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Two Athenaeums
Linked developments in Boston UK and Boston US

Neil Wright, who has a lifelong interest in the two Bostons, spoke on this subject to SLHA members at the Sunday Special in Lincoln on 20 November.

Athenaeums, organisations with dedicated buildings which brought together libraries, art galleries, reading rooms and the like, were set up in many English-speaking cities and towns including Boston in the US (1852) and Boston, Lincolnshire.

It is suggested that the style of the American building directly influence the one built by Bellamy and Hardy in the Market Place at Lincolnshire's Boston.

Neil argued that it was Pishey Thompson, renowned student and promoter of Lincolnshire Boston's history, who created the link. Thompson spent almost 20 years in USA and is known to have had close links with John Quincy Adams, who was actively involved in the project in Boston, Massachusetts.

November 2016athenaeum, Boston Massachusetts, Pishey Thompson

Colonel Sibthorp, 'Punch' and the Great Exhibition
The extreme eccentricity of Lincoln's MP

Mark Acton gave the second of three talks at SLHA's 'Sunday Special' on 20 November about one of his favourite local characters, Colonel Charles de Laet Waldo Sibthorp. He was Lincoln's MP from 1826 to 1855, an outspoken reactionary who was frequently lampooned by the satirical magazine Punch in word and cartoon.

Sibthorp vigorously opposed railways and many other developments of the time. He was also strongly against the Great Exhibition, principally because it promoted the products of Britain's foreign competitors. His xenophobia - which even extended to disapproval of the Queen's consort - was frequently mocked in Punch's cartoons.

November 2016Colonel Sibthorp, Punch, Great Exhibition

Ermine Street Dig
Community archaeology in LIncoln

At a "Sunday Special" meeting at Jews' Court on 20 November Brian Porter of SLHA's archaeology team gave an entertaining talk about a recent community project in Lincoln. Small test pits at 23 locations spread along Newport and Riseholme Road to the north of the city have revealed a wide range of interesting information.

From the Roman period have been found walls, a bowl, a drinking vessel, a coin and evidence of burials (cremation and inhumation). Objects from later periods include tiles, hair pins, buttons and toys, and a deep well.

This successful project has excited the interest of both school children and adults in the area.

November 2016Ermine Street, archaeology

Linda Crust
Death of a gifted speaker and writer

Linda Crust (1936-2016) was a much valued member of SLHA and her sudden death in August was a shock to her many friends. Linda was much in demand as a speaker on local history topics, especially Methodist history; she was a model of clarity and clear diction.

She wrote many articles for Lincolnshire Life and was author of several books*. She suffered many setbacks in her personal life - deaths of two husbands, a fiancé and a son - but was always positive and sensitive to the needs of others.

* Fiery Proprietory of Sturton By Stow (1990)
Billy Paddison of Soloby - Methodist Farmer (2000)
Lincolnshire Almshouses: Nine Centuries of Charitable Housing (2002)
Ration Books and Rabbit Pie: Lincolnshire Folk Remember the War (SLHA, 2008)
Thomas Cooper: A Very Giant of a Man (2016)

November 2016Linda Crust

Corrugated Iron
A social history of a versatile material

Corrugated iron was patented by Henry Palmer in 1829 and first used for storage shed at London Docks. Its low cost, high strength and ease of use soon saw it used in buildings large and small across the world. It was also used to support the sides of WW1 trenches and in both aeroplane (duralumin variety) and steam locomotives.

It is frequently found in works of art and receives several mentions in literature. Tin tabernacles - churches roofed and clad in corrugated iron - are still to be found in the UK, and whole communities in the east of Iceland have been constructed in the material.

Illustration: The Cottage Museum, Woodhall Spa, constructed in corrugated iron over a wooden frame. It was supplied by Boulton and Paul in 1884 and erected here three years later. 


November 2016

Stephen Betteridge
Long-service of IA secretary recognised

At the industrial heritage conference in Lincoln on 12 November tribute was paid to Stephen Betteridge, who has been secretary of the Industrial Archaeology Team for 25 years.

He was presented with an inscribed cut-glass decanter and tumblers, a gift from his colleagues in the team. 

Stephen Betteridge with Peter Perkins (Northants IA Group)

November 2016

Lincoln's WW1 Industries
An industrial heritage conference

SLHA arranged an Industrial Heritage Day (or EMIAC) at Lincoln Christ's Hospital School on 12 November on the theme of Lincoln's manufacturing companies' contribution to the Great War entitled 'Ploughshares into Swords'. Over 100 people, from city, county and the East Midlands, enjoyed a series of illustrated presentations.

Lincoln�s Industries up to and during the Great War
Peter Robinson
Four large engineering firms in the city switched from their normal products and made armaments, aeroplanes or vehicles, all vital contributions to the nation's war effort. Clayton & Shuttleworth made planes and a wide range of other items in their Waterside site and also, as the need grew, in their newly developed Titanic, Abbey and Tower Works to the east.

Ruston, Proctor made bombs on their Waterside site and later built over 1000 planes on new sites in New Boultham and Spike Island. Robey, at the extensive Globe Works on Canwick Road, also built planes and vehicles. Foster's Waterloo Works, where the tank was developed, were in New Boultham, close to Ruston's.

Peter gave an excellent overview of these companies, their factories and the WW1 products, accompanied by illustrations of outstanding interest. He also explained how the "chain tractor" or caterpillar, pioneered in Lincolnshire by David Roberts of Hornsby's, came to be an invention owned by the Holt company in the US and later sold to the British.

Great War Tank Development
Richard Pullen

Walter Wilson and William Tritton were the Foster's men who developed the tank, initially based on the Holt tractor's track system. After the limited success of their first prototype "Little Willie", they settled on a model with rhomboid track ("Mother") which climbed well and could straddle trenches.

Tanks of this type - either made in Lincoln or Birmingham - made a strong contribution in the battle at Cambrai but war-time strategy was slow to take full advantage of the tank.

After the war tanks were taken around the UK by the War Savings Committee to promote the cause. They attracted massive attention.

Aircraft Made in Lincoln
Charles Parker
Over 3000 planes were made in Lincoln during the war, the majority by Ruston Proctor at their Spike Island works. First came the BE2, then the highly regarded Sopwith planes (1.5 Strutter and Camel) which were versatile planes for both reconnaissance and fighting. Testing took place on Lincoln's West Common.

