Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day 61: Port Meadow and English "Common Land"

Any opportunity to see the English countryside is welcome. This week I had the delightful opportunity to visit the Perch at Port Meadow, a quaint, heavily-countrified, over-priced (but of course) pub/restaurant with my classmates on Thursday.

We walked north on one of the main thoroughfares before it put us onto a road overlooking a huge, verdant meadow and small lake around which horses were grazing. I was stunned. This apparently was the largest, still-remaining "common land," or, as the name suggests, land owned in common by Britains. By way of background, common land was once very important in England, for it provided the poor a place to graze animals and collect wood and berries. For many, it was a means of survival. When the wealthy, armed with land patents from the crown (or by adverse possession or hereditary right), began to partition off the land, the people rose up in arms.

In any event, our path took us past this impressive meadow, docked lake boats, and this picturesque village. Finally, via a tiny wooded and colored-light strewn path, we arrived at our cozy, fire-lit destination for a needed end-of-term lunch.

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