Home Facts about Wisbech

Wisbech is a market town in Cambridgeshire, the Fens, where all of MAHI hot sauces are made and its inland port is an important shopping area. Two bridges span the tidal River Nene in the heart of the town. 

On the back of the (River) Ouse, a Celtic term meaning "water" and the name of the river once flowing through the town. In 2011, Wisbech became the second largest town in Cambridgeshire (after St Neots; Prior to the Local Government Act 1972, Wisbech was a municipal borough.  

History

In the Iron Age, Wisbech developed west of the territory of the Brythonic Iceni tribe. After the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Cambridgeshire, Wisbech was part of the kingdom of East Anglia.

There is a reference to Wisbech for the first time in c. 1000, when Oswy and Leoflede gave the vill to the Ely monastic community after their son Aelfwin was admitted as a monk. (J. Bentham, Hist. Ely, 87). In 1086, Wisbech was held by the abbot, and there may have been 65 to 70 families, or about 300 to 350 people, living there. Although Wisbech is the only marshland village on the Isle to appear in the Domesday Book, it probably occupied the entire area between Tydd Gote and the far end of Upwell at Welney.

As a result of that construction, Wisbech Castle became a prison during the reigns of Elizabeth, James I and Charles I, and many Catholics died there due to its unsanitary conditions. Among those held there were John Feckenham, the last Abbot of Westminster, and then Robert Catesby and Francis Tresham, two of the key participants in the Gunpowder Plot. In the mid-17th century, the castle was rebuilt, and in 1816 by Joseph Medworth, who also developed The Crescent, which has been featured in many costume dramas.  

Peckover House, with its fine walled garden, was built for the Quaker banking family in 1722. It is now owned by the National Trust. Peckover Bank was formerly known as Bank House, but later became part of Barclays Bank.

Local residents resisted draining Wisbech's fens during the 17th century, but this turned Wisbech into a wealthy port handling agricultural produce owing to their resistance. The town was originally located on a river mouth, and the River Nene supplied the town when the coastline was shifted due to silting. Afterwards, the canal connecting the River Nene at Wisbech was filled in and the road became the dual carriageway leading into the town from the east (now crossing the bypass).  

 

Culture

 The Angles Theatre supports many renowned actors, including Derek Jacobi, Jo Brand, and Cameron Mackintosh, and is run almost entirely by volunteers.

The Wisbech Players have been performing for over 50 years. At the Angles Theatre, they perform twice a year in spring and autumn.

Wisbech Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society (WAODS) has been presenting musicals to the town since 1905 and a pantomime every year since 1975. Rehearsals and performances of the society are held at the local Thomas Clarkson Academy.  

A "Rose Fair" is held in aid of St Peter's Church every summer. Floral displays sponsored by local businesses and organizations decorate the church. The parade of floats forms up on Queens Road and circles the town. Local charities receive funds by selling stalls and serving strawberry and cream teas. Coaches bring visitors from all over the country. For information, contact the local tourist bureau.


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