Throughout the country there are today more places of worship than clergy to conduct weekly services in them. Church attendance and communicants has declined significantly and our churches are now in a position where the cost of upkeep and maintenance is being bourn by fewer folk. Sadly, a great number of our churches, a lot of them listed buildings, are beginning to fall into decay; not helped by the thoughtless actions of some thieves stealing the lead of the roof resulting in enormous cost of damage to the fabric of the buildings.
Many of the older churches are fine architectural edifices that should be preserved regardless of declining finances. We have seen charitable organisations such as The Churches Preservation Trust, The National Trust and Heritage England, formed to stem the tide of decay and dereliction of our architectural heritage, helping to restore and preserve these old estates and building for everyone to enjoy. So, what is to become of our churches and chapels? Will more be sold off to become desirable homes for the few?
Come along to hear Michael Dudley’s talk and get to know what can be done.
In the 19th Century opium was commonly used as a remedy for a large number of common ailments. It is hard to believe that it was possible to walk into a chemist shop and buy without a prescription cocaine and laudanum. Opium preparations, (‘little white powder’) were freely sold in towns and markets and in the countryside by travelling ‘hawksters’. Taking opium became as popular as alcohol. Surprisingly, opium was also used as a ‘quieten’ tincture for children.
Dr Eric Somerville is coming to speak to us about “Opium-eating in the Fens in the Nineteenth Century”. It’s interesting to learn that fenland folk didn’t smoke opium, they consumed it, and did so in quantities, to the extent that it has been calculated that half of imported opium went there. Dr Somerville has made an extensive study of the subject and since he’s a retired Wisbech G.P. expect some reflections on drug use today.
Admission free to Society Members, guests are welcome and we ask for a small £3 donation for the evening.
Parking: Building work has now started at the church and there is only Disabled Parking there, so please allow a few minutes more to park in Malthouse Close or Ingram Street car parks.
Stuart Orme, the Curator of the Cromwell Museum will talk to us about Oliver Cromwell’s first campaigns in 1643 at Huntingdon, Peterborough, Crowland and the Battle of Gainsborough on 28th July. Cromwell went from a small landowner MP to a significant General and a force to be reckoned with in Parliament. Cromwell was first elected to Parliament in 1628 but by 1631 he was in financial difficulty and was forced to sell his land. He returned to Parliament in 1640 but by 1642 armed conflict had begun between Charles 1 and Parliament. It was in 1642 that Cromwell’s career as a military leader began. He distinguished himself in battle at Edgehill in 1642 and again in the East in 42 and 43. By 1644 he had risen to the rank of Lieutenant General.
Stuart Orme will look at the early career of Cromwell and his meteoric rise to the highest ranks of the New Model Army.
Visitors are welcome and are invited to donate £3 to defray costs.
Adrian Moss will talk about John Howland of Fenstanton. He was born in 1599, the son of Henry and Margaret Howland. In 1620 he sailed on the Mayflower as an indentured man servant of Governor John Carver to settle in Plymouth in the ‘New World’. John’s voyage was not without drama. During a storm he fell overboard and it was only through luck that he was able to grab hold of a trailing rope and was eventually rescued. In later years he became personal secretary to the Governor and was instrumental in the making of a treaty with the local native American tribe, Sachem Massasoit.
John married Elizabeth Tilley in about 1624 and they had 10 children. John died in 1672/3 at Rocky Nook, Plymouth USA. But, that’s not where the story of John Howland ends, for his many decedents, including Theodore Roosevelt, George Bush and George W. Bush held the highest office in the USA.
Today there is a thriving John Howland Society (https://pilgrimjohnhowlandsociety.org/Society) founded in 1897 that catalogues the story of this amazing man and his decedents.
Mr Tom Grimes will talk about the History and Collections of the Spalding Gentlemen’s Society
Dr Steven Parissien will talk about the Palace House, Newmarket. More details about the talk will be provided shortly
This will be a ticketed event, joint with the Huntingdonshire History Festival