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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 05/22/15

Friday, May 22, 2015

CHEESE ROLLING FROM STILTON, ENGLAND!






    Cheese Rolling has become an annual event in Stilton and every May Day hundreds of villagers and visitors make their way to the main street to watch the teams battling for the honour of being called the "Stilton Cheese Rolling Champions".

Stilton History and The Cheese




The Bell Inn, where the rolling starts!



Ancient Stilton

    No one knows who lived here first - the earliest finds date from the time of the Roman occupation and are probably associated with the road that runs from London to the army fortress at Lincoln, which the Saxons later called Ermine Street.
    For centuries this road seems to have been little used, the important route was the east-west road, Fen Street and Church Street, which is why our oldest building, the Church of St Mary Magdalene, is found away from the main road that now exists.








    Stilton gets three mentions in the Doomesday Book of 1086 as three landowners, the King, the Bishop of Lincoln and Eustace held land here. The Great North Road had become a busy thoroughfare by the fifteenth century and Stilton was a well-known staging post; at one time there were 14 inns or ale houses for a permanent population of around 500 to 600 people. While most earned their living from farming, an analysis of the 1841 census, taken just before the long distance coach trade all but disappeared to be superseded by the railway, showed that occupations directly connected to the coaches were important too.









Village Pubs &  The Cheese

    All four of the present inns have very ancient origins, even though their buildings have been changed and modernised several times. We owe our famous cheese to the coach trade. Any Stiltonian can relate tales of visitors asking "where is the cheese made?...", only to be told "‘in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire".
    The most widely accepted explanation is that the cheese came down to be sold at one of the coach stops in Stilton, perhaps The Bell or The Angel. As early as 1722 Daniel Defoe (the author of "Robinson Crusoe") ate some here and mentioned that the village was already famous for its cheese. The recipe was passed down through the Beaumont family of Quenby in Leicestershire. By 1830 a former housekeeper at Quenby, Elizabeth Orton, made cheese in her farmhouse. Her daughter married Cooper Thornhill who kept The Bell Inn and he sold the cheese. He was famous (or infamous) as a larger-than-life character who long held the record for riding to London and back.









Modern Stilton

    Today, all Stilton cheese is factory made, but still only in the three counties with milk produced locally. It takes a gallon of milk to make one pound of cheese and a lot of skilled hard work is still needed. Each cheese matures for 3 months after which the blue veins appear naturally as oxygen is allowed to enter through holes pierced by stainless steel needles. A whole cheese weighs 15lb.




One of the officials watching a race



    Stilton’s dependence on the main road has been its undoing twice; in the middle of the nineteenth century when the railway line passed to the east through Holme and Yaxley, and in 1959 when the present A1 Stilton by-pass was opened. The village became a ghost village; The Bell actually closed and fell into disrepair and other businesses also disappeared. In 1962 Tom McDonald of The Talbot and Malcolm Moyer of The Bell, aided and abetted by telephone engineer Fred Linstead who provided a telegraph pole, cheered up their drinkers by organising the first ever Cheese Rolling along a course outside the present Post Office on Easter Monday.










A Little History On The Cheese Roll

How did it start?

    It would be nice to be able to say that the event is "as old as the village" or that it's origins have been lost in "the mists of time" but really no one knows how far back the tradition of rolling the cheeses goes. Midway through the Twentieth Century, when the village had turned into rather a quiet place having been by-passed by the A1 and the inns and businesses had seen a big drop in their trade, a landlord of one of the pubs decided to revive an ancient tradition. Or so he told everyone! He could be seen rolling a Stilton Cheese along the road outside his pub. People came to stand and watch and eventually joined in. And so the sport began - again.








The Rules

    It was originally run on Easter Monday and there was not a lot of uniformity to it to begin with. It seems a piece of wood in the shape of a Stilton Cheese was produced, a starting line drawn up somewhere between the The Stilton Cheese Inn and The Talbot and the finish line was outside The Bell Inn. Brave teams of Stilton men would then vie to roll the cheese to it's finish and, after the ensuing scramble, and many tussles and spills, the team that ended up steering the cheese to the finishing line would win! Nowadays, the starting point is always outside The Bell Inn and The Angel and the finish is a line drawn at the cross roads between the bottom of Fen Street and Church Street. The contestants are teams of 4, either all men or all women and each team member has to roll the cheese at least once during it's flight. It's a knockout competition with quarter's, semi's and a grand final.








Fancy Dress

    Some of the teams wear fancy dress for which there is a good prize and it all adds to the colourful scene. We would like to say that the sport has become more genteel over the years but we still get the tumbles and spills as in former days. The friendly rivalry grows during the competition as each team passes through to the next round so we end up with some very competitive finals!










    The prizes are always the same, a Whole Stilton Cheese and beer for the men and a Whole Stilton Cheese and wine for the ladies. But, of course, the main prizes are to be the winners of the coveted Bell Cup for men or the WI Cup for the ladies and to go down in history as 'Stilton Cheese Rolling Champions'. For more information about next years Cheese Rolling or to obtain an entry form contact the organisers

HIGHWAY ROUTE 666: ONE OF THE SCARIEST ROADS IN THE U.S.!!!




    There are many locations throughout the world that are considered to be one of the scariest places on Earth. However, there is one road that is approximately 200 miles in length that has many individuals frightened to travel on. This is Highway 666. While the U.S. officially renamed this haunted highway "U.S. Route 491" in 2003, those that have traveled upon it, live near it, and have heard or directly experienced its horrors, continue to refer to it as the ominous 666. There are many different types of unexplained phenomenon that have occurred and continues to occur on this desolate road. Throughout this guide on the scariest places in the U.S., you will learn why it instills fear in so many individuals.

Historical Notes

    Throughout the entire nation of the United States, Highway 666 is considered to be one of the top haunted highways. This particular highway is so large that it is found in 4 individual states-Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. Those that know of the terrors of this haunted place also identify it appropriately as the one and only "Devil's Highway". While it is true that there are many urban legends, rumors, and tall tales that are associated with this particular stretch of road, there are also many facts that relate to this road-such as statistics on accidents and even deaths. Those that have experienced complications while traveling on this road claim that the spirits that lurk along it are directly responsible for the issues.

The Evil Spirits

    While there are many stories of ghosts, hauntings, and spirits in general associated with this haunted highway, the stretch of road is best known for the evil spirits that are rumored to lurk on it. The first of the evil spirits that are said to be present on the evil road are what many refer to as the "Hounds of Hell". These are dog like creatures that have a supernatural basis. Many claim that they are able to run as quickly as vehicles are able to drive; they purposely cause traffic accidents, and attack people traveling along the road. In addition to this, there is a story that is often referred to as "Satan's Sedan". It is believed that an evil entity that is spiritual in nature drives a dark, ominous sedan that actually charges vehicles and individuals traveling this haunted highway.
There are many different stories associated with Highway 666. Most individuals associate the evil spirits with this road, but there are other stories surrounding this spectacular and vast haunted highway. Many claim the spirit of a girl wanders the highway while others claim that there is a phantom semi-truck that attacks travelers aggressively. Then, there are stories of skinwalkers as told by Native Americans. Regardless, Highway 666 is considered to be one of the scariest places in the U.S. Do you dare drive this long, ominous road alone? How about at night when you get into some, car trouble? heh! heh! heh! heh! heh!