Category Archives: Cambridgeshire

Five Miles From Anywhere To Burwell Lode

Upware, Cambridgeshire, EnglandUpware8If you have the will power to avoid the allure of the Five Miles From Anywhere Pub and Restaurant and turn left, you can stroll beside the Burwell Lode where you will find boats as various as the real ales served at the afore mentioned watering hole.

Cambs

Depending on the condition of your footwear and the suppleness of your calf muscles you will arrive at a footbridge which has all the presence of a stairway up and over a lesser known Munro.

Cambs

Once you have negotiated this obstacle you will have a decision to make, will you carry on along the Burwell Lode to Burwell or enjoy the view of Wicken Fen through the back gate.

Cambs

Haddenham

On a grey day when rain was a probability opposed to a possibility I set out for Haddenham In The Isle of Ely Cambridgeshire. You can give your imagination a treat by dreaming of undulating landscapes and mountainous regions as Haddenham sits on a ridge in The Isle at a staggering 121 feet (“In old money”).

Holy Trinity Church Haddenham CambridgeshireHoly Trinity Church

Before the fens were drained Haddenham was the main entrance into The Isle of Ely from Aldreth Causeway so it was of significant importance, its population was the largest with the exception of Littleport and Thorny, today it has to contend with articulated vehicles escaping the A14 on their way between Huntingdon and Newmarket.

Porch House Hillrow Haddenham Cambridgeshire

Porch House, Hillrow

In 1612 the Lord of the manor was none other than Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk, Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire and Chancellor of the University of Cambridge whose daughter Frances was implicated in the poisoning of Sir Thomas Overbury. It gave him the entitlement to hold a market and fair in Aldreth and Haddenham.

If you are of a campanological bent you may be interested to know there was bell foundry in Haddenham between 1665 and 1680, producing bells for Witchford and other villages in Cambridgeshire.

In March 1947 the whole of the western end of the parish was severely effect by the great floods.


Web Links:

Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk

Sir Thomas Overbury

Haddenham and Aldreth Parish Council Web Site

Floods of 1947

Porch House, Hillrow


Keyston

The Church of St John the Baptist Keyston is a challenge,

  1. Getting there without setting tyre rubber on the A14.
  2. Taking a photograph that does the building justice.

Keyston lies on the very westerly edge of the county of Cambridgeshire or Huntingdonshire, if your preference is for the historic rather than the modern and are prepared to defy the 1974  Local Government edict.

It sits to the east of the town of Thrapston in Northamptonshire, which boasts connections with George Washington’s family, the first president of the United States of America  and west of Huntingdon the birth place of Oliver Cromwell.  In the North lies the village of Titchmarsh with all its associations  with the poet John Dryden and is with easy reach if you are prepared take your life in your hands and cross the A14 which carries its traffic incessantly between Felixstowe, the Midlands and beyond.

Our visit to Keyston in Huntingdonshire is purely of a metaphysical inspiration as John Donne, lawyer, renowned preacher, poet and soon to be become Dean of St Pauls Cathedral was awarded the living of Keyston  in the early part of 1616.  He held this post until 1621  when he resigned it shortly before he was appointed Dean of St Pauls.

The Church of St John the Baptist Keyston

The Church of St John the Baptist, Keyston, Huntingdonshire

“Thou hast set up many candlesticks, and kindled many lamps in me; but I have either blown them out, or carried them to guide me in forbidden ways.”

John Donne


Coveney Cambridgeshire

Coveney sits 43 feet above sea level overlooking Ely Cathedral in the east. It was a small island in the fens a long time before The Earl of Bedford and Cornelius Vermuyden ever dreamt of  draining  the Cambridgeshire Fens.

Mansion Farm House

Mansion Farm House

If the name of Coveney evokes a land fit for Lucifer’s Angles think again, it derives  its name from “island in the bay” and was once the home of Aethelswyth, daughter of the Noble Saxon Oswi, who came here with her maidens to work on her embroidery and weaving in the early 11 century.

The Village Sign , Showing a image of Aethelswyth

The Village Sign , Showing a image of Aethelswyth

The Church of St Peter ad Vincula dates back to the 13th century and its tower can be seen sitting proud as you approach the village from Wardy Hill in the north west. There is a village pond where you can sit on a summers day and take in the extensive views across the fens to Ely. Beside the pond is situated the village lockup, this was used in a time gone bye to store the village bier that carried the coffins to the Church. Mansion Farm House  which is the oldest house in the village lies just north of the church and it is said to have been built around the same time, there was a National School for both boys  and girls, the property is now used as a Bed and Breakfast.

The  Village Lockup and Seat Next to The Village Pound

The Village Lockup and Seat Next to The Village Pound

The celebrated, controversial, disputatious Dr. Conyers Middleton was rector of Coveney between 1725 and 1728, his first wife’s granddaughter was Elizabeth Montagu the British social reformer, who helped organize and lead the bluestocking Society, she was a frequent visitor to the Middletons in Cambridgeshire in younger days.

Views of The Church of St Peter ad Vincula

The Old National School House

The School House and The Old School


Related Web Links:

St Peter-ad-Vincula, Coveney

Cambridgeshire History Online Coveney

British History Online Coveney with Manea

Trinity College Chapel, Conyers Middleton

Elizabeth Montagu

The Old Scholl Bed and Breakfast


Wilburton, Cambridgeshire

Wilburton sits north of The Great River Ouse on the southern ridge of The Isle of Ely between Newmarket in the south east and Huntingdon in the west.

