Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Old Mercia Was an Enjoyable Trip

The people who came on the “Old Mercia Tour” all voted it a big hit.

This was one of the morning Coach Trips which I devise and lead a few times a year, all starting from St. Margarets Bus Station in Leicester.

Mercia was one of the Kingdoms which eventually merged to form England in the pre-Norman Conquest days. It stretched over most of the Midlands, and at some periods was the dominant Kingdom. Among the Kings of Mercia that you might have heard of were Offa and Penda.

But even Mercia itself was an agglomeration of small states, and the original Kingdom seems to have started in the valley of the Trent.

That’s roughly the area covered by this trip.

I started by taking the group to the amazing hilltop church of St. Mary and St. Hardulph at Breedon-on-the-Hill, with its fantastic Anglo-Saxon carvings.

Then it was on through Melbourne in Derbyshire, where Thomas Cook was born, and Tutbury in Staffordshire, whose castle was one of the homes of John of Gaunt – others were Leicester Castle and Kenilworth Castle.

There is always a stop, where coffee, tea, cakes etc can be bought. On this occasion I used a garden centre that I had not used before – the excellent Byrkley Park Centre in Needwood Forest. Everyone agreed that they would be happy for me to stop there again.

The “Old Mercia Tour” was certainly a successful trip, and I will very likely repeat it in due course.