Some historical information about our community

Topical issues are aired and forthcoming events detailed each month in The Witham Staple printed magazine: 

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The Witham Staple is mandated to reflect what is happening in our Lincolnshire community (i.e. the villages of Aubourn, Bassingham, Carlton le Moorland, Norton Disney, Stapleford, Thurlby, Witham St Hughs and the rural areas surrounding these villages).

 

Below are some articles from archive Witham Staple articles:

Early human history in Lincolnshire

Origin of Our Village Names

HMS Bassingham

Aubourn and Haddington History

Local History Books and CDs

The Disneys of Norton Disney

Letter and Sketches by Dr Osborne Johnson

Dr Osborne Johnson’s Printing Blocks Uncovered

History of Stapleford

Domesday Book Entries (1086)

Golden Jubilee Celebrations

Surfing Norton Disney

Carlton Le Moorland Local History Group

Photograph Collection

Mrs Smiths Cottage (Museum - Navenby)

Stirling Bomber EH977 - Remembered Sixty Years On

Carlton le Moorland & Bassingham War Memorials

Church House, Bassingham

Bassingham Wesleyan Schoolroom (now called the Heritage Room

Famous Lincolnshire People: St Gilbert Of Sempringham 

"How Bassingham Has Grown!" 

Famous Lincolnshire People - John Wesley

The Origin Of The Twelve Days Of Christmas

Norton Disney and Other D'Isney Links

The Bassingham Clock

Population in Bassingham

Haddington Pond - a Watering Place for Cattle Droves

Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee July 1887

Prisoners of War Living at The Old Rectory, Bassingham?

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Early human history in Lincolnshire - Did You Know That?

Between 4,000 and 3,000 BC, the first farming communities settled in what is now Lincolnshire;

Around 100 BC there was an Iron Age settlement by the Brayford Pool known as ‘Lindon’;

Between 54 and 60 AD, the Roman Army established a garrison at Lindon, latinizing its name to ‘Lindum’;

In AD 77 Lincoln became one of four colonial centres for retired Roman soldiers in the Roman province of Britain;

By 500 AD the Romans had gone and Lincoln was part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Lindsey;

By 920 the invading Vikings had established Lincoln as one of the five principal ‘burghs’ of the Danelaw;

Between 1066 and 1346, 49 monasteries were built in Lincolnshire;

In 1185 Lincoln was badly damaged by an earthquake...

[WS Nov 2003]

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Origin of Our Village Names - What’s In A Name?

It must be a very long time indeed since our ancestors came and settled these communities along the banks of the River Witham. The village names themselves give us some important clues: several date from the Danish invasion and settlement in this part of England in the late ninth century. Thurlby, for example, is pure Danish and, as in the case of Haddington and Bassingham, the name of the settlement even includes, like a fossil, the name of an individual, and presumably somebody of some significance at the time: men called Thórulfr, Headda and Bassa respectively. The suffixes -ham ('homestead’) and -ton or -tun (‘farm’) are Old English, while -by is Danish and still occurs today in many place-names in Denmark.

Carlton too is a common place-name in the old Danelaw area of the Midlands and means ‘farmstead or estate of the freemen or ordinary folk’, suggesting that originally the people here enjoyed a measure of independence from feudal lords; in fact, it was used by the Anglo-Saxons who were here long before the arrival of the Danes in this area of England. Carlton le Moorland, appears in the 1086 Domesday Book as Carletune, and eventually takes the affix ‘le Moorland’ which simply means ‘in the moorland’.

Aubourn, which appears in the Domesday Book as Aburne, means ‘stream where alder trees grow’. That seems quite apt even though I’m not sure how many alders as opposed to willows are still to be found along the banks of the Witham today. The name of the Witham itself is thought to be Celtic or earlier, that is before the Anglo-Saxons, started arriving in the fifth century; it’s not clear what it means.

Stapleford, another common place-name, means a ‘ford marked by a post’. While Norton (‘village to the north of another’), which is Nortune in Domesday, adds the manorial affix D’isney or Disney (Isny in 1331) from the de Isney family, who were originally from Issigny, a village you can still find in Normandy. Stan Underwood [WS Oct 2004]

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HMS Bassingham

Visitors to St Michael’s Church will be aware of a small corner con­taining memorabilia of HMS Bassingham, including the ship’s bell, rung at the beginning of Morning Service, her ship’s badge, photograph and his­tory.

Bassingham was one of 76 ships of the Inglesham (or Ham) class of inshore minesweepers, whose names were all chosen from villages ending in -ham.

