Categories for 2020
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SLHA events cancelled - our continuing service to members

Bulletin updated 3 April 2020

Action taken as a result of Coronavirus Pandemic


Sunday, 22 March        Lincoln        Induction Course: Lincoln Local List ($)
Tuesday, 24 March       Lincoln        Talk: Railway Station Architecture
Saturday, 28 March      Lincoln        Guided Walks: Cathedral Close & Roman Lincoln
Saturday, 28 March      Lincoln        Discover Lincoln Weekend: Jews' Court open
Sunday, 29 March        Lincoln        Guided Walks: Cathedral Close & Medieval Streets
Sunday, 29 March        Lincoln        Discover Lincoln Weekend: Jews' Court open
Sunday, 12 April          Lincoln        Guided Walk: Industrial Era Lincoln
Thursday, 16 April       Sleaford      Talk: Lincoln Cathedral
Sat 18 - Fri 24 April     Lincoln        7 Guided Walks, 1 per day, for English Tourism Week
Sunday 19 April           Lincoln        Reception: New Members’ Day
Wednesday, 22 April    Lincoln        Talk: Medieval Spalding Project
Sunday, 26 April          Lincoln        Guided Walk: Cathedral Close
Sunday, 10 May           Lincoln        Guided Walk: Roman Uphill Lincoln
Saturday, 16 May        Horncastle   Day Conference: Local History (Levellers & Leeches)
Sunday, 17 May           Lincoln        Guided Walk: Battle of Lincoln
Wednesday, 20 May     Lincoln        Talk: Paper Mills of Lincolnshire
Thursday, 21 May        Sleaford       Talk: The 1217 Battle of Lincoln
Sunday, 14 June          Lincoln        Guided Walk: Industrial Era Lincoln
Wednesday, 17 June    Lincoln        Talk: The Roman Aqueduct at Lincoln
Sunday, 28 June          Lincoln        Guided Walk: Cathedral Close


(Scheduled to take place on 16 May at Banovallum School, Horncastle)
This event had been POSTPONED. We intend to rearrange it later.


The bookshop will be CLOSED from 19 March until further notice.


We will not be able to print Lincolnshire Past & Present as planned this month (April), nor can we send out notices by mail to members in the usual way. We aim to keep members informed of Society business through this website


Contact with the Society can be made by email: Please bear with us if responses are less prompt than usual.

March 2020

Nigel Burn
Sudden death of SLHA Chairman

We were extremely saddened and shocked on Thursday 26 March to hear of the untimely death of Nigel Burn the Chairman of SLHA. He was such a major asset for the Society and a friend to us all. Our sense of loss is compounded by the fact that currently we are denied the conventional methods of closure, remembrance and celebration of life

We have been in contact with his executor and further details will be made known as they become available. When we can - and maybe with other local organisations - we will do something appropriate to reflect Nigel's life and contribution to the City and County's heritage.


Memories of Nigel. As Chairman of SLHA and active member of the Society, Nigel touched many lives. Memories, recollections and anecdotes are invited so that we can appreciate his life as fully as possible. Contributions would be warmly welcomed by the SLHA Secretary,


March 2020nigel burn

Dennis Mills (1931-2020)
Death of a notable Lincolnshire historian

We have lost a great friend and highly regarded colleague through the sudden death of Dr Dennis Mills on Monday 23 March. He made an outstanding contribution to the study of Lincolnshire's history in a multitude of ways. A detailed tribute will be posted here in due course.


March 2020

Feather Factories of the Fens
Pillows, mattresses and duvets made in Boston

The third of three talks delivered at the Sunday Special at Jews’ Court on 15 March was given by Neil Wright on the topic of feather factories in the Lincolnshire Fens.

Feathers were first collected on an industrial scale in south-east Lincolnshire when goose feathers were made into writing quills. At the same time the softer feathers of the geese - and those of swans - were plucked for filling ‘luxury’ pillows and mattresses.

Small factories were built in Boston – successively in Petticoat Lane, Bridge Street, West Street, Cornhill Lane – from the 1840s for the Anderson family (headed for much of the time by a female member). The firm’s final move was to a splendid new factory in Trinity Street in 1876, a building which still survives.

Other feather making concerns emerged briefly in Boston and also at Billingborough. Fogarty took over the Trinity Street factory in 1899 and later moved to modern premises. This firm made duvets and pillows (latterly without feathers) on a large scale with a substantial staff, but closed in 2019.