Robey designed and built their own aircraft with little success but they later built Short floatplanes (more the 150). They developed a separate testing site at Bracebridge Heath.

Clayton's made components for airships and also built the Sopwith tri-plane for the RNAS as well as Camels at their Titanic Works. Only one or two planes made by the Lincoln companies survive.

Women Munition Workers
Neil Wright
Most female workers in WW1 munitions factories were unmarried girls engaged in relatively unskilled jobs. Nevertheless, some, clad in overalls, took on heavy "men's" work in casting shops and the like.

Even though the hours were long and the work often physically tiring, many women seemed to relish their wartime work and comradeship. The war saw a breakthrough in female employment, but most Lincoln women had to leave their engineering jobs when men returned from the front.

Neil's talk was based on the research of the late Ann Yeates-Langley.

The Lincoln Tank Memorial
Richard Pullen
The essential contribution towards the production of the tank by Lincoln's workers - both men and women - has been commemorated in the recent memorial sited on the large traffic island at the north end of Tritton Road. This is very close to Foster's site where the tank was conceived and built. The much-admired, two-dimensional steel memorial was designed by Mike Credland and Robin Wheeldon.


The conference concluded with three short films: the testing of the Roberts/Hornsby tracked vehicles in Grantham in 1909; the history of Ruston's from its 19th century beginnings to the Alstom gas turbines of the present day. Finally a remarkable film about the huge WW1 cordite factory (and community) created in south-west Scotland.

The day's events were greatly enhanced by excellent stands from several groups displaying information about the tank and other WW1 products. The SLHA bookstall offered a large range of books on the conference theme and other aspects of industrial archaeology.

Back row: Richard Pullen, Charles Parker, Chris Lester (chairman)
Front: Peter Robinson, Neil Wright

Peter Robinson addressing the audience

November 2016

On Saturday, 5 November, a group of SLHA members and friends was given a preview tour of the International Bomber Command Centre at Canwick near Lincoln.

Our enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide was Malcolm Stainforth, a volunteer on the project, who explained about the work undertaken so far and what is to come before the full opening in 2017.

To learn more about the project visit

November 2016

Viking Voyagers
Fun with history at Kirton in Lindsey

Enthusiastic visitors of all ages attended a Viking themed Family Workshop on Wednesday 26 October organised by Kathy Holland and hosted by the Kirton-in- Lindsey Society at the Town Hall.

The event included the opportunity to handle replica artefacts and discover how we can find out about the Vikings, the materials they used and their daily lives. Handling material included a selection of clay lamps, horn drinking vessels, coins, wood and bone utensils, a Thor's hammer pendant, decorative braid, a Lewis chess piece, an amber necklace, a spindle whorl and cowrie shells.

Craft activities included making a Thor's hammer pendant, considered a lucky charm by the Vikings, decorating a shield and using craft materials to create a model Viking ship. Younger visitors learnt about how the Vikings lit their homes and then used clay to make their own lamp.

The event was organised as part of the Past and Present project which celebrates 170 years of the Society and is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. 

October 2016

Visits in Epworth
SLHA explore the town after the AGM

On the day of the Society's Annual General Meeting in Epworth on 15 October members visited a number of places of interest in the town.

In the morning a tour was arranged in the adjacent Wesley Memorial Methodist Church, built in 1889 by architect Charles Bell. A church member gave a brief account of Methodist history in the town from the birth of John and Charles Wesley through the changing Methodist communities and the building of chapels. A highlight of the church is the large stained glass window over the communion area; it has figures of Christ and his disciples and a roundel with the heads of the Wesley brothers.

In the afternoon a visit was made to St Andrew's parish church on the northern fringe of the town. Recent work, part funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, has been the creation of a heritage area and first-floor ringing chamber at the west end and the relaying of the floor with under-floor heating throughout the building. Outside to the south of the chancel is Samuel Wesley's tomb from which his son John famously preached when he was banned from speaking inside.

A visit was also made to the Epworth Mechanics' Institute (founded 1837) to view the lending library and Houghton Archive. The long history of the Institute and the peculiarities of its library were outlined by an Institute member. Copies of the local newspaper, the Epworth Bells, were laid out in the archive room together with fine historic photographs of the town.

Some members visited the Old Rectory, the childhood home of John Wesley, rebuilt after a fire in 1709.


Visits to St Andrew's Church (left) and Epworth Mechanics Institute (right)

Inside the Wesley Memorial Methodist Church

October 2016

SLHA Awards for 2015
Presentation at 2016 AGM

The Flora Murray Awards for 2015 were announced at the Annual General Meeting of the Society in Epworth on 15 October.

The Flora Murray Award was given to The Lincolnshire Film Archive for their recently completed series of DVD compilations of historic film footage entitled Lincolnshire: A Century on Film. The citation also recognised the invaluable work of the LFA over a long period of time in rescuing, repairing and conserving - to the highest professional standard - old moving picture films about the county from both commercial and private sources. The long-serving Director of the Archive, Peter Ryde, was present to accept the award; he was accompanied by his colleague Steve White.

An Award for Excellence was received by Ian Cox on behalf of the Navenby Archaeology Group in recognition of the programme of excavation carried out in the High Dyke area of the village. Under the leadership of Allen Archaeology and with the active involvement of large numbers of local residents, NAG has identified structures and unearthed a wide range of objects from the Roman period, thus adding considerably to our knowledge of Roman activity in a rural area close to Lincoln and along the line of a former Roman road.

Peter Ryde and Steve White of the Lincolnshire Film Archive, flanked by Rod Ambler (SLHA President) and Neil Wright (SLHA Chairman)

Ian Cox (Navenby Archaeology Group) with his award

October 2016

SLHA Annual General Meeting
Report, Review and Resolution at Epworth

The Society's AGM was held in the meeting room at the Wesley Memorial Methodist Chapel in Epworth on Saturday 15 October. Dr Rod Ambler, President of SLHA, took the chair and about 40 members were in attendance.

The meeting approved the Society's general report for 2015 and the Treasurer's 2015/16 financial reports for both Lincolnshire Heritage and SLHA.

