All entries for Monday 23 April 2007
April 23, 2007
I am a newbie to the area of the Fens, but inspired by Naomi’s passion for her home county, I feel that I should be doing the same for my new county. Often overlooked as a flat wasteland, Cambridgeshire may be lacking in rolling hills and deep, carved valleys, but in its simplicity is an ignored charm. Nestled in amongst all of this is Oxburgh Hall. On Easter Monday I toured this country estate, in awe of the beauty of the place.
Owned since the 15th Century by the same family, the house boasts extensive grounds, an orchard, a chapel and a moat. it also has the only ‘priest hole’ on view to the public. When Catholicism was banned in Britain, aristocratic families would have services at home. However, there were frequent raids by the law enforcers of the time and therefore getaway holes were provided in which the priest could hide until danger has passed.
The landscape is very flat around this area of the country as it used to be completely submerged in water. The drainage engines that helped reveal the fertile land are on display in their own museum, located opposite my house. My house is the oldest house in the village of Prickwillow. Formerly located on the bridge crossing the River Lark, the occupiers of the house collected the tolls paid by those wanting to get to the other side of the river. My house is called the Toll House and even though the bridge is long since gone, replaced by a newer construction, the house stands still, despite being almost 200 years old.
The city of Ely, the second smallest city in Britain, lies 5 miles from Prickwillow. Home to Ely Cathedral, an imposing gothic-esque style structure, Ely attracts thousands of tourists each year and is thriving in the summer months. With lots of green areas and a modest shopping centre, when busy Ely is a bustling environment in which to be.
The landscape has a way of making you feel your insignificance. The lack of hills allows for stunning skyscapes, impressive cloud formations and amazing night skies. To look out across for miles is humbling and allows for personal reflection and has the ability to put things in perspective. Whenever things are getting too much, to gaze out at such beautiful desolation clears away insignificant problems.
To leave you all with what I face everyday, the following image is the view from my house, overlooking the river.