River-Side Village’s Surprising Connection to The Gunpowder Plot

illustration discussion gunpowder plot

Remember, remember,
The Fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot;
For I see no reason
Why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

As Bonfire Night approaches we plan fireworks and buy toffee apples, but don’t always remember that we are also commemorating the failure of the plot to assassinate King James VI. Some of that plotting was done not far from Fox Narrowboats marina, at a Jacobean 17th century manor house.

Wadenhoe House was once home to the Delacy family who were found to be involved in the Gunpowder Plot, and the house was one of the meeting places for the Plot planning. (ref. NB No Problem blog.) The beautiful house is now a hotel and wedding venue, and the village is well worth a visit for its attractive stone buildings, thatched rooves, charming old post office, church and traditional pub.

The good news is, you can get there by boat! A canal boat journey to Wadenhoe from our hire boat base will take around three days. The trip takes you at a leisurely pace along the Old River Nene, through the Middle Levels and onto the River Nene. On the journey you will see beautiful lock surroundings and ancient mills.

When you arrive at Wadenhoe there are moorings at the historic King’s Head, and there is a water point next to the pub which is accessible with a River Nene Lock Key.

This 17th century thatched inn has been serving food and drink for over 400 years, so perhaps it was built not long after the Gunpowder Plot was made?  In the summertime you can sit outside and watch other narrowboats pass through the lock. They charge a mooring fee if you do not use the pub. Just let them know if you are planning to stay overnight.

There are also free moorings a little further upstream against the Site of Special Scientific Interest, which is in easy reach of the pub.

The 13th century church; The Church of St. Michael and All Angels is on a hill overlooking the meadowlands of the Nene valley, and is isolated from the main part of the village, which lies below along the River Nene.

If you enjoy walking, The Nene Way long distance footpath passes through Wadenhoe and the circular walk between the villages of Wadenhoe and Aldwincle take in many sites of interest. A handy guide book, called ‘A Walk Around Wadenhoe’ can be downloaded from the history group website. Most of the village is made up of 17th, 18th and 19th century attractive limestone buildings with roofs mainly of Collyweston slate tiles, pan tiles and a few with thatch.

If you take a bus to Peterborough from Wadenhoe, you can have a day out in the city to visit the shops and cathedral. Alternatively you can carry on towards Peterborough by boat. On a narrowboat holiday in this area you can visit the historic market town of Whittlesey on the way to Wadenhoe. Then in Peterborough you can go through Nene Park, and moor at Ferry Meadows Country Park.

The River Nene connects the east of England to the rest of the UK waterway network. If you’re looking for a less-crowded narrowboat holiday where you can enjoy stunning countryside and attractive villages, The Nene is a great location.

So next year, why not take a narrowboat to Wadenhoe, and wander the same ancient streets and English lanes that were once trodden by Robert Catesby, Guy Fawkes and the other conspirators?

For a cruise to Wadenhoe you may like to book a week long boating holiday with Fox Narrowboats. Check availability here

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