This is one of those Huntingdonshire Essentials and should be familiar to members from articles on Nicholas Ferrar and his family in Records by David Ransome. For historical background see VCH Hunts., (I 399-406). Ferrar’s spirit lives on. We shall be tour of the house and ‘chapel’ (in fact a parish church), that together make it a very special place, by members of the community and afterwards there will be tea/coffee and cake.
Meet at Little Gidding car park, 2:30pm. Own transport. Please tell us if you need a lift and we will do our best to arrange one.
Cost will be about £5 (can be paid on the day, but at least email to say you are coming).
Book by Monday 5th August.
An opportunity to join in with the annual Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Trust led excursion to a great church, which benefits from the expert commentary and guidance of Revd. Lynne Broughton. Lunchtime opportunity to explore Southwell.
On the way back we will visit the church at Corby Glen where we will have the opportunity for a cup of tea there.
Further information see separate booking form and information sheet, to access please click on [BOOKING FORM]
Book by Saturday 1st June. Please note early deadline
This will be a coach excursion, joint with Cambridge Association for Local History (CALH) and Cambridge Antiquarian Society (CAS), visiting Eye Church and Wingfield College (house and church).
SS. Peter and Paul Eye is one of those astonishing late medieval churches that seems to have everything: one of the finest rood screens in the region, a fan vault in the tower, a wealth of monuments, a sanctuary by Ninian Comper, a recently restored organ. We shall arrive shortly after their regular Friday service and be able to join for coffee. After looking round we are free to explore the market town, perhaps mount the castle motte, and find lunch in one of several eateries.
At 1:30pm we reassemble for the short trip onward to Wingfield College. The Palladian lines of this private house conceal a medieval manor, remodelled as a charity college by Sir John Wingfield in 1362, ‘a maze of medieval woodwork, every inch of which is intriguing’ (Jenkins). The visit includes the parish church, where Sir John is buried, but whose glory is the fabulous tombs of the de la Pole Dukes of Suffolk, and concludes with tea and cake.
Leave Huntingdon Bus Station 9:30am,: depart Wingfield 4:40pm, return c6:30pm.This is a joint excursion with Cambridgeshire Association for Local History. Early booking is strongly recommended.
Other pick up points (indicate clearly on the form): Somersham (Dews) 8:55am, St Ives (Houghton Road) 9:15am, Hartford (Longstaff Way) 9:25am, Godmanchester (Bridge Place Car Park) 9:35am, Cambridge (Milton Park and Ride) 10:15am.
The cost will be approximately £34 per head. Book by Saturday 31 August, Maximum 40 people.
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.
Christmas Social – A Georgian Christmas, with Bedford Gallery Quire, Tuesday 10th December
Its that time of year, the Christmas festive season is fast approaches again. Once more we have a super programme lined up for our Christmas social. The Christmas social is undoubtedly one of the sheer joys of this society, so do make an effort to come along. You will not be disappointed. And by all means bring friends with you.
This year The Bedford Gallery Quire, will be providing the musical entertainment. They are part of the movement to resurrect the folk tradition, coined ‘West Gallery Music’ by Thomas Hardy, The Quire was formed in 2003 and is a group of singers and instrumentalists performing musical pieces from the ‘West Gallery’ period, around 1700 to 1850. West Gallery music is often seen as an anarchic musical attribute of the parish church until reforming Victorian clergy suppressed them in favour of the more governable, surpliced, choirs singing in the chancel that we know today. Besides playing fiddles and flutes they will be performing traditional music on some less familiar instruments including flagelettes, an ophicleïde, and a serpent – a rare sight indeed.
We will again be providing sandwiches, etc., as well as drinks, but members are welcome to bring additional seasonal fare. It would be helpful if you haven’t already done so , it you would book as soon as possible. This enables us to tell how many spaces available for non-members. David Smith will be there on Tuesday to take bookings and your £5.00, or send him a cheque with form in the Almanack, or at very least email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to let him know you are coming and pay on the night.
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.
SPALDING GENTLEMEN’S SOCIETY
Founded in 1710 The Spalding Gentlemen’s Society, is one of the oldest learned societies in the UK and is reputably the earliest provincial association for the encouragement of antiquarianism. Founded by Maurice Johnson (1688-1755), the Society began with a series of informal meetings of a few local gentlemen at a coffee house in the Abbey Yard, Spalding. Initially a ‘Society of Gentlemen, for the supporting of mutual benevolence and their improvement in the liberal sciences and in polite learning’, it was a male preserve for over 300 years. Although in 1971 five notable female local historians were created Fellows of the Society in acknowledgement of their work, they were still not conferred as members. It wasn’t until 2006 that a historic vote was taken to admit women as members of the Society. The first woman joined as a member in 2007. The Duke of Buccleuch have been the patrons of the Society since 1732 and the current 10th Duke of Buccleuch, Richard Montague Douglas Scott is the present Patron.
This prodigious Society is able to count as its members some notable figures; Sir Isaac Newon, Sir Hans Sloane, Alexander Pope, Dr William Stukeley, Sir Edward Bellamy, Sir G. Gilbert Scott, Lord Tennyson, Lord Curzon of Kedleston and Lord Peckover of Wisbech.
The Society’s home is a Grade II listed building on Broad Street in Spalding, purpose built to house the Society’s collections. The Society, has an extensive archive of manuscripts, drawings, maps and prints dating from the 13th century to the present day. Also amongst its most treasured possessions are the Society’s minutes of meetings, account books, lecture notes and collections of correspondence. Important manuscripts from Crowland Abbey and Spalding Priory are preserved in the collection.
The Society also has an extensive museum collection that, with the exception of the Ashmolean, is the oldest in the Kingdom. On display are a rare specimen of Jas Christopher le Bon’s tapestry ‘A head of Christ’, a fine astrolabe dated at 1565, a map of 1732 Spalding by John Grundy.
The Society has a large active membership today and holds regular public lectures from September to March on cultural, scientific and antiquarian subjects.
To find out more about this fascinating and ancient Society, come and listen to the talk by Tom Grimes, the current President of the Spalding Gentlemen’s Society, and join us later in the summer on our visit to the Society in Spalding.
You can access the Society’s webpage at https://www.sgsoc.org