Ideal for Mr Collins and Charlotte.

It is true today as it was in the nineteenth century that it is “a very neat place.” In times past you would have found three public houses, a bakers, a butcher shop, a Blacksmiths and a Railway Station, today it boast a general store and post office, The Kings Head Public House, Two Motor Engineering Workshops and a Garden Centre which incorporates a Restaurant and coffee shop.

The Baptist Chapel was built in 1843 and has become a centre for village life in recent years. The Church of St Peters lies at the west end of the Village and is part of The Grunty Fen Parish of Churches, it is a fine edifice to the glory of God and it has to be said that we have always found it open when visiting.

20140709_Cambridgeshire-01-591

Wilburton is endowed with some very fine houses including the manor house which dates back to the sixteen hundreds.

20140725_Cambridgeshire-03-609

The History of the village is as rich as the fenland soil that surrounds it and has connections with the Kings of England. Between 1486 to 1500 Bishop Alcock of Ely was Lord of the Manor, He entertained King Henry VII and the young Prince Henry soon to be known for His many wife’s and The Dissolution of The Monasteries, when they came to visit the shrine of St Etheldreda at Ely.


Web Links:
Visit Ely: Wilburton
British History Online: Wilburton

The Crest of A Scottish Clan, A Peel of Bells, Lord Peter Winsey and The Art of Cation Writting.

Walking in the Cambridgeshire fens along the Ouse Washes between The Bedford Rivers is always a comfort to a weary soul and evocative of The Nine Taylors by Dorothy L Sayers especially when the washes are in full flood.

20120326-Cambridgeshire-00034-C

With camera in hand it is always tempting to capture the wide open space, the large sky, reflections in the flood plain or Fortrey’s pumping station standing on Engine Bank against a cloudy sky.

20121114_Cambridgeshire_00034-19-C

There are endless possibilities in the detail of the landscape like the bee seeking substance from the thistle on the bank of the hundred foot drain. The problem arises when trying to find a caption appropriate for the composition.

20130710_Cambridgeshire-24-295-C

Now as mentioned this is the land where Lord Peter Wimsey applies his analytic mind to discovering the location of the Wilbraham emeralds and the murderer of the butler Deacon but try as I may I can find no correlation to the thistle and the bee but if we take a leaf out of Lord Peter’s book and apply some meticulous reasoning, like the landscape itself there are endless possibilities.

Shakespeare’s Midsommer Nights Dream could be applied where Bottom states

Mounsieur Cobweb, good mounsieur, get you your

weapons in your hand, and kill me a red-hipped

humble-bee on the top of a thistle; and, good

mounsieur, bring me the honey-bag. Do not fret

yourself too much in the action, mounsieur; and,

good mounsieur, have a care the honey-bag break not;

I would be loath to have you overflown with a

honey-bag, signior. Where’s Mounsieur Mustardseed?

or we could turn to the poet Ted Hughes for The Thistle

Against the rubber tongues of cows and the hoeing hands of men

Thistles spike the summer air

And crackle open under a blue-black pressure.

Not to mention Sylvia Plath for the bee or perhaps Emily Dickinson

and her poem entitled There is a Flower that Bees Prefer

There is a flower that Bees prefer —

And Butterflies — desire —

To gain the Purple Democrat

The Humming Bird — aspire —

And Whatsoever Insect pass —

A Honey bear away

Proportioned to his several dearth

And her — capacity —

Her face be rounder than the Moon

And ruddier than the Gown

Or Orchis in the Pasture —

Or Rhododendron — worn —

We could even use a quote or two from A A Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh due to his love of honey and his friend Eeyore’s passion for thistles.

If we were looking for a more modern example then A Single Thistle by Raymond A. Foss could be appropriate but as he reminds us, if we need reminding that the thistle is the flower of Scotland

therefore it has to be the motto and the crest of The Clan Fergusson as this uses both the bee and the thistle and also appeals to my Scottish roots.

20130710_Cambridgeshire-24-295-C1

Title: dulcius ex asperis

Caption: A Bee on a Thistle

The crest of The Clan Fergusson

Their Motto: dulcius ex asperis (sweeter after difficulties).

Found living on The Ouse Washes, The Fens, Mepal, Cambridgeshire


Offord Cluny and D’Arch Cambridgeshire

Offord D’Archy and Offord Cluny makeup what is locally called The Offords.

Offord D'Arcy Village Sign

Offord D’Arcy Village Sign, Offord D’Arcy, Cambridgeshire, England

Although the two villages are only two miles apart they both have their own church and manor houses, the villages are fairly low lying and can be prone to flooding from The Great River Ouse, both are mentioned in the doomsday book.

Offord Cluny, Village Sign

Village Sign, Offord Cluny,, Cambridgeshire, England

The Offords sit between the eastern bank of The Great River Ouse and The Old North Road, Ermine Street before they make their way into Godmachester and Huntingdon beyond.

All Saints Church, Offord Cluny,

All Saints Church, Offord Cluny,, Cambridgeshire, England

St Peters church Offord D’Arcy has a 14th Century tower and spire it sits beside the manor house, to all appearance it is a peaceful situation until a fast train thunders past on it way to York and Edinburgh, in fact the main coast railway line runs very close to the west of the church tower.

St Peters Church, Offord D'Arcy

St Peters Church, Offord D’Arcy, Cambridgeshire, Engalnd