Former feather factory, Trinity Street, Boston

March 2020

Early Victorian Antiquarians and Archaeologists
Acitivites in Lincoln at the time of George Boole

At the Sunday Special held at Jews’ Court on 15 March Mick Jones, former City Archaeologist, spoke about antiquarians and archaeologists in Lincoln at the time of George Boole, i.e. the second quarter of the 19th century.

This was the time when the Mechanics Institute and the short live Topographical Society were set up in Lincoln and among the most local influential individuals were J S Padley (surveyor and cartographer), E J Willson (antiquarian) and W A Nicholson (architect).

Significant archaeological discoveries were made in Lincoln and close by during this period, including the Witham Shield (in the Witham at Washingborough), Roman West Gate (Castle dyke), Roman mosaic (County prison, Lincoln Castle), Roman sewer (Bailgate) and a Viking comb case (Central Station).

The significance of Lincoln was recognised in 1848 when the Archaeological Institute held its 7-day annual meeting in the city, attended by several hundred delegates.

March 2020

Nettleham’s Jersey School
Girls spin flax to offset poor rate

One of the three talks at the Sunday Special in the Jews’ Court meeting room on 15 March was given by Pearl Wheatley.  Her topic was the Jersey School which operated in Nettleham between 1786 and 1816.

Most of Lincolnshire’s Jersey Schools of this period were set up further east in the Wolds area to support the woollen industry based on Lincolnshire Longwool sheep.  The boys and girls who attended the schools were from the poorest families and their occupation, spinning wool and knitting woollen garments, reduced the cost of poor relief in the parish.

In Nettleham it was only girls who attended the school and they spent most of their time spinning flax, not wool. A written record has survived which names the pupils, their ages and the income they generated.

The schoolhouse was on Church Street within a few yards of the parish church. When the Jersey School closed the building was occupied by the village elementary school, which was later classified as a National School.  In the 1880s the village children moved to a new building on a site on High Street now known as The Old School.

March 2020

Lincolnshire Churches
From the Anglo Saxons to the Victorians

Dr Matthew Godfrey, Historic Churches Support Officer for Lincoln Diocese, gave an illustrated talk to SLHA members at Jews’ Court on Tuesday 3 March.

Lincolnshire has good examples of church buildings of each architectural period. As well as the much admired tower of St Peter’s church in Barton and the crossing at Stow, there is important surviving Anglo Saxon work in grave covers and in a variety of fragments at several sites across the County.

Typical Norman Romanesque features can be seen at Bicker and Long Sutton, and later 12th century – or Transitional – work is superbly demonstrated in the arcades of the other Barton church, St Mary’s.

St Leonard’s at Kirkstead (the survivor of the abbey) is a fine example of early Gothic style (Early English) with pointed arches and plate tracery.

The Decorated period – both in its earlier Geometric style and later Curvilinear – is especially well represented in both the Cathedral and at Heckington (1290-1340).

Tattershall’s church, built in a relatively short period in the 1480s, demonstrates the Perpendicular style and there are other outstanding examples of work form this period in the large churches of Louth (tower and spire) and Boston (tower).

Classical features were reintroduced in the churches built by the Georgians, but the Victorians moved back to Gothic styles (Early English and Decorated mainly) in the rash of church rebuilding in the nineteenth century.

Photo: St Andrew's Church, Heckington, south window in south transept. The tracery is a fine example of the curvilinear style of the Decorated period (c.1300); the stained glass is Victorian.


March 2020

Controlling the Demon Drink
The Alcohol Problem in Victorian Lincolnshire

The speaker at February’s midweek meeting in St Hugh’s Hall, Lincoln was Adam Cartwright, who has a wide knowledge of Lincolnshire’s brewing industry and licensed premises. His superbly illustrated talk dealt with the growth in beer drinking in the nineteenth century and the temperance movement which developed in opposition to it.

Consumption of beer peaked in the 1870s (at about 40 gallons per capita per annum) and the negative impact on family life and well-being among the working class was considerable.

Some of the numerous temperance organisations advocated total abstinence; others created new social venues and offered alternative activities. Temperance hotels and halls were built in several Lincolnshire towns and special rallies attracted large numbers of followers.

