Writing a new chapter in Fenland history

Danny Pedler and Dave Gray entertain people outside the mobile library as part of Transported's Field and Dyke Project.
Danny Pedler and Dave Gray entertain people outside the mobile library as part of Transported's Field and Dyke Project.
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Historian and musician Danny Pedler is currently touring villages and towns in South Holland collecting your stories, tales, legends and memories.

It’s part of the Field and Dyke Project by arts organisation Transported with the aim of putting together the stories for future initiatives.

He’s been joined by fellow musician Dave Gray, travelling with Lincolnshire’s mobile library service as it makes its regular stops.

As well as collecting stories and memories, the pair have been entertaining people with traditional folk music on the melodeon (accordion).

Danny said: “It’s been lovely getting out and meeting people and hearing their stories, anecdotes, and feelings about South Holland.

“I have always been interested in the history of the Fens. They hold a certain mystery due to their long unrecorded history.

“The history we do know is laced with strange happenings, curious local traditions and we constantly hear whisperings of lost treasure and bog spirits. I want to capture people’s versions of these stories, their connections to the landscape and feelings about where they live so we can colour in the black and white history books with people’s unique life experiences.

“I love the dialects and words people use in the fens. I’ve learnt that the word for earwig is ‘battle twig!’

“There are lots of little gems such as Old Mother Nightshade who was a witch, believed to live in Gedney Dyke, with the ability to change into an animal.

“I’ve also met a guy who told me he came from an area in Spalding where they called themselves ‘Pigeon-enders.’

The mobile library, accompanied by Danny and Dave, will be stopping in the following locations on the days listed below:

Thursday (September 21):

○ 10.30am Moulton Chapel, Fen Gate

○ 11.15am Cowbit, Barrier Bank

○ 12 midday Cowbit Fen, Milfoil Lane

○ 1.30pm Cowbit Wash, Fen Lane End

○ 2.15pm Weston Hills, Village Hall Broadgate

Wednesday, September 27:

○ 10.15am Dawsmere, Old School House, Church Street

○ 11am Lutton, Jolly Crispin Public House, Marriots Gate

○ 12.15pm Gedney Dyke, Roman Way

○ 1.45pm Saracens Head Public House

Thursday, September 28:

○ 10.30am Holbeach St Marks, Laurels Cottage, St Marks Road

○ 12midday Fleet Hargate, Hargate Close

○ 1.45pm Gedney St Francis, North Bank

○ 2.45pm South Gedney, The Church

Danny said: “We’re asking people if they would like to tell their stories and are then contacting them at a time convenient to them.

“A lot of people have moved here or people have grown up in the Fens.

“We are interested in how local history is being remembered and not being lost.

“There is a unique history here.

“The joy of unspoken history or folk music is that it is passed down and stories and songs change over the years. These gems and anecdotes are the key to unlocking history.”

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