Today I did my 4th walk for the project ‘A Walk A Week’. I thought about the topic of ‘history’ as I walked.
The name ‘Cockfosters’ where I started my walk was of particular interest to me. I find it quite a humous name; Im sure you know why. Apparently the name dates back as far as 1524 and is thought to be the name of a family or a house that stood on Enfield Chase. Enfield Chase was once a 12th century hunting forest. Enfield’s woodland was described in the Domesday Book as providing food for four thousand swine! This was a measure of the woodlands great size.
I passed Camelot Moat; a small moated island and Scheduled Ancient Monument. It is thought to have been the seat of Geoffrey de Mandeville during the reign of William the Conqueror.
I walked up a hill called Cuckold’s Hill. A ‘Cuckold’ was a man whose wife had been unfaithful. It is an Elizabethan word for Cuckoo – which lays her eggs in other bird’s nest.
I passed a few glasshouses. There used to be a mass of glass houses in this area that produced huge quantities of tomatoes and cucumbers for all the country. There are few glass houses left now, and they now produce water plants for gardens.
I walked over Maidens Bridge; local legend says that Sir Walter Raleigh spread his cloak over a puddle so the Queen could cross without getting her feet wet. This dramatic act of gallantry suggested that he had completely lost his head over her, and unfortunately for Raleigh he later did – he was beheaded!
London is an interesting city isn’t it; wherever you go you’ll either be passing or walking on something historical.
History itself is an interesting thing. For some, it fills them with intrigue and they are always wanting to know more. For others (and this is more where I fit), they can appreciate the value of history and the meaning behind it, but aren’t overly interested in pursuing it themselves.
There is another interesting thing about history; it can bring people together or tear them apart. Just yesterday I had a ‘heated discussion’ with two friends over Australia, its flag and the history behind it all. We didn’t agree with each other and I finished the day feeling pretty rotten. History shouldn’t cause me to fight with friends! History is just that – history. Its past; sometimes we can celebrate it and other times we must learn from it. Within all cultures and countries there are parts of its history that are good and parts that are bad. Even within our own lives our history is filled with positive and negative events/memories.
What I’ve learnt while walking through the history of London and thinking about the history of my homeland, Australia, is this:
Our past is a part of us, and always will be. We should celebrate the good, positive things and learn from the bad, negative things.
Nick Portokalos said it best “Don’t let your past dictate who you are, but let it be a part of who you will become’ (My Big Fat Greek Wedding)