Sunday, April 08, 2007

To the landing

The eagle has landed.
Approaching our pilot's choice of landing field, part of the Hatfield estate.
We needed to land before we were close to the radio masts.The Brookmans Park station was opened on 14th October 1929 and was the first of the BBC’s high-power, two programme Regional transmitting stations. It now transmits TV and radio, public and commercial.
Hatfield house, estate of the Cecils since the 16th century.Hatfield House is a country house set in a large park, the Great Park, on the eastern side of the town of Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England. The present Jacobean house was built in 1611 by Robert Cecil, First Earl of Salisbury and Chief Minister to King James I and has been the home of the Cecil family ever since. It is currently the home of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury. An earlier building on the site was the Royal Palace of Hatfield. Only part of this still exists, a short distance from the present house. This palace was the childhood home and favorite residence of Queen Elizabeth I. Built in 1497 by the Bishop of Ely, Henry VII's minister John Cardinal Morton, it comprised four wings in a square surrounding a central courtyard. The palace was seized by Henry VIII with other church properties.

Henry VIII's children Edward and Elizabeth spent their youth at Hatfield Palace. In 1548, when she was only 15 years old, Elizabeth was under suspicion of having illegally agreed to marry Thomas Seymour, the House and her servants were seized by Edward VI's agent Robert Tyrwhit, and she was interrogated there. She successfully defended her conduct with wit and defiance. Seymour was executed in 1549 for numerous other crimes against the crown. After her two months of imprisonment in the Tower of London by Queen Mary, Elizabeth returned to Hatfield. The Queen Elizabeth Oak on the grounds of the estate is said to be the location where Elizabeth was told she was Queen. In November 1558, following the death of her sister Mary Tudor, Elizabeth held her first Council of State in the Great Hall.

Elizabeth's successor James I did not like the palace much and so traded it to Elizabeth's chief minister (and his own) Robert Cecil, First Earl of Salisbury, in exchange for Theobalds which was the Cecils' family home. Cecil liked to build and so tore down three wings of the Royal Palace (the back and sides of the square) in 1608 and used the bricks to build the present structure.

We are being followed.

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