Ditch and Stream

The stream on Stourbridge Common

This is the second time I have lived in a low-lying area. There’s a look to the land that I hope comes out in the photos.

What I am standing on is Stourbridge Common, or a small part of it. To the left in the frame, in the distance, is the River Cam as it wends its way to the north-east of Cambridge. This stream flows into the Cam, as you would think. The stream dries up on fair weather, and this is about as full as I have seen it.

A fair was held annually on the Common until the 1930s, and in the 14th century it was said to be the biggest and the most important fair in Europe, with traders coming from as far as France and Germany to set up their stalls.

And to control the honesty and propriety of the trade, Cambridge University was tasked with controlling the weights and measures of the produce, and the morals of the attendees.

To this day the Provosts of the University still read the rules out aloud annually at what was once the Leper Chapel on the Common.

I turned up at the Leper Chapel in 2017 to hear the Provosts read out the rules, and here is one of them in his gown.

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