One or two prominent Lincoln men became passionate supporters of the temperance cause and were not afraid to defend their views in the public arena.

February 2020

Invaders and Traders!
Craft activities for families inspired by Roman and Viking artefacts.

A successful and well attended half term event with 80 visitors of all ages took place at Kirton-in-Lindsey Jubilee Town Hall on February 18th. The theme was Invaders and Traders with a focus on Romans and Vikings. Visitors had the opportunity to investigate a selection of images of Lincolnshire archaeology plus real and replica artefacts.

The decorated Roman dagger sheath excavated in East Bight Lincoln in 1981 provided inspiration for one of the craft activities. This sheath dating to the 1st Century was badly corroded but x-rays and careful conservation revealed panels of intricate decoration. The artefact is on display in The Collection, Lincoln. Other activities included making a Roman shield, decorating some Viking beads, designing a Viking ship prow in clay, making Roman mosaic patterns and a runic activity.

The event was organised by Kathy Holland of the Society with thanks to the Kirton-in-Lindsey Society, the Jubilee Town Hall and The Collection for the loan of a selection of artefacts.

A Young Visitor Holding His Clay Masterpiece

February 2020

SLHA is looking to fill the post of Administrative Assistant at Jews' Court.

The Society is a Charity with almost 600 members, many in Lincolnshire but also throughout the UK and worldwide. Run mainly by volunteers it has interests in the local and industrial history as well as the archaeology of the historic county of Lincolnshire, from the Humber to the Nene. It maintains this through a variety of publications, conferences, programmes of meetings and visits. It also runs a bookshop selling Lincolnshire and County related publications as well as second hand books.

The Society has a vacancy for an Administrative Assistant, based at Jews’ Court, Steep Hill, Lincoln. The work will include handling the variety of clerical and administrative procedures in a busy office, a crucial part of the team managing the day to day work of the Society.

The post is part time, three mornings a week, and 10 hours a week. The salary is £8.61 an hour. Holiday entitlement is the equivalent of 4 weeks work (40 hours per annum)

An application pack is available by contacting the Society Secretary at Jews’ Court, or by downloading the Job Description and Application Form here.

Applications should be returned in an envelope marked ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ by Friday 14 February 2020, to:

The Chairman of the Trustees
Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology
Jews’ Court
Steep Hill


Interviews will be held on Wednesday 11th March 2020

February 2020

Shodfriars’ Hall, Boston
A restoration project

As one of three presentations to SLHA at the Sunday Special on 19 January, Robert Barker spoke about the ambitious plan to restore Shodfriars’ Hall on the edge of Boston’s Market Place.

The well-known and much photographed west portion of the building facing the street dates from the late fourteenth century, though much restored. The large Great Hall to the rear was built in ambitious style in the 1870s by George Oldrid Scott.

Over the years the building has had a remarkable range of uses but maintenance of its fabric has been inadequate. It is no longer watertight and lacks many of the features essential for a public building.

The active local group is seeking to restore the building as a multi-purpose community space for social and educational activities.

January 2020

Stamford’s Industrial History
Preview of a publication

In 1967 the late Neville Birch published a brief history of the industries of Stamford, and then, over the following decades, proceeded to research the subject much more thoroughly. Before his death in late 2018 Neville had written a new detailed draft which is now being edited by his SLHA colleagues for publication later this year.

At the Sunday Special at Jews’ Court on 19 January Chris Lester, editor of the book, spoke about the project and highlighted the range of Stamford’s industrial history covered by the book.

It is perhaps surprising that so many industrial concerns were based in the town at one time; it is even more unexpected that several of Stamford’s manufacturing firms gained national standing and influence.

The forthcoming book will deal with all the town's industries, both large and small, and promises to attract a wide and interesting readership.


Stamford's Midland Railway Station

January 2020

Historic Graffiti in Lincolnshire
Recording and Interpretation

Brian Porter, Co-ordinator of the Lincolnshire Medieval Graffiti Project, gave SLHA members an update on recent work in the County’s churches at a ‘Sunday Special’ in Jews’ Court on 19 January.

Now In its seventh year, the project has covered over 200 churches and assembled 8000+ photographs.

A wide range of graffiti has been recorded, though few are dated and their inscribers are generally unknown. Some symbols and patterns are relatively common (double Vs, hexfoils, quatrefoils, Stars of David, merrell squares) while others, such as human figures, are rare and intriguing. Masons’ marks are often seen but are not well understood.

