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Bernard Gilbert
A book about an outstanding local author and journalist of the early 20th Century

SLHA has published a book about Bernard Gilbert written by Dr Andrew Jackson. It is volume no.4 in the Studies in the History of Lincolnshire series.

Here are more details: 

Rural England Through War and Peace: The Literary Work of Lincolnshire’s Bernard Samuel Gilbert, 1882–1927

by Andrew J. H. Jackson

Bernard Samuel Gilbert was an outstanding author whose name is all but forgotten today. This book arises from a rediscovery and reading of Gilbert’s work, and is an important new study that seeks to re-establish the writer’s reputation.

Andrew Jackson is Professor of Local, Regional and Landscape History at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln. He is a historian and geographer, but his research extends into the fields of English Literature and Art History.

More details about the book and arrangements for purchasing can be seen here.

Photo: Andrew Jackson, author, and Wendy Atkin, production editor 

July 2024

Lord Yarborough's Churches and Mausoleum
A guide tour to see spectacular memorials

Jean Howard, Blue Badge Guide and SLHA Churches Group leader, was in charge of an interesting and informative visit to the churches in Great Limber and Brocklesby on Friday 5 July.

Both churches are closely associated with the Pelham family (Earls of Yarborough), which is reflected in the high quality of their architecture and fittings and particularly in the fine memorials to the family and estate members.

Jean gave an excellent account the notable features of both churches and provided lively biographies of the memorialised individuals.

The highlight of the day was a visit to the Yarborough mausoleum in Great Limber. Members were able to view this outstanding Grade 1 listed building (by Wyatt, 1792) both inside and out – a rare privilege.

The chancel of St Peter's Church, Great Limber 

The Yarborough mausoleum in Brocklesby Park

July 2024

Award for Martin Watkinson
Another article in our journal receives a BALH award

The 2024 Award for a Long Article made by the British Association for Local History has been made to Dr Martin Watkinson for his article 'Reflections on Closed Parishes' published in the most recent issue of Lincolnshire History and Archaeology, Vol 53. 

Martin's article was the unanimous choice of the distinguished BALH judging panel. It is hoped that there will be a formal presentation of the award to Martin at the 'Hidden Stories' conference in Lincoln on 21 September.

This was the fourth BALH award in the past 6 years for an article published in our journal.

July 2024

The Postman's Uniform
Aspects of the history of the British Postal Service

The series of events to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of SLHA continued at Lincoln Museum on Wednesday 19 June when Joanna Espin, curator of the National Postal Museum, gave an entertaining talk centred around the changes in uniform worn by postal workers since the late eighteenth century.

Early garments, in heavy scarlet cloth with dark blue trim and gold braid and brass buttons, were in military style. Changes in the uniform were introduced slowly and unevenly across the country.

The river postmen on the Thames – an extremely small and select group – wore coats suitable for rowing river craft. In the 1960s special permission was granted to a Sikh postman, Sant Singh Shattar, to wear a turban, though it had to carry the same official badge used on the regular postman's cap.

It was a significant breakthrough in the 1940s, pioneered by Jean Cameron in a remote part of Scotland, when women postal workers were allowed for the first time to wear trousers. Today’s uniform includes T-shirts – for both men and women - in similar colour to the original frock coat of 200 years ago.

Postman's Uniform, 1784

June 2024

Historic Building Mythbusting
The truth behind secret passages and other romantic stories

James Wright of Triskele Heritage captivated a packed audience at Lincoln Museum on Sunday 9 June with an account of myths associated with historic buildings, including several in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.

Compelling stories are frequently passed down from generation to generation but mysterious symbols in buildings usually have a rational explanation, and secret passages either don’t exist or were created for simple prosaic functions such as drainage or mineral excavation.

Nevertheless, the examination of these myths is not only entertaining but may also give useful information about the societies in which the myths originated.

And, as Dr Wright pointed out, sometimes the realities hiding behind the stories are even more interesting, romantic and exciting than the myth itself.

