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A Lincolnshire Nurse
World War One heroine

At the monthly SLHA meeting in St Hugh’s Hall on 17 April, Chris Hewis gave an illustrated talk about a remarkable Lincolnshire-born nurse.

Jean Bemrose, born Asterby 1885, trained in Liverpool and served in several English hospitals under the Red Cross. Promoted to sister in 1915, she worked in the St John Ambulance Brigade hospital in the large hospital complex at Etapes, northern France, where she dealt with severely wounded soldiers from the French and Belgian battlefields.

A German bombing raid on the hospital in spring 1918 destroyed the building and, under dangerous conditions, Jean continued to care for her patients with little concern for her own safety. For this she was awarded the Military Medal.

Jean Bemrose retained many items relating to her wartime experiences – including some exceptional photographs – and these have been passed on through her nephew to the Saxilby and District History Society (of which Chris Hewis is chairman).

April 2019

Tudor Tales
Family activities at Market Rasen

An Easter Holiday event organised by the Society for families on the popular theme of Tudors took place at Market Rasen Library.

This well attended event offered visitors a selection of activities, one of which was to craft a jester's head in clay. This was inspired by a jester’s head which features in the photo galleries on the Society website and is part of the archaeology collections at The Collection in Lincoln.

Additional activities included making a Tudor Rose pendant and finding out the history of the Tudor Rose. Visitors were also able to try their hand at playing Tudor Five Stones in addition to using their imaginations to create a Story Scroll.

Both visitors and staff at Market Rasen Library are keen for the Society to continue to arrange more events for families.

Event organised by Kathy Holland

Models of jester's heads 

April 2019

Marjorie Whaler (1928-2019)
A much valued SLHA member

Marjorie Whaler, who died recently, grew up in Cleethorpes and after marriage and moving around the country, she and her husband Bernard returned to their native county. In particular, Marjorie was pleased to dwell near Lincoln and be in a position to build on her interest in archaeology.

She did not get involved in much active archaeology but found several organisations in which she could foster her interest. SLHA became an important one of them.

Marjorie became involved with the library at SLHA and, with the aid of a lottery grant, she fully indexed the collection and kept it up to date for many years. She also produced a card index of articles published in the Society's magazines (before the days of digitisation).

Answering a multitude of queries about LIncolnshire's history and archaeology - often involving considerable research - was another invaluable contribution that she made over several years in the 'backroom' at SLHA. She was also one of the reguar volunteers delivering the quarterly mailing to members in her local area to the east of Lincoln.

Marjorie was one of those most valuable workers behind the scenes so vital to the wellbeing of the Society.

April 2019

Open Lincoln Weekend
Visitors and Guided Walks

Over the weekend March 30-31 many of Lincoln’s historic sites opened their doors and welcomed visitors - at no charge. Jews’ Court again attracted a number of visitors who were told about its history and significance by Pearl Wheatley. Chris Hewis was guide to a mounted display of Lincoln photographs from his postcard collection; he also showed visitors less familiar areas of the building, including the attic.

Tours looking at historic aspects of the City were arranged on both Saturday and Sunday. These covered Roman Uphill Lincoln, Medieval streets and markets, and the city in the Victorian industrial period. Leaders were Penny, Karen, Avril, Mal, Tom and Nigel. The total count of tour participants was 337, a very satisfying number.

Photos: Right - Penny and Karen leading groups looking at aspects of Lincoln in the industrial period.
Below: Chris Hewis (centre) and Pearl Wheatley (left) giving insights into Jews' Court's history and discussing local photographs.


April 2019

Treasures from a Tip
Excavations at Lincoln Castle

During the recent major restoration project at Lincoln Castle ('Lincoln Castle Revealed') an area close to the East Gate was excavated and found to contain a wide range of material from the late twelfth century. Cecily Spall of FAS Heritage, York, gave a fascinating account of the finds on this site to a large audience at St Hugh’s Hall, Lincoln, on 20 March.

Thousands of animal bones and hundreds of pot sherds have been collected and identified. The bones are from a wide range of species: cow, pig, sheep, birds and fish. The area excavated was clearly the midden which received food scraps and other rubbish from the castle kitchen.

