We work on projects ranging from the conservation of textiles to transcribing documents, helping in museums, recording gardens and churches and refurbishing books in libraries. Our groups always welcome new members.

Skills and techniques can be learned on the job and there are special training days available so please do not feel you are not competent to become a volunteer.

The Garden History Group

The Garden History Group supports and encourages its members in researching aspects of Cambridgeshire’s historic landscapes and gardens in a friendly and welcoming environment. The group forms part of the Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust which organises lectures and garden visits to foster a love of the county’s landscapes and to promote public awareness of our parks and gardens heritage, which it seeks to safeguard and conserve. Our output is published in the CGT Newsletter and occasional books and informs local planning applications.

Our local group has pursued some interesting and worthwhile projects. In the tercentenary year celebrating Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s achievements, the Garden History Group, jointly with the Arts Society, sponsored the creation and installation of a stained-glass window in the Church Centre of Fenstanton where this famous landscape gardener is buried and whose refurbished memorial stands in the chancel.

More recently, attention has focused on walled gardens. Scanning early Ordnance Survey maps we found evidence of the spread of productive walled gardens in Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire. It was disturbing to discover how many are buried beneath housing developments and car parks, but a few glories remain, notably at Wimpole and Ramsey Abbey Walled Garden. The information we unearthed is being archived and will prove helpful to planners, future garden historians and garden enthusiasts.

We are currently looking forward to a NEW COURSE on The History of Gardens tutored in person by Alison Moller. There will be six two-hour sessions on Thursday afternoons beginning on the 9th of September. After an introduction to sources and methodology the course will consider gardens from earliest times to the Anglo-Saxons, and then moving from the Norman Conquest to the modern era via Tudor, Stuart, Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian garden styles.

To find out more about these activities please contact the Garden Group co-ordinator, Judith Christie, by phone 01954 230536 or by email judith.christie@ntlworld.com You will be assured of a warm welcome.


The Church Recorders Group

St. Andrew’s Swavesey

A view of St Andrew’s Church, Swavesey and a Poppy head in the South Aisle.

The group has completed the record of St. Peter and St. Paul, Fenstanton, begun in February 2016; it will be formally presented to the church at a date to be determined.

Covid has of course delayed progress on the church currently being recorded, St. Andrew’s, Swavesey, but in August the group was again granted access, and is pressing on towards completion.

New volunteers are always welcome; please contact the Church Recorders co-ordinator, Pat Hamilton, by e-mail at i.ham@btinternet.com .

Photos by John Cutting.

The Embroidery Group

We have recently completed the restoration of a white Frontal and Super Frontal for Girton Church. These were dedicated on Palm Sunday by the Bishop of Huntingdon. A Burse and Veil were completed for Catworth Church and we made a new purple Frontal for Madingley Church, and are making a new white Frontal for Bourn Church. This is likely to be our last project as numbers are diminishing and no new members seem to be interested in joining us.

Jill Donnelly reports: “On Sunday 29th May 2016 a packed congregation attended evensong for a service of dedication led by Bishop David of Huntingdon. Representatives of many of the 7 linked churches in the group which includes Catworth filled the church on a sunny evening. The service had a dual purpose: first to dedicate the bells which have been refurbished and now returned to the tower. They had their first triumphant peal after the re-dedication by the Bishop.

The late Isobel Lattimore and her small band of loyal and accomplished embroiderers were also in attendance for the return of the Burse and Veil which they have remounted on apricot silk and reattached to the original embroidery. The finished effect is stunning.

The congregation were treated to a splendid tea after the service was over, and many old friends were found chatting happily for some time.

Congratulations to her team for another example of their beautiful and meticulous work.”

On September 21st 2013, the Bishop of Ely blessed the newly restored altar frontal in Ely Cathedral at a Festal Eucharist attended by the group of our embroiderers who had done the work, led by our then president, Isobel Lattimore.

The lettering is copied by couching down gold threads onto felt shapes that add depth to the lettering so that the gold will catch the light. You can see the gold threads down two of the bars of the lettering.

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