Learn about Fenland's history at Heritage Weekend events

PUBLISHED: 08:32 04 September 2016

St Wendreda's Church tour.

St Wendreda's Church tour.

Archant

England's favourite heritage festival returns next weekend - September 8 to 11 - with a variety of open day events in Fenland.

Wisbech Council Chamber.Wisbech Council Chamber.

Held to celebrate history, architecture and culture, “it’s your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences - all of

which are free to explorem” say organisers.

Station Road’s Cemetery and March District Museum.Station Road’s Cemetery and March District Museum.

With dozens of events taking place, we’ve narrowed down a selection of the best:

St Wendreda's Church tour.St Wendreda's Church tour.

WISBECH

St Peter's Church Tower Tours.St Peter's Church Tower Tours.

1. Wisbech Council Chamber, 1 North Brink, Wisbech, PE13 1JQ

The building was erected in 1811 as an Exchange Hall. The Council Chamber is still a working building used for meetings of Wisbech Town Council. There are now 18 councillors and seven wards within Wisbech parish. The Council Chamber houses many works of art, artefacts and official documents which reflect the civic history.

R. B. Johnson & Co.R. B. Johnson & Co.

Opening Times: Saturday and Sunday 10am to 2pm.

No booking required; max 60 people per tour.

Centenary Baptist Church, March.Centenary Baptist Church, March.

Visit www.wisbechtowncounc

St John the Evangelist Church, March.St John the Evangelist Church, March.

2. Octavia Hill Birthplace House, 7 South Brink, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, PE13 1JB

Octavia Hill (1838-1912) was a woman ahead of her time. An artist and a radical, she was a pioneer of affordable housing

March Masonic HallMarch Masonic Hall

and can be seen as the founder of modern social work. Her formidable achievements as an environmental and open space

campaigner led to her co-founding the National Trust, which today protects over 300 historic properties and keeps 250,000

March railway stationMarch railway station

hectares of land open to all. Her life and work is documented in Octavia Hill’s Birthplace House, a handsome Georgian house

facing the river Nene. The house and its displays demonstrate this remarkable woman’s influence on our life today: her fight

Our Lady of Good Counsel and St Peter Roman Catholic Church.Our Lady of Good Counsel and St Peter Roman Catholic Church.

against poverty and disease and her quest to bring peace and beauty into the lives of ordinary working people.

Opening Times: Saturday 1 to 4.30pm.

March MuseumMarch Museum

No booking required; visit www.octaviahill.org/

Fossils GaloreFossils Galore

3. Wisbech General Cemetery, North End, Wisbech, PE13 1PE

This attractive and peaceful corner of Wisbech originated in 1836, one of the first Victorian burial grounds in the country

Let's Take the Train.Let's Take the Train.

primarily for non-conformists. Many prominent residents of Wisbech were buried here over the next 100 years

The land, around 3 acres, was laid out as a formal garden with gravel pathways, lawns, trees and flowering shrubs following

the style of the new cemeteries in London and Paris. It is now a haven for wildlife and a woodland habitat, which is a rarity

in this part of Fenland. Friends of Wisbech General Cemetery will be on hand with maps and a list of names if anyone is

interested in family research. There will be a display by the Fenland Family History Society and The Wisbech Society will be

showing the plans for the chapel restoration! There will also be activities for children on both days.

We would love to meet anyone with relatives buried here.

Opening Times: Saturday and Sunday 10am to 4pm (tour at 2pm on Sunday led by local historian Peter Clayton).

No booking required; visit www.wisbech-society.co.uk/cemetery.html1

4. All Saints’ Church, Walsoken, Church Road, Walsoken, Wisbech, PE13 3RA

All Saints has been a centre of worship since 1146. Situated exactly one mile from the centre of Wisbech, the church has been

described as ‘The grandest Norman parish church in Norfolk’.

• Coffee Morning 10:00 - 12:00: tea, cakes, raffle etc

• Bell Tower 10:00 - 14:00: a chance to visit the tower and have a go at ringing the bells including hand bells.

