Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Very English Afternoon, the First of Many

After successfully transversing the Atlantic to arrive in London, and then making my way to Cambridge via various transportational devices, I spent the afternoon in sublime bliss full of tea, sunshine and breezes, and cows.

Taking a walk from Chesterton to Fen Ditton, I was informed of various aspects of local history by my resident tour guide, host, and dear friend, such as:

Chesterton used to be its own distinct village. As Cambridge grew, nearby villages, such as Chesterton, were absorbed to now be neighborhoods.

Chesterton was once a Roman settlment. 

The rectors for the church in Chesterton can be traced back to 1200.

Not only is there still a Common, Stourbridge Common, but it is used by local farmers for grazing their cattle. So as you are walking through the Common, cows graze throughout providing a brief glimpse of past farming practices. 

The Stourbridge Fair was held on Stourbridge Common, and was the largest Fair in the Medieval and Renaissance  periods. The Fair lasted for a month while in its headday. By the end, the Fair lasted for a few days.

A leper chapel still stands on Stourbridge Common. King John granted the chapel the right to hold the Fair in 1199 to raise funds for the chapel and their leper colony. The leper colony closed in the 13th century, and the Fair was then run by the City of Cambridge. The Fair contiuned to grow in popularity, declining in the late 18th century. The last year the Fair ran was 1933. 

The Fair made apperances in such literary works as Pilgrim's Progress, Vanity Fair, and Defoe's Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain. 

The Stourbridge Common follows the path along the raceway of the Cam, where the Bumps take place every year. 

And now it is time for a lovely dinnner with vegetables from a true English Garden. 

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