Thursday, 12 March 2009

Stamford - I love this Town

Yesterday I took myself off to the lovely Stamford to complete a couple of errands. Dressed as Nanook of the North I had completely misjudged the weather; a lovely sunny day, I gently simmered as I wandered about the streets and had reached boiling point by the time I scurried back to the car. As I wandered along one street I noticed a sign in the plasterwork above a door - you can just see some black marks over the door of the white house in the photo above.
Below, here they are enlarged.
The premises next door had the sign below above its entrance. A Corn Merchant do you think?

The building above showing evidence of a bit of tax avoidance, the 'window tax' must have been very heavy this year!
In Medieval Stamford there were 14 parish churches. Today only 5 Medieval churches remain standing. Above, St.Georges, with flag flying.

In the Middle Ages Stamford was a centre of the wool trade primarily as a market town rather
than a manufacturing centre. In the 13th century the friars arrived in Stamford. There were 4 orders of friars.

Dominican friars, known as Black Friars because of the colour of their habits,
Franciscan or Grey Friars,
Carmelite or White Friars
Friars of the Sack.

They built 6 'hospitals' in Stamford where they cared for the poor and the sick. During the Middle Ages wool had been the lifeblood of Stamford and probably paid for all those churches. However in the 16th and 17th centuries the wool industry had shifted to East Anglia. The R Welland had silted up and ships could no longer reach Stamford from The Wash.

Above, the R Welland from Albert Bridge and below Albert Bridge from the R.Welland.

Stamford revived in the late 17th century. The river was made navigable again in the years 1664-1672 by digging a new cut. A malting industry thrived in Stamford. Below the old brewery alongside the river.
By the early 18th century Stamford was a prosperous market town again and a busy coaching stop for the coaches travelling to London from the North and vice versa. Stamford boasts some fine examples of coaching inns, especially The George. Of course the arrival of the railways in Stamford in 1846 rang the death knell of Stamford as a coaching town.

Above the Old Station house.
The fact that the Burghley estate is the main landlord has helped to preserve so much of the character of the town, both its Medieval heart and the fine Georgian buildings that compliment it.
As I said, I love this town!


Dogsontour by Greygal said...

Stamford is very dear to me as it was a quintessential part of my childhood. Any trip north and my dad would pull off the A1 and call into the George for coffee/lunch/beer. There was always a log fire on the go and it was a lovely, comfortable 'safe' place. And Daniel Lambert's walking stick fascinated me....

Nb Caxton said...

And my childhood would have entailed a sandwich and a thermos and a lay-by somewhere...

We did DO a lot of historic towns though and I was always taught to look up and see beyond the facade of a high street shop to what the building told you of its history and Stamford is always worthwhile walking around.