Officers elected for 2016/17 were as follows:
President: Rod Ambler
Chairman: Nigel Burn
Treasurer: Chris Hewis
Committee/Team Chairmen: Archaeology: Antony Lee; Building Recording: David Stocker; History of Lincolnshire: John Beckett; Industrial Archaeology: Chris Lester; Local History: Mark Acton; Publications: Ken Redmore
Additional members of Executive Committee: Ken Hollamby, Michael Jones, Eva Moore, Stewart Squires, David Start, Pearl Wheatley, Neil Wright, Harry Zeigler

Honorary Vice-Presidents: David N Robinson, Thora Wagstaffe, Pearl Wheatley, Catherine Wilson

The 2017 AGM will be held in Lincoln on Saturday 21 October.

October 2016

Tribute to Brian Dawson
Concert for Lincolnshire folk singer & song collector

The death of Lincolnshire traditional singer and song collector Brian Dawson in 2013 was a great loss to the folk community of the county.

Brian collected, conserved and performed the folk songs of Lincolnshire. He was a quiet man but his talents were nationally recognised and he performed at festivals the length and breadth of Britain.

A tribute was paid to Brian Dawson in a concert given by fellow folk musicians before an audience of almost 200 in Washingborough Village Hall on Friday 14 October. Splendid music interlaced with telling recollections of Brian and his music was presented by Tom Lane and Friends, The Bell Apple Boys, Kate Witney and John Connolly.

Brian Dawson (1939-2013)

October 2016

Boston's Grand Sluice
250th anniversary celebrated

Nearly 70 people gathered at the Grand Sluice on 10 October to witness the unveiling of the interpretive panel to mark the 250th anniversary of the opening of the sluice (on 3 October 1766).

This was an SLHA initiative which inspired Boston Borough Council, Lincolnshire County Council, the Environment Agency, the History of Boston Project, the Institution of Civil Engineers, Witham East Placecheck Group, the Canal & River Trust and the Internal Drainage Boards to get together to mark this important anniversary with historical material provided by SLHA.

The Grand Sluice heralded a new era of prosperity for Boston and Lincoln as it provided for reliable navigation between the two, in addition to allowing the drainage of large tracts of land and the prevention of flooding. Boston became the largest town in Lincolnshire and the first to experience urban growth and industrialisation.

Following the unveiling ceremony on the quay performed by the Lord Lieutenant, the party boarded the MV Boston Belle for a short trip through the lock and down the R Witham as far as the docks before returning in time for a buffet lunch.

Thanks are due to Neil Wright and Barry Barton for their initiative.

Interpretive panel unveiled

Principal guests: Matt Huddleston (ICE),
Barry Barton (ICE & SLHA),
Cllr Richards Austin (Boston Borough)
Neil Wright (Chairman, SLHA)
Kyle Clough (Vice-President, ICE)

October 2016

New SLHA Book Launched
Neil Wright's book on the Georgian theatre in Lincolnshire

The publication of a new book by SLHA was celebrated at Stamford Arts Centre on Saturday 1 October. The book "Treading the Boards: Actors and Theatres in Georgian Lincolnshire" by Neil Wright was commended and formally launched by Anthony Worth, CVO, Patron of SLHA, in the historic theatre.

Neil gave an absorbing illustrated talk on the theme of his book and later signed copies - now on sale at Jews' Court and by post from SLHA.

Tony Worth and Neil Wright

October 2016

Thomas Watson, last Catholic Bishop of Lincoln
An impressive career in turbulent times

The SLHA Memorial Lecture (formerly the Leach Lecture) for 2016 was dedicated to Kathleen Major* and given by Rev John Wilford at Saxilby Village Hall on Tuesday 20 September. It was arranged in collaboration with the Saxilby and District History Group who provided generous hospitality for the evening and helped create an appreciative audience of 60.

Thomas Watson, born 1514, child of a landowning family in County Durham, attended Durham's Priory School and then studied at St John's College, Cambridge where he came under the influence of John Fisher, the college chancellor and Bishop of Rochester. Watson's play entitled Absolom - written at this time but never performed - reflects caustically on the Act of Supremacy and Henry VIII's becoming head of the English church.

As Chaplain to Stephen Gardiner (Bishop of Winchester), Watson maintained his strong allegiance to the Catholic faith. As a result he was imprisoned under the reign of Edward VI, but when Mary became Queen Watson was soon elevated to Dean at Durham and in 1557 Bishop of Lincoln.

When she came to the throne in 1559, Elizabeth I demanded her priests recognise the Act of Supremacy. Watson refused to do this and along with many others was imprisoned. He lived his final years at Wisbech Castle where he died and was buried in an unmarked grave in 1584.

John gave a clear account of the political and religious changes affecting Watson's career and built up a portrait of a capable and determined man with an unshakable strong faith.

* KATHLEEN MAJOR (1906-2001) was Principal of St Hilda's College, Oxford, from 1955 to 1965, and the foremost historian of the medieval cathedral and diocese of Lincoln. Born in south Lincolnshire, Miss Major made large and lasting contributions to the Lincoln Record Society and SLHA.

Chris Hewis (Chairman, SDHG), Mark Acton (Chairman, SLHA LH team), John Wilford (speaker)

September 2016Thomas Watson, Saxilby

Rural Settlement in LIncolnshire
The annual SLHA Archaeology Conference

The annual autumn SLHA Archaeology day conference was held at Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, on Saturday 17 September. The following papers were presented:

Landscape Inhabitation in South Lincolnshire during the 2nd and 1st millennia BC
Dr Peter Chowne

Rural settlements are usually associated with agriculture and have constructed facilities such as roads, enclosures, field systems, boundary banks and ditches and conglomerations of dwellings. In historic times these might be defined as villages, hamlets or farms and can be recognised through extant remains, historic maps and place names. Understanding prehistoric settlement is difficult particularly in an agricultural county with few visible prehistoric remains.

In Lincolnshire our evidence for human activity in prehistory derives largely from surface scatters of occupation debris and cropmarks visible on aerial photographs sometimes supplemented by excavation. Dr Chowne's paper presented a brief overview of landscape occupation in early prehistory before focussing on the later Bronze Age and Iron Age through a case study of the fen margin between the River Slea and River Welland.

