|South East Cambridgeshire|
Aldreth is surrounded by fenland on all sides and the River Great Ouse, or the Old West as the locals call it, runs close by. Aldreth has no church.
The flat fenland countryside around the village, typical for this part of the region, lies about 16 feet above sea-level. The highest point in the village is 23 feett above sea-level and the highest point in the area is a lofty 85 feet at Ely, seven miles northeast.
Blossoms & Bygones
Aldreth shares an annual village open day, Blossoms & Bygones, with neighbouring village Haddenham. Features of the day include tractor rides and vintage car and tractor displays, while many residents throw open their gardens to visitors. Blossoms & Bygones celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2011 with a VE Day theme, that saw the villagers of Aldreth dress up as if it was 1940. They also have geocashing by the river which is good for dog walkers and explorers.
The origin of the name
According to one place-name authority, the name "Aldreth" occurs as "Alreheða" in the Pipe rolls, under the year 1170, and means "Landing-place by the alders", from a combination of the Old English words for "alder" and "hythe". The name also occurs a number of times in the text of the 12th century Liber Eliensis, as "Alreheðe", with one variant as "Alhereðe".
There are other theories about how Aldreth got its name. Here are the most popular ones:
- Alder Hithe (the old shore), which relates to the Old West river flowing near Aldreth.
- Alder Reche (the old reach), which also relates to the Old West river.
Aldreth may have been the site of two battles in history between Hereward the Wake and William the Conqueror's Normans. Aldreth was one of three routes, or causeways, into the Isle of Ely at that time; Stuntney Causeway 2¼ miles to the southeast, the Earith Causeway 10 miles to the west-south-west and the Aldreth Causeway 7 miles southwest of the Isle of Ely. For comparison of such causeways, consider the Bronze-Age causeway discovered in 1934 between Little Thetford and Fordey Farm, Barway.
| ("Wikimedia Commons" has material|
- Haddenham & Aldreth Blossoms & Bygones Pictures 2011
- Aldreth in Vision of Britain
- A castle at Alrehede/Aldreth was constructed in 1071
- CHER record for Aldreth causeway (archaeology)
- The search for Hereward the Wake
- "Ely People - Blossoms & Bygones story". http://www.elypeople.co.uk/news/Haddenham-Aldreth-Celebrate-Blossoms-amp-Bygones/story-11107837-detail/story.html.
- Ekwall, E, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names (4th ed.), OUP, 1960, p. 5 (Aldreth). Cf. Mills, A.D., A dictionary of British place-names, OUP, 1991-2003, p. 5 (Aldreth). Note that Head (1995), p. 86, quotes "Freeman" as follows: "…Aldreth, a corruption of the name of the patron saint Æthelthryth". Head does not give a reference for, or expand on, the statement from "Freeman", but see Head (1995), pp. 7-8, and cf. Freeman, E A, History of the Norman Conquest of England (5 vols. & Index), OUP, 1867-9.
- Blake, E.O. (ed.), Liber Eliensis, Camden 3rd Series XCII, Royal Historical Society, 1962, pp. 178, 185, 194, 314(x2), 315, 322, 328; the variant "Alhereðe" is at p. 314.
- Miller (1895) chap. XXI
- Miller (1895) chap. XXV
- Head (1995) p. 149 plus google earth for distances
- Darby (1970) p. 106–118 and fig. 16 on p. 107
- Lethbridge (1934) | pp. 86–89
- Darby, H C (1974). The Mediæval Fenland. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-7153-5919-3.
- Fairweather, Janet (2005). Liber Eliensis: a history of the Isle of Ely from the seventh century to the twelfth. The Boydell Press. p. 502. ISBN 1-84383-015-9. http://books.google.com/books?id=fh5OozghywIC&lpg=PP1&dq=Liber%20Eliensis&pg=PA159#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved 3 August 2010. *
- Head, Vincent (1995). Hereward. Alan Sutton Publishing Inc.. pp. 86. ISBN 0-7509-0807-6.
- Lethbridge, T.C. (1934). "Investigations of the Ancient Causeway in the Fen between Fordy and Little Thetford". Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society XXXV.
- Miller, S H; Rev. W D Sweeting (1895). De Gestis herwardi Saxonis. Geo. C. Caster, Market Place, Peterborough. http://boar.org.uk/ariwxo3FNQsupTitle.htm. Retrieved 16 August 2010.