Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Angels and the Trinity - 20 October 2007

The Bell at StiltonAs we drove north from London on a beautiful frosty autumn day, we passed through areas with heavy fog patches. Our first destination was Stilton of Stilton cheese fame, and we hoped that it wasn't in one of the foggy spots. Fortunately there was bright sunshine at Stilton (although only a matter of a mile away we had passed through dense fog). We enjoyed a walk through the crisp sunshine, finishing again at Stilton. We couldn't leave town without sampling some Stilton made & purchased in Stilton. Browns of Stilton have a very tempting shop, full of a variety of goodies.

Angels in the roofFrom here we drove to Ramsey, a prosperous town in the middle ages, and still has the remnants of an Abbey. From here we drove the short distance to March. The special feature of March was the amazing double hammer-beam roof of the Church of St Wendreda. Over 400 years old, the 120 carved angels are stunning. We talked to a local lady who told us many interesting stories of the church and the angels, including her ingenious fundraising system when the roof needed extensive repairs in 2002.

Ramsey reflectionsWisbeck was once an important port, and although miles from the sea today, ships from Europe still access it via the River Nene. The town has very pleasant Georgian houses lining the riverbank, including Peckover House, a home once owed by a philanthropic Quaker family but now in the care of the National Trust. We enjoyed looking round the house & garden, and in particular their apple themed restaurant's apple, quince & squash soup.

The whole area around here is called Fenland. Prior to the 16th century, many of the towns we visited today were islands in the low lying marshes. Croyland AbbeyIn the 16th & 17th centuries, the fens were drained by digging long channels and re-routing rivers. As we drove towards Crowland, our GPS indicated we were only 3 ft above sea level. At the time we were about 3 feet above the surrounding fields, so they were in effect the old sea level. At Crowland we completed our look at Croyland Abbey, which we started in April. Today the Abbey looked stunning in the sunlight, and we were able to have a look inside the church, once a christening was over. We had a look at Thornley, another abbey town nearby, before calling it a day in time to watch the final of the Rugby World Cup.

Trinity Bridge, CrowlandAlso at Crowland is the rather unusual C14th three-cornered Trinity Bridge, now a curiousity with no water in sight. Originally built where the Welland river divided it cleverly allowed the townsfolk multi-way access across the river.

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