T'other side of the river - Britons and Romans in the Territory of the Parisi
Dr Peter Halkon

This contribution considered the extent to which the Parisi, who according to Ptolemy occupied the north bank of the Humber, possess a distinct tribal identity, from their roots in the Iron Age Arras Culture, famous for its chariot burials, to the end of the Roman period.

Reference was also be made to the growing evidence for the possible influence from the south bank of the Humber in the form of coinage and pottery in the later Iron Age and the extent of continued connections.

Recent fieldwork at Roman Sites on the Central Lincolnshire Wolds
Dr Steve Willis

This paper focused on recent findings resulting from excavation and survey at sites of the Roman period in the Waithe valley through the Lincolnshire Wolds. The Wolds have been little studied archaeologically but new examination is revealing their importance in the past.

The work has been undertaken through an on-going partnership between the North-East Lincs Archaeology and Local History Society, the University of Kent and local volunteers, combining research and training and involving a wide spectrum of people.

Two sites in particular were discussed together with their broader context within Lincolnshire and beyond, in Roman times. The first was the late Roman site at Hatcliffe, which was thriving right till the end of the Roman era, while the second was a high status site near Binbrook with a formal layout and strong 'economic pull', as seen in the finds. Classical architecture, religious curse tablets and the importation of coal are aspects of the freshly emerging picture.

A theme of the paper was that this part of Lincolnshire was a thriving, vibrant and integrated component of the Roman Empire.

Community, Landscape and Power in Eastern England: Understanding Middle Saxon Settlements
Dr Duncan Wright
The Middle Saxon period is increasingly seen as central to how the settlement history of England is understood, although archaeologists have often struggled to demonstrate how elite power at the time was articulated in the landscape.

Closer examination of the evidence from Eastern England, however, reveals important changes in the settlements of the seventh and eighth centuries, reflective of an increasingly complex and hierarchical society.

The power of elite institutions is particularly apparent, as Anglo-Saxon kings can be seen as consolidating their authority through the establishment of new settlement forms, typically attached to early church communities. These centres were often remodelled in subsequent centuries into recognisable historic villages, providing a legacy which continues to influence the landscape character of Eastern England today.

The Rector's Gift: Integrating Church Development and Village Landscape at Car Colston and Elsewhere
Professor David Stocker

This paper had its origins in research done by Paul Everson and David Stocker on the church and village of Car Colston, Notts, for the Joint annual conferences of the Society for Church Archaeology and the Medieval Settlement Research Group, held at Leicester in 2015.

At Car Colston, a link is proposed between the exceptional architectural features found at the church, and the unusual plan-form taken by the medieval settlement.

Having established the likely sequence of events, and the relationship between the reconstruction of the chancel to the pattern of development in the village plan-form, a number of other cases were identified for the same developments at Heckington and Great Hale (Lincolnshire) and at Wharram Percy (Yorkshire, East Riding).

The paper suggested that observation in fields of study that are often thought of as distinct, such as the architectural and documentary history of churches and the plan forms of medieval settlements, can sometimes cast important light on understandings in related fields.

Test "pit excavation in Lincolnshire" - outcomes for Communities and Research
Professor Carenza Lewis

This lecture presented and contextualised the results of archaeological test pit excavation carried in two communities in Lincolnshire in the last year, extending a ten-year programme in East Anglia which has been very successful in reconstructing the development of historic settlements and measuring the impact of major events such as the Black Death.

The Lincolnshire results have thus been given added value by being compared with patterns from elsewhere. Professor Lewis outlined the different aims of the two projects, presented their results, and considered the potential for similar work to be carried out more extensively across the county in the future.

Recent Research and Excavations at the Middle Saxon Site at Little Carlton
Dr Hugh Willmott
Following the discovery of an hitherto unknown Middle Saxon productive site by responsible metal detecting, the University of Sheffield, in collaboration with the Portable Antiquities Scheme, has been undertaking a programme of survey and excavation at Little Carlton since 2015.

Dr Willmott's talk provided an overview of this research, outlining the range of detected finds and presented for the first time the results of the archaeological investigations into what has turned out to be one of the most important early Christian settlements to have been investigated in recent years. 

Dr Steve Willis

Dr Hugh Wilmott

September 2016

Baumber Brick KIln
Hertiage Open Day event

The restored brick kiln at Baumber, 6 miles north-west of Horncastle, offers a rare example of how bricks were made on a small scale in the Lincolnshire countryside in Victorian times.

On Sunday 11 September, as part of Heritage Open Days weekend, visitors were able to inspect the kiln, learn about the way it functioned, and also gain further information about brick making in Lincolnshire from display material.

Access to the site was generously given by the owner, Cedric Clifford. The event was arranged by the SLHA IA team and led by Ken Redmore and Chris Lester.

Visitors at the Baumber kiln

September 2016

A water supply in the Wolds
Survey by industrial archaeologists

A team of SLHA industrial archaeologists visited a small Victorian pumping station in the Lincolnmshire Wolds in August.

A three-bore pump in a brick-built underground chamber was driven by a 10-ft diameter waterwheel. Both drive and delivery water came from the adjacent lake impounded in a valley by an earth embankment.

Measurements and photographs were taken of the pump house and attempts made to locate other features of this water supply system which served one or more local farmsteads.

Eric Newton, Chris Lester, Stewart Squires and Colin East on site

August 2016

Funny Faces
Family fun: Gargoyles and the Green Man

An appreciative group of 28 visitors young and old, enjoyed a family craft morning organised by Kathy Holland as part of the Past and Present Project.

The workshop included using imagery of gargoyles from churches in Lincolnshire as inspiration for making faces from clay, and some wonderful examples were created.

The session also included an informal illustrated discussion about carvings of the "Green Man" often to be discovered when exploring churches and other medieval buildings in Lincolnshire and beyond.

Visitors then had the opportunity to use a variety of craft materials and their imaginations to create their own Green Man Mask. Additional activities included making a Jester on a Stick and decorating a Portrait Pendant.

The workshop took place in St Mary's Guildhall on the Lower High St in Lincoln. It is a very appropriate and attractive venue as it is a medieval building now used by the Lincoln Civic Trust and open to visitors by arrangement.