June 2024

A Successful Boston Engineering Firm
New book about Tuxfords the eminent Victorian machine makers

At a meeting held in Lincoln Museum on Monday 3 May, Neil Wright introduced the recently published book he had edited about Tuxfords, machine makers in Boston from the 1840s to the late 1880s.

The founder of the firm, William Wedd Tuxford, initially ran a successful corn milling business in the parish of Skirbeck close to the Maud Foster Drain. The invention and building of a machine to cleanse wheat before milling (a reeing machine) was the first step in a rapidly expanding engineering business run by Tuxford and his four talented sons.

Within a few years the firm was producing steam engines and threshers of innovative design which won national awards. The firm remained modest in size but some of their excellent products were sold in countries across the world.

Neil Wright

June 2024

Churches Conference
A day in Tattershall

The Local History Group chose Tattershall for its day conference on churches on 1 June. The day began with welcome and coffee at Tattershall Village Hall.

The first of a series of five lectures was given by an enthusiastic man and wife team, Geoff and Denise Wheatley, both with a keen interest in and extensive knowledge of roof angels in Medieval Lincolnshire churches.

This was followed with a talk on a highly topical Lincolnshire concern by Peter Clegg, the Community Officer of the Churches Conservation Trust. Many of the significant religious buildings managed by the Trust are at risk; the group spends much time keeping track of developments.

One of the Society officers, Dr John Manterfield, introduced members and friends to the various Victorian churches and chapels in Grantham – as well as the major restoration of St Wulfram’s in the 1860s and 70s – before a lunch of good Lincolnshire fare.

The afternoon programme started with Dr Penny Hebgin-Barnes, an expert on Medieval glass, giving a well-illustrated talk with special reference to examples which remain in Tattershall’s Holy Trinity Church.

Peter Rogan, an architect with oversight of Holy Trinity, explained the problems in caring for churches and what problems to look for. The conference then moved across to the church and, after a cup of tea, Peter led a conducted tour of this beautiful fifteenth-century building. (see photo of group looking at memorial brasses in the north transept)

The SLHA chairman, Dr Andrew Walker, welcomed members and thanked the organisers, especially the chairman of the Churches Group, Jean Howard, and the SLHA Secretary, Kathy Holland.


June 2024

Folkingham: a Forgotten Lincolnshire Town
An outline history and a guided tour

Martin Smith, local historian and author*, led a two-hour tour of Folkingham for SLHA members on Saturday 25 May.

Martin gave a broad account of the town’s history, emphasising its location in the landscape and how it developed as the key settlement within the local area.

The tour included the parish church of St Andrew, West Street, the Greyhound Inn, the Market Place, the castle site, House of Correction, and Chapel Lane.

Time was spent looking closely at a number of significant buildings in Folkingham – domestic, commercial, industrial and religious.

* Martin has recently published a widely acclaimed book on the town: ‘Folkingham: The Reluctant Town’

Photo: the party begin the tour near the church

May 2024

50 Years of SLHA (1974-2024)
Golden Jubilee celebrations begin with a Conference

A large group of SLHA members gathered at Bishop Grosseteste University on Saturday 20 April to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of SLHA.


Andrew Walker, Chair of SLHA, gave an introductory talk on the theme of ‘Reflections & Looking to the Future'.

He began with an overview of the events of 1974, international, national and local, which included the Flixborough disaster and the unpopular creation of Humberside.

Andrew (photographed below) then explained the evolution of SLHA with a ‘family tree’ going back to 1843 and the acquisition of Jews’ Court in 1932 which became the society’s headquarters in 1988.

SLHA has published a quarterly magazine, annual journal, History of Lincolnshire series and a wide range of other books. Andrew detailed the changes that have taken place in their production.

He concluded with thoughts on the future of SLHA and suggested that such questions as geographical range, subject matter, diversity of membership, engagement with higher education providers, accessibility and digitisation need examination.



Mark Acton looked at three people who had played different parts in the society in the previous fifty years and how they have been remembered.

Flora Murray served the society for more than seventy years and gave her name to our annual awards scheme.

Terence Leach organised many visits to Lincolnshire towns and villages as well as compiling still popular publications. The Terence Leach Memorial Lectures were established to help us travel around the county and form links with local groups.