• Bell demo 14:00 - 14:45: a demonstration of bell ringing by local ringers

• Talk 15:00: a talk by Peter Wadlow Church Warden on Burials inside the Church.

As well as the coffee morning, refreshments are available all day.

Opening Times: Saturday 10am to 4pm.

No booking required.

5. Peckover House & Garden, Peckover House, North Brink, Wisbech, PE13 1JR

Free access to the former home of the peckovers, a Quaker banking family who lived here throughout the 19th and early 20th

centuries. Enjoy the two acre Victorian garden, special exhibitions in the house, including a scale model of 1795 Wisbech,

our Reed Barn tea-room and gift shop. For Heritage Open Day we will also be joined by Tim and Angela from Anglia Dolls

Houses, who will be talking to visitors about their latest project with us and their dolls house business.

Opening Times: Saturday 11am to 5pm; last admission 4pm.

No booking required

6. St Augustine’s Church & Parish Centre, Lynn Road, Wisbech, PE13 3AH: Heritage & Poppy Weekend,

A Victorian church built in 1868. Now in its third year of commemorating WW1. The exhibition focuses on the Battle of the

Somme and what was happening in the church in 1916, including Weddings and Christenings. Orchard school are doing

a backdrop of the Battle of the Somme and Peckover school are doing a 1916 wedding wall mural. Fenland Family History

Society: Family history display, and experienced researchers available to assist anyone wishing to research their family history.

On Saturday, a service in honour of the fallen from the battle of the Somme.

Historians’ W.W.1 artefacts and films of the Somme with wedding dresses from our congregation. Other wedding dresses

will be available for auction at a later date. Sewing Tombola on all four days. Tea and coffee, cakes, sing song and raffle.

Opening Times: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 4pm.

No booking required

7. St Leonard’s Church, Gorefiled Road, Leverington, Wisbech, PE13 5AS

St Leonard’s is a fascinating building said to have one of the finest towers in the county: the spire is 162 feet high. Entry is

through the two-storey porch and not to be missed is the famous stained glass window depicting the Tree of Jesse.

The stone church was begun in the 13th century. The lower sections of the tower, the arcades separating chancel and south

chapel, and part of the south wall stand from this time. The porch was added in the 14th century and the nave was rebuilt in

the 15th century, when a north aisle was added. Most of the building is of Barnack stone.

The most striking features of the building are the west tower and spire, and he quite wonderful 14th century embattled porch.

Joining us we have the Fenland Family History Society; the perfect group to chat to if you are researching your families past

and need help or advice. The parish Registers will be available together with a collection of Bridal Couture & photographs.

On the Sunday at 3pm there will be a short bell ringing demonstration. We look forward to seeing you.

Opening Times: Saturday 2-5pm, Sunday 11am to 4pm; bell ringing 3pm.

No booking required.

8. Vivien Fire Engine Trust, 1 North Brink, Wisbech, PE13 1JR

“Vivien” is a Leyland fire engine, which was proudly serving Wisbech from 1932 until 1963. Named after the mayoress at the

time, Vivien was regarded as one of the most up-to-date fire engines in the district. It featured the distinctive “Borough of

Wisbech Fire Brigade” lettering and the Borough of Wisbech armorial bearings on the side.

There will be a display of photographs in the Council Chamber and Vivien will be on display on Saturday and Sunday.

Opening Times: Saturday and Sunday 10am to 2pm.

No booking required.

9. Fenland & West Norfolk Aviation Museum, Old Lynn Road, West Walton, Wisbech, PE14 7DA

Members will be on site to answer questions, give guided tours and provide information on the conservation and preservation

of exhibits. Music of the wartime will be playing. The Fenland & West Norfolk Aviation Museum was opened in the late 1980’s

and has expanded massively, and continues to do so with new exhibits coming in all the time. The Museum has a superb

collection of Aviation Archaeology from various aircraft recovered from the Fens. All the exhibits (except some of the aircraft)

are housed in purpose built premises, comprising four large themed halls, illustrating all facets of Aviation, some of the

Cockpits may be open, depending on the weather.

