The Word Garden’s ‘Origins’ project to launch with exhibition and publication at Babylon Gallery in Ely

Ely community group The Word Garden's 'Origins' project exhibition and publication opens at the Baby

Ely community group The Word Garden's 'Origins' project exhibition and publication opens at the Babylon Gallery on October 16. Picture: HELENA G ANDERSON. - Credit: Archant

An exhibition and publication that shares the story of ‘a missing period of history’ opens at the Babylon Gallery in Ely on October 16.

Community group The Word Garden started work on 'The Scottish Soldiers, the Ouse Washes; the origins of landscape change in the Fens: Origins' after receiving a National Lottery grant of £49,200 in November 2018.

Florence Tong, head of project delivery at Babylon ARTS, said: "Come along to the exhibition to learn about the fascinating project findings and this 'missing' period of history from 1650-53.

"The 20 minute film, 'Dunure to Denver Coventina's Quest into Hidden History' by Jean Rees-Lyons, adapted from the fictionalised story of Coventina who risks all in search of her Scottish soldier, will be shown at regular intervals throughout the exhibition.

Jean Rees-Lyons, scriptwriter and project coordinator on the Origins project, said: "National Lottery Heritage Funding has made it possible to reach the key aims of Origins, to discover hidden heritage stories whilst combining findings from archive materials, new research and recording previously unseen records.

"With the passage of time, social, cultural, political and environmental changes have transformed traditional ways of life, and reshaped, in many ways, the unique Fen landscape'.

The project started in October 2019 and focused on exploring a 'missing' history of events, 1650-53.

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The team researched the construction of the Hundred Foot River, by Scottish prisoners-of-war, following their capture after the Battle of Dunbar in 1650.

The new Word Garden full colour publication, known as Origins, is an entirely original body of work and shows project activities, people, places and events.

New archive material is transcribed from The Adventurer's Minute Books, together with the authenticated fictionalised story of Coventina's search of the Wash-lands.

The project, which is managed by Babylon ARTS, aimed to involve people locally in a unique heritage project.

Claire Somerville, chief executive of Babylon ARTS, said: "Origins tells a local heritage story like no other. It's been really great to have heard from people already, who were eager to contribute to the project and I hope this exhibition will encourage even more people to learn about this 'missing' period of history".

The launch runs from 6-8pm and the project exhibition is then open until October 26, from 12-4pm each day.

To follow the activities of this project, visit and