2004 marks the fiftieth anniversary of my taking command at the end of her first year’s service. HMS Bassingham was ‘born’ on 24th July 1951, when her first wood and non-metallic material was laid down at the famous small-ship builders Vosper & Thorneycroft at Portsmouth. It took nearly a year, until 24th June 1952, for her to be ready for launching, and it was not until sixteen months later, on 6th October 1953, that her first crew of three officers and twelve ratings joined.

I took command thirteen months later at Plymouth in November 1954, and sailed before Christmas to her borne base at Harwich, Essex, where we became the Second Senior Officer of the 232nd Minesweeping Squadron in the Inshore Flotilla.

The 232nd was a crack squadron with a long history, and to spread her expert knowledge to the UK and NATO countries of Europe, visits were arranged in 1955 to Southend on Sea and Norwich in view of her inshore capability, and later that year to Belgium, Holland, Germany, France, Denmark and Norway.

By 1956, I bad received a promotion appointment and left the ship. Bassingham sailed far away via Gibraltar to Malta, to prepare for Mediter­ranean operations, leading to the joint Anglo-French Suez Canal action.

After this service, she was transferred to the Royal East African Navy, based on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya. After two years, she returned to Royal Naval control in the UK where she was eventually sold to Messrs Pounds shipbreaking yard in Portsmouth.

She remained there for fourteen years, gradually being used to provide spare parts for others of her class~ until she was herself broken up in Sep­tember and October 19880, after 28V2 years and only two miles from where she began life in 1951.

Commander Oliver Wright, Royal Navy [WS March 2004]

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Aubourn Clock Tower

Clock Tower Grant applications have now been submitted for the restoration of the spire and the chancel roofs. If there are any local groups or individuals interested in helping to produce a leaflet on the history of the villages of Aubourn and Haddington, or developing a parish website, please contact Debbie Parker Parish Clerk (tel: 789630)

[WS Feb 2004]

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[Advertisement]  Local History Books On CD

Several local history books are now available on CD price £10 from authors Bill and Connie Wilson (Tel: 0115 9893098). The books are in A4 format with JPEG images. Titles include: Aubourn Glimpses, Haddington Gleanings, South Hykeham Interludes. The Aubourn and Haddington books both indude a photo of the water mill in full working order. Haddington Gleanings has a detailed account of the moated site and its owners, and a similar account of Haddington Hall and its dovecote.

In co-operation with Helen Ash, the authors are currently researching The Bassingham Story for publication in November 2004 and would welcome any anecdotal, photographic or documentary contributions about Bassingham. The book will be printed in A5 format, about 100 pages, well illustrated, and cover all periods from prehistory to modem times.

[WS Jun 2003]

The Bassingham Story - Book Launch

This book has been exhaustively researched by Bill and Connie Wilson and tells the story of Bassingham from pre-historic times to the present day. It is to be accompanied by a database of 500 key historical documents and 2000 photographs. The book, CD and a Bassingham screensaver was launched in the Village Hall on 18th November [WS Oct 2004]. Contact Helen Ash (Tel: 788220) to order copies.

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The Disneys of Norton Disney

Researching family histories is very popular, and many members of the Disney family come from far and near to visit Norton Disney Church in quest of their ancestors. Hugh Disney has written a book that is a significant addition to the history of this family, who were Lords of the Manor here for five hundred years. It is entitled:

Disneys of Norton Disney 1150 to 1461 and can be seen at the home of Rosemary Meredith, Tonges Way, Main Street, Norton Disney. It costs £12 and can be ordered from Hugh Disney, 121 Cumnor Hill, Oxford 0X2 9JA. [WS Nov 2002]

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Letter & Sketches by Dr Osborne Johnson

An example of a letter written by Bassingham GP Dr Osborne Johnson to a patient-client. They were often accompanied as in this case [published here 50 years after it was written], by one of his own delightful sketches.  [Many of which have been used as front covers to The Witham Staple over the years]  [WS Oct 2002]  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Osbourne Johnson – was a well known and respected figure of the village between the years of 1860 and 1952. He died as oldest village resident in 1952 in Ivy House, the house in which he was born ninety-two years previously (see obituary in Lincolnshire Chronicle 20 December 1952).

He had left his home village in his youth, and gone to study medicine to be able to qualify as a doctor. In 1894 he became a house surgeon and also an assistant to a doctor based in Lancaster. He returned to Bassingham in 1903 and continued the village’s general medical practice started by his father in 1831 and left to him by his father and brother. Ivy House, a beautiful old house located at the junction of Hall Wath and High Street, remained the village doctor’s surgery until he retired, aged 84, in 1946. During the early years of his practice he travelled many times by horse and trap to visit his patients. He later used a motorcycle and then a car.