A flavour of the group’s work can be seen on their website and a report of the completed project will be of great interest.

Graffito at St James's Church, Aslackby

January 2020

The Anchoress and the Queen
Archaeology in the centre of Grantham

The first midweek meeting of 2020 in St Hugh’s Hall brought Ruth Crook from Grantham to speak about the history of St Peter’s Green in the town.

For much of the medieval period this site, close to the town centre, was owned by Peterborough Abbey. They built a small chapel dedicated to St Peter and attached to it at one time was a small cell occupied by an anchoress.

The remarkable procession carrying the body of Queen Eleanor from Lincoln to London in 1290 broke its journey in Grantham (and at several other places), and an elaborate cross was erected to mark the occasion.  The cross was probably located in St Peter’s Hill though it is not known exactly where.

Recent survey work in the area has produced a wide range of material and has confirmed the location of the chapel and other more recent features.

Queen Eleanor memorial at the Guildhall

January 2020

Retirement of Sue Smith
Long-serving SLHA Admin Assistant

On Friday 17 January a large group of members assembled at Jews’ Court to wish Sue Smith well on her retirement after 27 years in the SLHA office.

Stewart Squires, Chairman of SLHA Trustees, made a presentation to Sue – a bouquet, a garden gift token and piece of Blue John jewellery – and spoke warmly of the contribution Sue had made to the successful running of the office and the friendly reception of visitors.

Photograph: Sue Smith (left) with Stewart Squires (SLHA Trustees Chairman), Kathy Holland (SLHA Secretary)


January 2020

Lincolnshire Anniversaries 2020
People, Events, Buildings

* Vikings sailed up the Humber and invaded Lincolnshire

* Henry II visited Lincoln, one of several visits he made to the city

* Anthony Thorold, lawyer and politician, born.  He served as MP for Grantham and later for Lincoln

* Pilgrim Fathers, many of whom had gathered in Lincolnshire, set sail for America

* Death of Anthony Tuckney, Puritan Theologian. He was born in Kirton in Holland and became vicar of St Botolph’s Boston in succession to John Cotton.
* Act of Parliament for improving the Fossdyke, the canal between Lincoln and Torksey on the Trent. The work was carried out by Samuel Fortrey.

* Leys House, Denton, built as a Public Elementary school
* Wrought iron gates made for St Peter Arches church, Lincoln by Francis Smith (re-erected at Nettleham Hall in 1856)
* Sir George Thorold of Harmston was Lord Mayor of London in this year
* Congregational Chapel built in Star Lane, Stamford
* William Cust of Grantham born. He was a distinguished naval officer, killed on duty aged 28

* Turnpike Road opened between Louth and Horncastle, also between Louth and Saltfleet
* Louth Navigation linking the town to the North Sea at Tetney completed, one of the earliest canals in the country
* All Saints church Stapleford rebuilt in red brick
* Saltfleet tower mill built on the old sea bank on what became known as Mill Lane
* Daniel Lambert, ‘world’s heaviest man’, was born on 13 March; he died and is buried in Stamford
* Church restorations at Butterwick (St Andrew) and Irby in the Marsh (All Saints)
* Original lock on the Witham at Bardney completed
* Lincoln horse races were held on the Heath to the south of the city for the last time
* The bank of the Trent breached near Torksey causing a flood which affected properties in Saxilby and Lincoln. The road from Lincoln to Gainsborough was impassable for 10 days (20 November)
* Rt Hon John Cust, MP for Grantham and Speaker of the House of Commons, died (22 January). ‘Fatigue of his office’ was said to be a contributory factor.
* Original lock built at Stamp End on the Witham in Lincoln; it was later relocated downstream

* Jean Ingelow, poet and novelist, born Boston (17 March), perhaps best known for her poem ‘The High Tide on the Coast of Lincolnshire’
* William Botterill, Hull-based architect of Wesleyan Methodist chapels in Market Rasen and Alford

* Henry Andrews, mathematician and astronomer, who was born 1744 at Frieston near Grantham (26 January)
* Sir Joseph Banks, naturalist, botanist and Lincolnshire landowner (London, 19 June)
* Peter Burrell (1754-1820) 1st Baron Gwydir, married into the Bertie family of Grimsthorpe. He was Boston MP from 1782 to 1796 and was a keen cricketer. He died 29 June.
* Arthur Thistlewood, who had been born at Tupholme, one-time pupil at Horncastle Grammar School, radical activist and part of the Cato Street conspiracy, hanged and decapitated at Newgate Prison (1 May)

