Ely-based The Word Garden wins National Lottery support for unique heritage project

PUBLISHED: 17:10 06 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:47 07 November 2018

The Scottish soldiers imprisoned at Durham were involved in one of the most brutal, bloody and short battles of the 17th Century civil wars. Picture: Tate, London 2018 - Cromwell at Dunbar by Andrew Carrick Gow (1886)

The Scottish soldiers imprisoned at Durham were involved in one of the most brutal, bloody and short battles of the 17th Century civil wars. Picture: Tate, London 2018 - Cromwell at Dunbar by Andrew Carrick Gow (1886)

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Nearly £50,000 has been awarded to an Ely community group to kick-start an exciting heritage project in East Cambridgeshire.

The receipt of sold land for the second parallel drain. The date of this receipt is April 7 1657. Reproduced with the kind permission of the Middle Level Commissioners.The receipt of sold land for the second parallel drain. The date of this receipt is April 7 1657. Reproduced with the kind permission of the Middle Level Commissioners.

The Word Garden has received the National Lottery grant of £49,200 for the project ‘The Scottish Soldiers, the Ouse Washes; the origins of landscape change in the Fens’ known simply as ‘Origins’.

It will focus on exploring a ‘missing’ history of events from 1650 to 1653, researching the construction of the second parallel drain by Scottish prisoners-of-war, following their capture after the Battle of Dunbar in 1650.

These events not only transformed the landscape and surrounding environment they changed traditional Fenland occupations and lifestyles into the future.

Supported through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the project will enable three local schools to explore the history of this period, with workshops being delivered on film work and scriptwriting.

There will be a community open day in spring 2019, where local people can bring any information they have about this period.

The project will culminate in a two-day celebratory event at Welney Wetlands Centre on June 29 and 30 2019.

There will also be a specially made short film based on the research findings.

The project, which is supported by Babylon ARTS, will work closely with heritage professionals from Durham University, linking the Origins project with their ‘Scottish Soldiers Archaeology Project’.

Jean Rees, The Word Garden project co-ordinator, said: “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players and are confident the project will take us on an inspirational journey through hidden history.”

Claire Somerville, executive director of Babylon ARTS, said: “It’s a pleasure to be working with The Word Garden on this unique project.

“Our previous HLF funded work, has shown us what an appetite people have for learning more about their local area and this project will provide ample opportunity for this to take place.”

To follow the progress of this project visit www.babylonarts.org.uk/projects

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