Dr. Osbourne Johnson still remained living and taking an active involvement in the village after his retirement. His hobbies included sport, painting, wild life and gardening. He was part of the conservative club, and president of the cricket team.  Many villagers knew him and he claimed that his aim in life was to ‘ be the friend of all, rich or poor’.

His popularity was shown at his funeral, when the church was full, and more than a hundred mourners attended. 

He continues to have an influence in the village because his sketches of buildings and wildlife in the area are frequently printed on the front cover of the Witham Staple magazine and are sold as postcards and on notelets depicting old village scenes.

More of his sketches are shown below.  Some of these were kindly sent to the Witham Staple website in May 2011 by Eileen Bertin from Kettering. When clearing her parent's house and she came across some letters and sketches sent to her father by Dr Osbourne Johnson.  Her father's family had originated from Lincolnshire:

 

 

 

The sketch above, in which the original pencil lines can be seen, has written on the reverse side "This is the first sketch, but I think the other is better. O.J."

[David Wood]

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Dr Osborne Johnson’s Printing Blocks Uncovered

A good few years ago my father, who lived near Newark, met an old man who I believe was living in a mill. Soon he was to move to another property so had to get rid of all his 'treasures'. I don't know any more of the circumstances but Dad told me that he bought a couple of adzes and some old printing blocks. Dad didn't want the printing blocks but thought that they would be lost forever if he didn't buy them! The printing blocks were passed on to me. For many years they sat in their newspaper wrapping. About twenty years ago I decided to have prints made. I took the blocks to a local 'old school' printer - just to see what they were. The printer was pleased to be able to do some 'proper printing' and expressed his delight at how well the blocks printed.

 

I have thirteen printing blocks of various pictures by Dr Osborne Johnson but only recently did it occur to me that I might find out more about them online! Looking online I discovered The Witham Staple and there I found the picture of Bassingham Church just as it is on my block!!

 

Details of the blocks are as follows:

I have a few questions about the pictures portrayed in these block that a Witham Staple reader might be able to answer for me. 

Who was the delightful lady smoker?

Who was the turned out farmer?

Was the bull a prize winner?

Where is the fortified house?

Is the tower of Dry Doddington Church still standing?

Are the thatched cottages at Westborough and Aubourn still standing?

Jenny Thomson (March 2012)

 

If you have any information about the blocks or answers to these questions please contact either Jenny Thomson

jterwbant@hotmail.com  or  the Witham Staple at info@withamstaple.com

 

Dr. Johnson's Pictures

Response from article in April 2012 Witham Staple.

I have answered Jenny's queries about the pictures but I should like to draw your attention to the book of drawings which I have at my house, 18 Lincoln Road. If you wish to see these please call. I am also storing the pictures which were in the Heritage Room and I shall be pleased to let you see them.

I cannot identify the "lady smoker" but the "Farmer's turnout" is a carthorse in its glory with brass medals and chains. First Prize, Newark and Bassingham 1951 owner Mr. Medley. This picture was drawn by Dr. Johnson at Bassingham Gymkhana 28th July 1951, when he was 90 years of age.

Helen Ash

[WS May 2012]

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A History Of Stapleford

With the consent of Mr Geoff Nelson, Chairman of Stapleford Parish Meeting, I intend during the next year or two to research and write about the history of Stapleford. Therefore, if you have anything which you think might help me to piece the history together and you are willing to share it with others (photographs, anecdotes, personal papers, recollections and so on), please contact me: Arland Dufton, Cherrytree Cottage, The Paddocks, Stapleford, Lincoln LN6 9LH (Tel: 788135).

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Entries from The Domesday Book (1086):

Aubourn: owned by Robert de Tosny and Berenga from him. There is a church, a mill and a fishery with 1000 eels.

Haddington: owned by Robert de Tosny and Warn from him. Baldwin the Fleming. A church. [where?]

Thurlby: owned by Odo the Arblaster and Countess Judith.

Bassingham: King’s land. Two mills, a church

Bassingham’s Domesday mills: the most likely site for one of them is as shown on the map [see 1893 map of walks], since there used to be a stream passing it. The only other site is where today there is a weir opposite 5 Hallfield. [NB These were of course water mills, since there were no windmills in England until the late 12th century.]

