30 January 2009

Dinosaurs in the Fens

Today's weather check - cold but sunny, with the promise of a high pressure system straight from Russia! Nice . . . remind me not to go and stand on the coldest place in the county in this sort of weather - that's Ely railway station where it gets v.v.v.v. cold!!

Anyway, I know I make a rubbish weather forecaster so onwards unto the latest anniversaries in my files. How about William Quince & Susan Whittlesea, married yesterday in 1828 in Doddington, near March. Ooooh, a subliminal link . . . . why I was thinking about cold railway stations? Because March used to be a massive railway depot before Dr Beeching.

I digress again. So, William & Susan married and went on to produce ten children, of whom all seem to have survived infancy, with only two dying before their 20th birthday. Listen to me, "only two" . . . I'd say that 20% infant mortality was quite high. The family moved to Whittle End, March by 1851 and there they stayed, at least until William died in 1886. I have no info on what happened after that - they're not the biggest pieces in this family jigsaw of mine, but I will look out for them.

Of similar size in the jigsaw, but no less important, are Susan Webb & Jabez Peachey. She was born in Landbeach and he in Burwell and presumably they met when Susan's father James (my g-g-g-grandfather) moved his family to Poor Fen Farm near Burwell in the 1870s. From what I can gather, Poor Fen Farm was leased by a local charity to provide money for the poor - money which had previously been amply provided by royalties from copralite diggings.

Copralite? Fossilised dinosaur dung.

Some serious rambling tonight, I notice; I'm so easily straying off the point. Back to Susan & Jabez . . . Susan had (possibly) had a son, Charles, before she married and she & Jabez had no children during their marriage - she died in 1885. Jabez went on to marry again and I found him in 1891 in the village of Gazeley, listed as Christian Missioner. Plainly Gazeley had previously been a Godless place! This conversion, for want of a better word, did not seem so unusual after I'd seen that one of Jabez's brothers was called Job and his sisters all had names from the bible!

And finally, for today, an observation made during my wanderings around Cambridge. In the churchyard of Holy Trinity in the city centre, there are two things of interest:- the War Memorial and the graves. The War Memorial takes the form of a small covered seating area, a bit like a circular wooden bus shelter, but it was closed to the public a few years ago after it was adopted by some locals who preferred to drink in there.

The other things of interest are the many gravestones, all fairly old and looking as though they might fall over at a small push - but the best thing is that a number of them are engraved with the name Hunnybun!

So, a Jabez, a Job and some Hunnybuns. Not a bad haul for a cold Friday evening!!

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