Mill Road Winter Fair

Mill Road is a part of Cambridge with lots going on. I’ve recently met with representatives of the Mill Road History Project and the Mill Road Cemetery Group, and I think that the GSM Heritage Project will be able to tie in with some of their work, particularly around the commemoration of the Great War.

Below are a few pictures from the Mill Road Winter Fair, which takes place on the first Saturday in December and brings together local businesses, community groups, Cambridge residents, schools and visitors in a riot of colour, music, crafts and delicious food.

In 1714, Roger Long, the Master of Pembroke, recited the following at the public Commencement, which was held in Great St Mary’s. Apparently the women attending the ceremony had usually been given pride of place in their own raised gallery, but on this occasion were relegated to the chancel, to their displeasure:

“The humble petition of the Ladies who are ready to be eaten up with spleen,

To think they are to be locked up in the Chancel, where they can neither see nor be seen,

But must sit in the dumps, by themselves, all stew’d, and pent up,

And can only peep through the Lattice, like so many chickens in a coop;

Whereas last Commencement the Ladies had a gallery provided near enough

To see the Heads sleep, and the Fellow Commoners take snuff.”

From E. Venables, Annals of the Church of St Mary the Great, Cambridge, reprinted in S. Sanders work of 1869

“The son of the poorest cobbler in the town should receive greater benefit from the privileges of the University than the highest noble in the land”

John Bilney, former mayor of Cambridge, was excommunicated by the University Chancellor for voicing this opinion (and allegedly committing perjury in GSM and threatening the Chancellor) in 1420.

– S Sanders, Historical and Architectural Notes on Great St Mary’s Church, Cambridge, 1869, p. 10.

“And though built in the last days of Gothic Architecture, whose genius had then well-nigh departed, still, could it be seen with its external mutilations repaired, and freed from all internal disfigurements, it would be a fine and impressive, as it undoubtedly is, an interesting Church.”

Samuel Sanders’s rather back-handed compliment for GSM in his Historical and Architectural Notes on Great St Mary’s Church, Cambridge, 1869.

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