Helen Ash and Rona Pounder

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Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Celebrations (May /June 2002)

Bassingham & Thurlby Jubilee Celebration: Thank you to all who helped in so many ways with the celebrations on 3rd June in Bassingham, and to everybody who came along and helped to make the party. We are particularly grateful for the trailer provided by Pykett Bros as a platform for the band and disco. It was the high spot of the event. Thank you.

Carlton le Moorland Jubilee Celebrations: a big thank-you to all who helped with the Jubilee Celebrations: in particular to John Brogan and Margaret Hutchinson for all their work for the Disco; to Diane and Ian Swales, and John Mitchelson for their organisation of the tremendously enjoyable Street Party; and to Harveys of Bassingham for donating the beacon stand. An altogether most memorable and enjoyable village event. A big thank-you to George Bainborough for repainting the seat on Norton Disney Road in celebration of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, and for the lovely flower beds behind it. Thank You

Aubourn & Haddlngton Jubilee Celebrations: a combined effort by the Village Hall Committee, the Parish Council, and the Church. Some 300 people came to Aubourn Hall gardens on the 2nd and enjoyed various activities in glorious weather. Excellent teas were provided and the archive exhibition provided much discussion. The Parish Council Chairman presented souvenir Jubilee coins to all the children of the Parish.  

Thanks to Mr C Neville for hosting the party, John Long and Tony Kullich for their hard work before, during and after the event; Malcolm Coulson for printing the invitations, John Woodman for assembling the exhibition, and churchwardens Cohn Roberts and Rosina Gough for organising the festival evensong, taken by the Revd Nick Buck, which ended the day. And a big thank-you to the many helpers, who worked so hard on the day. It was truly a village celebration. Incidentally, £181 was raised for the Ambucopter and LIVES.

Bassingham Primary School

Jubilee Celebrations On Thursday 30th May, everybody in the school joined in the Jubilee Celebrations by dressing up in red, white and blue. Many children had their faces painted with the Union Jack, and at lunchtime they all had a party lunch in the school hall, which was decorated with bunting. At the end of the afternoon, every child was presented with a commemorative Jubilee china mug, courtesy of Bassingham PTA. [WS Jul 2002]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Surfing Norton Disney

We have sand in abundance at Norton Disney but other associa­tions with Bay Watch are difficult to find. So what is it about the vil­lage that attracts the visitor? We are aware from the church visitors’ book that people come from far and wide. We understand that some, like Walt Disney in 1949, visit for the purpose of exploring their family connections and others return, having been stationed near here during their military service and the village remains in their memory. The church and St Vincent arms are reasons in them­selves, but so is our association with the triumphant Admiral Sir John Jervis, who in 1797 defeated a Spanish fleet off the coast of Portugal and was created Viscount St Vincent. The magnificent avenue of horse chestnuts has been a feature of the village for over 100 years, having been planted in 1897 to commemorate the centenary of the battle of Cape St Vincent. We clearly have a rich heritage, and the Parish Council is endeavouring to ensure that it is not lost in the path of progress. We are also aware of the interest of our visitors in the current lifestyle of villagers and are keen to inform them of our activities. Our talk of surfing, therefore, arises from our hope that we can promote tourism to the village through the Internet.

When Charlie Rudkin constructed his web-site www.ndstory.com [site closed in 2010], it became apparent that there are a large number of people, worldwide who chose to visit it. His own keen interest in the history of village has enabled him to provide a wealth of information in the form of ar­ticles and photographs that inform and attract the media visitor. Re­cently, Charlie has provided links to a new web-site that he is putting together. This will contain other general in­terest and specific tourism-related pages that we need your help in developing. The intention would be to change the pages regularly, so visitors can find new interest on each visit. Our hope therefore, is that you will feel able to share poetry, photographs and other memorabilia or write short accounts of your impressions of life or your activities in and around this village. We know that the interest in us comes from young and old, and therefore hope that children will be as ready to be involved as mature villagers will. Please send your contributions to Charlie Rudkin, 2 Disney Court..... [WS Jun 2002]

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Carlton Le Moorland Local History Group

ARE you interested in the history of Carlton le Moorland? Do you know much about its history or where to find out informa­tion locally? Do you perhaps have stones, documents or photographs you would like to share with others interested in the village’s history? If so, why not join a local history group.  