Dennis Mills was a prolific writer who was largely responsible for introducing Heritage Open Days to Britain.

John Manterfield examined the meaning of local history and its development over the past fifty years with reference to W.G. Hoskins and Joan Thirsk.

He paid tribute to the other organisations in the county involved in local history such as the Lincolnshire Family History Society, Lincoln Record Society, Civic Trusts and Societies, the Universities as well as the many town and village groups.

John finished by pondering the future of SLHA with ideas as to building membership, book sales, cross-pollination within the society and other Lincolnshire organisations along with better use of websites and social media.

Jean Howard delivered a heartful plea on the difficulties facing the hundreds of churches in Lincolnshire with declining congregations and incomes.

She illustrated the wide range of differing building materials and architectural styles found around the county. Jean stressed the need tor locals to take care of their heritage even if they were not churchgoers themselves.

She explained how SLHA hoped to make the public aware of church heritage by recording images of buildings facing closure and arranging talks, visits and conferences.

Photos: Mark Acton, John Manterfield, Jean Howard 



Stephen Betteridge opened by giving a definition of the term Industrial Archaeology and explained the development of interest in the topic, particularly over the last 60 years. Examples of National as well as more local sites of IA interest and significance were given.

The activities of the IA Team were explained. Examples include organising regional as well as SLHA conferences on IA topics, site visits, fieldwork to record sites of interest and contributing to SLHA’s rich and varied collection of publications.

Neil Wright has a long association with IA. He was a member of one of the constituent groups that formed SLHA.

Neil’s illustrated talk highlighted examples of a range Lincolnshire’s many and varied sites of IA importance and interest, some of which are now lost through demolition.

His talk emphasized the importance of recording industrial sites and buildings as their disappearance can be swift and unannounced.

Stewart Squires concluded by describing the processes that resulted in the production and publication of the SLHA "Ironstone Mining in the Lincolnshire Wolds” book.

Research for the book included interviewing retired miners, local community events that encouraged interest in the topic and resulted in information exchange, field work to examine the sites as well as resulting in a lasting legacy of this under-appreciated example of Lincolnshire’s extractive industries.

Photos: Stephen Betteridge, Neil Wright, Stewart Squires 



Mick Jones gave a general introduction to Lincolnshire archaeology over the past 50 years. He pointed out that investigations into the county's buried archaeology were only put on to a formal basis with the establishment of the Lincoln Archaeological Research Committee in 1945. This group concentrated mainly on Roman Lincoln, but important discoveries were made over the next 30 years, with local volunteers heavily involved.

At the same time other field projects in the county, such as those on Winterton Roman Villa, Goltho medieval village and work at Dragonby and Ancaster, were led by other agencies such as Nottingham University.

The Lincoln Archaeological Trust was establishedin 1972to undertake rescue excavations in the city, covering the prehistoric to post-medieval periods. Other bodies were created to cover the rest of the county.

The highlights of the Trust's achievements included the Roman civic centre and early churches at St Paul in the Bail, the Viking-period occupation at Flaxengate, the recording and analysis of the Norman St Mary's Guildhall, and the various waterside sites including Brayford Pool where there was evidence for Mesolithic occupation.

Tribute was also paid to the achievements of the friends group FLARE, which was integrated into the Society in 2009.

Tom Lane reported that until relatively recently one of the least investigated and least understood areas of Lincolnshire had been the Fenland.

Building on earlier survey work by such luminaries as Sylvia Hallam and, subsequently, Brian Simmons and Hilary Healey of the then South Lincolnshire Archaeological Unit, English Heritage funded a large-scale and Fen-wide fieldwalking programme, along with subsequent limited excavations, all backed up by specialist palaeoenvironmental investigations. Known overall as the Fenland Projectthis work, along with its extensive publication programme, continued from 1981 through to the late 1990s.

In Lincolnshire this resulted in 32% of the Fenland being fieldwalked and consequently many hundreds of sites being discovered, including, most notably, saltmaking sites from the Late Bronze Age to Medieval periods and an unexpectedly high number of Early and Middle Saxon sites. Limited excavation followed on a small selection of sites and demonstrated the actual and potential presence of high-quality organic remains.

