Kites over Moncks Wood

Within a few miles of Stilton, and between Stilton and Stamford, is a hill called Alconbury Hill. In the days I am writing of, so famous for Miss Worthington and her Stilton cheeses (about the year 1824, and from before that time to 1828 or 1829), there used to be in that part of the country an incredible number of kites — the 'Forked-tail Kyte,' 'Falcon Milvus' Lin. ' Le Milan Royal ' Buff, or what in Scotland were called ' Gleads,' the red feathers of whose forked tail were famous for wincrs of salmon-flies. These birds used to be soaring over the road, and over a wood called Moncks Wood — a wood famed in the Fitzwilliam country; in almost every direction one used actually to see them sitting in the middle of the road, and on one occasion I remember counting as many as twenty- seven in the air at the same time. The preservation of game, I suppose, has got rid of them, for no such bird is to be seen now; and it is wonderful to think how in a few years those birds have become almost extinct throughout England. I have not seen one for at least thirty years, common as they used to be in the days of Stilton cheeses, Miss Worthington, and the old ' Stamford Regent Coach.' 

Next: Mail coaches leaving London

Section 1:

Living Memories

Introducing the real life stories collected in the late 1800s

London to Stamford

What was it like to travel by coach on a winter’s day? Come on the first stage of a journey from London to Stamford.

Driving a Mail Coach
Mail coaches were the high speed elite. What was it like to drive them?

Then and Now

Comparing rail and coach travel in 1888!

An Incident at Wansford

Things didn’t always go smoothly and this amusing incident took place on the Great North Road.

Charlies and Hackneys

A recollection of life in London before taxi cabs, policemen and even electricity.

Perils by Water

One of the many hazards that could be encountered was flood water. This is near St Neots.


The people who could afford to travel were educated in - among other things - Latin!

Red Kites

Yes, they were common in the early 1800s. They’d all gone by the 1880s. Attitudes were different then!

The Cost of Travel by Coach

What did it cost to make a long distance coach journey?

The Desire to Drive a Coach

Young gentlemen often fancied themselves as coachmen. Unlike today, you could often ‘have a go’ with the reins.

Two Short Videos
Although we have no films from the time, modern producers have imagined coach travel for us.

The Peacock at Islington

The northern coaches all stopped here to pick up passengers. The scene was amazing.

London Coaching Inns

A description of the London termini from which coaches ran

Some famous London Inns

A list of London coaching inns and where you could travel to from each.


Go to Living Memories

Anecdotes written by people who actually travelled on the coaches

Go to the Age of Coaching

The coachmen, the inns, the coach proprietors - they’re all here. Come in and meet them

Go to the Roads

Britain’s roads were pretty impassable for most of our history.  Coach travel was very difficult until they improved

Go to The Coaches

Wheeled transport evolved over many years. Find out how coaches developed

Go to Home Page

Home Page of the Coaching Website


Sources and information about how I came to create this website