Sunday, October 30, 2011


Burghley House is right outside the market town of Stamford, so naturally, Stamford is where I went next. Can I say, if there were a contest among English towns for "most picturesque," Stamford would definitely be in the running. This is the Stamford Meadows and the river Welland. It's beautiful, and busy with people hanging out or wandering through.

Here's a picture looking towards the town center, with Rod Stewart talking on the phone. (Probably not, but still, look!)

We walked around the market, but I didn't take pictures in the market because I always feel a bit awkward and never much like the pictures. I haven't had a lot of experience with weekly markets in a market town. My own community has a farmers' market during the summer, and that's my experience. That happens in a purpose built open air structure, and pretty much consists of farm produce with some food stalls (a coffee shop comes, and some bakeries), some specialty crafts stuff (a potter and a couple soap or candle makers), and sometimes plants to buy.

Here, the market was in the streets itself, with some vendors selling out of trucks directly and a lot of clothes, especially socks and underwear. I guess the clothing stalls really stood out to me because I wasn't expecting them. There was also a guy hawking garden clippers.

We got some cheese, bakhlava (yum!), and other treats.

The market isn't all there is to see in Stamford. You knew that. This is the inner courtyard of Browne's Hospital. Browne started the foundation in the late 15th century to house poor folks, and it still houses senior citizens. Of course, the current houses weren't built in the 15th century, but in the Victorian era, with later updates. But still, my brain reels at the idea that someone in the 15th century provided something to care for people and it's still doing so after 500+ years. It's amazing, isn't it?

Think of most things people built thinking they'd be remembered for it. Chapels are still there, and sometimes castles or monuments, but this hospital is still providing a home for some people who need one. I guess I think that's just the coolest thing. (There are other almshouses in Stamford, but this one caught my interest because of the early foundation.)

Speaking of monuments, this one is what's been put in the place of the cross put after Eleanor of Castile's body was moved to Westminster Abbey. Supposedly, at each place the procession stopped for the night, Edward I had a wooden cross erected, and those were later replaced by stone carvings, and mostly disappeared or got weathered. A fragment of the one in Stamford survives, but it's in the museum, supposedly, and this modern monument is in its place.

Unfortunately, the museum is closed. It doesn't say if this is a seasonal closing or permanent, but we weren't able to go in and see the cross or anything else.

There is still part of a wall from the Norman era castle surviving. I'm guessing this is from something inside the castle, rather than the castle wall itself. We walked up to see where the castle wall had been, but there wasn't much to see.

And finally, here's a Tudor era mill, which isn't quite on the mill trace anymore, but the map in the Meadows says that the trace has been moved slightly.

I also went to our own town market the other day, and got some bonfire toffee for the upcoming celebrations!

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