July 2016

Magna Carta: Lincolnshire Connections
A topical talk in Sleaford

SLHA vice-chairman Nigel Burn delivered the 2016 Hosford Memorial Lecture to an appreciative audience at Sleaford. Taking as his theme "Magna Carta; the Lincolnshire Connections" he started by covering the background to the charter and the events leading up to its creation, which he described as the watershed between lawless and lawful rule by an English monarch.

King John himself was familiar with the county, visiting no less than 20 different locations during his reign but two Lincolnshire men, Stephen Langton (Archbishop of Canterbury) and Hugh of Wells (Bishop of Lincoln), played key roles in editing the charter and bringing it back to Lincoln from Runnymede, respectively. Stephen Langton's role was particularly critical in that the Pope had to be appeased without the charter being weakened.

The speaker concluded with the assertion that Lincoln's copy of the charter has the best provenance of the four surviving copies, being written almost certainly in the hand of the Bishop's scribe and inscribed on the back with "Lincolniae", that is to say that it was originally intended for Lincoln, where it has been since 1330 or earlier. In questions, the subject of the Charter of the Forest was raised and its 800th anniversary in 2017 was noted.

July 2016

Isle of Man
2016 SLHA Study Tour

The 2016 SLHA summer study tour was based in the Isle of Man from 16 to 20 July. In warm sunshine visits were made to Peel (Castle and Manannan Museum), Cregneash (farmsteads and traditional cottages), Laxey (wheel-driven pump and mine workings), Snaefell, Douglas (Manx Museum and Theatre), Jerby (Motor Museum and Transport Museum) and Ramsey.

The 40+ members of the course enjoyed travel by steam hauled train (Port Erin to Douglas), electric tram (Laxey to Snaefell and, for some, Laxey to Douglas) and horse tram (Douglas seafront). The TT motor racing circuit was also followed - on a relatively safe and sedate coach.

Excellent evening entertainment came in the shape of Manx folk songs and a talk about the Manx language

This highly successful event was arranged jointly by Ken Hollamby (SLHA) and TravelWright of Newark.


Photos: Above - Cregneash (left), Snaefell Electric Tram (centre), in St John's Church, where Tynwald meets (right)
Far Right - Laxey Wheel (top), Laxey mine adit (bottom)


July 2016

On Sunday 10 July a small group of SLHA members visited Papplewick Pumping Station in Nottinghamshire where the fine pumping engines were working under full steam.

There was much to interest and admire in the buildings and machinery around the site and the visit to the adjoining vaulted underground reservoir was memorable. The presence of a group of Steam Punk enthusiasts added colour to an enjoyable time at Papplewick.

The afternoon ended with a brief visit to a foundry at Burntstump Hill, Arnold, where Mark Sutton demonstrated the casting process for small items in brass, aluminium and cast iron.

Thanks to Colin East for arranging an excellent out-county day

Foundry at Burntstump Hill

Papplewick Pumping Station

Papplewick underground reservoir

July 2016

Tennyson and the Spirit of Place
The Brackenbury Lecture

The annual Brackenbury Lecture was given by Professor Valerie Purton of Anglia Ruskin University on 9 July to an audience of 43 in the historic Raithby Methodist Chapel.  Her theme was "Tennyson and the Spirit of Place".

Using short extracts from his poems - some familiar, some relatively unknown - Prof Purton showed how Tennyson early poems related to familiar places in Lincolnshire (his home, the Lincolnshire Wolds, Mablethorpe). Later work brought in a consideration of gardens, of travelling, of space and celestial images.

Tennyson's monumental "In Memoriam", in which he expresses his grief at the loss of Arthur Hallam, concludes that his late friend cannot be tied down to a particular place but was to be found in many experiences of life.

The 2016 Brackenbury Lecture was arranged by the Tennyson Society.

Professor Valerie Purton in Raithby Chapel

July 2016

Society Summer Picnic
A day in the the Wolds

The annual summer picnic took place on Sunday 19 June in the southern Wolds parishes of Langton by Partney and Sutterby.

David Stocker gave a talk in the early Georgian church of SS Peter & Paul at Langton, which unusually has box pews facing inwards along both N and S sides of the nave. The three-decker pulpit with tester is midway along the south side, a layout which reflects the supreme importance of the "Word" to the builders of this fine brick-built church.

The water supply system at Langton Grange is based on a waterwheel-driven pump situated in a valley alongside Langton Beck, a small stream. Clean, potable water is brought by gravity from a nearby spring to the pump and then raised to the Grange, a house and farmstead, some 65m above the valley bottom and in an area devoid of springs. This water system, explained on site by Stewart Squires to the visitors, was recorded by the IA team of SLHA in 2011.

The third location visited by the picnickers was Sutterby, where local enthusiasts have researched the history and archaeology of the tiny church and village.  Dave Start and David Stocker led this part of the day's activities.

Images: David Stocker in Langton Church (above, right); Stewart Squires at the Langton waterworks (below, left); the party in Sutterby Church (below, right)


June 2016

The Louth Flood
A walk on the anniversary

On 29 May Jean Howard of SLHA led a walk following the path of the Louth Flood of 29 May 1920, starting at almost the same time as this devastating deluge, which claimed 23 lives in just ten minutes.

Jean described the events leading up to the flood (caused by very heavy rain to the west bringing debris to block water courses followed by the bursting of these blockages) and told many of the stories of tragedy and heroism which occurred in the ensuing mayhem.

These stories were vividly recorded at the time by local and national newspaper reporters who were in town for a forthcoming by-election.

The walk was much-appreciated by a capacity attendance of 25 people, being the maximum number which could be safely controlled in Louth's narrow streets and pathways, and a substantial sum of money was raised for the Society.

Jean Howard and group at the end of James Street, centre of the disaster.

May 2016Louth flood

Railways & Radar
A guided walk in the Wolds

Stewart Squires of SLHA led a party of over 50 walkers on a guided walk around the Stenigot area on 21 May as part of the launch of the 2016 Wold Walking Festival.

Included in the tour were the early concrete farm buildings of the Stenigot estate, the parish church, remains of the Louth to Bardney railway line and the abandoned Chain Home Radar station.