* Normanby Park rebuilt for Sir Robert Sheffield (1786–1862) by Robert Smirke
* Lincoln Lunatic Asylum (later The Lawn) completed, Richard Ingleman the architect
* Sleaford Playhouse theatre was built for Joseph Smedley, a local printer and actor; it is a Grade II listed building.
* Chapels built at Crowle (Baptist), Kirton Holme (Wesleyan Methodist), Wainfleet All Saints (Wesleyan Methodist), Boston (Unitarian), Louth (Congregational), Lincoln (Tanners Lane, Independent)
* Windmills erected at Stickford (Barr Green), Mareham le Fen (Chatterton’s), Middle Rasen, Cleethorpes, East Kirkby (Barlow’s)
* St Germain’s church at Thurlby (NK) rebuilt; north aisle rebuilt at St Mary Horncastle

Other events
* Samuel Bamford sent to Lincoln Prison. The previous year he had been one of the speakers at Peterloo meeting which preceded the ‘massacre’.
* Lincolnshire Agricultural Society's first annual Show
* Coningsby Waldo Sibthorp of Canwick Hall elected to Parliament (8 March)

* Death of John Ross (1801-1870), antiquary
* Churches: new buildings at Hatton, St Stephen; Lincoln, St Peter in Eastgate; work began on St Swithin’s, Lincoln. Major restoration or partial rebuilding at Laceby St Margaret; Howell St Oswald; Mavis Enderby; Waltham All Saints; Hogsthorpe; Burton Pedwardine; Grayingham St Radegunda; Coningsby St Michael; Metheringham St Wilfrid.
* Chapels opened at East Butterwick (PM); Horncastle, Queen St (WM); Lincoln Bracebridge (FM); East Stockwith (PM); Lincoln, Mint Street (Baptist); Sutton St Edmund (WM); Bleasby Moor (WM); Grantham, Castlegate (Congregational).
* Other buildings: Spridlington School opened; Oddfellows Hall erected at Ingoldsby; Becklands, Barnoldby le Beck built for Henri Jossi, Grimsby businessman;

* Dr Charles Plumpton, mathematician
* Doris Stokes, spiritualist and psychic medium, at Grantham (6 January)
* A E (Ted) Smith (1920 - 2015), conservation pioneer who played key role in foundation of Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust
* William Garfit (b. Boston), banker and Conservative politician, onetime High Sheriff of Lincolnshire and MP for Boston (29 October)
* Peacock, Mabel Geraldine Woodruffe (born 1856) Lincolnshire folklore collector
* Hanging rood installed in Lincoln St Peter at Gowts
* Sleaford cinema, originally known as Picturedrome Cinema, opened with 900 seats
* Victoria Hotel, Woodhall Spa burned down, caused by when an electrical fault (4 April)
* Mumby post mill, said to date from the seventeenth century, was demolished, though the mill house in Mill Lane still survives.
* Coliseum Picture Theatre opened in High Street, Cleethorpes
Other Events:
* First World War memorials unveiled in many Lincolnshire towns and villages
* Serious flood in Louth, 23 lives lost (29 May)
* Stone copings and railings fitted on Tattershall Bridge
* Lincoln’s tramway converted to overhead trolley system
* Greetwell ironstone mine, east of Lincoln closed. It had opened in 1875 and was worked by the Mid Lincolnshire Ironstone Company.
* Institution of Mechanical Engineers held their week-long conference in Lincoln
* The Bracebridge Council Schools were transferred to the City of Lincoln as a result of boundary changes

* East Lincolnshire railway line from Boston to Grimsby and the section of the Loop Line from Boston to Lincoln closed for passengers (5 October)
* ‘Roman Lincolnshire’ by J B Whitwell, first book in History of Lincolnshire series, published by SLHA

* Primary schools closed at Hainton, Careby and East Stockwith
* Methodist chapels closed at Thorpe Bank (PM)  and Sutton St Edmund (UM)
* Scunthorpe Centenary Methodist Church burnt down (21 August)
* Horncastle's former Drill Hall on Boston Road reconfigured as the Town Hall

January 2020