There were also several horseshoes and shoe nails; other evidence confirmed the proximity of stables. Some items appeared to have come from ‘sweepings’ in the Great Hall: these included dice, a flute, bone pins and a seal box of Roman origin.

These finds have been tied in with the likely group of buildings in this area, including the Observatory Tower, now thought to have originated as a gaol. A publication is expected in the near future.

Image: The East Gate: the C12 buildings were immediately to the right of the gate.


March 2019

Lincoln Eastern Bypass
Remarkable archaeological finds

Ruben Lopez Catalan is the principal archaeologist working on the site of Lincoln’s new Eastern Bypass, particularly near the crossing over the Witham and the B1190 in Washingborough. He described the range of finds revealed on this large excavated site in a talk to SLHA members on Sunday 17 March.

There have been many interesting – some outstanding and nationally important – finds from every period: axe heads and flints (Palaeolithic); funerary enclosure (Neolithic); barrows and log boat (Bronze Age); timber causeway (Iron Age); villa, coins, Samian ware, leatherware, artefacts (Roman); extensive cemetery, various artefacts (Saxon); Cistercian monastic grange (Medieval); farmstead (Post-Medieval).

Full written accounts of these finds are eagerly awaited.

March 2019

Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885)
A notable Bishop of Lincoln

Elys Varney gave a brief biography of this nineteenth century bishop in a talk to SLHA members as part of a Sunday Special at Jews’ Court on 17 March. Wordsworth, nephew of the poet, was an outstanding student at Winchester and Cambridge before ordination (by Bishop Kaye of Lincoln) and significant travels in Italy and Greece.

As Headmaster of Harrow School he had a school chapel built and transformed religious worship. He then became a Canon (later Archdeacon) of Westminster and held a living in Berkshire. He was appointed to the Bishopric of Lincoln in 1869, a post he held until his death in 1885.

As Bishop he founded the City’s Theological College (latterly in Wordsworth Street, named after the Bishop) and was a key figure in the reorganisation of the Diocese. As a scholar he published commentaries on both New and Old Testaments and was a noted writer of hymns.

March 2019

Lincolnshire Bricks
A wide-ranging collection

The late David Robinson of Louth was an acknowledged authority on Lincolnshire bricks – both their production and use in the County’s buildings. He amassed a large collection of local bricks and also a range of documents about Lincolnshire’s brickmaking industry.

Ken Redmore gave details of David’s brick ‘legacy’ in one of three talks at Jews’ Court on 17 March. Photographs showing kilns, machinery and brickworkers are invaluable but quite rare. These together with brickyard histories and written accounts of local brickmaking practice are highlights of the written and printed material.

Industrial archaeologists from SLHA have selected about 200 bricks from David’s huge collection (fortunately all carefully labelled) and prepared these as a permanent collection to be retained and displayed at the Alford Manor House Museum.  Some bricks are from identified brickyards and brickmakers; some are from demolished or decaying local buildings; others are examples of brick and tile types which David used in his popular courses. (David is seen, right, with students moulding a brick on one of his Horncastle College courses.)

March 2019

Paul Robinson, OBE, retired air vice-marshal, spoke to SLHA members at St Hugh’s Hall, Lincoln on 13 February. There were 27 bases within the Lincolnshire (widely known as ‘Bomber County’) from which bomber aircraft flew in WW2 and it is fitting that the national memorial and archive should be located close to Lincoln.

As the war progressed the design and capabilities of bomber aircraft developed rapidly and the ability to pinpoint enemy targets improved considerably.  Nevertheless huge numbers of aircraft and men were lost; out of nearly 9000 bombers which were shot down or crashed, 3500 were from Lincolnshire airfields. Pilots and aircrew had a very low life expectancy and it is their bravery and fortitude that are commemorated in particular at the new IBCC.

Photo: The principal memorial and record of names at the IBCC

February 2019

Aerial Photography
A tool in the study of archaeology

‘Unlocking the Power of Aerial Photography’ was the title of a short talk given by Kathryn Murphy* at a Sunday Special in Lincoln on 20 January. This useful technique ‘took off’ in the First World War and in a short time its value as a tool for revealing and understanding archaeological sites was recognised. Millions of aerial images, either vertical or oblique, have now been collected and are available for study.