Richard Watts finished the session by discussing some of the more recent significant advances in Lincolnshire’s archaeology. These included the National Mapping Programme’s study of aerial photography, and the Portable Antiquities Scheme, both of which have led to the identification of tens of thousands of new archaeological sites, features and finds across the county.

Major development projects such as the Lincoln Eastern Bypass, and academic studies, notably the Universities of York and Sheffield’s investigation of Viking and Medieval Torksey, have dramatically enhanced our understanding.

Arguably, the most important achievement in recent years has been the increased accessibility of information on the county’s archaeology through the various Historic Environment Records, and the availability of a huge range of resources, including historic maps, aerial photographs, lidar data, archaeological reports, historic newspaper articles, all available via a variety of excellent and easily accessible online websites. Finding information about the county’s history and archaeology has never been easier.

Photos: Mick Jones, Tom Lane, Richard Watts 




The Building Recording Group (also known as RUBL = Recording and Understanding Buildings in Lincolnshire) formally started in 2014.
Naomi Field, the Society’s President, opened the presentation with a look back at building recording in Lincolnshire over the past fifty or so years.
She noted that early interest in buildings was predominantly concerned with ecclesiastical architecture from an aesthetic and art historical point of view.
This slowly expanded to the recording of high-status buildings.
It was really after WWII that pioneers such as Maurice Barley, David Roberts and Rodney Cousins took an interest in the vernacular architecture of the county and began to document categories of buildings such as farmhouses, barns and mud and stud buildings.
Professor Mark Gardiner used Lincolnshire examples to describe the various building materials used in mainly vernacular buildings.
Brick was used in Lincoln and in Thornton Abbey in the fourteenth century. The fifteenth-century bricks at Tattershall Castle were looked at for comparison with those in a recent RUBL survey at Kirkstead Old Hall.
Locally quarried stone and Plaster of Paris were used in buildings such as Tattershall Castle, and Jurassic limestone was used widely along the Lincolnshire Edge, including at Riseholme and at Gainsthorpe deserted medieval village.
Turning to timber, Professor Gardiner contrasted the use of timber for framing in urban areas such as Lincoln with the techniques used in rural areas where timber was scarce.
He discussed several buildings that RUBL members have worked on including Lincoln Lane Farmhouse at Sixhills, Old Church Cottage at Aubourn and a building at Ketsby which was demolished in 1966.
He concluded that in a period of less than a decade, work by members of RUBL has begun to transform our understanding of timber buildings and has convincingly identified a long-lasting tradition of timber building used in much of rural Lincolnshire.
Ken Hollamby talked about the techniques, old and new, that are used when recording buildings.
Using examples from various RUBL projects he described how buildings are measured, photographed and dated and stressed the need for historians to join the team to research the history of the buildings and the people who lived and worked in them.
His talk ended with a brief look at current and future projects.
In conclusion it was noted that RUBL has built on this body of knowledge focusing on the recording of individual buildings in detail and has a strong record of publishing its results in national journals as well as in Lincolnshire History and Archaeology.
RUBL often works in conjunction with other organisations making use of a wide range of scientific techniques and is participating in national projects such as the Sacred Landscapes of the Witham Valley and a joint volume with the Lincoln Record Society on the Hearth Tax.
Photos: Naomi Field, Mark Gardiner, Ken Hollamby 


Group of conference speakers 

April 2024

Archaeology along a Pipeline
A wide range of information revealed by a countywide excavation

On Wednesday 20 March, Pippa Adams and Helen Noakes of SPA (the Strategic Pipeline Alliance) gave an account of the huge project to undertake research on and archaeological survey of the route of a new pipeline under construction that is currently crossing the county north to south.

Various types of modern survey techniques were used to assess the surviving archaeological remains along the route, which included a number of Iron Age and Roman settlements.

One of particular interest was a possible Roman villa close to the line of Ermine Street between Bracebridge Heath and Waddington, which featured on an episode of 'Digging for Britain' a few months ago.