The event concluded with tea in Donington on Bain where the entire village seemed to have contributed to making the launch event a wonderful success.

Stenigot radar tower

May 2016Stenigot concrete farm buildings

Lincolnshire Chairs
The vernacular tradition

On 18 May an enthusiastic audience enjoyed a talk by William Sergeant about the two principal styles of vernacular chairs made in Lincolnshire, ie the rush-seated ladder-back chair and the Windsor, or hoop-backed, chair.

These chairs were made with whatever local timbers were available and some makers employed journeymen chair-makers to augment their production.

No rush-seated chairs have ever been found bearing a maker's name but information about local differences (such as the style of leg) is slowly being built up by examination of chairs with known provenance. On the other hand, some Windsor chairs bear makers' signatures and it has been possible to identify 'clusters' of manufacturers in such places as Caistor, Sleaford and Grantham.

The talk was illustrated with examples of both types of chair and members of the audience brought photographs of their own chairs for identification and comment. The speaker gleaned valuable information from this two-way dialogue which will contribute to the understanding of this important activity.

William Sargeant and his chairs

May 2016Lincolnshire chairs Windsor ladder-back rush seat Caistor Sleaford Grantham

Early houses in Southwell
An active recording project

Members of SLHA Building Recording Group and others visited Southwell on 16 April and were entertained to an excellent day of talks and visits arranged by the Southwell Community Archaeology Group.

The Southwell group has been running a project funded by English Heritage under the direction of Chris King (Nottingham University) & Matt Hurford (Trent & Peak Archaeology) to study and record pre-1750 buildings in the town.

Several buildings have been closely examined and recorded and it is already clear that Southwell has a wide range of significant timber framed houses (not always evident behind later brickwork).

Visits were made to two properties in West Thorpe and to The Saracen's Head in the centre of the town.

Photos: Timber-framed cottages in High Street, West Thorpe, Southwell, visited by the SLHA group

April 2016

Vernacular Architecture
Annual VAG conference hosted by SLHA in Lincoln

The recently formed SLHA Buildings Recording Team welcomed over 80 members of the Vernacular Architecture Group to Lincoln for a 4-day conference from 29 March to 1 April. All the local arrangements for the conference, including the extensive site visits, were made by the team.

The first visit embraced buildings of varied types and of various periods on the lower part of Lincoln's High Street (Stonebow, High Bridge, 195 High Street, Whitefriars, Unitarian Chapel, John of Gaunt's Palace, St Mary's Guildhall and St Andrew's Row).

The second day began at Stamford Stone Company sites in Clipsham and Helpston where premium grade Clipsham Stone is quarried and then fabricated for a wide range of functional and decorative items. This was followed by visits to properties in Stamford (12 Barn Hill, All Saints Church, 6 Red Lion Square, St John Baptist Church, 10 High Street, 16/17 St Paul's Street and Browne's Hospital) and the opportunity to follow a trail around the town centre featuring the varieties of stone in use.

Thursday morning offered visits to buildings in uphill Lincoln (Deloraine Court, No.6 Eastgate, Nos 1, 3 and 10 Bailgate, Nos 29, 39 and 46/47 Steep Hill) - some of the oldest domestic structures in the city.

Hackthorn, six miles north of Lincoln, was the focus of the afternoon's visit. Late 18th-century stables and farm buildings, the church of St Michael and the core of the village were examined.

The final day took conference members to the east of the county to view mud-and-stud cottages in Thimbleby and Mareham le Fen and also the remarkable timber-framed parsonage house at Coningsby.

During the week evening lectures were presented on Lincolnshire's building stone (by Steve Parry. British Geological Survey) and the Lincolnshire Farm Building Survey (Alastair MacIntosh, Lincoln City Archaeologist). The newly published book on Lincoln's ancient buildings "Steep, Strait and High" by Chris Johnson and Stanley Jones was launched by Lord Patrick Cormack on a third evening, and the conference was wound up with a lively evening of entertainment based on Lincolnshire folk traditions and songs presented by Tom Lane and colleagues.

Photos above (l to r): St Michael's Church, Hackthorn; The Cabin, Thimbleby; Beecroft Cottage, Mareham le Fen
Photos right (from top): Stonebow, Lincoln; Clipsham Quarry; Browne's Hospital, Stamford; 1 Bailgate, Lincoln


April 2016

The History of the Ukulele
Words and performance in Spalding

On Friday 18 March 14 members of the 60-strong Ukulele Orchestra of Spalding presented a lively evening of entertainment interspersed with an account of the history of the instrument.

The ukulele ("dancing flea") was developed in the 19th century by Portuguese migrants in Hawaii, where they worked in the sugar plantations. Today there are five standard sizes of instrument starting with the tiny Piccolo ukulele rising to the largest, the Baritone instrument.

All five types were demonstrated and the large audience enjoyed samples of the orchestra's extensive repertoire.

The evening reached a climax when four members of the audience, including SLHA's President, Rod Ambler, joined-in using instruments borrowed from the players.
In summary "a good time was had by all".

March 2016ukulele

Vanished Churches
Lincolnshire's lost buildings in the town and countryside

The Revd David Boutle gave a talk to the SLHA group at Sleaford on Thursday 17 March on vanished churches in Lincolnshire.

Following a comprehensive introduction to some of the reasons why churches flourished and died, David described many of the lost churches of the county commencing with the ruins of the Witham abbeys.

There is a surprising number of lost churches in the towns and cities, often caused by changing employment patterns but, equally, there are many in rural areas caused by shrinking populations and a lack of maintenance.

Some churches were replaced, such as the thatched church in Horsington, whilst many more were simply demolished. Others survive today because of architectural interest.

The speaker's extensive knowledge of this topic was much appreciated by the audience.

March 2016

The Lower Walled City
Archaeology in LIncoln

Mick Jones' career as an archaeologist in Lincoln has given him a unique insight into the rich discoveries in the sector of the city once forming the lower part of the Roman Colonia.

Structures and artefacts from the Roman period have ranged from hypocaust and fountain to relatively simple houses and a plethora of objects.

This material, much of national significance, has added greatly to our understanding of this early period. Later periods of occupation - Saxon, Viking, Norman, Medieval - are also represented in an area that has been heavily populated for 2000 years.

