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

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Grantham’s Built Heritage
A recording group’s experiences

A small group, working with the SLHA Building Recording Group, has recently begun to investigate Grantham’s historic buildings. Graham Cook, retired architect and leading member of the group, spoke about their work at a Sunday Special meeting in Lincoln on 18 November.

A house in Swinegate has been checked out but proved to be almost entirely Victorian. A second project was initiated by markings in the grass on St Peter’s Hill during the hot dry summer of 2018. This is the probable site of a medieval hospital with the Eleanor Cross nearby; Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire has begun a series of non-invasive investigations on behalf of the group.

The Grantham recording group now plan to survey Artichoke House in Swinegate, a building known to have retained several interesting medieval elements.

Photo: Artichoke House (visited at the SLHA Conference, March 2017)

November 2018

Stamp End Railway Bridge
A major project completed

Chris Lester gave an illustrated account of the reconstruction of Stamp End Railway Bridge at the Sunday Special in Lincoln on 18 November. The bridge dates from 1848 and was much modified in 1901.

The very early use of box girders are the reason for the bridge’s significance and the Network Rail project of August 2017 has retained these in a non-structural position attached to the sides of the new steel bridge. An interpretation board is planned for the site.

A huge crane, anchored on the old Power Station site, was deployed to remove the decks of the old bridge and to put new bridge sections in place. The SLHA audience found the short time-lapse video record of the 4-day operation both informative and entertaining.

Photo: Stamp End Bridge after renewal work. The original box girders can be seen on the side of the second (further) span which carries the line over the Witham.

November 2018

Lincoln Grand Plans
Unrealised 20th century developments

Arthur Ward, retired conservation officer with Lincoln City Council, was one of three speakers at the Sunday Special on 18 November. He gave details of several projects considered in the 1960s and 70s which would have vastly altered the cityscape.

An inner ring road was to create quicker routes in and around the city centre but it would have required the demolition of many buildings now considered important. One or two minor elements of this scheme, e.g. Wigford Way, were implemented.

A new civic centre in the area of Sincil Street was designed by competition-winning architects in ‘brutalist’ style. This large project of the early 1960s, later reduced and modified, received a mixed reception and never materialised.

In the 1970s a new theatre and other grand structures were planned alongside the Brayford together with the removal of the Central Railway Station and extensive re-routing of rail lines. Financial constraints put paid to these plans.

Sketch plan for Brayford (Sam Scorer, 1961)

November 2018

Maritime Boston
History of trade in a Lincolnshire port

Almost 100 SLHA members and others attended a conference in Boston’s historic Guildhall on Saturday 17 November. It was organised by SLHA’s Industrial Archaeology team; Neil Wright took the chair; administration was led by Kathy Holland.

Presentations at the conference were as follows:

Boston and the Hanseatic LeaguePamela Cawthorne

For a century from about 1360 Boston was a prominent port in the northern European Hanseatic League of traders. Prior to this period wool had been the principal export, with as many as three million fleeces leaving the port each year. The Hansa gained formal trading privileges in England and under their domination Boston’s chief export became manufactured cloth. These arrangements came to an end and trade declined in the late fifteenth century following the Anglo-Hanseatic War.

Trade of the Port of Boston: 1660-1840 - Philip Riden
In the seventeenth century coal from the north-east, especially from Sunderland, was the principal import and corn the principal export. Other imports to Boston included textiles and manufactured goods but little came in from foreign locations. Exports included peas, beans and barley, much of this trade going through King’s Lynn. Trade in the eighteenth century was broadly similar, though many more vessels now made the direct journey to and from London. When inland canal and river routes were opened up in the early nineteenth century Boston began to import coal from West Yorkshire (via the Witham) as well the North-East. Throughout these 200 years, imports considerably outnumbered exports. Relatively little is known about the distribution of imported material to Lincolnshire markets.

Linking the Port to its Hinterland: 1700-1850Rob Wheeler

Long distance inland routes by water began to be developed in the eighteenth century and, with improvements to the Foss Dyke, Lincoln’s trade to the west increased considerably. The serious silting of the river hampered the city’s long established route to Boston using the Witham until the new cut was made from Chapel Hill southwards in the 1760s.

