The counties of Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk and Peterborough City Council all lay claim to parts of the Fens. Since Roman times mankind, by his ingenuity, hard work and determination has increased the land mass in this area by one third of the size. It is the largest plain in the British Isles, covering an area of nearly three-quarters of a million acres, and is unique to the UK. The fen people know the area as marsh (land reclaimed from the sea) and fen (land drained from flooding rivers running from the uplands). The Fens are unique in having more miles of navigable waterways than anywhere else in the UK. Mammoth drainage schemes during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, undertaken primarily by Dutch engineers such as Sir Cornelius Vermuyden and Sir Philibert Vernatti, changed the landscape forever - but it could be said that the Fens were not truly drained until the twenteith century, with improvements being carried out even to this day. Rex Sly's book draws on his many years of research, and his knowledge of and love for this unique area of England shine through on every page.
The text is ambitious in scope, reflecting the author's position as a historical geographer, and covers a broad range of disciplinary perspectives, ranging from geology to socio-economic analysis. Numerous illustrative figures are contained, including maps, diagrams and photographs of the area, and a bibliography is also provided.
The Fens remained a remote area until the advent of the railways in the 1860s, but even when transport links improved many of the long-established Fen families stayed put for the next 100 years, wedded as they were to a way of life that was unique to this part of England. Now, in the early years of the twenty-first century, there are still businesses, trades and professions throughout the Fens that have been in the same family for generations - and are still thriving, despite pressures from the modern world of multinationals, cheap imports and online shopping. Well-know local author Rex Sly, whose own family has been living in the Fens since the seventeenth century, has researched the history of Fenland families, names that everyone who lives in the region will recognise. He has also interviewed many family members and visited their homes, shops and businesses to build up a picture that encompasses not only life in this unique area over the last few centuries but also the thriving life of the Fens today.
The Lost Fens is the history of the cultural landscape of the Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, and Yorkshire Fenlands from the Humber and the Vale of York, to Norfolk. The book draws together the story of changing landscapes, lost cultures and ways of life, and the wildlife that has gone, too. This story of destruction is the most dramatic example of ecological destruction in our history. Between 6,000 and 10,000 square kilometres of wetland present in the 1600s, was almost entirely obliterated by 1900. Gone are the vast flocks of wetland birds that filled the evening skies in winter, the frozen wetlands and the fen skaters of the winter, and the abundant Black Terns or breeding wading birds of the summer months. This is the history of a landscape, of a region, and of its people, long since passed away. It is a remarkable tale and, above all, a history of a lost ecology.
Like many of the families in this book, Rex Sly follows in the footsteps of his ancestors who were also farmers in the Fens. The land was reclaimed by forebears, giving this unique bond between "soil and soul"—each generation wishing to leave their soils as a sustainable inheritance to the next. The variety of crops which are grown has changed little over the past half-century, but the traditional farms have been largely replaced by high-tech agro-businesses. Not all farms in the fens are large, though, and the richness of the soils still enables the small grower to survive in a niche marketplace. The greatest change has been from the grower to the consumers' shopping baskets. The marketing chain has changed from markets and merchants to the vast supermarket network: fast and efficient for the grower and value for money for the public. The corn exchanges which witnessed the rise and fall of agriculture over one and a half centuries of history are now no more than farming monuments. The ever-increasing demands on our soils are of concern to those in the Fens. Each generation is replaceable—fen topsoil is not.
Towards a Comparative and Transcultural History of Disasters Across Asia and Europe
Author: Gerrit Jasper Schenk
Category: Social Science
Historical disaster research is still a young field. This book discusses the experiences of natural disasters in different cultures, from Europe across the Near East to Asia. It focuses on the pre-industrial era and on the question of similarities, differences and transcultural dynamics in the cultural handling of natural disasters. Which long-lasting cultural patterns of perception, interpretation and handling of disasters can be determined? Have specific types of disasters changed the affected societies? What have people learned from disasters and what not? What adaptation and coping strategies existed? Which natural, societal and economic parameters play a part? The book not only reveals the historical depth of present practices, but also reveals possible comparisons that show globalization processes, entanglements and exchanges of ideas and practices in pre-modern times.
For fans of CJ Sansom and SJ Parris, THE HERETICS is the fifth in Rory Clements' acclaimed and bestselling John Shakespeare series of Tudor spy thrillers. Clements, winner of the Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award, 'does for Elizabeth's reign what CJ Sansom does for Henry VIII's' Sunday Times England may have survived the Armada threat of 1588, but when Spanish galleys land troops in Cornwall on a lightning raid seven years later, is it a dry-run for a new invasion? Revenge for the sacking of Spanish shipping and ports? A warning shot to Drake and Hawkins? Or is there, perhaps, a more sinister motive? The Queen is speechless with rage at Spain's temerity. Sir Robert Cecil demands answers. But as John Shakespeare tries to get a grip on events, England's secret defences begin to unravel as one by one his network of spies is horribly murdered. But what has all this to do with Thomasyn Jade, a girl driven to the edge of madness by the foul rituals of exorcism? And what is the link to a group of priests held prisoner in the bleak confines of Wisbech Castle? From the pain-wracked torture rooms of the Inquisition in Seville to the marshy wastes of fenland, from the wild coasts of Cornwall to the sweat and sawdust of the Elizabethan playhouses, and from the condemned cell at Newgate to the devilish stench of brimstone and fear as demons are driven out by unspeakable means, THE HERETICS builds to a terrifying climax that threatens the life of the Queen herself.
This volume shows how ramblers, road protesters and country lovers are coming together to challenge the rural land ownership regime. It argues that the urban population should use its democratic strength to deprive rural landowners of their grip on the countryside. first of a series of forthcoming challenges to landowner control of the countryside. It was followed by the 100,000-strong protest of the landowners' Countryside Alliance at Hyde Park in July 1997. This work on the politics of rural land ownership, appears on the eve of the second reading of the fox-hunting Bill. the last 1000 years, and analyzes the current ownership of the countryside. It unveils a radical programme of action, setting out a new social contract through which landowners and the people would share control of the countryside.
In this book, Tim Dee tells the story of four green fields spread around the world: their grasses, their hedges, their birds, their skies, and both their natural and human histories. These four fields—walkable, mappable, man-made, mowable, knowable, but also secretive, mysterious, wild, contested, and changing—play central roles in the sweeping panorama of world history and in the lives of individuals. In Dee’s telling, a field is never just a setting for great battles or natural disasters, though it is often this as well. A field is the oldest and simplest and truest measure of what a man needs in life, especially when looked at, contemplated, worked in, lived with, and written about. Dee’s four fields, which he has known and studied for more than twenty years, are the fen field at the bottom of his private garden, a field in southern Zambia, a prairie in Little Bighorn, Montana, and a grass meadow in the Exclusion Zone at Chernobyl, Ukraine. Meditating on these four fields, Dee makes us look anew at where we live and how. He argues that we must attend to what we have made of the wild.
Author: William Graham Sumner,Henry Dunning MacLeod,Antoine E Horn
Publisher: Andesite Press
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A classic John Buchan story of daring-do and espionage during World War I. This classic works, originally published in 1933, is here being republished together with a new introductory biography of the author.
'Fenland Pumping Engines' details the many former drainage engines which powered the wheels and pumps which kept the fens free from flood. The book contains much little known information and photographs, some rare.
This 1940 book, together with its companion volume, constitutes an attempt to outline the changing conditions of a fascinating region. The text is ambitious in scope, reflecting the author's position as a historical geographer, and covers a broad range of disciplinary perspectives, ranging from geology to socio-economic analysis.