Categories for 2014
SLHA News ...
News 2014
Lectures and Conferences

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Mechanical Engineers' Meeting, 1885
A book to record a significant Lincoln event

Detailed printed records of week-long meetings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in both 1885 and 1920 are deposited in Lincoln Central Library.

Background information about sites and firms visited (local engineering works, waterworks, gasworks, steelworks and docks) are particularly informative and useful.

Ken Hollamby and Ken Redmore are preparing a book (to be published jointly by SLHA and Lincoln Record Society) which will reproduce these documents, together with an introduction and additional contemporary illustrations.

They spoke about this project at a "Sunday Special” meeting at Jews’ Court on 23 November.

Clayton & Shuttleworth works

November 2014

The Yarborough Mausoleum
An outstanding Lincolnshire building and its statuary

At Jews' Court on 23 November John Lord gave a brief account of the building of a mausoleum at Great Limber by the Earl of Yarborough in 1786, following the death of Sophia, Lady Yarborough, at the early age of 33 in 1769.

It was built by James Wyatt to a classic design.  Most of the building stone was brought from Brodsworth, near Doncaster, and contemporary accounts show the origin of other materials used in construction and decoration.

The mausoleum contains a fine statue of Lady Yarborough (by Joseph Nollekens) and also elaborate monuments in alabaster to William Pelham (d.1587), Francis Anderson (1757) and Charles Pelham (1763).

November 2014

Two Enclosures near Lincoln
What happened at Boultham and Skellingthorpe

A packed audience at Jews’ Court on Sunday 23 November were entertained by 3 short talks and a book launch.

Dr Rob Wheeler described the early 19th century enclosure of two parishes to the south-west of Lincoln – Boultham and Skellingthorpe – an unusual process in both instances, largely because of the overwhelming need for drainage improvements.

The names of the new enclosures at Boultham, appearing on the plan accompanying the Enclosure Award, reflect the earlier usage of the area (mainly grazing) and its single common arable field.

November 2014

The Normans come to Lincoln
A day conference in the city

The Society’s 2014 Lincolnshire Archaeology Day, on the theme of the Norman impact, took place on Saturday 18 October at Bishop Grosseteste University with an audience of about 100.

Presentations were given by a range of speakers, including experts from at least four different universities. The topics covered in the morning were the fate of Anglo-Saxon churchyard monuments, the recognition of distinctively Norman metal artefacts, and introduction of fallow deer into the British landscape, and the earliest monasteries to be founded in the county after the Conquest.

The afternoon was devoted to the subject of castles, both their French antecedents and their English ones, and culminated in the latest results from Lincoln Castle.

Mick Jones with Pamela Marshall, David Roffe, Robert Webley, Naomi Sykes and Glyn Coppack

October 2014

Lincoln's Cathedral Close
The medieval houses and their occupants

Dr Marianne Wilson gave the annual Terence Leach Lecture to a large group of SLHA and Lincoln Civic Trust members at St Mary's Guildhall on 18 September. Her topic was the medieval cathedral close at Lincoln.

Over the 14th and 15th centuries large houses, similar to those of the wealthy gentry, were built close to the cathedral and occupied by senior clerics: the dean, sub-dean, chancellor, precentor.  Other houses, of more modest proportions, were provided for choristers and vicars, several of whom lived communally.

What is noteworthy about Lincoln's close is the inter-mixing of small and large houses; senior clerics and lesser members of the community were in adjacent properties.  That many houses owned by the dean and chapter were let to lay tenants was also unusual.

Terence Leach was a noted local historian with particular interest in Lincolnshire families and their houses. He died in 1994.  This was the 20th lecture in his memory.

September 2014

Treading the Boards
The Georgian Theatre in Lincolnshire

On Wednesday 10th September a small but appreciative audience at Grantham Museum heard Neil Wright talk about Georgian Theatres in Lincolnshire.
In Georgian times both theatres and plays were much more popular than nowadays although at some point in the mid-19th Century all the theatres in Lincoln closed with the exception of Lincoln Theatre Royal. Plays were mainly staged by touring companies and it was usual for two plays to be presented in one evening. Neil showed many illustrations of Lincolnshire theatres and explained how they worked using a fully-restored theatre in Richmond, North Yorkshire as an example.