Buildings of the Old Port of Boston Neil Wright

Nothing remains of the medieval warehouses which lined the Haven but several buildings of the early nineteenth century survive in this area. Boston Borough Council was responsible for one or two warehouses which were both functional and attractively designed. The Dock, which is now central to the port of Boston, was created in the nineteenth century and equipped with granaries, coal hoists and an ice house. All these structures have been swept away in recent decades.

Tours in Boston
In the afternoon Neil Wright led a guided walk which highlighted the Georgian warehouses and other port structures in the area alongside the Haven between the Market Place and South Square. Visits were also made to Shodfriars Hall on South Street – part late medieval timber-framed, part Victorian - where an extensive restoration development is planned.

Georgian warehouses on South Square

 Shodfriars Hall on South Street

First floor interior of Shodfriars Hall

November 2018

Paint Analysis
Layers of Understanding

Paul Croft, Research Fellow at the University of Lincoln and working for Lincoln Conservation, gave an interesting and informative presentation to SLHA members at St Hugh’s Hall, Lincoln on Wednesday 14 November. The theme of his talk was the analysis of paint layers in historic buildings and artefacts.

The technique of analysing paint involves taking small samples down to the ‘base’ material, setting them in resin and then examining the paint layer ‘cross-section’ under a high-powered microscope. Analysis may also be done under UV light, polarised light, electron microscopy and X-ray fluorescence, all of which reveal features of paint pigments or substrates not readily visible under reflected light.

Paul illustrated his talk with examples of work undertaken in various locations (from the Isle of Man to Lincoln) and involving a wide range of painted articles (walls, doors, boats, wartime tanks). His work can pinpoint the dates of constructional work; it also enables modern restoration of decorative surfaces to exactly match original colour schemes.

Illustration: The Royal Flying Corps insignia was painted on the wall above the fireplace in the men's mess in 1917. This was located in one of Lincoln Racecourse's buildings on the West Common and has recently been restored to its original condition by Lincoln Conservation. The mural is shown before and after restoration.


November 2018

Gilbert of Sempringham
The making of a saint

‘The Miraculous Dreamworld of Gilbert of Sempringham’ was the title of John Wilford’s talk to SLHA members in Lincoln on 17 October. With the support of colourful contemporary and modern illustrations, John described the dozens of remarkable miracles attributed to Gilbert throughout his life and in the years following his death in 1189.

Men and women suffering from a wide range of diseases, mental illnesses and physical problems were completely cured following contact with Gilbert, even when it was very slight or indirect.  After his death equally remarkable cures were reported, many of which involved visits to Gilbert’s shrine in the abbey at Sempringham.

The reports of Gilbert's miracles were carefully scrutinised by the Church in Rome – the first saint to be assessed through this formal process – and the evidence of witnesses, often considerable and persuasive, was examined. 

The dreams of individuals, from pope to pauper, associated with Gilbert’s life were recalled and carefully recorded. Dreams were considered to be a direct link to heaven and they played a key role in confirming Gilbert’s sanctity.

St Andrew's church, Sempringham

October 2018

Archaeology Live!
Successful day conference in Lincoln

A wide-ranging - and widely appreciated - conference arranged by the SLHA Archaeology Team was held at Christ's Hospital School, Lincoln on Saturday 6 October. More than 100 delegates attended.

The speakers and their subjects were:

Julius Caesar in Britain - Dr Andrew Fitzpatrick
Hidden Beasties: The Art of the Anglo-Saxons
- Kevin Leahy
Long Barrows in the Lincolnshire Wolds - Mike Jefferson
Recent Work by Allen Archaeology
- Gavin Glover
Tattershall Castle: A New Perspective
- James Wright
Recent Finds on the Lincolnshire Coast
- Adam Daubney

October 2018

The Enemies of Books
A critical look at publishing today

The Memorial Lecture in memory of Ray Carroll was given by Shaun Tyas at the Red Hall, Bourne, on Saturday 22 September. Shaun took as his theme ‘The Enemies, and Friends, of Books Today’ inspired by a nineteenth-century book entitled ‘The Enemies of Books’ which described the enemies of that time, such as fire, flood, politics and ignorance (with a cartoon of a servant ‘lighting the fire with a Caxton’!).

