Categories for 2018
SLHA News ...
News 2018
Lectures and Conferences

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Fighting Monks
Local History Conference in Horncastle

A goodly crowd travelled to Horncastle on Saturday 19 May to a conference about the Templars organised by the SLHA Local History. ‘Fighting Monks’ gave speakers ample opportunity to explore very different aspects of the Orders.

Dr Nic Morton of Trent University started us off with an account of their demise in the Middle East. At points Christians and Muslims joined to stem the advance of the Mongols.

Andrew Hoyle from Boston told the good story of the Crusade that set out from Boston. This information, until he resurrected it, had been lost in the annals.

Describing the Temple lands in Lincolnshire was so much more than a gazetteer – it was also a dissertation on Medieval farming, both arable and pastoral. Mike Jefferson painted a vivid picture of Templar farming practices.

There was a welcome return by David Marcombe of Nottingham University who examined the history of the Leper Knights. He was followed by Tom Foakes of the Museum of St. John who gave the history of that Order and brought us up to date with the work of the society to-day.

Our final talk by the SLHA Chairman, Nigel Burn, was most apt, being about the demise of the Orders in Lincolnshire.

In all it was a very good day including the new venue for us, Banovallum School in Horncastle.

Photos: David Marcombe (above) and Tom Foakes (below)

May 2018

Lincolnshire Postcards
Photographers, publishers and collectors

Chris Hewis, Chairman of Saxilby and District History Group, was the speaker at a meeting in St Hugh’s Hall, Lincoln on 18 April. His talk about the photographers and publishers of Lincolnshire postcards was illustrated by cards from the huge collection of the late John Wilson of Saxilby, now in the possession of SDHG.

Francis Frith (1822-1898) was a well-travelled photographer who published prints and postcards on a large scale. The business carried on under his name until 1969 and fortunately his huge collection was saved and later digitised. Lincolnshire photographers of note include Charles Smyth (born 1846) of Wainfleet and Skegness; Frank Walton (1838-1923) of Gainsborough and Grantham; William Garthwaite of Grimsby; William Dennis of Lincoln; and J W Turner.

Chris showed a sequence of unusual and informative Lincolnshire postcards, some illustrating the work of the County’s publishers. Themes included: Lincoln theatres and churches, local fire brigades, railways and the coastal resorts.

King Edward VII at the Royal Show, Lincoln, 1907. (Postcard published by Howard Barrett of Southwell)

April 2018

The Cornhill Quarter
A century of development in the centre of Lincoln

On the snowy afternoon of Sunday 18 March Beryl George shared her recent research into the streets and buildings around the Lincoln’s Cornhill. She has worked closely with the Lincolnshire Co-op who, as principal property owners, are redeveloping the area.

The Lincoln Corn Exchange and Market Company was established 1847 and immediately built the first Corn Exchange on Corn Hill (architect W A Nicholson). It was replaced by a larger building on an adjoining site to the north in 1879 (architect Bellamy & Hardy).

Trading in corn and other agricultural products was confined to Fridays and the spacious buildings were regularly used for as venues for public meetings and entertainment.

Market areas were created alongside and to the east of the first Corn Exchange and then in the ground floor of the second.

Sincil Street, to the east of these buildings, has always housed a range of small retail businesses. This type of occupancy is likely to continue after the present restoration works.

Lincoln's second Corn Exchange

March 2018

Mud and Stud Buildings
Report on recent research

The technique of building in mud and stud is commonly associated with Lincolnshire but, as Jenne Pape pointed out in a talk to SLHA members at Jews’ Court on 18 March, it is not confined, as usually supposed, to an area near the southern end of the Wolds nor is it only found in small cottages.

The walls of a typical M&S building are created from simple frames of ‘hedgerow’ timber to which are attached vertical laths. A thick daub of mud is then applied and the external surfaces limewashed for weatherproofing. The roof is thatched with a centrally placed chimney in brick or M&S.

Research involving vernacular buildings across the county and their related documentation reveals that the technique has been very widespread and that it was being deployed from the sixteenth century though to the Victorian period.

It is also clear that it was used for buildings of both high and low status. Its fall in fashion and acceptability came in the nineteenth century when brick began to be used instead or in many instances used as a simple skin to cover a mud and stud construction.