Richard Parker is currently finding out if there are enough people willing to meet, discuss local history and carry out research into particular aspects that might interest them. He would be pleased to hear from anybody interested in forming a local history group and would hope to be able to hold the first meeting in February. For further details, contact Richard at 28 High Street (Tel: 789630). [WS Feb 2002]

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Photographic Records of Local History

Jane Harrison, Photography Co-ordinator, North Kesteven District Council, has offered help in collecting and recording photographic images which document local history. If you are interested, please contact Jane Harrison (Tel: 01529 414155) or Helen Ash (788222). [WS April 2001]

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Mrs Smith’s Cottage: Friends And Volunteers

Mrs Smith’s Cottage, Navenby is a small museum owned by NKDC and run by a group of local volunteers. It preserves a typical simple cottage of the mid nineteenth century, with all the artefacts of one person’s life. Hilda Smith lived In the cottage from when she was a baby in the I 890s until her death in 1995. Because she resisted change, the cottage remains in its original condition and provides a fascinating step back into the past. It is open at weekends from March to early December, and additional days during school holidays. As well as staffing the cottage, volunteers have an opportunity to take part in historical research, preparation of displays and conservation of artefacts.  

Friends of the Cottage pay £5 a year and receive regular newsletters and preferential admission fees; volunteers make their contribution in time and enthusiasm and so pay nothing. Training is provided to enable volunteers to become guides. An informal meeting is to be arranged so that your questions can be answered. If you are interested in being part of this unusual community effort, please contact Sleaford Tourism Information Centre (Tel: 01529 414294). [WS Jun 2004]

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Still Remembered After Sixty Years Stirling Bomber EH977 

George Marsh's account of this wartime incident, which he says was seared into his memory as a toddler who witnessed it, is the most graphic reminder of the awesome cost in human lives of the Second World War. It also gives us some idea of what people in this part of Lincolnshire lived through, day by day, during those sombre years.

At 02.40 hours on the 5th November 1944, Stirling EH977 crashed at Wirelocks Farm, Bassingham Fen, killing all seven crew members. The bomber had taken off from RAF Swinderby on a training flight to the Wainfleet Bombing Range when it developed engine trouble. It turned back towards Swinderby, losing height and crashed into the Sand Syke Drain, bursting into flames. The crew consisted of a pilot, navigator, flight engineer, bomb aimer, wireless operator and two air gunners. One air gunner is buried in Thurlby Churchyard. I often ask myself if the aircraft had cleared the drain, would the crew have survived, as the adjacent field was a flat grass field. The answer is almost certainly not, as large flat fields in Lincolnshire had had eighteen-foot-high posts erected across them some three years earlier to help counter any German invasion.

I can vividly remember seeing the fireball some 500 yards from my bedroom window. Two heavy farm horses in the nearby field were badly burnt, having been covered in aviation fuel. One was recovered in a short time, the other bolted and was not found until daybreak. One horse was put down; the other, after much care and attention, recovered and went back to work but was virtually uncontrollable when aircraft were about. The emergency services were at the scene almost on impact but could do nothing. The aircraft had a round-the-clock guard until the bodies were removed.  George Marsh [WS Nov 2004]

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Carlton le Moorland's War Memorial [Photograph shown in Village Views]

Letter to the Editor

Dear Sir 

I have been surprised to find that a number of residents who have lived here for several years were not aware that the village has a war memorial. It is in fact the lychgate at the main entrance to the parish churchyard. The names of those who were killed are recorded on brass plaques mounted under the roof, on both the front and the back. Though they are faded, they can still be read, and there are possibly relatives or friends still living in the area. The lychgate memorial was provided by the village in 1920 to carry the names of those lost in the First World War; the Second World War plaque was added after 1945. The tiled roof of the lychgate has, regrettably, been vandalised several times in recent years, and the Parish Council has had it repaired. It is also sad that people can live in a small village and not know where the war memorial is, indicating perhaps that those who gave their lives did indeed give them in vain. Derek Oakes Carlton le Moorland

Note: Carlton le Moorland's War Memorial is not the usual stone monument or bronze statue that is often the form that war memorials take, so it is not surprising that our beautiful lychgate is not at first sight seen to be a monument; only on closer inspection can the plaques be seen and the inscriptions read. Readers would perhaps not all draw the same stark conclusion as Mr Oakes. There is a further brass war memorial inside the church, re-sited from the former Wesleyan Chapel. The Editor [WS Dec 2004]

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Bassingham War Memorials

A recent letter to the editor prompts the question whether Bassingham’s war memorials are fully appreciated:

The obelisk of polished Aberdeen granite to the east of the church is engraved with the names of 22 servicemen who died in the First World War (with the later addition of the names of the four who died in the Second World War). It was unveiled by Col. Royds in 1920 and cost, along with the railings and seats, £211.15s.0d, paid for by public subscription, from 1 shilling (5p) upwards.

