The Anchor Inn
In 1630 the Earl of Bedford engaged the Dutch drainage engineer Cornelius Vermuyden to drain the Fens for agricultural use. This area had, up to that time, consisted of a vast watery tract of swamp and scrub and despite the efforts of The Romans, Willliam the Conqueror and the Abbots of Ely it had withstood taming. The local inhabitants were as anti-social as their environment and this secret place had become the haunt of vagabonds and malaria-ridden peasants.
Vermuyden was partially successful and with the digging of the Old & New Bedford Rivers around 1650, the formation of the present rich agricultural landscape began and the constant danger of flooding to recede.
Sutton Gault (Gault is the name for the thick clay used to construct the river banks) sits on the Western edge of the Isle of Ely just outside the village of Sutton. Ely really was an island in those days and stood with its ancient cathedral above the surrounding swampland surrounded by water.
The Anchor was built around 1650 beside the bank of the New Bedford River or “The Hundred Foot Drain” as it is also called, to provide shelter for the workers digging the rivers. These workers were largely made up of Scottish prisoners of war, captured by Oliver Cromwell in a recent victory over the Scots. Despite this rather grim provenance the Anchor has been a pub ever since.