Following on from my post about my visit to Colchester Zoo with Witches Brewbooks, the following day was my friends birthday so we decided to meet in the centre of Chelmsford for her to spend some birthday money so I took the time to have an hour or so to have a little wander around and an explore.
Here are some of my pictures and places I would recommend visiting in Chelmsford.
My first stop was a walk along the River Can from my hotel to the beautiful Central Park which is quite close to the city centre. The park is very large and was also very clean with plenty of pathways and cycle routes to have a wander around and through. I also absolutely loved the lake which had this beautiful water fountains where I sat and just watched the water for a couple of minutes.
The park also had plenty of things to do for a day out wiht the family form what I could see with sports pitches, play areas and a BMX/skateboarding park. The park is also home to Essex County Cricket Club.
Also situated in the park was Chelmsford’s war memorial which also had a statue of a soldier close by. Also alongside the canal route were sections with graffiti and street art which was very striking and I love dhow the artwork contained messages such as anti-racism, anti-homophobia and also encouraging kids to do something active rather than causing trouble.
It is a very beautiful green space to escape the hustle and bustle of the city centre.
As obviously this is a book blog I had to take a look at Chelmsford’s main library which is located close to the market in the city.
Although I didn’t get a chance to go in, Chelmsford Central Library provides a wealth of services and events including author talks, writers groups, children’s story time and craft meet ups. Although I have to admit the building from the outside didn’t really stand out in the same way as Birmingham Library does as I very nearly walked past it.
Shire Hall is a very interesting building located quite close to Chelmsford Cathedral which is described below. The building that is in the photograph above was built in the 18th Century to replace a much older 16th Century building.
However the history of the site is far darker past and has a close connection to the Essex Witch Trials. The Essex Witch Trials involved the executions of many women accused of being witches, with 53 women across Essex being executed between 1570 and 1609 (with 300 being killed in the wider East Anglia region between 1644 and 1647 by Witch Hunter General Matthew Hopkins) Many women accused of being witches were executed in front of where the original 16th century building stood. There is more about the history of this here, as well as a memorial being erected for Agnes Waterhouse who was the first woman accused of witchcraft in 1566.
The building is quite imposing and though it has been derelict since it was closed as a court in 2012 the architecture does really stand. It also has the 3 carvings depicting justice, wisdom and mercy beneath the clock.
Concluding my walk I went to the famous Chelmsford Cathedral. The building dates back to the 15th Century and is one of the smallest Cathedrals in the UK, although services have been held there going back to the 13th Century.
The Cathedral is open to the public from 7.30 until 6pm Monday to Saturday and 8am-5pm on Sundays (although times do sometimes differ). I am normally not a person to walk around Cathedrals or inside but I did step inside and it does have a very calming sense of peace from the hustle and bustle outside. I also took the time to take a look at some of the stained glass windows and murals around the walls and there was some very interesting stories and pieces of history around the building.
For example, in the foyer there is three stained glass windows honouring US Air Forces who used the Cathedral as it was the closest one to the naval bases of World War Two. A photograph can be found here of the windows but they contain three emblems. On the left is the emblem of the American Air Force. The middle emblem is the eagle holding an olive branch in one talon and the arrows of war in the other, with the stripes of the US flag and the thirteen stars arranged in a flower above. Finally, the right hand emblem is the inspiration for the Stars and Stripes in the Washington family coat of arms. There is also a large inscription on the wall honouring the war dead of Chelmsford during the two World Wars which are both interesting pieces of military history.
Also for those interested in royal history, there is also a plaque honouring a visit Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip made to the Cathedral in 2014 to honour the Diocese centenary.
It’s a fascinating building and is definitely worth having a look around – you can find out more about the Cathedral here.