Opening Times: Thursday and Friday 10am to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday 9.30am to 4.30pm.

No booking required.

10. London Glassworks, 112A High Street, Chatteris, PE16 6NN: Glassworks tour

Visits are by tour only to view highly respected and talented glassmaker and

designer at work. There will be a demonstration and a chance to find out more

about the glassmaker’s art. Visitors will see how a piece of glass is blown and

shaped into a contemporary piece of art. There will also be a chance to visit the

gallery to view pieces of glass that are for sale. There will also be an opportunity to

view ceramics made by Kathryn Hearn. Please ensure you contact organiser to book your free place on the tour. All bookings

must be received before the 5th September. Event not suitable for children under the age of 10.

Opening Times: Thursday tour 10.15am.

Pre-booking required: contact Julie Smith on 01354 694289 or email chatterisarchive@hotmail.co.uk

Booking closes September 5; max 40 people per tour/session.

CHATTERIS

1. Chatteris Community Archive Town Walk, St. Peters & St. Pauls Church, Market Hill, Chatteris, PE16 6BA

A guided walk of about one hour and a half exploring the town with information about Chatteris’s shops pubs and stories that

form part of the town’s history. Event not suitable for children under the age of seven.

Opening Times: Friday 6.30pm - meet outside St Peter & St Pauls Parish Church.

No booking required; max 25 people per tour/session.

2. Lets Take the Train: Explore the East Anglian Film Archive, Cambridgeshire County Council, Chatteris Library, 2 Furrowfields Road, Chatteris, PE16 6DY

The East Anglian Film Archive holds 12,000 hours of film about the Eastern region. Anglia TV and BBC TV contributed a

considerable amount of film to the archive and it covers many subjects and areas of East Anglia. The evening is an event especially arranged for Heritage Open Days. Cambridgeshire Libraries and the East Anglian Film Archive invite you to come and view some archive film with a theme “Let’s take the Train.” Come along for a trip back in time to see film footage of the marshalling yards at March, The Wisbech Fruit Train which is said to be the inspiration for Thomas the Tank Engine stories, and see John Betjeman’s trip to Hunstanton. Opening Times: Saturday 7pm; free car parking in Furrowfields Road; max 30 people per tour/session.

3. Vintage and Veteran Motorcycle Display, Chatteris Museum, 14 Church Lane, Chatteris PE16 6JA

Chatteris Museum is hosting a small static display of vintage and veteran motorycles in the Church Lane Car Park. The museum will also be open on Sunday for light refreshments and chance for visitors to view the exhibits.

Opening Times: Sunday 11am to 4pm.

MARCH

1. Centenary Baptist Church, High Street, March, PE15 9LB

The Centenary Baptist Church in its elevated position was the site of the town’s first non-conformist church built in 1799. In 1870 in was demolished and a new one built. In 1959 it was gutted by a fire and rebuilt yet again. The Church will have a display of information on the history of the church. Church members will be available to answer questions and show visitors around the building.

Opening Times: Thursday 1 to 4pm.

No booking required.

2. Home from Home and Quiz, March Town Hall, Market Place, March, PE15 9TF

Showing of film, “Home From Home” produced by members 20Twenty Productions film and theatre groups. It is about evacuees in Chatteris in World War II. This will be combined with the March Museum Quiz which will give everyone a chance to test their local knowledge.

Opening Times: Friday 11am, 1pm and 3pm.

No booking required.

3. Display on March’s Heritage in the Library, City Road, March, PE15 9LT

A display on March’s Heritage by The March Society, hosted by March Library.

Opening Times: Thursday 9.30am to 7pm; Friday 9.30am to 5pm; Saturday 9.30am to 4pm.

No booking required.

