"A silver-plated spoon" on Thorney history
When I visited Woburn Abbey on a wet day last month, one of their helpful guides suggested reading this book, published by the 15th Duke of Bedford, whose family had owned Thorney, in 1959. It is an autobiography, but with a lot of earlier history. For example:
"At Woburn, the (5th) earl reserved for his own use only the gardens and the well-wooded deer park. Most of the food came from Thorney Abbey, which the earl rebuilt as it stands today, chiefly for the occupation of his agent, Mr George Collop. This provided most of the meat and venison, with the cattle driven across country from Cambridgeshire..."
He also mentions that pike and perch were the fish eaten from his own ponds at Woburn, but we know that pike were taken to Woburn in wooden boxes, pulled behind boats in the river system, to restock the ponds in Bedfordshire. We also know from nineteenth century maps that there were large numbers of sheep folds, walled spaces for keeping sheep safe, in Thorney.