September 2014

Hilary's Lincolnshire
A celebration of Hilary Healey's life

The wide range of the late Hilary Healey's interests and achievements were celebrated in Spalding on 14 June. In an event jointly arranged by SLHA and Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire, speakers recalled her lasting contribution to Lincolnshire's archaeology and local history.

The speakers were:
* Tom Lane - a personal (and amusing) tribute to Hilary from a close colleague at HTL.
* Anne Irving - Hilary's pioneering research on Lincolnshire medieval pottery, especially from Toynton, in association with Ethel Rudkin.
* Tom Lane - Hilary's unique contribution to the understanding of medieval salt making on the Lincolnshire coast and in inland areas such as Bicker.
* David Roffe - the unpublished study he and Hilary made of surviving monastic buildings and the origins of yeomanry in Kesteven.
* Ruairidh Grieg - the identity and repertoires of the men from the Brigg area of Lincolnshire whose recitals of folk songs were recorded by Percy Grainger (one of Hilary's keen interests).
* Rodney Cousins - the Lincolnshire tradition of building construction in Mud-and-Stud, several of which were studied and drawn by Hilary as a devotee of vernacular architecture.
* Kevin Leahy - the Saxon Cemetery at Ruskington (exacavated and recorded by Hilary) and its regional significance.
* David Start - Lincolnshire's surviving medieval crosses, a recording project he and Hilary had completed shortly before her death.

The book 'Windmills in Pinchbeck, Lincolnshire', written by Joyce M Curtis, and extended, introduced and edited by Hilary Healey, was launched by David Start.  Buy a copy of the book.

A large and attentive audience in Spalding

June 2014

Looking to the Heavens
Lincolnshire men and astronomy

According to Dr Mike Leggett, Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, Lincolnshire people and organisations have had a remarkable influence on the history of astronomy.

In a talk in Lincoln on 11 June he outlined the contributions of Robert Grosseteste (1168-1253, Bishop of Lincoln), Andrew Storer (1642-86, US colonial astronomer), Henry Andrews (1743-1820, observer of solar eclipses), George Boole (1815-1864, mathematician), and several other Lincolnshire men who played minor but significant roles in the 19th century.

Newton’s work was, of course, without parallel.

Dr Leggett also described the emergence of scientific and astronomical societies and the construction of observatories.  A major role was played by the Spalding Gentlemen’s Society, especially in the eighteenth century, where regular lectures and astronomical studies took place.

June 2014

WW1 in Lincolnshire
A wide-ranging and successful conference

The Festival Hall at Market Rasen was the venue on 17 May for a well-attended day of talks about aspects of the First World War in Lincolnshire.

Lincoln School and the 4th Northern General Hospital
Chris Williams & Peter Harrod
The premises of Lincoln Grammar School (later Lincoln School and now Lincoln Christ’s Hospital School) on Wragby Road were taken over as a military hospital in 1914.  The main buildings were used by staff and officer patients; 20 temporary huts were erected on the playing field to provide 1126 beds for other ranks, and in the course of the war over 45,000 men were treated there.

The life and activities of the temporary hospital are brought vividly to life in the pages of the local magazines of the period – still retained in the extensive archive held at the School.

Zeppelins over Lincolnshire
Cliff Clover
The great German airships were developed to cover a long range and carry a heavy bomb load.  Their hydrogen-filled buoyancy bags made them vulnerable to both accidents and enemy fire.

Zeppelins had limited success in bombing raids over England (they were responsible for 560 civilian deaths).  UK fighter aircraft, such as the Sopwith Camel, taking off from both aerodromes and boats, were used to combat them, though the range and altitude required stretched them to their limits.

Field Marshal Lord Robertson
Molly Burkett
William Robertson, born in Welbourn, the son of a tailor, enlisted in the Army as a young man and after a few years, despite prohibitive social and financial barriers, entered staff college (Douglas Haig was his contemporary).