Withern Cottage, a typical mud and stud building (now at The Village, Skegness)

March 2018

Roman Leicester
Recent Archaeological discoveries

Gavin Speed of the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) gave an account of Leicester’s Roman legacy to an audience of fifty members and friends at St Hugh’s Hall on 14 March.

Archaeological excavations at various times have brought to light many significant buildings and artefacts of the Roman period in Leicester. Recent large scale redevelopment of large areas near the city centre has allowed sites to be revisited and new ones investigated.

The only Roman structure above ground is the Jewry Wall, now understood to be part of a bath house complex. Other public buildings of Roman Leicester (Ratae Corieltauvorum) identified include the forum (130m x 90m), a temple, macellum or market hall and an odeon or theatre.

Town houses have been investigated, some of which have fine mosaic floors and hypocausts. A large range of everyday objects (including coins, rings, tweezers, brooches, spoons, a flute) have been collected and catalogued.

More information about ULAS can be seen on their website

March 2018

Built in Gainsborough
Submarines for World War II

On 21 Feb at St Hugh’s Hall, Lincoln, SLHA members were treated to a talk by Lt Cdr Sandy Powell, RN Rtd, on the building of X Class submarines by Marshalls of Gainsborough.

A large audience listened attentively to the speaker (himself a distinguished submariner) as the story of the building of 12 miniature (4-man crew) submarines in great secrecy during WWII unfolded. Manufacture was distributed between various contractors for security reasons and Marshalls built three, X24 Expeditious, X25 Xema and XE9, Unexpected, built to a Far East specification.

Only 15.7m long, powered by a bus engine and capable of diving to nearly 100m depth, these submarines were designed to carry two large canisters of explosive which could be placed under the hulls of enemy ships in harbour by one of the crew who was also a diver.

Clearly this was an extremely hazardous task and many brave crew members lost their lives. This is reflected in the large numbers of medals awarded to the crews, including 4 VCs, 8 DSOs and 15 DSCs.

The X-Craft also carried out reconnaissance immediately prior to the Normandy landings and provided essential navigational guidance during the landings themselves.

X24 Expeditious was conspicuously successful and survived the war to be displayed in the Submarine Museum at Gosport.

February 2018

The lecture room at Jews’ Court was packed with members and friends on 21 January who had braved inclement weather to attend the first Sunday Special of 2018.

The ever-enthusiastic Adam Daubney, Finds Liaison Officer for Lincolnshire, spoke about some recent archaeological finds in the county including coin hoards in Riseholme (late Iron Age) and Ewerby (English Civil War). He also highlighted a sixth-century ivory bag ring found in the Wolds and a Visigothic silver buckle clasp – a unique find in Lincolnshire.

Naomi Field’s illustrated talk showed examples of Lincolnshire farm buildings on which she had undertaken recording work. These included sites in Appleby, Burton upon Stather and Laughton. Naomi described the importance of recording these historic structures before their conversion or demolition made this impossible. She urged anyone interested in helping with this work to join the society’s Building Recording group.

Chris Padley’s talk on John Fowler’s 1850 Torksey Bridge began with him demonstrating the advantages of box-girders with the aid of a cardboard box and two dumbbells. He described the construction, history and closure of the bridge to rail traffic followed by the lengthy process of it being saved for the use of walkers.

Torksey railway bridge

January 2018

Almost forgotten
Anglo-Saxon buildings at Stow and Southwell

In the place of the advertised talk by Carenza Lewis at St Hugh’s Hall, Lincoln, on 17 January, Prof David Stocker gave an illustrated presentation to SLHA members entitled ‘A Forgotten Group of Anglo-Saxon Archiepiscopal Colleges: Southwell, Stow and Beverley’.

The minster churches at these three locations were developed as colleges for communities of canons by archbishops of York in the late Anglo-Saxon period, a few decades before the Norman Conquest. Each church was equal-armed cruciform in plan and had a bell tower, dormitory and refectory.

Apart from some archaeological investigation of the sites, evidence of this early function can be seen at Stow in a small door in the north transept which led to the living accommodation. At Southwell a baluster shaft from the bell tower survives, having been re-used in the Bishop’s Palace alongside the Minster.

The inspiration for these developments came from northern Germany and can also be seen at other English cathedrals such as Wells, Exeter and Durham.

January 2018