The King's Town
Today has been the sunniest day of my holiday so far, though after lunch big black clouds loomed and the sunshine was very much on and off. Sis and I went for a boat ride on the Thames, from Hampton Court to Kingston and back. I've always been fond of Kingston, which was our 'big' town throughout my childhood - though many changes have taken place since then - and particularly fond of the Thames which has never been far away from our family, going back to the mid 19th century.
When in Kingston I like to visit the church of All Saints, surrounded by a churchyard which is a favourite place for local working folks' picnic lunches. The town calls itself the place where England began, being previously a collection of local Saxon kingdoms. Many kings were crowned in Kingston from the 10th century onwards, probably on this site. The best known of these kings was Athelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great, crowned in 925 AD, and thought to be the first king of a united England.The Coronation Stone still sits outside the Guildhall, though it's due to be returned to the churchyard.
The current All Saints Church was built somewhere around 1120, though much modified over the years. The spire came down in a storm in 1703 which also damaged the tower and the latter was rebuilt in brick as can still be seen today. The spire was not replaced. End of history lesson!