Robertson served in India and South Africa and married the daughter of a major general.  His outstanding personal and professional qualities saw him gain a series of promotions until he became Chief of the General Staff and a leading player in the British Army during WW1.

Molly Burkett, Mike Osborne, Cliff Clover and Terry Hancock

Chris Williams and Peter Harrod

The Defence of Lincolnshire in the First World War
Mike Osborne
Invasion by land, sea or air was foreseen for several years prior to 1914 and measures were taken to defend the country.  The Navy established and equipped bases from Scapa Flow to Kent and also manned coastal batteries in many places, e.g. Killingholme to protect the Humber.  Guns were mounted on shore or on old vessels off the coast.

The Army provided beach patrols – some on bicycles – and the first pill boxes appeared as shelters, later to protect gunners.  Hales Sand Fort and Bull Fort, at the mouth of the Humber, were also built at this time.

Air defence was established through anti-aircraft guns, searchlights and sound mirrors.

Flying Training in Lincolnshire in World War 1
Terry Hancock
The first powered flight was in USA (Wrights) and most early development was in France, but the British soon built planes and employed them for reconnaissance when the war began.

A RNAS base at Killingholme was set up for patrols and training from 1916.  Other sites for similar purpose soon followed, with Cranwell as a major base for the training of pilots of both planes and airships.

Some sites continued in use through WW2 and beyond but there are generally few remains of those that only operated during WW1.

A startling statistic: of the 14,000 British pilots who died in WW1, 8,000 were killed in training.

The Book of Remembrance in Lincoln Central Library
Stewart Bennett
This finely produced book, displayed in the lobby of Lincoln Central Library, contains the names and other details of 963 Lincoln men who died in WW1.

A little over half served with Lincolnshire Regiments; their sacrifices were made at battlefields – and at sea, and in the air – in many parts of Europe and beyond.

The details of age, address, parents and school are included in the special forms that were filled by grieving families.  It is an impressive and moving record.

May 2014

Celtic Art
Richly decorated artefacts before the Romans

Dr Joy, formerly of the British Museum, spoke to an audience of SLHA members in Lincoln on 14 May about artistic design in the Celtic (Late Iron Age) period.

This was an opportunity to hear a real expert in his field as Dr Joy described work on tracing common motifs used to decorate British objects dating from about 350 BC up to the Romans. He showed how they varied according to the application of the artefact, ranging from the fabulous torcs for personal decoration to feasting and martial objects such as drinking vessels and the Witham Shield.

The well-illustrated presentation included many of his own drawings of motifs which he has discovered and he demonstrated how some were built up from several simpler designs. Designs evolved over time and by 100 AD they were more striking, employing more coloured minerals and the Roman metal, brass.

Dr Joy postulated that positive and negative versions of the same simple motifs found on mirror backs could be a reference to the reflective properties of the mirror, also that some decorated items helped to shape society rather than reflect it.

May 2014

Lincoln City Parks
The story of the City's large public open spaces

At an open meeting at St Hugh's Hall on 16 April Andrew Walker (formerly Head of the Lincoln School of Humanities and Performing Arts at The University of Lincoln) described the development and public enjoyment of three City parks: Temple Gardens, the Arboretum and Boultham Park. All were endowed with generous donations by local people and organisations which helped to make them successful.

Temple Gardens, at the foot of Lindum Hill, was originally a much larger open space than it is today.  Christ's Hospital High School for Girls and Usher Gallery were built on part of the park.

The Arboretum on Monks Road was designed by Edward Milner, a nationally renowned figure, and opened in 1872. The stone figure of a lion and the bandstand were donations (the latter by a band), and the fountain came later when the water supply was inaugurated in 1911.

Boultham Park created from the grounds of the former Boultham Hall, home of the Ellison family, was used to grow food in WW2 and housed troops at that time.  The house was demolished in the 1959.

Today, following significant investment by the City Council (still going on at Boultham), the parks are attractive and well managed areas.

