of actress Una Stubbs.
- Lowestoft is the most easterly point in Britain.
- The Beatles played in the market town of Darwen, Lancashire, on Friday 25 January 1963, at the Co-operative Hall.
- Lincoln Cathedral was once officially the tallest building in the world for over 200 years, from 1311 (when the central tower was raised, surpassing the Great Pyramid of Giza which had held the record for almost 4000 years), until 1549 when the spire was blown down in a storm.
- St Botolph's Church in Boston, Lincolnshire, has the tallest parish church tower in England (often called the Boston Stump) at 272 ft high.
- Belvoir Castle is pronounced as "Beaver" Castle.
- Penny Lane, in Mossley Hill inspired the song written by The Beatles. The barber shop still remains as does the iconic bus waiting rooms now sadly a closed bistro. It's a leafy suburb and has a railway station on the Liverpool to London line.
- Great Yarmouth is home to Englands largest parish church, St Nicholas church.
- According to various sources, Horatio Nelson learned to sail a dinghy at Burnham Overy Staithe, in Norfolk, when he was 10 years old. Two years later he joined the Navy.
- The famous British Landscape Architect 'Capability Brown' who is known as England's greatest gardener, was born in Kirkharle, Northumberland, in 1716.
- The English county of Northumberland has Europe's largest area of protected night sky - The Northumberland International Dark Sky Park, which is 572 sq miles in size. With such low levels of light pollution it is officially the best place to stargaze in England, on a clear night allowing you to see 2,000 night time objects at any one time, including the Andromeda galaxy, which is over 2.5 million light years from earth.
- The county of Northumberland has more castles than any other county in England.
- Nottingham’s Goose Fair has existed since at least 1284, when it lasted eight days.
- 'Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem' in Nottingham, is claimed to be the oldest pub in England.
- One of the world's most popular painkilling drugs 'Ibuprofen' was discovered in Nottingham, England, by Dr Stewart Adams who first tested it on himself whilst suffering a hangover.
- The house of Sir Joseph Wilson Swan (inventor of the incandescent light bulb) in Gateshead was the first in the world to be lit by a lightbulb.
- The historic Bull Ring Centre in Birmingham has been the site of a market for more than 800 years.
- James Watt, who lived in Birmingham 1775-1819 developed the steam engine. He also invented the letter copying machine, which was the forerunner of the photocopier. The light bulb rating 'Watt', a standard throughout the world, is named after him.
- Birmingham's Central Library is the city's busiest building and Europe's largest public library, lending out 8 million books each year.
- Apart from the other 30 Birminghams around the world, there is also a crater on the moon called Birmingham!
- The Birmingham Minister, Joseph Priestley, discovered oxygen.
- The pneumatic tyre was invented in Birmingham by John Dunlop in 1888.
- Place names in Birmingham include California, Hollywood and Broadway.
- Birmingham has over 6 million trees, and more parks than any other European city.
- J R R Tolkien, author of 'The Hobbit' and 'Lord of the Rings', spent his childhood in the village of Sarehole, Birmingham. The tiny village is said to have been the model for the Shire, home of Bilbo Baggins in the book The Hobbit.
- Victoria Square in Birmingham hosts one of the largest fountains in Europe, with a flow of 3,000 gallons per minute. It is known as "The River" but has also been nicknamed "The Floozie in the Jacuzzi".
- Salisbury Cathedral has the tallest spire in England at 404 feet tall.
- The water table beneath Salisbury Cathedral is only four feet below the surface.
- The Wiltshire village of Maiden Bradley was named after a leper colony for maidens, and a broad (Brad)clearing (Ley) in a wood.
- The name Big Ben is not the name of the clock tower itself, but the name of the Great Bell inside the tower.
- The tallest building in London is the Canaray Wharf Tower
- London was the first city in the world to have an underground railway system, known as the tube.
- There are 3 small rooms inside the Marble Arch which were used as a police station until 1950.
- London was called Londinium by the Romans.
The smallest Police Station in London is inside the Wellington Arch.
- Near the fire station on the north side of Heathrow Airport was where the British Army made their first measurement when they began their Ordnance Survey mapping of Britain.
- Along the A4 Bath Rd near Heathrow Airport was where the infamous highwayman Dick Turpin used to wait to rob the stagecoaches going to Bath from London. Before the airport's time, the area was known as Heath Row.
- Burgess hill, West Sussex, was named after Mr Burgess - a wealthy land owner.
- The Battle of Hasting wasn't fought at Hastings, but on Senlac Hill (sometimes known as Senlac Ridge) approximately six miles North-North West of Hastings near the town of Battle.
- The late Queen Mother always carried a winkle with her. She was a member of the Hastings (East Sussex) winkle club and would be fined if she could not produce it when asked.
- The beautiful yew tree in the centre of the Conduit Court at the 900-year old Skipton Castle was planted by Lady Anne Clifford in 1659.
- Mary, Queen of Scots was once imprisoned at Bolton Castle.
- The historic city of York claims to be the most haunted city in the world, with 504 recorded hauntings.
- The York Food & Drink Festival is the largest event of its kind in the UK.
- There was a state of war between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly for 335 years which ended in 1986, probably the longest war in history. The war was probably also unique in that there was never a shot fired. It all began at the final stages of the English Civil War after the sinking of Dutch shipping.
- Hull Fair which traditionally started on the nearest Saturday to 11th October but now starts on the Friday, is the biggest traveling fair in Europe. 'Traveling Fair' meaning that all rides, sideshows etc travel to Hull for the week and depart afterwards.
- The Humber Bridge opened in 1981 was the longest single span suspension bridge in the world for 16 years.
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