The Farmland Museum & Denny Abbey, Cambridgeshire

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We have now visited Walnut Cottage and the Nuns’ Refectory, and before visiting the Abbey, there are some interesting barns in the museum to look at.  There are a few displays of farm life in a row of old stables, unfortunately the space was quite small, especially with visitors, I did managed to get one room.  Luckily it was about the eel catchers and how they made the wicker traps to catch the eels.  When we first moved to the Fens, I once saw an Eel Catcher in his flat bottom boat on one of the large drainage ditches, more like rivers really, but I didn’t have my camera, I suppose I will never see one again……although my camera is now, always at the ready.

Further along there are more barns and inside is a village shop display, we spent quite a while looking at the all the old items and even recognising some of them, well quite a few really.

The above barn is called the Great Barn, the front of it can been seen in the second photo of the post. The 17th-century barn was built of stone salvaged from some of the buildings of the Abbey, the ones that did not survive the ‘Disillusions of the Monasteries’ in 1536.  

Lots of vintage farm equipment to study, if you so wish, husband enjoyed that part.

The entrance to the Museum and Abbey had always intrigued me, the pillars look so old.  Unfortunately it is difficult to get a photo of both of them, together as the main road is extremely busy, so I just managed to get one as we were leaving, after our visit.  I found some information about them and it confirmed my feelings about them…..they are old, they date from the 14th century. 

This is what I found……..By 1809 the main road joining Ely and Cambridge had moved to the west of Denny Abbey. Around 1814, the Gate Piers at the current Abbey entrance site were likely erected, using a 14th Century moulded pier of the Franciscan church and surmounted by Grecian urns.

The next post, or maybe the next two posts, will be about Denny Abbey.

6 Replies to “The Farmland Museum & Denny Abbey, Cambridgeshire”

  1. A lot of wonderful old things I would enjoy looking at. I think there was a time when you could get just about anything metal made in white enamel. The gardens are beautiful, too. 🙂

    1. Its a very nice little museum, not over done, you can just wander and enjoy looking, no one watching you all the time. I loved the little shop, lots of things I remember from childhood, it was fun picking them out 🙂 Yes I think you’re right about the white enamel. I have a big old while and blue enamel bowel that I put plants in, for the garden, looks nice when they fill it up 🙂

  2. A delightful little shop, enjoyed looking,even the plows. The red piece with paddles is that some kind of thrasher. Wonder how they caught eels with their trap? My brother and l used to catch them with fishing line and earthworms. They are right good fried .

    1. Yes I think it is a thrasher, well husband thinks do, I know nothing about them, but thought you would like to see them 🙂 The wicker baskets would have some bait put in one end, but the entrance to the trap was in the middle. So the eel went in through the middle, but then they always tried to come out at the bottom and could never find the middle side entrance and poor thing was trapped. I’m not sure if there are that many eels left, but there are lots of fishermen fishing from the sides of the big drainage ditches at the weekends. Where we live is reclaimed land, with out the ditches that criss cross the Fens, we would be under water, in a horrible boggy marshland. Its wonderful soil, the weeds do so well 🙂

      1. Funny that an eel couldn’t find its way out, well I learned something new. Is your soil a little more on the sandy side? The one place we lived on we had large ditches running on both sides of our land that the boys used to canoe in . The soil there was sand. The garden grew as did the good ol’ weeds ..😁Here we have more clay that takes a lot of humus or compost to get things growing good.

      2. We have three ditches surrounding our garden and one of them you could canoe on, but the much larger ones, people take their canal boats on, which look like long barge boats. Our land here, because it was under water and drained, is very dark and full of minerals. The only thing we add to the soil, is leaf bark to try to keep the weeds back. Where we live before in the centre of the uk, the land was just full of clay,it was horrible, plants hated it, so most of them lived in big pots. Here in the Fens they have no problems, stick them and they grow to monsters 🙂

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