Friday, 18 September 2015

Things you see from the Guided Busway


A memorial to a journey from Cambridge to Impington over 200 years ago.


From the Guided Busway you can see some things not visible from elsewhere.
In a field to the north of the busway between Histon and the Orchard Park turning there is this memorial.

Photo: David Parish,    March 2015

Have you wondered what it is?

It remembers Elizabeth Woodcock, and her journey from Cambridge to Impington in 1799 which took over 8 days.

Why did her journey take so long?  And why should her memorial be in the middle of a field?

On Saturday Feb 2nd 1799, Elizabeth Woodcock was returning from Cambridge market, to her home at Impington, on horseback, in a snowstorm. She was thrown from her horse, and unable to remount. Being shaken, and numbed with cold, she took shelter under a hawthorn hedge, where she became completely covered with drifting snow. On Sunday morning she heard the church bells, and passers-by in the distance, but was unable to attract attention. On the Monday, she made a hole in the snow above her head, and tied a red handkerchief on a stick, and raised it as a flag. But she was not found until the next Sunday when the Parish Clerk discovered her, and got help to rescue her.

A memorial stone was placed at the location where she was buried under the snow. By 1849 it had become defaced by visitors carving their initials on it, so a replacement was made, and is the one now seen.

The main panel on the north side (away from the busway) is now almost totally obscured by lichen, but I have found an older photo https://www.flickr.com/photos/67722122@N03/6498707819/in/pool-1853634@N23/  which can be deciphered as follows:

IN MEMORY OF ELIZ WOODCOCK LOST ON THIS SPOT IN A SNOW STORM WHEN RETURNING FROM CAMBRIDGE MARKET ON FEB 2nd 1799. 
SHE WAS DISCOVERED 8 DAYS AFTER 7 FEET BENEATH THE SNOW ALIVE & IN POSESSION OF ALL HER SENSES.
AND DIED JULY 24TH OF THE SAME YEAR AGED 42

There is also a plaque on "Woodcock House" - the thatched cottage where she lived, opposite Histon baptist church, remembering this event. 


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