Upwell is famous for one main thing on VT - it is home to that little treasure of Virtualtourist, Bernishand who has now sadly passed from this mortal coil and her 'Camcorderman'.
She choose to live in a delightful little village out in the oh so flat fens.
I too have connections to the village, as my mother grew up around here and was christened by the Rev Audrey. This genial Church of England vicar was inspired to write a series of Christian moral allegories - better known as the Thomas the Tank Engine stories. Just ask any average 3 or 4 year old in the UK and they will give you chapter and verse on the antics of his steamy creations. Books, DvD's and assorted Thomas labelled junk still sell in their millions.
Unfortunately the source of his inspiration, the Wisbech & Outwell tramway was axed by the dasterdly Dr Beeching in 1966. A few buildings (now coverted to other uses) do remain in place. The website listed below gives a good in-depth look at the history of this quaint little line.
I have seen the angels over Upwell.
If you happen to visit St Peter's Church during the week you first must obtain the key at the local post office/card/gift shop. As you make your way into the churchyard you are surrounded by the headstones of past parishoners dating back a very very long time as St Peter's church was built during the 13th century
Recent archeological evidence suggests there has been Christian worship since Roman times on the site of what is now the church of Upwell St Peter.
Open the heavy wooden doors and enter the sanctuary, the smell of burned candles and furniture polish mix with the dampness that pervades this gothic building and makes one think of just how many people throughout the centuries have passed through those doors.
Look up at the ceiling and you will see 25 hand carved wooden angels gazing down on the rows and rows of pews their hands frozen in exaltation. Walk down the center aisle and you can feel the echoes of past parishoners praying in the family pew boxes, or the joy of a bride on her wedding day. At the altar there hangs a placque which commemorates the victims who died from an Asiatic Cholera.
If you are lucky you may even spy a butterfly within the walls of this remarkable building, a true sign that life continues to ebb and flo and will continue to do so even after we are all gone.
if you are ever nearby come and take a look at what must be one of the best preserved angel ceilings in the UK
a host of wooden angels surround the roof of the church, if you go up into the north or west galleries you can get really close to them and see the detailed carving, not only of the angels, but of the beams which are carved with fantactic creatures and the corbels with their grotesque faces. The angels have watched over church services here for 800 years and they bear their age remarkably well, the name of the artist who carved them has been lost in time, but his creations endure
in 1842 the battlements were added to the roof, but the gargoyles were retained
gargoyles are actually designed to drain away rainwater from the roof, usually through a spout in their mouths as these are, and are rather grotesque
there are some beautiful graves in the churchyard, some dating from the 17th century
near the south door is a communal grave for cholera victims from the 1832 epidemic, there is a memorial inside the church to the 67 parishoners who died from cholera
the communal grave is marked with a C
close to the West door you can see a small piece of Roman pavement
some of the graves have sunk, watch your step as you walk around or you may trip as l did ! but l didnt fall into one, lm not ready for that yet
A very beautiful church built on a historical site
the first recorded religeous building was a small Benedictine priory, built in the 7th century, this was only occupied for a few years. There is no record of why this happened but the accepted theory is that it was too close to the Well river which was used by Viking invaders to reach Ely
the land was granted to the Abbey of Ramsey on its foundation in 969
in the 13th century a new church was built of which little remains, the church as it is now was built in the 14th century and probably remained relatively unchanged untill extensive cosmetic and structural alterations in the 19th century