Category Fenlands

The story of Monastic Ely with Etheldreda & Sexburga

The story of Anna, the 7th century king of East Anglia is, as many of that time, rather convoluted. Here is not the place to try and unravel that but it is important that we look at the life of two of his daughters – Etheldreda and Sexburga – in our story of the monastic […]

In the Memory of Maria Harrison, the Wife of William Harrison and 16 years his junior

To the Memory of  MARIA HARRISON “Only the actions of the just, Smell sweet and blossom in the dust” It would be an unseemly sign, for long united friends, to part without a parting line, when the connection ends. Much more when death dissolves the ties, by which two hearts are joined, the strongest nature […]

Willaim Harrison’ Epitaph for his wife Maria

Maria Harrison was William’s wife and 16 Years his junior. Her death aged 60 on 30th May 1871 was hard for William. He wrote a brief epitaph for her. Earth has no speech that can set forth Her spotless life, and priceless worth These only can be said or sung In accents from an angel’s […]

William Harrison and the New South Level Cut 1830

On Monday 19th April 1830 there was a formal opening, in Ely, of the New South Level Cut which ran from Ely to Littleport so by-passing the old meandering course of the Ouse and transforming the Padnal and Waterden Fens into rich agricultural land. The Bedford, Biggleswade and Potton Advertiser of 23rd April tells us […]

The Juror’s Excuse

Things happen in life – little things, but inconvenient things. In mid October 1833 William Harrison had such a happening – and inconvenient it was – BUT his way with words; light but to the point; well thought out AND persuasive would come to his rescue. This is made very clear here when an accident […]

THE SPIRITUAL RAILWAY – the work of William Harrison?

THE SPIRITUAL RAILWAY If you visit Ely Cathedral and stroll round the beautiful building you will come across this tombstone attached to a wall. It is in memory of 30 year old William Pickering and 24 year old Richard Edgar who both died on Christmas Eve, December 24th 1845 The inscription reads: The Line to […]

Lines addressed to the Commissioners of Burnt Fen

In 1861, at the age of 66, William had completed thirty years’ service with Burnt Fen Commissioners and such an auspicious occasion called – of course – for some poetry. To celebrate the ‘poem’ a small booklet was published and was then ‘reprinted by desire of the commissioners’. There are two images here of cover […]