The memorial to those who died in the Second World War is the Memorial Playing Field, eight acres on Lincoln Road, which is home to the Bowls, Cricket, Football and Tennis Clubs. Children’s play equipment was added too: a slide, swings, king’s crown and witch’s hat roundabouts. Only recently has a sign been erected, a beautiful mosaic, to show its origins.

A public meeting in July 1945 unanimously agreed to purchase the land, and planning permission had to be sought for change of use to a playing field. The money was raised by individual donations and by many fundraising events to pay off the loans. In 1955 it was transferred to the Parish Council.

There is perhaps a tendency to take the playing field for granted. Many villages do not have such an amenity, and we should indeed be grateful for the foresight of former residents.  

Helen Ash [WS Feb 2005]

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Church House, Bassingham

 

Inside the February 2005 magazine is a drawing by Emily Usher aged 10. This drawing is of Church House which stands to the right of the church gate. It is a Grade 2 listed building, listed as late sixteenth century and is Bassingham’s only surviving stone cottage. This is probably where the medieval rectory stood, first mentioned in 1218 as the “toft in which Richard the parson lived” [The Bassingham Story page 30]. [WS Feb 2005]

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Bassingham Wesleyan Schoolroom (now called the Heritage Room

The new schoolroom was built In 1855 at the rear of the Methodist Church. The main room had a raked floor and was heated by coke stoves. This school and the National School (opposite St Michael's Church) were amalgamated in 1893. The Infant department used the schoolroom for some time, and school dinners were cooked in the room that is now the Witham Office until the new school was built on Lincoln Road. The room was used by several organisations such as Brownies, Cubs, Playgroup, and it was also used for Chapel events. In 1991 the schoolroom was leased to North Kesteven District Council on a fifteen-year lease. The former kitchen was used as a craft room and for washing up. The floor of the main room was levelled in 1996 and divided in two, one part becoming an IT room. With the decrease in its use as an IT centre, the room was changed into a craft room and small kitchen, the existing craft room becoming the Witham Office serving the local Upper Witham villages. 

The District Council has instigated and supported several arts projects in the village: the bull seat on Stocks Hill was carved by Mark Folds; Arik Halfon trained a group to produce mosaics, which can be seen in various locations around the village. The large mosaic outside the Heritage Room depicts the once important local industry of growing and preparing osiers for basket making. The panel on the Bugle Horn wall shows the village parade that used to be part of the Sunday School Anniversary. The Millennium Banner of worked needlework panels was produced to show the various local activities. To celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee, Lincoln artist Peter Moss trained a group that recently completed a construction of carved brickwork that stands on Stocks Hill. So the old schoolroom has a busy new life as a centre for local groups and activities, and it is open daily. 

Helen Ash [WS Feb 2005]

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Famous Lincolnshire People: St Gilbert Of Sempringham 

The founder of the only purely English religious order, Gilbert was born in 1083 the son of a Norman knight who had land in the villages of Sempringham and West Torrington. In 1100 his father, Jocelin, built the church of St Andrew on the site of an earlier Saxon church. Gilbert was sent to be educated as a clerk in France and returned to set up a school for boys and girls in Sempringham. In 1122 he was employed by the Bishop of Lincoln as a clerk in his household. In 1129 he returned to Sempringham as a priest, where in 1131 built accommodation on the north wall of St Andrew's for seven women, having inherited his father's assets. Then Gilbert de Gant gave Gilbert the valley land 350 yards to the south and south-west of St Andrew's to build a Priory on, and in 1147 Pope Eugenius III conferred the charge of the Order of Sempringham on Gilbert to rule the nunnery. In 1148 Gilbert appointed canons to serve as priests. In 1164 Archbishop Thomas Becket paid for a feast for the poor at the Monastery of St Andrew before escaping from England with the help of the Gilbertines. 

Gilbert died on 4th February 1189, aged 106 and was buried in the Priory Church of St Mary. He was canonised by Pope Innocent III in 1202, thus becoming Saint Gilbert. 

In 1283 Edward I asked the Prior to admit Princess Gwenllian, daughter of Prince Llewellyn of Wales, to the Order at Sempringham. The request was granted and Gwenllian was held captive. (Edward wished to prevent any rival claim to Wales.) The next year, the seven daughters of Prince David of Wales fell into the hands of Edward I and were also held at Sempring-ham Priory. 