In his talk to SLHA members on 13 March Mick Jones gave a brief overview of this area and the related investigations in the past 50 years.

Mick's talk closely follows the launch of the book "The Archaeology of the Lower City and Adjacent Suburbs" published by Oxbow. (Copies are available from Jews' Court Bookshop.)

Carving in limestone of Cupid and Psyche found in Hungate, 1985 - now in The Collection, Lincoln

March 2016

Grantham Hall Book
A Lincolnshire town during the Civil War

John Manterfield has been the driving force behind the recent publication and interpretation of the records of Grantham's Borough Council (so called Hall Book) for the 17th century. The original manuscript documents together with accompanying transcriptions have been published on the Lincs to the Past website; there has also been an accompanying book about the town based on these records.

This was the theme of John's talk to SLHA members on 13 March. Grantham, population c.2000, was governed by a small group of aldermen and burgesses who maintained steady and consistent government of local affairs despite the huge political pressures of the Civil War.

The Hall Book throws up valuable - and often amusing - insights into Grantham life in the mid-1600s.

John Manterfield's book - about the Hall Book, Newton and Grantham in the Civil War

March 2016

A Lincolnshire Millwright
The impressive story of an Alford firm

The Alford firm of millwrights, Thompsons, was the theme of an illustrated talk given by Jon Sass, the Lincolnshire mill historian, to a large audience at Jews' Court on 13 March.

This small firm, based in Parsons Lane, operated from 1877 to 2014, repairing, renewing and maintaining windmills across the county and beyond. Their specialist skills were constantly in demand, especially in the modern era of windmill restoration.

The records of the firm are currently being digitised and there are proposals to create a local display of their unique tools and patterns.

Thompsons' workshop in Alford

Sibsey Trader Mill - restored by Thompsons

March 2016

Blue Plaque for Rex Russell
Lincolnshire local historian honoured

Rex Russell, who died in December 2014, has been honoured by the Barton-upon-Humber Civic Society. A blue plaque has been recently been mounted on the front of Rex's former home in Priestgate.

Rex, a stalwart of SLHA, was an outstanding local historian and a highly regarded teacher, especially in Barton and north Lincolnshire.

Left: Rex Russell's former home, 11 Priestgate, Barton-upon-Humber

Above: the blue plaque

March 2016

Railway Branch Lines
Aspects of Lincolnshire's railway history

Alf Ludlam, writer and railway enthusiast, entertained SLHA members at St Hugh's Hall Lincoln on 17 February with an illustrated talk on three former railway lines in east Lincolnshire.

The single line from Bardney to Louth, opened 1876, closed 1960, was a very scenic route via Wragby and Donington on Bain which included two short tunnels as it crossed the Wolds. Short branch lines between Horncastle and Woodhall Junction and between Spilsby and Firsby gave important trade and passenger links for two Lincolnshire market towns for around 100 years.

A few buildings and other structures survive on these routes long after their closure but the heyday of the lines was most vividly illustrated in the outstanding range of contemporary photographs shown by Alf Ludlam in his talk and also used in the range of his books recently published by the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway Society.

Illustrations: Above: The cover of one of Alf Ludlam's recent books. Below: Woodhall Junction station in 1969 shortly before final closure of the Horncastle branch line to goods traffic (Peter Grey Archive)

February 2016

Visit to Norwell
Impressive timber-framed buildings

The first visit arranged by the recently established Building Recording Group (known colloquially as RUBL - Recording & Understanding the Buildings of Lincolnshire) was to Norwell led by Norwell resident Professor Michael Jones who has lived in the village since 1980 and with his group has produced a brilliant series of local history books.

We were greeted by his wife Elizabeth with coffee and biscuits in the parish church of St. Lawrence where Professor Jones gave an introduction to the village emphasising that the parish had been owned by the church and later the Church Commissioners for a 1,000 years and was only sold in the 1950s.

The church's conservative approach meant that there was little development, even enclosure was late in the 1830s. Laxton the adjacent parish was never enclosed.. Outside the trees were in fine autumn colour.

Our first visits were to Greasley and Pitchfork Cottages where we had friendly welcomes from the owners as we did at each of our visits. RUBL has many members with detailed knowledge of timber-framed buildings so there was plenty of discussion and interpretation of the surviving timbers.

These buildings have been dated by English Heritage to probably mid C16 and have been drawn by the local group but there has been no detailed interpretation. There are parallels here with the findings of the RUBL Trent Valley survey.

Our next stop was at The Old House with its earliest date of 1494. Some timbers are still in situ but most of the upstairs timbers were re-used in the C17 reconstruction.

Outside is an old timber fingerpost by what was the village green but now is a road junction. On the junction is a Methodist chapel with an 1841 date stone but this is when the Wesleyan's took it over. It was built in 1821.

By now it was lunchtime and we retraced our steps to Parr's Cottage, c1800, where Mrs Jones had prepared a gourmet buffet. On the way we stopped to look across what once had been open fields but still with remnants of ridge and furrow cultivation.

After lunch our first visit was to School Road to see the evolution of schools in the village. The oldest is the endowed school from 1727, now a private house. Next door is the 1872 National School in need of TLC. Opposite is the 1960s Nottinghamshire County Council replacement.

Nearby is the Old Farmhouse with a dendro date of 1362. Two bays of the original building survive. We interpreted the C18 and C19 extensions as rebuilds of earlier end bays which means that the original building had four bays.

Back on the main road we had a brief stop to look at c. C18 farm buildings at Bay Tree Cottage. Nearby is the Auld Cottage dated to 1512 but not listed. It has no electricity or running water. The village would like to buy it and turn it into a heritage centre.

After a brief stop to look at the 1830 pinfold, which unusually was built after enclosure, we continued to Palishall.  This site has been occupied from at least 1215 and possibly earlier. The building seems to have originated as a tower house, now two stories but possibly originally three. A medieval hall of two stories abutts it. It fell into serious disrepair and has recently been restored by the current owners. This impressive building with its large garden and extensive grounds was an ideal end to an excellent day.

RUBL's next visit will be to Southwell on Saturday 16 April.

