Since moving to Brampton more than 30 years ago Dr. Pat Doody, a professional coastal ecologist, has taken a special interest in Portholme Meadow, its landscape setting, history and ownership
Throughout the spring and early summer the meadow has an abundance of wildflowers and grasses and is buzzing with insects. The meadow collects silt deposits when the river floods, the nutrients removed in the hay crop are replenished naturally so there is no need for fertilizers.
A 1772 survey for the Enclosure Act took place in Brampton Parish and included a map which shows ownership of the land, both large plots and nrrow strips apportioned to the people of Brampton.
In 1773 horse racing took place on Portholme.
In in the early 1900’s aviators arrived and Portholme became a mecca for early attempts at flight.
It is hoped that a guided visit to Portholme Meadow will be arranged for 2019
On a very warm summer evening in June Members of Hartford Conservation Group visited Ramsey Walled Garden. The visit was a follow up to an illustrated talk given by Jane Sills at our open meeting on 17th May 2016 about the restoration of the garden, which was rediscovered in 1996 by a Trust Member. An army of volunteers worked on the restoration (are still doing so) and the garden was officially opened by Lord Fairhaven in 2010.
Next stop was the new glasshouses, built on the site of the originals, and made possible by a generous legacy from the late John Drake, MBE. The opening ceremony took place on 13th May 2017. The garden contained apples, pears, cherries and soft fruit, a variety of flowers and one of the quadrants is now an area to sit and enjoy the garden.
We were then taken into the grounds of Abbey College to see the original school building, sadly listed but no longer in use. Lady Broughton, the last private owner of the estate, on her death wanted the grounds to be used as a school. The old school building was beautiful, the current buildings built over a period of time were not so attractive.On our way out we were able to purchase freshly picked redcurrants and strawberries. The garden is open to visitors on Sunday afternoons.
Chairman Mike Humphrey thanked Jane for a most enjoyable tour.
14th July A guided walk around the listed and interesting buildings in Hartford with local historian David Hufford.
We met outside the King of the Belgians, a beer house since 1541, at 6.30 p.m., and after short introduction we set off, our first stop being the Hurst (one time home of Isabella Bird Bishop, a 19th Century traveller, writer, photographer and natural historian). The Hurst garden originally stretched down to the river before Longstaff Way was built in 1964. It was during these excavations that the 'Hartford Hoard' was discovered, an earthenware pot containing over 1,000 coins which are now on display in the British Museum. We then walked up School Lane to the Pits, (so called locally because it was a sand and gravel pit) officially named the King George V Playing Field. School Lane was originally named Mill Lane, leading to a Mill.
Our next stop was outside the Village Shop where we were shown pictures of how it used to look. The Methodist Chapel opposite was paid for by Potto Brown. It was originally built so that it could become a house, as indeed it has. The pointed windows were originally square. The Barley Mow was built with stone from St Benedict's Church in 1804. It was derelict in 1976 and rebuilt in 1978. On the opposite corner stands The Red House which was originally a coachman's house belonging to the Manor House, as was Pear Tree Cottage adjacent to The Manor House. Then on to The Manor House and Manor Farm House. At this point it began to rain quite heavily. We then crossed the road to Hartford House, built in the 18th Century by the Desborough Familly, a listed building with a surrounding wall listed in it's own right.
Down The Hollow to the Church, stopping in the churchyard to see the large tomb of HenryThomas Barratt, which was badly vandalised in 1977 and repaired by John Dillistone, an artist from Godmanchester. We continued through the churchyard to the group of cottages which are depicted on the Village Sign. We walked along the river to Anchor Cottage, originally a waterman's pub.
Our very interesting walk with David Hufford was very informative and lasted approximately 2 hours. Many of these buildings can be found on Hartford Conservation Group's leaflet 'The Architectural Heritage of Hartford in Cambridgeshire' which is available in All Saints Hartford Church and Huntingdon Library.
The Heritage Lottery has given a grant of £75,000 to improve access such as installing kissing gates to replace stiles, clearing paths, putting in ducting etc. One major item is the replacementof the access bridge which has been condemned under health & safety.
The Lancaster was designed by Roy Chadwick and manufactured by Avro. More than 7,000 were built (at an individual cost of some £50,000). Orders came in thick and fast and manufacturing had to be contracted out to other factories such as Armstrong Whitley, Vickers Armstrong and Austin Morris. Some 300+ were built in Canada but only two are still flying, one in England and the other in Canada. The Canadian Lancaster came to the UK in 2014 and appeared at many air shows, including Gransden. It was developed from the Avro Manchester.
The Lancaster was used for a variety of other purposes including dropping food to the starving people of Holland, aerial refuelling and after the war to repatriate prisoners of war. It then took on a new role as a transatlantic passenger plane and renamed the Lancastrian.
Questions were then taken from the floor and Mike Humphrey thanked David Taylor for a very
interesting talk to a very knowledgeable and interested audience.