Weekend Wandering: The Other Chippenham

Road sign on the way into Chippenham, Cambridgeshire

Do not adjust your blog, this really is Chippenham. It's simply different to the one you're used to seeing here on Veg Plotting.

I found myself just a few miles from Chippenham, Cambridgeshire recently, with an hour to spare before I was needed. It was the ideal opportunity to have a look at my home town's little brother*.

Chippenham, Cambridgeshire's village sign
Both Chippenhams have distinctive identifying signage - find out about Wiltshire's Unity and Loyalty here

According to Wikipedia, both Chippenhams have their names via the same Saxon roots; "Cippa's Hamm", aka "Cippa's enclosure in a river meadow", though Wiltshire's entry also suggests there may be a market connection instead via the Ango-Saxon word ceap. Both are listed in the Domesday book, Chipeham for Cambridgeshire, and Cepen for Wiltshire.

Entrance to Chippenham Park at the top of the High Street
The entrance to Chippenham Park which adds a 'full stop' to one end of the High Street

My approach to this Chippenham was dominated by a roadside wall, marking the boundary of Chippenham Park, a vast estate enclosed by Edward Russell, the first Earl of Orford in the late 17th Century.

Looking down the High Street one way
Half way down the High Street, looking towards the entrance to Chippenham Park
Looking down the High Street t'other way
Looking down the High Street the other way with the village pub, The Tharp Arms on the right
The 'rhubarb and custard' cottages

Many of the buildings along the High Street show evidence of their connection with the Chippenham Park estate. My favourites were the William and Mary cottages, known locally as the 'rhubarbs and custards', due to their external appearance. These are former estate workers cottages, with long front gardens which look like they may be burgage plots like the ones we last looked at in Helmsley.

Collage of Chippenham's church, pub, old schoolroom and signage
A last look round the village - St Margaret's Church, the Old Schoolhouse, and The Tharp Arms
Sadly, I didn't have time to find Chippenham Fen, one of the best examples of an undrained fen we have in Britain, and a National Nature Reserve. But then I would have needed a permit to visit, so perhaps it's just as well.

However, I did find time for a Friday Bench to display over at Sign of the Times.

* = I love the opening sentence on the village website:

This is the website for the village of Chippenham in Cambridgeshire. If you were looking for our big brother in Wiltshire, then we are afraid you are in the wrong place.

For me it was a case of right place, right time. I hope you've enjoyed coming for a wander around the other Chippenham with me.


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