Friday 2nd January; we decided to go to Stamford to have a look around the market.
Marea really likes Stamford, partly because she was born there, but also because it’s a beautiful town. Development is strictly controlled and all building has to be done in the local limestone – it has over 600 listed buildings. It has been used in the past as setting for a number of period dramas: Middlemarch, Pride and Prejudice, The Da Vinci Code, etc. Anyway, when we got there, there was no market, just a few vegetable stalls down the side street.
We mooched about a bit, had a coffee and then went down to Sheep Market to look at the Golden Fleece, the pub where Marea was born. It’s not that her parents were particularly fond of strong drink, just that her grandfather owned it at the time.
The Golden Fleece, Sheepmarket, Stamford
The Golden Fleece, Sheepmarket, Stamford (with Marea)
The Eleanor Cross
Just opposite is the newly installed ‘Eleanor Cross’. The cross is a symbol of the legendary love story between Eleanor of Castile and her husband Edward I, and relates to the Eleanor Crosses which Edward built to commemorate the queen's final journey back from where she died near Lincoln to her burial in London. Stamford was one of 12 places where the crosses were built at the end of the 13th century, and all that remains of the original Stamford cross is a small stone fragment which can now be viewed in the town's museum. Local people say that this one is nothing like the original and is sited in the wrong place anyway.
According to Marea, no-one does fish and chips like Stamford fish and chips (apparently its all to do with the fat they cook them in), so we had to go and sample them. I have to say the fish was beautiful, though I found the batter a bit greasy. Not entirely a wasted day; we bought some nice veggies and went home to make leek and potato soup for the freezer.