By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Records of Woodhall Spa and Neighbourhood - Historical, Anecdotal, Physiographical, and Archaeological, with Other Matter
Author: Walter, James Conway
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Records of Woodhall Spa and Neighbourhood - Historical, Anecdotal, Physiographical, and Archaeological, with Other Matter" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


Transcribed from the 1899 W. K. Morton edition by David Price, email

                         RECORDS OF WOODHALL SPA

                          HISTORICAL, ANECDOTAL,
                            AND ARCHÆOLOGICAL,
                              OTHER MATTER.

                            J. CONWAY WALTER,

  _Author of_ “_Letters from the Highlands_,” “_Forays among Salmon and
             Deer_,” “_Literæ Laureatæ_,” “_The Ayscoughs_.”
               _Notes on Parishes Round Horncastle_, _&c._

                        W. K. MORTON, HIGH STREET.


The series of “Records” of various kinds which will be found in the
following chapters are drawn from personal reminiscences, extending over
more than half a century, combined with notes collected from many
different sources during at least two-thirds of that period.  In dealing
with such material one is apt, even unconsciously, to be egotistical, and
to linger too long and too fondly over scenes and incidents of which one
might say, in Virgilian phrase, _quorum pars_, _si non magna_, _at parva
fui_.  Should the reader deem any portions unduly prolix, he will,
perhaps, kindly excuse it on this score.  But I have known several
instances, and especially of late two in this neighbourhood, when a
person advanced in years and of wide experience, has passed away, and
there has been a general, and doubtless sincere, regret that he has gone,
and all his store of accumulated information gone with him.

Circumstances have given me such opportunities—and enjoyed so long—of
acquiring a knowledge of Woodhall Spa, and of most matters connected with
it, that I am probably stating only the unvarnished truth, when I say
that no one else living could bring together the varied details, however
inadequately treated, which will here be found.  Some of them may seem of
small importance in the eyes of many—“caviare to the general”—but I have
thought it better that even these minor details should not be consigned
to the limbo of the forgotten, because unrecorded.

I have approached the subject from different points of view—historical,
anecdotal, naturalist, and archæological, so as to cater for the
different tastes of readers.

Inheriting an interest in Woodhall Spa, hallowed by cherished
associations, my aim has been so to unfold its many attractions, even in
beast, bird, and flower, as to communicate an interest in it to others as

In publishing a third issue of these Records, I am bound in duty to thank
a wide circle of readers for the interest so far taken in the work.  I
had now hoped to give it a more attractive form, but the low price at
which a guide-book must be sold, in order to bring it within the reach of
a general public, precludes a more expensive “get-up” of the volume.  The
only change, therefore, has been that the edition is brought “up to date”
by a few necessary corrections and additions.  To future readers I would
only say, in Ovidian phrase:—

    Si qua meo fuerint, ut erunt, vitiosa libello,
    Excusata, precor, Lector amicus, habe.

                                                         J. CONWAY WALTER.


It has been remarked that the discovery of many of our medicinal springs
has been due to some romantic incident, or, in other cases, to some
occurrence partaking almost of the ludicrous.  At the famed Carlsbad, for
instance, a princely hunter pursues his stag into the lake where it has
sought refuge, whereupon the unusual cries of his hounds, too eagerly
breasting the waters, speedily reveal to him the strongly thermal nature
of the spring which feeds the lake, and the discovery has benefited the
thousands who annually frequent that health-giving resort from almost
every land.  On the other hand, in the case of our own Bath, although
well known to the ancient Romans—as also in the later case of
Bolsover—tradition avers that an unhealthy pig, instinctively “wallowing
in the mire” produced by the oozing spring, and emerging from the
uncleanly bath cured of its ailment, was the humble instrument to
demonstrate the health-restoring power of the water, to the subsequent
advantage of suffering humanity.  Other cases, more or less legendary,
might be adduced; let these suffice.

The discovery, however, of the Woodhall water, if leas romantic, is no
myth, shrouded in the mystery of a distant past, since it has the
advantage of being, comparatively, of so recent a date, that the
historian can consult the contemporary testimony of eyewitnesses still
living, or of those to whom others have related the particulars from
their own personal knowledge.  The following account has been thus
collected, and put into connected form:—

In the early years of this 19th century there lived a certain John
Parkinson, Esquire, a scion of a family of position and wealth in the
county, who owned, with other property, the estate of Woodhall. {5}
Being of a speculative and enterprising bent of mind, it is said that he
became enamoured of three ideas or projects, which he thought he had the
means and opportunity of carrying out.  One of these was to sink a coal
mine, a second was to plant a forest, and a third was to build a city.
For the last purpose he purchased from the Crown a tract of fenland,
situated between Revesby and Boston, being an outlying allotment of the
original ancient parish of Bolingbroke.  Here be built (about 1816) a
street of houses, which he named New Bolingbroke.  The speculation,
however, proved a failure, probably owing to the loneliness of the
position; and it was not till several years later, when the property had
passed into the possession of J. Banks Stanhope, Esq., of Revesby Abbey,
who spent much money on needed improvements, that the new “city” became a
fairly populous village, as it is at the present time.

Mr. Parkinson’s second project was the planting of a forest.  For this
purpose he secured a large tract of waste moorland, in the parishes of
Roughton and Kirkby, lying to the south of the present road to
Horncastle, and within some two miles eastward of Woodhall Spa.  This
land he planted extensively with fir and oak, and in course of time they
became a dense wood.  This growth has since then been largely destroyed
by fire, or has yielded to the woodman’s axe, and at the present time
there are left not more than forty acres of the original “forest,” the
rest being chiefly open moor, the whole going by the name of “Ostler’s
Plantations,” Mr. Ostler being the agent employed in the work and
becoming himself (as will be seen) eventually the proprietor.  Thus of
two eggs which Mr. Parkinson brooded over, and desired to hatch, one may
be said to have been addled, and the other did not prove useful to

    The best laid plans of mice and men
    Gang aft agley.

We now come to the third “incubation,” which has, it may fairly be said,
proved (though once more, not to himself) a “golden egg.”  It has been
observed that he had conceived the idea of searching for coal.  For this
purpose he selected a spot which has since become the site of the
Woodhall well.  It is said that he was guided in this by the advice of a
Mr. J. Clarkson, residing at that time at Moorby, not far from his
residence at Bolingbroke, and who had had some previous experience among
the Yorkshire coal mines.  The boring was begun in the year 1811, and was
carried on under the supervision of Mr. Clarkson.  When the shaft had
reached a depth of about 540ft., there occurred an inrush of clear, salt
water, which compelled the excavators to retreat.  The work was, however,
afterwards resumed, a brick conduit for the water being constructed, and
so, at the cost of great labour, and by shifts of men working day and
night, without intermission, a depth of over 1,000ft. was attained.  It
is said (we know not with what truth) that Mr. Parkinson and his agent
were induced to go on with the boring to this extent, because the men
brought up in their pockets fragments of coal (which they had of course
themselves taken down), and the hopes of success were thus buoyed up.
When, however, this depth of 1,000ft. had been attained, and no vein of
coal discovered, the unfortunate proprietor was compelled, from lack of
funds, to abandon the enterprise.  The boring to such a depth was, of
course, a work extending over a lengthy period, and the occasional
exhibition of these fragments of coal by the labourers led to false
reports of success being periodically circulated.  It is said that there
were frequent scenes of great excitement at Mr. Parkinson’s residence;
persons of all classes, even the poor, flocking thither to lend their
money to him on the bare security of his notes of hand, hoping themselves
to derive a large profit from the expected mine.  On one occasion the
bells of Horncastle Parish Church were rung in the night, announcing the
joyful tidings that coal had been found.  But, alas! all these hopes were
illusory.  Mr. Parkinson himself became a ruined man, and many a poor
investor lost his all, sunk in the mine.  The attempt thus proving
abortive, the mine was closed, and remained so for several years, Mr.
Parkinson himself disappearing from the scene, and his Woodhall property
passing into other hands—the ancestors of the present owners of the
estate.  As the result of this collapse, other portions of Mr.
Parkinson’s property in the neighbourhood also changed hands.  Mr.
Ostler, who has been already mentioned, had advanced to him large sums of
money, and in lieu of repayment he acquired the “Forest,” since in
consequence (as I have said) called “the Ostler Plantations,” and which
still remains the property of his representatives.

During the making of the shaft a serious accident occurred.  Two men were
below in the shaft working at the bore, a man being at the top to hoist
them, by machinery, to the surface, to be out of danger whenever, in the
process of boring, an explosion was about to take place.  They had
arranged their explosive for a blast, had lighted the fuse, and then gave
the signal to be hoisted up; but the man at the mouth of the mine had
gone to sleep, their signal was disregarded, and they were left unable to
help themselves.  The explosion took place; one of them, William East by
name, was killed, and his body much mangled; the other man, Tyler, was
seriously injured, but escaped with his life. {8a}

A poem was written on the occasion by Mr. John Sharpe, of Kirkstead, {8b}
which I here give.  The rural muse was somewhat unclassical in those
days, and versions vary, but it was in the main as follows:—

    It was early one morning, the 15th of June,
    I was called from my bed by a sorrowful tune;
    With sad lamentations a mother appeared,
    And sad were the tidings I then from her heard. {8c}
    “Our William,” she said, “has been killed in the pit;
    Another is injured, but not dead yet.
    By firing some powder to blow up the stone,
    Poor William was killed, and he died with a groan.”
    I put on my clothes, and I hastened away.
    Till I came to the place where poor William lay.
    He lay on some sacks all covered with gore:
    A sight so distressing, I ne’er saw before.
    I inwardly thought, as his wounds were laid bare.
    How many before had been slain in the war. {8d}
    In a moment of time he was summoned away;
    How needful that we, too, should watch and should pray.
    The Lord help us all through our hopes and our fears,
    To live to his praise all our days and years.

The pit, once closed, remained so for some years, and there seemed no
prospect of anything but loss accruing from the undertaking.  But
meanwhile, as time passed on, “Mother Earth” was in labour.  The water in
the shaft gradually accumulated, eventually reaching the surface, and
then overflowed, running down an adjoining ditch, which skirted what is
now called “Coal-pit Wood.”  This overflow naturally attracted attention.
Such things as “Spas” were not unknown.  There was one at Lincoln, not
far from the present Arboretum, and the Woodhall water being found to be
_salt_, as was said, like sea water, several persons tried it for
different purposes.  A very old man (living, in 1899, at Kirkby-on-Bain)
{9a} states that he and several others in that parish used the water as a
purgative (a property which it still retains).  Others used it as
increasing the appetite (one of the effects still remarked).  Joseph
East, lately resident at Kirkstead, and brother of the man killed in the
pit, was sent, as a boy, to get a bottle of it to administer to a sick
horse.  The Squire, Mr. T. Hotchkin, found it very beneficial for his
gout, and the servant, who brought the water for him, mentioned this to a
woman at Horsington, named Coo, suffering from rheumatism.  By the advice
of her doctor, she tried the water, and was completely cured.  In
October, 1903, died Mrs. Wilson, mother of Robert Wilson, gardener, of
Martin Dales, aged 92.  She was the oldest patient then living who had
baths at Woodhall before the first bath-house was built.  There was only
a wooden bath, at a charge of 1s. per bath.  Many similar {9b} cases are
recorded by the older inhabitants, which proved beyond doubt the efficacy
of the water in the ailments of man and beast, especially for rheumatism
and skin diseases.

This led to the re-opening of the mine shaft about the year 1824.  In
1829, or 1830, a small protecting structure was erected, a windlass was
put up, which was worked by a horse walking round and round, drawing the
water from “the well,” as it came now to be termed, and an open brick
tank was constructed in which the poor could dip, a veritable modern
Siloam. {9c}

In 1834 a bath house was erected by the late Thomas Hotchkin, Esq., the
then owner of Woodhall, and in the following year the Victoria Hotel was
built by him, his whole outlay amounting to some £30,000.  Provision was
thus made for the reception of visitors, and the treatment of their
ailments on a scale more than adequate for the public requirements at the
time.  Dr. Barton, Dr. Scott, and other medical practitioners
successively resided at the Spa, but for some years longer (as will be
shewn in the next chapter) the difficulty of access prevented any great
influx of patients, such as we have seen in more recent times, and a
primitive state of things still prevailed, such as in these days can be
hardly realised, and Woodhall Spa was probably for some years little
known beyond the neighbourhood, or the county.

About sixty years ago a second well (remembered only as little more than
a floating, vague tradition) was sunk on other property, not far from the
present Mill-lane, near Kirkstead Station.  A solitary survivor of the
workmen engaged in sinking it died in 1897, well known to the writer.
This well was subsequently filled in again, the water being (as was said)
too _salt_ for use.  It is more probable that the water tasted strongly
of iron, as the local water, found within a few feet of the surface, is
generally impregnated with this ingredient, so much so, that it commonly
“ferrs” water bottles if allowed to stand any time in them, this being
the effect of its ferruginous properties.

An account of the well would hardly be complete without some particulars,
so far as they can be obtained, of the geological strata which were
pierced by the shaft.  These are said to have been gravel and boulder
clay, Kimmeridge and Oxford clays, Kelloway’s rock, blue clay, cornbrash,
limestone, great oolite, clay and limestone, upper Estuarine clay,
Lincolnshire oolite, and Northampton sands, Lias, upper, middle, and part
of lower.

Of the chemical ingredients of the water, as several accounts have been
given by different authorities, it is sufficient to say here that its two
most important elements are the iodine and bromine, in both of which it
far exceeds any other Spa.  The only known water which contains a greater
proportion of bromine is that of the Dead Sea, in Palestine.


To those who visit Woodhall Spa, in its present advanced and advancing
condition, it must be difficult to conceive the very different condition
of the locality even in the middle of the 19th century.  If the Victorian
era has been a period of remarkable progress, nowhere has it been more so
than at Woodhall Spa.  The place was, in those days, only accessible with
great difficulty.  The roads, scarcely indeed worthy of the name, were so
bad that the writer well remembers going there, as a boy, with his
father, for the first time, when the ruts were so deep that the pony
carriage, a four-wheeled vehicle, broke in the middle, and had to be
abandoned by the roadside, and they had to return home to Langton,
distant about five miles, on foot.  The road (now the Horncastle-road,
and in excellent condition) passed, for a mile or more, over a tract of
sandy moorland, and when the ruts became too deep for traffic on one
track, another was adopted, and that, in turn, was abandoned when it
became impassable.  It was indeed a veritable Sahara on a small scale.
The road to Tattershall was fairly good, having probably been an old
Roman highway. {11a}  Such roads are locally called “rampers,” i.e.,
ramparts.  The road to “Kirkstead Wharf,” or ferry, where now a fine
bridge spans the river Witham, was also in fairly good condition. {11b}
The road which now runs from St. Andrew’s Church by the blacksmith’s shop
and Reed’s Beck to Old Woodhall and Langton was just passable with
difficulty.  A small steam packet plied on the river Witham, between
Boston and Lincoln, calling at Kirkstead twice a day, going and
returning, and a carrier’s cart from Horncastle struggled through the
sand once a day, each way, in connection with it. {11c}  The condition of
the road remained but little altered till shortly before the opening of
the “loop line” of railway between Boston and Lincoln in 1848.  In
preparation for this event the Horncastle-road was put into a fairly good
state of repair.  In connection with the railway two rival coaches were
run from the Bull and George Hotels at Horncastle, calling at Woodhall
Spa, en route to Kirkstead Station.  As yet, however, the traffic was
lacking to make the enterprise remunerative.  The brace of coaches were
then merged in one, but, for the same reason, that arrangement was
presently abandoned, and for some years there remained only the carrier’s
cart, slightly accelerated in speed, and even that was sometimes
precarious in its journeys.  The writer has found it necessary, on
arriving at Kirkstead Station on a dark night, to shoulder his own
portmanteau and carry it himself, for lack of other means of transport,
from Kirkstead to Langton, a distance of six miles. {12}  At length, in
1855, the line between Kirkstead and Horncastle, with a station at
Woodhall Spa, was opened, which has proved to be one of the most paying
amongst railway ventures in the kingdom, and has opened up communication
between Woodhall Spa and all parts of the country.  From these
particulars it will be seen that, although the whilom owner of the
Woodhall Estate (Mr. Thos. Hotchkin) had spent large sums of money (some
£30,000 it was said) in building the bathhouse and hotel in 1834–5, yet
the establishment for several years laboured under great disadvantages
owing to its difficulty of access.  Indeed, persons wishing to visit the
Spa from a distance had, for the most part, to bring their own carriages;
or, if arriving by the ordinary means of transit, and wishing to move
beyond the immediate precincts of the hotel, they had to hire a
conveyance from the Victoria Hotel, where the supply was very limited.
Moreover, in those days some of the lighter kinds of carriage now in
vogue, such as the modern dog-cart, were unknown.  The chaise and the
gig, large or small, were the conveyances in common use, the days not
being yet past when the farmer’s wife rode to market on a pillion behind
her husband.

In matters spiritual there was also a corresponding backwardness.  The
nominal district of Woodhall Spa consisted of outlying portions of the
parishes of Woodhall, Langton, Thornton and Thimbleby, these villages
themselves being distant from four and a half to seven miles.  A person
standing in the centre of the cross-roads, near the present Church of St.
Andrew, could have one foot in Langton (his right), the other in Woodhall
(his left) and hold his walking stick before him resting in Thornton.
The nearest portion of Thimbleby began some 500 yards away northward,
opposite the present blacksmith’s shop.  The portion of Langton extended
from St. Andrew’s Church to Mill-lane, near the present Kirkstead
Station.  Thornton extended on the opposite, southern, side of the
Kirkstead Wharf-road, from the present station, for a distance of some
miles eastward, with the parish of Kirkstead running parallel to it on
the south.  The portion of Woodhall extended eastward from the aforesaid
point at the cross-roads, and included Woodhall Spa and other land lying
north and further east.  In Mill-lane there was (_a_) a Presbyterian
Chapel, served by a minister residing at Horncastle, also (_b_) a
Wesleyan Chapel on the Kirkstead-road, the minister (a layman) being also
resident in Horncastle.  The only Church of England service in the near
neighbourhood was held at the beautiful little church in the fields,
distant about a mile to the southwest, being part of the remains of
Kirkstead Abbey; but as this benefice was a donative, or “peculiar,” not
under episcopal jurisdiction, {13} it might be opened or closed, and
stipend paid to a minister or withheld, according to the will of the
proprietor for the time being of the Kirkstead Estate.  The services
have, therefore, at times been performed somewhat irregularly, and it has
now been closed since about 1880.  Owing to the distance of the district
from the parent parishes and its inaccessibility, the religious interests
of the inhabitants had, at that time, been much neglected.  It was said
that they lived on a _heath_, and were, many of them, virtually
_heathens_.  And this was in truth only a slight exaggeration, for many
of them attended no place of worship, they rarely were visited by a
minister of any denomination, and many of their children were unbaptized;
and when, a few years later, there was a resident curate, he broke down
under the weight of his spiritual responsibilities amid such a
population.  A change, however, in this respect was effected during the
forties.  The Rev. Edward Walter, Rector of Langton and Vicar of Old
Woodhall, two of the parent parishes, whose name is still held in
reverence among the older inhabitants of Woodhall Spa, took up the
matter.  He held Church of England services for a time in a room at the
hotel.  He then got together an influential committee, with the
Honourable Sir Henry Dymoke, the Queen’s champion, at their head, {14a}
and they raised a sum of money, to which, among others, the Queen and the
Dowager Queen Adelaide {14b} contributed, sufficient at first to erect a
school and school-house, where the services were temporarily conducted;
and finally for the Church of St. Andrew and the vicarage, which were
erected in 1847, the church being consecrated by Bishop Kaye, of Lincoln,
on Sept. 14th in that year.  The architect was Mr. Stephen Lewin, of
Boston, who built several other churches in the neighbourhood, notably
that of Sausthorpe, near Spilsby, which is a very fine edifice. {14c}

The Rev. E. Walter at first endowed the benefice with £20 a year and 30
acres of land, others giving smaller donations.  Subsequently, when some
church land was sold in the parent parish of Woodhall, which would have
augmented his own benefice, he conveyed £230 a year to the benefice of
Woodhall Spa; or, as it was then called, Langton St. Andrew, as the
church stood on part of Langton Glebe; and this was augmented in 1889 by
his son, through the sale of land, formerly Langton Glebe, to the extent
of a further £112.  We may fitly add that the Rev. E. Walter rests in the
churchyard of St. Andrew, the place of his own creation, with the tombs
of other members of his family near his own.  Were a worthy epitaph
needed, it might well be, _simonumentum quæris circumspice_.  No one, in
his sphere, has been a greater benefactor to Woodhall Spa.  It should be
added that a large Wesleyan Chapel was subsequently built; also a
Primitive Methodist Chapel, and more recently a Roman Catholic Chapel,
with resident priest.  The various parochial sections were constituted
one ecclesiastical district in the year 1854; and in recent years have,
with some portions of the parishes of Kirkstead and Martin, been made one
civil parish, with its Urban Council.

In the year 1884, the late Stafford Hotchkin, Esq., proprietor of the
Woodhall Estate, expended a considerable sum in re-furnishing the
Victoria Hotel, and making other improvements, in a costly style; and in
1887 the hotel and bathhouse, with about 100 acres of the estate, were
purchased by an influential syndicate, who have since laid out a very
great amount in the enlargement of the hotel and grounds, the improvement
of, and additions to, the bathhouse, in supplying expensive automatic
machinery for the well, and other developments for the convenience or
entertainment of visitors. {15}  This gave a great impetus to the growth
of the place generally.  Another hotel, the “Eagle,” was erected, which
is excellently conducted.  A very large establishment, the Royal Hotel,
with winter garden, etc., has been built by Mr. Adolphus Came, embracing
an area of 1,000 square yards, covered by a glazed roof, and holding out
many attractions during the season; while streets of lodging houses,
semi-detached or single villas, and handsome residences have sprung up in
all directions.  With the growth of the population came a need for
enlarged church accommodation; and the present St. Peter’s Church was
erected by subscription at a cost of over £1,800, and was opened by the
Bishop on Sept. 14th, 1893, the foundation stone having been laid in the
previous year by the Right Honble.  E. Stanhope, M.P., Secretary for War.
It comprised, at first, only nave and South aisle; in 1904 chancel, organ
chamber and vestry were added, and the church was consecrated by the
Bishop on St. Peter’s Day, June 29, in that year; the total cost being
about £3,700.  There is a fine organ, and peal of tubular bells.  The
interior fittings are mainly the gifts of generous friends.  The altar
rails and sanctuary carpet were given by Mrs. Randolph Berens, of London,
a frequent visitor to the Spa.  The very ornate reredos, occupying the
whole width of the east end, was presented by Mrs. Cator, of Fairmead
Lodge, in memory of her husband, the late Colonel Cator.  It is of oak,
richly pinnacled and crocketted.  The centre panel contains a basso
relievo representation of the triple Crucifixion, with the Virgin and St.
John in niches on either side.  Above are the emblems of the four
Evangelists.  The buttresses are crowned by the four Archangels, SS.
Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel.  Over the super-altar is the
inscription, in raised letters, “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all
men unto me”; the inscription on the wings being “Ad Majorem, Dei
gloriam, et in piam memoriaun Thomœ Gulielmi Cator, qui in Christo
obdormivit die xiv° Januarii.  A.S.  MDCCCC.”  This is the work of
Messrs. Hems and Sons, of Exeter.  The pulpit, of handsome carved oak,
executed by the same artists, was presented by Lieutenant Stafford Vere
Hotchkin, of the 21st Lancers Regiment, in memory of his father, the late
T. J. Stafford Hotchkin, lord of the manor.

Of this church we can only say that all true lovers of architecture must
regret the style in which it was erected.  The original idea, strenuously
advocated by the late Bishop Suffragan, Dr. E. Trollope, one of our
greatest authorities (as well as by the present writer, as patron of the
benefice) was that the Church of St. Andrew should be enlarged by
doubling the nave and extending the chancel.  Arrangements had been made
to obtain stone for this purpose from the ruins of Stixwold Priory, of
which that church was originally built.  A suitable edifice would thus
have been erected, in a central position.  Unfortunately the Bishop died
while the question was yet _sub judice_, and, as most persons of taste
must feel, counsels less wise prevailed.  The present structure of brick
has been called a barn; it is of no architectural pretensions; the
tracery of the windows is of the most meagre description.  The ground
around it is too limited to be used for burial, although the churchyard
of St. Andrew is rapidly filling, and at no distant date a cemetery must
be provided.

The writer, while incumbent of Woodhall Spa, in conjunction with Mr. R.
Cuffe, M.R.C.S., then lessee of the Victoria Hotel, commenced, in 1873, a
Cottage Hospital for the poor, on a small scale, which was largely
beneficial, patients being admitted almost literally from Land’s End to
John o’Groats’ house.  Some left their crutches behind them, nailed to
the walls of the bathhouse; and it may be added, as shewing the efficacy
of the water, that cases occurred of patients who, on their arrival,
could only get about painfully on crutches, but who yet, before leaving,
ran in foot races at the village sports.  The cottage then rented has of
late years been superseded by the much larger Alexandra Hospital, a
substantial building, under the patronage of the Princess of Wales,
erected through the exertions of the Rev. J. O. Stephens, rector of
Blankney, on a site presented by the syndicate.  It was opened in 1890,
and has conferred large benefits on the suffering poor.  The medical
officer is Dr. Williams, L.R.C.P., Ed., Brookside Cottage, by whom
patients are treated with great skill.  He has published a pamphlet on
the Woodhall water and treatment.  He is ably assisted by Mr. H. W. Gwyn,
L.S.A.  A pamphlet on the same subject was also published by the late Mr.
A. E. Boulton, M.R.C.S., Horncastle.  Mr. R. Cuffe, M.R.C.S.,
Surgeon-Major, has also a large residence, the Northcote House
Sanatorium, for the reception of high-class patients, who are under his
own supervision.  He has had a large and long experience in every variety
of ailment for which the Woodhall treatment is adapted, having been sole
lessee of the Spa establishment from 1866 to 1883; he has written much on
the subject; was himself mainly instrumental in founding the British
Balneological and Climatological Society, which has as its members the
leading physicians of the chief watering places in the kingdom; and at
his hands patients receive the most scientific treatment, he having been
the first to introduce, many years ago, the electrolytic treatment, so
effective in internal cases.

A “Home for Gentlewomen,” in reduced circumstances, and needing the
Woodhall treatment, was established in 1894 by the present writer, in
co-operation with Mr. Cuffe, as hon. medical officer.  It is under the
patronage of his Grace the Duke of Rutland, and other distinguished
persons.  It was at first located in two bungalows, but now occupies a
roomy residence on the Horncastle-road.  It has been very generously
supported, and has proved a great boon in many needy cases.

The annals of the Woodhall neighbourhood are not without their tragic
features; and deeds of lawlessness have occurred equal to anything of the
kind recorded in modern times.

On June 22nd, in the year 1822, a young man named Stennet Jeffrey was
returning from Horncastle Fair to the farm of his employer, Mr. Warrener
(still occupied by members of the same family), when, as he was passing
along the footpath through a part of Whitehall Wood, called “the
Wilderness,” he was attacked by, as was supposed at the time, two men
against whom he had given information of their poaching.  They were
accompanied by a female named Sophy Motley, still remembered by some of
my informants as a big, masculine woman.  After a desperate struggle for
his life, a track being trampled down round the tree, by which he tried
to elude them (the grass, as tradition says, never growing again
afterwards), he was overpowered and foully done to death.  His body was
found thrown into the ditch near at hand, with the throat cut.  They
carried off his watch, which he had bought at the fair that day, and his
money.  A sovereign was found near the spot a few years afterwards by a
man who was ploughing in the adjoining field.  The present writer
remembers being told in after years, by a man living at Woodhall, who was
at the time working in a field not far off, that he heard cries for help,
but did not know what they meant, and so the poor fellow was left to
struggle unaided in the unequal conflict.  The tree has been seen by the
writer, round which he tried to escape.  It stood at the south-west end
of the path through the wood, about two miles from Woodhall Spa, and was
inscribed with the rudely-cut names of many a visitor to the spot.  The
parties to the murder were supposed to have come from Coningsby Moor, and
this was confirmed by the fact that they afterwards stopped for
refreshment at a small public house kept by Mrs. Copping, at Fulsby,
which lay in the direction of Coningsby Moor.  Near there some
bloodstained clothes were found concealed in a hedge.  A reward of £100
was offered for their apprehension.  The woman Copping, at the
public-house, was, it is said, fully aware of their guilt, but dared not
say anything about it.  The two men were convicted, and transported for
life.  The woman Motley was arrested on suspicion, but there was not
sufficient evidence to convict her.  In after years a man at Coningsby,
named Paul Tomline, confessed on his deathbed that he had been a third
party to the murder, having assisted in holding Jeffrey down while his
throat was being cut.  It is further stated that the woman, Sophy Motley,
on her deathbed, said that the stolen watch would be found at the bottom
of her box.

In the forties and fifties poaching was carried on in so openly defiant a
manner, and on so formidable a scale, as is seldom heard of in these
days.  The writer was a party concerned in the following incident, not,
be it said, in the immediate neighbourhood of Woodhall, although within
easy reach of it.  While he was visiting a worthy baronet for the purpose
of shooting with him, they were informed by the head-keeper, as they met
him one morning after breakfast, that he had received a private
intimation that a gang of poachers, living in a neighbouring town, had
chartered a special train to bring them down, on the following evening,
to shoot some of the preserves, the line of railway skirting the
property.  We at once decided to give them a warm reception.  This was
not an entirely new thing for which we were unprepared, and the keeper
had a most powerful mastiff, a monster Cerberus, who could plant his
forepaws on the stoutest man’s shoulders and pull him down.  The
baronet’s only son, the writer’s great friend, with whom he had walked
many a league in the Alps, and many a mile—with its “bittock”—over the
Scotch moors, was “keen for the fray.”  No less so was the writer.  As
the estate comprised three parishes, and it was not known at what point
the poachers would “detrain,” it was evident that we should have an
extended frontier to protect, and it was decided at once to despatch a
messenger to the owner of an adjoining estate, the M.P. for the Division,
asking for the loan of his keepers, to co-operate with our own.  Watchers
were to be sent to various points, swift-footed vedettes, to come into
immediate touch with the enemy on their arrival, and to report the
direction taken by them, and their number.  Everything was arranged in
good time before the morning was over.  It was settled that the keeper
was to come to the hall at 9 p.m., when the son and the writer would be
ready to join them.  We were none of us to take firearms, but to be
furnished with stout sticks.  The evening passed slowly, in our eagerness
for the “joust.”  But at nine o’clock the keeper came with a look of
disappointment on his countenance.  News had got abroad of the
preparations we had made for the gang’s reception; an ally, lurking near,
had telegraphed that it would not be safe for them to venture on their
raid, and the train had been countermanded.  Since then the genial
baronet has “crossed the bar,” as a Lincolnshire poet hath it; but of
late the writer has had the pleasure, almost annually, of meeting her
ladyship at Woodhall Spa.  She was brought up in a parish closely
connected with Woodhall, and she may almost be said to return to her
“native heath” to renew her years.

The reader will please excuse this digression, as it illustrates the
condition of things under which occurred the incident of local history
which I am now about to give.

A no less atrocious murder than that in the Wilderness was committed,
within less than a mile of the same place, at Well-Syke Wood, which again
is about two miles from Woodhall Spa.  The shooting of the wood belonged
to the Rev. John Dymoke, afterwards the champion, who rented it from Lord
Fortescue.  In the year 1850, the head keeper, Richard Tasker, received a
written intimation that a gang of poachers intended to visit the wood on
a certain night, and the writer of the letter recommended him, for his
own sake, to keep away.  Tasker, however, was lodging not far from the
wood, with a small farmer named Emanuel Howden, who also occasionally
acted as a watchman; and the two men, accompanied by the “rabbiter,”
James Donner, went to the wood, to protect their master’s pheasants.
Howden hung back, not liking the undertaking; Donner went off to watch
the wood from another point.  Presently a shot was heard, and on Howden
and Donner coming to Tasker, they found him lying on the ground severely
wounded, and he died the following day.  It was a bright moonlight night,
{21a} and Donner tried, for a time, to follow the poachers, but they
eluded him.  This occurred in a field just outside Well-Syke Wood, at the
north-west corner, then occupied by William Hutchinson, grandfather of
the present tenant, whose house adjoins the Horncastle-road, some two
miles from Woodhall Spa.  Most of the poachers were believed to have come
from Horsington; two of them, brothers, named Bowring, and a third,
Pearson Clarke, and another named Hinds; a man named Stennet was also
arrested on suspicion; but they were all eventually discharged, there
being no means of identifying them, as the murdered man was the only one
who came to close quarters with any of them.  Along with these, it is
believed there was also a man named Joseph Kent, from Tattershall Thorpe,
who is supposed to have fired the fatal shot.  As Tasker approached the
wood, this man came forward and recommended him to go home.  Tasker
called out that he was not yet going home, and that he knew him,
whereupon Kent, finding that he was recognised, fined the shot. {21b}

The following is a less exciting incident.  A few years later a man,
representing himself as a beggar, called at Kirkstead Hall, about a mile
from Woodhall Spa, asking for relief.  Something was given to him, but it
not being sufficient to satisfy his desires, he indulged in threatening
language, unless he was treated more liberally.  At length he became so
violent that the door was closed in his face, and he was told that they
would fetch the constable, whereupon he went off.  The female inmates,
being afraid that he might return, if they were left alone, thought it
safest to send for the constable, and he, with the keeper, followed the
man and apprehended him.  He was handcuffed, his feet tightly tied
together, and put by them into a cart, in which the constable, without
the keeper, drove off to Horncastle, to place him in the lock-up, then
called “The Round House.”  As they journeyed on their way, near the
“Tower on the Moor,” the man, lying at the bottom of the cart, complained
to the constable that the cords on his legs were cutting into the flesh;
“Would he take them off?” adding that the handcuffs secured him fast
enough.  The constable accordingly got down from his seat, and took off
the cords.  As he was remounting, the man slipt out of the cart behind,
and, bounding off into the wood, “Ostler’s Plantations,” close by,
turned, as he mounted the boundary bank, defying the constable to follow
him.  The latter could not leave his horse, and, the man being very
powerfully built, he also knew that he was more than a match for him
single handed.  The man disappeared.  Some one coming up assisted the
constable to tie up his horse and make a search for the prisoner; but all
they found were the handcuffs, which he had wrenched off, lying inside
the wood not far away.  Two present inhabitants of Woodhall saw the
constable pass their house, driving the cart with the man lying in it.

A very remarkable burglary was committed about two miles from Woodhall
Spa on February 2nd, 1829, at Halstead Hall, a fine specimen of a “Moated
Grange,” to which reference will be made in another chapter.  It was at
that time occupied by a farmer, Mr. Wm. Elsey, his wife, and farm
servants.  At eight o’clock in the evening, when the servant men went out
to “supper up” the horses, they were attacked by seven or eight men,
thrown down, their legs tied, and their hands secured behind their backs,
and each was left in a separate stall.  The stable door was then locked,
and one of the gang remained outside on guard.  The burglars then
proceeded to the hall, and knocked at the back door.  One of the servant
girls asked who was there.  She received the reply, “Open the door,
Betty.”  She did so, whereupon four or five men rushed into the kitchen.
One of the maids escaped, and ran to the room where Mr. and Mrs. Elsey
were sitting.  Mr. Elsey was smoking his pipe, and Mrs. Elsey was
preparing something for supper.  She saved her silver spoon, which she
was using, by slipping it into her bosom.  Mr. Elsey seized the poker to
defend himself, but, on seeing their number, prudently laid it down.
They then rifled his pockets and took his watch and money; also making
Mrs. Elsey turn her pockets out.  They then obliged the two to go into a
small storeroom or closet, locked the door, and tied a hay fork across
it.  They then collected all the plate, to the value of £30, and £50 in
cash; having first regaled themselves with a hearty meal.  They also took
all the silk handkerchiefs which they could find.  Mrs. Elsey, in her
confinement close by, complained to the burglars that she was very cold,
and begged them to let her warm herself at the fire; accordingly, with
the gallantry of a Dick Turpin, one of them brought her out, but seeing
that she was noticing them, he ordered her into the store-room again,
giving her, however, some greatcoats which were hanging in the passage
near.  When they had ransacked everything within reach, they compelled
Mr. Elsey to go upstairs, one walking before him and another behind, each
holding a pistol, and telling him that if he made any resistance he would
be shot.  They then, in the same fashion, obliged Mrs. Elsey to go up
after him.  The two were then locked up again, and the marauders politely
wished them goodnight, and went off with their plunder, saying that if
any alarm was given they would return.  Mr. Elsey, about two hours
afterwards, by the help of a small hammer and an old knife, succeeded in
making a small hole through the brick wall of the closet, through which
one of the maids was able to thrust her arm, and set them at liberty.
The only article recovered was a plated silver teapot, which was found in
Halstead Wood, near at hand.  Outside this wood ran a bridle path leading
towards Woodhall Spa, and in the course of the night the inmates of a
farmhouse, standing close to this path, were disturbed by the voices of
men passing by toward “the Spa.”  One of these men was soon captured, and
in due course hanged at Lincoln Castle on March 27th following; two more
were taken that year, and hanged on March 19th in the next year, 1830.
Of these two, one was known as “Tippler,” the other as “Tiger Tom.”
“Tiger Tom” had been the terror of the neighbourhood, and the general
opinion was that no one could take him.  But two powerfully built and
fearless men, David English, of Hameringham, and a gamekeeper named
Bullivant, were set to accomplish the task, and they succeeded in running
their man to ground, and securing him at “The Bungalow,” a public-house
on the Witham, near Boston. {24}  With them was hanged another noted
character known as “Bill” Clarke, convicted of sheep-stealing.  His was
the last case of hanging for that offence.  The last of the gang was not
captured till two years later.  He was the one who had planned the whole
affair, having formerly been a servant of Mr. Elsey, and therefore well
acquainted with the premises at the Hall.  He, however, escaped hanging,
being transported for life, as the excitement over the affair had by that
time cooled down; and, further, it was pleaded in his favour, that he had
prevented a bad character among them, named Timothy Brammar, from
shooting Mr. Elsey, or ill-treating the maids.  Of this same Timothy
Brammar it is recorded that his own mother having foretold that he would
“die in his shoes,” he carefully kicked them off as he stood on the
scaffold, to falsify the prediction.  It is further stated that the man
transported was, with two other criminals sent out at the same time,
thrown overboard, as the three were caught trying to sink the vessel in
which they were being conveyed “beyond the seas.”  These men, with the
exception of this former servant of Mr. Elsey, were all “bankers,” as
they were then called, _i.e._, navvies; and such men in those days were
usually a very truculent class.  A robbery of a minor kind was cleverly
frustrated in Woodhall about the year 1850.  A labourer’s wife, residing
at a cottage on what is now called “Redcap Farm,” had been taking her
husband’s dinner to him in the fields.  On returning, rather earlier than
usual, she went to the bedroom upstairs.  While in the room she detected
the legs of a man, who had concealed himself under the bed.  Retaining
her presence of mind, she merely made a trifling remark to her cat, and
went down again, and for some minutes made a noise, as though busying
herself about her usual household work.  She presently got out of the
house, and ran to some men working near.  The thief thinking, by her cool
behaviour, that she had not noticed him, remained still in his place of
concealment; and she quickly returned, accompanied by two men, who
captured him; when he was found to be a well-known thief, who had been
convicted more than once of similar offences.  Not far from the scene of
this occurrence, another attempted robbery was frustrated.  An aged
couple lived in a solitary house, distant from any high road, near the
wood called “Edlington Scrubs.”  After they had gone to rest a couple of
men broke into the house.  Hearing a disturbance, the wife opened the one
bedroom door upstairs, connected with the room below by a “Jacob’s
ladder,” and looked down through the trap door at the ladder head, with a
“dip” in her hand, to see the cause of the disturbance.  She was
immediately accosted with the demand, “Your money, or your life.”  She
replied, very deliberately, “Well, life is not worth having without the
money.”  One of the men began mounting the ladder, but meanwhile the
husband had armed himself with a strong bill-hook, a tool for cutting
hedges; he took his place by the trap door, and said to the burglar on
the ladder, “I shall cut your head off if you come up here.”  This
position he maintained, moving his weapon backwards and forwards over the
trap door, his figure being revealed to the thieves by the light of his
wife’s dip, until day began to break, when, to avoid being recognised,
they went off, having to content themselves with what spoil the second
man could find in the room below.  On another occasion, a narrow escape
from highway robbery occurred in Woodhall under the following
circumstances.  It was at the time of the great August Fair at
Horncastle, much larger at that time (in the forties) than it is at the
present day; for it then lasted some three weeks.  That fair has been the
occasion of many robberies, and more than one murder.  Skeletons have
been found buried under the brick floors of public-houses in the town,
being doubtless all that remained of those who had fallen the victims of
the “sacra fames auri.”  The principal farmer in Woodhall was riding home
leisurely from the fair late in the evening, when at a point in the road
between Langton and Woodhall, about two fields from Old Woodhall Church,
where a cartshed then stood contiguous to the road, two men rushed out
from the concealment of the shed and seized his bridle.  One of them told
him roughly to give up his money, or he would pistol him.  The other held
up a lantern to his face, and then said, “Oh, you’re not the man we want;
you may go, and think yourself lucky.”  The farmer in question was not
much of a horse-dealer, and would not be likely to have much money about
him.  The man really wanted was a well-known character, then living at
Stixwould, by name Grantham, who would be almost certain to be going home
with pockets fairly full, as he dealt largely in horse-flesh, and the men
had probably seen him make a good bargain or two in the fair that day.
The farmer, thus set at liberty, hurried to his home, only two fields
distant; and, having a shrewd guess for whom they were lying in wait, he
sent an active young fellow by a short cut across the fields to warn
Grantham.  The lad succeeded in intercepting the latter before he arrived
at the point of danger; and Grantham, turning his horse round, rode home
by another route, through Thimbleby, instead of Woodhall, and arrived at
his house in safety, thanks to the thoughtfulness of a neighbour.

There are some good historic names among the older residents of the
Woodhall Spa district.  Howard is one, a name, which still stands high in
the peerage of England.  Gaunt is another frequent name; some of the
members of the family, in the fine build of their bodily frame and their
dark hair and complexion, seeming to indicate descent from ancient Norman
blood.  Fynes, or more properly Fiennes, is another; implying a
connection with the Ducal House of Newcastle; the father of the present
generation (a former tenant of the writer) having been named Charles
Pelham Fynes.  Monuments of the Fiennes family are common in neighbouring
parishes, and they still hold considerable property in the surrounding


The great charm of Woodhall Spa is its “Rus in Urbe” character.  The
visitor can hardly go for ten minutes in any direction from his hotel or
lodgings but he finds himself by the woodside, among the hedgerows or on
the heath, where the jaded spirit, or the enfeebled frame, may draw fresh
energy from the bracing air, richly charged with ozone, and even at times
perceptibly impregnated with the tonic flavour of the iodine.  The author
of a recent publication who visited Woodhall Spa, in 1897, says:
“Woodhall is as unlike the usual run of fashionable watering places as
one can well imagine.  It is a charming health resort—situated on a dry,
sandy soil, where fir trees flourish—there are wild moors, purple with
heather, and aglow with golden gorse; a land of health, and the air
deliciously bracing.  I do not think (he adds) there is a purer or more
exhilarating air to be found in all England, or for that matter out of
it.” {27a}

Of the surrounding scenery it need hardly be said that we are not in the
land of “the mountain,” though we have the “brown heath, and shaggy
wood,” and occasionally, not far off, “the flood,” sung of by Scotia’s
bard.  But within sight are the Wolds, whose precipitous sides have, to
my knowledge, astonished strangers, who, judging from the country
traversed by the railway from Peterborough, expected to find the whole
county as level as a billiard table. {27b}  The flatness of the country,
however, is amply made up for by other redeeming features.  Within a mile
of the Spa a view is obtained stretching more than 20 miles, with the
grand Cathedral (which Ruskin says is “worth any two others in the
kingdom”) crowning the “steep” hill of Lincoln on the horizon.  “’Tis
distance lends enchantment to the view,” says the poet Campbell; and this
prospect, slightly undulating, with extensive woods barring it at
intervals, and village spires rising from their midst, seen through the
marvellously clear atmosphere which we often enjoy, is a sight worth

An old writer {27c} describes the air as being “crass, and full of rotten
harrs”; and Drayton, in his “Polyolbion” {28a} speaks of the “unwholesome
ayre, and more unwholesome soyle”; but that condition of things has long
ago passed away.  Another charming effect of these distant prospects is
the glorious sunsets.  Kingsley, in his “Hereward the Wake,” truly says,
the “vastness gives such cloudlands, such sunrises, such sunsets, as can
be seen nowhere else in these isles.”  A writer, whom I have already
quoted, says, “I am inclined to think the sky scenery, if I may be
allowed the term, the finest and most wonderful in the world.”  As to
“its gorgeous sunsets, you look upon an atmosphere saturated with colour,
so that it becomes opalesque; and the sinking sun, seen through the
vibrating air, is magnificent.  From the slopes of far California I have
looked down upon the sun dipping into the wide Pacific, amid a riot of
colour, but nothing like this.” {28b}  Nor is this any exaggeration.  The
visitor to Woodhall may see it for himself, and the writer has often
gazed upon it.  Towards evening the soft blue of the distance becomes
gradually lit up by the lowering sun with the most gorgeous and varied
shades of purple, gold, and ruby, until he sinks below the horizon in a
blaze of crimson glory.  Then follow, softer, more mellowed tints of
violet, pink, emerald green, exquisite greys, and varying hues of the
most delicate kinds, until they slowly fade away into the shades of
night, or the silvery sheen of the moon.

For the student of nature, there are special attractions in the botany of
the neighbourhood; scarcely less in its ornithology.  The wild,
four-footed creatures also are in unusual variety; and within easy reach
the antiquarian will find objects of very special interest.

