Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Egg Lady

A while back, whilst out walking on Wick Hill (which rises
directly behind the farm) with members of
Clan Long Dog, we passed the monument erected to the
memory of Maud Heath - the Egg Lady.

Memorial on Wick Hill
 Maud was a philanthropic woman almost unknown outside her native county of
Wiltshire where, during the middle ages. she amassed a fortune
selling eggs at Chippenham Market.

Close up complete with egg basket.

So, if you're all sitting comfortably, I'll let Maud tell you
her tale in her own words.  I think it might amuse

"I am Maud Heath. My husband, John Heath, having gone to meet his maker, I have placed in the hands of lawyers the writing of a charter in which I intend to gift my lands and tenements to the Parish of Chippenham. The benefits of these lands and tenements are to be used for the construction of a causeway from Wick Hill to Chippenham Clift. Here I tell of my life as it is.

It is the year of Our Lord 1474, King Edward IV has been on the throne now for 14 years. Life for us all is spent in keeping the lands and tenements in good order, that I and the villagers may live comfortably and serve Our Lord well on the Sabbath.

I live in Tytherton Kellaways, 3 miles to the north-east of Chippenham. The land around is close to the plain of the River Avon. In winter much of the land is flooded, but this brings fertile soil for planting in the spring, and early grass for our cattle and sheep, the swine forage in the forests surrounding. Most we need for is provided in the farmstead.

Since the death of John, I go to the market in Chippenham most Wednesdays with goods from the farm. Many of the villagers like to go to the St John Lateran market in May, the St Barnabas market in June, and the market fayres in October and December. In fair weather I walk, which takes an hour of the day in each direction. In foul I ride a horse, or take the cart, which is less tiring. There are times it would be foolhardy to attempt the journey as the land around is marsh-like and treacherous.

It is my wish that income from my land and tenements will be used to construct a causeway from Wick Hill to Chippenham Clift. My villagers will then be able to reach the Chippenham markets with all their goods to sell, and dry feet.

I will be your travelling companion, showing the route of my causeway and the fair market town of Chippenham."

See it wet .......

A wonderful woman and, if you'll excuse the pun,
- a thoroughly good egg!

... see it dry!

If you want to know more about old Maud, her Causeway and
the route to Chippenham Market there's plenty to be found
on the web and this link in particular is worth a click

As it says at the bottom of Mauds's monument:
"Injure me Not"
or there will be no more Long Dog walks on the
wildside in the weeks to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment