Scottish Soldiers History Trail Created by the word gardren at welney wetland centre

In tribute to the Scottish Soldiers, who were forced to work on The New Bedford River following the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, The Word Garden has honoured them in a new Scottish History Trail at Welney Wetland Centre.
In the autumn of 1651, following a massacre of Scottish Soldiers on the battlefield at the Battle of Dunbar, 1650, hundreds of survivors were brought to Cambridgeshire to labour on the drainage works on The Hundred Foot River in the East Anglia Fens. They were transferred as prisoners in brutal marches, corralled in insanitary prisoner-of-war camps, separated from their families and homeland without hope of return. On their arrival they lived and worked in degrading, insanitary conditions under the threat of death should any attempt be made to escape.
The trail tells the story of the construction work in seven rainbow-coloured glass panels, with information panels describing how the Hundred Foot Bank, running some 34 km (21 miles) from Earith to Denver was cut through waterlogged peat bog, using only shovels and spades.
We would like to thank Leigh Marshall and Emma Brand, and volunteers at Welney Wetland Centre for their support of the making of the Scottish Soldiers History Trail: Sukie Meldon for her beautiful glass work, Peter Daldorph for his ongoing transcription work of The Adventurers Minute Books and Leigh Chambers for walking and recording for Cambridge 105 Radio, the significance of this tribute during challenging times of upheaval in our own lives, thus enabling The Word Garden to create a lasting way to ‘honour’ the Scottish Covenanters for their work on the building of the New Bedford River which to this day prevents much of this area from flooding.
Walk the trail which runs alongside the river bank and out onto the Summer Walk. Imagine how they lived, and died. Read their hidden history story in the National Lottery Heritage Fund publication in Littleport Library, how they lived alongside local folk of the Fens; and watch two films on their survival. See their once lost history described in the ‘Origins’ publication there, where we capture their stories authentically and imaginatively through archival records and historical re-imaginings.
Please visit Welney’s tranquil bird sanctuary soon, the Summer Walk may flood as autumn sets in, ready to open again in spring 2022. Read of Coventina’s search for her childhood sweetheart, Tam, and how the soldiers eventually found hope: ‘They will return to honour us’…’their descendants…in years to come…to honour barefoot soldiers who were buried without respect or ceremony…’ (Origins, p9I).
Links to our tributes to the Scottish Soldiers may be found below on The Word Garden website, along with other inspiring links, together with the Cambridge 105 Radio broadcast on the 9th September: For more details:

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