In these pages it would be impossible to treat of all these subjects

I will take botany first.  And I would here make the preliminary
observation, that, in specifying different plants to be found in the near
vicinity, I shall not indicate exactly the _habitat_ of each, for the
sake of preserving to Woodhall Spa in the future some of its choicest
attractions.  The track of the invading tourist is too often marked by
massacre.  A French ambassador, describing some years ago the country
life of our gentry, said that one of the first proposals, made after
breakfast by the host, would be, “Let us go out and kill something”; and
this national tendency has disastrously affected our Flora as well as our
Fauna.  A writer has said, “There is a base sort of botanist who prods up
choice treasures wantonly to destroy them.  They are murderers, to be
classed with those who have stamped the quagga out of Africa, or those
who fly to firearms if Nature sends a rare migrant creature of air, or
earth, or water, in their way.”  Go through our English lakes, as the
writer did recently, after not having visited them for several years, and
you will find, for instance, the falls of Lodore, where once the
parsley-fern abounded, now entirely stript of it.  Just as—to take a
parallel case—in a certain stream in Borrowdale, where some years ago the
writer caught so many trout that the widow, in whose cottage he lodged,
offered to keep him any length of time gratis, so long as he would supply
her with fish at the same rate; now, in that stream hardly a fish is to
be caught, from its so constantly being “flogged” by the tourist.  The
same holds good, though, so far, in a less degree, at Woodhall.
“Ichabod” may be writ in large characters over the record of some of the
plants once plentiful.  I shall, therefore, leave the botanist, with few
exceptions, to hunt out the specimens for himself, only stating that they
exist.  But is not this, after all, the chief charm of his pursuit to the
true lover of Nature?  To have everything found to hand for him may
indeed lessen his labours, but it robs him of all the gratification with
which he can exclaim “Eureka,” as his eyes rest upon the long-sought
prize which he has found for himself.  The difference between the true
botanist and the sportsman has been thus defined: “The sportsman seeks to
kill; the botanist seeks to find, to admire, and to preserve.”  Would
that it were always so.  From the great difference in the soils in the
immediate neighbourhood, varying from the lightest sand to the stiffest
clay, or from the peat and bog of the fen to the gravel of the moor, or
the leafy mould of the wood, there is also a very great variety of wild
plants.  The late Rev. R. H. Webb, author of “The Botany of Herts,” was
some years ago a frequent visitor at Woodhall Spa, and he assured the
writer, that in all his experience he had never known so large or so
interesting a variety as was to be found in this neighbourhood.  On one
occasion the writer, collecting wild plants for a flower show, gathered,
in the course of a morning’s walk, more than 110 different specimens.
Probably the rarest plant was the Silene Quinque vulneralis, the
discovery of which led to a lengthy correspondence, it being rarely found
in England, though fairly common in Jersey.  It was growing in a field
which now forms part of the garden of the Victoria Hotel.  The
alterations necessary to make that transformation extinguished it, or
rather buried it out of sight; but as some correspondents gave instances
where it had recurred in localities in which it had for years been
unknown, there is no absolute reason why it should not also reappear in
this case.  Should it do so, we can only cry, _parce_, _precor_, to the
too ruthless collector.  The Osmunda Regalis, again, a few years ago was
very plentiful; the writer has had plants of it which grew to be three,
four, and even five feet in height, but it is now quite extinct.  Not
only so, but the writer, finding this to be the case, replanted some
roots of it in 1897, where he fondly hoped they would escape observation,
but, on going to look for them the following year, he found the soil dug
up all round the place by the trespassing marauder, and not a trace of
them was left.

The following plants have been mentioned by different authorities as
among those which are be found.  The Rev. E. Adrian Woodruffe Peacock,
secretary to the Lincolnshire Naturalists’ Union, says: “We may expect to
find some of the following rare plants—Ranunculus Hederaceus, Corydalis
claviculata, Raphanus Raphanistrum, Silene Quinque-Vulnera (most rare),
Silene Anglica (not so rare), Vicia Bobartii, Cotyledon Umbilicus, Sedum
Villosum, Sedum Reflexum, Drosera Anglica, Epilobium Tetragonum,
Campanula Ranunculoides.  At a meeting of the Alford Naturalists’ Society
the secretary exhibited the following plants, obtained from the Woodhall
district, presenting a striking difference to the plants found about
Alford, owing to the sandy moorland soil of Woodhall:—Calluna Erica
(ling), Erica Tetralix (cross-leaved heath), Artemisia Vulgaris
(mugwort).  Marrubium Vulgare (white horehound), Teucrium Scorodonia
(wood sage), Hydrocotyle Vulgaris (white-rot), and the Hardfern (Lomaria
Spicant); also fruiting specimens of Solidago Virgaurea (golden rod),
Lepidium Campestre (field pepper-wort), Cotyledon Umbilicus (wall

I conducted the members of the Lincoln Natural History and Archæological
Society round the neighbourhood a few years ago, in the month of April,
and they reported 39 plants as being then in flower, the most interesting
being Saxifraga Tridactylites (stone-crop), Draba Verna (vernal whitlow
grass), Erodium Cicutarium (hemlock, stork’s bill), Cotyledon Umbilicus
(wall pennywort), and the Tussilago Petasites (butter-bur), Stellaria
Holostea (greater stitchwort); also Parietaria Officinalis (wall
pellitory), not yet in bloom, and in a pond Stratiotes Aloides (water
soldier) in great abundance.

More recently I conducted the members of the Lincolnshire Natural History
Union through the district, in the month of August, and the following is
a list of their chief “finds”; Hieracium Boreale (hawkweed), Lysimachia
Vulgaris (yellow loose strife), Melampyrum Pratense (yellow-cow wheat),
Tycopus Europeus (gipsy-wort), Solidago Virgaurea (golden rod), Malva
Moschata (musk mallow), also a white variety of the common mallow (Malva
Sylvestris), the two cresses, Lepidium Smithii and L. Campestre,
Sparganium Simplex (simple bur-reed) the mints (Mentha Sativa, and M.
Arvensis), Lythrum Salicaria (purple loosestrife), Geranium Columbinum
(long-stalked cranesbill), Scutellaria Galericulata (skull-cap),
Polygonum Hydropiper (water pepper), Lysimachia Nemorum (yellow
pimpernel), Rhamnus Frangula (buckthorn), Gentiana Pneumonantha (blue
gentian), Erica, Cinerea (heath), Malva Rotundifolia (round-leaved
mallow), Marrubium Vulgare (white horehound), Calamintha Acinos (basil
thyme), Eriophorum Angustifolium (cotton grass), Narthekium Ossifragum
(bog asphodel), Galeopsis Bifida (hemp nettle), Senecio Sylvaticus
(ragwort), three St. John’s worts, viz. Hypericum Pulchrum, H.
Quaodrangulum, and H. Perforatum, Spergula Arvensis (corn spurrey),
Saponaria Officinalis (common soap wort), Drosera Rotundifolia
(round-leaved sundew), D. Intermedia (intermediate variety), Epilobium
Macrocarpum (long-fruited willow herb), E. Parviflorum (small flowered
do.).  E. Palustre (marsh do.), Circœa Lutetiana (enchanter’s
night-shade), Pimpinella Magna (greater burnet saxifrage), Valeriana
Sambucifolia (elder-leaved valerian), Solidago Virgaunea (golden rod),
Gnaphalium Sylvaticum (high land cudwort), Hieracium Umbellatum
(narrow-leaved hawk weed), Alnus Glutinosa (common alder), Juncus
Acutiflorus (sharp-flowered rush), Anagallis Pallida (pale-coloured
pimpernel), Pedicularitis Sylvatica (dwarf red rattle), Pinguicola
Vulgaris (common butter-wort), Viola Flavicornis, also called V.
Ericetorum (yellow-horned violet). {31}  The Cichorium (succory) and
Parnassia Palustris (grass of Parnassus) are found in the neighbourhood.
The Myrica (“Gale” or bog-myrtle) is very abundant, and a useful
preventive against the moth if placed in wardrobes or drawers.  Like the
Osmunda, the Pinguicola (butterwort), appears to be now extinct, owing
either to drainage or to the ever-offending collector.  Another
interesting plant which at present is not to be found, though it may at
any time recur, {32} is the Holy thistle, or Mary thistle (Carduus
Marianus).  Formerly plentiful, a mile away from the Spa, about the ruins
of Kirkstead Abbey, it has been of late years entirely stubbed up by
successive tenants of the farm.  There is one locality, about three miles
distant, to which specimens were transplanted a few years ago, and where
it still survives.  It also grew not far from the church of Old Woodhall,
but there also farmers’ operations have exterminated it.  Called the
“Milk” or “St. Mary’s” thistle, because its white-veined leaves were
traditionally said to have been lashed with the virgin’s milk, it is
doubtless a survivor from the gardens tended and cherished by the monk of
old.  The Botrychium Lunaria (moonwort) and Ophioglossum (adder’s tongue)
are found within 300 yards of the Baths (occasionally intermittent for a
season); the Trichomanes (English maidenhair) grows in one solitary place
on the inner walls of a closed well, though entirely unknown anywhere
else for many miles round.  Several varieties of ferns grow very
luxuriantly.  Before leaving the botany of the neighbourhood, I would
direct the reader to an appendix at the end of this volume, giving a list
of a considerable number of plants with their local vernacular names,
which was compiled for me by a naturalist, who made this subject his
special study during a prolonged sojourn at Woodhall Spa.

There are several different mosses, and a great variety of fungi.

This varied flora conduces to a corresponding variety of insect life.  On
one of the occasions referred to above, the following beetles were
found:—Loricera Pillicornis, Geotrupes Spiniger, G. Stercorarius,
Elaphras Cupreus, Leistotrophus Nebulosus, Hister Stercorarius, Aphodius
Fœtens, A. Fimitarius, A. Sordidus, 22-Punctata, and Sphœridium

Of butterflies there is not a great variety.  The Papilio Machaon
(swallow-tail) used to be common about the reedy pools and bogs near the
Moor; but owing to drainage and clearance none have been seen for several
years.  The huge heaps of the aromatic ant were formerly very common in
the woods close to the Spa, but the eggs being a favourite food for the
pheasant, and collected by the keepers for that purpose, there seems to
be none left.


I now proceed to speak of some of the birds of the locality.  And again
it may be said, as in the case of the wild flowers, that, from the
variety of soils, there is a corresponding abundance in the species
frequenting the neighbourhood of Woodhall.  Unfortunately another remark
made of the flowers also applies to the birds.  “Ichabod” may be written
in large characters over the records of several.  In the writer’s youth,
an old couple lived close to the Tower on the Moor, about a mile from the
Spa, in a cabin of their own construction, made chiefly of sods, then
locally called “bages.” {33}  Old Dawson, or “Tabshag,” the soubriquet by
which he was more commonly known, lived with his wife the rather wild
existence of a squatter, on the waste, under sufferance from the owner.
He kept a pig, and was wont to boast that he possessed the highest pigsty
and the lowest barn in the country, because the sty was a structure of
his own erection, in the old brick tower, above the level of the
surrounding ground; while his straw was stored in an excavation (still
existing) several feet below.  At that time between the Tower and Bracken
Wood there was a stretch of waste land, several acres in extent,
consisting of bog, interspersed with tussocks of coarse grass, and
straggling alders and birches, still known by the name of “The Bog’s
Nook,” or corner. {34a}  On this ground the common green plover—Vanellus
cristatus—then commonly called the “Pyewipe,” {34b} bred in large
numbers; the eggs were, as they are still, regarded as a delicacy, and
old “Tabshag” used to make a considerable sum of money every year by
sending hampers of these eggs by coach up to London for sale.  So
familiar he was said to be with the habits of the bird that he could tell
by its cry how many eggs were in the nest. {34c}  This land is now under
cultivation, and the plaintive cry of the plover is heard no more, or
only seldom.  The plover, indeed, is still with us, but in numbers
lessening every year.  There are probably not now as many plovers’ nests
in the whole parish as there formerly were in a single ploughed field.
The writer, as a boy, was somewhat of an expert in finding these nests.
He has watched the birds making them, which they do by turning round and
round, with the breast or belly on the ground, thus forming a
saucer-shaped hollow, in which they sometimes place two or three fibres
of twitch as a lining.  One bird makes three or four of such nests, and
finally selects the one which, presumably, she deems most unnoticeable.

Sixty years ago black game were found on the moorland called now “The
Ostler Plantations,” {34d} but though one still heard of them “in the
forties,” they were then either extinct or a rapidly vanishing quantity.
At the same time also the “boom” of the bittern might still be heard in
the marshy parts of the same ground, but they are also now among the has

    No more shall bittern boom,
    No more shall blackcock crow:
    For both have met their doom,
    The sport of human foe.

From the character of the Ostler ground, formerly a very secluded tract
of mixed wood, moor, and morass, it has been frequented by a great
variety of birds. {35}  The heron bred there within the last twenty
years, a solitary nest remaining in a clump of trees in the south-west
corner next to Tattershall, until it was blown down by a gale, and, the
particular tree being shortly afterwards felled, the bird never returned.
Drainage and the destruction of trees by the woodman’s axe, or by
accidental fires, have so dried the ground as to reduce greatly the
numbers of certain birds of aquatic or semi-aquatic habits.  The coot
“clanking” in the sedgy pools is no more heard.  The moor-hen with those
little, black, fluffy balls which formed her brood scuttling over the
water to hide in the reeds, is rarely seen.  The wild duck has, indeed,
in one or two instances nested near a still-surviving pool within the
last ten years; a nest was once found by the writer among the branches of
a pollard willow, overhanging a pool, some five or six feet from the
ground.  He has also shot teal on odd occasions lying in the open; but
both these birds are now rarely seen, and the same may be said of the
snipe, “jack” and “full.”  The latter were once plentiful, so that it was
a common occurrence to put up a “whisp” of them, whereas now one seldom
sees more than three or four in a whole season.  A delicate little bird,
very palatable on the table, was the waterrail, now almost extinct.  The
writer used to have permission to shoot along the “ballast ponds” beside
the railway, and he has frequently shot them there.  The woodcock is
still with us.  The poet painter, Dante Rosetti, kept one as a favourite
pet; we of Woodhall are more prosaic, and like to see the bird rise out
of the bracken before us, and fall to our shot, eventually to appear
nicely cooked on a toast before us at table.  But of late years drainage
has reduced their numbers.  Although we could, of course, never at
Woodhall, compete with the shooter on the Irish bogs, where as many as
100 or 200 are sometimes shot in a day; yet I could at one time almost
always get a brace when I wanted them by trying certain spots which were
their regular resort, and among my notes I find this: “Nov. 16, 1872,
shot Bracken wood, got five woodcock, making 20 in three days.”
[N.B.—Bracken wood, as the visitor may not know, is within one field of
the Bath-house at Woodhall Spa.]  Some years ago certain sportsmen (?) in
this neighbourhood used to go to the sea coast every year, in October, at
the time of the arrival of the first flight of woodcock (the second
flight is in November), and shot them in considerable numbers, when they
were resting, exhausted by their flight; hardly a creditable practice,
and unworthy of a true lover of nature.  A wood in Kirkstead, named
“Bird-Hag Wood,” was formerly a favourite haunt of the woodcock, and I
have shot many in it; but it was cleared away in the seventies. {36a}
Woodcock occasionally breed on the moor, and a nest was found some years
ago within 80 yards of the road to Horncastle, opposite the Tower on the
Moor.  Among my notes I find this: “Dec. 5, 1872, we saw about a dozen
woodcock in Bird-Hag Wood, but only three were shot.”

I have just mentioned Bird-Hag and its woodcock.  Pleasant memories of
that wood have lingered with more than one sportsman.  A former poetic
owner of Kirkstead has written of it thus {36b}:—

    Remote Bird-Hag, that favourite preserve,
    To crown some chosen day, the choice reserve
    Where noble oaks their autumn tints display,
    And fern gigantic checks the sportsman’s way
    But well is toil and trouble there repaid,
    By the wild tenants of that oaken shade,
    While rabbits, hares, successive, cross your road,
    And scarcely give the time to fire and load,—
    While shots resound, and pheasants loudly crow,
    Who heeds the bramble?  Who fatigue can know?
    Here from the brake, that bird of stealthy flight,
    The mottled woodcock glads our eager sight,
    Great is his triumph, whose lucky shot shall kill
    The dark-eyed stranger of the lengthy bill
    Unlike the pheasant, who himself betrays,
    And dearly for his daring challenge pays.
    Small notice gives the woodcock of his flight;
    Not seen at once, at once he’s lost to sight.
    Yet short his flight, and should you mark him down,
    The chances are that woodcock is your own;
    But quick the hand, and no less quick the eye,
    Would stop him as he hurries by;
    Few are the birds, whate’er may be their sort,
    More try the skill, give more exciting sport.

A few words may be said on the pheasants and partridges; and first of the
former.  The breed on the Ostler ground have a history.  The late Sir
Henry Dymoke, of Scrivelsby Court, used to rear, in large numbers, a
white breed of pheasant, and as, with the exception of the Ostler ground,
he, with his brother, had almost the whole of the shooting, extending
from Scrivelsby to the Witham, they spread over that ground, and sought a
kind of asylum in the dense cover of the Ostler plantations.  Further,
the writer’s father-in-law imported an Indian breed, called the “Kalege”
pheasant, a very handsome bird; and these two strains have affected the
breed on that ground, and, doubtless, have also had their effect on
pheasants in the neighbourhood generally.  White broods of pheasants are
from time to time hatched on the ground; also piebald varieties are not
uncommon.  In the year 1898, a cream-coloured specimen was shot.  Some of
the cocks have at times a decided fringe of blue or purple in their
plumages from the Kalege mixture.

As to partridges: It is only in recent years that the French, or
red-legged breed (Cannabis rufa) have established themselves here.  In
the sixties, though said to have been introduced into England by Charles
II., they were almost, if not entirely, unknown here.  The writer shot
them in Cambridgeshire in the fifties; and from the south-eastern coast
and counties they have persistently spread, until now we have them
everywhere.  In the first instance, probably, they were brought across
“the silver streak” by a gale, like the sand grouse, of which we have
read, on the coast of Yorkshire.  But whereas the sand grouse were
immediately shot as curiosities, the red-leg, being a bird (as every
shooter knows) given to running, knew how to take care of himself, and,
like many another unwelcome intruder, he _came to stay_.  The flesh is
decidedly inferior in flavour to that of the common English brown
partridge.  I well remember a practical joke being played on a Woodhall
keeper.  The “Frenchmen,” as they were called, had only just arrived.  A
party of us were out shooting, and a red-leg was shot.  The keeper,
seeing the new and handsome-looking bird, was very proud of it, and
though he had never yet tasted one, he loudly proclaimed, in his
ignorance, that it would be as good in the eating as fine in the plumage.
A day or two after we were out shooting again.  Luncheon time came, and
we lay stretched on the sward under a spreading tree, on a hot day in
September, where the ladies joined us, bringing the refreshment.  Cold
partridges were among the fare, and instructions had been given
beforehand that the “Frenchman” should be specially reserved, to hand to
the keeper.  In due course the Captain passed on to the keeper—as being
specially favoured “above his fellows,” by the attention—half of a
partridge.  Nothing was said, and we all busied ourselves with the viands
before us, but the keeper was under our careful observation.  Presently
his features were seen to be considerably distorted by wry faces, as he
turned the leg or the wing about in his hands, while picking them, with
some difficulty, to the bone.  Probably the bird was not only a
“Frenchman,” but a tough old cock into the bargain.  At length he could
stand it no longer, and, looking round at us, he said, “Dal it! Captain,
but this bird’s a rum ’un.”  “Don’t you like it?” was the reply; “why,
it’s the handsome Frenchman you admired so much, when it was shot the
other day.”  “Well, then,” said the keeper, “I wish all such Frenchmen
were at the battle of Water-gruel.  I’ll back the English.” {38}

There are some rather curious facts in connection with the brown English
partridge and the French variety.  Though different in their habits, and,
it is said, even hostile to each other, they yet, in some instances,
consort.  I once shot on the moor three brown and one red-leg, out of the
same covey, all young birds.  They had evidently been reared together in
one brood, and the old birds were of the brown species.  Mentioning this
to a friend of large experience, he told me that he had known several
instances where the eggs of the two kinds had been found laid in the same
nest.  The eggs are, of course, easily distinguishable, those of the
common partridge being of a greenish drab colour, while those of the
red-leg are of a dull, cream colour, covered with small brown spots.  I
have been informed by another authority that the eggs of the red-leg have
also been found in the nest of an outlying pheasant. {39}  A curious
provision of nature, conducing to the preservation of the species, may be
here mentioned as interesting; the partridge, while sitting on her eggs,
has no scent.  On one occasion a man was consulting me about a tombstone
at St. Andrew’s Church, Woodhall.  We walked into the churchyard
together, and stood conversing opposite the grave in question.  I was
aware that a partridge was sitting on her nest concealed in the grass
between that grave and the next, and therefore would not approach very
near.  Suddenly I perceived that he had a terrier with him, which was
very busily hunting over the churchyard.  I begged him to keep it in.  He
was rather indignant, and replied that it could do no harm in the
churchyard.  I remarked that he was not aware that within eight or ten
feet of us a partridge was on her nest, and I did not wish her to be
disturbed.  He thereupon called in his dog, but that only brought his dog
nearer to the nest, hunting the while; and the dog actually passed over
the nest without scenting the bird. {40}  The eggs were hatched the next
day, and that doubtless accounted for her sitting so closely.  Whether or
not from an instinctive consciousness of this safeguard is not for me to
say, but the partridge is rather given to selecting her nesting place
near a highway or a footpath.  I have known several instances of this,
and only last year I repeatedly saw both the parent birds sitting on
their nest together, on a bank close to a public footpath which was daily

To show how closely a partridge will continue to sit, under very trying
circumstances, I give here an anecdote of what occurred in a parish
adjoining Woodhall Spa, as it was related to me by the chief witness, the
Squire himself.

In a meadow adjoining Roughton Hall, a partridge made her nest in a
slight depression of the surface.  The meadow was, in due course, mown,
the mower passing his scythe over her without injuring her, and unaware
of her presence, the depression having still enough grass to conceal the
nest.  The field was afterwards “tedded,” i.e., the grass was tossed
about by a machine, which again passed over the nest, still leaving her
unscathed and unmoved.  In the process of “cocking,” the field was next
horse-raked, the rake passing over the nest, with the same result.  One
of the haymakers, however, nearly trod on the nest; this drove the bird
off, behind him, so that he did not observe it.  But a friend was near at
hand.  The squire, seeing the bird fly away, went to the spot, found the
hidden nest, and counted in it the unusual number of 19 eggs (promise of
a good partridge season, weather permitting).  He at once removed to a
distance all the hay lying near, to prevent her being disturbed again,
and watched the result.  Within a quarter of an hour the partridge
quietly returned to her nest.  Ten days later she successfully brought
off a brood of seventeen, two bad eggs remaining in the nest.  Of course,
as the hatching time draws near, the mother, feeling the young lives
under her, sits more persistently than at an earlier period; but surely
this mother partridge exhibited a remarkable instance of fidelity to
maternal instinct, after passing through no less than four trying

Of wild pigeons we have three kinds: the common woodpigeon or ringdove,
of which there are large flocks; the stockdoves, which go in pairs, and
(as their name implies) build their nest on a solitary stump or tree, or
occasionally in a rabbit hole.  The turtledove, though common in the
south of England, is a migratory bird, and in these parts not a constant
visitor.  A “wave” of them spread over the Midland counties in 1895, and
since that they have been seen in smaller numbers.  The late Mr. J.
Cordeaux, F.R.G.S., M.B.O.U., one of our greatest authorities, says that
its note is lower and more of a querulous murmur than that of the
ringdove.  In size it is not much larger than a missel thrush.

The first of these pigeons is the bird named the “Culver,” in old
writings, as Spencer sings in romantic ditty:—

    Like as the culver, on the bared bough,
       Sits mourning for the absence of her mate,
    And in her song breathes many a wistful vow
       For his return, who seems to linger late,
    So I, alone, now left disconsolate.
       Mourn to myself the absence of my love,
    And sitting here, all desolate,
       Seek with my plaints to match that mournful dove.

Of woodpeckers we have on the moor and in Bracken Wood at times, three
kinds: the common green species (picus viridis) which is generally
plentiful; the lesser spotted (picus minor), not seen every year, but
occasionally; and, still less frequently seen, the larger spotted (picus
major).  Of the former of these spotted kinds, seeing three together, I
shot one a few years ago; and the keeper shot another for me more
recently, for our Naturalists’ Museum at Lincoln.

Of the “birds of prey,” so called, the greatest part are extinct, or
nearly so, too often from a mistaken belief in their destructiveness;
whereas they are really useful allies of the farmer, if not also of the
sportsman.  In the cause of the latter, they, for the most part destroy
(if they destroy game at all) the weakly members, so conducing towards
keeping up a vigorous breed, and for the farmer they destroy smaller
vermin, the mice which, but for them, would multiply (as they have done
in several places) until they become a plague.  In the year 1890, a very
large bird was reported as being seen about the woods near Woodhall, but
I could not get a sight of it myself, nor could I get anyone else to give
a description of it, except that it was very large.  After a time it
disappeared from Woodhall, and was reported as being seen for a time
about Revesby, and on November 8th an eagle was shot by the son of a
farmer residing at Tupholme Hall, in a wood at Southrey belonging to Mr.
Vyner.  It proved to be a male bird, in good condition, measuring 6ft.
7in. across the wings, and weighing 11lbs.  I rode over to see it, but it
had been sent to the taxidermist to be stuffed.  It was a sea eagle
(Haliactus albicilla).  The kite (milvus ictinus) used to be common 40
years ago; its presence being notified by our hens cackling, and ducks
quacking, as they called together their broods, when they espied it
soaring at a considerable height above.  If a reckless chick, or
duckling, neglected to take the warning, and seek shelter beneath the
mother’s wings, there was for a moment a rushing sound, a general
confusion in the poultry yard, a half-smothered scream, and the kite flew
away with a victim in its claws. {42}  I have seen this more than once
myself.  The kite is now quite extinct in this neighbourhood.  The same
may be said of the buzzard (buteo vulgaris).  Although their food was
chiefly mice and small birds; perhaps occasionally game, but not
generally; since, though a very fine bird in appearance, they were not
rapid enough on the wing to overtake the partridge in full flight; yet
the keepers waged war against them “to the knife.”  Many is the buzzard I
have seen nailed up with the pole-cats and other vermin in the woods at
Woodhall.  But they are now seen no more, and a handsome and
comparatively harmless ornament of our sylvan scenery is gone beyond

The Hen-Harrier (circus cyaneus), a more active bird than the buzzard, is
another of the “Ichabods.”  Its last known nesting place was on the top
of “The Tower on the Moor,” near Woodhall.  As a boy, the writer has
climbed that tower for the eggs, and he has now a very fine specimen of
the old bird stuffed, measuring about 40 inches across, from tip to tip
of the wings.  These birds were wont to fly at higher game than the
buzzard, and doubtless did at times destroy partridges; but they also fed
largely on water-rats and frogs, and were not above gorging themselves on
carrion.  The female is larger than the male.

The beautiful little Merlin (Falco Æsalon) was also seen, though not
common, twenty-five or thirty years ago.  It was a very plucky little
bird, and I have seen one strike down a partridge larger in bulk than
itself.  This is gone, never to return.

The Sparrow-Hawk (Accipiter fringillarius) survives, although in
diminished numbers; and this indeed is the only one of the hawks against
which “my voice should be for open war.”  It is very destructive and very
daring in the pursuit of its quarry.  A connection of my own was sitting
in a room facing the garden at the Victoria Hotel, Woodhall, when a
sparrow-hawk dashed after its prey, broke the glass of the window, and
fell stunned on the floor of the room.  The female in this kind also is
larger than the mate.  This bird will kill young ducks and chickens, and
partridges, and even pheasants.

The Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) also still survives, and we do not grudge
it a prolonged lease of life.  It feeds chiefly upon mice and small
birds, cockchafers, and other insects; is a graceful object as it hangs
lightly hovering at a considerable height in the air; with its keen
vision detects its small prey half hidden in the grass or stubble, and
then with lightning rapidity, drops like a stone upon it, and bears it
away.  I have kept kestrels and sparrow-hawks and tamed them; and the
former will become tractable and almost affectionate, but the latter is a
winged Ishmaelite, and very treacherous, and if allowed a little liberty,
it generally ends in his making his escape. {44a}

Owls are still, I am glad to say, plentiful.  They are amongst the
farmers’ greatest feathered friends, killing enormous quantities of mice,
which otherwise would damage his crops. {44b}  We have three kinds on the
moor or in the woods: 1st—the barn owl, or screech owl (stryx flammea);
2nd—the wood or brown owl (synnium aluco); 3rd—the horned-owl (asio
otus).  The two last are very much alike in both size and colour, but the
last has two tufts of feathers rising on each aide of the head, from
which it gets its name of horned-owl.  I have a note among my shooting
records: “Dec. 5th, 1872, shot Bird Hag Wood, in Kirkstead, put up about
a dozen owls.”  These would be the “horned” kind.  Five were shot on that
occasion, but as a rule they have been carefully spared, one only
occasionally being killed as a specimen for stuffing.  Within the
nineties, being out with my gun, on the moor, when the ground was covered
with snow, I passed by a solitary thick Scotch fir, when an owl flew out.
I wanted a specimen for a friend who was staying with me, and I shot it.
The report created quite a commotion within the tree, and some twenty
owls were immediately flying about me.  Not being likely to settle in the
snow, and apparently dazed by the glare of the sun reflected from the
snow, I left them as quickly as I could, to recover their composure, and
return to the sheltered quarters in which they had congregated.  Hunting,
as they do, almost entirely by night, they have little opportunity of
interfering with the game, nor is it their propensity to do so. {45}
There are three very ancient hollow oak trees in “The Arbours” Wood in
Kirkstead.  These are a favourite resort of the barn owl.

The carrion crow still nests on the moor, although the eggs are taken
every season.  But the old birds are very wary, and manage to keep out of
shot.  The common rook, however, of late years, has got a bad name, as
having taken up the marauding habits of the genuine crow.  Owing to the
improved cultivation of land, there is not now the supply of grubs on
which the rook used to feed, and they have taken to hunting for the eggs
of partridge and pheasant, and may be seen “quartering” the ground as
methodically as a pointer or setter.  They are strongly suspected of
killing the young as well as rifling the nests of eggs, and the Scotch
keepers complain of their depredations on the moors, among the young

A writer in the “Yorkshire Poet” (of August 22, 1898) says that black
game are decreasing in the Border counties, as the rooks destroy the

This completes the list of the larger birds frequenting the
neighbourhood.  As I write this chapter, a letter from an old friend says
that he well remembers the number of night-jars which were to be heard
“churring” about Woodhall on a summer’s evening.  This bird (caprimulgus
Europœus), locally called fern-owl, comes to us about May.  I have a
note: “May 23rd, 1873, the first night-jar heard.”  During the daytime,
the visitor, walking quietly through the woodland paths near the Victoria
Hotel, may, if he has a keen eye, see the night-jar lying flat upon the
branch of an oak, hardly indeed perceptible, owing to its colour being so
near that of the brown bark.  Then, towards evening, it may be seen
taking its short and wonderfully rapid flights, and you may hear its
bills snap together as it catches the moths and cockchafers on which it
feeds.  It breeds on the moor, the nest generally being laid on the
ground among the bracken; whence its name of fern-owl.  The old idea of
its sucking the goat or cow, from the former of which it gets its
classical name caprimulgus (as well as the English equivalent), is, of
course, long since exploded. {46a}  The churring note is seldom heard
except when it is at rest on a branch of a tree.

The brilliant little Kingfisher (Alcedo ispida), the most gay in colour
of all our birds, may still sometimes be seen, darting about the only
rivulet which we can boast of at Woodhall, and which rejoices in the
unattractive name of “The Sewer,” {46b} although its water, welling up at
its source near Well Syke Wood, is beautifully clear and pure.  The
occurrence, however, of the bird here is rare.  An old inhabitant of
Kirkby assures me that it is not uncommon on the river Bain, in that
parish; and of late years, partly through the writer’s influence, it may
be seen on the rivers Bain or Waring, in the heart of Horncastle,
unmolested, and even fed, by the people.

The Grey Fly Catcher (Muscicapa Grisola) is fairly common on our lawns,
where it will sit quietly on a garden seat, or roller, and thence take
its short jerky flight after the flies.  I have known it to nest year
after year, at the Vicarage, in a hole in the wall, where an iron
ventilator was broken.

The Wryneck (Yunx Torquilla) is a somewhat uncommon bird at Woodhall,
though a pretty one.  For several years it also frequented the Vicarage
garden, sometimes four or five of them, during the summer months.  One
year there were so many that I shot one and had it stuffed, and I found
that at the same time a noble Marquis was having two stuffed, as being
rather rare.  It is called in some parts of the country the “weet” bird,
from its peculiar note; other authorities say that the note is
represented by the words, “Peel, peel,” or “Peep-peep.”  I should myself
say “Snipe, snipe” was nearer to the sound, and a writer compares it to
the sound of Punch, in the old show of “Punch and Judy,” which I think
comes nearer to my own interpretation.  The body of this bird is in
colour a mixture of grey and brown, but its tail and wings are most
beautifully marked with dark zig-zag bars, which make it very handsome.
In size it is between the blackbird and the lark.  Like the woodpecker,
it has a very long tongue, which is covered with a glutinous matter, and
which it inserts into the grass roots or tree bark, in search of its
food. {47}

I give here a list of birds which I have stuffed, all of which were
killed in this neighbourhood:—Night-jar (Caprimulgus Europœus), wry neck
(Yunx Torquilla), buff blackbird (Turdus merula), razorbill (Alca Torda),
little auk (Mergulus Alia), ruff (Machetes Pugnax), green sand piper
(Totanus Octaopus), snipe (Scolopax gallinago), water rail (Rallus
Aquaticus), golden plover (Charadrius Pluvialis), woodcock (Scolopax
Rusticola), large spotted wood pecker (Dendrocopus Major), hawfinch
(Coccothraustes Vulgaris), cuckoo (Cuculus Canorus), jay (Garrulus
Glandarius), French partridge (Cannabis Rufa), turtledove (Turtur
Auritus), horned owl (Asio Otus), hen harrier (Circus Cyaneus), kestrel
(Falco Tinnunculus), peregrine falcon (Falco Peregrinus), piebald
pheasant (phasianus colchicus), buff pheasant, cormorant (phylacrocorax
carbo), jay (corvus glandarius), heron (ardea cinerea), horned owl (asio

In times gone by, never to return, the numbers and variety of wild fowls
frequenting the Witham, with its “sykes and meres,” was something
extraordinary.  Charles Kingsley doubtless wrote, if not of his own
knowledge, yet, at furthest, at second hand, when he gave the following
description: “Grand it was, while dark green alders and pale green reeds
stretched for miles . . . where the coot clanked, and the bittern boomed,
and the sedgebird, not content with its own sweet song, mocked the notes
of all the birds around . . . far off upon the silver mere would rise a
puff of smoke from a punt, invisible from its flatness.  Then down the
wind came the boom of the great stanchion-gun; and after that another
sound, louder as it neared; a cry as of all the bells of Cambridge, and
all the hounds of Cottesmore; and overhead rushed and whirled the skeins
of terrified wildfowl, screaming, piping, clacking, croaking, filling the
air with the hoarse rattle of their wings; while, clear above all,
sounded the wild whistle of the curlew, and the trumpet note of the wild
swan.”  “Prose Idylls,” The Fens.

    The living clouds on clouds arose,
    Infinite wing!  Till all the plume-dart air
    And rude resounding shore was one wild cry.

Of the swans, we may observe that not only did this bird, in its wild
state, frequent the Witham and the Fen waters, but the swannery was a
valuable possession.  The Abbots of Bardney and Kirkstead owned
swanneries on the Witham.  (“Archæol.” vol. xvi., p. 153).  The swans of
various owners were distinguished by marks on the upper mandible, and
there were no less than 97 different swan marks on the Witham.  A rhyming
list of the birds of the Witham is given in Drayton’s Polyolbion (song
25), too long to quote here; suffice it to say that one parish alone,
near Boston, some 60 years ago, sent 30,000 wild fowl in a year to
London—(Thompson’s History, Boston).  The bird’s captured by net were
dunlins, knots, ruffs, reeves, red-shanks, lapwings, golden plovers,
curlews, godwits, etc.  One fowler stated that he had so taken 24 dozen
lapwings in one day, and four dozen and nine at one time.—Stevenson’s
“Birds of Norfolk,” vol. i., p. 57.  Other birds shot by the fowlers were
mallard, teal, widgeon, whimbrells, grebes of several kinds, and the
“yelping” avocet.  A relative of the present writer owned a decoy, where
some 20,000 wild ducks were taken, within his own recollection, in one
season. {49}

We now come to the last bird which I shall name in this somewhat lengthy
list; a goddess among birds, as someone has almost literally called her,
“œmula divini suavissima carminis ales”; and the old Scotch poet, William
Drummond, of Hawthornden, says:—

    Sweet artless songster! thou my mind dost raise
    To airs of spheres—yes, and to angels’ lays.

while quaint old Isaac Walton says: “She breathes such sweet music from
her little instrumental throat, that it might make mankind to think that
miracles are not yet ceased.”  The nightingale was first heard in my own
garden, at the vicarage, Woodhall Spa, in the spring of 1876.  Having
heard it at Cambridge, in the South of England, and also in Italy, I
immediately recognised the note, and at first was delighted at the
arrival of this new visitor to Woodhall Spa, who did not come needing the
water, and complaining of aches and pains, but to delight everyone with
its rich flood of song.  And having thus found its way here, it has
further found the attractions of Woodhall so great that, although
favouring no other place in the neighbourhood, it has continued its
annual visits ever since, and has brought its kindred in increasing
numbers.  But, although charmed at first with its melody, the novelty
wore off; and when, night after night, there were three or four of these
birds waking the echoes beneath my bedroom window, trying in jealous
rivalry each to outdo the other in compassing the whole gamut, “in the
rich mazes of sound,” my admiration considerably abated, and I became
rather disposed to vote the performance a veritable surfeit of song, to
the utter banishment of much-needed slumber.  Before, however, I had
arrived at this prosaic way of viewing the “Queen of Song,” I composed in
its honour the following lines, with which I shall close this chapter on
the Birds of Woodhall:—

2 a.m., April 27.

       How from that tiny throat,
          Songster of night!
       Flows such a wealth of note,
          Full of delight;
       Trembling with resonance,
          Rapid and racy,
       Sinking in soft cadence,
          Gushing with ecstasy,
       Dying away,
          All in their turns;
       Plaintive and gay,
    Thrilling with tones aglow,
    Melting in murmurs low,
       Till one’s heart burns?

       Once in the wilderness,
          By desert well,
       Hagar in loneliness,
          With Ishmael,
       Sighed to the silent air,
          Tears on her glistening;
       Yet to her, even there,
          Angels were listening,
       Noting her prayer.

       Even so singest thou,
          _Not to thyself_,
       Mayn’t there be list’ning now
          Some fairy elf,
       Silently sitting near
          Thy dark retreat,
       Drinking with grateful ear
          Thy music sweet,
       Ringing so clear?

       No! not alone art thou;
       One there’s above, e’en now,
       “Whose mercy’s over all,”
       “Who sees the sparrow fall;”
       “To Him the night is day,”
       He hears thy matin lay,
       High o’er us all.

       Through the hushed, slumb’ring air,
          Thy accents raise,
       For all his loving care
          Incense of praise;
       Thrilling with happiness,
          Full with content,
       Still asking His goodness,
          Prayer with praise blent.

       Little thou mayest be,
          Yet art His care;
       He, too, has given thee
          Gifts rich and rare.
    Still, then, thy voice upraise,
    Still chant thy Maker’s praise
    While we are rapt in sleep,
    Still thou thy vigil keep;
    Still let some earthly cry
    Go to our God on high;
    Humbly, yet fervently, piercingly call,
    Call for His watchfulness over us all.


It is the inevitable, if regretful, duty of the recorder of the past to
have to inscribe “Obiit” over the mention of many an individual who comes
under his notice, and this applies to the four-footed animals, as well as
to the birds and the wild flowers, of Woodhall.  Of some of the most
interesting, it must be said that they are gone, and their place knoweth
them no more.

The first I may mention is the Badger.  This animal used to be fairly
common in these parts; whether it is now quite extinct is difficult to
say, because its nocturnal habits, and very retiring disposition, prevent
it coming much under the observation of man.  It is supposed still to
harbour in the rocks at Holbeck, some nine miles from Woodhall.  A
specimen was captured at Woodhall about the year 1885, frequenting some
rabbit holes in a bank, at that time belonging to myself, and within 100
yards of the present blacksmith’s shop on the Stixwould-road.  Another
was captured a few years before in the adjoining parish of Martin, which
I have stuffed.  At an earlier date one was taken by a man named Thomas
Norris, at Well Syke Wood, some two miles from Woodhall Spa.

About the year 1889 one was seen for some months in the Northern Dar
Wood, in Woodhall.  The keeper, doubtless with murderous intent, tried to
find its burrow, but did not succeed.  It was not killed so far as is
known, but disappeared.  Another was killed in June, 1898, at Mavis
Enderby.  In 1903, two badgers were killed at Asgarby, and one at Asterby
in 1904.  In 1899 our local pack of hounds, the South Wold, ran a badger,
instead of a fox, over several fields, until he took to ground, and was
afterwards killed by one of the party, as he kept his head out of the
hole.  It should hardly be a moot point whether the extermination of the
badger is an advantage or not, although a good deal has been written on
both sides of the subject.  Its skin makes the “sporran” of the kilted
Highlander, and its hair makes our shaving brushes.  Though it may be
found occasionally in an enlarged rabbit burrow, it is not there to prey
on the rabbit; for (as Major Fisher assures us in his interesting work,
“Out-door Life in England,” 1896) its diet is mainly vegetarian, and what
animal food it indulges in is mice, frogs, an occasional hedgehog, with
beetles, snails, and worms; and especially it is very partial to the
grubs of the wasp.  It is very cleanly in its habits; sometimes occupying
the same “earth” with the fox, to the great advantage of the latter, as
it clears away the putrid matter brought in by Reynard, and so prevents
his contracting the mange, to which he is very liable, from his own
untidy propensities. {53a}  Being thus not only comparatively harmless,
but also serviceable to the sportsman, it is much to be regretted that
continued war should be waged against these creatures. {53b}
Unfortunately, old prejudices are but slowly overcome.  By a statute
enacted in the 8th year of Queen Elizabeth, chap. 15, and confirmed by
subsequent statutes, provision was made for the destruction of what were
then deemed “noysome foule and vermine,” and the price of 1s. was set on
the head of every “fox and grey,” i.e., badger.  This act continued in
force down to 1863.  But the old ideas concerning the badger have been
long exploded among those who know anything of its habits.  The badger,
further, is the only representative of the bear family in this country.
A scion of that race, whose bones are found in our fossiliferous caverns,
co-eval with the mammoth and prehistoric man, he, if any of our existing
animals, may boast of “blue blood in his veins.”  The nobleman, whose
ancestry came over with the conqueror, is a _parvenu_ in comparison with
him.  Surely the principle of _Noblesse oblige_ alone should ensure for
him a shelter in our woods and wastes. {54a}

The next to be mentioned of our _ferœ næturæ_, also the object of
constant persecution, and growing, consequently, rarer every year, is the
Otter.  The parish of Thimbleby adjoins Woodhall Spa on the north,
indeed, a large slice of it is now included in the recently created civil
parish of Woodhall Spa.  At the further end of Thimbleby an otter was
killed in the year 1898, at a water mill on the river Bain, the miller
erroneously supposing that it would kill his ducks.  Shortly before,
another specimen had been shot by a keeper on the same river, at
Goulceby, its mate fortunately escaping.  Soon after, a young specimen
was seen several times disporting itself in the Horncastle Canal.  It
there escaped the vigilance of many would-be assassins, and gradually
worked its way towards our neighbouring river, the Witham; but there it
fell a victim to a gunner, who descried it in a drain near Tattershall
Bridge, in Billinghay Fen.  Another specimen was afterwards shot among
the dykes of Walcot Dales, near the Witham, and still another in the
neighbouring parish of Martin, a few years ago.  Here again this
persistent slaughter is much to be regretted.  The otter is not the enemy
to the fisherman which it is too commonly supposed to be.  In the
“Badminton Library,” the Honourable Geoffrey Hill says: “People are
beginning to find that the otters kill and keep down the coarser fish,
especially the eels, which live on the spawn and fry of the better
sorts.”  Mr. E. Daubney, writing from the banks of the Dart, says: “They
eat frogs, rats, birds, fish, _et id genus omne_, but of nothing are they
more fond than the eel; for this they will give up the finest and most
fresh-run salmon.” {54b}  In our own neighbourhood, in 1901, two young
otters were shot on a farm at Sturton; they were at a pond which abounded
in eels, and had doubtless by the eels been attracted from the river
Bain, a mile distant, where they could only get trout.  A naturalist, who
watched some otters at their home, night and day, for more than two
months, says that he only saw them take three trout; the first fish taken
was an eel, the second a chub, or roach.  (“Country Life,” illustrated,
Vol. VI., No. 134, July, 1899.)  Another authority {55a} states that the
stomach of one specimen examined “was full of larvæ and earthworms”;
while a fourth writer {55b} says, “Otters will eat celery, potatoes,
young shoots from the hedges; and especially have they a liking for the
two first.”  The writer has seen a dead salmon lying on a Highland river
bank with the shoulder eaten away by the otter, their peculiar habit
being to take only this part, and never to return to the body again.
{55c}  But even their attacks on the salmon have indirectly a useful
effect, for, as one of the authorities already quoted (Mr. E. Daubney)
observes: “If a salmon pool is visited by otters, the salmon are hustled,
and so made to bestir themselves (often when sickly, and reluctant to
move), and so make the effort to get down to the sea, to return again
enormously increased in size and condition, and in this way the otter
does the sportsman a service in sending the salmon down to recruit in the
sea; just as, in turn, the sea-lice which fix upon the salmon when
recruited in the salt water, so harass the fish, as to drive it once more
up the river again into the fresh water, when it may afford sport to the
angler.” {55d}  It is not generally known, and it has even escaped the
notice of our greatest naturalists, that the otter utters a shrill
whistle when calling to its mate or young, which might be easily mistaken
for the note of the kingfisher or sand-piper.  This has been noticed by
Mr. F. B. Whitlock, in the “Naturalist” for 1895, p. 381.  The great
stronghold of the otter is the broads of Norfolk, where, in the sluggish,
reedy water, he can get plenty of eels, snails, and so forth.  In our own
neighbourhood, if the war and extirpation goes on, he will soon be a
memory only.