Pitchfork Cottage, Norwell

The Old House, Norwell

Palishall, Norwell

February 2016Norwell, timber framed buildings

Castle Carlton
An early Lincolnshire castle and town

Dr Duncan Wright of Bishop Grosseteste University has studied this early castle and town which are situated near Reston in the Middle Marsh area of east Lincolnshire. He gave an illustrated talk about the fieldwork investigation to a large audience at Jews' Court on 24 January.

The castle is a large motte (8m high) and bailey structure probably of the 11th or 12th century. The nearby town was established in the early 13th century; it had a church (demolished in 1902) but it was never successful as a trading centre.

The form of the motte and its orientation raise discussion about its date and purpose in relation to the nearby salt route.

January 2016

Lincolnshire Timber Framed Buidlings
A recording project in the Trent valley

Jenne Pape of the SLHA Building Recording Group gave a talk on this topic as part of the "Sunday Special" at Jews' Court on 24 January.

Very few buildings with obvious timber-framing survive in the county but is has become apparent that medieval timber has survived - or been reused - in buildings that were later clad in bricks or substantial re-built in the area between Lincoln and the Trent.

Old Church Cottage at Aubourn, formerly the vicarage of only two ground-floor rooms, has been examined in some detail.  Documents show that it almost certainly pre-dates the Dissolution; its survival is partly due to the relocation of both church and vicarage in the village.

January 2016

Law & Order
Documentary sources in Lincolnshire Archives

One of the three short talks at Jews' Court on Sunday 24 January was given by Dr Mike Rogers. He outlined the wide range of documents at Lincolnshire Archives concerned with law and order.

Records of Quarter Sessions from medieval times to the twentieth century are a rich and varied source, and in similar fashion Petty Sessions deal with lesser crimes in the county.

A wide range of information about prisons and prisoners is found in the documents of the County Committee.  Other useful and interesting sources include County Courts, Manorial Courts and Police Records.

January 2016

Lincolnshire Building Stone
The importance of underlying geology

Tealby Sandstone, Spilsby Greenstone and Ancaster Limestone are just three of the many distinctive local stones used in Lincolnshire buildings. These and several other stones were described by Steve Parry of the British Geological Survey to a large audience of SLHA members in Lincoln on 20 January.

The stone used in churches and other structures is usually related to the underlying geology of the local area, though there are unexpected examples of building stone appearing in vernacular buildings many miles from its source. Stone from other UK sources is also found, often for aesthetic effect and usually in buildings of higher status.

Steve Parry also mentioned the Strategic Stone Study which offers a national database of building stone types and related quarries (see the BGS website).

January 2016

John Ketteringham
An expert on Lincolnshire bells and bellringing

Lincolnshire lost an experienced and knowledgeable local historian when Dr John R Ketteringham MBE died on 24 December at the age of 86. John was born in Alford and had been an active SLHA member for many years, making valuable contributions to the society's publications and website.

His special interest was church bells and bell-ringing and in 1990 he was awarded an M Phil from the University of Loughborough for his thesis The Use of Church Bells in the Diocese of Lincoln, 1536-1799. He wrote two substantial books about the church bells of his native county: Lincoln Cathedral: A History of the Bells, Bell Ringers and Bell Ringing (1987) and Lincolnshire Bells and Bellfounders (2000).

He was also the author of several popular books about men and women born in or associated with Lincolnshire, some famous, others relatively obscure.

January 2016John Ketteringham, bell ringing

Lincolnshire Anniversaries: 2016
Births, deaths, openings and special events

*Queen Elizabeth's School Alford founded

*The Epworth Rectory (home of John Wesley) was regularly plagued by mysterious loud noises and knockings, apparently caused by a ghost nicknamed 'Old Jeffrey', who made his presence known to all on Christmas Day 1716.

*The Grand Sluice at Boston officially opened (15 October)

*Henry Winn, poet, writer and long serving (70+ years) parish clerk of Fulletby, was born 23 January
*Drury's History of Lincolnshire published
*St Paul's church Carrington, architect Jeptha Pacey, completed
*Charles Chaplin MP of Blankney, sheriff of Lincolnshire, died 28 August
*St Peter's church at Thornton le Fen (or Wildmore), designed by Jeptha Pacey, opened

*George Heneage, 2nd Lord Heneage (of Hainton) born 3 July

* St Lawrence's Church, Skellingthorpe destroyed by fire, leaving only four walls and the square tower (2 April).
* During the Battle of the Somme, the British launched a major offensive against the Germans, employing tanks (designed and made in Lincoln) for the first time in history (15 September).
* Zeppelin LZ61 attacked Cleethorpes, dropping several bombs on the town, one of which landed on the Alexandra Road Baptist Chapel and killed 31 soldiers of the 3rd Battalion the Manchester Regiment, who were billeted there (1 April)
* John Cunningham (1897-1941), born in Swains Yard off Manley Street, Scunthorpe, was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallant action at the Battle of the Somme on 13 November 1916. Cunningham was 19 years old, and a private in the 12th (Service) Battalion, (the Hull Sportsmen's Pals battalion), The East Yorkshire Regiment.
* The airfield at Royal Air Force Waddington opened as a flying training station in November 1916
* RAF Cranwell, which had begun as The Royal Naval Air Service Central Training Establishment, commonly known as HMS Daedalus, was commissioned 1 April
*King George V opened the Keadby lifting bridge over the Trent (21 May)
*The first enemy aircraft to be shot down by a Ruston built aircraft (1 October)

*Lincolnshire won the Minor Counties Cricket Championship
*Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust set up the Protected Roadside Verge Scheme in the county, the first in Britain
*Lincoln Pop Festival held at Sincil Bank, Lincoln City FC ground (30 May). Performers included The Who and The Kinks; the MCs were Keith Fordyce and Jimmy Saville
*Floods paralysed farm work in many parts of north Lincolnshire during February
*HM Queen attended the Horse Trials at Burghley Park
*The British motor vessel Anzio I wrecked off Donna Nook, with the loss of thirteen lives (2 April)
*Mrs Violet van der Elst, of Harlaxton Manor, national campaigner against the death penalty, died 30 April
*The first edition of "Lincolnshire History and Archaeology", the SLHA annual journal, published in December

January 2016