Birkenhead Priory was built circa 1150 by one of the barons of the Earl of Chester- Hamo de Massey of Dunham. The priory was run by Benedictine Monks who, in its early years, provided free hospitality and passage across the River Mersey for travellers to Liverpool. Later, in 1318 and 1330, the monks were granted a Royal Charter by Edward II that granted them the rights to build a hostel and charge their guests for food, drink and passage across the Mersey.

During the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536, Birkenhead Priory was closed down and the property seized by Henry VIII. A legend exists that some monks tried to escape or hide the treasure from the monastry but when they were accessing a tunnel with the treasure a massive stone trap-door fell on them and sealed them in for eternity. The location of this trap-door is still unknown today, as is the location of the treasure.

I was interested to hear of Templar connections with the priory and was particularly intrigued to see what appear to be etchings of templar swords carved into grave slabs on the floor of the Chaper House. This is the oldest building on the site and dates back to around 1150.

My visit ended with the long climb up the spire of St Mary's Church. Despite the cold, I was able to take some great photos of Liverpool.

MALTA 2007

Summer 2007 found me visiting Malta for some research and scene setting for my next book - the second in The Mdina Touch series.

During this visit I was interested in what had gone on in the past. The book will be set around the end of the 18th Century and the beginning of the 19th Century. One of the places I was particularly keen to see was the Inquisitor's Palace in Vittoriosa.

I was unable to visit the Grand Master's Palace at Valletta during this trip but I had the opportunity to visit St John's Co-cathedral - home to some of the fabulous art and treasures of the Order of St John. Carravaggio's painting - The Beheading of St John - was both massive and spectacular.

A visit to Gozo was a must and I took the opportunity to revisit some of the places I had seen on my previous trips to Malta. Xlendi and the Nun's Steps hadn't changed and the Moby Dick Restaurant is still there. I also revisited the Inland Sea and the Azure Window as well as the medieval Citadel before returning to the mainland.

My visit to St Agatha's Catacombs afforded me the chance to make a short video of the crypt and a walk through the passages. The video will be uploaded as soon as editing and production is complete.


St John's co-cathedral Azure Window Citadel, Gozo, Malta Citadel Street, Gozo, Malta Inquisitor's Palace, Malta
Courtyard - Inquisitor's Palace, Malta Private Chapel, Inquisitor's Palce, Vittoriosa, Malta Skull and Bones, St Agatha's Catacombs, Malta Facade, St John's Co-cathedral Azure Window - Gozo, Malta
Doorway, Citadel, Gozo, Malta Carravaggio - Crucifixion - St John's co-cathedral, Valletta, Malta Inquisitor's Palace, Vittoriosa, Malta Fresco - St Agatha's Catacombs, Rabat, Malta Order of St John - Cathedral - Valletta - Malta
Citadel - Malta Inland Sea - Gozo - Malta Inquisitor's Kitchen - Malta Operal House - Valletta, Malta Buskett Gardens, Malta
Prison of Inquisitors - Malta Altar of St Agatha - Malta Cafe Scene - Malta Citadel - Gozo - Malta Azure Window - Gozo, Malta
St John's Co-cathedral clock tower Prison Cell - Inquisitor's Palace - Vittoriosa -  Malta Sea - Malta Masonic Funeral - Inquisitor's Palace - Malta Chapel - St John's Co-cathedral - Malta
Order of St John - Embassy - Valletta - Malta Malta - Presiden't Summer Residence Street Scene Malta Ushabti from tombs in Malta Grave slab on floor of St John's Co-cathedral, Valletta, Malta

Liverpool 2007

As Liverpool celebrates its 800th year since the granting of its Charter by King John, I will continue to add photographs to this section that record the events of what promises to be a spectacular year. This will lead us nicely up to the Capital of Culture events in 2008.

On September 21st the cruise liner Queen Elizabeth II visited Liverpool for the last time before completing its last voyage and heading to Dubai where she will serve as a floating hotel. For the first time ever this massive ship was able to dock by using the new cruise ship terminal recently completed at Princess Dock.

In June, St Peter's Church, Woolton, celebrated the date that made history when John Lenon met Paul McCartney and the Quarry Men played at the Church Fete.

The celebration included a weekend of events and the church hosted a fabulous flower show with each entry being themed around the Beatles and their songs. The displays ranged from small to large with one or two massive arrangements and each one was truly a work of art. Themes included, Eleanor Rigby, Strawberry Fields, Yellow Submarine, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club, Penny Lane, Help, and many more.

Greece, Kos - 2005

Kos is a beautiful island in the Greek Dodecanese archipelago. The main town has grown up around the picturesque castle built by the Knights of St John in 1315.

When I visited this castle I noticed that many of the crests of the Grand Masters of the Knights of St John, under whose command the various bastions were built, carried typical Templar devices. Could this be further evidence that the Templars had already penetrated the Order of St John before their dissolution and suppression in 1307?

The Knights of St John also had a castle across the water in Ephesus in Turkey. This meant that they could control the important water channel that runs between these two countries.

The island of Kos is also famous as being the home of Hippocrates, the founder of modern medicine. The plane tree under which it is said he took shelter while administering his healing skills can still be seen today.

FISH - Cavern Club - Liverpool
Misplaced Childhood Tour

The Apprentice has become the Master

On Monday 2nd May, Fish, once again, treated Liverpool to a masterful performance. Fans packed The Cavern Club to capacity and Fish, with his omnipotent presence prowled the stage as he eyed the audience and was truly King of all he surveyed.

During the performance, Fish embraced the crowd with his passionate rendition of Kayleigh and drove the sweating, heaving mass to a frenzy.

As a man that will stand up and be counted, Fish wears his politics on his sleeve and is applauded for his outspokenness. His true skill, however, is the way he engages his fans. To be in the audience as he leans menacingly out over the crowd you know for certain that you are in the presence of Fish.

In an interview once, Fish described himself as an apprentice learning a new trade - the Apprentice has truly become the Master.

February 2005 - Charles Kennedy - Liverpool Visit

On 17th February 2005 Charles Kennedy made a visit to South Liverpool

Liverpool (pre 1995 - 2006)

Liverpool was once the gateway to the World and it is difficult to stand on the banks of the Mersey and not feel a connection with far-flung exotic places. I've often imagined what it must have felt like for the sailors of old when they returned from long voyages at sea and sailed up the Mersey to see the Liverpool skyline for the first time in many years.

Liverpool is a city of which I am proud to be on its sons and after long periods away I feel like those old sailors must have felt like at their homecoming. We have some wonderful buildings that grace our waterfront and spread throughout the city are buildings that echo Liverpool's maritime past, both good and notoriously not so good.

Here is a selection of photographs spanning many years. Some are from my earliest experiments in photography.

Malta 1997

I visited Malta for the first time in 1997 and discovered a country so rich in history and culture. I have revisited this country many times and it forms the backdrop for part two of The Mdina Touch.

Much has been said about Malta elsewhere on this website and there is still much left for me to discover on this tiny group of islands in the Mediterranean Sea. I am planning another visit very soon so for now I will leave you to enjoy the photographs from my previous visits.

Egypt 1997 - 2004

Egypt and its ancient history remains one of my passions. Each time I visit this country I discover something new. This has resulted in a very large collection of photographs, so many of which, have not yet been published on this website. It is my intention to rectify this omission during the early part of 2007. In the meantime I will leave these older photographs for you to enjoy.

Egypt - On Location


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