The next wild animal to be named as fairly common at Woodhall is the Fox.
The locality, indeed, has been for many years a stronghold {56} of
Reynard, as was to be expected, in a district where the woods are so
extensive, although by no means so extensive as they were within the
writer’s recollection.  On one occasion, some 14 or 15 years ago, we had
the Burton hounds, and the South Wold, over the same ground, in the same
morning, within hearing, if not within sight, of each other.  The Ostler
Ground, especially from the thick and warm cover afforded by the heather,
may be said to be a nursery for foxes for the supply of the
neighbourhood.  Not long ago there were six earths; and there are still
three, which are carefully preserved; and the bark of the dog-fox or the
answering scream of the vixen may be heard almost any night, in different
directions, while out foraging.  So thick is the cover, in parts, that
the hounds frequently fail to penetrate it; and, after the pack have gone
away without a find, I have almost trodden upon a fox, on one occasion
upon a brace of them, still lying snugly among the “ling” in security.
The fox does much less harm than is commonly supposed.  It will not
disturb other game if it can get rabbits, and it will not take rabbits if
it can get rats.  A very old sporting farmer has repeatedly assured me
that although he had a rabbit warren near his farmstead, the rabbits were
left undisturbed, and even his chickens were safe, so long as there were
rats to be captured in his corn-stacks, or in the banks about his
farm-buildings. {57} The first fox which the writer ever saw, was brought
by a Woodhall man, named Hare, to his father.  It had been caught in a
trap by the leg, and had attempted to bite its own foot off, in order to
effect its escape.  It was kept until the injured limb had recovered, and
was then sent to his friend, the M.F.H.  The writer’s own recollections
of fox-hunting go back to the days of the famous Jack Musters, the Squire
of Colwick and Annesley, who married Mary Chaworth, the object of Lord
Byron’s passionate admiration.  Sometime in the forties he hunted our own
South Wold country.  He was indeed “a character.”  Though said by the
Prince Regent to be “the most perfect gentleman he had ever met,” yet, in
the hunting field, his language and his actions were most violent.  The
writer has still clearly impressed on his memory an occasion at Woodhall,
when, as a boy of 12 years old, mounted on a small pony, and with the
hounds running hard, he endeavoured to open a gate for the impatient
M.F.H., and, on his not being able to accomplish this quickly enough, he
was assailed with such a flood of invective, and torrent of oaths, that
he was forced to withdraw from the attempt in confusion and bewilderment.
But, if the sportsman who crossed his path was not spared by “Jack,” as
he was familiarly called, neither was any unfortunate hound which
offended him.  On one occasion, a young hound, at High-hall Wood, near
Woodhall, was guilty of chasing a hare.  The whole “field” was in
consequence pulled up; one of the whips was ordered to bring the
delinquent forward.  The thong of his hunting crop was twisted round the
hound’s neck, and while he on foot held the poor brute in this way, the
other whip dismounted and belaboured it with his whip until he was
himself too exhausted to flog any more.  The whole field were kept
looking on at this display of wholesome (?) discipline, and when it was
over the hound was left lying on the ground, almost strangled and a mass
of contused weals, to recover its consciousness and limp after the
departing pack, as best it could.  The painful impression made upon the
young mind of one devoted to animals, and tender of their feelings,
remains still as an unpleasant memory, from which it recoils.

At one of our meets, a fox was found in Bracken Wood, which, after giving
us a good run round the neighbourhood, eventually took refuge in a
cottage near High-hall Wood.  Entering by the open door, it mounted the
ladder which formed the staircase to the one bedroom above; there it
crept under the bed.  The hounds hunted all round the premises, but the
door having been shut by the occupier, an aged, retired keeper, and there
being a strong wind which blew the scent from the door, his retreat was
not discovered.  He remained in this place of concealment until the
hounds had gone to a safe distance, and then, descending by the ladder,
bolted out of the door and made off, verifying the adage of Erasmus
(older than “Hudibras”),

    That same that runnith a awaie
    Againe maie fighte ane other daie.

The well-known cunning of the fox is shewn in the following:—A favourite
“find” for many yeans has been Thornton Wood, some three miles from
Woodhall Spa; and a frequent line for the fox to take was (and is) from
that covert to Holme Wood, near Scrivelsby.  To accomplish this the
Horncastle Canal and the small river Bain have to be crossed.  The
writer, as a boy, has swum the canal on his pony, at the tail of the
pack; but usually riders have to make a detour by a bridge, between the
first and second locks on the canal.  During the intervals of ten minutes
or a quarter of an hour required for this, the hounds are left to
themselves.  It happened on two or three occasions that in this interval
the scent suddenly failed, and the fox was lost; casts were made up and
down the river, but without success.  On one occasion, a labourer,
working in the grass field between the canal and the Bain, saw the fox
cross the canal by the lock doors, over which there was a narrow
plank-bridge for foot-passengers.  It then made across the field for the
Bain.  He saw it pass out of sight down the banks of the river, close by
a willow tree, overhanging the water; but it did not emerge on the other
side.  With the lack of quick wit, characteristic of the clod-hopper, it
did not occur to him to mention this at the time.  He told it, however,
afterwards to his master, a hunting man; and, on a subsequent occasion,
when the same incident occurred again, one of the whips dismounted and
went into the water, and, poking about the roots of the willows,
dislodged Reynard, concealed under the hollow bank, and immersed under
water, except his nose and mouth, by which he was hanging suspended from
a fang of the tree roots.  Surely Reynard’s clever ruse deserved a better
fate than the death which speedily followed.

The following incident occurred under my own observation.  I was out
shooting in Woodhall.  In a certain field I had put up a hare, which went
away, without a shot.  Passing, in due course, to the next field, I
observed an object sitting, so far as I could make out, in a crouching
position, in the middle of the field, and it looked in the distance like
a man.  I proceeded towards it, and soon perceived that it was a fox,
sitting up on his hindquarters.  At this moment a hare, presumably that
which I had put up just before, entered the field and cantered leisurely
in the direction of the fox.  As sportsmen are aware, the hare, though
able to see behind it, or on either side, does not, from the peculiar
position of the eyes, see so well straight in front.  In this case, the
hare never perceived the fox until it was within a few feet of it;
whereupon it stopped short, and the two sat up facing each other,
evidently mutually fascinated, as the bird is said to be by the snake.
They thus remained motionless, or powerless to move, for some minutes,
until my nearer approach attracted their attention and broke the spell,
whereupon they both bounded off in different directions.  This, I am told
by an authority, was a case of neurasthenia, or nerve-paralysis.  A not
quite similar occurrence was recorded some little time ago.  A farmer saw
a pheasant go to roost in a tree, standing alone in the field.  Presently
he saw a fox approach, go to the tree, and look up at the pheasant.
After pausing for a moment, regarding the bird, he proceeded to run
rapidly round the tree in a narrow circle.  This he did for some time,
continuing his circuit without intermission; when, to the farmer’s
astonishment, the pheasant fell from its roost, and before it reached the
ground was seized by the fox, who went off with his prey to a
neighbouring plantation.  This would seem to have been a case of
hypnotism, rather than neurasthenia.  The bird was mesmerised, or made
giddy, by the fox’s circular motion, and literally fell into the
operator’s arms.—(“Spectator,” January, 1898).  The writer, when
travelling in Germany, once met a German gentleman, who had visited
country houses in England, and had conceived a great admiration for the
English sport of fox-hunting.  “Ah,” he said, “we have nothing like it in
Germany.  It is a grand institution.  It makes you good horsemen, good
soldiers, good judges of country and distance.”  To those who would
object to fox-hunting on the score of its cruelty, I would quote words
used at a church congress, by Colonel Hornby, master of the Devon and
Somerset Staghounds.  Speaking on “The Ethics of Amusements,” he said:
“The exercise of hunting is productive of the most beneficial effects on
both mind and body.  There could be no hunting without suffering to the
animal hunted, but this was greatly exaggerated.  These animals were born
to be hunted by other wild animals; we had destroyed the latter, and our
hunting was more merciful.  The pain inflicted was no equivalent to the
pleasure afforded to hounds and horses, leaving men out of the question.
The true lover of sport was a lover of mercy as well.  Every sportsman,
in the true sense of the word, did all in his power to lessen the
suffering.”—Quoted, “Guardian,” Oct. 17, 1894, p. 1,620.

The days are gone by when gentlemen “of the cloth” were common in the
hunting field.  Yet I have known some of the hardest working clergymen,
and the most sincere, earnest Christians, who saw no excessive cruelty in
the chase.  We have no “Jack Russels” among us now; the last of the type
who lived in our neighbourhood found a dead fox in his pulpit, when he
ascended it to preach his sermon one Sunday morning; and though he did
not deliver a funeral oration over it, it was said that he buried it with
as much loving reverence and genuine grief, as if it had been a Christian

A meet of the foxhounds at that favourite tryst, the “Tower on the Moor,”
near to Woodhall Spa, presents a pretty and lively scene.  Besides the
red-coated sportsman, there are riders, with horses of every degree, from
the barebacked, or rudely saddled “screw,” to the 100 guinea or 200
guinea hunter; and from the “weedy” hack to the long, elastic-legged
animal of racing blood.  There are numerous vehicles, two-wheeled and
four-wheeled, with their varied occupants, from the butcher’s light cart
to the phaeton or the drag.  There are numbers on foot, of both sexes;
some of the men, staid of mein and beyond middle life, have already
walked their miles; townsmen, for once, breaking away from their trade,
or their business, and bent once more on breathing the fresh air on the
heather, and listening again to the “echoing horn,” as it vibrates
through the woods.  There are ladies, on horseback, eager for the burst
across country “in the first flight”; there are ladies on cycles, not yet
arrived at the degree of perfection to enable the fair riders to take a
“bee-line,” but yet, from the speed attainable, able to make rapid
detours, and if they study the wind, and are familiar with the “lay” of
the country, likely to see almost as much of the sport as the
best-mounted.  All are bent on the healthy enjoyment of this thoroughly
English pastime.  Their thoughts might find echo in the old hunting song,

    Tally-ho!  Tally-ho!
    Let the foreigner know
    We are Englishmen: so,
    Tally-ho!  Tally-ho!

And who shall say that the pleasure is confined to them?  Someone has
said: “The horses enjoy it, the hounds enjoy it, and no one can say from
experience that the fox does not enjoy it as well.”  Then comes the
M.F.H., with his beauties, all in “the pink” of condition.  A moment’s
delay for pleasant greetings between all and sundry, and the hounds are
quickly thrown in for business; their tails, and little more, wave above
the long ling and the tall bracken.  The whips gallop to their points of
observation.  Presently a whimper or two is heard; then the deeper tone
of an old hound takes it up; the rest rally about him, and soon the whole
pack join in full chorus.  A halloo is heard from a ride, as the fox
crosses it; a distant hat is held up to show the line he is taking in the
cover, and then a more distant shout of “gone away,” and the whole field
are off, helter skelter, as though riding for their lives, _sauve qui
peut_.  Such are “the pleasures of the chase,” for which we are indebted
to the Little Red Rover: “The sport of kings, the image of war, without
its guilt.”  (Somerville, “The Chase,” Book I.)

The neighbourhood of Woodhall combines lands of a wild unreclaimed
nature, such as the Ostler Ground and other moorlands, in the parishes of
Thornton, Martin, Roughton, Kirkby and Tattershall, and closely
contiguous, and even mixed up with these, lands which are in an advanced
state of cultivation.  I have already mentioned a tract of waste, boggy
ground, lying between the Tower on the Moor and Bracken Wood, formerly
the haunt of wild fowl, and still called “The Bogs Neuk.”  The origin of
this ground was probably the following:—The old antiquary, Leland,
writing of “The Tower,” {61} says, “one of the Cromwelles builded a
pretty turret, caullid the Tower on the Moore, and thereby he made a
faire greate pond or lake, bricked about.  The lake is commonly called
the Synkker.”  This “lake,” and all trace of it, have entirely
disappeared; but it is probable that the decay of its “bricked” walls, or
of whatever the environment may really have been, led to the escape of
the water, and the creation of the tract of swamp, which remained until
recent years.  Similarly the Ostler Ground was, within the writer’s
recollection, a much wilder tract, and its woods more extensive than at
present.  Some 300 acres of wood were destroyed by fire, through
accident, about the year 1847.  This happened at night, and, seen from a
distance, it looked like a vast American prairie conflagration, the
heavens being tinged with a lurid light far and wide.  At that time the
plantations opposite the Tower were of Scotch fir, so dense that the rays
of the sun could scarcely penetrate.  The roads, as I have previously
stated, were little more than cart tracts, often shifting; and the whole
tract was almost as little frequented, or disturbed, as if it had been in
the heart of the Black Forest of Germany.  In the centre of this wild
were two or three fields belonging to another property, {62a} where
roamed a herd of small, shaggy cattle, which, shut out as they were from
the rest of the world, became almost wild; and when, on occasions, the
foxhounds penetrated to their haunts, they frantically broke through all
bounds, and for some days afterwards would be found scattered about the
open country around.  This tract of wood and moor has been for many years
the prettiest bit of wild shooting anywhere in this neighbourhood for
many miles round.  There is not, at the present time, anything like the
amount of game upon it which was to be found only a few years ago;
drainage and several very dry seasons, as also two or three accidental
fires, having killed much of the ling, and reduced very considerably the
amount of cover.  Still, to the genuine sportsman who thinks more of a
varied bag than of the slaughter of numbers, it affords great
attractions, and the writer has enjoyed many a happy day of healthy
relaxation, with dog and gun, upon it. {62b}  The variety of birds now,
or formerly, to be seen, have been described already.  The ground game
upon it now, apart from the fox, are the hares and rabbits; of these I
shall speak more at length presently.  If the Moor ground has afforded
fair sport of a wild and varied character, the shooting in the adjoining
domain of Kirkstead, in hares and partridges, has been also much superior
to the rest of the neighbourhood, with the one exception of Tattershall,
which has been nearly as good.  On one occasion, being one of a party of
five, the writer was stationed at the north-east corner of “The Arbours
Wood,” in Kirkstead, to shoot the hares which passed that point, while
the rest of the sportsmen walked the wood with the beaters.  In the space
of about one hour and a quarter, without moving from his position, he
shot 56 hares.  At one moment he had 16 hares lying dead before him; and
he could have shot many more, but that, from the rapid firing, his gun
barrels became, at times, so hot that he was afraid to load, and the
hares were allowed to pass him, and escape unmolested. {63}

We occasionally find on the Ostler Ground an unusual hybrid between hare
and rabbit, a notice of which may be of some interest to the naturalist.
As its occurrence has led to a good deal of correspondence, I will give
here a summary of the observations made upon it as they were stated by me
at a meeting of the Lincolnshire Naturalists’ Union.  Among other persons
who made enquiry about it was Mr. Walter Heape, of Cambridge, who has
made the subject of hybrids a special study.  He asked my reasons for
supposing the animal to be such a cross.  My reply was as follows:—

(1)  The animal is the size of a hare.

(2)  Its fur is the rabbit grey.

(3)  The head is the shorter, and the ears the more pricked and shorter,
of the rabbit.

(4)  One which I shot at, and missed in the ling, bolted straight for a
hole, as though accustomed to it, and I never knew a hare to go to ground
in that ready way.

(5)  A tradition has long attached to the Moor that the hare and rabbit
do occasionally inter-breed.

Mr. Heape replied:—“I am aware that many naturalists deny that hares and
rabbits will breed together.  I am not, however, myself of that opinion,
but I never had satisfactory proof of such a cross occurring.”  Further
enquiry led to the following facts:—In the year 1773 the Abbe Domenico
Gagliari got two litters from a female hare by a male rabbit.  Richard
Thursfield also got hybrid’s of these two species.  M. Roux, in 1847,
established a breed of “Leporides” in Angonleme, where he bred largely
hybrids of hares and rabbits, and these hybrids were fertile with both
parent species and among themselves.  Baron de Gleichen states that at
Hoching, Canton de la Prusse, Polonaise, hybrids of hare (female), and
rabbits (male) are generally known.  He says, however, that M. Brocca,
the French savant, states that there are anatomical differences between
hare and rabbit which make it, antecedently, improbable that they should
inter-breed.  I have myself shot three of these hybrids on the Ostler
Ground, and have one of them stuffed.  In the year 1897 Sir Henry Hawley
shot a similar specimen in Haltham Wood, some five miles from Woodhall;
more recently (Oct. 4th, 1898), the Rev. C. E. Chapman, then rector of
Scrivelsby, shot another in New York Fen; one was occasionally seen on
the Ostler Ground in 1898, and one was mentioned in “Land and Water,”
March 5, 1892, as having been shot on the Moors, at Parkend, in
Northumberland.  I may add that a cross between a rabbit and guinea pig
is in the possession of a person at Horncastle; and I have lately heard
of a cross between black game and the capercailzie in Scotland.  But the
following somewhat analogous cases have created special interest.
Professor Ewart, of Edinburgh, has bred a cross between a male Berchell’s
zebra and a mare pony, of the Isle of Rum breed, half wild, lent for the
experiment by Lord Arthur Cecil.  The pony was jet black; the foal
resulting, except over the hind quarters, had as many stripes as the
zebra sire, the stripes being fawn colour, with background nearly black.
In form it closely resembled a well-bred foal.  As another interesting
case of a similar kind, Lord Morton has bred a cross between a male
quagga and a nearly pure-bred Arab mare; and Lord Tankerville has, more
than once, bred a cross between the famous wild Chillingham bull (Bos
Urus Primigenius) and a shorthorn cow.

An interesting variety of the hare is also found in Woodhall and the
neighbourhood.  This is the albino or white hare.  Some 30 or more years
ago one was frequently seen in the parishes of Langton and Woodhall, and
eventually was shot in Thimbleby.  They were then, so far as the writer
knows, in abeyance for some years.  But within the last decade heredity
has asserted itself, and they have reappeared in increased numbers, and
would doubtless become an established variety if allowed to multiply.  In
September, 1894, one of the Woodhall tenants killed, in the harvest
field, a three-quarter-grown white leveret.  In 1896 the writer presented
to the Natural History Museum, at Lincoln, a fine albino specimen, also
shot in Woodhall, with two small white leverets, accidentally killed in
the harvest field at Langton.  Since then, attention having been drawn to
their existence, a number of instances occurring in the neighbourhood
have been recorded.  One was shot at Ranby as far back as Oct. 19, 1860;
two were seen in Clayworth in 1896; one was shot in Baumber, Sept. 17,
1896; one shot at Thorpe Tilney, in Timberland parish, with slight tinge
of brown on the ears, October, 1897; one shot in Timberland in 1895; one
being seen still at large in Thorne Tilney in May, 1898; one shot in
Branston, September, 1895, half grown; two shot at Bracebridge in 1893 or
1894; one shot in Wispington in 1896. {65}  On one occasion, when
shooting in Kirkstead, the writer shot (right and left) a couple of hares
with white face and forelegs, one of which he has stuffed.

We commonly speak of the cunning of the fox, but Mr. E. A. Pease, M.P.,
in his recent book, “Hunting Reminiscences” (Thacker & Co., 1895, p.
119), says: “The hare is really a much more rusé animal than the fox; can
steal better away, and, once started, there is no end to her wiles and
dodges.”  Of this cunning, with a view to self-preservation, I can give
instances.  It has been maintained that hares never take to water, but a
correspondence was carried on in the newspaper a few years ago (see
“Morning Post,” Nov. 14, 1892), in which instances were given of their
doing so.  I have myself seen a hare, which has eluded the greyhounds,
swim across a moat, almost surrounding the house in which I am writing;
and then steal away to the cover of some large ferns in a sheltered nook
in the garden.  Some years ago a baronet visited a relative of mine in
this neighborhood, and brought with him a pack of beagles.  We used to
run on foot after these in pursuit of hares.  It is known that a hare,
when getting exhausted, has not the strong scent of one just started.  As
we ran over a rough ploughed field, I have seen a hare, when nearly tired
out, thrust another sitting hare out of her “form,” and take her place.
The pack of beagles passed over the worn-out hare squatting in the
furrow, and rushed forward with a fresh burst of music in their rich deep
tones, on the strong scent of the hare just set on foot.  I passed the
squatting hare, but had not the heart to betray her, feeling that she
deserved to reap the reward of her cleverness.  When hunted by harriers,
hares often “double” on their track, and so throw the hounds out.  I here
give a very clever instance of this, which I myself once witnessed.  On
one occasion, sitting on the South Downs, watching the movements of a
pack of harriers in the distance, I saw “puss” gradually approaching me.
In a hilly country like the Downs, a hare, from the great length and
propelling power of her hind legs, gains considerably upon the pack in
running up hill, and loses ground in a descent.  The hare in question had
just descended a steep Down side, the hounds gaining rapidly upon her.
It was what may be termed “a squeak” for her life, when, in the “dean”
below, {67} she reached, just in time, the shelter of a clump of gorse.
Working her way through this, she stole out on the opposite side to the
pack, and at a tremendous pace faced the hill, near the top of which I
was sitting, by a chalk quarry.  In the ascent she distanced the hounds
once more, but she was getting done, and, in the gentle breeze which
floated towards me, I distinctly heard her panting as she bounded upward.
But here her instinctive cunning came into play.  The hill top was a few
feet above me, some twenty yards away.  I sat motionless, and, in her
anxiety about her pursuers, she never observed me.  She passed me,
breathing heavily, and sprang along as far as the hill top; there, just
at the brow, she paused, then cantered forward a few yards, returned, and
repeated this more than once.  Then, turning suddenly towards me, she
made four or five huge bounds, only just touching the ground, and dropped
into the chalk quarry a few feet below me, and crept under the shelter of
some dwarf thorn bushes.  Her object was manifest.  By passing more than
once over her own tracks, on the hill top, she created a strong scent,
which the breeze, just catching it at the brow, would carry further
forward.  By her leaps towards the quarry, she had left but a slight
scent, and under those thorn bushes she was doubtless waiting tremblingly
the result of her ruse.  I remained motionless, watching the issue.  The
pack came somewhat laboriously up the hill side, keeping close to the
line she had taken; and a pretty sight it was, as a large sheet would
almost have covered them, as they held on compactly together.  They
passed, as the hare had done, within a few yards of the chalk quarry;
pressed on to the brow of the hill, and thence followed the scent which
had been blown on beyond it.  Presently there was a check, and the music
ceased.  The master never thought of “harking back,” his pack having
followed a strong scent beyond the brow; but pushed on to a spinney lying
on the slope of the next “dean.”  I sat for a time longer by the quarry,
and presently I saw puss, having recovered her breath, emerge from her
hiding place and steal away, bent, doubtless, on reaching some distant
secure retreat before her limbs became stiff from the unwonted exertion.

I have known a hare, when hard pressed by the harriers, enter a tunnel
under a field gateway; but here instinct rather fails her; for, too
often, it is only avoiding one mode of death by courting another.  If
there is water in the ditch, running through the tunnel, the obstruction
caused by her body makes the water rise, and she is drowned; or, if she
stays any time in the tunnel, her cramped limbs get so stiff after her
exertions, that she cannot get out.

There is one kind of foe which the hare finds more difficult to shake
off, or elude, than a pack of harriers or beagles.  Stoats, foumarts,
polecats, _et id genus omne_, are becoming scarcer every year; although
the writer was recently told of a marten-cat—probably the Pine-marten
(martes abietum)—being killed in a tree, and sold for 10s. as a rarity.
I was a witness of the following:—Walking, in the small hours of the
morning, in a parish contiguous to Woodhall, on my way to a stream where
I was going to fish, I saw a hare in a field adjoining the road, which
was leaping about in a most extraordinary fashion, starting hither and
thither, plunging into the rushes, springing into the air, and performing
all sorts of strange antics, which I could only account for, had she been
“as mad as a March hare,” as the saying is; but this was in the month of
May.  Presently she rushed forward, occasionally leaping into the air,
towards the fence which separated me from the fields.  I expected to see
her appear through the hedge, in front of me; but she did not come.  Out
of curiosity I got over the fence, when I saw the hare lying, a few yards
further on, stretched out as though dead.  I went up to her, and found
that she was, indeed, quite dead; and fast on her neck was a weasel, so
gorged with her blood, that its usually slender body was quite bloated.
Following the proverbial national instinct, I killed the weasel; carried
the hare to a footpath, and left it there, that some labourer passing by
might take it home to regale his family.

This incident leads me to speak of the pertinacity of our weasels in
hunting their prey, say a hare, as above, or a rabbit.  On one occasion,
as I was riding by the side of a strip of low whinbushes and long grass,
a rabbit rushed out just in front of me, its fur apparently curled with
perspiration, uttering a kind of suppressed cry, and evidently in a state
of the greatest terror.  I pulled up in order to discover the cause of
this alarm.  The rabbit re-entered the cover a few yards further on; but
presently, where it had emerged, I saw a weasel; and then I became aware
that a number of these creatures were working through the grass.  I
watched their movements, following them at a distance, till they had
about reached the spot where the rabbit re-entered.  Then, feeling a keen
sympathy for the poor persecuted rabbit, I charged into the midst of the
pack, and by dint of plunging up and down among the startled company, and
striking at them with my whip, I succeeded in dispersing them.  At the
same moment the rabbit, which had no doubt been crouching near, half
paralysed with fear, darted out, and passing by me, went away at a great
pace, as if rejoicing in the rescue.  I pursued the weasels for some
distance, and should say there was not less than a dozen.  I was much
astonished at the enormous leaps which they made in their flight, their
long, lithe bodies contracting, and then expanding with a sudden jerk
which threw them forward several feet at a time.  As to the habit of
weasels hunting in a pack, Waterton, the naturalist, mentions that he has
seen two old stoats with five half-grown young ones hunting together.
{69}  Richard Jefferies, in his book, “Round about a Great Estate,”
mentions having seen a pack of five stoats hunting in company, and says
that a poacher told him that he had seen as many as fourteen so engaged.
In the above case, which came under my own observation, the weasels were
all apparently full grown and equally agile.


Walking along the path through the wood, from the cross roads, near St.
Andrew’s Church, towards the Victoria Hotel, the writer, on one occasion,
observed a lady poking with her parasol at some object lying on the
ground close to her feet.  On coming to the spot he found that she was
playing with an adder, which had crossed her path, apparently quite
innocent of the danger she was incurring, the serpent still, evidently,
having some attractive power for this, too curious daughter of Eve.  He
at once, by a blow on the head with his walking stick, despatched it, and
then explained to her that it was lucky for her that it had not bitten
her on the ankle.  The adder or viper (Vipera Berus) is, fortunately, not
common about Woodhall, but it exists there, and may be seen at times,
basking on a sunny bank, or lying among the dead and dry foliage near a
path, or on the open heath, where the unwary pedestrian is liable to
tread upon it.  It is the more dangerous because it is apt to vary in
colour, according to the locality which it frequents, and therefore is
the less easily observed.  The colour is always some shade of brown, from
a dull yellow to an olive tint; but it may be specially known by the
zigzag, black markings along the back, and its broad head, with V-shaped
mark in the centre.  Its length is from a foot to a foot-and-a-half,
although specimens have been killed as long as four feet.  (“Naturalist,”
1895, p. 206.)  The female is larger than the male.  Its bite is made
with great rapidity, so that there is little opportunity to escape it.
The poison is very virulent, and we are told that in some cases it has
proved fatal, but that was probably in the case of a naturally
inflammatory subject.  The writer has killed several at different times,
on the Moor, near Woodhall.  On one occasion, on a hot day in September,
when a friend was shooting with him, the dog of the friend was bitten.
It immediately howled, and seemed to be in considerable pain.  He was in
time to see the adder and to kill it.  He then hurried off with the dog
and caught a train to Horncastle, where a dose of Eau de Luce was
administered, and the dog recovered.  Olive oil, also, well rubbed into
the bitten part, is said to be an effective remedy, and is often more
easily obtainable.  Another variety of snake found here is what is
commonly called the “slow worm” or “blind worm” (Anguis fragilis), which
is generally seen in moist meadow ground.  It is from 10 to 16 inches in
length, and quite harmless.  Strictly speaking, it is a lizard, not a
snake.  The only other kind is the common grass snake (coluber natrix).
This is fairly common.  The writer has seen three linked together, lying
on a bank in Kirkby-lane, a favourite walk near Woodhall.  If taken
unawares, without time to escape, it will hiss and make a show of fight,
but it is perfectly harmless and defenceless, and usually endeavours to
escape as quickly as possible, and will bury itself in the long grass,
the hedge bottom, or underground with marvellous rapidity.  Like the late
Poet Laureate, Lord Tennyson, the writer has more than once kept a tame
snake of this species, and has even carried it about in his coat pocket,
to the astonishment of urchins who have seen its head peeping out.  In a
state of nature they hybernate; but when kept in a room, a favourite
resort in cold weather was among the ashes under a fire-grate.  If a hot
coal fell from the grate into the ashes, the snake would rush out
hissing, but presently return to its warm retreat again.  Held out by the
tail, they will try to climb up their own body, and snap, as if to bite
at one’s hand; but their only real mode of defence is to inflate the body
with air to its utmost power of expansion, and then emit it again,
charged with a strong odour, repulsive enough to drive most things from
it. {71a}  They are found in length from one foot and a half to three
feet; and the writer has seen one killed, from which 32 unhatched eggs
were taken, each egg about an inch long.  The question of snakes
swallowing their young, to shelter them from danger, though asserted by
several authorities, I have never been able to prove or disprove,
although I have often watched them. {71b}

The Lizard (Zoctoca vivipara) is found in sandy parts of the moor, and
sunny banks, but is not very common.  Many a time, as a boy, I have
caught it, and found, immediately afterwards, nothing left in my hand but
the tail, the rest of the creature darting away over the ground, as if
none the worse; or, rather, as one might imagine, moving more freely when
relieved of the incumbrance.  This “casting” of the tail would seem,
really, to be an interesting, self-protective effort.  As the partridge
shams lameness in its movements, to draw away an intruder from its young;
or, conversely, as the Russian traveller, pursued by wolves, flings away
his children, that he may escape himself; so the captured lizard, as a
last resource, casts off its tail, and leaves it, wriggling, to attract
the captor’s attention, while its own bodily “better half” seeks safety
in concealment.

In the ponds at Woodhall the crested newt (Triton cristatus) and the
smooth newt (Triton punctatus) were found by members of the Lincolnshire
Naturalists’ Union, on their visit in August, 1893.

Of the fishes of our neighbourhood I have been furnished with the
following list by the greatest local authority, who has inherited, and
personally acquired, an intimate knowledge of the subject:—Trout (Salmo
fario), river Bain; grayling (Thymallus vulgaris), Bain; pike (Esox
lucius), canal, ponds, Witham; chub (Leuciscus cephalus), Bain; carp
(Cyprinus carpio), ponds—rarely in Witham; rudd (Cyprinus
Erythrophthalmus), Witham; bream (Abramis Brama), Witham; silver bream
(Abramis Blicca), ponds; roach (Leuciscus rutilus), ponds, canals, Bain;
dace (Leuciscus vulgaris), ponds, canal, Bain; blick (Alburnus lucidus),
Witham; minnow (Leuciscus Phoxinus), Bain; tench, (Tinca vulgaris),
ponds; perch (Perca fluviatilis), canal; loach (Nemachilus barbatulus),
canal and river Waring; gudgeon (Gobio fluviatilis), canal, Bain, Waring,
Witham; miller’s thumb (Gobio cottus), canal; stickleback or blue-eyed
sailor (Gasterosteus aculeatus), Waring and ponds; lampern, or lamprey,
or nine-eyed eel (Pteromyzon fluviatilis), Bain and Waring; burbot (Gadus
lota), Witham; eel (Anguilla vulgaris), Witham, Bain, and ponds.

On some of these fishes I may here make a few remarks.  The grayling,
“Thymellus,” or “thyme scented” fish, is not indigenous, but has, of late
years, been imported from the small river Eau, at Claythorpe, near
Alford; and it is now breeding in the river Bain.  It is also called the
“umber,” or “shadow” fish, because it does not lie near the surface, like
the trout, but deeper down, and darts up at the fly, like a grey, dim
shadow in the water.  A recent angling author, referring to this habit of
the fish, speaks of casting his fly “on the surface of a deep pool on the
Doon, in which the shadowy form of the grayling could be seen three feet
below.  A fish would shoot up with a rush, seize the fly, and drop
backward to the bottom.”  (“Angling Holidays,” by C. W. Gedney, pp. 8,
9.)  The special month for grayling fishing is August, and onward through
the winter.  The rudd, found in the Witham, is not unlike the roach, but
a thicker fish, with sides and back almost of a green tinge.  It has been
taken up to 2½lb., but from 1 to 1½lb. is a commoner weight.  It acquires
its name from its red (ruddy-coloured) eyes.  The blick is like the dace,
but smaller and lighter in colour; very quick in taking the fly.  Its
average size is four to five inches.  The stickleback, or “blue-eyed
sailor,” is found almost everywhere—in pond and stream.  It is remarkable
for building a nest, almost like that of a bird, attached to the stem of
a reed or some other aquatic plant, which the male fish defends with
great pugnacity “against all comers.”  It may be said to occupy a place
among our fishes, analogous to that of the kingfisher among our birds, as
being decked with brighter colours than any other kind; especially is
this the case in time of excitement, as when defending the nest.  It then
darts about, with all its spines erect, and flashing with green and gold
and red.  Anyone who thrusts a stick into the water near the nest may
witness this for himself.  “Sticklebacks were formerly found in such
large quantities in fen waters that they were made a source of
considerable profit, being boiled down for the oil they contained, and
the refuse sold as manure.”  (Thompson’s “Boston,” p. 368.)  The miller’s
thumb is about the size of a gudgeon, to which it is allied, but has a
head broader than its body, whence it gets its other name of “bull-head.”
The burbot has something of the flavour of the eel.  The lamprey gets its
name of the “nine-eyed eel” from nine orifices along the side of the
throat, through which the water passes from the gills.  It is sometimes
said to be poisonous, but the Germans eat them as a delicacy.  Carp, of
the “Lake” variety, were put into the Witham several years ago, and they
are occasionally taken 10lb. or 12lb. in weight.  The ordinary pond carp
is no longer known near Woodhall, but they survive in a pond, where the
writer has caught them, at Wispington.  They are a somewhat insipid fish,
although at one time highly esteemed.  There was an old saying that the
“carp was food fit for an abbot, the barbel for a king.”  Tench were
found in great numbers in a pond which formerly existed on the site now
occupied by “Oranienhof” Villa, within 150 yards of the Victoria Hotel.
They have also been taken in the river Witham, but are now thought to be
extinct.  Very large tench were formerly abundant in a moat surrounding
the house where the writer now lives.  They are difficult to take with
worm or paste, as, by continual sucking, they get the bait off the hook
without being caught.  The largest, sometimes weighing 3lb. or more, were
taken in a wickerwork trap, of the shape of a dice-box, some 3ft. long,
with the willow withes pointing inwards at each end.  This was baited
with a peony, or any gay-coloured flower; attracted by which, the tench
found their way inwards, but could not get out.  Every pond in Kirkstead
has its fish; fish doubtless of ancient lineage, the descendants of those
on which monks and abbotts once fattened.  In an early blackletter
edition of Chaucer, there is a fragment of a poem, called “The Pilgrym’s
Tale,” which begins with these lines:—

    In Lyncolneshyr, fast by the fene,
    Ther stant an hows, and you yt ken.

                                        Todd’s “Gower and Chaucer,” p. iv.

which might well apply to the “hows,” or monastery, of Kirkstead.  Every
such Religious House had its “fish stews,” or ponds, keeping, as Chaucer
says, “Many a bream, and many a luce (pike) in stew, and many a fat
partrich eke in mewe.”  The Cistercian rules of diet were very severe,
allowing only one meal a day, and none but the sickly were permitted to
partake of animal food.  Consequently, fish were in great demand, and the
greater the variety, the more toothsome would be the monastic fare. {74}
Roach abound in the Witham, and attain a very fair size, not unfrequently
up to 1¼lb.; and the artizans of Sheffield, and elsewhere, brought by
special trains, in hundreds, often carry away with them very fair
baskets.  Bream of both kinds are very abundant in the Witham.  I am told
by one angler that he has seen the water crowded with shoals of them, and
they are caught up to 6lb. in weight, and even more.  I have before me
the paper-cut shape of a bream caught near Tattershall, which weighed
5¼lb., was 21 inches in length, and about 20 inches in girth.  Chub in
the river Bain, between Horncastle and Roughton, and again between
Tattershall and Dogdyke, are caught weighing several pounds.  They are a
wary fish, but, when hooked, fight hard for a while, and then suddenly
collapse.  The writer has often, in the early morning or late evening,
sat by the river fishing for them with black slug, and seen two or three
big fish, 1½ft. in length, slowly rising and sinking in the stream, as
they examined the bait.  A chub was taken in the Bain, in 1898, with the
spoon-bait, weighing 4lb. 10oz.  The Pike attains a good size in some of
the ponds in the neighbourhood, and also in the river Witham.  In a large
pond, about three-quarters of a mile from the Bath-house, at an abandoned
brickyard known as “Jordan’s Pond,” a near relative of the writer, a few
years ago, landed a pike weighing between 13lbs. and 14lbs.  It was
currently reported for several years that there was a much larger pike in
this pond, which those who had seen it estimated at 20lbs. weight.  A
resident near has told the writer that he has seen it, holding across its
jaws a captured fish fully a foot long.  This pike disappeared, it is
believed in the night, in the year 1897.  Doubtless the nocturnal
marauder has kept his own counsel from that day to this.  There is an old
laconic expression, “Witham pike, none like,” which is only a condensed
form of an older adage,

    Ancholme eels, and Witham pike,
    In all the world there’s none syke.

The pike of the Witham were evidently famed of yore, for Drayton, in his
Polyolbion (Song XXV.), personifying the Witham, says:—

    Thus to her proper song the burthen still she bare,
    Yet for my dainty pikes I am beyond compare.

Walter de Gaunt (A.D. 1115) granted to the Abbot of Bardney eight
fisheries on the Witham, and a fishery on the Witham at Dogdyke
(Dock-dike) was granted to the Abbot of Kirkstead by Philip de Kyme (A.D.
1162), which were privileges, in those times, of considerable value.
(Reliquiœ galenœ, Introd., p. xxiii.).  Records in the Archives of
Lincoln state that when Henry VII. visited Lincoln, in 1486, keeping his
Easter there, and “humbly and christenly did wesh the feet of 30 poore
menne with his noble hands,” he was entertained at a banquet, to which
the Mayor contributed “12 grete pykes, 12 grete tenches, and 12 salmons”;
{76a} and on a second visit, after his victory at Stoke field, the
Corporation presented him with “2 fatte oxen, 20 fatte muttons, 12 fatte
capons, and 6 grete fatte pykes.”  “Pike have been taken in the Fens,”
says Mr. Skertchly, in his “Fenland” (p. 398), “from 20lbs. to 24lbs.
The largest known was taken when Whittlesea Mere was drained.  It weighed
100lbs., and was given to the late naturalist, Frank Buckland.”  There
are fine pike in the lake at Sturton Hall, where permission to fish may
generally be obtained; and the present would seem to be an opportunity
for placing on record that when, early in this century, the lake, of some
eight acres in extent, was first formed by damming the stream which ran
through the Park, it was stocked with pike and other fish from the moat
which then enclosed the residence of the present writer, Langton Rectory.
I find among my notes on Witham pike fishing, that in 1890 one angler
{76b} took, in two hours, five fish, weighing altogether 31lbs.; the
largest scaling over a stone (14lbs.), measured 35½ inches in length and
19 inches in girth.  A few days later he landed fishes of 7lbs. and
5lbs., while another angler, about the same date, secured a pike of
16lbs.  But a Horncastle fisherman, {76c} in the same week, captured one
of 18lbs. in the Witham near Tattershall.  One of our greatest anglers
states that his largest pike, taken in the Witham, was 16¼lbs.; that he
has landed 23 pike in one day, of all sizes, and 20 the next day, making
43 fish in two days.  In the closing week of the season 1898–1899, a
season below the average, a pike was taken in the Witham, near
Tattershall, weighing 22lbs.

The late vicar of Tattershall, the Rev. Mortimer Latham, to whose memory
the writer would here pay his tribute of regard and respect for as
genuine, and withal as genial, an angler as Isaac Walton himself, “knew,”
as we might say, “by heart,” the Witham, its finny occupants, and their
haunts; and many a fine fish he landed, the shapes of which he kept, cut
out in brown paper, in his study.  The largest pike he ever took weighed
19½lbs.  I have before me, as I write, the paper-cut shape of this fish,
lent to me by his daughter; who writes: “It may interest you to know that
it was conveyed home in a bolster slip, and was on view in the vicarage
courtyard, to the great entertainment of the whole village.”  Its length
was 38 inches, girth about 21 inches.  She further adds: “My father, at
one time, caught several tench (now supposed to be extinct in the
Witham), and I am proud to say that the last one known to be captured was
taken by myself, for being one of the keenest fishermen that even
Lincolnshire ever produced, he made us as ardent fisherfolk as himself.”
I have also the shape of a perch caught by him, weighing 2½lbs., length
15½ins., girth about 12ins.

No fish is so “coy and hard to please” as the pike.  Of them may be said,
what someone has said of women,

    If they will, they will,
       You may depend on’t;
    And if they won’t, they won’t;
       And there’s an end on’t.

The proverbial “variabile semper” element is their characteristic
feature, a living illustration of a line, pregnant with meaning, of

    Naught may endure but mutability.

On one occasion, a well-known angler tells me, he fished three long hours
in a gale of wind, which nearly carried him into the river, without
stirring a fin, and then, an unaccountable change of mood coming over the
“water wolves,” through the next hour and a half they “took like mad,”
and he landed 42½lb. weight.  At the time two Sheffield men were fishing
close by, who had been at the work for three days, and had landed only a
few bream or roach, and one small jack.  Under their very noses he landed
three splendid pike, while they looked on thunderstruck.  Such are the
fortunes of war with fishermen.  On another occasion, when the day was
dull and calm, and there was nothing, one would have thought, to stir the
fish to any animation, he landed at the same spot one pike of 16¼lb., and
three of 9lb. odd each.  “In fact,” he says, “pike are unaccountable.”
In December, 1898, a boy caught a pike of 16lb. weight in the Horncastle
Canal, at Tattershall, 3½ feet in length and 9 inches in girth; and
another of 11lbs. was taken in the Witham, shortly after; and other cases
of 14lb., and so on, are recorded.  Pike, as is well known, are
exceedingly voracious, and not very particular as to what they eat.  A
writer in the “Naturalist” {78} states that a pair of Shoveller ducks
nested in a disused brickpit, and brought off their young; but a pike in
the pit gradually carried them off, one by one, taking one when it was
large enough to fly.  The same fish destroyed nearly the whole of another
brood of ducks, hatched at the same pit.  The present writer has himself
witnessed a similar occurrence.  He at one time kept (as he does still)
wild ducks, which nested on the banks of the moat surrounding the house.
There were large pike in the moat, and he has frequently heard a duck
give a quack of alarm, has seen a curl on the water, and on counting his
ducklings, found that there was one less.  And if pike are not particular
as to their diet—all being grist that comes to the mill—neither are they
particular as to the bait, if _they are in the humour_.

The writer, in a day’s fishing for trout, in a Scotch river, the Teviot,
where he took perhaps a score or two in the day, would vary the sport on
coming to a deep pool by taking off his flies, putting on stout gimp
tackle, with a single large hook, which was run through the body of a
small trout, or parr; and would often, in this way, land a good pike or
two.  Sometimes when drawing in the pike too hastily, it would disgorge
the bait and hook, but on his making another cast, and letting them float
down the pool again, the pike would return to the charge, unwarned by
experience, and be eventually captured.  On one occasion, rowing
leisurely in a boat on Loch Vennachar, with his rod over the stern, and
line trailing behind him, a trout, of a pound weight or so, took the fly,
and hooked itself.  This was immediately seized by a good-sized pike, and
after a hard fight he secured both with gut tackle.  Dining with the
Marchioness who owned the above river, he was regaled on a 10lb. or 12lb.
pike, which the Lady Cecil had caught that day, her boat being pushed
along the river by a gillie, himself walking in the water, and she
fishing with a single large hook, baited with a piece of red cloth.

We have quoted the lines celebrating the pike of the Witham, and the eels
of the Ancholme (also a Lincolnshire river), but eels were, at one time,
abundant also in the Witham.  Large tubs containing hundreds of them used
to be taken to Horncastle on market days, or were hawked about to the
country houses.  It is said that as many as 16,000 eels have been taken
in one year.  If you bought eels from these hawkers, they were brought to
your kitchen door alive, and, being difficult creatures to handle, your
cook generally got the seller to skin them alive, and they were often put
into the pan for stewing before they had ceased wriggling.  Hence the
phrase to “get accustomed to a thing; as eels do to skinning.”  But an
eel can only be once skinned in its life, and even the skin, stript from
its writhing body, was supposed to possess a “virtue.”  If tied round a
leg or an arm, it was considered a remedy, or preventive, for rheumatism;
and your cook would sometimes preserve the skin for a rheumatic friend.
In these days the eels brought to market are few, and not half the size
they used to be.  Eels, from 2ft. to 3ft. long, and as thick as one’s
wrist, were formerly quite common.  Eels are supposed to migrate to the
sea, and, in the year 1903, a large eel was found, early in the morning,
about 100 yards from a large pond, in the parish of Wispington,
travelling across a grass field, towards a stream, by which it might
eventually reach the sea.

The only other fish which I have to remark upon is the trout.  They are
not found in the Witham; but the Bain trout are handsome; both the
golden, or rich yellow kind, with pink spots, and the purple or
mauve-coloured variety, but the former are much finer in flavour.  For
some years the swans on the Horncastle Canal made great havoc among the
young trout and spawn {79a} in the neighbouring river Bain, but the last
swan died in 1897.  Further, there is now an artificial breeding tank
established at Horncastle, managed by Mr. Rushton, for keeping up the
supply.  Some very fine fish have been taken at different times.  My
notes record as follows:—In April, 1896, one of the anglers already
referred to {79b} caught a trout in the Bain, close to Horncastle,
weighing 4lb. 6oz., 23in. in length.  The same fisherman, in July, 1888,
took another, within half a mile of the same place, weighing 4lb. 10oz.,
23in. in length.  The son {79c} of a quondam veteran angler, and himself
one of our keenest fishermen, tells me that he, several years ago,
assisted his father to land a male trout of 7lb. weight, from the
watermill pool at Horncastle.  It fought so hard that he and his brother
had to rush into the water and take it in their arms, their father’s
tackle not being intended for such a monster. {80a}  This, however, was
surpassed by a trout taken by the late Mr. Robert Clitherow, of
Horncastle, _a beau ideal_ disciple of the gentle craft, which weighed

Probably the handsomest trout in the neighbourhood, though not the
largest, are those of the Somersby “beck,” “The Brook,” rendered for ever
classical by the sweet poem of the late Poet Laureate.  In years gone by
the writer has enjoyed many a picnic on its banks, when we used to pull
off our shoes and stockings, and turn up our trousers—gentlemen as well
as boys—to catch the trout by the process called “tickling” them, while
hiding in their holes; which the ladies afterwards cooked on a fire
extemporised on the bank.  The music of the rippling stream haunts one
still, as one reads those liquid lines of the poet, themselves almost a

    I chatter over stony ways,
       In little sharps and trebles;
    I bubble into eddying bays,
       I babble on the pebbles. {80b}

Twenty-five or thirty years ago, the dykes in the Fens, near the Witham,
abounded in fish of the coarser kinds, with some goodly pike among them.
As a boy the writer has caught many a pike by the process called
“sniggling,” _i.e._, a noose of wire, or gimp, attached to the end of a
stiff rod, or stick, which is deftly slipt over a fish’s head, as he
basks among the water weeds, and, when thus snared, he is jerked ashore.
When shooting in the Fens he has also killed, at one shot, five or six
fish crowded together in a dyke.  But climatic alterations, and
over-perfect drainage, have changed all this.  The water now runs out to
sea so rapidly that the Fen drains are dry for a great part of the year,
and the fish are no more.