There were eventually thirteen Gilbertine houses, nine of which were monasteries for both men and women, principally in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. They combined religious vocation with social concern: leper hospitals, and orphanages were founded by the Gilbertines. It all came to an end when all the Gilbertine houses were destroyed at the Reformation. 

Stan Underwood (from various sources) [WS Feb 2005]

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"How Bassingham Has Grown!

Many of us have seen Bassingham grow considerably over the last ten years or so. But it's also interesting to discover how it has grown - and shrunk - at times in the past. In 1802, for example, the population was 413. This crept up until by 1861 it numbered 927. Perhaps surprisingly, by 1939 it had dropped back to 564. After this, however, the population continued to grow steadily and by the year 2001 stood at 1308. 

We take many amenities for granted and it may surprise some people to learn that mains water and electricity didn't reach the village until the 1920s and 30s. Three of the original outdoor communal water taps can still be seen: on Carlton Road, Water Lane and High Street, having been saved by the Parish Council. Mains sewerage was installed as late as 1965 - a major advance in public health at the time. Efforts have been made to persuade the relevant authorities to bring mains gas to Bassingham, but alas with no success so far! 

Details supplied by Helen Ash [WS April 2005]

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Famous Lincolnshire People - John Wesley 

John Wesley was born on 17th June, 1703, the fifteenth child of Samuel Wesley, Rector of Epworth in the north-west corner of Lincolnshire. John was educated at Charterhouse and Christ Church, Oxford. He was ordained and acted for a time as curate to his father. He then became fellow and tutor at Lincoln College, Oxford. There he joined the Holy Club, a group of students that included his brother Charles. They adhered strictly and methodically to religious precepts and practices, visiting prisons and comforting the sick, and were thus derisively called "methodists", a nickname that was eventually to be borne with pride.

 In 1735 Wesley went as a missionary to America. On the ship, he met some German Moravians, whose simple evangelical piety greatly impressed him. On his return in 1738, while attending a Moravian meeting in London, he experienced a religious awakening that profoundly convinced him that salvation was possible for anyone through faith in Jesus Christ. 

In April 1739, Wesley preached an open-air sermon in Bristol, and the enthusiastic reaction of his crowd convinced him that open-air preaching was the way to reach the masses. His emphasis on inner religion and assurance that each person was accepted as a child of God had a tremendous popular appeal. It is estimated that he covered almost 250,000 miles during the course of his ministry, mainly on horseback. He preached over 40,000 sermons delivering as many as four or five sermons a day. 

In 1784 he ordained a minister for work in the United States. This led to an inevitable break with the Anglican Church, though not until after Wesley's death. 

Wesley was deeply concerned with the intellectual, economic, and physical well-being of the masses. He was also a prolific writer on a wide variety of historical and religious subjects. His books were sold cheaply, so that even the poor could afford to buy them; thus he did much to improve the reading habits of the general public. He aided debtors and those trying to establish businesses and founded medical dispensaries. He opposed slavery and was interested in social reform movements of all kinds. His influence on the English common people was such that Methodism has been credited with averting a revolution in England during the 19th century. In the latter years of his life the hostility of the Anglican Church to Methodism had virtually disappeared, and Wesley was greatly admired. He died March 2, 1791. 

Stan Underwood (from various sources) [WS April 2005]

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The Origin Of The Twelve Days Of Christmas

You're all familiar with the song, I think! To most it's a delightful nonsense rhyme set to music. But it had a quite serious purpose  when it was written.
Catholics in England during the period 1558 to 1829, when Parliament finally emancipated Catholics in England, were prohibited from any practice of their faith by law - private or public. It was a crime to be a Catholic.

"The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written in England as one of the "catechism songs" to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith - a memory aid, when to be caught with anything in *writing* indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could not only get you imprisoned, it could get you hanged, or shortened by a head - or hanged, drawn and quartered, a rather peculiar and ghastly punishment I'm not aware was ever practised anywhere else.

The songs gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, much in memory of the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so..."

The other symbols mean the following: 
2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the 4 Gospels and/or the 4 Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = The first 5 Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the 6 days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit, the 7 sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the 8 beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the 9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the 10 commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the 11 faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the 12 points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

Information sourced from the internet

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Norton Disney and Other D'Isney Links

Now that the days are lengthening, exploration of the surrounding countryside again becomes a more general pastime. Those who are familiar with the Disney links in the county will no doubt be aware of Kingerby in North Lincs. For others however it is a delight still to come. From Lincoln on the A15, Kingerby can be reached off the A631, as it progresses in the direction of Market Rasen.

