Stetchworth Ley - on the Icknield WayStetchworth Ley - Icknield Way

'Along the Way, across the Dyke and up the Ley'

  • With it's origins at one end of the ancient pathway at Risborough in Buckinghamshire, to it's present-day location along the way at Newmarket in Cambridgeshire my branch of the RIPPINGTON family has had a long association with the Icknield Way
    - one of the oldest roads in Great Britain.
  • This association is just as strong in the family's other root - the ALLEN Family - living at one time directly on the Way, with even one member (George ALLEN) being the last tenant of Stetchworth Toll.
    Stetchworth Toll being at one end of the turnpike that followed the Way, from 1724 until it's closure on 30th June 1870.
  • The toll was located at a point where another ancient monument cuts across the Way - Devil's Dyke.
    The influence of the ancients is just as strong here - as my parents came from opposite ends of the Dyke - one from the edge of the fens at Reach, the other from the wooded landscape at Ditton Green (Woodditton).
  • I myself live within a few yards of the modern Icknield Way path leading to the Devil's Dyke ... and my wife's family came from Gipsy Hall Lane - which is the same said Icknield Way path.
  • There's also one other ancient influence - that of the Ley - LEY (lea) is a meadow or grassy field, a clearing in a wood, also an ancient path that led from hilltop to hilltop and touched on water sources and places of worship.
  • With all this in mind let's take a journey:-

    Starting at the giant Roman milestones between Aldworth & StreatLEY in Berkshire travel along Grim's Ditch (Dyke) to the bank of the Thames where the Icknield Way originally crossed the river by means of a raised causeway to Goring ...

    ... passing through Bledlow in Buckinghamshire with its landmark cross
    - a 75 foot chalk cross cut by the Saxons into the turf, marking the route of the ancient Icknield Way ...

    ... onto one of the many intertwining paths of the Icknield Way through LooseLEY Row & Lacey Green, along Grim's Ditch (Dyke) and passing by Princes & Monks Risborough and onto Cadsden ...

    ... travelling across the country the Icknield Way takes us to Linton in Cambridgeshire, past Fleam Dyke we come to WestLEY Waterless, onto Burrough Green, along Gipsy Hall Lane to Dullingham LEY where the Icknield Way crosses the fields up to Stetchworth LEY ... 

    ... then across the road to Lovers Lane, which is part of the Icknield Way - a cut through to Strollers Way 
    - named by a local resident, presumably after the many Strollers passing-by on the Icknield Way ... 

    ... carry on up the Icknield Way and over the Devil's Dyke and through to CheveLEY, then on a little further to GazeLEY ... 

    ... further up we come to the fording by the Icknield Way over the river Lark at Lackford in Suffolk … 

    ... before finally coming to the end of the Icknield Way at Thetford in Norfolk.
  • The significance of all these Places is that me & my family have lived at each one of them at some point in time.