Enough has now been said to show that the visitor to Woodhall Spa, who
has a taste for “the contemplative man’s recreation,” {81} may find some
employment in its vicinity.  Most of the ponds can be fished on asking
the farmers’ permission.  As to the Witham, although there are angling
clubs at Boston and Lincoln, the river is practically open to every one,
in the season.  It may be added that close to Tattershall station there
is a large “ballast pond” containing good pike, and a letter to the
shooting tenant, or to Lord Fortescue’s agent, would probably obtain
permission to fish.  At Revesby there is a reservoir, the source of the
water supply of Boston, a large piece of water, which abounds in fish of
various kinds.  Bream, both of the silver and the carp kinds, are
plentiful, running up to 4lb. in weight.  Very large eels are taken
there.  Roach are of a fair size.  Rudd are numerous; as also are perch,
but small.  Gudgeons are plentiful, serving for bait.  Pike are abundant.
In one case three were taken by the same rod within twenty minutes, one
of them weighing 13lb.  Another rod took two of 16lb. and 10lb., and it
is commonly said that there is one occasionally seen “as long as a rail.”
Permission may be obtained to fish here from the agent of the Hon. Mrs.
Stanhope, Revesby Abbey.  There is good accommodation at the Red Lion

As, in the next chapter, I am to enter upon a different branch of my
subject, passing roughly speaking, from the organic to inorganic—from the
living to the dead—I will here give a few particulars, recently received,
which may interest the entomologist.  In the month of August, 1898, I
conducted the members of our county Naturalists’ Union from Woodhall Spa
to Tumby, through a varied tract of country.  The following is a list of
the Lepidoptera which were found by one of the members:—

Pieris brassicæ          E. hyperanthus

P. rapæ                  Thecla quercus

P. napi                  Polyommatus phlœas

Colias edusa             Lycœna icarus

Argynnis aglaia          Hesperia thaumas

A. paphia                Spilosoma mendica (two larvæ)

Vanessa io

V. atalanta              Psilura monacha

Apatura iris             Plusia gamma

Pararge megæra           Geometra papilionaria

Epinephele janira        Cidaria immanata

E. tithonus              Eubolia limitata

Two other members collected the following:—


                              Sympetrum sp.


Vespa germanica          Crabro cribrarius

V. vulgaris              C. albilabris

Bombus lapidarius        Halictus leucopus

Bombus hortorum          Apis mellifica

Formica rufa


Platychirus clypeatus         Calliphora vomitoria

Scatophaga stercoraria


Geotrupes spiniger             Otiorrhyncus picipes

G. stercorarius                Psylliodes cupro-nitens

Coccinella 7-punctata          Ragonycha fulva

C. variabilis                  Meligethes æneus

Strangalia armata              Necrophorus humator

Polydrusus pterygomalis        N. ruspator

                               N. mortuorum

Strophosomus coryli            Aphodius rufipes


(in Fulsby Wood).

Miris lævigatus                 Leptopterna ferrugata

Calocoris roseomaculatus        Œtorhinus angulatus

                                Orthotylus scotti

C. bipunctatus                  Nabis lativentris

(In Tumby Wood.)

Those marked * are new to Lincolnshire.

*Piezodorus lituratus (abundant     *Onychumenus decolor
on gorse)

Stygnus rusticus (at roots of       *Psallus alnicola (on birch)

*Dictyonota strichnocera (on        Asciodema obsoletum

Miris calcaratus                    Lygus viridis (on birch)

Orthotylus ericetorum (abundant
on heather)


Anyphæna accentuata                 Meta segmentata

Epeira gibbosa (a first record)     Epeira marmorea (doubtful, not yet
                                    recorded in Britain)

Dictyna arundinacea                 Xysticus pini

Diœa dorsata (a first record)       Epeira sollers

Epeira quadrata                     Linyphia triangularis

E. scalaris                         Theridion varians


In a county like Lincolnshire, mainly agricultural, in which the
operations of man are, for the most part, confined to the earth’s crust,
in ploughing and sowing, and, as some one has said, in “tickling” the
earth’s surface into fertility,—in such a county we are not led
ordinarily to explore the inner bowels of the world; as is necessary in
mining districts such as certain parts of Yorkshire, Durham, Cornwall and
elsewhere.  Yet, with regard to our knowledge of its geological features,
Woodhall may be said to compare favourably with a large majority of
places.  With one exception {84a} it is the spot, _par excellence_, in
this part of the kingdom, where the earth’s hidden resources have been
tapped, and tapped to considerable purpose, in the unique commodity for
which it is famed—its mineral water.  The book of Nature, so often
“sealed,” has here been opened and its contents indexed.  We have in the
strata of the Woodhall well sundry chapters in the earth’s past history
unfolded, at least to the initiated.  The writer is not going to attempt
here a systematic disquisition on a subject so abstruse (for which,
indeed, he is not qualified), beyond touching upon some of its more
salient, or more interesting features.  The geological records of the
Woodhall well have already been given {84b} in the very concise form in
which they have been preserved for us.  Whether they are to be entirely
depended upon is questionable, but we may here repeat them:—Gravel and
boulder clay, 10 feet; Kimeridge and Oxford clays, 350; Kellaways rock,
blue clays, cornbrash, limestone, great oolite, clay and limestone, upper
Estuarine clay, 140; Lincolnshire oolite, and Northampton sand, 140;
lias, upper, middle, and lower, 380 feet; total, 1,120 feet.  The mineral
spring is said to have issued from a stratum of spongy rock lying at a
depth of 540ft. {85a}  This would probably be in or near the ferruginous
Northampton sand, the lowest layer of the oolite, and lying immediately
above the upper lias. {85b}

In the year 1897 a boring was commenced within 500 yards of the original
well by the artesian engineers, Messrs. Isler and Co., on behalf of the
Rev. J. O. Stephens, on the west side of the Stixwould road, with a view
to obtaining a second supply of the Woodhall water; this was carried to a
depth of 700 feet.  The engineers furnished me with a register of the
strata so far pierced by the bore, but, as they are not described in the
technical terms of geology, it is rather difficult to compare them with
those of the old well.  At a depth of 490 feet, sandstone with iron
pyrites was pierced; this would probably be the ferruginous Northampton
sand of the Oolite.  It is at a less depth than the same stratum at the
Spa well; but that was to be expected, as geologists state that all the
geological strata “dip” eastward, and this bore being to the west, the
stratum would naturally tilt upward.  This born was ultimately abandoned.
According to the records of the Spa well, derived from Dr. Snaith, of
Horncastle, who knew the well from its birth, the saline spring was found
at 540ft.; but Dr. Granville, who visited Woodhall, and wrote his
version, in 1841, puts it at 510ft.  It is difficult to say which of
these two doctors, who differ, should be accepted as the more
trustworthy; and in 1841 Dr. Granville would still certainly be able to
find plenty of persons familiar with the well and its details.  But in
the ferruginous sand, or near it, the spring was to be expected; and
there it would seem Messrs. Isler, in the new boring, found saline water,
though only in small quantity.  The depth, according to their
computation, was, as we have said 490ft., which is 20ft. above the Spa
spring’s level, according to Granville’s version, and 60ft. above the
depth given by Snaith.  The paucity of the supply of the saline water in
the Isler boring may probably be accounted for thus: The trend of the
current found in making the Spa well was said to be from south-east to
north-west, whereas this new bore is very nearly due west from the Spa
well.  If, therefore, the stream is of narrow width, this later boring is
scarcely in the position to catch more than the side soakage of the
current, and it would seem that the main stream can only be tapped either
by another boring further north, or by a lateral shaft from the present
bore running northward till it encounters the current.  There remains, of
course, the further and open question as to whether the saline stream
formerly passing _through_ the Spa shaft, still continues its former
north-westerly course, after having the outlet afforded by that shaft.
Would it not be more in accordance with the law of nature that the stream
should take the course of least resistance by rising in the well, and not
flowing further along the bed of its special original stratum?  If that
be so, the only chance of another well would be to bore south-eastward of
the Spa; and probably the shaft sunk by the late Mr. Blyton beside
Coalpit Wood, if it had been continued, would have proved a safer venture
than any other as yet attempted.  At some future time we may have the
wolf disturbing the stream, above the lamb represented by the original
well, to the detriment of the latter.  It may be here noticed that in the
Scarle boring, as we are told, there was found a strong spring in the
upper part of the lower Keuper sandstone at the depth of 790ft., and a
still stronger spring at the base of that formation at 950ft.  In that
case, therefore, as also at Woodhall, the water was found in sandstone,
but at a much greater depth, and also in sandstone of a different
character, viz., the Keuper at Scarle, the Northampton at Woodhall.
Another difference is that in the Scarle strata we pass at once from the
surface drift to the lower Lias; the Kimeridge clay and all the Oolite
formations, which are found at Woodhall, with a thickness of some 630ft.,
being entirely absent.  These differences, of course, illustrate the fact
that, owing to abrasion and other causes, not only do the strata
underlying the surface drift vary in different localities, but their
several thicknesses vary; while, as at Harrogate, the mineral properties
of the water also vary at a distance of only a few yards.  Pass beyond
the limits of the particular stream, and, below ground as well as above
it, you are not “in the swim.”

In the spring of 1904, Mr. R. A. Came, of the Royal Hotel, commenced
sinking a shaft, in search of the Spa water, at a point some ¾ mile south
of the original well; and early in 1905 water was struck at a depth of
492 feet, which proved to have the same saline properties, with the
addition of Epsom salt, a good supply issuing from the spongy sandstone.
This opens up a vista of great possibilities in the future; it does away
with the monopoly hitherto existing, and may have a most important
effect, in the further development of the Spa.  The well is 7ft. in
diameter, is bricked to a depth of 495ft., and sunk to 520ft.  The boring
was carried out by Mr. Joseph Aldridge, of Measham, near Atherstone,
Warwickshire, an expert mining engineer.  Many fine fossils, as
ammonites, belemnites, and bi-valves, were found in the different strata
that were pierced.

I now proceed to remark upon some of the geological strata, as found at
Woodhall.  And first, after the mere surface gravel, we have the Boulder
clay.  This has a very interesting history.  In the “Life of Nansen,” the
Arctic traveller, it is stated {87a} that the geological strata of the
Arctic regions show that at some remote period the climatic conditions
were the reverse of those which prevail now.  Throughout those regions,
at present of intense cold, there was quite a southern climate, in which
walnut trees, magnolias, vines, etc., flourished; while, on the other
hand, there was also a period during which our own country, and large
parts of the Continent, lying in the same latitude, were buried under
vast ice-fields with an Esquimaux climate.  It is there further stated
{87b} that boulders are found scattered over Norway, Sweden, and Denmark,
which have been transported thither on glaciers, from regions still
further north.  In like manner glaciers at one time also spread over what
are now Scotland and a great part of England, bringing along with them
boulders from Norway, and Scandinavia generally.  The present condition
of Greenland, with its vast glaciers, pouring through its valleys, down
to the water’s edge, on the sea shore, illustrates the condition of our
own country at that remote period. {88a}  As regards this country, these
ice-streams may be classed under two distinct heads, (_a_) the native,
inland glaciers, and (_b_) the north-eastern, Scandinavian glacier.  To
speak first of the former.  As the climate, from causes into which we
cannot here enter, {88b} gradually became coldier, glaciers were formed
among the rugged hills in the present lake country of Cumberland and
Westmoreland, some of which pushed their way westward, literally inch by
inch, until they debouched in the Irish Sea, and filled it to
overflowing, for it is only shallow.  From Borrowdale, Buttermere,
Eskdale, and other head centres, they also streamed southward and
eastward.  There was an immense central stream, which forced its way over
the wild tract of Stainmoor (named doubtless from the thousands of
boulders with which it is strewn); then, fed by lateral branches from
many directions, it traversed Teesdale, turned towards the coast, passing
by Scarborough, and so on to Holderness and the Humber, a branch also
filling up Airedale and the Vale of York. {88c}  From Holderness it
passed the Humber, into Lincolnshire.  Its most eastern limb would
doubtless have debouched in the North Sea, and filled it; but here the
north-eastern glacier, to which I have alluded, came into collision.
Taking its rise in Scandinavia, it had spread into a vast sheet in parts
3,000ft. thick, {89a} filled up the shallow North Sea, and the Baltic, a
veritable _mer de glace_, and over-run northern Germany, its thickness
even at Berlin being supposed to have been 1,300ft.  Impinging on our
eastern coast of Scotland and of northern England, it spread over a great
part of Holderness, meeting and blending with the inland native glacier
on the Humber; and the vast united ice-stream thence pursued its onward
southern course, enfolding everything in its icy embrace, to the Thames
and to the Severn. {89b}  These great ice-streams created the geological
formation called “The Drift,” or boulder-clay, which we have at Woodhall.
The clay is simply the _detritus_, produced by the grinding, through long
ages, of the rocks under the vast and weighty ice-fields slowly moving
over them, and the abrasion of the hill-sides which they scraped in their
course.  The boulders are detached fragments, which fell from various
rocky heights overhanging the ice-stream, rested on the surface of the
ice-sheet, were borne along by it through hundreds of miles, and when, in
the course of ages untold, the climate became milder, and the glaciers
gradually shrunk and eventually disappeared, these fragments, often
bearing the marks of ice-scraping, and oftener rounded by ice-action,
fell to the soil beneath, and remain to this day, to bear their silent
witness to the course once taken by the giant ice-stream.  The period
through which this process was going on has been variously computed, from
18,000 years, according to the estimate of Major-General A. W. Drayson,
F.R.A.S., who gives elaborate astronomical statistics in support of his
views (Trans. Victoria Institute, No. 104, p. 260), to 160,000, as
calculated by Mr. James Croll (“Climate and Time”).  It is now generally
held that there were more than one ice-age, with inter-glacial breaks.
These boulders are abundant in our neighbourhood, and of all sizes.  They
may be measured by inches or by yards.  There is a good-sized one in the
vicarage garden at Woodhall Spa, which the present writer had carted from
Kirkby-lane, a distance of a mile and a half.  There is a larger one
lying on the moor, near the south-east corner of the Ostler Ground.  The
writer has one in his own garden, a large one, more than 6ft. in length
by 3½ft. high, and 2½ft. thick.  It took five horses to drag it from its
position, a quarter of a mile distant.  There are six visible in the
parish of Langton, two or three large ones near Old Woodhall Church;
several large ones in Thimbleby, Edlington, and elsewhere.  Smaller ones
are often to be seen placed at turns in the roads to prevent drivers
running their vehicles into the bank, or used as foundations to old
cottages or farm buildings; and still smaller specimens may be constantly
picked up by the pedestrian, or the sportsman, in his rambles through the
fields.  Much interest has of late years been taken in these boulders,
arising from the distinct classes of glaciers to which I have referred,
and the consequent difference between the nature of the boulders, as well
as the source from which they have come, according as they belong to the
one class or the other; and our Lincolnshire Naturalists’ Union have now
a special “boulder committee” engaged in the investigation of this

The late Professor Sedgewick, of Cambridge (whose lectures the writer
attended), was the first to notice that along the Holderness shore there
were (as he says) “an incredible number of blocks of granite, gneiss,
greenstone, mica, etc., etc., resembling specimens derived from various
parts of Scandinavia.” {90}  These, we now know, were dropped by the
great Scandinavian glacier; and, along with the kinds of stone here
named, there are also boulders of Rhombporphyry (the “Rhomben porphyry”
of Norwegian geologists, from the neighbourhood of Christiana), Augite
syenite, and several more, not of British origin.  These boulders are now
being searched for, and found in our own neighbourhood.  On the other
hand, there is the different class of boulders which were brought down by
the native inland glaciers.  These consist largely of igneous kinds.  The
rugged hills of the Lake district owe their origin to fire; and the
boulders which the glaciers have transported correspond.  The shap
granite, for instance, which is probably one of the commonest of this
class, comes from the shap granite bed of Wastdale, in Cumberland.
Boulders of this rock, as Mr. Kendall tells us, “passed over Stainmoor in
tens of thousands,” {91a} to visit us in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.
Other kinds are Felspar porphyry from Eskdale, in Cumberland, Andesite
from Borrowdale, Granophyr from Ennerdale and Buttermere, Quartz, Basalt,
and several more from the crystalline formations in the Lake district.
Several boulders of these rocks have also been found in our own
neighbourhood; and doubtless more remain to reward the explorer. {91b}  I
have dwelt at some length on this particular formation—the boulder
clay—because it is the most ready to hand; it lies on the surface, in
many parts around us, within the ken of the ordinary visitor to Woodhall
Spa.  It may give an additional interest to his rambles in search of
health, to know that he may, at any moment, pick up a boulder which has
travelled further, and passed through more strange vicissitudes, than he
can well have done himself; perhaps, with Shakespeare, to read “Sermons
in Stones,” and to moralise on the brevity of human life, with all its
ailments, compared with those ages untold, through which the pebble in
his hand slowly {91c} travelled on its long, laborious journey, to rest
at length as a constituent element of the locality, where he himself is
seeking relief and recreation.

To the west of Woodhall Spa, beyond the Stixwould-road, near the
vicarage, and northward, the surface sand, in some parts, at the depth of
a foot, or slightly more, hardens into an ironstone, so compact that tree
roots cannot penetrate it.  In root-pruning or manuring apple-trees, I
have found the tap-root stunted into a large round knob, further downward
growth being prevented by this indurated formation.  This oxide of iron
also pervades the sandy soil, in parts, to a depth of four or five feet,
impregnating the water with ferruginous properties, so that it “ferrs”
bottles, or vessels, in which it is allowed to stand for any length of
time.  In consequence, the water frequently has a dull appearance,
although the iron may probably make it a wholesome tonic.

The surface sand, which is of a still lighter character on the moor
ground in Woodhall, and in Martin, Roughton, and Kirkby, contiguous to
Woodhall, is what is technically called the “Old Blown Sand,” borne by
the winds from the whilom salt marshflats of the Witham, when it was much
wider than at present, and a tidal arm of the sea.  It is comparatively a
recent formation, yet abounding in fine particles, or pebbles, of quartz,
and other elements of far earlier date; the larger of these are often
rounded by tidal action.  Below this surface sand we find, in many parts,
a blue clay of varying depth.  In a pit called Jordan’s pond, in an
abandoned brickyard on the east of the road to Stixwould, it is at least
16ft. thick; also, in a large pit in Kirkstead, near Hogwood, some
half-mile south-east of the Abbey Inn, which was dug to procure this
clay, for “claying” the light super-soil, otherwise almost barren, it is
many feet thick.  Ammonites and other fossils are plentiful in it, often
cemented together with veins of gypsum.  Both these pits are mentioned in
the Government Geological Survey (pp. 152, 153) of “The country around
Lincoln.”  Close by the latter pit the writer once found a curious
fossil, which was for some time a puzzle to all who saw it.  It is now in
the British Museum, and was pronounced to be an Echinus crashed into an

The Kimeridge clay, named as the next stratum in the bore of the Woodhall
well, crops up first about Halstead Hall in Stixwould, and continues
through Woodhall to Horncastle, and so on to Wragby and Market Rasen.  It
abounds in fossils.  Mr. Skertchly {92} found in the first of the pits
just named, that this clay was divided into three layers, the upper being
a line of Septaria (or nodules) full of serpulæ one foot in depth, then
soft dark-blue clay, 6ft.; and below that another course of Septaria; and
Professor J. R. Blake records from this pit the following
fossils{93a}:—Belemnites nitidus, Ammonites serratus, Rissoa mosensis,
Avicula ædiligensis, Cyprina cyreneformis, Ostrea deltoides, Lima
ædilignensis, Thracia depressa, Arca, Serpula tetragona.  In other pits
in the neighbourhood several other fossils have been found. {93b}  [For a
list of fossils found about Woodhall see Appendix II.]  A peculiarity of
this stratum is that the upper part of it contains bands of “inflammable
shales,” being blue, laminated, bituminous clays, which burn readily.  It
was the presence of these which has tempted explorers to throw away their
money in search of coal; as in the case at Donington on-Bain, where Mr.
Bogg drove a bore to the depth of 309ft., but only found clay and thin
bands of inflammable schist. {93c}  In the case of Woodhall Spa, the
money thrown away on one purpose has brought health and wealth to others,
from a source then undreamt of in man’s philosophy.  We cannot leave the
Kimeridge clay without noting that its presence at Woodhall, in the
position where it is, as the _first_ geological formation below the
surface drift, opens to us a vista—reveals to us a yawning _hiatus_—which
embraces a vast expanse of time.

In the normal order of geological strata, the whole series of cretaceous
formations have to be passed through before reaching the Oolite
formation, of which the Kimeridge clay forms almost the upper layer.  But
at Woodhall and the surrounding district the whole of this series of
rocks and soils is wanting.  Their absence is eloquent, and tells a tale
of widespread destruction.  Standing near the Tower on the Moor we can
see in the distance, stretching from north-west to south east, the range
of hills called the “Wolds,” which, with a “cap” of marls, or sandy and
flinty loams, are composed almost entirely of chalk; from them, near
Cawkwell Hill (the hill _par excellence_ of chalk), comes the water
supply of Horncastle and Woodhall.  They extend for a length of some 45
miles, with a width of some six miles to eight.  The actual depth of the
chalk is not exactly known, but a boring made through it, near Hull,
reached the Oolite beneath at 530ft.  We may perhaps, therefore, put the
average at 500ft. {94a}  Doubtless, at one period, this cretaceous
formation extended over the whole tract of country, but southward and
westward from the foot of the present wolds it has since been swept away.
And this must have taken place before the glacial period, because the
glacial boulder clay lies upon the Kimeridge clay, which normally
underlies the chalk.  Mr. Jukes Brown (“Geological Journal,” No. 162, p.
117) says: “The Boulder clay is bedded against the slope of the chalk,
shewing that this escarpment had retired to its present position in
pre-glacial times.”  By what precise process this was effected must be
left to our savants to decide; but the remarkable fact remains, that a
solid stratum, or rather series of allied strata, from 500ft. to 1,000ft.
in thickness, has, by one process or another, been wiped out of
existence, over the large area now coated by the Kimeridge clay.  Through
ages of enormous length the chalk was forming as the bed of a sea; a
deposit consisting of inconceivable myriads of beautiful minute shells,
mainly of the foraminifera, which can be detected by the microscope; and
its destruction probably occupied as long a period as its formation.

Mr. Jukes Brown, whom I have just quoted, says: “The Wold hills must have
been, in some way, exposed to a severe and long-continued detrition, when
erosive agencies were very active.”  Active, indeed, they must have been,
to efface from an area so extensive a solid formation from 500ft. to
1,000ft. in thickness.  And this boulder clay, as Mr. Jukes Brown further
observes, has forced its way up the sides of the chalk, in places, to a
height varying from 300ft. to 400ft.

The Oxford clay, which lies next below the Kimeridge, is a deep sea
deposit, dark blue, with brown nodular stones; some of the fossils found
in it are Nucula Ornata, Ammonites Plicatilis, A. Rotundus, Cucullæa,
Gryphæa Dilatata, Leda Phillipsii, Annelida Tetragona, and A.
Tricarinata, Avicula inequivalvis. {94b}

Kellaway’s rock, which lies just below, so called from a village in
Wiltshire, near Chippenham, is a mixture of yellowish and buff sands,
with brown and buff sandstone.  The chief fossils are Gryphæa Dilatata,
and G. bilobata, Belemnites in abundance, and Avicula Braam-buriensis.

The Cornbrash, which succeeds (so called also from a district in
Wiltshire, favourable to corn), is a light grey, fine-grained limestone,
often so hard as to need blasting.  It abounds in fossils.  Among them
are Avicula Echinata, Ostræa Sowerbyi, Clypeus Ptotii, Ammonites
Macrocephalus, A. Herveyi, Nucula Variabilis, Astarte Minima, Trigonia
(of four kinds), Modiola (of four kinds), Myacites (five kinds),
Cypricardia, Corbicella Bathonica, Pholadomya (two kinds), Cardium (three
kinds), Pecten (six kinds), and several more. {95b}

The great Oolite (so named from the Greek Oon, an egg, referring to the
number of small stones, like fish-ova, found in it) is divided into
Oolite clays and O. limestone.  The clays are mottled green and bluish,
with bands of ironstone, and concretions of lime.  They indicate a
shallow sea, as contrasted with the Oxford clay.  Fossils are not
numerous, but Rhinconella Concinna, Gervillia Crassicosta, Modiola
Ungulata, Ostræa Gregaria, O. Sowerbvi, O. Subrugulosa, Perna Quardrata,
Trigonia Flecta, and Palate of Fish are found. {95c}  These beds
correspond to the so-called Forest Marble of the South of England.

The Oolite limestone beds consist of white soft limestones, having at
intervals bands of marly clay.  This formation burns well, and makes good
lime.  Its chief fossils are Serpula, Rhynconella, Terebratula, and T.
Intermedia, Avicula Echinata, Corbicella, Lima Rigida, Lucina, Modiola
Imbricata, Myacites Calceiformis, Mytilus Furcatus, Ostræa Sowerbyi,
Pecten Vagans, Pteroperna plana, Trigonia, T. costata, T. flecta, T.
striata, T. undulata. {95d}

The Estuarine deposit, underlying the great Oolite limestone, is composed
of light blue, green, and purple clays, intersected by soft bands of
sandstone, and having at its base a band of nodular ironstone.  It is not
very fossiliferous, but the following are found:—Rhynconella Concinna,
Modiola Imbricata, Ostræa Sowerbyi, Monodonta. {95e}  The sandstone bands
contain plant-markings in considerable numbers.  As its name implies,
this formation was produced as the bed of an estuary or tidal river.

The next lower formation is the Lincolnshire limestone.  This enters
largely into the making of what is called “the Cliff,” which is the high
land running south from Lincoln (visible from Woodhall) to the west of
the Witham Valley and the Fens.  It is a hard building stone, though once
the muddy bed of a sea.  It is sub-divided into the Hibaldstow and Kirton
beds, so called because these strata are exposed in those parishes.
Dipping to the east, it underlies the Fens and other upper strata to be
found in the Woodhall well.  It abounds in fossils, there being as many
as 340 species classified, {96a} and consists, indeed, very largely of
the hard parts of shells and corals compressed into a solid mass.  To a
Lincolnshire person, it is sufficient to say of this stone that our grand
Cathedral is mainly built of it.  We can only give here a few of the more
frequent species of fossils:—Three kinds of Echinus, Coral (Thecosmilia
gregarea), Serpula socialis, Lima (five kinds), Ostræa flabelloides,
Pecten (two kinds), Hinnites abjectus, Astarte elegans, Cardium Buckmani,
Ceromya Bajociana, Cyprina Loweana, Homomya Crassiuscula, Isocardia,
Cordata, Rhynconella (four kinds); among the bivalves are Avicula
Inequivalvis, and A Munsteri, Lima (three kinds), Lucina Bellona, Modiola
Gibbosa, Mytilus Imbricatus, Pholadomya (two kinds), Trigonia costata; of
univalves, Natica (two kinds), Nerinea Cingenda; of fishes, Strophodus
(two kinds). {96b}  This is a most useful stone for building purposes.
The so-called “Lincoln stone” is largely used in our churches; whilst the
“Ancaster quarries,” which also belong to this formation, are famous.
The commissioners appointed in 1839 to report on the building stones of
England, for the new houses of Parliament, stated that “many buildings
constructed of material similar to the Oolite of Ancaster, such as Newark
and Grantham churches, have scarcely yielded to the effects of
atmospheric influences.”  (“Old Lincolnshire,” vol. i., p. 23.)  The
well-known Colly-Weston slates are the lowest stratum of this rock.  The
fine old Roman “Newport Arch,” which for some 700 years has “braved the
battle and the breeze,” a pretty good test of its durability, is built of
this stone.

The base on which this lowest Oolite lies is the Northampton Sands, an
irony stratum of red ferruginous sand and sandstone, the upper portion of
it also being called the Lower Estuarine deposit.  It is from this
stratum so many springs arise in various parts of the county, as already
mentioned, and among them the Woodhall well water.  Its fresh water
conditions show it to have been the bed of a great river, but a tidal
river, as among the fossils which it contains some are marine shells.  In
this formation is found the iron-stone, which is worked at Lincoln.  Its
commoner fossils are Lima duplicata, L. Dustonensis, Hinnites abjectus,
Astarte elegans, Cardium Buckmani, Modiola Gibbosa, Ammonites
Murchisoniæ, Belemnites Acutus.  Its ferruginous layers are (as given by
Capt. Macdakin), {97a}  Peroxide bed, clay ironstone, hard carbonate of
iron, hard blue carbonate peroxidised band, blue ferruginous sand,
ironstone nodules, bed of coprolites with iron pyrites.

And this brings us to the Lias formation, in which lies the lower part,
amounting to rather more than a third, of the Woodhall wells.  It is
divided into the upper Lias of clay and shale; the middle Lias of
Marlstone rock bed, clay, and ironstone; and the lower Lias of clays,
ironstone clays, limestones. {97b}  This formation, with a thickness of
from 900 to 1,000 feet, runs across England from Yorkshire and
Lincolnshire down to the coast of Dorset.  The upper Lias of the Woodhall
wells also helps to form the slope from 100 feet to 150 feet in thickness
of the escarpment called “the Cliff,” to the west of the Witham Fens, and
to the north of Lincoln, by Fillingham, and so on.  Lincoln itself stands
on Lias beds, with a capping of the lower Oolite limestone. {97c}  It
contains many Belemnites, Lucina, Ammonites Bifrons, A. Serpentinus, A.
Communis, A. Heterophillus, Nucula Hammeri, Pleuromyæ, {97d} and
especially the Leda Ovum, which distinguishes it from other strata.  The
middle Lias, which underlies the upper, contains Ammonites Spinatus, A.
Margaritatus (in great abundance), Rhinconella, Icthyosauri, Plesiosauri,
and fossil wood, etc. {98a}  The lower Lias contains Ammonites
Capricornus, with many pyrites, A. Ibex, A. Jamesoni, A. Armatus, A.
Oxynotus, A. Obtusus, A. Semicostatus, A. Bucklandi, A. Angulatus, A.
Planorbis, Gryphœa incurva very abundant, and fossils of many other
kinds. {98b}  This brings us to the base of the Woodhall Spa wells.  For
a full list of the fossils so far found at Woodhall, the reader is
referred to Appendix II. at the and of this volume.

These strata are shewn in the diagram given at the head of this chapter.

In giving the history of the well in Chapter I., the writer did not state
the properties of the Woodhall water; but as these depend upon the
geological elements, from which it originates, this seems to be the
proper place to state them.  The official analysis made by Professor
Frankland, F.R.S., 1875, is as follows:—{98c}

                                         Parts           Grains per gallon

Total solids in solution              2361.200                   1652.8400

Organic carbon                            .362                       .2604

Organic Nitrogen                          .532                       .3724

Ammonia                                   .810                       .5070

Nitrogen as Nitrates and                  .009                       .0063

Chlorine                              1425.000                    997.5000

Total combined nitrogen                  1.208                       .8456

Bromine                                  6.280                      4.3960

Iodine                                    .880                       .6160

Arsenicam                                 .016                       .0112

Temporary hardness                      20.000                     14.0000

Permanent do                           245.000                    171.5000

Total do.                              265.000                    185.5000

    The water contains unusually large proportions of Iodine and
    Bromine.—E. Frankland.

The remarkable features of this analysis are the quantities of iodine and
bromine.  Professor Frankland, for the Geological Survey, found, of
iodine, 6.1 grains in 10 gallons of the water; bromine, 44 grains in

As compared with the water of Cheltenham, of Leamington, and of the famed
German Spa at Kreuznach, we have the original analysis of Mr. West, of
Leeds, giving:—

   In 10 galls.              Iodine.                     Bromine.

Cheltenham          one third grain             one and two-thirds grains

Leamington          one grain                   four grains

Kreuznach           one and one-quarter grain   twenty-five grains

Woodhall            six and one-sixth grains    forty-four grains

The Woodhall water, therefore, has five times the amount of iodine, and
nearly twice the amount of bromine, of the strongest known Continental
water. {99a}

I mentioned, in Chapter I., that the Dead Sea, in Palestine, was stronger
in bromine than Woodhall.  According to M. Marchand’s analysis, it
contains bromide of magnesium 74 times the amount at Kreuznach, or about
30 times the strength of Woodhall; but the other great ingredient of the
Woodhall water, iodine, is absent from the Dead Sea. {99b}  In iodine the
only known water surpassing Woodhall Spa is the spring of Challes in
Savoy, {99c} which contains 1.045 parts per 100,000 of water.

I may add that at Old Woodhall, about four miles distant from “The Spa,”
at a depth of 33 feet, in sinking a well, some 20 years ago, salt water
was tapped, resembling in taste that of the Woodhall Spa well, but it
gradually became less salt, and finally was replaced by a supply of fresh
water. {99d}

There is one other geological feature of the neighbourhood of Woodhall,
which has not yet been touched upon, viz., the Fens bordering on the
Witham.  These are said to have been, to some extent, drained by the
Romans; {99e} but within the last few centuries they have been partially
reclaimed, have relapsed into bog and morass, and been finally reclaimed
for good, in quite recent times.  The writer, when a boy, used to visit a
large farmer, living in Blankney Fen, whose father built the house in
which he resided.  Before building, an artificial foundation had to be
made, by transporting soil in boats, or carts, from _terra firma_ beyond
the Fens, the whole Fen tract being more or less bog and swamp.  When
this had become sufficiently consolidated, the house and farm buildings
were erected upon it; and from that centre roads were constructed, drains
made, and the work of reclamation gradually extended.  These drains, or
“skirths,” as they are sometimes called, were periodically cleaned by a
“bab,” a kind of dredge, with hooks at its under side to tear up plant
roots.  Great flocks of geese were kept, which were plucked alive several
times a year, for the sale of the feathers, to make the famed
Lincolnshire feather beds, and quills for the pens, now rarely seen,
although, 50 years ago, in universal use.  Until the land had become
systematically reclaimed, it still continued to be extensively flooded in
the winter months, and all cattle had to be housed, or penned, during
that time, on the artificially raised ground.  It frequently happened
that early frosts caught the farmer napping, with his cattle still
afield; in which case they had to be driven home over the ice, and
numbers were at times “screeved,” _i.e._, “split up,” in the process, and
had to be slaughtered.  The fen soil is a mass of decayed vegetation,
chiefly moss, interlarded with silt, deposited by the sea, which formerly
made its oozy way as far as Lincoln.  Large trees of bog oak and other
kinds are found in the soil.  These, it is supposed, became rotted at
their base by the accumulating peat; and the strong south-west winds,
prevailing then as they do now, broke them off, and they are, in
consequence, generally found with their heads lying in a north-easterly
direction.  Borings at different places show the fen soil to vary in
depth from 24ft. at Boston to 14½ft. at Martindale; but, as it has been
gradually dried by drainage, it has considerably shrunk in thickness, and
buried trees, which only a few years ago were beyond the reach of plough
or spade, are now not uncommonly caught by the ploughshare.

The river Witham, which the visitor to Woodhall Spa sees skirting the
railway, has passed through more than one metamorphosis.  Now confined by
banks, which have been alternately renewed and broken down at different
periods, before the drainage of the Fens, it spread over all that level
tract of country, meandering by its many islands and through its oozy
channels and meres, the resort of countless flocks of wild fowl and fish
_ad infinitum_, but preserving still one main navigable artery, by which
vessels of considerable tonnage could slowly sail to Lincoln.  Acts were
passed, in the reigns of Edward the Third.  Richard the Second, Henry the
Seventh, Queen Elizabeth, and the two Charleses; and Commissioners were
again and again appointed to effect the embanking and draining of these
watery wastes, but with only temporary success; and it was not till 1787,
or 1788, that the present complete system of drainage was commenced,
which is now permanently established. {101a}  And in these days, the
Fens, once consisting as much of water as of land, at times even suffer
from a scarcity of that commodity; drains, which within the writer’s own
recollection abounded with fish, being now often dry almost all the year
round.  At a much more remote period the Witham was probably a much
stronger river, and largely conduced to altering the features of the
county.  This subject has been carefully investigated by our geologists,
{101b} with the result that certain changes in the strata of the upper
Witham valley, from its source near Grantham, and changes also in the
lower valley of the Trent, go far to prove that the Trent, instead of, as
it does now, flowing into the Humber, took a more easterly course, and
joining forces with the Witham some miles above Lincoln, the united
streams pushed their way through the gorge, or “break” in the cliff
formation, which occurs there, and is technically known as “The Lincoln
Gap,” and continued their course to the sea by something like the present
channel of the Witham.  The idea of this “Lincoln Gap,” though the term
is not actually used, would seem to have originated with Mr. W. Bedford,
who stated, in a paper already mentioned, read before “The Lincolnshire
Topographical Society,” in 1841, that “the great breach below Lincoln
could only be accounted for by the mighty force of agitated waters
dashing against the rocks, through long ages”.  (Printed by W. and B.
Brookes, Lincoln, 1843, p. 24, &c.)  The theory would seem to be now
generally accepted.  Thus: “that ancient river, the river” Witham,
honoured, we believe, by the Druid as his sacred stream, {102}
consecrated in a later age to the Christian, by the number of religious
houses erected on its shores, through a yet earlier stage of its
existence performed the laborious task of carving out the vale of
Grantham, and so adding to the varied beauty of our county; then, by a
kind of metempsychosis of the river spirit, it was absorbed in the body
of the larger Trent; the two, like “John Anderson, my Joe,” and his
contented spouse, “climbed the hill together,” to the Lincoln Gap, and
hand in hand wended their seaward way, to help each other, perchance, in
giving birth to the Fenland; or, according to another theory, in making
its bed.  Through a long era this union lasted; but, as the old saying
is, “the course of true love never did run smooth”; a change geologic
came over the scene, and, through force of circumstance, the two, so long
wedded together, broke the connubial bond, and henceforth separated,
pursuing each their different ways; the one, the Trent, the river of
thirty fountains, betaking herself “to fresh woods and pastures new,”
after brief dalliance with the Ouse, became bosomed in the ample embrace
of the Humber; the other, the humbler stream of the two, retaining its
previous course, pursued the even tenor of its way through the flats of
the Fenland, with their “crass air and rotten harrs,” to find its
consolation in the “dimpling smiles,” but restless bosom, of the shallow
“Boston Deeps.”  During the period of that ancient alliance of these two
streams the tract of country between Lincoln and Boston, or rather
between the points now occupied by those places, would be scoured by a
greatly-augmented volume of water, and this may possibly account in some
degree for the shallowness of “The Wash,” and the number of submarine
sandbanks which lie off the mouth of the present Witham.  Had the union
of the two streams continued to the present time, bringing down their
united body of silt, Boston would either never have come into existence
at all, or would have been much further from the sea than it is.

The precise period at which this riverine union prevailed would seem to
be still an open question; and we may say, with Horace, _adhuc sub judice
lis est_; for, whereas Professor Archibald Geikie, Director-General of
the Government Geological Survey, {103a} gives his opinion that “the
gravels which have been laid down by an older Trent, that flowed through
the gorge in the Jurassie escarpment at Lincoln, were later than the
glacial deposits”; on the other hand, Mr. F. M. Burton, F.L.S., F.G.S.,
{103b} who has a thorough local knowledge of the county and its
geological features, says there is sufficient evidence “to convince any
reasonable mind that the present course of the Trent is not its original
one; but that ages ago, in early pre-glacial times, I think, it passed
through the Lincoln Gap to the fenland beyond, which was then open bay.”
We may well say with Pope: “Who shall decide when doctors disagree?”
{103c}  This, however, is too large a subject for a chapter on the
geology of Woodhall Spa; but this brief reference to it may serve to show
the visitor, who has the taste and inclination for such pursuits, that
there are still subjects for interesting investigation in our
neighbourhood, on which he might well employ his capacities for research.


In entering on this portion of our Records we are passing from the
Natural to the Artificial, from the operations of the Creator to the
works of the creature.  A systematic process of enquiry would shew that,
as in geology, so here, the subject-matter lies in layers.  We have the
prehistoric period concerning palæolithic and neolithic man; then follow
the British, the Roman, the Saxon, the Danish, and the Norman strata, or
eras; so many have been the elements which have contributed to the
moulding of our country and our people, as we find them at the present
day.  But again, as in geology, so here, we find few traces in our own
immediate neighbourhood of the earlier links in this series—the people
who preceded the historic Britons.  On Twig Moor, near Brigg, in the
north of the county, a tract of ground very similar to our own Moor, many
flint implements have been found.  On an excursion of our “Naturalists’
Union” to that tract, one of the party found “a handful” of stone “knives
and finely-chipped arrow heads.” {105a}  The members of the same Society,
visiting Woodhall in 1893, found on the Moor “patches of pale-coloured
sand, slightly ferruginous, and having a considerable number of flints,”
but none were found which could be said to shew traces of human use.
This, however, is no reason why the visitor to Woodhall should not search
for them.  That they exist in our neighbourhood has been proved, since a
good specimen of flint axe was found a few years ago by Mr. A. W. Daft,
on Highrigge farm, near Stobourne Wood, in Woodhall.  It is about five
inches in length and 1¼ inches broad, and, from its high degree of
polish, probably was the work of neolithic man. {105b}  Another, smaller,
flint celt was found in 1895 by Mr. Crooks, of Woodhall Spa, in the
parish of Horsington, near Lady-hole bridge, between Stixwould and
Tupholme.  Its length was 3½ inches, by 2½ inches in breadth, thickness
about ¾ inch.  More recently one was found in a field on the Stixwould
road by his son, about three inches in length and 1½ inches broad,
thickness ¾ inch.  In 1904 several finely chipt flint arrow heads, about
one inch in length and breadth, were found in the parish of Salmonby,
near Horncastle, in a field called “Warlow Camp,” doubtless the site of a
prehistoric settlement.  The present writer has picked up at odd times
some half dozen specimens, bearing more or less trace of human
manipulation, but none of them so well finished as those referred to.  A
farmer residing near the Moor, to whom I recently explained what a flint
implement was, said he had noticed several stones of that kind, but did
not know that they were worth picking up.  Two molar teeth of the Elephas
primigenius, or extinct mammoth, have been found in a pit at
Kirkby-on-Bain, situated between the road and the canal, about a quarter
of a mile north-west of the church; {106a} and bones of Bos primigenius
and Cervus elaphus were found among gravel and ice-scraped pebbles in a
pit, near Langworth bridge (not far from Bardney).  The former of these,
the gigantic Ox, or Urus, belonged to the palæolithic age, {106b} when
the first race of human beings peopled this land, but was extinct in the
neolithic period in this country (though in a later age re-introduced).
The latter, which is our red-deer, survived in a wild state, in our
county and neighbourhood, until comparatively modern times.  Large
vertebræ, apparently of some huge Saurian, have been found, which the
writer has seen, in West Ashby; and a large mammoth tooth is preserved
among the treasures of the late Mechanics’ Institute at Horncastle,
having been found in the neighbourhood.  These are all the pre-historic
relics which I can find recorded in our neighbourhood.

Later antiquities, of the British, Roman, and succeeding periods, are, or
have been, fairly plentiful; the misfortune being that, as we, as yet,
have no County Museum wherein they could be preserved, they have
doubtless many of them been lost, or, if kept in private hands, are

When the bed of the Witham, by order of the Royal Commissioners, was
cleansed in 1788, a number of swords, spears, arrow heads, etc., were
found on the hard clay bottom, which had been covered over, and so
preserved, by the accumulated mud.  And in the “Gentleman’s Magazine” for
that year a list of them was given.  The late Sir Joseph Banks, of
Revesby Abbey, secured a considerable number of such relics, catalogues
of which are given in “Lincolnshire Notes & Queries,” Vols. III. and IV.
They consist of arms and utensils of our British, Roman, Saxon, and
Danish ancestors.  Among the more interesting of these was a whittle, or
“anelace,” exactly resembling one described by Greene as part of
Chaucer’s dress. {107}  In connection with Woodhall were the following:—A
sword, probably Saxon, brought up from the Witham bed near “Kirkstead
Wath,” entangled in the prongs of an eel-stang.  The pommel and guard are
tinned, as we now tin the inside of kitchen utensils; an art which we
should not have known that our forefathers at that period possessed but
for such discoveries as this.  The polish still remained on parts of the
blade “admirably brilliant.”  It bore the inscription + Benvenutus + on
one side, and on the other + me fecit +, in Saxon characters; the name
shewing that the maker was an Italian, the crosses probably implying that
he (or the owner, if made to order) was a Christian; while from the Saxon
lettering we should infer that the Italian sword-cutler exercised his
craft in the north of Europe.  Another sword, with brass scabbard, of
elegant workmanship and richly gilt, was found near Bardney.  Several
more swords, with Saxon and Roman inscriptions, were also found near

A dagger was brought up by an eel-stang near “Kirkstead Wath,” the
handle, of elm, being in fairly good preservation, the only instance of
wood thus surviving. {108a}  Several others, one of superior work with an
ivory handle, were found in the Witham near Bardney.

A spear head of bone, of British structure, was found in Stixwould in an
ancient sewer, which was being cleansed.  Sir J. Banks says that “it does
credit to the skill of the person who made it.” {108b}  Several more of
these were found at Bardney and other parts of the Witham; and again at
“Kirksted Wath” the eel-stang brought up an iron specimen, which from its
appearance would seem to have been broken in action.

A large barbed arrow head was found near Bardney, with an orifice large
enough to receive a broom handle. {108c}

A Roman lituus, or clarion, was found near Tattershall Ferry.  Though
imperfect, both ends being broken off, it is interesting as being
probably the only one in existence.  This instrument is represented among
trophies on the base of Trojan’s column in Rome, and appears on some
Roman coins. {108d}  A description is given in the “Archæologia” of the
Society of Antiquaries (Vol. XIV.) of an iron candlestick, of curious
construction, being one of six which were found in the Witham by
Kirkstead.  We may well imagine that they, at one time, served to light
the refectory of the Abbey, where the monks of old dispensed hospitality
to the poor and needy, or to the wayfaring stranger.  Perhaps the most
interesting relic of all is a British shield, of finely-wrought metal,
originally gilt, with a boss of carnelian, and ornamented with elaborate
devices, shewing that those primitive people, though living a rude life,
had attained to a very considerable degree of skill in working metals.
It is described in the “Archæologica” (Vol. XXIII.); and an engraving is
given of it in “Fenland” by Skertchly and Miller (p. 463).  It was
formerly in the Meyrick collection.

The above are a selection of the most interesting objects yielded up to
us chiefly by the Witham; there have been many more, but of less
importance.  Several Roman urns in different places have been exhumed.
The parish of Thornton runs down to Kirkstead station, passing almost
within a stone’s throw of the Victoria Hotel; and in Thornton a small
Roman vase was discovered when the railroad was made, in 1854.  The
present writer has seen it, but it has, unfortunately, disappeared.  An
engraving and description of it are given in the “Linc. Architectural
Society’s Journal,” Vol. IV., Part II., p. 200.  It was nine inches in
height, of rather rough construction, and with a rude ornamentation.  Two
Roman urns, or, according to another account, six (“Lincolnshire N. & Q.”
Vol. III., p. 154), were also found at the north-east corner of a field,
on the road leading from Stixwould to Bucknall, about 3½ miles from
Woodhall.  They were of the kind technically termed “smoke burnt.”  The
soil at the spot was a clay of so tenacious a character that several
horse-shoes, some of them of a very old and curious make, have been found
in the former quagmire.  Several large Roman urns have been found in, or
near, Horncastle, and are preserved among the treasures of the late
Mechanics’ Institute, having been presented to the town by the sole
surviving trustee, Mr. Joseph Willson, to form, with other objects, the
nucleus of a local museum at some future time.  Engravings of these also
are given, with a Paper by Rev. E. Trollope, the late Bishop Suffragan of
Nottingham, in the abovementioned Journal, at p. 210.