4. Fossils Galore, 60 High Street, March, PE15 9LD

Fossils Galore has a Jurassic walk you can come and explore with living fossils in the form of ferns as well as metal Dinosaur Skeletons, come and learn all about these dinosaurs and living fossils. Come and see Stompy the Woolly Rhinoceros Skull - one of the best persevered skulls ever found. Learn about Stompy’s life and death and how March used to be back in the Ice Age.

The Fossils Galore Museum is full of real Dinosaur bones, from the famous T-rex to Triceratops, Spinosaurus, Velociraptor and

Iguanodon. Come learn how these amazing creatures lived and where in the World they used to roam. We also have Fossils

from England. Learn all about these Dinosaurs that once roamed near March.

We will have our Prehistoric activities on offer everything from Fossil hunting to Gold Panning and an Archaeology Dig, have

fun learning and take a few things home with you as well. The Fossils Galore Cinema will be showing Dinosaur documentary

narrated by our Patron Nigel Marven. Come to Fossils Galore to learn about what lies beneath our feet

Opening Times: Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10am to 5pm.

No booking required.

5. Highlights of March, Grays Lane, by Barclays Bank, March, PE15 8TQ

Guided walks, lasting about 40 minutes, led by Andrew Clarke, Secretary of the March Society, focusing on taking in some of the architectural and historical highlights of March. Only guide dogs. Children accompanied by adults. Ideal size of group is 15, but no need to book, just turn up on the day.

Opening Times: Saturday walk 10am and 2pm.

No booking required; no dogs, except assistance dogs.

6. March Masonic Hall, City Road, March, PE15 9LS

The Masonic Hall at March was formerly known as The Primrose Hall and was an addition to the March Liberal Club premises in High Street. Named after the Isle of Ely MP, Capt The Hon Neil Primrose, who died of wounds in 1917 in Palestine, the decision to build the hall was made in 1925 and it was opened in 1932 on the site of former cottages. In 1956 the local Liberals decided to sell the hall and

it was eventually purchased by the local Freemasons, who had been meeting in The Griffin Hotel since 1907. The Masonic Hall is now the home to the town’s two Lodges, Caldwell No 3201 and Stone Cross No 6704, as well as various other Masonic orders. Members of the Lodges will be pleased to show visitors around.

Opening Times: Saturday 10am to 3pm.

No booking required; in the passage between Iceland and podiatry clinic.

7. March Railway Station, Station Approach, Station Road, March, PE15 8SJ

The railway first came to March on December 10th 1846 and was open to the public in January 1847. The platforms were opened on November 23rd 1885. The Friends of March Station group was formed in August 2009 to rejuvenate the disused side of the station. The Heritage Open

Days event will include a number of railway related displays and a display by the March Society.

Opening Times: Saturday 10am to 2pm.

No booking required.

8. Military Graves and Commemorations, Doddington Churchyard, Church Lane, Doddington, PE15 0TA

A guided walk around Doddington Churchyard on a theme of military graves and commemorations with particular reference to the First World War with David Edwards. Meet at Doddington War Memorial in the churchyard.

Opening Times: Sunday 2 to 3.15pm.

No booking required.

9. Our Lady of Good Counsel and St Peter Roman Catholic Church, 8 St. Johns Road, March, PE15 8RJ

The Roman Catholic parish of March has been a part of the community since 1911. Our present church was built in 1953 but many local people have never seen inside. The church will be open to give an opportunity to visit and look around. There will be someone to show you around but you can also visit independently. There will be displays about the parish’s history. Everyone is welcome.

Opening Times: Saturday 10am to 4pm.

No booking required.

10. St John the Evangelist Church, Station Road, March, PE15 8NG

St. John’s Church was built in 1872 and designed by TH Wyatt. As part of Heritage Open Days the church will be offering

refreshments and talks about the history of the church.

Opening Times: Saturday 9am to 4pm.

No booking required.

