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Building a tour through Central Bedfordshire

Sunday, 31 March 2024 at 21:03

Beds tour on Dr John Dunn. Hexton's village pump, street light and signpost

Building a tour through Central Bedfordshire

Find below the notes and details to be included with a tour route map, starting and finishing at the Moore Place Hotel, Apsley Guise. This is a work in progress, which will be added to and concluded in the next few days. In the meantime it keeps the home page fresh.

Moore Place

Built about 1786 for Francis Moore and that it had been altered and extended in the 19th century. The large window in the centre of the second floor is referred to in the English Heritage listing as a Diocletian window.

It is to Francis Moore that Aspley Guise owed its Victorian and Edwardian fame as a health resort.

Moore Place has changed from a private residence, to a boarding house back to a private residence, then into an Old People's Home and finally, late in the 20th century into a hotel and restaurant.

Husborne Crawley

An ancient parish, first mentioned in a document of 969 setting out the boundaries with Aspley Guise.


Much of the villages current day look is due to the 'Duke of Bedford' houses. These estate houses are recognised by their lack of front doors which was the wish of the Duke, to prevent the tenants 'gossiping' in full view of the road.


You might see the blue plaque on the building on the left, just before the crossroads. This is Harlington Manor, where John Bunyan was interrogated after his arrest in November 1660.

Blue plaque on the church celebrates the first Grand National, run in 1830 from Harlington to Wrest Park, near Silsoe, and back again, over a distance of four miles.

Across the valley to the right you can see an imposing tree-topped promontory on the northern edge of the Chiltern Hills. This is Sharpenhoe Clappers, site of an Iron Age hillfort.


From Sharpenhoe village we climb the chalk escarpment of the northern Chiltern Hills.

Sharpenhoe Clappers, are within the Chilterns AONB and managed by the National Trust.

Left turn to Hexton

After the left turn towards Hexton, the descent from the chalk of the Chilterns begins.


Not for the drivers…The cross roads is marked with the remarkable concoction of village pump, street light and signpost, with a plaque commemorating its erection in 1846.

Higham Gobion

A church, farm and small industrial unit are all that is left of this ‘lost’ hilltop village.

(To be concluded)

© John Dunn


Saturday, 30 March 2024 at 22:13

Grand National on Dr John Dunn. I passed through the village of Harlington in Bedfordshire recently. I collected a few facts to be included in a guided tour of the area which may be of interest.


You might see the blue plaque on the building on the left, just before the crossroads. This is Harlington Manor, where John Bunyan was interrogated after his arrest in November 1660.

The blue plaque on the church celebrates the first Grand National, run in 1830 from Harlington to Wrest Park, near Silsoe, and back again, over a distance of four miles.

Across the valley to the right you can see an imposing tree-topped promontory on the northern edge of the Chiltern Hills. This is Sharpenhoe Clappers,site of an Iron Age hillfort.

You might just see the blue plaque on the footpath entrance to the left. This leads to an oak tree where Bunyan did some of the preaching that led to his arrest.

© John Dunn.

Prostrate before the idol

Friday, 29 March 2024 at 21:44

Face down on Dr John Dunn. Prostrate before the idol

The infinite variety of man and nature is my living thinking, where the One is everything, rather than Ananke’s one nothing. In me all distinctions are reconciled, never cancelled. This is the polar opposite of the view taken by religionists and rationalists. In their view the soul loses itself in the infinite, where not only all vision of finite things, but even its own personality, is extinguished.

For the rationalists the Absolute is knowable because it confronts the mind as a thing complete that is open to discovery as knowledge. For the religionist, the Absolute is distant and unknowable. Nevertheless, religionism accords with rationalism in conceiving the divine Absolute as something which confronts mind, and to which the mind must strive to be fused. And vice versa, rationalism coincides with religionism in that it sets the object under scrutiny wholly apart from itself, to the point where it resorts to empty metaphor and intuitive guess work to explain even itself.

Both rationalism and religionism have the same source root, which sets the subject wholly and inexplicably apart from the object, the worshipper from a distant Jehovah, the idolater prostrate before the idol.

(Eros added - In the end, you will participate in my thinking, because the mind is not confined to my skull.)

© John Dunn.

Reality is the perpetual Beginning 

Thursday, 28 March 2024 at 21:49

Headstrong on Dr John Dunn. Reality is the perpetual Beginning 

I do not know by cognising what has already been thought. I do not possess knowing, but only what lives in the movement of my thinking. As full and radical otherness, the already thought ceases to be knowledge.

The otherness of nature and history is no other than the objectivity of me to myself.
 Nature and history are,in so far as they are my creation. I find them within myself, and produce them in the eternal process of my Beginning. Reality in the true and unambiguous sense is me as the subject.

My consciousness is reality, and reality is my consciousness. Reality is the living process of my thinking, which is the perpetual Beginning. My intellect grows with my reality. It does not increase by acquiring entities and preserving them without any further need of activity, but it is realised in the movement from Ananke’s nothing to my everything.

