Ramsey and District U3A


A warm welcome to all our members

Our February meeting took place to a capacity crowd at the Community Hall,

The chairman welcomed all to the meeting, notices were read and included the lack of parking spaces now that the Co-op has closed, it was suggested that car sharing might be a way of reducing the problem. Our Annual general meeting will take place in April and three committee members are standing down – application forms are available on line or in the foyer at our meetings. Proposals need to be with the membership secretary by 31st March, an audited statement of account will be sent to all members by 28th February, any questions on the account to the treasurer by 31st March, please.

Nina then spoke of two new groups, “History” and “The Gardening Group”, with sign-up sheets in the foyer. She reminded everyone to keep a look-out on the U3A National Office website for courses and events. New for 2017 were a series of Knitting and Stitching shows in various locations in Great Britain, sign -up sheets in the foyer or let Nina know if you are interested in going.

John Austin then spoke of day trips which had been planned for February and April, the first to Walsingham Abbey on 24th Feb at approximately £30 and to Hatfield House on 21st April approximate cost £35.

The chairman then introduced the afternoon’s speaker Clive Beeke, his subject, “Ramsey Abbey.”

The period which Clive was to cover was from 969, the year of the abbeys’ founding to its dissolvement in 1539. In ancient times, the area now known as the Middle Level was under water, many rivers flowed through this Middle Level, including the Nene, Ouse, Grenta, Little Ouse and Wissey. These rivers were tidal as far as Ramsey, which was a high point in the fens at 29 feet.

Three people were involved with the building of the Abbey, Duke Ailwyn, King Edgar and Bishop Oswald, they were at the forefront of a monastic revival. It is claimed that a miracle made the choosing of a monastic site at Ramsey likely. In 979 the building was consecrated and a charter by King Edgar, endowed land to the Abbey as well as protecting the monks and the church. Included in the charter, were rights of sanctuary, which offered safety to those in need.

In 985, a school was set up within the Abbey, it was founded by Abbo of Fleury, He collected Hebrew books and manuscripts. In 991, the Abbey was re- dedicated after the central tower was rebuilt. In 1123, a new church was built using cut and quarried Barnack stone. In 1200, the monks built a causeway to Bury – then known as Hepmangrove –  a market was established in Ramsey and three feast days to St. Benedict were observed. It was now that Ramsey became known as “Ramsey the Golden,” it was the fourth richest Abbey in the country, some 90% of Huntingdon, the round church in Cambridge, a harbour in Wells, 40 churches, were owned by the Abbot and monks. The Abbey censer and the incense boat show just how much wealth was enjoyed by the Abbey, some 100 psalters were written, but only four survive, (there is a facsimile in Peterborough cathedral) which shows the death of Thomas a Becket. The Biggin Malting supplied the Abbey with food and drink, what is now Thomas a Becket church was a guest house, in 1139, the St. Ives bridge was built as was Bury church.

In 1539, the Abbey found it had become on one of King Henry 8th lists for dissolution, the site was purchased by Richard Williams alias Cromwell for £4663.4.2 and a fee of £29.16 shillings per annum. Some 342 cartloads of stone from the Abbey was shipped to Cambridge. In 1730, the Abbey gatehouse was removed and rebuilt at Hinchinbrooke. The last Abbot was John Lawrence of Warboys, who retired with a huge pension.

Further information can be obtained at www.ramseyabbey.co.uk

Competition winners for our “O” subject, first was Brenda Matheson with a ceramic onion pot and second place went to Lynda Lewis with an opal necklace.

Our next letter for the competition is ‘P’ and will take place at our March meeting.

Future Open Meetings

Our next Open Meeting will take place on Tuesday 14th March 2017 at the Community Centre, when our speaker will be Mandy Corney, her subject, “Great Fen and Ramsey Spitfire.”

Other News

Ramsey Library Presents

Crime Fest March 2017

A selection of crime related topics, including a Murder Mystery Night.

On Friday 3rd March, “From Kissing to Killing” a visit by author Sue Welfare, 7.00pm, £3.00 in advance.

On Wednesday 15th March, visit by author Nicola Upson. 7.00pm, £3.00 in advance.

On Saturday 18th March, Murder Mystery Night with a Fish and Chip supper, doors open 7.00pm, £10.00 in advance.

On Tuesday 21st March, Local history talk by Annie James, “Bound for Botany Bay,” 2.00pm £3.00 in advance.

More details from Ramsey Library, Great Whyte, Ramsey.

U3A Events

U3A Explores Science at the RI, 16th March 2017 at the Royal Institution, 21, Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4BS, 13.15 to 16.45. ticket price £21.50.

U3A Spring Concert: Step into Spring, 25th April 2017 at the Temple Church, Temple, London EC4Y 7BB, 14.00 to 16.00 ticket price £18.00

More details from the Third Age Trust magazine “Third Age Matters,” dated February 2017 or www.u3a.org.uk.


If you are over 75, or live with someone who is, you’re entitled to a free TV licence.  The thing to remember is that it’s not an automatic benefit when you turn 75; if you’re eligible, you’ll need to apply.  The process is simple:  Call 0300 790 6131 or www.tvlicensing.co.u/over75info.

We are looking for volunteers to meet and greet new members by becoming ‘friends’ or ‘Mentors’ and help them settle-in at our U3A. Please contact any member of the committee if you think you can help, thank you.

And Finally

Car Parking – Please remember to park your car considerately and use car sharing, if you are able.


I went to the surgery and told the Doctor: “I can’t stop singing the ‘Green Green Grass of Home’,” He said: “That sounds like a Tom Jones syndrome.” “Is it common,” I asked. “It’s not unusual,” he replied.

Editor: Mike Lewis