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The Domesday Book

The Domesday Book was completed in 1086 and amounts to a survey of much of England and parts of Wales. The manuscript record was ordered by King William the Conqueror. The attached image shows the entries for Yaxley, Stanground, Woodston, Haddon, Water Netwon, Sibson,...

Holme Fen

The Holme Fen (originally spelled ‘Holm’) nature reserve contains the largest pure birch woodland in the country together with raised mire and heathland habitats. Around 450 species of fungi are found in the woodland and mixed scrub on the site and these...

Large Copper butterfuly

The Large Copper butterfuly was first discovered from Dozen’s Bank near Spalding in Lincolnshire in 1749 and was abundant around the Whittlesea Mere, eventually becoming extinct in the British Isles in 1860, just a few years after the great lake was drained....

Holme Fen Decoy

Extract from THE BOOK OF DUCK DECOYS (1886) SIR RALPH PAYNE-GALLWEY Holme Decoy, between Ramsey and Peterborough, in Holme Fen, 2½ miles E. of Holme, 6 miles S. of Peterborough, and a mile from the south shore of Whittlesea Mere, before the latter was drained. A Decoy...

Prehistoric Yaxley

The South-East Embankment at Yaxley is constantly being eroded and the Oxford Clay here is extremely rich in fossils. The most common find is Gryphaeas, both the small Bilobissa dilobotes and the giant variety. Belemnites are also plentiful, including the most common...

The Wykes

“The upholding of the L.B.C.’s (London Brick Company Limited) claim to this tract of land was a ‘Smack in the eye’ to those who thought the Parish Council had a strong case. It was part of the huge parcel of land covered by the Enclosure Award of 1769, and is clearly...

Fen Blows

The ‘Fen Blows’ are a weather phenomenon very particular to fenland. When very dry conditions are followed by heavy rain, the ground can become parched, cracked and dusty. Winds can then whip up the peat soil, rather like a sandstorm and a fen blow results. Planting...

Bog Oak

Bog-wood, is wood from trees that have been buried in peat bogs and preserved from decay by the acidic and anaerobic bog conditions, sometimes for hundreds or even thousands of years. The wood is usually stained brown by tannins dissolved in the acidic water. Bog-wood...

The Sweordora

The Sweordora were an Anglian tribe who, according to the Tribal Hidage [1] (which assessed their territory at 300 hides) lived in the vicinity of Sword Point, Whittlesey Mere, Cambridgeshire (formerly Huntingdonshire), probably in the 6th Century. [1] The Tribal...

Whittlesea Mere Map by John Bodger 1786

Click here to download the 1786 Map of Whittlesea Mere by John Bodger. One of the greatest curiosities in this Kingdom, being a most spacious and beautiful fresh-water lake, on which have been exhibited several Regattas, at which were present many Thousands of...

The Mere in 2012

Whittlesea Mere 2012, a photo by Yaxley Festival on Flickr. In 2012 a Wright Rain Super Touraine system irrigates the site of Whittlesea Mere with Yaxley in the distance – a curious notion perhaps to those who strove to drain the lake in the middle of the...