The speaker proposed that, in contrast with this, most of the enemies of books today are within the publishing industry itself and the friends, such as librarian Ray Carroll, are becoming few and far between.

Using his own experience as a successful publisher of high quality books, Shaun regaled the audience with a succession of critical anecdotes covering the whole range of activities connected with publishing: from printers, with their paper, bindings and ink; independent and chain booksellers; distribution; the Internet; and the attitude of large publishing houses.

Even authors didn’t escape criticism but in fairness he praised all of those worthy of praise too. It was a light-hearted and very entertaining talk but not without serious undertones. He produced statistics to show that despite the industry’s self-inflicted shortcomings and the influence of on-line publishing, printed book publishing was on the increase and The Book was alive and well, much to the delight of the audience. It was a masterful tribute to Ray Carroll.

Shaun Tyas (speaker, Lynne Carroll (widow of Ray Carroll) and Stewart Squires (chairman)

September 2018

The St Bees Man
A Teutonic Crusader and his remarkable preservation

Chris Robson of St Bees told the story of a remarkably well preserved corpse of the late fourteenth century to SLHA members at their monthly meeting in Lincoln on 27 July. Graphic pictures and video clips vivdly illustrated his talk.

The body of a man, bound in linen and encased in lead, was discovered in 1981 in a vault on the site of the former south chapel at St Bega’s priory church in St Bees. Following exhumation, the cadaver had been pathologically examined. It was the body of a healthy man in his thirties who has suffered severe injuries to jaw and ribs.

His identity was subsequently established as that of Anthony de Lucy, 3rd Baron Lucy, who died in 1368, probably killed on crusade with the Teutonic Knights at New Kaunas, in what is now Lithuania. This information is based to some extent on a letter sent home by John Moulton of Frampton, one of three or four Lincolnshire men on this crusade.

The female skeleton which lay alongside Antony’s body in the extended vault was probably that of his sister Maud de Lucy (died 1398).

July 2018

Rural Water Supply
An overview and two examples

Two members of the Society's Industrial Achaeology Team, Chris Lester and Eric Newton, spoke to a small audience at Scawby Village Hall on 25 July about historic small-scale water supply systems in Lincolnshire. (This event was originally planned as part of the County's Archaeology Week.)

Chris explained the operation of ram pumps, hand pumps, horse 'gins', wind pumps, waterwheels and turbines in raising water to houses and farmsteads. He showed photographs and drawings of a range of installations across the county, many of which had been visited and recorded by the IA team.

Eric gave details of two water supply systems in the local area. A waterwheel powered pump, installed in the 1890s and later supplemented by a ram pump, once provided water for the gardens and a fountain at Scawby Hall. A similar waterwheel in an underground chamber in Thoresway pumped water from Black Springs to the buildings of Grange Farm from 1881.

Eric Newton asnd Chris Lester

July 2018

Lincolnshire Baptists
A story of persecution and survival

The thirty-ninth annual Brackenbury Lecture was given by the vivacious Bob Kershaw at Spilsby Methodist Church on 14 July, his subject being ‘Persecuted Baptists in Lincolnshire’. Bob began by explaining the place of Baptists in the history of non-conformity, their descent from Elizabethan puritans and the differences between Calvinists, Baptists and Methodists.

Bob then introduced the audience to some of the main figures in early Lincolnshire Baptist history. These included Thomas Grantham of Halton Holegate, active around the South Marsh area, the father and son Thomas and Jonathan Johnson, Lincoln bakers and the Bell trio, Baptist musicians. Other characters brought into the story were John Williams, the Bishop of Lincoln imprisoned for his liberal attitudes towards Puritans, his enemy Archbishop Laud and the hellfire preacher Samuel Oates (father of the egregious Titus).

The audience of more than 40 enjoyed the usual splendid tea provided by the ladies of the church and a collection was taken in aid of Raithby Methodist Chapel. We wish to thank Cecil Mundy, Bunty Martin and her helpers for making the event such a success.

Bob Kershaw and Mark Acton (SLHA Local History Chairman)

July 2018

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