Shadows cast by small undulations in grassland indicate the layout of sites such as deserted medieval villages, and variations in crop growth in cultivated land can indicate the location of long-buried structures. Exceptionally dry periods also give rise to differential growth and maturing rates of grass in sites of buried archaeology.

The more recent technique of LIDAR has added considerably to the benefits of aerial photography.

* Kathryn Murphy is Assistant Officer for the Historic Enviroment Records, Lincoln

January 2019

Twelfth Century Timbers
A remarkable find at Sixhills

Mark Gardiner* was one of three speakers at a well-attended SLHA Sunday Special in Lincoln on 20 January. He gave details of the twelfth century timbers found in Lincoln Lane Farmhouse, Sixhills, where SLHA’s Building Recording Group (RUBL) has been conducting a recording project.

These timbers form the floor joists of a wool store in the early sixteenth-century farmhouse. Dendrochronology gives 1139-64 as the felling date and further analysis (dendroprovenancing) indicates they came from oaks owned by the Crown in Sherwood Forest. The original use of the timber (before Sixhills) is still being considered; deep holes spaced along the edges of the timbers are significant but puzzling.

*Dr Mark Gardiner is Reader in Heritage at the College of Arts, University of Lincoln

Photograph: Lincoln Lane Farmhouse, Sixhills

January 2019

Two Bostons
Lincolnshire men and the US city

The theme of Neil Wright’s talk at the Sunday Special on 20 January was the links between Lincolnshire’s Boston and its namesake in Massachusetts, USA.

In the early seventeenth century Boston in Lincolnshire was deeply influenced by Puritan religion and philosophy. Its Calvinistic vicar John Cotton led the way and developed a strong following in the town and in the wider region.

The groups of settlers who established a colony in what became Boston in America in 1630 took Cotton as a spiritual leader. Over the next forty years, as the new Boston became established, leaders of the new colony mostly originated from Lincolnshire.

Photograph: Boston Guildhall

January 2019

Buildings and Pilgrimage
Medieval buildings in Walsingham, Norfolk

Little Walsingham in north Norfolk has been a place of pilgrimage since the building of the priory in the twelfth century. Several medieval buildings related to hospitality for pilgrims survive in the town and have been the subject of recent study by the Norfolk Historic Buildings Group.

Ian Hinton, a leading member of NHBG, gave an illustrated talk on these buildings to SLHA members in Lincoln on 16 January. Many of the buildings are timber-framed, exhibiting a range of structural styles and decoration. A variety of trusses, dragon posts, staircases and wall paintings were illustrated by Ian in this enjoyable and informative presentation.

Photo: SLHA members on a visit to Walsingham in 2017 


January 2019

Lincolnshire Anniversaries in 2019
Notable People and Events from the Past


* Austin Friars established in Lincoln; one of their buildings, Greyfriars, still stands between Broadgate and Free School Lane.

* Katherine Willoughby, 4th wife of the Duke of Suffolk, who lived at Grimsthorpe with her second husband Richard Bertie, born this year (22 March)

* Margaret Flowers, one of the witches of Belvoir, hanged at Lincoln Castle (11 March)
* Thomas, Lord Clinton, alias Fiennes, MP for Lincolnshire between 1604 and 1610 died at Tattershall (15 January)
* The Free Grammar School in Heighington founded by Thomas Garratt for poor children in Heighington, Washingborough and Branston
* Sir Richard Hansard died. He was born in Biscathorpe in 1550 and served with distinction as a soldier in Ireland.

