So what do you know or think you know about your town? Try our quiz
SO what do you know about your town, what do you think you know, and what might we have got wrong about your town? Jamie Clarke posts some facts and figures but which one is most definitely wrong?
•Whittlesey appears in the Domesday Book as Witesie, but it is argued that the name derives from Whittle’s Ea, where Ea is a Saxon term for an island. The land was once owned and presided over by a man named ‘Whittle’, which, in simple terms, translates as ‘Whittle’s Island’.
•Whittlesey has a long history of public houses and, at one time, it was believed that there were 52 different pubs in the town – one for each week of the year. In 1797, a local farmer, when writing his diary, noted that ‘they like drinking better than fighting in Whittlesea’.
•The Whittlesey straw bear is a festival often referred to as the ‘strawblower’ and is an old custom that was reinstated in 1980. The festival sees a boy - or man - dressed from head-to-toe in straw accompanied by a ‘keeper’ and musicians as the straw bear knocks on people’s doors where he dances in exchange for gifts of money, food and beer. It was traditionally held on plough Tuesday but is now held on the second week of January.
•The Buttercross, which is situated in the centre of market square, was close to being demolished in the early 1800’s but was thankfully saved by a local businessman. It was once the heart of the town’s market square and now operates as a bus shelter. It also holds a country auction on the first Friday of the month.
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•In the 1930’s, Wallis Simpson lived in a small cottage in the Causeway, Whittlesey, where she would regularly entertain American servicemen who were stationed in Peterborough.
•Sir Harry George Waklyn Smith (1788–1860) was born in Whittlesey with his life being the subject of several books, and is best known for his part in the Battle of Aliwal. Sir Harry is recognised throughout the Whittlesey area, giving his name to a local school and community centre, among others, and with a bust in St Mary’s church.
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•Before the draining of the fens, Whittlesey was an island of dry ground surrounded by the marshy fens. Until it’s draining in 1851, nearby Whittlesey Mere was the largest lake in southern England. The town is still accessible via water, connected to the river Nene by King’s Dyke which forms part of the Nene-Ouse Navigation link.
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