Remote is something that sadly few places can still lay claim to be. At Kingerby however, this is still the case, even if mainly in an atmospheric sense.

Kingerby is an ancient settlement area, having first been noticeably developed by the Romans and subsequently the Vikings, much later 17th century dwellings still exist in the area, notably Beech House, former vicarage. There are also a number of stone curiosities it is best to discover for oneself!

The Disneys of Norton Disney held the manor of Kingerby in the 14th and 15th centuries. The village Church of St Peter is also the final resting place of what are believed to be two Sir William Disneys, father and son. Their stone tombs are resplendent with the forms of two 14th century knights, suitably dressed in carved armour and other medieval trappings.

The 12th century church rises from the protection of evergreens and tall trees that appear to whisper the secrets and sometimes violent history of ancient times. Now however, it is a wonderfully peaceful place, bejewelled with tiny 14th century stained glass windows depicting two Christian martyrs - St Catherine and St. Cecilia. It is interesting that both the churches at Norton Disney and Kingerby, linked by the D'isneys are both dedicated to St Peter. Did that Saint have a particular importance for the Disney family, or for Lincolnshire - perhaps others will know! St Peter's Kingerby is under the protection of The Churches Conservation Trust. 

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The Bassingham Clock

You may have noticed that the Bassingham clock is not chiming as it needs repair. We are all affected by time but we tend to take for granted clocks which we see or hear daily. This is a brief story of the clocks in Bassingham Church tower. In 1861 the Vestry accepted from General Reeve the Church clock hitherto in the tower of Leadenham Church and this was placed in the tower at Bassingham at a cost of £30. The present clock was fitted at Queen Victoria’s 1887 Jubilee and the “movement” is unusual in being “mounted on an inverted U-shaped cast iron frame.” The Midland Clock Works, Derby, commented in 1978, “The only other example of this type of clock known to us is at St. Nicholas' Church Kenilworth, William Potts and Sons, fixed their maker’s name to the frame in 1887.”

[WS Mar 2011] 

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Population in Bassingham
This month the National Census will take place. The 2001 census showed the population of Bassingham as 1308. The changes shown in earlier records may be of interest;-
1801 - 413
1811 - 484
1821 - 613
1831 - 704
1841 - 792
1851 - 892
1861 - 927
1871 - 853
1881 - 725
1891 - 648
1901 - 614
1911 - 647
1921 - 606
1931 - 582
War
1951 - 622
1961 - 651
1971 - 731
1981 - 824
1991 - 1043

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Haddington Pond - a Watering Place for Cattle Droves

Haddington Pond, presently overgrown and almost invisible, is about to undergo a periodic „make-over‟ courtesy of Hill Holt Wood Rangers and students. When completed will again be a pleasant, even an incidental feature in the passing scene – but this belies its one much more important function in the early nineteenth century as a watering place for cattle droves.

Mr. W. Lambe writes in the Lincolnshire Chronicle of 9th April 1910, “Seventy years ago at times a very picturesque sight may be seen here. Large quantities of Galloway and West Highland cattle with their grand horns and shaggy coats, crossing the Trent before Gainsborough and avoiding the Turnpike Gates, came past Torksey Castle and Otters Gibber to Aubourn for the night” on route on the Drove Roads to markets in Norwich.

[WS Nov 2011]

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Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee July 1887

BASSINGHAM. Three or four triumphal arches were erected and various Maypoles, profusely decorated with evergreens and flowers, were placed at different parts.

The children were taken round the village in carriages and wagons kindly lent by the parishioners, singing all the while to the accompaniment of an excellent band. Afterwards there was tea for the young folk and a thoroughly good knife and fork tea for adults.

Sports of all kinds were indulged in till dusk. About 10pm. there was supper, to which many went: others going to Mr. Johnson's field, where they had a bonfire and some fireworks, including rockets, only a dozen of which, however, were obtainable, such was the demand for them in Lincoln.

Helen Ash

[WS May 2012]

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Prisoners of War Living at The Old Rectory, Bassingham?
An enquiry has been received from the son of Antonio Minniti asking about his father's time at Bassingham. Please can you supply any information about this person? I have received several enquiries about POWs at Bassingham - it would be helpful if I could compile a list of names, where they worked and what happened to them after the war and anecdotes about their time in this area. Antonio told his family that he had nothing but good things to say about his years in England. He was treated very well and enjoyed working on the farms.

Helen Ash

[WS June 2012]

 

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Witham Staple Web Editor can be contacted by e-mail: info@withamstaple.com