An enjoyable conference on a wide range of topics was held at Gainsborough Methodist Church on Saturday 7 February. Contributions were as follows:
In 1815 a work force of 900 men (‘bankers’) were employed in straightening the river Witham near Bardney. A riot began when they were charged an excessive amount for bread by a local baker. This rapidly escalated, spreading to inns and alehouses, and was soon out of control. Additional constables were summoned, militia were called in from Louth and the magistrate from Gautby read the Riot Act. Order was soon restored and later the ringleaders were given short prison sentences. (Bardney local historians are continuing to work on details of this little known and little recorded event.)
Fallen Sons of Gainsborough
Over the past few years a local group has researched the lives of First World War casualties buried in Gainsborough Cemetery. Thanks to Peter and colleagues, several unmarked graves of WWI soldiers now have proper Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstones and have been ceremonially rededicated. Private headstones marking graves of other servicemen who died have also been restored; work of exceptional quality supported by a Heritage Lottery Grant has enabled stones to be re-erected, re-assembled and cleaned – a remarkable achievement, much appreciated by descendants of the casualties.
Women in World War I
During the First World War women did not just "keep the home fires burning” (in the words of a contemporary song); they were employed in many essential industries and services and pioneered voluntary activities. Women dealt with the huge influx of Belgian refugees; made up dressings and clothing for hospitals; organised the very first flag days; worked on the land; joined the police force; nursed in hospitals for wounded servicemen; and made munitions. They also played active roles in the services, but these and many of their civilian jobs came to an abrupt end when the war was over.
Lincolnshire Lads on the Veldt
Among the 133 Lincolnshire Infantry Volunteers who went to South Africa in 1900 was the speaker’s grandfather, Arthur Stennett. The letters he sent back to the family in Lincolnshire give a full and lively account of his journey across the country and subsequent battles with the Boers in Johannesburg and Pretoria. This campaign ended in defeat, and the surviving 83 soldiers - including Arthur - were forced to retreat. The speaker’s recent photographs, taken in the same South African terrain, illustrated the harsh conditions described in the soldier’s letters.
The Market Rasen Rifle Volunteers
At a time of perceived threat from the French in 1860, companies of Rifle Volunteers were set up across the country, including one at Market Rasen. The local newspaper frequently reported the group’s activities: its parades, its camps, fund-raising balls and, under the patronage of the gentry, its special receptions at the area’s country houses. Their practice ground and shooting butts – they shot every day - were first at Hamilton Hill and then in Linwood Warren (now a LWT nature reserve). The group was disbanded when the Territorial Army was established in 1908.
The North Lincolnshire Home Front
The Lincolnshire Star, which covered the north-west corner of the county, has been digitised and can be read on line. Stephanie has created a blog in which she is highlighting local events extracted from the Star and is posting them exactly 100 years after their occurrence. Over the first 6 months of the war many articles and reports mirror the national picture: Red Cross fund raising; women making shirts and pockets for troops; hosting Belgian refugees; church prayers; advice on recipes. Differences in the activities and attitudes of different sections of Lincolnshire society at the time of war are evident. (Stephanie's blog: http://northlincolnshirehomefrontww1.blogspot.co.uk/)