Arboretum Bandstand

April 2014

Water Supply at Withcall
A remarkable system installed by Nathaniel Clayton

Eric Newton gave an illustrated talk as part of a "Sunday Special” at Jews’ Court on 16 March.  His topic was the impressive 19th century water supply on the Withcall estate, installed by Nathaniel Clayton, the Lincoln industrialist who had bought the estate in 1880.

The source of the water was a series of springs in the north-east corner of the parish.  Water was also impounded there to form a large reservoir which gave a supply to drive a waterwheel.  This in turn drove a 3-cylinder pump to drive the fresh spring water along cast iron pipes to holding tanks at several farmsteads around the estate.

The length of piping was considerable (over 6 miles) and the height between pump and storage tanks was also remarkable (over 200 feet, in one instance).  The private system worked – almost maintenance free – until the public piped water supply reached the village in the 1970s.

Water supply reservoir


March 2014

The Shaping of SLHA: 1920-2014
How our Society changed and grew in the 20th century

Pearl Wheatley traced the development of SLHA over the last 100 years in a talk at Jews’ Court on 16 March.  Pearl had described the 19th century origins of the Society at the conference on Architects and Antiquarians in February and this brought the story up to date.

The Lindsey Community Council, set up in 1927, arranged day schools, fostered village local histories and founded the Lindsey Local History Society in 1930.  Activities expanded – the Universities of Hull and Nottingham became involved – and the organisation, now numbering over 250 members, soon covered the whole of Lincolnshire.

In 1974 the LLHS amalgamated with the Lincoln Archaeological Research Committee to create SLHA.  Groups with special interest in industrial archaeology and family history were developed and a vigorous publication programme was sustained.  A wide range of events – lectures, study tours, research, fieldwork – was maintained as membership numbers (700+) and influence expanded.

LLHS Summer School at Woodhall Spa, 1930s

March 2014

Heroes of Lincoln Archaeological Research Committee
The archaeologists, 1945-75, who excavated Lincoln's historic past

In the 1930s more than one leading expert considered that there was little of archaeological significance in Lincolnshire, but intense and productive activity over the 30 years immediately after WW2 – especially in Lincoln itself – gave a lie to this view.

In a talk at Jews’ Court on Sunday 16 March, Mick Jones, retired City Archaeologist, outlined the achievements of the Lincoln Archaeological Research Committee over this period.  Local men Tom Baker and Sir Francis Hill were behind the creation of the group and the academic leadership of Ian Richmond was pivotal.

A succession of gifted archaeologists worked in the City: Graham Webster, Norman Booth, Hugh Thompson, Dennis Petch, Ben Whitwell, Catherine Wilson, Christine Colyer.  Along with workmen and volunteers, these individuals directed work at a series of important Roman sites across Lincoln, until the Lincoln Archaeological Trust was set up in 1974 and others such as Ken Wood and Peter Rollin made their contribution to the unearthing of the City’s past.

Excavation of Roman forum in Bailgate, early 20th century

March 2014

Ward & Dale of Sleaford
The UK's largest steam ploughing company

Ward and Dale of Sleaford was the largest firm of steam ploughing and cultivating contractors in Britain.  The story of the firm was told by John Dale and Joe Sharpe, descendants of William Dale, to a large audience at the monthly SLHA Sleaford Group on 20 February.

The firm was founded by the brothers Frederick and William Ward in 1876; they had financial resources and some expertise in steam cultivation. They were soon joined by William Dale, a young ploughman of outstanding ability, and the established local partnership of Yates & Agnew.

The firm grew steadily to reach 12 ploughing sets (engine, plough/cultivator, water cart and living van) in the 1890s and 24 sets in 1914.

As well as ploughing and cultivating the firm undertook mole draining, tree stump clearing and lake dredging, and offered general engineering services.  The emergence of the more versatile and economical tractor power in the 1930s brought about the demise of the business in 1939, though one or two pairs of engines survive to retain a link with this remarkable company.

