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The Plot Thickens

Hi, I’m Karen Meadows. Thank you for visiting The Plot Thickens.

I’m lucky enough to be the tenant of one of fifty large allotment gardens in the middle of the small and beautiful stone town of Stamford in England’s East Midlands. The gardens were first created by Brownlow Cecil, 4th Marquess of Exeter in the mid 1800s and their layout has remained virtually unchanged. Between the plots we have some 200 old apple trees, many of them rare varieties, and in 2017 Natural England awarded the gardens heritage orchard status.

Over the centuries at least 500 people have worked these plots. Follow our quest to discover who they were, what they grew, and what shenanigans they got up to. Be prepared for numerous diversions and musings along the way about gardening life here in our quiet (and occasionally not so quiet) little corner of Stamford.

If you haven’t discovered our website yet, do head over to Waterfurlong Orchard Gardens, where you will find a wealth of information about our gardens and gardeners, past and present.

And now for the small print...

The Plot Thickens is a non-commercial blog. All recommendations are based on personal preference and my own or our other gardeners’ own experience. Payments or free goods are not accepted in return for reviews of products and services. If an exception is made this will be clearly stated.

All words and images, unless otherwise credited, are my own. If you would like to copy text or images, I’d kindly ask that The Plot Thickens gets a positive mention and a link back to this blog.

Recent Posts

This Day In ... 276 AD


And what on earth does that have to do with Waterfurlong you may ask? Well, Waterfurlong follows the exact line of Roman Ermine Street and every mile along the route was marked by a milestone dedicated to the Emperor of the day. One milestone has been found eight miles from Stamford at the Roman town of Durobrivae (close to modern-day Water Newton) inscribed:

IMP CAES M ANNIO FLORIANO P F INVICTO AVG M P I Imperator Caesar Marcus Annius Florianus Loyal and Unconquered Augustus. A thousand paces.

As Ermine Street was built from south to north and at the approximate rate of half a mile a day, our section must have been constructed in late summer 276, during or immediately after the Emperor Florian's brief 88 day reign.


Marcus Annius Florianus Augustus, widely known as Florian, was born 19 August 232, the maternal half-brother of Tacitus, who was proclaimed Emperor in late 275. In July 276 Tacitus was assassinated in a military plot and Florian

proclaimed himself Emperor. Although his action was tolerated by the Senate and the armies of the West, the legions in Syria promoted their own general, Probus. Civil war broke out and Florian led his troops to Probus's base at Tarsus in modern-day Turkey. His men were unused to the sweltering heat and fell ill. On learning of this Probus launched raids around the city to weaken their morale even further. The tactic proved successful and Florian's men rose up and killed him. Probus was proclaimed Emperor and generally considered a successful one until 282 when he too was assassinated.

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