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December, 2016

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I live in a lovely little village called Ewelme in Oxfordshire. This is a short description of the village and its history:

Ewelme is a village in South Oxfordshire, 2.5 miles northeast of Wallingford and is most famous for Watercress growing.

The name derives from Ae-whylme, meaning ‘waters whelming’ and refers to a spring which forms the Kings pool (reputedly a place where Henry VIII bathed when staying at Ewelme Palace) and feeds fast flowing Ewelme Brook.

Ewelme Watercress Beds & Local Nature Reserve is 6.5 acre site owned and conserved by The Chiltern Society. Although watercress is no longer grown commercially here, the beds extends the entire length of the village, a reminder of times where the it thrived and supplied London’s Covent Garden. It is possible to visit the beds via organised visits, guided and self-guided tours at various times during the year.

In the 15th Century Alice Chaucer, grand-daughter of poet Geoffrey Chaucer, devoted her life to transforming Ewelme into the perfect village. Married to William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk, Alice built the church and cloistered almshouses, officially called “The Two Chaplains and Thirteen Poor Men of Ewelme in the County of Oxford”. In 1437 she built a school, believed to be Britain’s oldest school building still in use as a local authority school.

Adjoining the almshouses is St Mary’s Church where both Alice and her Father are buried. Jerome K. Jerome, author of Three Men In A Boat is also buried in St. Mary’s churchyard. For red kite spotting and other wildlife you must try the Ewelme Circular Park Walk.

We have a lovely little pub in the village called The Shepherd’s Hut. Well worth a visit.


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