From Punt to Plough

From Punt to Plough

My first attempt at writing concluded with this book being published in Oct 2003, which is still in print. Indeed it has been one of Sutton Publishing's best sellers.

The book covers a period of fen drainage from the Roman period to modern time. In it I cover most aspects of Fen drainage, from the first attempts at embanking to steer the upland waters coming through the Fens, to the great schemes in the 17th century. Religion features strongly in our fen history from the early monastic orders who settled here to the many fine churches breaking our skyline today. The early adventurers risked their capital to drain and own a piece of virgin soil and changed it forever. Many prisoners of war carried out these mammoth drainage schemes, assisted by Huguenots and Walloons from the Low Countries of Europe who settled here. It attracted the wealth of England along with the expertise to service such projects. In the book I also describe the Fen people before, and after drainage, their traditions and how they differ from fen to fen.

The battle for the drainers had two fronts, water from the uplands and the sea, both formidable forces to be reckoned with.

The illustrations bring out the flavour of the book to include what the Fens are today. This book is about history but the publishers allowed me express my feelings and passions about this unique part of England so dear to my heart. I have tried to chronicle the effects of man on this fragile landscape as a working farmer, and someone who sees land drainage and conservation working together.