Here are my 12 favourite shots of the last year. For one reason or another most of the shots I’d planned to take didn’t come off so these are the fruit of largely unplanned flights taken when wind and light allowed. Once again the wonders of the kingdom of East Anglia are my subject!
January: The church of St James, Stretham Cambs. The road across the fen to Soham in the distance. The tower contains a clock dated 1876, by JB Joyce & Co of Whitchurch, Shropshire, the oldest firm of tower clockmakers in the world; it is wound weekly by the churchwardens.
Febuary: Northfield Mill (a.k.a Shades Mill) at Soham Cambs. Northfield Windmill, also known as Townsend Windmill was converted and moved to its present location in 1830. By 1964 the Windmill had stood derelict for many years and in September of that year, one of the two remaining sails was blown off. In 1968 the remaining sail was removed. It has now been restored to its former glory, as a private project, by Mr Patrick Johnson and his family. It was converted from a drainage-mill, and as such, one of the few full-size drainage mills left anywhere in the Fens.
March: The defence of Ely by the Eastern Association in 1643 required a strong fort to protect the 2 bridges at Earith from Royalist attack. The Bulwark at Earith is a text book ‘vestig’ of flemish design. Vermuydens Washes stretch to the horizon.
April: The Motte & Bailey at Denham Castle Holes, Suffolk. Thought to be the site of an Anglo Saxon Burgate as well as a Norman Castle. Its last Saxon owner was Withgar, son of Aelfric. The site was siezed by King William in 1075 in reprisal for Earl Ralph of East Anglia’s plot against him. It was then passed to Richard Fitz Gilbert who fortified it in support of King Stephen in about 1142 against the rebel Earl Geoffrey de Mandeville. The end of the castle came in 1145 when it was slighted by order of King Henry 2nd. It then suffered from gravel mining of the motte.
May: Long Melford, Suffolk. Completed in 1484, Holy Trinity Church is one of the great Suffolk wool churches and was built almost entirely in the 15th century at a time of growing prosperity among the local cloth merchants. The tower dates from 1903, replacing abrick one from 1711 when the first tower was lost to a lightning strike.
June: West Wratting mill, Cambs. The smock mill at West Wratting is dated to 1726 making it the oldest in the country. At 55 m above sea level, West Wratting can claim to be the highest village in Cambridgeshire, although the Gog Magog Hills are a little higher.
July: West Stow Hall, West Stow Suffolk. The gatehouse dates from 1520, the statury is terracotta, seen here are 3 of the 6 pinacles of the gatehouse. Taken as part of a record of condition survey. Kite flight by Clive Hollins.
August: The Aldeburgh Scallop. Maggi Hambling’s gift to the town. Made of 10mm thick stainless steel it was constructed to withstand ‘a rugby club giving it some welly’ the monument to Benjamin Britten is visited by all who walk on the North Beach. Kite flight by Clive Hollins.
September : Felixstowe Ferry. The hulk is a failed houseboat project from the 1950s, clearly the remains of a thoroughbred hull left to blend with the mud and tide. Kite flight by Clive Hollins
October: Denver Sluice and the Great Ouse, Denver Norfolk. The Northern end of the Washes where the Great Ouse begins its tidal reach. Vermuydens first sluice here blocked the navigation up river forcing up the price of coal in Cambridge leading to winter riots. A lock for the passing of river traffic was subsequently built. Camera controlled by Richard Blake
November: Billingford Mill, Norfolk. Reputedly the last continuously wind powered mill in the county. Built for William Chaplyn, it cost £1,300 and was completed by March 1860. In 1872 the miller, Henry Pike, was sued for supplying meal unfit for consumption. He admitted having added some starch fibre to the meal. Judgement was given in his favour, but with 30s deducted and no order for costs being granted.
December: The local from Ipswich returns to Cambridge over Coldhams Common. The branch line from Newmarket to Cambridge is a diversion of the failed Chesterford & Newmarket Line which, in 1851 was the earliest railway closure in Britain.
With much thanks to all who helped, particularly Anne who, in walking the long distance paths has inspired me to re-visit them as KAP subjects also Clive Hollins and Richard Blake for patient kite flying and camera work.