At Ashby Puerorum, so called because certain lands in the parish go to
pay for the choristers of Lincoln Cathedral, in the year 1794, a
labourer, cutting a ditch, discovered, three feet below the surface, a
Roman sepulture, a stone chest squared and dressed with much care, in
which was deposited an urn of strong glass of greenish hue.  The chest
was of freestone, such as is common on Lincoln heath.  The urn, of
elegant shape, contained human bones nearly reduced to ashes, and among
them a small lacrimatory of very thin green glass. {110a}

On the Mareham road, on the south side of Horncastle, beyond the Black
Swan inn, was a Roman burial ground, and several cinerary urns and some
coffins have been discovered there.  One stone coffin now stands in the
back premises of Mr. James Isle, near to the corner where the Spilsby and
Boston roads meet.  In connection with this subject, I may here mention
the most recent archæological “find” in Horncastle.  While digging gravel
in a pit recently opened in a garden at the back of Queen Street, not far
from the Mareham Road, in 1897, the pick of the labourer struck against a
hard substance, about two feet below the surface, which, on examination,
proved to be an ancient coffin.  It was constructed, except the lid, of
one sheet of lead, slit at the corners to allow its being doubled up to
form the sides and ends.  The coffin was 5ft. 2in. in length, and within
were the remains of a skeleton, pronounced by experts to be that of a
female.  A few days later a second lead coffin was found, similar to the
former, except that it was 5ft. 7in. long, and the skeleton was
pronounced to be that of a man.  Both coffins lay east and west.  The
present writer was asked to investigate the matter.  On enquiry, it was
found that, about 24 years before, three lead coffins had been found
within 100 yards of the same spot; they were sold for old lead and melted
down. {110b}  As Horncastle was the old Roman station Banovallum, the
question arose whether these coffins were Roman, or of later, date.  The
orientation of both implied that they were Christian.  After much
interesting correspondence, the writer obtained the information from an
antiquary of note, that if the lead was pure it would be of post-Roman
date, if it contained an admixture of tin it would most probably be
Roman.  Analysis of the lead was made by a professional, which gave
“percentage of tin 1.65 to 97.08 of lead, 1.3 of oxygen, which implied
that the persons buried were Romans, as well as Christians.  A peculiar
feature in these burials was that there were lumps of lime about the
skeletons.  I find, however, that some years ago a lead coffin was
discovered near the Roman road, which passes through the parish of Bow,
containing a skeleton with lime. {111}  From its position near the Roman
road we should infer that this was a Roman burial, and the presence of
lime confirms the origin of the Horncastle coffins.  The lime was
probably used as a preservative.  One of the coffins was sold for a
collection in Manchester, the other was bought by public subscription, to
be preserved for a future local museum.  In the same gravel pit, a few
days after the finding of the coffins, the labourer’s tool struck against
another object, which proved to be an earthenware vessel, probably a
Roman urn, but it was so shattered that he threw the fragments away, and
they could not be recovered.  It was described as being about 10 inches
high, of a brown colour, and bearing traces of a pattern running round

Several old coins have been found in Horncastle, and some at Tattershall.
As to the latter place, Allen, in his “History,” vol. ii., p. 72, and
Weir (“Historical Account of Lincolnshire,” vol. i., p. 302), say that
several Roman coins have been found, but they do not specify what they
were.  There were two so-called “Roman camps” in what is called
Tattershall Park, this being supposed to be the Roman station Durobrivis.
But, alas! “Jam seges est, ubi Troja fuit”: the plough has eliminated the
camps from the field of view.  Roman coins would be a natural result of a
Roman station.  It should not, however, be forgotten that Gough, Camden,
and other authorities pronounce these camps to have been of British
origin.  The earlier Britons used mainly a brass coinage, or iron bars
(utuntur aut aere, aut taleis ferreis, says Cæsar, _Bell. Gall._, v. 12);
so that there should not be much difficulty in deciding whether the coins
were those of British or Roman occupants.  Taught by the Romans, the
later Britons probably coined considerably.  The oldest specimens known
to be coined at Lincoln bear the name of King Arthur.  Camden and Speed
give several.  At Horncastle, the oldest coin found was British, having
on one side, amid mystic circles, the figure of a “horse rampant,”
indicative of the reverence in which the horse was held by the Druids.
{112a}  Stukeley says, in his Diary, “a coign I got of Carausius found at
Hornecastle.  It had been silvered over.  The legend of the reverse is
obscure.  It seems to be a figure, sitting on a coat of armour, or
trophy, with a garland in her left hand, and (legend) Victorii Aug.”
{112b}  Silver coins of Vespasian, Lucius Septimius Severus, Alexander
Severus, and Volusianus, a large brass coin of Trajan, middle brass of
Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Trajan, Hadrian, Domitian, Antoninus Pius,
Faustina the elder, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Lucius Verus, and Faustina
the younger, and several more. {112c}  In December, 1898, a coin was
found by a son of Mr. W. K. Morton, bookseller, while playing in the
garden at Onslow House, which proved to be one of the Emperor

In deepening the bed of the river Bain to form the canal, in 1802, an
ornamental brass spur, part of a brass crucifix, and a dagger, were found
together, at a short distance from the north basin of the canal; and the
writer once found, some quarter of a mile out of Horncastle, on Langton
hill, the rowell of a spur, with very long spikes, probably at one time
belonging to a cavalier at the battle of Winceby.  He has also in his
possession a pair of brass spurs, found not far from Winceby, massive and
heavy, the spikes of the rowell being an inch in length.

Let us now return to Woodhall Spa; and on the way pause for a moment on
the moor.  We have already mentioned a curious character, by name Dawson,
but more commonly called “Tab-shag,” who, within the memory of the writer
and many more, lived as a kind of squatter, in his sod-built hut, close
to “The Tower.”  A sort of living fossil was this individual, short in
stature, dark in complexion, and with a piercing, almost uncanny, eye;
roughly clad, and looking as though he were something of a stranger to
soap and water.  “What’s in a name?” said love-sick Juliet.  Yet the name
which clung to this eccentric person probably had its significance.  In
one of the “Magic Songs” of the Finns (given in “Folklore,” vol. i., No.
iii., p. 827) a sort of demon is described as “Old Shaggy,” “the horror
of the land,” “reared on a heather clump,” “living on the lee side of a
stone,” corresponding much to the home and haunts of our Tab-shag.
Brogden {113} says “Shag-foal” means “a hobgoblin supposed to haunt
certain places,” and a writer in the “Archæological Review” (for January,
1890) says that “Shag” is an old term for an elf, or Brownie, or “goblin
dwarf.”  He adds, “The Hog-boy, or Howe-boy, of the Orkneys, in
Lincolnshire is pronounced Shag-boy.”  An old lady, born at the beginning
of the eighteenth century, is quoted, in “The Cornhill Magazine” (August,
1882) as saying she had often heard of fairies and shag boys, but had
never seen one herself, “though lasses were often skeart (_i.e._, scared,
frightened) at them.”  And the weird-looking figure of Tab-shag, living
in the peculiar way he did, in a kind of “brock,” or “how,” of his own
construction, was not altogether unlike that of one of the “How folk,”
the “little people,” believed in by our superstitious forefathers, and
whose memory is perpetuated in the Folk’s glove (digitalis) of our heath;
as he squatted on his “faerie-knowe” on the lee side of the old Tower, or
roamed over the dreary moor at nightfall to startle the belated wayfarer.

What may have been the meaning of the other element in his soubriquet is
not so easy to say.  There is a Cornish (and probably British) word
“Tab,” which means turf (“Archæol. Journ.” vol. ii., No. 3, p. 199), and
that would suit this dweller on the heath; but it is more likely that
“Tab” had a reference to the cat, “Tabby” being the term for a brindled
cat.  And Bishop Harsnet, in his curious book on “The Superstitions of
the Day” (1605), says a witch, or elf, “can take the form of hare, mouse,
or cat.”

Tabby is really a corruption of Tibby, and that is from Tybalt, the name
of puss in the old Beast Epic of the middle ages.  Ben Johnson uses
“tiberts” for cats; and Mercutio, in “Romeo and Juliet” (Act. iii., sc.
1) addresses Tybalt, when wishing to annoy him, as “Tybalt, you rat
catcher . . .  King of cats” (Folk-etymology).

This prowler on the heath might well be likened to pussy prowling after
mice, or higher game. {114a}  But elfs and bogies have now vanished from
our sylvan glades, as the will o’ the wisp has from the fens and marshes,
where the present writer has seen it.  Drainage, and schools, and
newspapers have banished alike such phenomena, and the belief in them;
and Tab-shag, like many another equally harmless, and equally perhaps
misunderstood, creature, will soon be forgotten.

One more antiquarian discovery may here be noticed.  Much interest was
excited by an ancient canoe which was unearthed near Brigg, in North
Lincolnshire, in the year 1886, while some excavators were working on the
east side of the river Ancholme.  It was constructed out of a single
tree, which must have been a very large oak.  It was 48ft. in length; its
width 5ft. at the widest part, and 4ft. at the narrowest.  It had three
transverse stays, also cut out of the solid.  It was distant from the
present river about 40 yards, lying due east and west, on what must have
been a sloping beach.  It was completely buried in a bed of alluvial
clay; one end being 5ft. below the surface, and the other 9ft. below.  It
is fully described in an article, written by T. Tindall Wildridge, in
“Bygone Lincolnshire” (1st series).  The writer gives other instances of
similar discoveries—in the Medway in 1720, in the Rother (Kent) in 1822,
on the Clyde, etc.; various such boats, indeed, have been found on the
Clyde, and, in one case, what is further interesting, the boat had within
it a beautifully-finished stone celt, thus connecting it with the race
of, probably, the later stone period.  Several finds of this kind have
occurred in our own river, the Witham, or near it.

In digging for the foundations of a house in the upper part of the High
Street, Lincoln, some 80 or 90 years ago, a boat was discovered fastened
by a chain to a post, {114b} the spot being several yards higher than the
present level of the Witham; thus showing that, when the Witham was a
tidal river, it rose at times considerably higher than it does now.

In 1816 an ancient canoe was found, {115a} some 8 feet below the surface,
in cutting a drain, parallel to the Witham, about two miles below
Lincoln.  This, like the Brigg boat, was hollowed out of a single oak,
38ft. long, and 3ft. at the widest part.  Another was found in 1818, in
cutting a drain not far from the last, but was unfortunately destroyed by
the workmen before they knew what it was.  Its length was about the same
as that of the previous boat, but it was 4½ft. wide.  Two more similar
canoes—“dugouts,” as they were technically termed—were found about the
same time in drain-cutting, in the same vicinity; and one of these was
presented to the British Museum. {115b}  The Fen men used to call their
boats “shouts,” from the Dutch “schuyt,” a wherry.  They propelled them
along the drains by a long pole, called a “poy.”  It would be too much to
say that all these vessels belonged to pre-historic man, because of the
presence in one case of a flint implement, connecting it with the
neolithic period.  Such boats have probably been used by all nations, at
early stages of their existence.  The Greek writer Hippocrates, about 400
B.C., mentions the “monoxyle,” or one-tree boat; one has been found in
the Tunhovd Fyord in Norway.  The Russians of the 9th century, in the
neighbourhood of Novgorod, used them, laden with slaves for the market.
The Goths of the 3rd century, as stated by Strabo, swept the Black Sea
with them; and Professor Righ says that they have been used until
comparatively modern times in Scandinavia; but at any rate these found in
our fens belong to a period, apparently, when the fens were not yet
formed, or, at most, were forming.—_Article on the Brigg Boat in_
“_Byegone Lincolnshire_.”

We now come to a case nearer home.  The visitor who takes a stroll from
the cross roads by St. Andrew’s Church, along the Tattershall road,
shortly after crossing the pellucid sewer, will see a large pond on his
right, close to a farm yard; and on the other side, eastward, are two
ponds, about 80 yards from the road.  All these ponds are pits dug for
clay, which was put on the somewhat light land to strengthen it.  The
present course of the sewer, now running in a straight line due east and
west, from Kirkby lane to the Witham, is artificial.  It formerly pursued
a tortuous course, and, on reaching the Tattershall road, flowed
southward along the west side of that road, past what is now the Abbey
Lodge public-house, dividing into more than one channel on its way to the
Witham.  This change was made soon after the Kirkstead estate passed, by
purchase, from the Ellison family to that of the present proprietor, in
the year 1839, when great improvements were made in the farms; the woods,
{116} which then reached from the Moor ground to the Tattershall road,
were cleared away, and much land brought into cultivation which had
hitherto been waste, or forest.  In digging for clay some 150 yards
eastward from the road, and about the same distance, or a little more,
south of the present course of the sewer, the labourers came upon the
skeleton of a boat several feet below the surface.  I am not able to
discover whether it was a so-called “dug-out,” formed from one trunk, or
constructed, as modern boats are, of several planks.  Probably it would
be the latter.  But its position several feet below the surface would
seem to imply considerable antiquity; while its mere existence would seem
to indicate that either the sewer was formerly a larger stream than it is
now, to float such a boat, or that the waters of the Witham, when
unconfined by such a bank as the present, extended to this point inland.
A circumstance which confirms the supposition of the sewer being larger
is the fact that about this same place it is known that there was a
mill-dam, and doubtless the stream turned the mill-wheel.  The boat in
question may not, therefore, like some of those previously mentioned,
have belonged to pre-historic man; and yet it might well lay claim to an
antiquity sufficiently hoar to make it a relic of some interest.  But,
though so long preserved beneath the surface, once above ground, it soon
perished, and even the memory of it only remains with a few.

The visitor to Woodhall, who has antiquarian proclivities, may well spend
an enjoyable day at Lincoln, not only for the sake of seeing the
Cathedral, which is unsurpassed by any in the kingdom, or, rather, as has
been said by no less an authority than Ruskin, “worth any two others”; or
of visiting the Castle, founded by the Conqueror; but there are many
other objects of much interest.  One of the most important discoveries of
recent years is the remains of a Roman basilica, found beneath the house
of Mr. Allis, builder, in Bailgate, where a small fee is charged for
admission.  This has been pronounced by an authority, the late Precentor
Venables, to have been “the finest Roman building in the kingdom.”  Its
length was 250 feet, width 70 feet, and it had stately pillars rising to
a height of 30 feet.  Beyond this is the fine old Newport Arch, the only
Roman city gate in the kingdom.  “The noblest remnant of this sort in
Britain,” says Leland.  He will do well to furnish himself with the
“Pocket Guide to Lincoln,” by the late Sir Charles Anderson, one of our
greatest authorities, and “A Walk through Lincoln,” by the late learned
Precentor Venables, a compendium rich in historic lore.  Either of these
will prove a valuable Vade mecum, but the former, perhaps, more for the
study, to be perused before his visit; the latter a manual for the

It may be added that, within quite recent years, the visitor to Lincoln
found himself at once, on landing from the train, in an atmosphere of
antiquity, for, on emerging from the station of the G. N. Railway, he
would see over the door of a shop, full of modern utensils, facing the
gate of the station yard, the name “Burrus,” Cooper, a genuine Roman
patronymic, the bearer of which we may well suppose to have been a lineal
descendant of some early Roman colonist, settled at Lindum Colonia, “a
citizen of no mean city,” for Precentor Venables reminds us (“A Walk
through Lincoln,” p. 9) it is one (with Colchester and Cologne) of the
only three cities which still preserve, embedded in their names, the
traces of their ancient distinction as Roman colonies.

By way of whetting the appetite for further enquiry, I give here a
succinct catena of historic items, shewing the many interesting memories
which cluster round our ancient cathedral city.

Lincoln was the British Caer-Lind-coit, the “Fortress (or City) of River
and Wood,” these being the chief features of the position; the river, a
sacred British stream, which carved out for itself its channel through
“the Lincoln Gap”; and the woods (Welsh, or British, ‘coed,’ a wood)
which stretched far away for miles around it; of the remains of which De
la Prime says, “infinite millions of roots and bodies of trees have been
found, of 30 yards length and above, and have been sold to make masts and
keels for ships . . . as black as ebony, and very durable.” {118a}  Then,
as the city took the last element of its name from its woods (coeds), so
the people who dwelt around were called Coitani, or woodmen {118b};
corresponding to the name given to the dwellers in the fens, Gir-vii, or
men of the cars.  Lincoln was the royal city of the Coitani.

During the Roman occupation the Britons were christianized.  After the
Romans left the country, the people having, through the long period of
peace, almost lost the art of war, the British chief Vortigern called in
the Saxons from the continent to aid him against the inroads of the Picts
and Scots; and Hengist and Horsa, Saxon chiefs, came with a large
following and settled in the country (circa A.D. 450).  Vortigern, with
their assistance, repelled those northern marauders, and himself married
Rowena, daughter of Hengist, giving to Hengist, in return for his aid,
considerable lands—“multos agros,” says Matthew of Westminster {118c}—in

But these so-called friends soon proved to be enemies, and, in 462,
seized London, York, and Lincoln.  Vortimer, son of Vortigern, died and
was buried at Lincoln.  Vortigern himself retired into Wales, and was
burnt in his castle there, in 485.

Matthew of Westminster records that King Arthur of “the round table”
pursued a Saxon army as far as Lincoln, having defeated them, with a loss
of 6,000 men, in a wood near Barlings.

The Saxons, being ultimately victorious, re-introduced Paganism, the
names of their gods still surviving in our day-names, Tuesday (Tuisco),
Wednesday (Woden), Thursday (Thor), Friday (Friga), Saturday (Seater).

Among the kingdoms of the Saxon Heptarchy, Mercia was the largest and
most important division, {118d} founded by the chief Crida in A.D. 584,
and Lincoln is said to have been its capital city.

Paulinus preached Christianity among the Saxons (circa A.D. 630), and
converted Blecca, the governor of Lincoln, where a stone church was
built, said by some to have been the first stone church in the kingdom,
{119a} that at Glastonbury being made of wattles.  The Venerable Bede
says it was of excellent workmanship. {119b}  Two churches in Lincoln
have claimed to represent this ancient fabric.

At a later period the Humber formed a highway for the marauding Danes,
who overran the country, and, if in nothing else, have left their traces
in every village-name ending in “by.”  In their time Lincoln was the
first city of the Pentapolis, or Quinque Burgi, of Fifburg, a league of
the five confederate towns, Lincoln, Nottingham, Derby, Leicester, and
Stamford.  Before the Norman Conquest Lincoln was the fourth city in the
kingdom, and during the 11th and 12th centuries it was one of the
greatest trading towns in the kingdom.  The castle was founded by the
Conqueror, A.D. 1086, being one of four which he erected at York,
Nottingham, Hastings and here; and 166 “mansions” were destroyed to
provide space for it. {119c}

The Empress Maud, in 1140, took up her residence in Lincoln, and strongly
fortified the castle.  It was besieged by Stephen, who was defeated and
made prisoner at the battle of Lincoln.  A prophecy had long been current
to this effect,—

    “The first crowned head that enters Lincoln’s walls,
    His reign proves stormy, and his kingdom falls.”

On Stephen’s restoration he visited Lincoln in triumph, wearing his
crown; but subsequent events verified the prediction.

At Lincoln, in 1200, William the Lion, of Scotland, did homage to King
John of England.

On the death of Queen Eleanor, the beloved wife of Edward I., at Harby, a
small hamlet of North Clifton, Notts, the embalmed body was taken to
Westminster for burial, but the viscera were brought to Lincoln and
interred in the Cathedral, A.D. 1290.

In 1301 Edward I. held a Parliament in Lincoln, to decide on sending
letters to Rome to Pope Boniface VIII., asserting England’s independence
of the Pope.

In 1305 Edward I. kept his court in Lincoln a whole winter, and held
another Parliament, in which he confirmed the Magna Charta of King John.

A Parliament was also held in Lincoln by Edward II., and another, in his
first year, by Edward III.

In 1352 the staple of wool was removed from Flanders to England; and
Lincoln, with Westminster, Chichester, Canterbury, Bristol, and Hull, was
made a staple town {120b} for that commodity.

John, of Gaunt, fourth son of Edward III., resided in Lincoln Castle.
His son, “Henry of Bolingbroke,” afterwards Henry IV., was the only king
born in this county.  John of Gaunt married Catherine Swynford, sister of
Chaucer the poet.  She and a daughter were interred in the Cathedral, on
the south side of the altar steps.  The royalty of Lincoln Castle was
shewn by a shield over a doorway, bearing the arms of England and France,
quarterly, which were shewn in Buck’s engraving, date 1727.

In the year 1386 Richard II. visited Lincoln and held a Court in the
Episcopal Palace.  He granted to the Mayor and his successors the
privilege of having a sword carried before them in civic processions.

Henry VI. visited Lincoln and held a Court at the Bishop’s Palace in

Henry VII. visited Lincoln in 1486, and was right royally entertained.

On the dissolution of monasteries {120c} by Henry VIII., Lincoln became
the headquarters of 60,000 insurgents, who, by the subsequent “Pilgrimage
of Grace,” made their protest against the spoliation, A.D. 1536.

In 1541 Henry VIII. made a progress to York, and, although he had called
Lincolnshire one of “the most brute and beastly shires in the realm,” he,
on his way, visited Lincoln in great state.  It is recorded that he found
in the Cathedral Treasury 2,621 ozs. of gold and 4,285 ozs. of silver,
besides jewels of great value.

On the commencement of the Civil Wars between Charles I. and his
Parliament, the King came to Lincoln, where he received assurances of
support from the Corporation and principal inhabitants.  He convened
there a meeting of the nobles, knights, gentry, and freeholders of the
county.  Lincoln Castle was taken by the troops of Cromwell, under the
Earl of Manchester, in the year 1644.

James I. visited Lincoln A.D. 1617, hunted wild deer on Lincoln Heath,
touched 50 persons for “the King’s evil,” attended service in the
Cathedral, and cockfighting at “The Sign of the George.” {121a}

In 1695 William of Orange visited Lincoln, but it is on record that,
being entertained the day before by Sir John Brownlow, at Belton, “the
king was exceeding merry there, and drank very freely, which was the
occasion, when he came to Lincoln, he could take nothing but a porringer
of milk.” {121b}  In Lincolnshire phrase, he had been “very fresh.”

Reviewing these historic items, I think we may say, with the historian
Freeman, that Lincoln “kept up its continuous being, as a place of note
and importance, through Roman, English, Danish, and Norman Conquests,”
and that it has a record of which we may fairly be proud, as meriting the
praise which old Alexander Necham, in his treatise “De divina Sapientia,”
bestowed upon it,”

    Lindisiæ columen Lincolnia, sive columna,
       Munifica felix gente, repleta bonis.

I have said little of the Cathedral.  That is, indeed, too large a
subject.  The visitor must see it for himself.  I have referred to the
opinion of Mr. Ruskin.  His exact words, written at the time of the
opening of the School of Art, to the Mayor, were these: “I have always
held, and am prepared against all comers to maintain, that the Cathedral
of Lincoln is out and out the most precious piece of architecture in the
British islands, worth any two other cathedrals we have got.” {121c}
Viewed in the distance, from the neighbourhood of Woodhall Spa, its three
towers seem to coalesce into one, almost of pyramidal form, to crown the
hill on which it stands.  That form was once more lofty, and more
pointed, for each of the three towers had a spire.  An entry in the
Minster Archives records the fall of the largest—ruina magnæ pyramidis—in
1547.  In 1808 the two other lesser spires were taken down, not without
strong remonstrances and much skirmishing in the public papers and
elsewhere, as to the propriety of the act.  The Lincoln people proved
themselves more law-abiding than they had been on a previous occasion,
for when, in 1726, the Chapter had decided to remove them, there was a
very considerable riot, called “The Religious Mob,” of which an amusing
account was found among some MS.

    “_Tuesday night_, _Sept._ 20, 1726, _a mob was raised in Lincoln to
    hinder the puling down the_ 2 _west End spirs of the Cathedrall_,
    _which was then began to be puled down it was computed ther was
    aBout_ 4 _or_ 500 _men_.  _On Wednesday following by orders of the
    Marsters of the Church sent an order to the Mayor and Aldermen
    desiering them to send a Belman through the town with this cry_,
    _whereas there as Been a Tumult for this_ 2 _or_ 3 _Long Day_, _upon
    puling the_ 2 _west end Spirs of the Cauthed Church of Lincoln_,
    _this is to give satisfaction that they have made a stop’ and that
    the spirs shall be repaired again with all speed_.”

On hearing this important proclamation “the mob with one accord gave a
great shout and said ‘God bless the King.’”

The emeute terminated with no more serious results than some headaches
the next day, as the beer barrels in the Chancellor’s cellars were
broached and drained to the last drop by the exultant crowd. {122}

An interesting feature of Lincoln is the ancient “Jew’s House,” situated
on the left hand of “the street which is called strait,” on the “Steep
Hill.”  The Jews of old, notwithstanding the scorn with which they were
often treated, were persons of no small consideration to almost all
ranks, from the Sovereign downwards.  Their almost instinctive propensity
for amassing wealth gave them a powerful lever for moving any who were in
need of the moneylender; and there were few who were not.  Through them,
and sometimes through them alone, the sovereign could indirectly break
the power of his unruly barons, and, naturally, in a city of commerce
such as Lincoln was, as well as the not unfrequent seat of Parliament,
and the residence of powerful members of the nobility, the Jews were an
important element in the population.  Among the “Pipe Rolls” of the
“Public Records,” there are frequent mentions of them; the famous Aaron
and his kinsfolk figuring largely among them.  I here give a few brief
extracts taken from those Rolls (31 Henry I. [1130–1]—1 John

William of the Isle renders count of the ferm of Lincolnshire . . . and
(cr.) by payment of King’s Writ to Aaron the Jew, £29 8s. l0d. . . . owes
£12 4s. 9d.  He renders count of the same debt in the treasury £2 6s. 9d.
new money, for £2 4s. 9d. blank money, and £10 in two tallies, and is
quits.—12 Hen. II., Rot. i. mem. i. Linc.

The Sheriff accounts for the ferm of the counties, And (cr.) by payment
by King’s writ to Aaron of Lincoln and Ysaac Jew £80.—22 Hen. II., Dorset
and Somerset.

Benedict brother of Aaron, and Benedict son of Isaach, and Benedict son
of Jaocb render count of £6 for one mark of gold to be quits of the
pledges of Isaac son of Comitissa.—25 Hen. II., City of Lincoln.

The following looks very like Jews leaguing together to “Jew” a fellow
Jew:—Brun the Jew owes £400 of the fine he made with the King at his
transfretation; but they ought to be required from Aaron of Lincoln, and
Ysáác, and Abraham, son of Rabbi, and Ysáác of Colchester, his sureties,
who have acknowledged that they received those £400 from his chattels.—28
Hen. II., Lond. and Midd.

Benedict, brother of Aaron, renders count of £6 for one mark of gold, to
have in peace his mortgage of Barewe (_i.e._, Barrow).  Abraham, son of
Aaron, owes £6 for one mark of gold to have his debts (settled).—29 Hen.
II., Linc.

Brun the Jew renders count of £1,000 out of the 2,000 marks of the fine
he made with the King, and of which Aaron of Lincoln has to answer for
500 marks.—30 Hen. II., Lond.

The following again looks suspiciously like a bit of Jewish sharp
practice:—Jacob, sister’s son of Aaron, and Benedict his son, owe one
mark of gold, because they kept back the charters of Benedict of the
Bail, which had been acquitted.—31 Hen. II., Linc.

Accordingly, as a succeeding entry, we find that:—Benedict of the Bail
owes 4 bezants, for him, and for fat Manasses, and Vives son of
Deulcresse, and Josoe, son of Samuel, to have their charters from
Benedict, son of Jacob, and from Jacob, sister’s son of Aaron.—31 Hen.
II., Linc.

But, after all, honesty is the best policy, as shewn in the result of
crafty dealing, in the following:—Benedict, son of Aaron, owes 20 marks
for right to £4 8s. 8d., against Meus the Jew of Lincoln; where Benedict
has to pay more than three times the amount of the debt to obtain it.

The following seems to point to a playful practical joke:—Jacob, Aaron’s
sister’s son, renders count of 20 marks, for an amerciament, for taking
off a priest’s cap, and for the deed of Gerard de Sailby.—33 Hen. II.,

Aaron Jew, of Lincoln, Abraham son of Rabbi, and Isaac of Colchester, owe
£400 of the chattels of Brun the Jew, which they received in old money,
of the fine which he made with the King at his crossing over the straits
(otherwise called his “transfretation”).—1 Ric. I., Lond. and Weston.

Of the debts of Aaron of Lincoln, 430 are named, amounting to about
£1,500, a very large sum in those days.—Rolls, 3–5 Ric. I.

Here again we have a case of Jewish trickery:—Ursell, son of Pulcella,
owes 5 marks because he did not give up to Ysaac his debt, and Matathias
the Jew owes half a mark because he has confessed what he previously
denied.—3 Ric. I., Linc.

In the time of Richard I. anti-semitic feeling ran high.  In a Roll, 3
Ric. I., Chent (Kent), we find:—The town of Ospringe owes 20 marks
because it did not make a hue and cry for a slain Jew.  In another, 4
Ric. I., we find:—Richard Malebysse renders count for 20 marks, for
having his land again, which had been seized in the hand of the king on
account of the slaughter of Jews at York.  William de Percy, Knight,
Roger de Ripun, and Alan Malekuke owe 5 marks for the same.  In Lincoln,
however, it has been generally supposed that the Jews escaped violent
treatment, but in a Roll, 3 Ric. I., Linc., there is a list of 80 names
of men of the city fined, as “amerciament for assault on the Jews.”

There are several more mentions of transactions of Lincoln Jews, but
these will suffice.—“Archæol. Review,” Vol. ii., No. vi., pp. 398–410.

There were at one time 52 churches in Lincoln besides the Cathedral; now
they number 15.  There were also in the city 14 monasteries.  Honorius,
the fifth Archbishop of Canterbury, was consecrated by Paulinus in
Lincoln, in 627.

Services in some of the churches have been held somewhat irregularly even
in this cathedral city, for in answer to queries from the Bishop in 1743,
it was found that in St. Bennet’s there was divine service once a month,
and twice on the greater festivals.  St. Mark’s had services on the three
greater festivals, and four times a year besides.  St. Martin’s had
services four or five times a year, St. Mary le Wigford once every
Sunday.  An epitaph in the churchyard of the last-named church, on an old
tombstone, a specimen of Lindocolline wit, runs as follows:—

    Here lies one—believe it, if you can—
    Who, though an attorney, was an honest man. {125}

We have only to add that when Remigius of Fecamp, the first Norman
Bishop, presided over the See of Lincoln, his diocese was far the largest
in England, extending from the Humber to the Thames, and embracing no
less than eight counties.  It was reduced to something like its present
dimensions on the appointment of Bishop Kaye in 1827; except that, since
then, a portion has been taken off and included in the new Diocese of
Southwell.  Truly our bishops were princes in those olden times.

Yet, interesting as Lincoln is, to the archæologist one thing is lacking,
viz., a fitting museum, wherein to bring together, tabulate, and conserve
the many precious relics of the past, which are now scattered about in
private hands, and liable to all sorts of accidents.  When we visit such
collections as those in the museums at Newcastle or Nottingham—even the
limited and crowded, but very interesting, one at Peterborough, and,
above all the very fine collection (especially of Roman antiquities) at
York—we are tempted to exclaim, with a sigh of regret, “O! si sic omnes!”
At Lincoln, colossal fortunes have been, made in the old “staple city,”
now vastly grown, and growing, in its trade; will not some one, or more,
of her wealthy sons come forward, and build, and endow, a museum worthy
of the place, and while there are yet so many priceless treasures
available to enrich it?  The Corporation, indeed, have, in the year of
grace 1904, commenced at last a movement toward establishing a county
museum, but no site is yet secured for it.  A few objects, chiefly of
Natural History, are already placed for safety in the Castle, till better
accommodation can be provided.

We now return to some remains, possessing considerable antiquarian
interest, in our neighbourhood, within easy reach for the visitor to
Woodhall Spa, and belonging to a period later than that of the Briton, or
Roman, or even the Saxon and the Dane; when, as the poet says:—

    Another language spread from coast to coast,
    Only perchance some melancholy stream,
    Or some indignant hills old names preserve,
    When laws, and creeds, and people, all are lost.

The name Woodhall implies the existence, at one time, of a hall in a
wood, and that of sufficient importance to give its name to the whole
demesne. {126a}  Of such a building we have the traces.

The reader of these pages will have learnt that Woodhall Spa is but a
modern creation, in what was, not long ago, an outlying corner of the
parish from which it gets its name.  The original village of Woodhall,
comprising a few scattered farmhouses and cottages near the church, is
distant some four miles from the Spa.  The church will be more fully
described in another chapter; it is here merely referred to as a landmark
in connection with this “hall.”  Immediately adjoining the churchyard, on
the south and south-east, are a farmhouse and buildings of no great age;
but directly south of these, and within 150 yards of the church, is the
site of the ancient Wood-Hall.  There is the hollow of a former moat,
enclosing an area of about 120 feet by 90 feet, and beyond this can be
traced the channel of a dike, which would seem to have connected the moat
with a small, but limpid, stream, {126b} locally called, by the Norse
term, “beck,” which rises in the gravel, some mile and a half distant
eastward, in the parish of Thornton, not far from Langton hill; and
which, passing Woodhall, finds its way, by Poolham and Stixwould, into
the Witham.  Covering a space of some two acres, there are mounds,
beneath which, doubtless, was the _debris_ of what must, in their day,
have been extensive buildings.  They are dotted about with gnarled
hawthorns of considerable antiquity; but otherwise the wood is now
conspicuous only by its absence.

Mr. Denton says (“England in the 15th Century,” p. 252, Bell & Sons,
1888), “the ancient hall or manor house was usually moated for the
purpose of defence,” in times which were apt to be lawless; and in the
case of the “Moated Grange” connected with a greater religious house,
there was the further advantage of the ready supply of fish for the
restricted diet of the monks, amongst whom, except for sick members,
animal food was prohibited.

I have said that the Wood-Hall, or Hall in the Wood, must have been
sufficiently important to give its name to the demesne.  It may be
doubted, however, whether the name Woodhall has always applied to the
whole parish, now so called.  In Camden’s “Britannia,” written about
1586, Gibson’s Edition being 1695, although the names of all the
adjoining parishes appear in his map, that of Woodhall is absent, {127}
and in its place we find “Buckland.”  This latter name still survives in
“Buckland lane,” given in the Award Map, in the north of the parish, and
near to which, within the writer’s memory, there remained a tract of
waste, and wild woodland.  This name, therefore, is interesting, as
indicating the former presence of the wild deer in our neighbourhood.  It
is, as it were, the still uneffaced “slot” of the roaming stag,—a
footprint in the sand of time, still visible.  And, since this Buckland
lane leads to nowhere beyond itself, we may well imagine it to have been
a sort of _cul-de-sac_, a sylvan retreat, in which especially the
antlered herds did congregate from the larger wood of the Manor Hall;
and, in connection with this, we may notice that, not far from this lane,
there still remain two woods, named Dar-wood, which may be taken, by an
easy transition, to represent Deer-wood; further indicating the wild
forest character of the demesne.  Buckland lane terminates at a small
enclosure, now known, for some unrecorded reason, as “America,” the sole
plot of land, besides the churchyard, remaining in the parish attached to
the church.  The modern incumbent may indulge his fancy by supposing
that, notwithstanding the strict monastic rule, this bit of church land
may, in the olden day, occasionally have furnished a “fatte buck” for the
table of the lordly Abbot of Kirkstead. {128a}  In the Liber Regis, or
King’s Book, issued by Commissioners under Henry VIII., the benefice is
called Wood Hall; but it would seem, from what has been given above, that
it was not until a later period that the whole Civil Parish became known
by that name.  There is nothing to show who were the occupants of this
Wood Hall, but, until the Reformation, they probably held it in fee from
the Abbots of Kirkstead.  One little evidence of the connection with the
great religious house survived, till within the last few years, in the
Holy Thistle (Carduus Marianus), which grew in an adjoining field, as it
also did about the ruin of Kirkstead Abbey, but it is now, it is
believed, extinct.  The monks found an innocent recreation in gardening,
but they are gone, and even their plants have followed them.

In this same parish, and within two miles of this old Wood Hall, are the
traces of another similar ancient establishment, viz., High-hall.  We
have already stated that Brito, son of Eudo, the Norman Baron of
Tattershall, gave to the Abbots of Kirkstead two portions of the parish
of Woodhall, which would seem to imply that he retained the third portion
for himself. {128b}  In that case this residence of the superior Lord of
the Manor might naturally be distinguished from the Wood Hall by the
title of the High Hall; and the traces of it which remain indicate that
it was on a larger scale than the former.  The position is in the second
field northward from the road called “‘Sandy lane,” which is the boundary
between the Woodhall Spa Civil district and Old Woodhall, and just
outside, westward, the present High-hall Wood, which formerly extended
further than it now does, so as completely to shelter this hall from the
north and east.  There are traces of three moated enclosures, from 70
yards to 100 yards in length east and west, and from 40 yards to 60 yards
in width, covering an area of some three acres.  Here, also, as at
Woodhall, the moats, for the sake of fresh water, are connected by a
channel with a running stream near at hand, though now at this point only
small, named Reed’s Beck, which rises within the High-Hall Wood.

At what date this old Hall fell into decay we have no means of knowing.
The turf which now covers its foundations has at some time been levelled,
and beyond slight indications of walls in the central of the three
enclosures, the moats alone survive to shew its extent.  The writer is in
possession of an interesting relic, an old pistol of curious workmanship,
which was found near the place by Mr. Atkinson, of the farm adjoining, in
digging a ditch.  The peculiar make of the weapon would seem to indicate
that it was of the date of about Charles I.; {129} in which case we may
suppose that the Hall was at that time occupied as a residence, and the
pistol, being of French manufacture and rather handsomely chased, may
have belonged to the wealthy occupant of the mansion; or, perhaps more
likely, may have been part of the accoutrements of a cavalier of rank in
the Royalist army, which, after their defeat at the battle of Winceby,
near Horncastle, Oct. 11, 1643, was dispersed over the whole of this
neighbourhood; and a fugitive officer may have sought shelter and
hospitality at the High-Hall.

It is not a little remarkable that there should have been these two
Halls, so near to each other and within the one parish; but they
represent to us the lay, and the ecclesiastical, powers that were.

There were, also, other large, moated, ancient residences in our
immediate neighbourhood, but in this chapter I confine myself to the two
situated in Woodhall.  The others will claim attention hereafter.


It was stated in the preceding chapter, that, besides the two ancient
moated mansions in the parish of Woodhall, there described, there are
other remains of a like character in our immediate neighbourhood.  I will
first mention a residence, the site of which I have not been able
definitely to fix, but it would probably be somewhere near the Manor
House of Woodhall Spa.  I have before me a copy of a will preserved at
the Probate Office, Lincoln, {131} which begins thus:—“The 6th of Dec.,
1608, I, Edmund Sherard of Bracken-End, in the parish of Woodhall, and
county of Lincoln, gente., sicke in bodye, but of perfect memorie, do
will,” &c.  We may pause here to notice that the name “Bracken-End” would
seem to imply that the residence stood at an extreme point of what is now
“Bracken” wood, and, as the position would naturally be viewed in its
geographical relation to the centre of the parish, either to the Woodhall
by the parish church, or to the manorial High Hall, this point, we may
assume, would be on the far, or south, side of Bracken wood, as the
present Manor House is.  In a similar manner a row of houses in
Kirkstead, from their outlying situation, are called “Town-end.”  In an
old document, in Latin (Reg. III., D. & C.D. 153), mention is made of
“Willelmus Howeson de Howeson-end”; and the residence of Lord Braybrooke,
in Cambridgeshire, is named Audley End.  There are known to have been a
succession of buildings on the site of the present Woodhall Manor House,
and we can hardly doubt that the residence here referred to as
“Bracken-end” also stood there.

The will is of further interest as shewing the testator’s connection and
dealings with members of families of position once, or still, well known
in the neighbourhood or county.

His first bequest is (that which is the common lot of us all) “my bodye
to the earth whence it came.”  He then goes on to bequeath certain sums
“To Susanna my weif . . .  To Elizabeth Sherard my daughter . . .  To my
sonne Robert . . .  To the child my weif is conceaved with . . .  The
portions to be payde when my son Robert is xxj. years of age, and my
daughters’ portions when they are xx., or shall marrie.  My executur to
keepe and maintaine my children,” &c.  He then wills that, in accordance
with “an arbitrament between Sir John Meares, of Awbrowy (Aukborough), in
the county of Lincoln, knight,” and another, “with the consent of Willm.
Sherard, of Lope-thorpe, in the parish of North Witham, knight, on the
one partie, and I, the said Edmund Sherard, of the other partie . . .
that the said William Sherard shall be accomptable . . . every yeare, of
the goods and chattles of John Sherard, late of Lincoln, gent., deceased”
. . . and, “I desire my said brother William Sherard, knight, . . . that
he should discharge the same accordinglie to the benefit of my weif and
children.  Item, that Robert Thomson, my Father-in-law, shall have all my
sheepe in Bracken End, which I bought of him, and owe for only fourty of
them; that he shall paye to my wief for them vs. iiijd. (5s. 4d.)
apeece.”  He then mentions as “debts dewe”:—“John Ingrum of Bucknall for
sheepe of lord Willoughbie xijli.; Edward Skipwith of Ketsby, gent, for
lx. sheep xxvvijli.; and if he refuse the sheepe, to pay to my executrix
xls., which the Testator payde for sommering them: Edward Skipwith to be
accomptable for the wool of the sayde sheepe for this last year, but
(_i.e._, except) for vli. he hath payde in parts thereof.”  “The Lord
Clinton oweth for 1000 kiddes.  Thomas Brownloe, servant of lord
Willoughbie of Knaith, oweth for monev lent him, lvs.”—Prob. at Lincoln 9
Jan. 1608–9.

On these various items we may remark that, from the figures here given,
60 sheep cost 27 pounds, or 9 shillings each, of the money of that date,
and for the “sommering” of them was paid 8d. each.  In the first case his
father-in-law was only able to pay 5s. 4d. each, because the testator
still owed him for 40 of them.

The Lord Clinton named as owing for “1000 kiddes” would at that time be
residing at Tattershall Castle, which was one of his principal
residences, Sempringham being another (Camden’s “Britannia,” p. 478).  We
here have the thoroughly Lincolnshire word ”kid” for faggot. {133}  The
name “Lope-thorpe” for the residence of the testator’s brother, Sir
William Sherard, is a variation from Lobthorpe.  A moat and fish ponds
still mark the site of Lobthorpe Hall in North Witham, and there are
several monuments in the church of Sir Brownlow Sherard and other members
of the family.  As there is no mention of the burial of this Edmund
Sherard, Gent., of Bracken-end, in the Woodhall parish register, he was
doubtless also interred at North Witham.

The “Sir John Meares of Aukborough” mentioned as a party to the
“arbitrament” was a member of a very old Lincolnshire family, whose chief
seat was Kirton near Boston, Sir John being lord of that manor; and there
are several monuments of the family in the church there.  Sir Thomas
Meares, of Meres, was M.P. for Lincoln in eleven Parliaments, and was
knighted at Whitehall in 1660 by Charles II.; and another Thomas Meeres
was Member for the county in three Parlaiments temp. Henry VI.  The
“Edward Skipwith, of Ketsby, Gent.,” also mentioned, is again a scion of
one of our very old county families, their chief seat in this
neighbourhood having been South Ormsby, to which Ketsby is attached.  The
church there has a brass of Sir William Skipwith, Knight, his wife (who
was a Dymoke) and children.  Among the “Lincolnshire Gentry” of 1634
named in a list preserved in the library of the Herald’s College, are
Robert Sherard of Gautby, and John Sherard; Robert Meeres of Kirton, and
Anthony Meeres of Bonby; Edward Skipwith of Legbourne, Edward Skipwith of
Grantham, and Samuel Skipwith of Utterby.

In the person, then, of this former squire of Bracken-end in Woodhall, we
have an individual belonging to a family of knightly rank, his friends
being members of some of our oldest county aristocracy, and his
transactions connected with such Lords paramount as the Baron Willoughby
of Knaith and Lord Clinton of Tattershall.  I may add that the family is
now represented by Lord Sherard of Leitrim, in the Peerage of Ireland,
who is connected by marriage with the Reeves of Leadenham, the
Whichcotes, and other good Lincolnshire families.

I now proceed to mention a few more of the ancient moated mansions in our
neighbourhood.  It was mentioned in the last chapter that, besides two
portions of the land of the parish of Woodhall being given by Baron
Brito, son of Eudo of Tattershall, to the Abbey of Kirkstead, the rectory
of that benefice was also in the gift of the Abbot.  In like manner the
Abbot held lands in Thimbleby, erected a gallows there on which, at
different times, several persons were hanged; and he owned the advowson
of that benefice; and the present rectory house of that parish, built
about 1840, stands on the site of a former residence, which was guarded
by a moat.  Within this enclosure there is still an ancient well, lined
with Spilsby sandstone, of which the church, like most in the
neighbourhood, is also built.  This well has been said to be “Roman,”
{134} but, without venturing to give it so early a date, we may, perhaps,
safely say that it belonged to the lesser religious house formerly there
existing, as a dependency of the Abbey of Kirkstead.  There was, however,
a Roman well found a few years ago, at Horncastle, within the old Roman
castle walls, at the spot where the National Schools now stand.
Similarly, the Abbot of Kirkstead was patron of the benefice of
Wispington, another neighbouring parish, by the gift (about 1400) of
another and later descendant of Eudo of Tattershall, who owned a moiety
of this parish, the Bishop of Durham holding the other moiety; and,
accordingly, here again there are extensive moats, ponds, and mounds,
indicating a former large, and strongly protected, residence.  Portions
of this still form parts of a farmhouse (Mr. Evison’s), and the farm
buildings on the same premises, as well as of those now occupied by Mr.
Gaunt, whose very name carries us back to the days of the great Norman
magnate, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, scarcely less powerful than
his ancestor, Gilbert de Gaunt, to whom the Conqueror gave no less than
113 manors; but to John belonged the peculiar distinction of being father
of Henry IV., the only sovereign born in our county.  This mansion was
for some generations the property of a family of substance, named
Phillips.  The head of this family, in the reign of Elizabeth, is
mentioned among those patriotic individuals who subscribed his £25
towards the cost of the Fleet which was intended to repel the Spanish
Armada.  One of this family, Phillips Glover, who was sheriff for the
county in 1727, had a daughter Laura, who married Mr. Robert Vyner, of
Eathorpe, Warwickshire, whose family are now amongst our greatest
landowners, and draw an almost princely revenue from the Liverpool docks.

