James Brown’s illustrated blogs.
James Brown, author of the definitive history of Gamlingay: ‘Villagers‘ has, for a number of years written the occasional blog on his website ‘Gamlingay Villagers‘, illuminating various aspects of Gamlingay history.
Now, Gamlingay History Society is proud to publish a selection of them here: ‘James Brown’s blogs’.
Notice: Change of venue
From February 2018 our meetings will take place in the Kier Suite at The Eco Hub at 7:30pm on the second Monday of each month.
Our first meeting of 2018 will take place on the 19th Feb.
Guests are welcome to come along for £3.00 at the door or you can become a member for £15.00 which allows free entry to all of our monthly talks.
Where is The Eco Hub?
The Eco Hub
Gamlingay History Society has collected a large amount of archive material over the years which we are gradually digitizing in order to show it on this website. We have recently collated the material relating to Gamlingay Railway Station & also the 1887 Gamlingay Jubilee celebration & they are now available to view on the ‘From the archives‘ page.
Last year we published a leaflet ‘Gamlingay. A Guided Tour’ which is an illustrated walk through places of interest in the village, and we will be giving away a limited number of these at the Village Show.. A printed version of the guide is available at The Eco Hub and an expanded version can be found here. Many thanks to Jim Brown for his invaluable assistance on this project.
In the meantime don’t forget to visit our sister website: Gamlingay Photos to see our huge collection of photos of the village from years gone by.
Merton Manor Farm
in Station Road is one of the most impressive listed buildings in Gamlingay, and on June 11th Gamlingay & District History Society were given a private tour of the house and gardens by owners Catherine and Jack.
Most of the current building dates from around 1500, but Merton College’s manorial complex was on this site from around the year 1250. Of particular interest was the dovecote, built in the late 1600’s, and 27 members and partners enjoyed a very pleasant afternoon looking around. A warm thank you to Catherine and Jack for allowing the Society to visit your home.
Heroes of Gamlingay. 1914 – 1918 Peter Wright
In January 1916, any Gamlingay resident looking back over the previous year would see village affairs dominated by the effects of the Great War. From a population of about 1400, around 110 men and boys were in HM forces by mid 1915, with only 18 serving abroad, probably because the Gamlingay recruits were still training. The excitement generated by the outbreak of war in summer 1914 had long subsided, and new applicants were hard to find, despite a number of recruitment drives. An army bugle band on a recruitment drive arrived at the station in May 1915, and paraded around the village. Children were let out of school to cheer the soldiers, but at the recruitment meeting that evening, no volunteers came forward.
Tragedy struck the village in June, when a nine year old girl was drowned in the brook at the bridge in Station Road. At that time, a deep pool was situated on the downstream side of the bridge. This was around 15 feet wide, and 7 feet deep, with steep, slippery sides. The unfortunate child fell in and was unable to escape. The funeral was held at Green End, in the Methodist Chapel three days later, with children placing flowers on the coffin as it went past the school.
The German invasion of Belgium produced many refugees, with around 250,000 accommodated in the UK. Gamlingay was quick to offer help. A meeting was held, and a village collection organised. The Sills family offered a large vacant house in Church Street, and the committee set out to fill the house with furniture, bedding and crockery. Thirteen Belgians eventually arrived and took up residence in Church Street, and four Belgian children were enrolled at the school in 1915. The Gamlingay refugees had escaped from Ostend by fishing boat, and another family of three were resident at Waresley.
The Cambridge Independent Press of 9 July 1915 reported the King had written a letter of thanks to Mr and Mrs Ezekiel Norman, of Church End Gamlingay, who had six sons serving in HM forces. Sadly, two did not survive the war. By January 1916, eight Gamlingay men were dead, seven had been wounded, and one taken prisoner of war. It’s as well Gamlingay people were not able to look forward, as by the end of the war only about 30 of the 120 in HM forces remained unharmed. A grim prospect indeed.
See the full article here.
On September 25th 2016, fifteen members of the Society visited 1, Mill Street, (Havelock House) Gamlingay. Long term Gamlingay residents will remember Bill Empson living here, but for the last twelve years the house has been owned and improved by Mr and Mrs Mercer.
Most people in Gamlingay with an interest in history and/or period architecture will be aware that Havelock House has a C17th moulded plaster ceiling, but the depth and complexity this sumptuous piece of work is quite remarkable to see. For anyone interested in old buildings, this is really special. Thank you John for giving the Society the opportunity to view.