* Birth of Susannah Wesley, mother of John, Charles and 13 other children
* Isaac Newton appointed Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University at the age of 26
* Land purchased for first Quaker burial ground in Lincoln

* Free school established in East Kirkby by the endowment of Gregory Croft and his wife Margaret (16 May)
* William Banks, father of Sir Joseph Banks, born Revesby
* Donington Grammar School established by Thomas Cowley
* John Landen FRS, mathematician, born Spalding (23 January)
* John Grundy, civil engineer based in Spalding, born Congerstone, Leicestershire. His major works in Lincolnshire include the earth dam at Grimsthorpe Castle and Louth Navigation.
* Sir George Thorold of Harmston became Lord Mayor of London

* Lincoln County Hospital founded near Broadgate Bridge (it moved to Drury Lane in 1777)
* Eresby Hall, Spilsby, home of the Willoughby family, destroyed by fire
* Sir Francis Bernard (1712-1779), one time High Steward of Lincoln and Recorder of Boston, created Ist Baronet Bernard of Nettleham, (5 April) (the baronetcy became extinct 1883)
* Parishes enclosed by Act of Parliament: Atterby, Barnoldby le Beck, Beckingham, Claypole, Ingham, North Hykeham, Snitterby, South Willingham, Sudbrook, Waddingham, Waltham
* Revd William Reckitt was born near Gainsborough. He worked as a weaver in Wainfleet and spent time in America as a missionary.

* James Coultas, agricultural engineer, born Grantham
* Independent chapel, costing £1200, opened in Grove Street, Boston
* Thomas Forman, printer & publisher of the Nottingham Guardian from 1849, born Louth (19 January)
* Maud Foster five-sailed windmill built in Boston for Thomas and Isaac Reckitt of Wainfleet by the Hull millwrights Norman and Smithson at a cost of £1,800
* Lincoln Lunatic Asylum founded off Union Road, later to become known as The Lawn
* Lincolnshire’s second Agricultural Society formed at a meeting in the Reindeer Inn, Guildhall Street, Lincoln (21 April)
* The medieval market cross rebuilt at Market Deeping
* Free School built in Market Deeping
* Turner, Hardy and Newcombe’s Bank formed in Grantham with a capital of £16,000
* Joseph Shuttleworth, boat builder, then agricultural engineer, born at Dogdyke (12 July)

* Foundation stone of St Swithun’s Church, Lincoln laid by the Bishop of Lincoln, Christopher Wordsworth (Easter Day)
* Christopher Addison MP, the first Minister of Health 1919-21, born at Hogsthorpe (19 June)
* First Show of the current Lincolnshire Agriculture Society held in Lincoln on the Cowpaddle (29-31 July)
* Diana, the last whaling shop from the port of Hull, wrecked at Donna Nook in a severe gale
* Grantham’s Guildhall, designed by William Watkins of Lincoln and built by William Wartnaby, completed at a cost of £2,480
* All Hallows church, North Kelsey, largely rebuilt by William White
* Arthur Smith, first curator of Lincoln’s City and County Museum (now The Collection), born Leicester.
* Schools opened at Osgodby, Careby and South Hykeham
* St Phillip Mission church built at Guy's Head in the parish of Sutton Bridge
* Lincoln YMCA founded
* Greek National poet Andreas Kalvos died in Louth and later buried in Keddington churchyard

* Boston Council purchased land for Central Park (previously Hopkin’s Park)
* Florence Jackson murdered in a fit of jealousy by George Rowland at Fulbeck (31 May)
* Work began on Swanpool Garden Suburb, Lincoln
* Lincolnshire Tennis (The Lincolnshire Lawn Tennis Association) founded
* What finally became St John’s Hospital at Bracebridge Heath changed its name from Bracebridge District Lunatic Asylum to Bracebridge Mental Hospital
* Eamon de Valera, Irish Dissident, escaped from Lincoln Prison with the aid of a duplicate key concealed in a cake (4 February)
* First international tractor trials to be held in the UK, South Carlton (September)

* The Lincolnshire Association for the Arts and Heritage opened the Museum of Lincolnshire Life (29 July)
* Four horse riders (an instructor and three 8-year-old children) died in thick fog on the beach at Cleethorpes (17 September)
* Primary schools closed in Ashby de la Launde, Bicker, Burton Pedwardine, Sutton St Edmund, and Withcall.
* Horncastle Children’s Home closed. The buildings were then extended and remodelled as the County’s residential education centre.
* Robert Stephenson, 75-year-old recluse, killed by robbers at his home in Barton upon Humber (April)
* Regular hovercraft service between Grimsby and Hull began (17 Feb)
* Tony Jacklin, a native of Scunthorpe, won The Open Championship (golf), the first British player for 18 years to do so (12 July)

January 2019