Friday, 18 November 2011

By The Wayside....

......being another collection of oddities and curiosities from this land called England.

Cromwell's House

Cromwell's house in Ely....

In Ely just a stone's throw from the Cathedral stands this rather fine building which was once the house of Oliver Cromwell. He actually inherited the house and the position of Collector Of Tithes for the Cathedral from his uncle. Cromwell lived a fairly quiet life for his first 40 years, also having a smallholding in St Ives raising chickens and sheep for a while. He was born in Huntingdon and all three small market towns - Ely, Huntingdon and St Ives - claim him as one of their own. Depending on your point of view he was either a murderous opportunist or a great fighter for liberty and equality. He remains the only man to overthrow the monarchy - so far!

....and his statue in St Ives.

Another Lock-up

At the road junction in Barley stands another lock-up where troublemakers were apprehended until they could be dealt with by the courts. It doesn't look a particularly comfortable place to spend the night as there's neither the room to stand up or lie down; better to cause trouble elsewhere!

Unique Pub Sign

Very close to the primitive building above stands this rather grand pub sign; the only one that I've ever seen (and I've seen a few!) that goes right across the road. Whatever you think about hunting with dogs "The Fox And Hounds" serves a very nice pint and some good food.

Two Unusual Churches

Not all our English churches are either ancient or grand. Above is the little thatched church at Duddenhoe End which is beautiful but not that old. And below is the "Revelation" church at Meldreth which stands in a back yard but is used for worship every week.

Ho-ho, What's this?

This difficult-to-describe feature is known, not as a "ho-ho", but a "ha-ha". This kind of sunken fence was quite the thing to have in a grand country house if you wanted both a beautiful flower garden and a deer-park. Gardens and deer don't exactly go together so the "ha-ha" was invented to keep the deer to the left of the picture away from the flowers which were grown on the right, while giving those in the house uninterrupted views across both. Nobody seems to know why it's called a "ha-ha", unless it was a cruel response to unwitting souls who fell in!

Cottage Colours

Even the most unobservant traveller couldn't fail to notice this cottage in Linton, looking as if it's been decorated by a ten-year-old girl aiming to annoy her parents. Interestingly, pink, though not as shocking as this example, was frequently seen on the walls of country cottages; ox-blood was mixed with the lime-wash to give the effect.

Love Is Eternal

Ever wondered what becomes of all those hearts carved on trees by young lovers? Just occasionally they survive, growing deeper with the years. Lets hope that their love did the same.

Take care.


  1. Great tour and even greater photography. Thanks. I really like the lockup; maybe waiting in discomfort for court to convene might prove a deterrent. And the churches are great. We tend to think of English churches as old, grand, and cut stone. Thanks for showing some variety. And if signage is all about getting attention and communicating, the "fox and hounds" definitely got it right! Jim

  2. The ha-ha's look like an interesting gardening concept. One of our local zoos uses much the same concept to separate the public from the wild animals.

  3. Great series of pictures, I would've had to behave myself in those days, there's no way I could be locked up in that little hut. Love the Fox and Hound sign as you say pretty unique, and I enjoyed your sentiments about the heart in the tree trunk, you romantic you!!

  4. A wonderful collection John - I never tire of images of England; there is always something unique, quaint, fascinating or just gorgeous on which to feast the eyes. They serve to keep me connected to the country of my birth, so many thanks for your contributions!

  5. Am I right that Cromwell and King Charles were cousins? We have lots of wild deer in Ontario and could certainly use some ha has. Interesting about the pink paint - we see it in rural Canada sometimes.
    Great post with lots to think about.

  6. I love your visual tours John. You always present such fascinating and engaging posts, of places I would like to visit one day. Your award is well deserved! Your blog is one of the most charming ones I've seen :^) Huzzah!

  7. Outstanding, John. Again. As usual. You could keep most blogs going for a week very successfully with just this one day's images.


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