© John Dunn.

I bring new life

Wednesday, 27 March 2024 at 20:58

Before the Sun 0n Dr John Dunn. Standing before the Sun, Eros looked down upon the common herd and pronounced...

I bring new life

I bring new life to the forms which the common herd petrifies as nature and history. For these forms, set apart from their original source as sensations, images, and thoughts, are the non-truth that sickens the world.

To the dumb fools of Beulah, nature and history are both absolute otherness, extraneous to mind; something only known as phenomena. History is the fathomless sea of the past which loses itself and disappears in the far-off land of the prehistoric. It is the history of men's actions, the actions of men whose souls can only be reconstituted in an imagination devoid of any scientific justification.

Nature and history have become radical otherness, which has become the common perception; but they are abstract nature and abstract history, and, as such, non-existent.

If the otherness, which is the fundamental characteristic of the common herd’s view, were as absolute as it appears, it would imply the absolute unknowability of nature and history, but it would also imply something even more critical, the impossibility of mind. For if there is something outside my of mind in the absolute sense, my mind must be limited by it, and then it is no longer free, and no longer mind since mind is freedom.

(Eros added - Only the Devil and his children limit our freedom)

© John Dunn.

From Welney to Wisbech

Tuesday, 26 March 2024 at 21:27

Toby the tram engine on Dr John Dunn. The original Toby

Continuing my A1101 ride, the content of which will be added to my YouTube channel shortly. In the meantime I'm adding a part of the draft commentary to the video, just to keep the home page fresh as much as anything.

From Welney to Wisbech

Here’s an old Milestone at Lake’s End, just beyond Welney, placed here by the Wisbech Turnpike Trust.

The Inscription reads:-
: ELY / 13 : : UPWELL : : WISBECH / 11 :

Travellers on this road get to Ely via Littleport.

Here at Lot’s Bridge the A1101 is crossed by the Fen Causeway, a Roman road that runs between Denver, Norfolk in the east and Peterborough in the west. Its path covers 24 miles.

Three Holes - why?

There was once a bridge here in the 1600s with three arches with doors to shut or open depending on water requirements down river..

This modern concrete bridge crosses over The Middle Level Main Drain cut in the nineteenth century, there on the left, and Popham's Eau on the right, a drain financed by Sir John Popham in the early 17th century.

Still in Norfolk, here at Upwell. And very pretty it looks today, with its daffodil strewn canals.

This village along with the adjoining village of Outwell, was built along the old course of the River Nene.

(In front of church) Until a few years ago I would have been stood here in Cambridgeshire, whilst the church opposite would have been in Norfolk. Today I’m stood in Norfolk.

The older tower was surmounted by a later top storey, and there was even a spire which fell in the 1840s. The clerestory as it’s called, that upper story of windows, was added inthe 1460s, when medieval merchant prosperity around here was at its peak.

Just a quick ride beside the canals. The buildings are functional, the product of an industrial and agricultural settlement whose modern prominence dates from the late 17th century, and which still has the puritan flavour of a Flanders town.

Here at the old canal basin of Outwell. From this point, an arm of the canal used to continue on to Wisbech. It was opened in 1797, abandoned in 1926, and filled in during the 1970s.

From here the modern A1101 runs on top of the filled in canal, bypassing the winding course of the old road.

The road at this point runs along the border between Norfolk and Cambridge.

From 1883 a tramway cum railway used to run near the canal to Wisbech.

The steam tram engine that worked on the line is pictured above.

Aficionados of Thomas the Tank engine will know this unusual steam engine as Toby the tram engine. The Rev. W. Awdry was the vicar of Emneth, a village near Wisbech and took his inspiration from the Wisbech tramway.

Sadly for Toby, the tramway closed in 1966.

In Wisbech now. The start of this dual carriageway, Churchill Road, marks where I cross from Norfolk into Cambridgeshire.

Churchill Road was built on top of the filled in canal, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, following its course right up to the point that it met the River Nene.

That’s where I am now, by the River Nene, near the old junction with the canal.

© John Dunn.

Littleport's Harley

Saturday, 23 March 2024 at 22:29

Harley Davidson Littleport on Dr John Dunn. Littleport's Harley

One interesting stop-off place in Littleport on my A1101 ride recentley, the whole of which is soon to be a Youtube video.

William Harley, father of the William Sylvester Harley who founded Harley-Davidson motorcycles in 1903, was born in Littleport in 1835. The connection to the famous biking brand (if possibly a little tenuous?), is commemorated with a stainless steel sculpture of a Harley, on the edge of a little park, by the roadside, across the road from the south side of the church. This monument was unveiled in 2003 and depicts a 1937 Knucklehead bike. It was commissioned to celebrate the 100th birthday of the company Harley-Davidson company in 2003. The inscription reads: "William Harley, whose son William S. Harley co-founded the Harley-Davidson Motor Company". Some relatives of the Harley family still live in the area.

© John Dunn.

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