We now pass on to another neighbouring moated mansion.  About 2½ miles
from Woodhall Spa to the east, and only separated from Woodhall parish by
a green lane, is White-Hall wood; on the opposite, northern, side of this
lane being the High-Hall wood, already mentioned.  Both these woods take
their names from the old residences contiguous to them.  The visitor to
Woodhall Spa, if a pedestrian, leaving the road from Woodhall Spa to
Horncastle, in that part of it called “Short lane,” because it is so
long; after passing the two small woods, called Roughton Scrubs, on his
right hand, and just before reaching the slight ascent near Martin
bridge, may take to a cart-track, on the left or north side of the road,
through a wood, crossing the railway, which here runs almost close to the
road; pursuing this track through the wood some 200 yards, and then,
turning slightly to the left in a north-westerly direction through two
small grass fields, he will find, in an angle on the north side of the
wood, a moated enclosure, between 75 and 80 yards square, shewing slight
irregularities of the ground, on its northern side, indicating the site
of a former building.  Outside the moat are traces of another enclosure;
a large depression shews where there was probably a “stew pond” for carp
and tench; and the channel of a dyke is seen running north-west till it
joins a small ditch, which may probably, at one time, have been a feeder
to one of two streams already mentioned as being near the High Hall
remains, and named “Odd’s beck.”  I may say here, once for all, that the
moats and ponds of these large establishments were a matter of
considerable importance and care.  They were protected from injury by the
Acts, 3 Ed. I. and 5 Eliz., c. 21 (Treatise on Old Game Laws, 1725).
“The fish-stews were scientifically cultivated, and so arranged that they
could be drained at will.  When the water was run off from one, the fish
were transferred to the next.  Oats, barley, and rye grass were then
grown in it; when these were reaped it was re-stocked with fish.  The
ponds were thus sweetened and a supply of food introduced; suitable weeds
were also grown on the margin, and each pond, or moat, was treated in the
same way in rotation.”—“Nature and Woodcraft,” by J. Watson.

Nothing now exists of this former mansion above ground, but the moats and
mounds cover an area of more than two acres, shewing that it was a large
residence.  It is in Martin parish.  Within the writer’s recollection
there were marigolds and other flowers still growing about the spot,
survivals from the quondam hall garth, or garden.  This was the home of a
branch of the Fynes, or Fiennes Clinton, family, whose head, Edward, Lord
Clinton and Saye, Lord High Admiral of England, was created Earl of
Lincoln by Queen Elizabeth in 1572; the present head of the family being
the Duke of Newcastle, whose creation dates from 1756.

The connection of this great family with our neighbourhood came about in
this wise.  The line of Lord Treasurer Cromwell having become extinct,
Henry VII., in 1487, granted the manor and other estates to his mother,
Margaret, Countess of Richmond, and in the following year entailed them
on the Duke of Richmond.  The Duke died without issue; and Henry VIII.,
in 1520, granted them to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.  On the death
of the two infant sons of the Duke, surviving their father only a short
time, the estates again reverted to the Sovereign; and in 1551 Edwd. VI.
granted them to Edward Lord Clinton and Saye, afterwards, as we have
said, Earl of Lincoln.  These estates included that of the dissolved
Abbey of Kirkstead, and other properties in this neighbourhood; and among
them the White Hall and its appurtenances.  When the earldom of Lincoln,
through a marriage, became absorbed in the Dukedom of Newcastle, several
of these estates remained with junior branches of the Clinton, or
Fiennes, family.  Of the particular branch residing at White Hall,
probably the most distinguished member was one whose monumental tablet is
still in Roughton church; the ministrations of which church they would
seem, judging by entries in the registers, to have attended, in
preference to the church of Martin, in which parish the estate was
situated.  The lengthy inscription on this tablet is as follows:—“Here
lies the body of Norreys Fynes, Esq., Grandson to Sir Henry Clinton,
commonly called Fynes, eldest son of Henry Earl of Lincoln, by his Second
Wife, Daughter of Sir Richard Morrison, and Mother of Francis Lord
Norreys, afterwards Earl of Berkshire.  He had by his much-beloved and
only Wife Elizabeth, who lies by him, Twelve children, of which Four Sons
and Two Daughters were living at his decease, which happened on the 10th
of January 1735–6 in the 75th year of his age.  From the Revolution he
always liv’d a Non-juror, {137} which rendered him incapable of any other
Publick Employment (tho’ by his Great Ability and Known Courage equal to
the most Difficult and Dangerous) than that of being Steward to two great
Familys, wherein he distinguish’d himself during his service of 40 year a
most Faithful and Prudent manager, of a most Virtuous and Religious Life.
His paternal estate he left without any addition to his son Kendal his
next heir.  His eldest son Charles was buried here the 26th August 1722,
aged 36 years, whose Pleasant Disposition adorn’d by many virtues which
he acquired by his Studys in Oxford made his death much lamented by all
his Acquaintance.”  Possibly, as being a Non-juror, he may have thought
it best not to attend public worship in his own parish church at Martin,
and so have gone, with his family, to the church of Roughton, where, as
an “outener,” he would be asked no questions.  I find in connection with
his family the following notices in the Roughton Registers, the spelling
of which would certainly shew that the writer was not a
“Beauclerk”:—“1722 Mr. Charles fines burried Augst ye 26. 1722”; “Madame
Elizabeth fines was buered May ye 29, 1730”  This was the “only and much
loved wife” of Norreys Fynes, and the title “Madame” was a recognition of
her superior rank.  “Norreys Fynes Esq. was buried ye 10th January
1736/7”  This entry was evidently so correctly made by the Rector
himself; as also was probably the next one, “Dormer Fynes ye sonn of
Kendall Fynes Esq. and Frances his wife was baptized Nov. 10. 1737.”
“Cendal (Kendal) fins, the son of Norreys fins was buried June the twenty
foorst, 1740.”  (Note the Lincolnshire pronunciation “foorst”).  “Francis
Fynes, widow of Kendall Fynes buried May 13. 1752.”

I mentioned in a previous chapter the very bad condition of the roads
about here; and there is a still lingering tradition that the last of the
Fynes residing at White Hall used to drive about in a waggon drawn by
bullocks.  This estate, with some other land, of which the writer has
been “shooting tenant” for more than a score of years, is still in the
hands of “the Fiennes Clinton Trustees”; but there are Fynes, still in
the flesh, living in our midst at Woodhall, who, though treading a
humbler walk in life, are not altogether unworthy of their high ancestry.

There is another old moated residence, of considerable historic interest,
which next claims our attention.  Within a mile westward of the Wood
Hall, by the church, and closely contiguous to the north-west boundary of
the Woodhall estate, stands Poolham Hall, an old-fashioned, but
comfortable and substantially-built, stucco-coated and slated farmhouse.
It now, along with the small manor, belongs to Dr. Byron, residing in
London, who bought it a few years ago from Mr. Christopher Turnor, of
Stoke Rochford and Panton Hall, in this county.  At the back of the Hall,
at the south-west corner of what is now the kitchen garden, and close to
the enclosing moat, are the remains of a small chapel, consisting of an
end wall and part of a side wall, each with a narrow window; there are
fragments of larger stones bearing traces of sculpture, and, within
recollection, there was also a tombstone with the date 1527, and a font.
{139}  The house was, doubtless, formerly much larger than it is now.
Like the other similar residences which I have described, Poolham Hall
has close by it a running stream, called Monk’s dyke, which unites with
some of the other becks already named, and ultimately flows into the
Witham.  The chief interest in this old place lies in the distant past;
it has gone through a varied series of vicissitudes, and witnessed some
stirring scenes.  Weir, in his “History of Horncastle” (ed. 1820, p. 58),
under the head of Edlington, says briefly of Poolham, “anciently called
Polum, it formed part of the Barony of Gilbert de Gaunt, until about the
35th year of Edward I., when Robert de Barkeworth died seised of it; and
it appears to have been the residence of Walter de Barkeworth, who died
in 1374, and was buried in the cloister of Lincoln Cathedral.  Afterwards
it was the residence of the family of Thimbleby, a branch of the
Thimblebys of Irnham, who probably built the present house about the time
of Henry VIII.  In the reign of Elizabeth the Saviles of Howley possessed
it; and in 1600 Sir John Savile, Knight, sold it to George Bolles,
citizen of London, whose descendant, Sir John Bolles, Baronet, conveyed
it to Sir Edmund Turnor, Knight, of Stoke Rochford.”  Of the above
families, I have not been able to find very much about the Barkworths,
who took their name doubtless from East Barkwith, where they had
property.  But Gocelyn de Barkworth, and after him William de Barkworth,
are named in an Assize Roll (4 Ed. II., 1311) as having possessions in
Tetford.  In 3 Ed. III. (A.D. 1329), William de Barkworth and his wife
“fflorianora” were plaintiffs in a land dispute with Robert de Hanay and
Alice his wife; whereby “1 messuage, 1 carucate of land, 9 acres of
meadow, 1 acre of ‘more,’ and the moiety of 1 messuage and 1 mill, with
appurtenances in Normanby, Claxby, and Ussylby, were quitclaimed to
William and fflorianora, and fflorianora’s heirs.”  I may add, as to the
item here named “1 mill,” that a mill in those days was a property of
some value; all the dependents of the lord of the manor were obliged to
have their corn, for man or beast, ground in it; and no other mill was
allowed in the neighbourhood where one was already established.  It is
recorded by Beckman that “a certain Abbot wished to erect a mill, which
was objected to by a neighbouring proprietor, who contended that the wind
of the whole district belonged to him.  The monks complained to the
bishop, who gave them permission to build, affirming that the wind of the
whole diocese was episcopal property.”  (Oliver’s “Rel., Houses,” p. 76
note 9.)  In 1351 William de Barkworth, “lord of Polume,” presented to
the moiety of the chapelry (of Poolham); and in 1369 Thomas de Thymelby
presented to it.  And from this time the Thimblebyes take the place of
the Barkworths.  These Thimblebyes, whose name is variously spelt
Thimelby, Thymbylbye, and even (as in Domesday Book) Stimblebi, and
Stinblebi, were a numerous and influential race.  Their chief residence
was Irnham Park, near Grantham, which was acquired about 1510 by Richard
Thimbleby, on his marriage with the heiress of Godfrey Hilton, whose
ancestor, Sir Geoffrey Hilton, Knight, had obtained it in 1419, by his
marriage with an heiress of the Luterels, several of whom were called to
Parliament, as Barons, in the 13th century.  This was one of fifteen
manors given by William the Conqueror to Ralph Paganel; and with the
heiress of his family it passed, by marriage, to Sir Andrew Luterel,
Knight.  The Thymblebyes would seem to have taken their patronymic from
the village of that name (part of which now forms a portion of the
Woodhall Spa parish), as the earlier members of the family we find
designated as Thomas de Thymelby.  Nicholas de Thymelby, and so forth.
Besides land in Thimbleby they owned many other estates.  For instance,
in the Court of Wards Inquisitions (3, 4, and 5 Edward VI., vol. v., 91),
we find that Matthew Thimbleby “of Polom,” who married Anne, daughter of
Sir Robert Hussey, about 1521, died “seised of the manors of Polome,
Farfford, Ruckelyond, Somersby, Parish-fee, in Horncastle, Edlynton,
Thymylby, and Tydd St. Mary; also of lands in Horsyngton, Styxwolde,
Blankney, Buckland (_i.e._ Woodhall), and Flette: and of the advowsons of
Tetforde, Farefford, Rucklonde, and Somersbye.”  This Matthew Thimbleby’s
wealthy “grass widow” married again, Sir Robert Savile, Knight, who
(according to Chancery Inquisition, post mortem, 28 Eliz., 1st part, No.
116) “died seised of the manors of Poolham, Horsington, Stixwolde,
Edlington, Tetford, Farforth, Somersby, and Ruckland.”

Before quitting the Thimblebyes, we have one more incident to name in
connection with them.  In 1581, one of them, residing at Poolham, was
imprisoned in Lincoln Castle for refusing to attend the new Reformed
Services and Communion.  His wife greatly desired to see him, and was
allowed her request by Thomas Cooper, Bishop of Lincoln.  She was near
her confinement, but, as her name was among a list of those not
favourable to the Reformation, she was treated rather roughly, and
detained by force in her husband’s cell.  This brought on premature
labour, and in the hour of her weakness she was denied the assistance of
a matron.  It is said that a speedy death ended her sufferings; her
husband also dying in prison.—“The Church under Elizabeth,” by Dr. F. G.
Lee, vol. ii., p. 60.  It is further recorded of this same Bishop, that
he summoned Sir Robert Dymoke to Lincoln for examination as to his
supposed Papist tendencies, and on Sir Robert excusing himself on the
score of ill health, the Bishop came in person to Scrivelsby and carried
him forcibly to Lincoln, and cast him into prison, where he presently
died.  It is not a little curious that one, who, as a doughty knight, at
three coronations threw down his gauntlet and challenged the world on his
Sovereign’s behalf, should have succumbed to a stiff-necked prelate.  The
account of this is given in Lodge’s “Scrivelsby, the Home of the
Champions,” pp. 77, 78.

We now come to the Saviles.  They were a wealthy and distinguished
Yorkshire family, now represented by the Earls of Mexborough.  Sir Robert
disposed of some of the property in this neighbourhood, which he had
acquired by his marriage with the widow Thimbleby, but he retained
Poolham, and made the Hall his headquarters. {142a}  The Saviles may have
been hot-blooded, for they had not been located long at Poolham before
they became embroiled with their neighbours.  The manners of the times
were somewhat rough, and we here give a sample or two.  The autocrat of
the neighbourhood at that time was Henry Fiennes Clinton, second Earl of
Lincoln, who was apparently inclined to ride roughshod over everyone who
came in his way; the object of his life seems to have been to quarrel,
and to keep in a state of irritation the county from which he derived his
title.  It is said that Denzil Hollis, “living much at Irby, used to
confront the Earl of Lincoln, who was a great tyrant among the gentry of
Lincolnshire, and to carry business against him, in spite of his teeth.”
{142b}  But stout old Denzil died in 1590, and, this check withdrawn, the
Earl’s conduct increased in violence. {142c}  Lodge, {142d} in his
records, mentions one Roger Fullshaw of Waddingworth (near Horncastle),
who, in 1596, prayed for protection against the most horrible outrages
committed by the Earl, and says that his conduct savoured of insanity.
Before he succeeded to the earldom, and consequently when he had not yet
so much power to oppress, he committed the following aggressions on the
Saviles of Poolham.  We must premise that Sir Robert Savile, though a
knight of good estate, and though his descendants became Earls of Sussex,
was, nevertheless, a natural son of Sir Henry Savile, by Margaret
Barkston, “his Ladie’s gentlewoman,” {143a} which, as will be seen, was
not forgotten by the high-born Clinton.  These occurrences took place in
1578.  They were neighbours, and jealous of trespass; and, on the 13th of
June, Lord Clinton, “with 7 men with cross-bowes and long-bowes bent,”
forced himself into the parlour at Poolham Hall, and, after threatening
words, struck Sheffield Savile, the son, on the head.  The elder Savile
says that he prevented his son from noticing the outrage, an unusual
degree of forbearance under the circumstances; but there had evidently
been some previous misunderstanding, and possibly young Savile had been
in the wrong.  On the 25th of June following, Lord Clinton, hearing Sir
Robert’s hounds hunting in Mr. Welby’s wood, {143b} although it was no
concern of his, seized five of them, and then sent a letter to Sir
Robert, threatening that he would hang them before his house; and, in
fact, did hang them, as Sir Robert says, “upon my own tree within my own

Another violent proceeding is described in a letter of the Earl’s friend.
Mr. Metham {143c} had been previously entertaining Lord Clinton at
Metham, and was now on a return visit to Tattershall; and, as he relates,
“It pleased him (Lord Clinton) to carrye me with my companye through his
park (still surviving in the name “Tattershall park”) unto the chase,
where his meaning was to have made sport with hounds and greyhounds
(i.e., badger hounds), and leading me by, into the meadows, he shewed me
certain of the great deer of the chase, such as he kept rather for show
than to be hunted.”  These would be the red deer (cervus elaphus) still
existing then on Hatfield chase, in the northwest of the county, in
considerable numbers.  The deer broke away into Mr. Welby’s woods, and
“thence, as my lord affirmed, with an oath, into the mouths of the
Saviles.”  Lord Clinton’s attendants followed the hounds, Lord Clinton
himself not doing so; but, in passing along a lane, he encountered some
of the Savile followers, “in number 20 or 24, the more part having
swords, bucklers, and daggers, some pyked staves, one a cross-bowe with
an arrowe, another a long bowe and arrows.”  While words were being
exchanged “ould Mr. Savile” came up, and the following characteristic
dialogue ensued.  “My Lord Clinton, yf thou be a man, light, and fight
with me.”  “With thee, bastardlye knave,” quoth my lord, “I will deal
with thee well enough, and teach thee, knave, thy duty.”  Upon which
words Mr. Savile called my lord “a cowardly knave.”  Challenges passed
between them, and with Sheffield Savile, who, withdrawing, as he says,
Lord Clinton by the arm, called out after him, “You a lord, you are a
kitchen boy.”  Sir Robert, after their departure, having got hold of one
of Lord Clinton’s dogs, meant, Metham says, “to use it with like courtesy
as my lord has done his.”  Lord Clinton then approached Poolham Hall, and
a challenge passed, through John Savile, to fight six to six, “which by
good entreaty was stayed.”  Savile says, {144} in his narrative, that the
followers of Lord Clinton were entertained at Horncastle, the same day,
with a buck; and getting hold of an unfortunate tailor, some ten or
twelve of them drew their swords and sore wounded him, saying he should
“have that, and more, for his master’s sake, Mr. Sheffield Savile.”

The Lansdown MSS. give details of other violent proceedings of Lord
Clinton towards the Saviles; how he over-ran the lands of Poolham with 60
men, armed with guns, cross-bows, and long bows; how he ill-treated their
servants sent to Tattershall on domestic errands; incited the neighbours
to send challenges to them; how he tried to entice into his park the
younger Saviles, and laid ambushes for them; and various other
proceedings which he would not for a moment have tolerated in anyone
else.  It redounds, indeed, to the credit of the Saviles that Poolham was
not made the scene of retaliation and bloodshed. {145}

In 1600 Sir John Savile sold Poolham to George Bolles, Esq.  Of the
Bolles family I have been able to find but scanty mention.  Among
Lincolnshire Gentry who supplied demy-lances and light horse, at the
Louth Sessions, March, 1586–7, Charles Bolles is named as “Captaine,”
furnishing “ij. horse”; and Richard Bolles “ij launces” and “ij horse”;
while Richard Bowles, which is probably the same name, is mentioned along
with Sir Willm. Skipwith, Mr. Willm. Fitzwilliam, and Mr. Andrewe Gedney,
Sir William’s son-in-law, as the officials who presided at the “Spittle
Sessions,” _i.e._, at Spittal in the Street, near Kirton in Lindsey.

The last of this family to occupy Poolham was Sir John Bolles, Bart., who
conveyed it to Sir Edmund Turnor of Stoke Rochford.  Sir John Bolles is
connected with the pretty and interesting legend and ballad of “The Green
Lady of Thorpe Hall,” which was his chief residence.  The ballad is among
Percy’s “Reliques,” and records how, while serving in Spain, the knight
made captive a noble Spanish lady, who fell in love with her captor; but
he had to check and chill her advances, in this language:—

    “Courteous ladye, leave this fancy,
       Here comes all that breeds the strife;
    I in England have already
       A sweet woman to my wife.”

To which, after craving pardon for her offence, she replies,

       “Commend me to thy lovely lady,
          Bear to her this chain of gold;
       And these bracelets for a token:
          Grieving that I was so bold.
    All my jewels, in like sort, take thou with thee,
    They are fitting for thy wife but not for me.”

The tradition, confirmed in recent years in correspondence by connections
of the family (see notes to ballad, “The Spanish Lady’s Love,” vol. ii.,
p. 144, ed. 1848) affirms that, on Sir John leaving Spain for home, the
lady “sent as presents to his wife, a profusion of jewellery and other
valuables,” with a portrait of herself dressed in green.  Hence she was
named “the Green Lady.”  It was said that she haunted Thorpe Hall, that
her apparition was occasionally seen, and that it was long the custom to
have a plate laid for her at this table at mealtime.  That this story
does not belong entirely to the region of fiction is proved by the fact,
known to the writer, and, doubtless, to many others, that a lady in this
neighbourhood possesses, and at times wears on her person, one article
from the “Green Lady’s” gift of jewellery.

We have one more moated mansion in our neighbourhood which should here be
mentioned, viz., Halstead, or Hawstead, Hall, in the adjoining parish of
Stixwould.  This is the one instance, out of the several old residences I
have mentioned, in which there still remains a substantial building
above-ground.  Doubtless the Hall, originally, was considerably larger
than it is at present, since, at different periods, it has been occupied
by members of leading county families; and I find, from a note, that the
first Earl of Shaftesbury, who married a sister of Lord Coventry, at one
time owner of Stixwould, used to visit here, and accommodation was found
for himself and a large retinue.  Foundations of further buildings have
been found at odd times.  The present Hall is a two-storied structure;
the rooms not large, but lofty, their height on the ground floor being
over 10ft., and on the upper floor more than 13ft.; with spacious attics
above for stores.  The walls are very substantial, being 2½ft. thick;
while the windows, with their massive Ancaster mullions, would further
indicate a much larger building.  Outside the now dry bed of the moat
stands a lofty building, at present used as stables and barn, which has
stoneframed windows, the walls being of brick, smaller than the
present-day bricks, and resembling those of Tattershall Castle and the
Tower on the Moor, and, doubtless, made close at hand, where there is
still a brickyard.  The walls are relieved by diamond-shaped patterns, of
black brick, those in the upper part being smaller than those below.
{146}  A very fine mantelpiece, formerly in Halstead Hall, is now at
Denton House, near Grantham, the seat of Sir William Earle Welby Gregory,
Bart., who is the present head of the family.  It is after the fashion of
the famous mantelpieces of Tattershall Castle.  In recent times Halstead
Hall has been chiefly known for the great robbery which occurred there on
Feb. 2nd, 1829, and which has been related in Chapter II. of this volume.
But, though no connected account of its early owners or occupants can be
given, some interesting details have been brought together by the Rev. J.
A. Penny, Vicar of Wispington, and formerly of Stixwould, which are
given, with a sketch of the Hall, in “Lincolnshire Notes & Queries” (vol.
iii., pp. 33–37).  The estate was the property of Richard Welby of
Moulton, being named in his will, 1465.  He left it to a son “Morys,”
from whom it passed to a brother Roger, and from one of his sons came the
Welbys of Halstead.  The will of one of them is preserved among the
“Lincoln Wills (1st series) proved 18 August, 1524,” wherein he desired
“to be buried in the Church of Stixwolde before the image of our Lady.”

In 1561, March 21, the representative of the Halstead branch of this one
of our leading county families was granted the crest of “an armed arm,
the hand charnell (_i.e._, flesh-coloured) yssvinge out of a cloud,
azure, in a flame of fire”; and the arms are sable, a fess, between three
fleur-de-lis, argent, with six quarterings.  He, Richard Welby, was in
that year Sheriff for the county.

In 1588, Vincent Welby is named in the list of gentry who subscribed £25
each to the loan for repelling the expected Spanish Armada, and at the
muster at Horncastle, in 1586–7, he furnished “ij horse,” as also did his
relative Mr. Welby of Gouphill (Goxhill) at “Castor.”  The first entry of
the Welbys in the Stixwould Registers was “Ann Welbie, christened May
28,” 1547; the last was in 1598.  After them Halstead Hall was owned by a
family of the name of Evington, one of whom, Richard, left “iiijli xs to
be paid yearlie, at the discretion of my executors, to the poor of
Stixwolde, on the 25 March and 29 Sept.”  After them it was occupied by
the Townshends.  Of this family there are two notices in the parish
register:—“Mr. George Townshend Esqr died att Halstead and was buryed att
Waddingworth on Wensdaie night the 13th of Februarie 1627.”  The other
is, “Mr. Kirkland Snawden and Mrs. Francis Townshend married the 25th of
December, being Christmas daie 1628.”  Notice the Lincolnshire
pronunciation Snawden for Snowden.  No reason is given for the unusual
burial by night; and special attention is drawn to the marriage of the
widow, by the sketch in the margin of a hand with outstretched fingers.
This Kirkland Snowden was a grandson of a Bishop of Carlisle, his father
being the Bishop’s son, and Vicar of Horncastle.  They had a daughter
Abigail, who married a Dymoke, from whom the present Dymokes are
descended.  This is one of two instances of a daughter of a Vicar of
Horncastle marrying a Dymoke, since in the present century Miss Madeley,
the only daughter of Dr. Clement Madeley, Vicar, married the late
champion, Rev. John Dymoke.  After these it was held by the Gibbons, of
which family there are also a few entries in the registers.  Another
owner was Sir John Coventry, who was assaulted for using offensive
language about King Charles II., asking in Parliament “whether the king’s
pleasure lay in the men or women players” at the theatres.  He wounded
several of his assailants, but had his own nose cut to the bone; in
consequence of which “The Coventry Act” was passed in 1671, making it
felony to maim or disfigure a person, and refusing to allow the king to
pardon the offenders.  A later owner was Sir William Kite, Bart., who ran
through a large fortune, and sold Halstead and Stixwould to Lord Anson,
the distinguished navigator, and Lord High Admiral of England; some of
whose exploits are recorded in “Anson’s Voyage Round the World,” by
Benjamin Robins.  In 1778 the property was sold to Edmund Turnor, Esq.,
and is still held by his descendants.  This old house is well worth a
visit; and visitors are courteously received by the family who now reside

I now propose to invite the visitor to Woodhall Spa to accompany me in
thought (as not a few have done in person) to some of the places of
interest, churches, or ruins, in the neighbourhood, as it may add a zest
to his perambulations to know something about them.  The descriptions
will probably be brief, leaving a margin to be filled in by his own
personal observation, thus affording him a motive for further enquiry,
and an aim and object for the rambles, which may conduce to his health in
the expansion alike of mind and of lung.  Woodhall does not lie within
what may be called the architectural zone of Lincolnshire.  In the south,
south-east, and south-west of the county, parish after parish possesses a
large church, often beyond the requirements of the population, and of
great and varied architectural beauty.  There is probably no district in
England so rich in fine edifices.  Much of the land was at one time held
by powerful Norman knights and barons, whose energies were often spent in
internecine feuds.  The mediæval creed impressed them with the belief
that their deeds of violence could be atoned for by the erection of
costly churches for the worship, by others, of that God whom they
themselves little honoured.  Interested ecclesiastics fostered this
feeling, {149a} which also fell in with the “Ora pro nobis” yearning of
their own breasts, when suffering from what an old writer has called “the
ayen-bite of Inwyt,” {149b} or, in modern parlance, “remorse of
conscience.”  But if, judged by the scale of expiation, made in endowment
and embodied in stone, these high-handed lords would seem to have been
sinners above their more ordinary fellows, we must at least gratefully
allow that they have left to us of the present day a goodly heritage,
which even our modern vastly increased wealth has not enabled us to
emulate.  These fine churches, in our neighbourhood may be said to
terminate at Coningsby and Tattershall.

In the villages immediately near us, and for several miles northward and
eastward, the churches are small; yet several of them have features of
considerable interest.  Let us turn our steps northward.  The road takes
us in sight of a column, or obelisk, surmounted by a bust of the first
Duke of Wellington.  The history of this is told by the inscription on
the pedestal: “Waterloo Wood was raised from acorns sown immediately
after the memorable battle of Waterloo, when victory was achieved by the
great Captain of the age, his Grace the Duke of Wellington, commanding
the British forces, against the French armies commanded by Napoleon
Bonaparte, the 18th June, 1815, which momentous victory gave general
peace to Europe.  This monument was erected by R. E. (Richard Elmhirst)
1844.”  The bust faces to the north-east, in the direction of West Ashby,
where Colonel Elmhirst resided.  The property some years ago passed, by
sale, into other hands.  At about three miles distance from Woodhall we
reach the small but well-built village of Stixwould (in Domesday Book,
Stigesuuald, Stigeswalt, Stigeswalde).  As to the name Stixwould, anyone,
without being a wag, might well say, and with some apparent reason, “What
more natural combination than these two syllables?”  We naturally, in
primitive life, go to the “wald,” or wood, for our sticks.  Was not the
liberty to gather “kindling,” as we now call it, a valued privilege, even
like the parallel right of “turbage”—to cut peat—for the domestic hearth?
The “sticks-wood” would be the resort of many a serf and villain, for
purposes lawful, or the reverse.  But, unfortunately, the most apparently
obvious explanation is not necessarily the correct one.  Whether the
first part of this name has a reference to a staked-out ford on the
Witham, corresponding to the “wath,” or ford, at Kirkstead, or whether it
is from the old Norse “stigt,” a path, as some suggest, is uncertain.
Streatfeild says, “The swampy locality would favour the idea of ‘stakes’”
(“Lincolnshire and the Danes,” pp. 147–8).  I may here notice that the
old name of Dublin (Dubh-lynn, _i.e._ the black water) was Athcleath, or
“the ford of the hurdles,” which seems a parallel instance (“The Vikings
of Western Christendom,” by C. F. Keary, p. 83, n. 3).  The latter half
of the name would seem to refer to the woods of the district; and
visitors may see a very fine specimen of an ancient oak in the garden of
the Abbey Farm at the farther end of the village; also a fine one at
Halstead Hall, to the east of the village; and there are several more in
the fields, relics, doubtless, of ancient woods.  The church was rebuilt
in 1831, not a favourable period in church restoration, but on the whole
Mr. Padley, the architect, did his work fairly well, although some
spoliation was perpetrated, stained glass being taken away from the
windows; and the panels of the pulpit in Lea church are said to have been
also taken from here.  Some notes, still preserved in vol. ii. (p. 87) of
Willson’s Collection (architect and surveyor, of Lincoln) would seem to
imply that the former church was finer than the present.  He says,
“Stixwould church, spacious, and has been elegant, and is full of curious
remnants; style Ed. IV. or Henry VII.; tower very handsome; . . .  The
interior has been very beautiful—lofty pointed arches, roof of nave and
south aisle supported on rich carved figures of angels with shields;
windows full of remnants of beautiful glass; old oak desks and benches
carved . . . curious font . . . upper end of south aisle inclosed in two
screens of oak . . . exquisitely rich and elegant.  This is called the
little choir, and belongs to Halstead Hall . . . both aisles have had
altars.  Base and pillar of churchyard cross remain.”  He also mentions a
curiously-carved stone in the churchyard in front of the tower, “like a
clock face,” with unusual inscription; which the present writer has also
seen there; but it is now removed to Lincoln. {151a}

The Rev. J. A. Penny, formerly Vicar of Stixwould, furnished the
following description of the present church, when the writer, as local
honorary secretary, conducted the “Lincoln and Notts. Architectural
Society” round the neighbourhood in 1894:—“The figures and pinnacles on
the tower are from the old tower; the choir screen was formed from that
formerly round the small choir, but only one-third of the original,
{151b} which was used as a pew by the tenants of Halstead Hall.  Under
the stone slab nearest the screen, in the nave, were deposited the
remains of a Mr. Boulton, who stabbed his mother to death in the little
chapel outside the Priory gate, for which he was hanged at Lincoln.  The
stone face and wooden angels are from the former church, as also the
bench ends on the south side.  The royal arms, with date 1662, are in a
wall in the Abbey farmhouse; and the holy water stoup is under the pump
in the school yard.  The fine slab, with cross, now under the tower, was
dug up on the site of the Priory, also the stone coffin which stands
there; and the rest in the vicarage garden.  One of the bells is exactly
the same as that in the Guildhall at Lincoln, and dates from 1370; it is
dedicated to St. Katine, with foundry mark (Nottingham), founder’s
initials, and merchant’s mark.  The font is octagonal, with evangelic
emblems, and names, on four sides; on the other sides, a monk seated in a
chair and holding Y in his arms; next a man with arms akimbo, facing due
east; next a monk, or Friar; and next a figure in flab cap, with sword,
holding a rose in his left hand, his right resting on his belt.  These
four figures come between the emblems of St. Mark and St. Luke.”

Of the Religious House, or Priory, at Stixwould, the published accounts
are not quite in accord.  Stukeley and Dugdale {152a} place it among the
Benedictine establishments, whereas Leland calls it Cistercian; {152b}
this, however, is hardly a contradiction, since the Cistercians were “the
straitest sect” of the Benedictines. {152c}  It is said generally to have
been founded by the Lady Lucia (“Comitissa Cestriæ et Lincoln”), widow of
the great Norman Baron, Ivo Taillebois, who came over with the Conqueror
and to have been further endowed by her two sons, Ranulph, Earl of
Chester, and William de Romara, Earl of Lincoln. {152d}  We may just
observe here, in passing, that the figure cut into the stone which
supports the credence table, in the chancel of St. Andrew’s Church,
Woodhall, is supposed to be that of this Countess Lucia, being brought
from the ruins of Stixwould Priory.  The Rev. Thomas Cox, in his
“Lincolnshire” (1719), however, says that the founder was Galfred de
Ezmondeys.  Doubtless, various persons, and at different periods, endowed
or enlarged the foundation, and so became entitled to be counted among
the “fundatores.”  By an Inquisition, taken at Stamford, 3 Ed. I., it was
found that “the Master and Nuns” held divers lands at Huntington, of the
gift of several benefactors, among them being Alexander Creviquer, Lucia,
Countess of Chester, and her son Ranulph; and that “they had been so held
for the space of one hundred years.” {153a}  Ultimately it became a very
wealthy institution, having, besides property in Lincoln, lands lying in
13 Deaneries, and in the Soke of Grantham in more than a dozen parishes;
with the advowson of the Benefices of Stixwould and Wainfleet, a pension
from Alford, and other property, one item being “two tofts in Horsington
to provide lamps and tapers for the service of the altar.” {153b}  The
rules of this establishment were very strict.  The lives of the nuns were
to be devoted to prayer and works of charity.  Their leisure hours were
occupied in reading, or relating legends of Saints, in working tapestry,
embroidering altar and pulpit cloths, and such like. {153c}  The convent
was so entirely shut in by walls, according to the old regulation, “as
scarcely to leave an entrance for birds.”  They were not allowed even to
converse with each other without license from the Prioress.  If strangers
wished to communicate with them, it was only allowed through a grating,
veiled, and in the presence of witnesses.  They confessed periodically to
the Incumbent of the parish, with a latticed window between them.  By one
of their rules they were not to go alone even into the garden, except
under great necessity, and on festivals; and no flowers, except jessamine
and violets, were to be plucked, without permission from the sacrist; and
they could only leave the convent on account of illness, to console the
sick, or attend funerals, except by episcopal dispensation.
Nevertheless, although nominally living thus under severe restraint, it
would appear that certain relaxations were allowed.  They were at times
permitted to exercise the accomplishments of music, and even dancing.
They had their processions and other monastic amusements, like the monks,
and even patronized the feast of fools, and other absurdities of the
times. {154a}  We may even picture to ourselves the Prioress indulging in
the sport of hunting, for she had charters of free warren over the Priory
lands, {154b} and the Harleyan MSS., in the British Museum, have
illuminated representations of buxom dames, riding with hounds, and
shooting stags, and bears, with cross-bow; wearing sensible clothing and
seated astride on their palfreys {154c}.  The State Records speak of
these devotional ladies as “the holy Nuns of Stixwold,” {154d} yet, at
one time, public complaint was made that the Prioress of Stixwould had no
scruples in so encroaching upon the waters of the Witham and diverting
its course, that the vessels accustomed to ply on it with turf and
faggots for the people of Lincoln, could now only do so at great peril.
{154e}  We may, perhaps, however, exonerate the “Lady Superior” and her
nuns from all blame in this matter, when we remember that there was a
“Master of the Nuns” {154f} and other male officials who, indeed,
battened on the Priory in such numbers, that it was even said that they
were more numerous than the sisters. {154g}

I have dwelt thus at some length on these details, because Stixwould is
the next parish to Woodhall, and within easy access of the visitor to the
Spa; further, this Priory, like that of Sempringham in the south of the
county, occupies a peculiar position, being one of a limited number of
such establishments, which harboured the two sexes, canons as well as
nuns, within their walls; an arrangement of questionable wisdom and
propriety. {154h}  We have only to add that this Priory was suppressed by
Henry VIII., with other lesser monasteries, in the 28th year of his
reign; but in the following year, out of the sincere devotion that he had
to the Virgin Mary, and for the increase of virtue, and the divine
worship, “he reconstituted it, as a Pre-monstratensian Monastery, to
consist of a Prioress and Nuns, to officiate . . . for the good estate of
him and of his most dear consort, Jane, Queen of England, while they
lived, and after their deaths for their souls, and the souls of their
children and progenitors,” and he re-endowed it with all the possessions
which it had previously held. {155a}  Unfortunately, as Henry’s love for
his consorts was not remarkable for its stability, neither was the
singular favour which he thus showed to the Priory, for, two years
afterwards, he again, and finally, dissolved it, and granted it to John
Dighton.  Sic transit!

Other objects of interest have been found in Stixwould.  My friend, the
late Vicar, {155b} writes “I found two glass ‘bottle stamps,’ 1⅜ ins. in
diameter; one of these has the figure of a dog, and ‘Rowles,’ in printed
letters, beneath it; the other has ‘Anth. Boulton, Stixwo. 1722.’  The
Boultons lived at the ‘Abbey farm’ for several generations, until the one
(already mentioned) who committed murder.  The bottles were made more
like ship decanters, or the flagons of Australian wines, than our
ordinary bottles.  I also found many small pieces of mediæval pottery,
some pieces of ‘puzzle jugs,’ with holes, and the neck of a ‘pilgrim’s
bottle,’ of Cistercian ware, so called, as I was told by the late Sir
Augustus Franks, of the British Museum, because it has only been found on
the sites of Cistercian houses.  The colour of mediæval pottery is as
superior to the modern as ancient glass is to that of the present day,
and it is sometimes tastefully ornamented with finger marks.  The stone
coffins, by the tower of Stixwould Church, were dug up where the Abbey
Church formerly stood, in the field at the back of the present Abbey farm

There are several large blocks of stone, at different farmyards, which
came from the Abbey.  The stocks, until a few years ago, stood in the
centre of the junction of the Horsington and Woodhall Spa roads, at the
east end of the village street.

HORSINGTON.—About two miles from Stixwould, north-eastward, is
Horsington, its name, probably, being compounded of the Saxon elements
horse-ing-ton _i.e._, the village with horse-meadows; that the central
syllable is not the patronymic “ing” is evident, since about a mile away
we have, also, Poolham “Ings,” which are rich meadow lands on that, the
adjoining, manor.  The present church of Horsington is modern, having
been built in 1860, of brick, with stone dressings, in place of a
previous very poor thatched structure, into which one entered by a
descent of two steps, with something of the feeling of descending into a
dripping well.  The present edifice is neat, but of no great
architectural merit, and is already, in parts, becoming dilapidated, the
stonework of the spire being much weatherworn.  It is not, however,
strictly speaking, the parish church, but rather a chapel of ease.  The
ancient church was “All Hallows,” the site of which is shewn by a mound
in the fields to the south-west of the present village, at a point which
is almost equi-distant from Stixwould in the south, Bucknall to the west,
and Horsington village itself; and is said, traditionally, to have been
the common church of all three parishes before their present churches
were built.  Separated from it now by a small drain is the old burial
ground.  Tradition connects this site with the Fire-ceremony of November,
in British times, once prevalent in Asia, as well as Europe, and even in
America.  The beginning of the year was then fixed by the culminating of
the constellation Pleiades, in November.  On the first of the month
bonfires were lighted, as they have been by the Welsh in quite recent
times, and, along with the fire, the emblem of purity, offerings were
made on behalf of the dead, the sacrifices of animals being so numerous
on this and other days, that the month acquired the name of Blot-monath,
_i.e._, Blood-month.  The Venerable Bede, {156} tells us that, at the
request of Pope Boniface, A.D. 611, the Emperor Phocas ordered, according
to a general practice, that, on the site, in Rome, where “all the gods”
had been worshipped, which was called the Pantheon, the filth of idolatry
being abolished, a church should be erected in memory of the Blessed
Virgin and all Martyrs; and on this principle, in other places also, the
site of the heathen worship, and the day of its special observance, were
transformed into the occasion and place of observance of the Christian
festival of “All Hallows,” or “All Saints” day; and in the course of
re-corrupting time the offering on behalf of the dead by the heathen, and
the commemorative ceremony of the early Christian, passed into “prayers
for the dead,” which became general in a later age.  Further, to give
their sympathies a wider compass, the old “Golden Legend” tells us that
“Saynt Odylle ordeyned that the feast and remembraunce of all them that
ben departed (generally) out of this worlde sholde be holden in al
monasteryes, the daye after the fest Halowen (All Hallows even); the
wyche thynge was approved after all holye Chyrche.” {157}  This is the
old Christian black-letter festival of “All Souls,” generally, as
distinguished from the red-letter, “All Saints day.”  Such are some of
the old traditions which hang, like evergreen garlands, round our sacred
places.  Children may once have “passed through fire to Molech” where now
the heaving turf shrouds the skeleton of a decayed church.

On the walls of the church are tablets with the following
inscriptions:—“To the beloved memory of Frederick Evan Cowper Smith,
Lieutenant, Royal Artillery, eldest son of the late T. F. Smith formerly
Rector of this Parish.  He died of Fever, brought on by over-exertion in
the discharge of his duty, while on active service in Afghanistan, with
the Kyber Line Field Force, on July 26th, 1880, when he had just
completed 19 years of earthly life.  Jesu Mercy.”  A second is as
follows:—“Sacred to the memory of Arthur Monro Cowper Smith, Captain in
the Royal Field Artillery, and graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge; he
died at Beira, East Africa, on Sept. 28, 1898, in the 36th year of his
age, of injuries received in a grass fire while shooting big game on the
Pungwe River.  He was the second son of the Rev. T. F. Smith, B.D., late
Rector of this Parish.”

Another tablet is in memory of the Rev. T. F. Smith, B.C., “formerly
Fellow of St. Mary Magdalen College, Oxford, and Rector of this parish,
who died May 21, 1871, aged 50.”

A fourth is to the memory of Colonel Bonar Millett Deane, second son of
Rev. G. Deane, late Rector of Bighton.  He died in South Africa,
gallantly leading a column of the 58th Regiment, under General Colley, at
the battle of Laing’s Nek, January 28, 1881, aged 46 years.  “He fought a
good fight, he kept the faith.  Jesu Mercy.”  He was a relative of the
late Rector, the Rev. F. H. Deane, B.D., afterwards Rector of South
Kilworth, Rugby.

A document in the parish chest shews that the burial ground was, at one
time, _re-purchased_ for a burial, and fenced in, while other papers shew
how this came about, viz., that the duty of the parishioners to keep up
the churchyard fence had been neglected (as has also occurred in other
places in this neighbourhood), and so the land lapsed, and had to be
recovered.  In these papers, both church and chapel are named as
distinct, which again is confirmed by the Will {158} of John Kele, parson
of Horsington, 26 January, 1540, in which he directs that his body shall
be “buryed in the Quire of All Hallows,” and bequeaths to “the church of
Horsington on mass boke (one mass book), on port huse (Breviary), on boke
called Manipulus Curatorum”; he adds, “I also wyll that on broken
chalyce, that I have, be sold, and _wared_ off the chancell of the
chapell of Horsington; proved 17 Feb. 1540.”  Here he is to be buried at
All Hallows, and makes a bequest to the “Horsington Church,” this
evidently again being All Hallows; but the money produced by the sale of
the broken chalice is to be _wared_ (note the Lincolnshire word, _i.e._,
spent) on “the chancell of the chapell.”  The pilgrim from Woodhall Spa
can find his way by a pleasant walk of 2½ miles, mostly through the
fields, northwards from the Bath-house, or along the Stixwould-road,
re-entering the fields a little westward of “Miser’s Row,” and so by
Halstead Hall, and to All Hallows.  We now proceed to later incidents in
Horsington history.  There are the traces of two old moated mansions, one
on the right of the road going from Woodhall Spa, about a quarter of a
mile before reaching the village: there is now a small farmhouse within
the moat, which is shaded by its sallows or willow trees.  Nearly
opposite, a cross cut in the turf by the road shews where a man was
killed some years ago.  The other traces are to be seen in the field just
to the south of the present churchyard.  The field is still called “Hall
close,” and the moats, ponds, and mounds cover some two acres.  It has
been the residence of a family of importance; and we find among the list
of those gentry who contributed their £25 to the Armada Fund the name of
Robert Smythe, --- of Horsington.  In the register of burials is the
entry, dated 1671, “Bridget Hall wiff of Robert Hall buried in her own
yard Dec. 1st, 1671.”  She lived at “Hall farm,” near the road from
Horsington to Bucknall; and deeming it popish to lie east and west in a
churchyard, she directed that her body should be buried north and south
in her own garden.  Some years ago the occupier, in digging a drain
between the house and the road, came upon a skeleton lying north and
south, presumably that of Bridget Hall.

Here is another odd circumstance.  We now have our splendid county
asylums for our lunatics, but the writer can remember the case of an
unfortunate lunatic who was kept chained to the kitchen fire-place in a
house in Horncastle, was never unchained, and slept on the brick floor.
At Horsington the parish officers made special provision for the insane.
In the parish chest there was, until quite recently, {159} a brass
collar, to which was attached a chain for securing the unfortunate
individual by the neck.  The writer was lately informed by an old
Horsington man, over 80 years of age, that the last occasion on which
this collar was used was early in the 19th century.  A villager then
residing near the present blacksmith’s shop, and named Joe Kent, had two
insane daughters, who had a very strong antipathy to each other, so that
they had always to be kept apart, or they would have killed each other.
My informant took me to what formerly was the garden of Kent’s house, and
pointed out two spots where these two unfortunate creatures were, in fine
weather, chained to the wall, one by the neck and the other by the waist,
about 15 yards apart.  When within doors they were similarly secured in
separate rooms, treatment, surely, which was calculated to aggravate
rather than alleviate their afflictions, but those were days in which
rough remedies were too often resorted to.