February 2014

Lincoln's Roman Bridge
A considered view of its structure and decoration

It is known that the Romans built a bridge over the Witham at the place where Lincoln’s High Bridge now stands.  But what was the bridge like?  Michael Lewis has considered this question for a number of years and he talked about his findings to a large SLHA audience in Lincoln on 19 February.

The river was much wider at this location in Roman times; in the early medieval period the creation of new water courses (Great Gowt and Sincil Dyke) and the infilling of low-lying land reduced it to its current width.  So the Roman bridge must have been over 100 metres long, multi-arched, probably with stone piers and timber deck.

The careful examination of several large stone fragments, dredged from the river in 1950, suggests to Dr Lewis that the bridge was flanked by columns, as seen in Roman bridges elsewhere in Britain and Europe.

He concludes that these columns, essentially designed to impress – understandable in their location at the entrance to the Roman Lower City – also supported hand rails along the sides of the bridge.

February 2014

Antiquarians and Architects
Shaping the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology

The Society’s annual February conference at Horncastle College on Saturday 8 February explored the origins of SLHA and the context – both local and national – in which church architecture and antiquarian issues became such a marked focus of study and interest.

Lincolnshire Architectural and Archaeological Society and its Properties
Pearl Wheatley

The LAAS (earliest forerunner of SLHA) was formally established in 1844 and had its first HQ in Louth.  It soon moved to Lincoln, a more convenient location, and successively occupied premises in Silver Street, Eastgate, Central Library, Bailgate and Exchequergate. As well as having a place to meet, it was necessary as time went by to store museum items (including a splendid set of brass rubbings) and house a library.

LAAS intervened in 1931 to save Jews’ Court from demolition and the Trust set up to own the property also became responsible for Bardney Abbey.

The Society, despite its modest financial resources, has been well supported and active throughout its history.

The speakers: Chris Johnson, Carol Bennett, Rob Wheeler, Pearl Wheatley, Chris Mackintosh-Smith



J S Padley: Archaeology and the Lincoln Diocesan Architectural Society
Rob Wheeler

James S Padley, from relatively obscure origins, received early training as a surveyor and became involved in large-scale drainage work in the Lincolnshire Fens.  Through this work he collected many significant archaeological finds – especially Roman, but also the Witham Shield.

Padley did not join the short-lived Lincoln Topographical Society but eventually became a member of LAAS, where some of his finds were deposited.  The Topographical Society, possibly too inward looking and non-conformist, did not suit him; he was also initially wary of LAAS (dominated by C of E clergy) until it broadened its interests to embrace all matters antiquarian.
E J Willson: Antiquarian and Architect
Chris Johnson

Born to a Lincoln architect-builder and with several distinguished siblings, Edward James Willson (1787-1854) had an exceptional career as both antiquarian and architect.  He worked in the Cathedral (Bishop’s Eye, organ case) and remodelled Exchequergate and the Sub-Deanery.

Among the pupils he took on at his practice were Frederick Jobson (1812-1881, artist, architect and Methodist minister) and James Smetham (1821-1889, pre-Raphaelite artist).  Willson went on to remodel several Lincolnshire churches (both C of E and RC) and did work for the Heneage, Pelham and Chaplin families.

He also pursued a political career in the City; he is buried at Hainton.


The Fall and Rise of Anglican Church Building in the 19th Century
Chris Mackintosh-Smith

The changes in fashion in church architecture from Classical to Gothic in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries – so well chronicled on the national scene – can be traced through the village churches rebuilt or restored during this period in Lincolnshire.

The Classical style is demonstrated in the churches at Langton-by-Spilsby (1720-30) and Gautby (1754-56).  In the mid-nineteenth century the profession of architects became clearly established and at the same time national movements brought a strong preference for medieval or Gothic styles for both churches and secular buildings.

Churches were rebuilt or remodelled in this style at Dalby (James Fowler, 1862), Nettleton (Fowler), Raithby (Nicholson, 1839), Hatton (Fowler, 1870-74), Lincoln St Mary Magdalene (Bodley, 1882), Freiston (Fowler, 1871), North Elkington (Fenton, 1852) – examples the speaker knew well from his professional work.