Although the site work is largely complete, the team now has to analyse all the data and finds, but we hope to learn more when they are ready to present us with a digest of the results.


March 2024

New Views of Old Villages
Use of LIDAR to reveal medieval features in the landscape

Mark Gardiner, Professor of Medieval Archaeology at the University of Lincoln, has recently directed a project exploring the use of LIDAR (Laser Imaging Detection and Radar) to interpret village sites in Kesteven.
At a meeting (a Sunday Special) in Nettleham on 17 March, Mark used LIDAR images to illustrate new understandings arising from this modern technique in Thorpe Latimer, Burton Pedwardine, Graby, Lenton, Edenham and Silk Willoughby.
Compared to earlier ground-level surveys this new technique yields much more detail of medieval features such as tofts and field boundaries and also reveals evidence of structures not previously recognised.
Photo: Prof Mark Gardiner

March 2024

Samuel Forster of Grantham
A local man who became a distinguished attorney and financial adviser

The achievements of a relatively unknown Lincolnshire man, Samuel Forster (1709-1776), were described by John Manterfield at the SLHA Sunday Special on 17 March.

Forster, born in Welby, is commemorated in a substantial memorial in St Wulfram’s Church, Grantham, which has recently been refurbished.

This man was a distinguished attorney who worked for Sir John Brownlow of Belton, who had recently been created Viscount Tyrconnel.

Forster not only helped put the affairs of the baronet on a secure financial footing, but also acquired considerable wealth himself.

Image: Sir John Brownlow, First Viscount Tyrconnel (1690-1754)  

March 2024

The End of Ruston-Bucyrus
How a major Lincoln engineering company declined and fell

At a Sunday meeting of SLHA in Nettleham on 17 March, Derek Broughton, former employee at Ruston-Bucyrus, outlined the reasons for the loss of this major Lincoln company in 1999.
In the 1960s RB made a very successful range excavators in Lincoln, such as the 22RB, and employed 3000 men. However, they failed to change the underlying technology of their machines which, though supremely robust, were relatively costly to build and awkward to use.
Despite the formation of a new company in 1985 with a reduced workforce of 400, they steadily lost market share and finally closed in 1999.
Photo: Ruston-Bucyrus 22RB

March 2024

A Remarkable Brick Church
St John the Baptist Church, Burringham

Ken Redmore gave an interesting Zoom talk on 6 March on the history of the church of St John the Baptist in Burringham.

Before 1856 there was no church in the village and Ken explained why it was decided to build one, who subscribed to the building fund and why the ‘rogue’ architect Samuel Sanders Teulon might have been chosen to design it.

Ken showed the original plans and how they differed from the completed project. He also compared and contrasted the building with Teulon’s only other brick church in Lincolnshire, St Peter’s in New Bolingbroke.

SLHA is planning to have an open day at Burringham during Heritage Open Days in September.


March 2024

Museum Store
A fascinating visit 'behind the scenes' at Lincoln Museum

On 22 January, a group of almost thirty members of the Society visited the Lincolnshire Museum Store on St Rumbold's Street. We were guided by Dawn Heywood, Senior Collections Development Officer, and her colleague Lisa Mitchell.

The first-floor store houses the main finds archive, consisting of material - mainly from excavations in the city and county - that required no special environmental controls - pottery, tile, animal bone, etc. There is a vast amount of material, the sites in the city being particularly prolific.

The system whereby excavation teams communicate with the Museum and transfer material, including the paper archive, to the long-term care of the Museum, was explained.

The other area visited was the sensitive store, where material requiring conservation and environmental controls, including organics such as wood and leather, was stored in airtight containers.

Dawn showed the impressive range of armour, and one or two objects of Greek, Egyptian, and even African origin that had come into the Museum's collection. We also saw a range of artefacts of particular interest, from early prehistoric axes through to post-medieval ceramics.

It was a very enjoyable event for all, and one likely to be repeated, as it had been fully booked. Lincolnshire Museums and the SLHA have organised a similar event for Society members to visit the Usher Gallery and its store on 29 February.