Horsington was further connected with an incident which, had it not been
nipped in the bud, might have had most serious national consequences,
viz., what is known as “the Cato street conspiracy,” the leader of which
was Arthur Thistlewood, a native of Horsington.  His proper name was
Burnett, the name of his mother, he not being born in wedlock.  She was
the daughter of a small shopkeeper in the village.  Thistlewood, his
father, was a farmer, and Burnett was brought up with the rest of
Thistlewood’s family.  Possibly his peculiar position may have soured his
temper.  The following extracts taken from a recent publication give
contemporary information as to the details of this dangerous and
daringly-conceived plot. {160}  The Earl of Hardwick, writing to Lady
Elizabeth Stuart, then in Paris, Feb. 24, 1820, states that he had, in
London, just received information of a plot to assassinate ministers as
they came from dinner at Lord Harrowby’s.  (The Duke of Berry had been
assassinated in Paris, at the door of the Opera House, on Feb. 13th,
1820, only eleven days before.)  Thirty men, his lordship says, were
found in a hay-loft, all armed.  Notice had been privately given to the
police of the plot, and the dinner had been consequently postponed.
These men had probably met to consider the cause of this postponement.
Nine of the party were taken, the rest escaping by a rope ladder.  Lord
Hardwick, writing again at 4 p.m. the same day, says, “I have just seen
the leaders of the horrible plot . . .  Thistlewood was taken to the
Treasury, where he was about to be examined.  Townshend the police
officer asked if I would like to see him . . . he was sitting over the
fire without his hat; it was easy to distinguish him from the rest, by
the character of ferocity which marked his countenance, which had a
singularly bad expression . . . Sir Charles Flint took me to another
room, where there were several of the arms taken; 7 pistols and bayonets,
4 daggers, or pike heads, two feet in length; and some muskets.  A
sergeant of the guard was wounded in the arm by a ball which had passed
through his hand; he also received three balls in the crown of his hat.”
Thistlewood was taken in White Cross Street, near Finsbury Square, in his
bed.  The place where the conspirators were discovered by the police was
the loft of a stable at the “Horse and Groom” public-house, in John
Street, Portman Square, which is between the square and Edgware Road.
They were to have forced themselves into the house, at Lord Harrowby’s,
while dinner was going on, which they could easily have done by knocking
at the door and then overpowering the footmen; or, according to another
version, to have assassinated the ministers as they came away in a body.

The Countess of Caledon, writing, about the same date, to Lady Elizabeth
Stuart, says, “Since the Gunpowder Plot there has been nothing so
terrible.  Sir Willm. Scott says there was a plan to set London on fire
in twelve places.  They only waited for the signal that the assassination
had taken place at Lord Harrowby’s.  Seven thousand persons were ready
that night to act on the signal.  We should never have escaped a

Truly the Horsington lunatic’s collar might well have been employed in
curtailing the movements of this seditious native; but the public safety
was more effectually secured by hanging him on May 1st in the same year,
1820. {161a}

The church bell bears the date 1754, with founder’s name, “Dan Hedderly.”
I may add that one of the bells in St. Mary’s Church, Horncastle, has the
inscription “Supplicem Deus audit.  Daniel Hedderly cast me, 1727.”  In
the present churchyard at Horsington grows the St. Mary’s thistle
referred to in a previous chapter, among the Flora.  I find a note with
reference to the same plant growing in a field near Somerford Grange, the
farm of the monks of Christchurch.  “It is supposed to have been brought
from the Holy Land, and only found near Religious Houses.” {161b}  The
writer happens to know that, in this case, the plant was imported some 20
years ago from Kirkstead, where it is now extinct.  Had it a tongue to
speak with, it would appeal to the pity of the visitor in the words “Noli
me tangere.”

                                * * * * *

BUCKNALL lies barely two miles from Horsington, to the west.  The name
(Buckehale in Domesday Book, or Buckenhall) would seem to indicate a
former hall, or mansion, surrounded by beech trees; {161c} and in a
field, still called “Hallyards,” to the south of the village, there are
traces of such a residence, near the farm now occupied by Mr. W. Carter.
This was probably the home of the Saxon Thorold, Sheriff of Lincoln, and
lord of the demesne, before the Conquest.  His daughter, the Lady Godiva
(or God’s gift), of Coventry fame, and probably born here, married
Leofric, the powerful Earl of Mercia.  She was a great benefactress to
the Church.  Thorold gave to the monastery of St. Guthlac at Croyland,
“for the salvation of his soul,” land in Bucknall, comprising “1
carucate, {162} with 5 villiens, 2 bordars, and 8 soc-men, with another
carucate; meadow 120 acres, and wood 50 acres.”  The two principal
features in the village are now the rectory house and the church.  The
former, a substantial old gabled building, standing in a large
old-fashioned garden, probably dates back some 300 years.  By a curious
arrangement, in some of the rooms the fireplace stands in the corner,
instead of in the centre of the room wall.  The church, dedicated, like
so many others in the neighbourhood, to St. Margaret, has no very
striking features.  Its architecture is mainly Early English, with some
traces of Norman; embattled tower, with four pinnacles, and conical roof.
It has been renovated and improved at various periods.  In 1704 it was
re-roofed and considerably altered.  It was thoroughly restored in 1882,
at a cost of about £1,500, the older features being judiciously retained.
The late rector, Rev. E. W. Lutt, introduced a new Communion table,
chancel rails, and lamps.  In 1899 a handsome carved eagle lectern was
given by his parishioners and friends.  Under the present rector, Rev. W.
H. Benson-Brown, a beautifully-carved oak reredos, of chaste design, was
erected, and dedicated Sept. 17, 1902.  Two coloured windows were
presented, and dedicated Dec. 23, 1903, the subject of one being St.
Margaret, the patron saint of the church; that of the other, St. Hugh,
patron saint of the diocese.  The inscription on the former is “To the
glory of God, and in loving memory of Jessie Syme Elsey, who entered into
rest May 1st, 1903.  This window was given by her sisters Louisa Pepper
and Nancy Margaret Richardson.”  The inscription of the other window is
“To the glory of God, and in loving memory of Robert Brown, who entered
rest Nov. 21st, 1897, also of Mary Jane Brown, who entered rest March
22nd, 1903.  This window was given by their son, W. H. Benson-Brown,
Rector.”  Through the Rector’s efforts coloured glass is shortly also to
be placed in the chancel east window.  A processional cross was presented
to the church as a thankoffering, by the Rector and Mrs. Brown, on the
recovery of their son, Langton Benson-Brown, after a serious operation,
Sept. 11th, 1899.

The churchyard was enlarged, and consecrated by the Bishop, May 22nd,

The general plan of the church is nave, with small north and south
aisles, and chancel.  At the east end of the south aisle, in the south
wall, is a piscina; a slab of considerable size below it, indicating that
this has been formerly a chantry, with altar at the east end, lit up by
two small windows, one in the eastern wall, the other over the piscina.
In the easternmost bay of the north arches, which now extends within the
chancel, there is, at the base of the arch moulding, a nun’s head.  This,
however, is believed to be modern work, introduced at the restoration.
The pulpit is of old oak, nicely carved, with peculiar Masonic-looking
design, the money for its erection being left by Henry Taylor, Esq., of
All Hallows, Barking, in 1646.  The font is hexagonal, having a simple
semi-circular moulding in the centre on four sides, the other sides being
plain.  There is a good old oak parish chest in the tower.  The tower,
externally, has two good original gurgoyles, the other two being modern.

The Communion plate was “the gift of Mrs. Hannah Ashley, 1786.”  In the
chancel is a pewter alms dish, with the name “Bucknall,” and the date,
hardly legible, “1680.”  The bell of the church is evidently ancient, and
has several curious devices graven upon it, including a Tudor Rose,
beneath which are four crosses, alternating with four capital S’s;
besides these, there is a long cross, with upper end branching into a
trefoil, its lower end forming a fork, resting on a circle, on each side
being a smaller stem, slightly foliating at top.

On the east side of the south doorway is an old stone having a sundial
graven on it; now built into masonry which must have come from some other
part of the fabric.  Opposite the porch, in the churchyard, slightly
raised above the path, is a large, flat square stone, nearly a yard
broad, and with some moulding below.  This is called “the tithe stone.”
It may have been the base of a churchyard cross; but, as in olden times
the cross often served as a place of barter and business, it may well
also have received the tithes and other dues belonging to the rector.
(See “Old Stone Crosses,” by Elias Owen, 1886.)  I may add that there was
a similar stone in the churchyard in the neighbouring parish of

A list of non-jurors connected with this parish in 1715 has the following
names:—“Susanna Smith, widow, £10 0s. 0d.; William Smith, gent, £30 0s.
0d.; Samuel Martin, gent., £36 0s. 0d.”  (It may be remembered that
non-jurors were subject to double taxation, although they erred in such
company as the saintly Bishop Ken and other prelates.)

It may be further mentioned that in the reign of Charles I. an inhabitant
of this parish, Mr. Thomas Toking (who was also of Ludgate Hill, London),
presented a petition to the King’s Commissioners, showing that he held
under the Bishop of Carlisle a lease of the manor of Horncastle, which
had been sequestered through the default of his predecessor, Rutland
Snowden, and praying for a commission of enquiry.—State Papers, Domestic.
Chas. I.  Vol. 345, No. 42.

The Rector has supplied me with a list of the Rectors of Bucknall,
complete, with the exception of the period between 1608 and 1660.  As
there are but few parishes of which such a record is obtainable, I give
this below, as interesting.  We notice among them two members of the
formerly well-known family of Dighton; also another known name in Robert
Clifton.  Evan Yorke Nepean, Rector 1859–1868, afterwards succeeded his
uncle in the baronetcy, while the second Rector, who held office from
1227 to 1244 being named Eusebius, was probably a foreigner, and,
possibly, as was common in those times, though enjoying the income, never
resided in the parish, leaving his duties to be performed by a
scantily-paid substitute.


Richard (clerk)                     1219

Eusebius                            1227

Bartholomew de Bukenhal             1244

Henry                               ----

William Gascelyn                    1294

William de Rasen                    1297

Thomas de Swayneshaye               1298

Walter de Maydenstone               1299

Robert de Wythme                    1306

John Denery                         1307

Richard Mahen                       ----

John Mahen de Chipping Norton       1318

Richard de Norton                   ----

Ralph de Saleby                     1330

Roger Sutton                        ----

Richard Starkie                     1399

Richard de Crumwell                 1406

Thomas de Grenley                   1410

John Glaster                        1421

John Endrik                         ----

John Arthur                         1470

John Archer                         ----

Robert Clifton                      1503

John Galyn                          ----

John Sheffield                      1520

John Robynson                       1530

John Thorpe                         1546

Robert Grawd                        1549

Arthur Wright                       1566

Edward Wright                       1607

No record from                      1608 to 1660

Everard Dighton                     1661

William Dighton                     1677

Benjam. Brown                       1702

Edmd. Whitehead                     1706

Wm. White                           1738

Thomas Willis                       1783

Richard Vevers                      1791

John Myddelton                      1804

John Fendal                         1834

Evan Yorke Nepean                   1859

Annesley Paul Hughes                1868

Edward Kefford Lutt                 1886

William Henry Benson-Brown          1898

Tupholme Abbey ruins, about two miles from Bucknall, stand on the left
side of the road leading westward from that place to Bardney.  These
require a short notice.  This was a Præmonstratensian House, dedicated to
the Blessed Virgin, and founded by Robert, or, as some say, Ranulph, Nova
Villa, or Nevill, who held lands _in capite_ of the King, from the
Conquest, the foundation being further augmented by Alan de Nevill and
Gilbert his brother, temp. Henry II.  Tanner states that at the time of
its dissolution by Henry VIII. there were “nine religious” in the House,
and the contemporary Leland, in his “Collectanea,” names two works which
he saw in the Tupholme Library, viz., Fulcherii Historia and Historiolæ
de Britannia fragmentum. {165}  The properties of the Abbey were very
considerable, lying in the parishes of Tupholme, Gautby, Langton,
Franthorpe (where there was a Grange farm), Stixwould, Metheringham,
Lincoln, Boston, Middle Rasen, Ranby, West Ashby, Brokelesby, Stourton,
Great Coates, Louth, with the advowson of Stratton Church, and other
places.  These ample possessions seem to have bred in the Priors a spirit
of independence, and even of lawlessness; for, at an Inquisition, held at
Lincoln in the 13th century, it was stated that the Prior of the day had
refused to pay his Crown quit rents, and indulged in other illegal
proceedings, besides claiming “free warren” over these different manors,
which of right belonged to the King.  Another Prior was accused of
forgery and counterfeiting the coin of the realm, {166a} with which he
purchased corn and wine and disposed of them again at a profit.  He was
also charged with carrying on an extensive traffic in horn, {166b} and it
is not a little curious, in connection with this last charge, that a Mr.
Pell, whom the writer, as a boy, knew well, residing at Tupholme Hall,
found, while his men were digging in the Abbey field, great quantities of
the pith, or core, of bullocks’ horns, all of which had been divested of
the outer coating.  Henry II. granted to the Prior, by Charter, a canal
to the Witham; the course of similar canals can be traced at Stixwould
Priory and Kirkstead Abbey, and thus articles of illegal traffic could be
smuggled down the Witham to foreign lands.  At the dissolution the site
of the Abbey was given to Sir Thomas Heneage.

The remains of the Abbey are now small, forming one end, running north
and south, of some farm buildings, with a small modern house attached,
which helps to keep them standing; for, otherwise, they are so worn away
at the lower part, by the cattle rubbing against them, that they would be
in danger of falling; and of late years such a contingency has been
evidently thought not unlikely, as a railing is now put up outside to
keep the cattle out of danger.  There are southward five upper Early
English windows in the remaining fragment, probably the wall of the
Refectory; and two more ornamental windows of a small chamber, northward,
with a small narrow round-headed window, deeply let in, at the end; with
eight round arched recesses below, one of these being perforated, and
forming an entrance to the refectory from the outside.  Fragments of
carved stones are also inserted in a modern wall at the north end.  A
local tradition survives, that the place is haunted by a headless lady;
and an instance is related by a labourer formerly living close by, who,
when beating his wife, was so terrified by an apparition, which in his
ignorance he took to be “the Old Lad,” _i.e._, the Devil, that he
henceforth became a reformed character, and never belaboured his wife

There is a short cut over the fields from Stixwould to Tupholme Priory,
available for the pedestrian, but transit for the carriage is doubtful,
as the cart track is a private accommodation road, though possibly the
proverbial “silver key” may open the locks.  On the opposite side of the
ruins is Tupholme Hall, a large substantial brick building, with some
fine timber about it.  The age of this house I do not know, but some
spouting bears date 1789.  Tupholme can be reached by train to Southrey
station, with a walk of about a mile and a half, or from Bardney about
two miles.

                                * * * * *

We now pass over two miles in thought, and reach Bardney.  Here we have
the largest church (St. Lawrence) in this neighbourhood; and though for a
long time it was left in a wretched condition, it was restored in 1878 at
a cost of £2,500, and is now in a very good condition.  Its chief
features of interest are as follows:—In the south wall of the chancel
there is a piscina; in the pavement north of the Communion table is a
flat slab of Purbeck marble, with a cross and the initials C.S., with
date 1715.  The present Communion table is formed of a massive slab of
Lincoln limestone, 9 feet long, 4 feet in width, and 6 inches in
thickness.  Inscribed on this are seven crosses, three at each end and
one in the front centre; they have evidently been scratched with a rude
instrument and are doubtless of early date.  The number of these crosses,
seven, would imply that it was dedicated to some sacred purpose.  The
stone was found under the floor of the nave, while operations were going
on for the restoration.  It is supposed to have been brought from the
Abbey (of which we shall speak presently), and to have been the tombstone
of King Oswald of Northumbria, who, as the Venerable Bede states (Book
iii.. c. vi.), was buried in the Abbey under the High Altar; although it
is known that with the exception of one hand (which is said to have
acquired miraculous powers) his remains were afterwards removed to
Gloucester.  The chancel is built of bricks, which resemble those of
Tattershall and Halstead Hall, and commonly called “Flemish;” but it is
likely that, as in the case of the two other buildings just named, they
were made in the neighbourhood, where there have been very extensive
brick and tile kilns, of so old a date as to have given its name to a
small stream, which is called “Tile-house Beck.”  The chancel has angels
between the main beams of the roof.  In the chancel arch south wall, on
the eastern side, are initials scratched, with dates 1443 and 1668.  The
nave has north and south aisles with five bays, and Early English arches
and columns, the plinths of these columns being unusually high—over three
feet, and those on the south being slightly higher than those on the
north.  The aisle windows are debased.  The timber beams in the roof are
of strong good oak; plain, except a central floriated device; the general
boarding being of pine.  The east window has five lights, with fourteen
divisions above, within the low arch.  The register dates from 1653.  The
Communion plate is good, its date 1569.  The tower is massive, broad, and
low, with here and there a relic of Norman zigzag work built into the
walls.  There are four bells, large, and of good tone, the weight of the
largest being just short of one ton.  Their inscriptions are as follows:—

(_a_) Soli Deo gloria (Churchwardens) T. T. & W. K. 1644.

(_b_) W. S. (with Fleur de lys) Deus . . . 1670.

(_c_)  Sanctus Dominus . . . 1663.

(_d_)  Jhesus be our spede.  E. E.  R.R. a Rose.  1615.

The Abbey of Bardney, of which now nothing remains _in situ_ except a
sepulchral barrow, dates from the Saxon Heptarchy, being one of the
oldest in the kingdom.  It was first built, says Dugdale {168a} by King
Ethelred, who himself, in 705, quitted his throne of Mercia, and,
retiring to Bardney, became its Abbot for the last 13 years of his life.
The name of the actual founder, however, is lost in obscurity.  Leland
says {168b} that the monks themselves did not know it.  The barrow
referred to is called, to this day, the “coney-garth” or “King’s
enclosure,” and Ethelred is supposed to have been buried there.  The
Abbey was destroyed in 870, by the Danes, under their leaders Inguar and
Hubba, and 300 monks slaughtered before the altar.  It was re-built 200
years later, and re-endowed, by Gilbert de Gaunt, the powerful Norman
baron whose bounteous acts we have referred to more than once; and his
son, Walter de Gaunt, in 1115, confirmed “to the church and monastery of
St. Peter, St. Paul and St. Oswald, all those lands and possessions which
his father had given in pure and perpetual alms to the same.”  And all
this was afterwards confirmed by Henry I. {169a}  It was a very wealthy
establishment of the Benedictine order.  The superior was one of the
twenty-five mitred Abbots in England; he was called the “Lord of
Lindsey,” had a seat in the House of Lords, and a palace in London.  At
the time when the body of Oswald, King of Northumbria, was buried here,
there were 300 monks in the Abbey, says Dugdale.  I have mentioned that
when the body of King Oswald was afterwards transferred to Gloucester, a
hand was retained, which acquired miraculous powers; the versions as
regards this vary, but there is a legend that Aidan, Bishop of
Lindisfarne was dining with Oswald, there being a silver dish on the
royal table, well replenished, when the king’s almoner announced “that
there was a crowd of mendicants begging at the gate.  The king
immediately ordered the whole of the meat, and the dish itself, to be
divided among them.  This generosity so struck the bishop that he grasped
the king’s right hand, exclaiming that “it was impossible that a hand so
munificent should ever perish,” and the monks assert that it never did.
After his death it was deposited as a holy relic in St. Peter’s Church at
Bebba, now called Bamborough.  Thence it was purloined by a monk of
Peterborough (says William of Malmsbury) and deposited in the Abbey
there, where it is said, by Nicholas Harpsfield, to have remained in a
perfect state till after the Reformation. {169b}

In the Record “Testa de Nevill” (p. 338) it is stated that, besides the
lands given to the Abbey by Gilbert de Gaunt, in Bardenay, Surraye
(Southrey), An-Goteby (Gautby), and elsewhere, Roger de Marmion (ancestor
of the Dymokes of Scrivelsby) also endowed it with certain lands.  The
Abbots held the advowsons of, or pensions from, the churches of Bardney,
Barton-on-Humber, Sotby, Falkingham, Wlacot, Skendleby, Partney, Frisby,
Lusby, Baumber, Edlington, and half a dozen more.

Of Bardney I have only one more particular to mention, a modern
miracle:—In the year 1898, in the hamlet of Southrey, an outlying part of
the parish, a church was built, where there had been none before, to
accommodate 90 people; the builders, as in the historic case of St. Hugh
of Avalon, carrying his hod at the erection of his own cathedral, were
the clergy, assisted by the parishioners generally, all carting being
done by the farmers; and the greatest zeal and interest being shewn by
all parties.  It is a wooden structure, on a concrete foundation.  The
font was brought from the vicarage, probably being of the 15th century.

As I stand on this barrow, “coney-garth,” with the remains mouldering
beneath me, blending with their kindred earth, of the saintly Ethelred,
who in his singular devotion exchanged the crown of a king for the mitre
of an abbot, I command a view, probably unrivalled in the world.  In the
near distance north-east are the buildings which occupy the site of the
vaccary of Bardney Abbey, still called Bardney Dairies, and said to have
been the original position of the abbey itself, before its destruction by
the Danes.  North-westward, beyond the woods, between two and three miles
away, are the crumbling remains of Barlings Abbey, whose last abbot,
Macharell (under the name of Captain Cobbler), headed the Lincolnshire
Rebellion, in the reign of Henry VIII., and for his offence was executed,
along with the contemporary Abbot of Kirkstead.  In the next village but
one to the west formerly stood the Priory of Minting, of which only
mounds and ponds survive.  To the north of this was the Priory of
Benedictine Nuns at Stainfield; while a few short miles again beyond this
to the east was Bullington Priory; and crowning the north-western horizon
stands the majestic Cathedral of Lincoln, around which clustered in its
immediate proximity fourteen monasteries; truly a region once rich beyond
compare in monastic institutions; the homes of devotion, if also,
unhappily, of error and superstition; but the almost sole sources in
their day “of light and leading”; but for whom we should now know but
little or nothing of the distant past, since it was the monks who made
and preserved for us our historic records, {171} they who multiplied our
old MSS., they who were our great agriculturists, and they above all who
handed down to us the Word of Life.  Not far off to the east is a wood,
commonly called “Horsetaker wood,” but the term is really “Auster-acre,”
the eastern-acre or field (Latin, Australis ager); as at Bawtry there is
land called by the similar name, “Auster-field,” and we have most of us
heard of the battle of Austerlitz, when Napoleon conquered the forces of
Austria and Russia, in 1805.  To the north lies another wood, known as
“Hardy-gang” wood, a name derived from the following local
tradition:—Once upon a time a wild man lived in the fastnesses of this
wood (the woods about here were, within the writer’s recollection, much
more extensive than they now are); he wore no clothing; was covered with
hair; and was the terror of the neighbourhood, raiding the sheep and
cattle, and carrying off occasionally a child.  At length his maraudings
became so excessive that a number of men banded together, binding
themselves not to rest until they had rid the country of this monster in
human form.  They had a hard task to perform, but at length they did it,
and their name of “the hardy gang” was passed on to the wood itself.

Continuing our ramble, a walk of some five miles eastward, partly through
fields, by a wide and evidently ancient footpath, trod, doubtless, by
many a monk of old, and skirting the above-named Auster-acre wood, we
arrive at the small and scattered village of Gautby, the property of the
Vyners.  We are here in a region of fine and stately timber, a suitable
position for a large, and handsome residence; but the hall was demolished
several years ago, and only the gardens remain, enclosed by a high wall.
In such a place, and under such patronage, we should expect to find the
church a handsome fabric, but, on the contrary, the visitor will be
surprised to see a mean, brick, small structure, with no pretensions
whatever to architectural beauty.  The old square pews are still
retained, with some open sittings, all of oak, but without ornament;
pulpit and reading-desk, in keeping with these; the font is of wood with
marble basin, small, and of no beauty.  A small wooden gallery, for
singers, over the west door, reminds one of the days when our country
choirs were accompanied by hautboy, clarionet and fiddle, and almost the
only hymns were “Tate and Brady.”  The chancel is almost entirely paved
with tombstones of the Vyners.  One of these records the murder of F. G.
Vyner, Esq., by brigands in Greece, in the year 1870.  On the north and
south sides of the Communion table are raised monuments, on which are
semi-recumbent figures in stone.  The inscription on the northern
sepulchre runs as follows:—“At the instance of Thomas Vyner, Esqvire,
Clerke of the Patents, piously desiring to preserve the memorie of his
dear Father, Sr Thomas Vyner deceased, His Executor Sr Robert Vyner,
Knight and Baronet, caused this monument to be set up Anno. Dom. 1672.”
The south inscription is, “To the memorie of Thomas Vyner Esqr, second
sonne of Sr Thomas Vyner, Knt. & Baronet, by Dame Honour, daughter of
George Humble Esqr, of this Parish, His second wife, this monument was
erected, at the charge of Sr Robert Vyner, Knt and Baronet, sole executor
of his last will and Testament.  Ano. Dni. 1673.”

The founder of the family of Vyner was Sir Robert, a wealthy London
merchant, who, like his father before him, lent money to ruined
Royalists, doubtless at a rate of interest which well repaid him.  He was
_fond of his sovereign_, in more senses than one, as is shewn by the
following anecdote given in the “Spectator,” No. 462:—When Sir Robert
Vyner was Lord Mayor, in 1675, he entertained Charles II. in the
Guild-hall; and this he did with so profuse hospitality, and withal
repeatedly toasting the royal family, that he soon began to treat his
sovereign with a familiarity unduly loving.  The king understood very
well how to extricate himself from such a difficulty, and with a hint to
the company to avoid ceremony, he stole away and made for his coach,
standing in the Guild-hall yard.  But Sir Robert liked his Majesty’s
company so well that he pursued him, and catching the king by the hand,
he cried out, with a round oath, “Sire, you shall stay and take t’ other
bottle.”  Charles, recognising the inevitable, put a good face on the
matter, and, looking at him kindly, with a graceful air repeated this
line of the old song,

    “He that’s drunk is as great as a king.”

He immediately returned and complied with the invitation. {173}

In the park at Gautby there stood for many years an equestrian statue, of
which the history is somewhat ludicrous.  It passed for a statue of
Charles II.  Sir Robert Vyner, the hero of the above anecdote, presented
it to the City of London, in 1675; and it was placed in the Stocks
Market, in honour of his Majesty.  The royal horseman bestrides a warlike
steed, which is trampling under foot the figure of a turbanned Turk.
This seems hardly an appropriate mode of representing a sovereign, who,
so far from thirsting for deeds of war, could drink wine and play cards
when the Dutch were burning our shipping in the Thames close by.  The
Stocks Market was eventually demolished, when the statue was transferred
to Gautby Park, the Lincolnshire seat of the donor, whence it has in late
years been transferred to the Yorkshire seat of the Vyners—Newby Park,
near Ripon.  It had been originally intended to represent John Sobieski,
King of Poland, who was regarded as the saviour of Europe from the
Mussulman power; and for him, the Turk trampled under foot was a fitting
emblem.  When the statue was taken down in 1738, the following satiric
lines were circulated and sung in the streets:—

“The last dying speech and confession of the Horse at Stock’s Market.

    Ye whimsical people of London’s fair town
    Who one day put up, what the next day pull down;
    Full sixty-one years, have I stood in this place,
    And never, till now, met with any disgrace!
    What affront to crowned heads could you offer more bare,
    Than to pull down a king to make room for a mayor?
    The great Sobieski, on horse with long tail,
    I first represented, when set up for sale;
    A Turk, as you see, was placed under my feet,
    To prove o’er the Sultan my conquest compleat.
    Next, when against monarchy all were combined,
    I, for your Protector, old Noll, was designed.
    When the King was restored, you then, in a trice,
    Called me Charly the Second; and, by way of device,
    Said the old whiskered Turk had Oliver’s face,
    Though you know to be conquered he ne’er had the disgrace.
    Three such persons as these on one horse to ride,
    A Hero, Usurper, and King, all astride:—
    Such honours were mine; though now forced to retire,
    Perhaps my next change may be still something higher,
    From a fruitwoman’s market, I may leap to a spire.
    As the market is moved, I am forced to retreat;
    I could stay there no longer, with nothing to eat.
    Now the herbs and the greens are all carried away,
    I must go unto those who will find me in hay.”

So the old horse, after serving varied purposes, and more than one
“flitting,” finds literally “a green old age” in his “retreat” in the
great horse county; a standing memorial, in stone, of a Lord Mayor’s
“zeal” _not_ “tempered with knowledge.”  But his memory is not allowed to
perish, for in the neighbouring training stables a favourite name among
the fleet racers is Sobieski.

A pleasant walk of less than a mile over meadows, or “Ings,” brings us to
the village of Minting, the last syllable of its name, possibly, being
derived from the said “Ings.”  Here, as has been already mentioned,
formerly existed a Priory of Benedictine monks, a “cell” or offshoot of
the Gallic monastery of St. Benedict super Loira, and founded in 1129 by
Ranulph de Meschines, Earl of Chester.  No buildings remain above-ground,
but they must have been very extensive, as mound and hollow and stew pond
cover an area of four or five acres.  The benefice is in the gift of St.
John’s College, Cambridge.  The church, previously a very poor structure,
was restored by the Vicar, the Rev. F. Bashforth, in 1863, at a cost of
over £800, the late Mr. Ewan Christian being the architect.  The font is
modern, but handsome, in form hexagonal.  There is a north aisle with
three bays and Norman arches.  Three windows in the north wall and two in
the south are debased.  The east window is a good sample of the
Perpendicular, and on the outside has figureheads of king and queen, as
terminals of the moulding.  A curious slab, carved on both sides,
formerly lay loose in the porch, having been part of a churchyard cross.
At the restoration it was cut into two sections, and these were placed on
the east wall of the nave, north and south of the chancel arch, thus
shewing the two carved surfaces.  The device on the northern one is a
rude representation of the Crucifixion; the Saviour’s legs are crossed,
and a figure stands on either side, probably St. John and the Virgin.
Below is a rudely-cut foliated pattern.  The design of the slab on the
south, formerly the back, is also rude foliation.  On the north wall of
the chancel there is an oval brass tablet to the memory of Gulielmus
Chapman, of which one is tempted to say that, unless the individual
commemorated was an almost more than human embodiment of all the virtues,
the author of the epitaph must have acted on the principle recommended by
the poet Matthew Prior,—

    Be to his virtues very kind,
    And to his faults a little blind.

It runs as follows:—“Gulielmus Chapman, Probus, Doctus, Lepidus,
Facundus, Hic jacet.  Pietate, Fidelitate, Benignitate, Modestiâ, Nulli
Secundus, Hanc Vicariam bis 20 et octo annos tenuit.  Clarus in Umbra,
Rarâ in senectute Emicuit, Die 14 Aprilis decessit, Anno Ætat. 82, Anno
Dom. 1722.”

The villagers of this parish, 100 years ago, are said to have exercised
the art of weaving on a considerable scale, and one of the writer’s
parishioners states that his grandmother lived there and had a hand-loom.

                                * * * * *

A walk of less than two miles, chiefly across the fields, brings us to
Wispington.  We have already mentioned {175} the presence here of moats,
mounds, and portions of a former old mansion of the Phillips family,
utilized in existing farm buildings.  We have only now to notice the
church, which does not call for much remark.  It was rebuilt on the site,
and partly of the materials, of the previously-existing church, in 1863,
at a cost of £1,500, by the Rev. C. P. Terrott, late vicar, and one of
our greatest local antiquaries.  He himself designed the font and stone
pulpit, and also executed the devices which adorned them, representing
groups of different animals named in the Bible.  The tower is supported
on buttresses, on a principle adopted from the church of Old Woodhall,
which is peculiar, but simple and effective.  In the vestry there is a
slab, in the floor, of a former rector, John Hetherset, holding a chalice
with hands in many-buttoned gloves.  Built into the vestry wall are the
capitals of two small Norman pillars, which were dug up near the church,
and doubtless formed part of the older Norman building.  Propped up
against the vestry wall is a Jacobean altar-stone, formerly on the
Communion table, one of the very few in England.  The two mediæval bells
are dedicated to the Virgin Mary.  The east window has modern coloured
glass, the subject being the crucifixion, and scenes in the life of our
Saviour.  In the north wall of the nave is a window of coloured glass,
commorative of the late vicar, C. P. Terrot; and in the south wall of the
chancel is another, commemorating his son, Capt. Charles Terrott; in the
south nave wall, near the font, is a brass tablet, with the Tyrwhitt
arms, erected by the late Rev. Beauchamp St. John Tyrwhitt, vicar, in
memory of his brother Robert.  The west window is of coloured glass, the
subject being St. Margaret and St. John the Baptist.

Edlington Church (St. Helen’s)—the village being a very scattered one,
with scarcely two houses contiguous—stands to the east, some two miles
from Wispington.  It was rebuilt, except the lower part of the tower, in
1859–60.  The pulpit, reading desk, lectern, and sittings are all of oak,
modern and plain, but substantial.  There are three bells.  Edlington
park is nicely wooded with some good timber, though much of it has been
felled of late years.  There was formerly a good residence on the
northern rising ground, but it was pulled down “in the forties” by the
then owner, J. Hassard Short, Esq., and only the kitchen gardens and fish
ponds remain.  In a field near at hand there were found, several years
ago, a number of heaps of oxbones, each heap also containing an ancient
urn, supposed to have been connected with Roman sacrifices; but, as Dr.
Oliver {176} derives the name Edlington from Eiddileg, a mystic character
in the Bardic mythology, these may be the remnants of some other heathen

A walk across the park and over a couple of fields southward brings us to
the village of Thimbleby, which consists of a “street” of small cottages
and two or three larger dwelling-houses.  There is here an old manor,
called “Hall-garth,” with an interesting old house with gables, thatched
roof, some panelled rooms, a large fish pond, an old-time garden with yew
hedges fantastically trimmed, and a fine old tree or two.  In a field
called “the Park,” at the east end of the parish, are some fine trees,
remnants of a former avenue.  The ancient well, said to be Roman, in the
rectory grounds, has already been mentioned.  The church was re-fashioned
in 1879, and an old, nondescript, flat-ceiled structure was converted
into a substantial and well-designed edifice of Early Decorated style,
with clock-tower and good clock, which gives out its notes of time to the

We are now within a mile of Horncastle; somewhat weary after our long
explorations, let us wend our way on to the old town, and seek rest and
refreshment at the well-appointed and almost historic hostel which is
ready to welcome us beneath “ye Signe of ye Bull.”


Re-invigorated, after the prolonged explorations of the last chapter, by
a much-needed rest at the hostel of “The Bull,” we now prepare for our
final round of visitation among the still remaining objects of interest
in the neighbourhood.  And first we may seek enlightenment as to the
meaning of “the sign” of our inn, for such signs are ofttimes
significant.  For this we have not far to go.  Looking out of the window
of the snug little parlour we are occupying, we see before us what an
Irishman might call a triangular square—a sort of “Trivium,” where three
ways meet, and where men not seldom congregate for trivial converse,
although on market days it is the scene of busy barter, and at mart, or
fair, transactions in horse, and other, flesh are negotiated with dealers
of many kindreds, peoples, and tongues; but more of this anon.  On the
far side of this open space, “the Red Lion” bravely faces us, lashing its
tail in rivalry.  In the centre we notice a large lamppost (recently
erected by the Urban Council; in 1897).  At this spot, well within living
memory, was to be seen a large iron ring, securely embedded in a stone in
the pavement, of goodly dimensions.  This was “the Bull King,” and the
open space still perpetuates the name.  Here the ancient sport of
bull-baiting was practised annually for the brutal, but thoughtless,
delectation of the people of town and country side. {178}  I find a note
that on April 21, 1887, I conversed with an old woman, and, as a link
with what is passed, never to return, I may here give her name,—Judith
Thornley, daughter of W. Elvin, farmer, of Baumber,—and then 84 years of
age, who remembered the Bull ring, as I also do, and who, as a child,
raised on her father’s shoulders to see over the crowd, witnessed more
than one bull-baiting.  On one such occasion she saw a woman gored by the
bull, its horns piercing her bowels, although it was secured by the nose
to the ring, the crowd being so great that she was thrust within the
dangerous area by those pressing upon her from behind.  This, she
reckoned, would be about the year 1809 or 1810.  As Mr. Weir, in his
“History of Horncastle,” dated 1820, makes no reference to this practice,
we may assume that the old lady was about right in her calculation.

Nearly opposite our hostel may be noticed, at the corner, a saddler’s
shop.  This was established in the year 1760, and, situated as the shop
is in the centre of the great fair, Messrs. H. and W. Sharp receive
orders for various articles, in connection with horseflesh, from foreign
as well as English customers.  Conversing with the head of this firm at
the time of this writing, I found that within the last few months they
had received commissions not only from various parts of England, Wales,
Scotland and Ireland, but from Belgium, Norway, France and Germany; some
handsome harness, which I recently saw being made by them, was for
Berlin.  Opposite the entrance to the Bull is a smaller inn, the “King’s
Head,” which is thatched; one hundred years ago nearly every house in the
town was thatched, and by the terms of the Will by which this particular
inn was devised to the present owner, it is required that it should
always remain thatched.  This, surely, is a proviso which might be
legitimately ignored; and, doubtless, in a few years’ time, thatching
will be a lost art.  The street to the right, running north, and now
named North Street, was formerly called “The Mill-stones,” from two old
abandoned millstones which lay near the northern end of it.  Half-way up
this street, a back street branching off to the left is called “Conging
Street,” and formerly near it was a well named “Conging Well.”  This term
is derived from the old Norman-French _congé_, a permission, or licence;
from very early times the lord of the manor levied a toll on all who
wished to traffic at the great fairs which were established by ancient
charters of the Sovereign.  There formerly stood, near the present
Dispensary, an old house called the “Conging House,” where these tolls
were paid for the licence to trade. {179}

A curious custom which formerly prevailed in the town at the time of the
great fairs, and which continued to later than the middle of the 19th
century, was the opening of what were termed “Bough-houses,” for the
entertainment of visitors.  Horncastle has still an unusually large
number of licensed public-houses, and not many years ago had nearly twice
the number, many of them with extensive stabling, for the accommodation
of man and beast, at the fairs for which it is famous; but, beyond these,
it was a custom, from time immemorial, that any private house could sell
beer without a licence, if a bough, or bush, was hung out at the door.
{180}  This, no doubt, gave rise to the old saying, “good wine needs no
bush,” _i.e._, the quarters where it was sold would need no bough or bush
hung out to advertise its merits, as they would be a matter of common
bruit.  This, as was to be expected, was a privilege liable to be abused,
and, only to give one instance, a couple living in the town and owning a
name not unknown at Woodhall Spa, are said to have ordered for themselves
a goodly barrel of beer to be ready for the fair, but, the barrel having
been delivered two or three days before the fair commenced, they had
themselves tried its merits so frequently, that when the day arrived
there was none left to sell, and the barrel was unpaid for, with no means
received to pay for it, while they themselves were no better for the

On “the Millstones,” about half-way up the street, a friend of the writer
witnessed, in the forties, a man selling his wife by auction, {181} who
stood on the top of a barrel, with a halter round her neck, and a crowd
collected round, examining her merits, as might not long ago have been
seen in a slave market in Egypt.  She was sold for £30, in the street,
opposite a small inn then called “The Horse and Jocky,” and kept by a man
commonly called Banty Marshall.  I am not aware that it is more than a
coincidence, that, although the inn has now a different name, a device in
the window represents a cat on a barrel.  The parish stocks stood at the
top of this street, where the Court House now stands; they were last used
in 1859, and were only removed on its erection in 1865.  The present
writer can remember seeing persons confined in the stocks; as also in a
neighbouring village, where the parish clerk, after his return from the
Saturday market, not uncommonly was put in the stocks, to fit him for his
Sunday duties.

In connection with the fairs, deeds of violence were not unknown.  At a
house on the north side of the Market-place, which was formerly the
“Queen’s Head” inn, but is now occupied by a veterinary surgeon, while
alterations were being made, two skeletons were found under the bricks of
the kitchen floor.  The men had doubtless been murdered for their money
at fair-time, and the bodies placed there for concealment.  Of the
cheating practised at the fairs I can give a sample or two.  It is
recorded, I believe, that the late Dr. Dealtry, Archdeacon of Calcutta,
preaching on the different ideas of honesty or fraud, gave point to his
argument by a humorous illustration.  “For instance,” he said, “my worthy
friend, who occupies the reading desk beneath me, would see no dishonesty
in misrepresenting the qualities of a horse he wished to sell, even to
his dearest friend.”  And honesty has by no means always been deemed the
best policy in the streets of Horncastle.  Edmund Yates, in his personal
“Recollections,” relates that he was dining with the Lord Chief Justice,
Sir Alexander Cockburn, when his host told the following story:—A man saw
a handsome-looking horse at Horncastle Fair, and was astonished at the
low price asked for it.  After some chaffering, he bought it, taking it
without a warranty.  Having paid his money, he gave an extra five
shillings to the groom, and asked what was the matter with the horse that
he was sold so cheap.  After some hesitation, the man said that the horse
was a perfect animal, but for two faults.  “Two faults,” said the buyer,
“then tell me one of them.”  “One,” said the groom, “is, that when you
turn him out, in a field, he is very hard to catch.”  “That,” said the
buyer, “does not matter to me, as I never turn my horses out.  Now for
the other fault.”  “The other,” said the groom, scratching his head and
looking sly, “the other is, that when you’ve caught him he’s not worth a

Another story is as follows:—Some yeans ago a Lincolnshire clergyman,
advanced in years, had an old horse which had run in his antiquated
carriage from being four years old, till he was fourteen or fifteen.  He
would still have satisfied his master, but that he acquired a very bad
habit, to which, like other old animals not four-legged, he obstinately
adhered.  He would jump over the dyke (the locality being in the marshes)
into a neighbour’s field.  The said neighbour complained of this so often
that the pastor decided to sell.  The old coachman took the horse to
Horncastle Fair and sold him for £26.  The old gentleman and his coachman
then looked about the fair for another that would suit them.  They
presently saw a horse of the same size and style as the old favourite
just sold, but with shorter mane and tail, and lacking the star on the
forehead which marked the old horse.  They asked, the price, and were
told it was £40.  After much haggling the horse was bought for £35, and
his reverence drove home with the new purchase.  After tea his wife said,
“Well, so you have not sold?”  “Oh, yes,” he replied, “we have, and have
got a younger and more spirited animal, very like the old sinner, but
with shorter mane and tail, and no star on his forehead.”  “Well,” said
the wife, “I think you were taken in, for the new horse is already, like
the old one, grazing in neighbour Brown’s field”; and there, sure enough,
he was.  The dealer had docked the tail, trimmed the mane, and dyed the
white star brown; and had “gingered” the old horse till he played up like
a colt.  His reverence, in short, had been “sold,” and the old sinner had
been returned on his hands with the loss of £10.

My third story relates to a former Vicar of Horncastle, Dr. Loddington,
who died in 1724, but whose name survives on one of the church bells,
cast during his incumbency.

We are told, on authority, {183} that at one time all kinds of traffic
went on within St. Paul’s Cathedral, and its precincts, in London.  It
was the common lounge of gallants and their female friends; and even a
horse might be bought there; and such a transaction actually did take
place in St. Mary’s Church, Horncastle.  The Vicar had a chestnut mare
which he wished to sell.  Two dealers at the fair bid for her up to £35,
which he refused to take.  Sitting together at breakfast on the Sunday
morning at their inn, Brown said to Robinson, “I bet you a bottle of wine
I buy that mare of the Vicar’s.”  “Done,” said Robinson.  They both went
to church, which was more than many dealers do nowadays.  Brown took his
seat just under the pulpit.  Robinson, not knowing this, sat near the
porch, intending to intercept the Vicar as he went out.  The sermon
ended, Brown waited till the Vicar descended from the pulpit; as he
reached the bottom step of the stairs, Brown went to him and said, “That
was a good sermon, but your reverence has not yet sold that mare; the
fair is over, and I am leaving in the afternoon.  Won’t you take the £35?
You’ll never get a better bid.”  The Vicar thought for a moment, and then
whispered, “You may have her.”  He went out, was met in the porch by
Robinson, who found that he was too late, and owed Brown a bottle of
wine; his only consolation was that he resolved himself to drink the
better half of it.

At these fairs good bargains may be made by one who has an eye to the
points of a horse, and can use his opportunities.  The writer knew a
curate in the south-west of Lincolnshire, whose stipend was £50 a year.
He came regularly every year, for many years, to the August fair.  His
first purchase was a young horse, for which be gave the whole of his
year’s stipend, £50.  He kept it a year, and hunted it.  I have ridden
with him, when mounted on that horse, with the Belvoir hounds, and the
next year he sold it for £300, a pretty good percentage on the original
outlay.  A cousin of the writer picked out a young horse from a number
and gave £24 for it; he afterwards refused to take £300 for it, offered
by “Lord Henry”; but he lent it to his lordship occasionally.  Another,
which he bought cheap, and for which he refused £400, broke its leg in
jumping the river Bain, in a Horncastle steeplechase and had to be shot
on the spot.  Both these horses I have ridden to hounds, the one a bay,
the other black.

Connected with the fairs is the so-called “Statutes,” a day in May for
hiring servants.  It was formerly the one general holiday in the year,
but now that the Bank Holidays have been established, the statute-day is
dwindling in its proportions.  Of old all the servant girls, and all the
clodhoppers from the country, used to gather in the town dressed in
galore fashion, crowding the Bull-ring.  Anyone who wanted a servant, as
an old farmer once told the writer was his invariable custom, used to
walk into the crowd and hire the first lass against whom he stumbled.
The “fasten-penny,” a silver coin, was then given, and the bargain was
then struck.  Wild beast shows, and enormities such as lambs with two
heads or a dozen legs, and other attractions, were provided, and the day
ended with music and dancing at the different inns in the town; some of
the proceedings having after-effects not desirable.  At the present time,
when there is more regard for our domestic servants and their characters,
and cheap postage prevails, this mode of haphazard engagement has nearly
died out, and the Statute will soon be a thing of the past.  It was first
enacted by Ed. III. in 1351; again by 13th Richard II., and, in later
times, was held under “a precept” from the Chief Constable of the
Division.  To those who wish to read a humorous and graphic description
of the doings on this day, in comparatively recent times, I would
recommend the poem “Neddy and Sally; or, The Statute Day,” by John Brown,
“the Horncastle Laureate, {184} of which I can here give only the opening
lines, which breathe of the spirit inspiring the occasion.

    “Cum, Sall!  It’s time we started now,
       Yon’s Farmer Haycock’s lasses reddy,
    An’ maister says he’ll milk the cow.”
       “He didn’t say soa, did he, Neddy?”

    “Yees! that he did; soa make thee haste;
       An’ get thee sen made smart an’ pritty;
    Wi’ yaller ribbon round thee waist;
       The same as owd Squire Lowden’s Kitty.

    And I’ll goa fetch my sister Bess;
       I’m sartin sewer she’s up an’ ready;
    Cum! gie’s a buss!  Thou can’t do less.”
       Says Sally, “Noa, thou musn’t, Neddy.”

There have not been wanting, in this old town, some eccentric characters,
whose doings have been peculiar, and have been traditionally preserved
for the entertainment of a rising generation.  Of these two or three may
be recorded here, but for obvious reasons I avoid mentioning names.  One
individual, exulting in his strength, undertook, for a wager, some time
in the thirties, to drag a dung cart from Lincoln to Horncastle, a
distance of 21 miles, and successfully accomplished the feat in eight
hours, but he is said to have suffered from hæmorrhage for the rest of
his days.  Another man made a bet that he would start from Lincoln on
horseback when the moon rose there, and would have his horse in his own
stable at Horncastle before the moon had risen there.  Lincoln being on a
hill, the moon would be seen earlier there than at Horncastle, which lay
in a hollow.  As he galloped along he is said to have shouted, “Now me,
now moon,” as the chances seemed at intervals for or against the one or
the other.  He just, however, missed the success which he might have
achieved, as he had to pull up, late in the evening, at the toll-bar on
the Lincoln road, about a mile from Horncastle, the toll-bar keeper being
in bed; and this slight delay caused his failure, for, as he opened his
stable door, he saw the moon shining in a bucket of water which was
standing ready for his steed.  The writer is informed that one, if not
both, of these individuals was considered to be a little “short” of the
full modicum of brains.  Another person, still resident in the town,
remembers the burning, in the street, of the effigies of Bayock and
Demont, two of the witnesses in the trial of Queen Caroline, in 1820.
They were Italians.  There were great rejoicings and illuminations, in
London and throughout the country, on Her Majesty’s acquittal; and this
was the demonstration of Horncastrians.  An old song was popular at the
time, beginning thus:

    False witnesses from Italy, they came to London town;
    And all they had against her was to keep her from the crown.