Drawings by J C Nattes commissioned by Sir Joseph Banks
Carol Bennett

Jean Claude Nattes (1765-1839) was a gifted French artist who specialised in topographical subjects using pencil or pen with colour wash.  He was commissioned by Banks to produce drawings of Lincolnshire churches and other buildings which were later collated and bound in 4 volumes.

These volumes passed though members of the Stanhope and Fane families before being deposited at Lincoln Central Library.

Although most of the drawings are incomplete, they form an important record of late eighteenth and early nineteenth century buildings, especially churches which were shortly to be demolished or extensively remodelled.


February 2014

Woodhall's Museum
The history of a building, a photographer and his images

A large group of members were entertained by three short talks at Jews’ Court on Sunday 26 January.

Jackie Goodall, of The Cottage Museum, Woodhall Spa, gave a fascinating illustrated talk about the museum building and its unusual collection of photographs and objects.

The Cottage is a simple prefabricated building with timber frame and corrugated iron walls and roof.  It was brought to its current site on Iddesleigh Road c.1890 and occupied by the Wield family.

John Wield (b.1877) was a gifted and prolific photographer who left a large collection of images now in the ownership of the museum.  He also ran a local "taxi” service using donkey-drawn bath chairs to get visitors between railway station, hotels and the spa baths.

The meeting was shown a wide selection of Wield’s excellent photographs depicting Woodhall village and society in the first quarter of the twentieth century.

The museum has an excellent website:

Woodhall Spa Cottage Museum

January 2014The Cottage Museum Woodhall Spa. John Wield

Medieval Graffiti
Symbols and pictures in Lincolnshire churches

Brian Porter, who spoke to a large audience at Jews’ Court on 26 January, is leading a group of volunteers recording examples of medieval graffiti in Lincolnshire churches.

Of the 70 churches visited so far – out of a daunting 600+ - over two-thirds have provided examples.  Lincoln Cathedral, unsurprisingly, is very rich in graffiti.

As well as masons’ marks, there are religious symbols (crosses, daisy wheels, pentagrams), animals, human figures, ships and games.

Much of the graffiti is difficult to spot, interpret and photograph, but the efforts of the group have already brought to light some outstanding images.

Graffito of windmill at Haceby St Margaret

January 2014medieval graffiti, masons' marks, pentagram

Rails in the Wolds
Looking at the former Louth to Bardney Railway

A combination of private visits and organised walks in 2012-13 enabled Stewart Squires to walk and photograph most of the 10 mile stretch of closed Louth-Bardney railway line between Withcall and South Willingham.

On Sunday 26 January Stewart presented a short slide show to SLHA members showing the main features of this scenic part of the line.

Two tunnels – the only ones on the line – were dug to get the line through the Wolds, and a high embankment was built across the river Bain to the west of Donington on Bain.  These tunnels, privately owned, survive in good condition and now host important colonies of bats.

A few other structures can still be seen: station buildings or platforms at Withcall and Donington; bridges under the line; platelayers’ huts; gateposts and fence posts.

East portal of South Willingham or High Street tunnel

January 2014Donington on Bain, Withcall, railway, tunnel

Ice Age Journeys
A notable community archaeology project near Newark

At the monthly Wednesday evening meeting on 22 January, over 70 people listened to archaeologist Daryl Garton describe "Ice Age Journeys”, a community archaeology project in Farndon outside Newark.

Prior research and evidence gathered before the building of the new A46 road led archaeologists to realise that some 14,000 years ago bands of stone age hunters gathered in the area outside Farndon to hunt for animals which congregated there either for the grazing or to cross the River Trent. They left many flint chips from knapping and a few tools including scrapers and arrow points.

The three-year HLF-funded project has attracted more than 30 volunteers from the public to help archaeologists on the site together with others engaged in cleaning, sorting and recording finds.

The site has also been visited by many people of all ages and the project has been very successful in engaging with the general public. For further information see .

The audience at St Hugh's Hall, Lincoln

January 2014