11. St Peter’s Church Tower Tours, High Street, March, Cambridgeshire, PE15 9JR

St Peter’s church dates from 1881. The clock is believed to date from the late 17th century and to be the oldest working mechanical object in March, made without bolt or screw. It was erected in the old Market buildings in 1832 and when the buildings were demolished in 1898, the clock was given to St Peter’s church by Mr George Sharman. The bell was made in 1832 in Downham Market and weighed five hundred-weight. Tours of the bell tower take place over the Heritage Open Days Weekend. People should be aware that there is a spiral staircase with over 50 steps, so is only suitable for the reasonably fit and is undertaken at one’s own risk.

Opening Times: Friday tours 12 to 2pm, Saturday tours 12 to 3pm.

No booking required; spiral staircase with over 50 steps; max eight people per tour/session.

12. St Wendreda’s Church tour, Wimblington Road, March, PE15 9QW

St Wendreda’s Church is the only Grade I listed building in the town. Almost certainly the current church is built on the site of an earlier Saxon timber church. Wendreda was a daughter of the Saxon King Anna and, in the 7th century, established a mission on the site to minister to the poor and needy. The church was enlarged in the 1340s to house the shrine of the relics of St Wendreda, translated from Canterbury Cathedral in 1343, and became a place of pilgrimage. The great glory of St Wendreda’s Church, for which it receives world renown, is its ancient double-hammer beamed roof, which is adorned with 118 carved Angels, making it almost unique. A wonderful example of the wood-carvers art, the roof was built between 1470 and 1520.

Opening Times: Thursday and Friday tours 11am and 2pm, Saturday tour 2pm.

No booking required.

13. The History of March, High Street, March, PE15 9JJ

Browse and view our Grade Two listed building. See the special exhibition on the men from March and District who died in the Battle of the Somme 100 years ago this year. Find out about the day when the Kaiser’s Zeppelin bombed March. Entry free, contributions to the museum welcomed. Museum membership available.

Opening Times: Saturday and Sunday 10.30am to 3.30pm.

No booking required.

14. The History of R. B. Johnson & Co, R. B. Johnson & Co Ltd (est.1839), 6-8 Dartford Road, March, PE15 8AD

Perhaps the oldest business that started in March and is still going strong after 176 years of trading in the town. There will be

an exhibition in the shop showing some of its history.

Opening Times: Thursday, Friday and Saturday 9am to 5pm.

No booking required.

15. Station Road’s Cemetery and March & District Museum, The Cemetery, Station Road, March

Station Road Cemetery Chapel is probably March’s least known religious building. On Friday 9 meet at the cemetery chapel at 10.00am for a guided walk round the Cemetery. The visit will consider all aspects of the cemetery whilst paying particular attention to the military commemorations contained within. At 2.30pm the Cemetery Chapel will be open to view. Displays about and talks on

the history of the chapel and cemetery. No booking required and there is no charge but donations to the Museum are welcome. Please gather at the chapel for both events and note that there are no toilet facilities.

Opening Times: Friday guided walk 10am to 11.30am, visit the chapel 2.30 to 4.30pm.

No booking required.

16. Ye Olde Griffin Hotel, High Street, March, Cambridgeshire, PE15 9JS

A presentation on the history of this magnificent coaching inn by Jennifer Lawler, chairman of The March Society.

Opening Times: Thursday 10.30am to 12pm.

No booking required.

17. Whalebones and Interesting Buildings

An architectural stroll around the hidden treasures of Dartford Road with Jennifer Lawler of the March Society.

Opening Times: Sunday 2.30pm.

No booking required; meet by the fountain in Broad Street.

18. March Library Day

The library will be holding an open session to promote the resources available. i.e. OS maps from 1887, Road maps from 1972, The Cambs Times on microfiche, Local Studies books, Ancestry and Find My Past websites. There will be a member of staff available to demonstrate and direct to different resources.

Opening Times: Saturday 10am to 12pm.

For more information about heritage events taking place in Fenland visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk or www.visitcambridgeshirefens.org

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