January 2024

Victorian Valentines
A brief history and a workshop session

A very well attended heritage inspired craft workshop led by Kathy Holland took place at Jews’ Court Lincoln on 31 January.

The session began with a discussion about the history and origins of St Valentine’s Day leading into how this special day was celebrated by the Victorians.

The group looked at a varied selection of Valentine cards and images, both affectionate in nature and also some of the so-called ‘vinegar’ variety.

After discussing various crafting and embellishment techniques from the Victorian period, the group proceeded to create a greeting card, decoupaged ‘heart’, and decorate a gift box inspired by nineteenth century design ideas.

Illustration: colourful valentines made in the workshop


January 2024

The Ropewalk at Barton
The story of an industrial building and its successful conversion for retail and leisure use

Liz Bennet, Chief Executive Officer of The Ropewalk at Barton upon Humber, gave an on-line talk for SLHA on 24 January.

She outlined the history of the Ropery which began with the purchase of land alongside the Haven in 1801.

Imported natural materials – sisal, hemp and manila – were the raw materials used for early rope making, to be followed by man-made fibres such as nylon and polypropylene.

Wartime brought special demands on this industry; wire ropes were added to the range of products.

Ropemaking ceased in 1999 and the striking 400-metre-long building was converted into an arts centre (The Ropewalk) with café, retail area, workshops and historic display space.

January 2024

Boston's Overlooked Treasure
A grand town centre terrace for residence and commerce

In his contribution to the Sunday Special held in Nettleham on 21 January, Neil Wright told the story of the Corporation Building in Boston’s Market Place which was completed in 1772.

This imposing three-storey brick terrace, built by Boston Corporation, originally consisted of four houses (perhaps the first ‘council houses’ in England) with business premises on the ground floor. Occupying a space in the centre of the terrace, with open access to Market Place and the riverside quay behind, was a fish market with a law court above. 

The buildings have been modified considerably over the years - especially at ground floor level - but it is still possible to appreciate many of the original Georgian features.

Photo: East elevation of Corporation Building (Stewart Squires) 

January 2024

Lesser known Lincoln Gems
Highlights of the Lincoln Local List of Buildings

At the Sunday Special held in Nettleham on 21 January, Richard Croft described the work done in preparing the Lincoln Local List. This is a record of buildings and other structures which, whilst not suitable for statutory listing, are of considerable importance for their architecture or place in the community.

Richard and members of the SLHA Building Recording Group (RUBL) have compiled an impressive list of about 400 such buildings. The meeting was shown photographs of many Lincoln houses and commercial buildings which are usually overlooked but which have considerable architectural merit.

It is confidently expected that the City Council will accept the list and give these buildings special consideration when making planning decisions.

Photo: Salvation Army Citadel, St Botolph's, Lincoln (Richard Croft)

January 2024

A Town Centre Dig
Uncovering the story of early Gainsborough

At the Sunday Special event in Nettleham on 21 January Tom Bell of PCAS Archaeology described the work he undertook with colleagues on the former Lindsey Centre site in Gainsborough over a 4-week period in summer 2023.

Evidence, principally from the numerous post holes uncovered, suggested that the area had been part of the town’s medieval market

Tom’s presentation tellingly reflected the practical frustrations of field archaeology; scorching weather and a spell of heavy rain both created very challenging conditions for this investigation.

Photo: Demolition team at the Lindsey Centre. 

January 2024

SLHA Awards 2023
Presentations to RAF project and Louth Museum exhibition

The 2023 SLHA Awards presentation ceremony took place at the Sunday Special event held at the Old School in Nettleham on 21 January.
The Flora Murray Award for 2023 was presented to Wings to the Past project which brought RAF families together in archaeological digs organised in conjunction with Lincoln's Bishop Grosseteste University. The prize took the form of £200 and a framed certificate.
An Award for Excellence was received by Louth Museum for their exhibition of Louth-made clocks. The project's representatives accepted a framed certificate.
Photograph: Naomi Field (SLHA President), Dr Derwin Gregory (Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln), Suzy Watts (Wings to the Past project), James Watts, Andrew Walker (SLHA Chair)

January 2024