14 April 2000

Braham Farm

Braham Farm

Braham Farm is at Little Thetford, Cambs, about a mile as the crow flies from Ely cathedral.

There are a number of theories about the name, says Jennifer Bedford, who lives there with her husband, Denis, and two of their grown up children. The problems in knowing which one is true stems partly from the fact that the site is an ancient one, probably having supported settlers since Roman Times. The spelling of the name has also varied. "Breame" is the name which appears on a local map of 1695. In 1251, it seems to have been "Braememere". And in 1086 – when, according to local historians, it was a fishery for the monks of Ely – it appears to have been "Bramewere".

One interpretation is that it could have some connection with brambles – Braham being a corruption of Brambleham, says Jennifer. "Personally I feel it to be more likely that it took its name from the fish species, bream, especially considering the

fisheries connection and its proximity to The Great Ouse, which forms the boundary to the east ."

The river connection also links with the fact that a reference book on swan marks (the identifying pattern put on a swans beak) states that the mark accorded to "Brame" is likely to be the only manorial mark to be found in the Fenland. "Now thats a bit of swan-up-manship," laughs Jennifer.