Wharrie, a shoemaker in the town, was inspired to preach a sermon in the
Bull-ring, from a cart, denouncing the trial.  This sermon was printed,
and a copy was long in the possession of my informant.

A character of a higher type than those yet named, was the late
proprietor and manager of “The Bull” hostel, at which we are now supposed
to be staying, Mr. Clement James Caswell, a genial, generous, and
cultivated gentleman.  He came of an old and highly respectable stock
located in the county of Herts., his father being for many years landlord
of “The George,” at Barnet, a stage on the Great North road, through
which, in the old coaching days, scores of coaches passed daily.  He was
a coach proprietor, and handled the ribbons himself.  The son was
educated at the Spalding Grammar School, and acquired antiquarian, tastes
while yet a boy.  After having held some important public offices in that
town, and then managing some mills at Aswardby, he bought the Bull at
Horncastle.  Though the inn had previously held a high position, he still
further raised its character; and his spare time was devoted to reading,
and research of various kinds.  He had a very valuable collection of
coins, the result of many years of careful selection.  His garden, just
out of the town, had an observatory, furnished with telescope, books, and
other appliances for amusement and relaxation.  He supplied the
illustrations for a book entitled “In Tennyson Land,” by J. Cuming
Walters, published in 1890.  He was a member of the Architectural Society
of Lincolnshire, Notts. and Leicestershire; a member of the Spalding
Gentlemen’s Society, one of the oldest antiquarian societies in the
kingdom; and he was continually corresponding, in various directions, on
subjects of antiquarian interest.  He had a valuable library of books
bearing on these and kindred studies, and indicating the wide extent of
his reading.  Especially, perhaps, as a Tennysonian expert, he was
consulted by almost everyone who has written on that subject, as in the
case already named, and in Napier’s “Homes and Haunts of Tennyson.”  It
was a treat to get a quiet, genial hour with him, when he would run on
with a stream of informing converse, but on few themes did he warm up
with so much inspiration as that of the late Laureate, witness these
lines of his own composition:—


    Bright Somersby! the sometime summer haunt
    Of Norsemen and of Dane, whose bards mayhap
    Foretold—a nest of nightingales would come,
    And trill their songs in shades of Holy Well;
    Prophetic bards; for we have lived to see
    Within your bounds a large-limbed race of men;
    A long-lived race, and brimming o’er with song,
    From lays of ancient Greece, and Roman eld,
    To songs of Arthur’s knights, and England’s prime,
    And modern verse, in graceful sonnet sung.
    Each of the brood was clothed upon with song;
    Yet some had stronger pinions than the rest;
    And one there was, who for thy fame will long
    Send pilgrims to thy cross in loving quest.

Mr. Caswell passed away in August, 1896, much valued and much missed by
many friends who knew his worth.

A trace of the Saxon still survives in the name of a field, to the south
of the town, and lately given to the town by the Lord of the Manor, which
is called “The Wong.”  This is an old Saxon word for “meadow.”  In the
“Ancient English Romance of Havelok the Dane” (Early English Text
Society, London, 1868), we find in line 397, “Casteles and tunes, wodes
and wonges,” _i.e._ castles and villages, woods and fields.  In Stamford
a back street, formerly in the suburbs, retains the name Wong street.  In
North Yorkshire is a hamlet named Wet-wang, and in our own neighbourhood,
at Halton Holegate, near Spilsby, there is land called “The Wongs.”

Horncastle was the Roman station Banovallum, or fortress on the Bane,
mentioned by the historian Ravennas.  Fragments of the massive walls of
the old castrum, or fort, can be distinctly traced by those who know
where to look for them; but they need looking for, since, for the most
part, they are hidden in the back premises of shops or residences, which
face the street.  Briefly stated, the western wall runs along the western
boundary of the churchyard of the Parish Church, and may there be seen,
as well as a fragment of it in a yard at the end of the road which passes
north of the churchyard.  It continued northward to within a few yards of
the bridge over the northern branch of the canal.  The southern wall runs
almost parallel with the south branch of the canal, portions being
visible at the back of the Grammar School, and at a corner of St. Mary’s
square close to the churchyard.  This runs eastward through various back
premises, and may best be seen in a coalyard near the canal.  At that
point the eastern wall begins, and runs northward, passing under some
houses, and yards, and under the High street, the most north-easterly
point being found in a small yard at the back of the shop of Messrs.
Carlton and Sons, Chemists, adjoining Dog Kennel yard; so called because
Lord Fitz-Williams’ hounds were kennelled there when he hunted the South
Wold country nearly a century ago.  The northern wall runs through back
premises an the north of the Market place, and at the back of Mr.
Overton’s and Mr. Lunn’s premises.  In the fields on the south-west of
the town, and beyond the south branch of the canal was formerly a maze,
such as have been found at other Roman stations. {188a}  This was named
“Julian’s Bower,” and thought by Stukeley to be Roman, but the late
Bishop Suffragan, E. Trollope, in a Paper read at Horncastle, June 3rd,
1858, {188b} pronounced it to be mediæval.  In the Roman maze the youths
played at “Tory Town;” and as this game was first taught by Ascanius,
called also Iulus, the son of Æneas, from him it acquired the name
“Julian.” {188c}  At the west end of the town, in the angle between the
roads leading to the railway station and Edlington, is a site called
Maypole Hill.  Here the boys and girls used to march in procession on May
day, bearing flowers, “with wands called May-gads in their hands,
enwreathed with cowslips,” and dance around the Maypole; a relic, as some
authorities say, of the Roman Festival of the Floralia; {188d} others say
it was a practice introduced by the Danish Vikings, with whom the
Maypole, often a fixture, represented a sacred tree, around which
councils were held and human sacrifices were offered. {188e}  These games
in Horncastle, Mr. Weir, in his History, {188f} says, were given up about
1780.  Several Roman roads converge at Horncastle.  The old Roman castle,
says Leland, {188g} quoting an old mysterious chronicle, “Vortimer caused
to be beten doune; and never sin was re-fortified; the which castel was
first enstrengthened by Hors, Hengist’s brother.”  The modern name,
Horncastle, is the Saxon Hyrn-Ceaster, or “castle in a corner,” as it is
placed in the angle formed by the two streams, the Bain and the Waring.
The word Hyrn, or Hurn, occurs at other places in the county,
representing an angle or promontory, as well as a recess or bay.

To come to a later period, it appears, from Domesday Book, that
Horncastle, at one time, had been the property of Editha, the wife of
Edward the Confessor, but at the date of that Survey it belonged to King
William himself.  In the reign of Stephen it was the demesne of Adelias
de Cundi, daughter and heiress of William de Chesney, Lord of Caenby and
Glentham.  On her death it reverted to the Crown, and the manor was
bestowed by Henry II. on Gerbald de Escald, a Fleming.  He was succeeded
by his grandson, Gerard de Rhodes, during whose minority it was held, in
trust, by Ranulph, Earl of Chester.  Gerard was succeeded by his son
Ralph de Rhodes, who, in the reign of Henry III., sold the manor to
Walter Mauclerke, Bishop of Carlisle, and Treasurer of the Exchequer.
This was afterwards confirmed by the King, who conferred upon the Bishop,
by a succession of charters, various privilege’s and immunities, which
tended to the growth and prosperity of the town.  Among other powers
bestowed upon the Bishop was the right to seize and try felons, and on
the south-east of the parish there is a place, still called “Hangman’s
Corner,” where criminals were executed by his order.  The bishops long
had a palace, their chief Residence, in Horncastle, which was situated at
the rear of the Black Horse inn and the premises of Mr. Lunn, grocer.  It
was demolished in 1770.  The manor continued their property till the
reign of Ed. VI., when Bishop Aldrich sold it to Edward, Lord Clinton,
who, however, was compelled by Queen Mary to re-convey it to the See of
Carlisle, and the bishops continued lords of the manor till 1856, when it
was transferred to the Bishop of Lincoln with the patronage of the
benefice.  The lease of this manor was held by Queen Elizabeth and her
successor, James I., who assigned it to Sir Henry Clinton.  This lease
was held for nearly a century by Sir Joseph Banks and his family,
ultimately passing to James Banks Stanhope, Esq., late of Revesby.

Of the Church not a great deal need be said.  It was thoroughly restored
in 1864, at a cost of £4,000, and is now in an excellent condition.  The
east window is almost a copy, on an enlarged scale, of the east window of
Haltham church, in this neighbourhood.  It exhibits, in stained glass,
events in the life of the Saviour; beneath it is a carved reredos of Caen
stone, the central subject of the sculpture being the agony in the
garden, with figures of the four Evangelists, two on each side.  The
organ is a costly and very fine instrument, mainly due to the liberality
of the late Henry James Fielding.  In the north aisle is a brass of Sir
Lionel Dymoke, in armour, kneeling on a cushion; on either side are two
shields, and beneath, figures of two sons and three daughters.  His hands
are placed together as in prayer, and from his left elbow issues a
scroll, with the inscription, “Sc’ta trinitas unus deus miserere nob.”
The shields display the arms of Dymoke, Waterton, Marmyon, Hebden, and
Haydon.  The antiquarian, Gervase Holles, gives, from the Harleian MSS.,
several other inscriptions, which no longer exist, but which are found in
Weir’s “History of Horncastle.”  Near this, attached to the wall above
the north-east door, and on each side of the arch between the aisle and
chancel, are some rude weapons of war in the shape of long knives, or
scythes, supposed to have been used at the Winceby fight, when it is
known that the troops of the Royalists were very badly armed. {190}
There are several memorial tablets on the walls.  In the floor of the
south aisle, towards the east end, is the tombstone of Sarah Sellwood,
wife of Henry Sellwood, Esq., and mother-in-law of Lord Tennyson, the
Poet Laureate.  She died Sept. 30th, 1816.  The roof is of Spanish
chestnut, which was formerly completely hidden by a flat plaster ceiling.
On the north wall of the chancel, over the north-east door, is a tablet
to the memory of Sir Ingram Hopton, who, after unhorsing Cromwell, was
himself slain at the battle of Winceby, the date of which is there
wrongly given as “October 6th, A.D. 1643,” whereas the fight really took
place on October 11th.  Cromwell is also there designated as “the arch
rebel,” whereas at that time he was only a colonel; but, to quote two
words from the Latin inscription, he was then an instance of “celata
virtus,” his future greatness not yet known; and the epitaph, of course
inscribed afterwards, is a slight solecism, and we may here venture to
make the remark that this monument is now itself a further instance of
“celata virtus,” for it is placed in a position where no light falls upon
it, and the writer actually looked at it recently without recognising
what it was.  On the wall between nave and chancel, on the south side, is
a small stone bearing the names of Thomas Gibson, Vicar; John Hamerton
and John Goake, Church-wardens, 1675.  Walker, in his “Sufferings of the
Clergy” (1714), gives an account of this Vicar, which is here abridged.
Born at Keswick, educated at Queen’s College, Oxford, he was appointed
Master of the Free School at Carlisle; thence to that of Newcastle, and
preferred by the Bishop of Carlisle to the Vicarage in 1634.  In
consequence of a sermon preached by him, at the election for convocation,
he was seized, in 1643, and carried as a prisoner to Hull.  Being
released, after four months’ detention, and returning to Horncastle, he
was charged with teaching “Ormanism” (Arminianism), and committed to the
“county jayl” at Lincoln, and a Presbyterian minister appointed in his
stead at Horncastle.  In 1644, Colonel King, the governor of Boston,
ordered a party of horse to seize him (he apparently having been released
from Lincoln) and to plunder his house, but an old pupil, Lieut.-Colonel
John Lillburn, interceded for him with his superior officer, Col. King,
and the order was revoked; on Lillburn, however, presently going to
London, the order was repeated, and Mr. Gibson was made prisoner, his
house plundered, and his saddle horse, draught horses, and oxen, taken
from him.  He was imprisoned at Boston, then in Lincoln, and in
“Tattors-Hall-Castle, where he had very ill usage for 17 weeks.”  He was
sequestered from his living, and an “intruder,” one Obadiah How, put in
charge.  He was now accused by the Puritans of obeying the orders of the
Church, defending episcopacy, refusing “the covenant,” etc.  He retired
“to a mean house,” about a mile from Horncastle (supposed to be at Nether
(Low) Toynton), where he and his family “lived but poorly for two years,
teaching a few pupils.”  He was then made master of the free school at
Newark; two years later removed to the school at Sleaford, being
presented by Lady Carr.  There he lived until the Restoration, and then
resumed his Vicarage at Horncastle, until he died, in 1674, aged 84.  “He
was a grave and Venerable Person, of a Sober and Regular conversation,
and so studious of peace, that when any Differences arose in his Parish,
he never rested till he had Composed them.  He had likewise so well
Principled his Parish, that of 250 families in it, he left but one of
them Dissenters at his Death.” {192a}  There is an inscription painted on
the south wall of the chancel, with gilt and coloured border,
commemorative of this worthy Vicar, which truly states that he “lived in
times when truth to the Church and loyalty to the King met with
punishment due only to the worst of crimes.”  The church of St. Mary is
not named in Domesday Book, and probably at that time no church existed
on this site.  But in the Record of an Inquisition post mortem, taken at
Horncastle, Jan. 21st, 1384–5, Richard II., it is stated that the King
gave to a certain Gilbert, Prior of Wyllesforth, and his successors, two
messuages, &c., and the site of the Chapel of St. Lawrence, with
appurtenances, in Horncastre, on condition that “they find a fit chaplain
to celebrate mass in the chapel aforesaid, three days in every week.”
{192b}  This chapel probably stood in or near the street running
northward out of the Market place, and called St. Lawrence street, near
which bodies have been exhumed at different times.  When the clump of
shops were cleared away in 1892, to make the present Market place,
through the liberality of the late Right Hon. Edward Stanhope, several
large fragments of Norman pillars were found, which probably once
belonged to the old Norman chapel. {193c}  St. Lawrence is the Patron
Saint of Horncastle; and as he was martyred on a brander, or gridiron,
the arms of the town are a Gridiron.  The “canting” device of a castle on
a horn has no very ancient authority.  The “pancake bell” is rung on
Shrove Tuesday, at 10 a.m.; the Curfew at 8 p.m. from Oct. 11 to April 6,
except Saturdays at 7 p.m., and omitting from St. Thomas’s Day to Plough
Monday.  The Grammar School bell used to be rung, and the writer has
often assisted, as a boy, in ringing it at 7 a.m.; but it has been given
up of late years, as the governors of the school declined to pay far it.

In one of the Parish Registers appears the following entry:—“On the Vth
daie of October one thousand six hundred & three, in the first yeare of
our Souvraine Lord King James was holden in Horncastle Church a solemn
fast from eight in the morning until foure a clock in the afternoone by
five preachers, vidiz. Mr. Hollinhedge, vicar of Horncastle, Mr. Turner
of Edlington, Mr. Downe of Lusbye, Mr. Phillipe of Salmonbye, Mr. Tanzey
of Hagworthingha’, occasioned by a general and most feareful plague yt
yeare in sundrie places of this land, but especially upon the cytie of
London.  Pr. me Clementen Whitelock.”  A Record at the Rolls Court states
that Horncastle Church was resorted to by a robber for the purpose of
Sanctuary, as follows:—“22 August 1229.  The King (at Windsor) commands
the Sheriff of Lincolnshire (Radulphus filius Reginald) to send two
coroners of the county to see that a robber who keeps himself in the
Church of Horncastle, abjures the kingdom.” {193}  Among some MS. Records
in the possession of Mr. John Overton, I find it stated that in December,
1812, the vestry room was broken open and robbed of all the money, and
other valuables; and that £50 reward was offered by the Vestry for the
discovery of the culprits.

Although the Manor of Horncastle was at more than one period Royal
property, it has only once, so far as we know, been visited by Royalty.
Leland states that “in the year of our Lord 1406, on the 12th of
September, on Saturday at 6 o’clock, Henry (IV.) by the grace of God,
King of England, came from the town of Horncastle, to the Abbey of
Bardney, with a great and honourable company on horseback”; and that “the
Abbot and Convent of the aforesaid Monastery went out to meet him in
procession at the outer gates.” {194a}  We have no further known record
of this visit; but as Henry IV. was the son of John of Gaunt, and born at
Bolingbroke, we may assume that he passed through Horncastle on his way
from Bolingbroke to the palace of his father at Lincoln, and that John of
Gaunt’s stables, still standing at the present day in the High street of
that city, sheltered the steeds of the company at the end of their
journey.  Doubtless he adjourned a night, if not more, at Horncastle, and
the loyal old town, probably headed by the Champion Dymoke of the day,
would give him as hearty a welcome as that which awaited him from the
abbot and monks at Bardney.

Two or three more short remarks may be made about Horncastle.  When Sir
Ingram Hopton, whose tablet we have mentioned as being in the church, was
slain at Winceby, the body, by Cromwell’s order, was brought to
Horncastle for burial.  It was placed in the house, or, rather, a
previous house on the same site, in West Street, now named Cromwell
House; and it is said, on what authority we do not know, that Cromwell
himself came to Horncastle, that he might personally instruct the
churchwarden, Mr. Hamerton, that the opponent, whom he pronounced to be
“a brave gentleman,” should be properly honoured in his obsequies. {194b}

A house at the south-west corner of the market place, where Mr. R. W.
Clitherow, solicitor, now lives, was formerly a public-house, but was
burnt down and the present one erected.  At this house, then occupied by
Mr. Sellwood, solicitor, Sir John Franklin visited, and was entertained
at a public dinner, a few days before he set out, in 1844, on his final
Arctic expedition; and the writer remembers his father going to attend
this dinner.

We have said that, 100 years ago, almost every house was thatched.  A
record in Mr. Overton’s possession states that the two first slate-roofed
houses in the town were one built by Mr. Storr, a gardener, afterwards
occupied by Mrs. L’Oste, widow of the Rev. C. L’Oste, rector of Langton,
and now occupied by Dr. Howes; and the house of Mr. Titus Overton, now
occupied by Mr. John Overton, being erected in 1793.

Having completed our perambulations of the town, let us betake ourselves
once more to the country.  We remount the hill, which we descended on
leaving Thimbleby for Horncastle, but by a different road, viz., one
running due west.  Half way up the ascent of this, the westernmost spur
of the chalky Wolds, we have two roads, either of which would bring us to
Woodhall Spa, almost equi-distant by either; but that is not, as yet, our
destination.  We continue the ascent, due westward.  The summit reached,
we have a wide prospect before us.  To the left, on a clear day, Boston
Stump is visible, the Tower on the Moor rises above the woods, beyond
that Tattershall castle and church; in the dim distance the graceful
spire of Heckington points, like a needle, to the sky.  Straight in front
of us woods on woods band and bar the prospect, relieved by the spires of
Old Woodhall and Horsington.  To the right, the horizon is crowned by the
almost pyramidal shape of Lincoln Minster, the seeing eye also detecting
the lesser pyramid of the Chapter House, other spires, with the factory
chimneys of the now busy city, more than its old prosperity being
revived.  Further to the right the plantations of Fillingham Castle, some
miles beyond Lincoln, on the “Spital road,” fringe the view.  Truly, it
is a wide-ranging outlook, embracing little short of 30 miles, with many
a village and hamlet, buried and unseen, in its entourage of wood.
Immediately in the near front is Langton mill, a conspicuous object,
which I have distinguished from the top of Lincoln Minster itself.
Half-a-mile farther lies the village of Langton, one of three of the same
name in the neighbourhood—one near Spilsby, one near Wragby, and this “by
Horncastle.”  As to the meaning of the name Langton, Dr. Oliver refers
the first syllable to the British “Lan” (Welsh Llan), meaning “place of
worship,” and so corresponding to Kirkby, or Kirkstead.  In this
particular case, however, the ordinary meaning of “Lang,” or “long,”
would be specially applicable, since the village has evidently at one
time been larger than at present, and the parish extended, some six
miles, to the Witham, until, quite recently, the distant portion was
included in Woodhall Spa.  Here again we had, until recent years, in the
rectory, another moated residence, standing almost on an island, being
surrounded by water except for the space of the churchyard and the width
of a drive to the house.  The moat was drained for sanitary reasons about
50 yeans ago, to the regret of many, since, as has been mentioned in a
previous chapter (Chapter VI.), it contained an abundance of large pike,
and other fish, from which the lake at Sturton Hall was stocked.  The
Queen was the lady of the manor until, in 1860, much Crown property was
sold in this neighbourhood, and the manor and most of the land in the
parish, except the glebe, was bought by the Coates family, who have a
substantial residence here.

In three fields at the west end of the village are traces of ponds,
mounds, and hollows, indicating large buildings existing at one time.
And we have sundry records of men of rank who have owned land, and
probably resided, in the parish.  Dugdale {196a} tells us that this
“town” was given by the Conqueror to the then powerful Bishop of Durham,
whose name was William de Karilepho.  He was Chief Justice of England.
This gift the Conqueror may be said to have “confirmed with an oath,” for
the charter, conveying the land, sets forth that they “shall be preserved
inviolable for ever,” and concludes with an anathema on whosoever shall
profane the charter, or change anything therein, unless for the
better:—“by the authority of the Prince of Apostles, I deprive them of
the society of the Lord, the aforesaid Pope Gregory, and the Church; and
reserve them by the judgment of God, to be punished by everlasting fire
with the devil and his angels.  Amen.”  This fearful threat of Divine
vengeance, however, seems to have lost its terror after a lapse of time
of no very great length, since, according to the historian Banks, {196b}
in the 9th year of Edward I. Philip de Marmion held the manor.

There was formerly not only Langton, but an outlying Langton-thorpe, and
this is probably referred to in Domesday Book as the “Berewick” of
Langton, for it is there stated that Robert Dispenser held in this
Berewick {197a} of Langton one carucate in demesne, eight soke men
(tenants) with half a carucate, and four villeins with two carucates, and
twenty-four acres of meadow, and two hundred and eighty acres of wood
containing pasturage.

A powerful family of the Angevines lived here at a later period.  There
is, extant among the Records of Lincoln, {197b} the Will of Robert
Angevine, Gent., of Langton by Horncastle, dated 25th April, 1545, in
which he requests that he may be buried in the church of St. Margaret; he
bequeaths to his daughters, Millesancte, Grace, Jane, and Mary, “vli.
apiece,” the money to come out of Burnsall, Hebden, Conyseat, and Norton,
in Yorkshire; to his wife Margaret “xli. a year for life out of the said
lands”; and to his son William lands in Hameringham.  The family acquired
their name thus:—Ivo Tailbois was at the head of the Aungevine troops of
auxiliaries which William the Conqueror brought over with him from
Normandy; and this name, in time, took the various forms of Aungelyne,
Aungeby, and Angevine.  There were Angevines at Whaplode, in the
south-east of the county, in the 12th century.  There was a branch of
them at Theddlethorpe, and at Saltfleetby, in the 14th century.  The one
at Langton had a brother at West Ashby.  They appear in the Visitation of
1562 among the leading families of the county gentry; but in 1592 the
name does not appear, and they dwindled away, and at the time of the
Commonwealth are nowhere found.  The old families of Scroope and of
Langton are also said to have resided here.  A member of the family of
the Dightons, who owned Stourton, Waddingworth, and other properties in
this neighbourhood, if not actually residing in Langton (although he
probably did), had an interest in the place, as, in a Will, still at
Lincoln, dated 15th July, 1557, having requested that he might “be buried
in the quire where I die”; among other bequests, he leaves a sum of money
“to the poore of Langton by Horncastle.” {198}

From 1653 to 1656 Justice Filkin resided at Langton, and before him
persons of Horncastle and the neighbourhood were frequently married, the
law at that time recognising only civil marriages.

The church of Langton (St. Margaret’s) is a small edifice, and, until
recently, was in a very poor condition, with no pretension to
architectural beauty in any of its features.  It had been rebuilt in the
18th century, at the very worst period for such work, and so badly done
that it was almost a ruin when the writer, as rector, undertook its
restoration.  Though still small, it now has several interesting
features.  The pulpit, reading desk and lectern have been carved by the
Rector, in old oak, in Jacobean style, in memory of his father, who was
rector 49 years.  In the chancel there is an Aumbrey containing an
ancient stoup of Barnack stone, said to have formerly been the holy water
vessel of Spalding Priory.  On the Communion table is a curious old alms
dish of “lateen” metal; the device in the centre is the temptation by the
devil of our first parents; an inscription in old Dutch runs
round,—Vreest Goedt honderhovedt syn geboedt; or, Fear God, keep his
commandments.  The font bowl is Early Norman, of Barnack stone,
discovered by the Rector among rubbish in some back premises in
Horncastle, and supposed to have been the font of the Early Norman church
of St. Lawrence, once existing there; the pedestal and base are fragments
from the ruins of Kirkstead.  In a recess, or aumbrey, behind the west
door, is a very interesting relic, found, a few years ago, in the moat of
the old hall at Poolham, which we described in the previous chapter.  We
there mentioned the remains of an oratory, or chapel, still standing in
the south-west corner of the kitchen garden at the old Hall.  Some men
were employed in cleaning out the mud from the encircling moat, the
season being a very dry one, and the moat almost empty of water.  This
had not been done for many years, if ever before, and the mud was some
feet thick.  Below the above-named chapel ruins an object was thrown up
among the mud, which the men took to be a broken seed vessel formerly
belonging to a birdcage, but as it was curiously marked, one of them took
it home, and asked the writer to go and look at it.  He did so, and,
seeing its antiquity, he obtained it for a trifle, and communicated with
the Society of Antiquaries, and other authorities, about it, with the
result that it was pronounced to be a mediæval chrismatory.  It was made
of coarse tarra-cotta of a greyish buff colour, ornamented with patterns
of squares, diamonds and crosses, with a fleur-de-lys in the centre of
one side, emblematic of the Trinity.  It contained in the body two square
wells about an inch deep, which were originally covered with arched
roofs, but one of these had been broken off.  At each end was a spout
from the cellar.  Its total length was 7 inches; its height, including
the roof, 4 inches; breadth, 3 inches.  The use of the chrismatory was
this:—When a child was to be baptised, as it was brought into the church
it was sprinkled with salt, and at baptism it was anointed with oil; and
the two cellars were intended respectively to hold the salt and oil.
This object has been exhibited on various public occasions, and has
excited much interest, as it is considered to be quite unique.  The
church was at one time considerably larger, as, at the restoration in
1891, the foundations of a north aisle were found, as well as of a tower.
The Land Revenue Records mention that, in 1553, it had “three gret bells
and a sanctum bell.” {199a}  The only remaining bell bears the
inscription “Anno Domini 1579, R. G.” {199b}  Considerable neglect has
been allowed in the past, as is shown by the Archdeacon’s Visitation in
1606, when the rector, Wm. Kirk, was presented “for the decay of his
parsonage house”; while Wm. Newport, Thos. Goniston, and John Hodgson,
guardians, were reported as “collecting monie to ye value of iijl, vjs,
vijd, to buy a Co’ion Cup, and not p’viding one, and for not p’viding a
sufficient bible, and a chest with two lockers and keys.”  Uriah Kirke,
rector, was also presented “for suffering a barne of 3 baies to fall down
belonging to ye parsonage, and for his chauncel being in decay, and the
chauncel windows all broken.”  And Charles Johnson and Augnes, widow of
Robt. Thurnhill, late guardian, were reported as “selling away ye
Communion Cup belonging to ye church.”  This larger church had several
windows in the chancel, instead of the one window of the modern church,
and an old document thus describes them and their colouring:—

    Boreales fenestræ in Cancello.  Arg. Crosse Crusilly a lyon ramp.
    double queued.  G. a lyon ram. very crowned or, Everingham.  Arg.
    billetty a lyon double queued G. Rob. de Seyrt me fecit fieri.  Blue
    a bend 6 mullets of 6 poynts or.  Fenestra Austualis—Barry of 6 arg.
    and gules in chief, a greyhound cursant sa., collard or.—Skipworth.

    In Campanili gules, a cross sarcelly arg. Beke sa. a crosse engrayled
    or, Ufferd (Willoughby).

These windows were evidently fine, and indicate a connection with the
parish of the ancient families Everingham, Skipwith, Deseyrt, Bec and
Willoughby. {200a}  The architect for the restoration was Mr. W. Scorer,
of Lincoln; and the roof of nave and chancel was painted in panels, with
emblems of the Passion, and texts, by Mr. Powell, of Lincoln.  The
patronage of the living was vested in Mr. Willoughby West, who also
founded and endowed a couple of Bede houses, but the family is now
extinct, and by lapse the patronage is with the Bishop.

A walk of a mile farther through fields, one of which is known as
Dog-fight, another Broad moor, and a third Pry-close, brings us to the
church (St. Margaret also) of Old Woodhall.  The name of this field
“Pry-close” would seem to be an interesting Norman survival; “Pre” is a
meadow.  Near Northampton are “the verdant meads of De la Prè.”  And this
may have been the home pasture of the old Wood-Hall.  Praie, however, is
an old word meaning coarse grass, which is still to be seen in the field.
This church again, of which the writer is vicar, was in a dangerous
condition when he entered on the benefice in 1890, but was restored in
1893.  It possessed an interesting feature in the spire, one, according
to an old saying, of the only four spires existing on this, the eastern,
side of the river Witham; that of Louth being the chief, and one of the
finest in the kingdom, which took 15 years in building; that of South
Somercotes being a third; and that of Linwood being a fourth, of which
Gough, in his additions to Camden’s “Britannia,” (vol. ii., p. 267), says
it “is the only one to be seen in a round of 59 parishes hereabouts.”
{200b}  The spire of Woodhall is a modest imitation of that of Louth,
having flying buttresses.  Half-way up it is encircled by a battlemented
corona.  Its structure is peculiar, as it rests entirely and solely on
two buttresses on each side of the west door.  It dates from the 14th
century.  The body of the church is modern, being rebuilt in the worst
style in 1807, partly of brick and partly of stone, the roof throughout
being of one elevation, without any distinction between nave and chancel.
At the restoration, the Vicar, as at Langton, carved the pulpit,
reading-desk, font cover, and desk for Communion table, in memory of his
father, who was 50 years vicar.  The font was formerly in the little
chapel, or oratory, in the garden at Poolham Hall, previously referred
to, and left there neglected.  It is here restored to its original sacred
purpose, and is supported by four handsome columns of serpentine, from
the Lizard quarries, Cornwall, the gift of the Rev. J. A. Penny, vicar of
Wispington.  The church has two bells.  Further details of Woodhall were
given in a previous chapter, in describing the old moated Wood-Hall.  It
was at the farm close by the church that a well (also previously
mentioned) was sunk to a depth of 33 feet, which tapped a saline spring,
resembling, it was said, the Woodhall Spa water, but which soon lost its
salt taste from the inrush of fresh water. {201}  Beside a pond just
outside the churchyard there is a very large ice-borne boulder, measuring
about 4½ feet in length, 4 feet in width, and 1½ feet in thickness.

In an old charter “dated at Edlington on Wednesday next after the feast
of St. Michael, 1285,” by which William, son of William de Wvspington,
grants to William Hardigrey of Edlington, clerk, certain properties, one
of the witnesses is Aluered de Wodhalle, along with several others.  This
would probably be a descendant of Alured of Lincoln, who, in Domesday
Book, is said to be possessed of 51 lordships in Lincolnshire, besides
property in other counties.  The last descendant died without male issue,
48 Henry III., leaving his three sisters his next heirs, and so the name

We now retrace our steps as far as Langton mill, and there taking the
road which branches off to the right, southward, we soon arrive at
Thornton.  The church, dedicated to St. Wilfrid (Archbishop A.D. 709),
which replaced a mean structure, built about 1730 in the worst of styles,
with flat plaster ceiling and wooden window frames with large square
panes of glass, was entirely rebuilt in the Perpendicular style, and
thoroughly well done, in 1889–90, by Canon J. Clare Hudson, vicar, and
the leading parishioners, at a cost of £1,000.  The only objects of any
antiquarian interest are some quaint wrought-iron double crosses affixed
to the north and south walls of the nave, having eight iron hat pegs on
each.  The font is modern, its bowl octagonal, with the monogram I.H.S.
and other devices on alternate sides.  In the chancel are modern frescoes
executed by Miss Alice Erskine, an amateur artist of much taste.  The
subject on the north wall is the visit of the Magi to the Infant Saviour,
while on the wall to the south of the east window are representatives of
the Archangels St. Michael and St. Gabriel.  Gifts of handsome brass
candlesticks for the Holy Table, and service books have recently been
made by H. R. Elmhirst, Esq., and Mrs. Elmhirst.  The Communion table is
of Indian teakwood.  We may here observe that the Records at Lincoln shew
that there were rectors in this parish (though now a vicarage) in 1232
and downwards, and a list of the incumbents from that date to the present
time has been compiled by Canon Hudson, and may be seen in the parish
chest.  The Parish Registers date from 1561.  Among the gentry mentioned
in the Registers as residents in the parish are several members of the
very old county family of Maddison, who intermarried with the Dymokes.
In digging in the churchyard on the north-west of the old church, the
base of the west tower of the pre-Reformation church was found, which was
said also to have had two aisles.  In the churchyard is a tombstone
commemorative of Penelope Gunnis, who died in 1826, at the advanced age
of 107 years.  The western portions of this parish, which stretches from
within 150 yards of St. Mary’s Church, Horncastle, to within 100 yards of
the Witham at Kirkstead wharf, are now included in the Civil parish of
Woodhall Spa.

In the reign of the Conqueror the powerful Robert Despenser had in this
parish eighty acres of meadow land, three hundred and fifty acres of
wood, and two mills, with sokemen, velleins, and bordars; other land,
with dependents, being owned by Gozelin, a vassal of Alured of Lincoln,
named above in connection with Woodhall.  The Champion Dymoke is lord of
the manor in the present day.  A Roman urn, as has been stated elsewhere,
was dug up in this parish when the railway was being constructed.  The
only public notice in connection with Thornton of an unusual character,
in modern times, is the following, which appeared as an advertisement in
the “Stamford Mercury” of January 5th, 1810:—SACRILEGE.—Whereas the
Parish Church of Thornton, near Horncastle, has been lately broken open
and a thin silver half-pint cup stolen out of the chest, any person
giving information of the offender or offenders, shall, on conviction,
receive from the parishioners of Thornton five guineas reward, and if
there was an accomplice in the above sacrilege who will turn King’s
evidence, he shall, on conviction, have the above reward, and every
endeavour will be used to obtain his Majesty’s pardon.—“Lincs. N. & Q.,”
Oct., 1896.

In a list of gentry who furnished “launces and light horse” for the
defence of the country in 1584, given in the Melbourn Hall MS., we find
the name of Edward Dymmock, of Thornton, Gent., put down for “j light
horse” for the master at Horncastle, and among those who were summoned
for the Sessions there, according to another list, we again find Edward
Dymmock of Thornton, Gent. (“Architect. S. Journal,” vol. xxii., pt. ii.,
pp. 214 and 221).  In a grass field, on the south side of the road
through Thornton, there are mounds and hollows, indicating a large
residence, which this Dymmock probably occupied.

Proceeding three quarters of a mile further southward, and passing Martin
Hall, we turn up a lane to the right and find the church of Martin, St.
Michael’s, in a secluded spot, like many a flower born to blush unseen.
Yet it is worthy of a visit, having features of more than ordinary
interest, which were well preserved on its partial restoration in 1869,
and again by the late W. J. Gilliatt, of the Hall, and his sisters, in
1877.  For many years it was a thatched edifice, but now has a slated
roof.  The south doorway is Early Norman, with broad, receding
semi-circular arch, with a double band of zigzag moulding; on each side,
Norman columns, with, quaint heads as capitals.  The church is entered by
two descending steps.  The font is modern, Norman in style, the bowl
having eight semi-circular fluttings, being supported by eight columns
raised on a stone pediment.  The west window is filled with good modern
glass from Munich.  The central subject is the Saviour’s body being taken
down from the Cross; the left subject is the Saviour bearing His Cross;
the right, the body being borne away.  This was a memorial, placed in the
church by Miss Spalding, of Lincoln, commemorative of the Rev. J. B.
Smith, D.D., the rector, who, in returning from paying her a visit at
Lincoln, fell out of his railway carriage at Kirkstead and broke his
neck, although, strange to say, he lived for several weeks afterwards.
{204}  In the north wall of the nave is a plain arched Easter sepulchre,
which was probably the founder’s tomb.  The pulpit is of Caen stone,
plain, and massive; behind it is a curious semi-circular recess, in the
east wall.  The chancel arch is Early English, and very narrow, only 3ft.
9in. in width, which makes the chancel very dark, an effect further
increased by the great thickness, 3ft. 4in., of the chancel arch wall.
The east window has two trefoiled lights, small and narrow, their total
width only 2ft. 3in.  In the south wall of the chancel are two
deeply-recessed small square-headed windows, partly built up, and having
a stone seat at the base, but too high for use.  There are several flat
tombstones of Hughsons and Oldhams in the floor.  The Early Norman
doorway and the massive chancel arch wall and gloomy chancel are the
special features of this interesting little church.  At the time of the
restoration, in 1877, the original large altar slab, decorated with four
crosses, was found in the floor, face downwards.  It was taken, up, and
now forms the base, or däis, of the Communion table.  The Parish Register
commences with 1562.  Under the year 1649 occurs this entry:—“This yeare
ye lordship of Marton was inclosed; no consent of Bishop or Rector.”  The
unusual name, “Ingelo,” specially known in connection with the poem, “The
Bells of Enderby,” occurs frequently in the Registers from 1673
downwards.  The names of Norreys Fynes, and other members of the family,
resident at White-Hall, in this parish, occur frequently.  There is an
engraving of the church in the “Church of England Magazine” for 1849.  We
must not omit to mention that the fine fragment of brickwork called the
“Tower on the Moor,” and co-eval with Tattershall Castle, although now
included in the Civil parish of Woodhall Spa, stands in what was part of
Martin parish till 1897.  There only remains the staircase of what was
once a much larger structure.  Leland says, “One of the Cromwelles
builded a preaty turret caullid the Tour of the Moore: and thereby he
made a faire greate pond or lake brickid about.  The lake is commonly
called the Synkker” (Itinerarium, vol. iv., p. 58).

Scott, the celebrated commentator, began his ministerial labours in this

In early times.  Martin was in the “soke” of Kirkby-on-Bain, i.e., it was
under the jurisdiction of the lord of the manor of Kirkby, who, in the
time of the Conqueror, was Eudo, son of Spirewick, the founder {205a} of
the Tateshall, or Tattershall, family in Lincolnshire.  This Eudo, as
Dugdale relates, {205b} with his sworn brother in arms, Pinso (though no
blood relation), came into England with the Conqueror, and the two
merited so well of him in that service that they obtained for recompense
the lordship of Tattershall, with the hamlet of Thorpe, and town of
Kirkby.  He held direct from the king certain lands in Martin; and as the
Clintons, shortly after the extinction of the Tattershall family,
received their estates, this would be the way in which the Whitehall
estate in Martin came to the Clintons.

Journeying on still southward, some mile and a half from Martin, we reach
the parish of Roughton.  The church has no pretensions to architectural
beauty, being a mixture of brick and sandstone.  It has nave, chancel,
and castellated tower, and small castellated parapets at the north and
south ends of the chancel wall; a large west door, and small priests’
door in the chancel.  It was newly roofed and fitted with open oak
benches in 1870, the chancel being then also paved with encaustic tiles,
the tower opened to the nave, and most of the windows partly filled with
stained glass.  The font is plain, circular, upon a circular pediment; it
has an old font cover, cupola shaped, octagonal, of oak, plain, except
some slight carving round the rim.  There are some fragmentary remains of
a carved rood screen, and a plain old oak pulpit.  In the chancel is a
lengthy inscription, commemorative of Norreys Fynes, Esq., which has
already been given to a previous chapter in connection with Fynes of
Whitehall.  There is also a mural tablet to the memory of the Rev. Arthur
Rockliffe, who died in 1798; and another to Charles Pilkington, Esq., who
died in 1798, and Abigail his wife, who died in 1817.  The register dates
from 1564, and is therefore a fairly good one, since parochial registers
were only first enjoined in the reign of Henry VIII., 1530–1538.  The
registers contain some peculiar entries, and exhibit a remarkable
orthography, if such a term can be applied to what would more correctly
be called orthography.  Of these entries one is as follows:—The
churchyard fence was repaired by lengths in 1760, each parishioner (of
any substance) taking a length; a list of their names is given, closing
with the words “a piece to the Lord,” i.e., the lord of the manor.  In
the year 1631–2 there were 43 burials; among them the rector, Randulph
Woodinge, on Oct. 23nd; his daughter Ann, Oct. 23rd; and daughter
Thomasine, Nov. 1st.  There were two of the family of Carrot, two
Lincolns, two Applebys, two Grogbys, three Hawards, two Burches, besides
other single cases.  Though it is not so specified, this would doubtless
be the epidemic called “the Plague,” or “Black Death.”

An entry on “Aprill the 15 1707” gives “The Church More lying in Well
sick cloase was leten for 4 & 6.”  This is moorland near Well Syke wood
belonging to the church, from which peat was cut for church fuel; and two
other entries refer to this practice: “Simon Grant of Dalderby for 1 days
work of bages (i.e., sods) . . . 2 ,, 6.”  “Simon flinte for 1 days works
of bages . . . 2 „ 6.”  This was good pay according to the rate of wages
in the early part of the 18th century, to which these entries refer.  But
it was “skilled” labour, and, moreover, hard work, as anyone will
understand who remembers the instrument used on the moor forty years ago.
It was a large, flat, and broad kind of shovel at the end of a long pole
with transverse handle a foot long, which was placed against the
workman’s waist or pit of his stomach, and he thus thrust the tool
forward through the turf with the whole weight and force of his body.
Those who were much engaged in this kind of work usually suffered from
rupture of the lower muscles of the body.

For some years before 1657 none but civil marriages were valid in law,
and Justice Filkin is mentioned in the Register as marrying the Rector of
Roughton, John Bancroft, to Ann Coulen.  Persons were often married in
the church, as well as before the Justice; the civil marriage was also
often neglected, and the feeling was generally so strong that marriage
should be a religious rite, that in the year 1657 marriage by the
minister was allowed by Act of Parliament.

A peculiar entry in the parish account book is “Mary Would overseer of ye
poore gave up hir accountes” (1707 Ap. 15).  We are now, at the beginning
of the 20th century, admitting women to a limited number of public
offices, yet the people of Roughton were evidently in advance of the
times, and forestalled us 180 yeans ago.  One or two curious instances of
spelling may here be given, showing that the schoolmaster was not then
much in evidence:—“1703 Beuerils, &c.”; “1705 Bearths, Robert ye son of
bniamen hehuhinson (Benjamin Hewinson) and jane his wife was borne ye 15
day of january.”  “Burial.  John Snow, Inn-holder, July 3d., 1765”; “1707
Rebekah Leach was beureid July the 10”; “1708 John Bouth and Doryty his
wife”; “Rebekah Langcaster 1725, the douter of Joseph Langcaster.”  “John
Swingo the sun of John Swingo and Ann his wife howous (was) Baptized the
17 of Aprill 1709.”  This name, in another entry, 1733, is given as
Swinsgo; the modern spelling is Swinscoe.

The names of some good families appear, as “An the wife of Will Hennag
was buered ye 9 of Feberery, 1729”; “Madame Elizabeth fines was buered
May ye 29, 1730”; “George soun of Mr. Clinton Whichcote 1624”; and,
later, “Mary the wife of John Gaunt, and Anthony, son of John Gaunt, were
buried Dec. 16, 1803.”  The Hall, not an ancient moated mansion, like so
many described in these pages, but yet one of some antiquity, has been
occupied at different times, by members of several leading county
families, as Fynes, Whichcote, Heneage, Dymoke, Pilkington, and Beaumont.
It has belonged to the Dymokes, as also the patronage of the benefice,
although Sir H. M. Hawley is lord of the manor.

In the reign of Elizabeth a family of Eastwoods was located here, as the
Records shew that Andrew Eastwood of Roughton was among the gentry who
contributed £25 each to the Armada Fund for the defence of England.
{208a}  By a Chancery Inquisition, post mortem, 22 Richard II., No. 13,
taken at Market Staynton, the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist (1399
A.D.), before William Bolle, escheator, it was shewn that “Ralph de
Cromwell, chivaler, held jointly with his wife Matilda, besides other
property, the manor of Tumby with appurtenances in Rughton, Wodehall,
Langton,” etc.  And again, in a later Inquisition, post mortem, 13 Henry
VII., No. 34, taken at Burwell, it was shewn that “the said Matilda
Willughby died seised in fee tail of the manor of Kirkeby upon Bayne, and
lands in Roughton, Woodhall, Langton,” &c. {208b}

In Domesday Book, the powerful Robert Despenser is named as having in
Roughton twelve oxgangs rateable to gelt, with three sokemen, and a half
sokeman holding two carucates of land with three draught oxen; also
fifteen acres of meadow land, a fishery worth 2s. yearly, and forty acres
of woodland, containing pasturage in parts.  The name is there given as
“Roc-stune,” whether from any Druidical boulder, or sacred stone, or
landmark, does not appear to be known.

From Roughton, going eastward by a ford on the river Bain, or returning
to Horncastle and taking the main road south-eastward, we arrive, a
little over two miles distant, at Scrivelsby, a village which is unique
in the kingdom, since there is but one King’s Champion, and he is “Lord
of Scrivelsby.”  As we approach Scrivelsby {208c} Court, by a road shaded
by stately trees of hoar antiquity, with the well-wooded park on our
left, and fields, nicely timbered and interspersed with copses, on our
right, we pause, after a slight ascent, at a point where three ways meet.
Before us stands the “Lion gateway,” a substantial arched stone structure
with sculptured Lion “passant” surmounting it; the Royal beast indicating
the official hereditary honour of the head of the family as the
Sovereign’s Champion.  On our right, in a humbler position of less
prominence, under the shade of trees, and green with age, still survive
the parish stocks.  Thus the emblems of civil and military power confront
each other.  The Court itself, standing some 150 yards from this gateway,
is approached through another arch in the wall of the Courtyard.  The
present building is not one of large proportions, the chief part of the
old baronial residence having been destroyed by fire about 130 years ago;
to replace which modern additions were made, on a smaller scale, early in
the 19th century.  Of the portion destroyed a chief feature was a very
large hall, with wainscoted panels, on which “were depicted the arms and
alliances of the family through its numerous and far-traced descents.”
{209a}  The chief features of interest now remaining within are some of
the suits of armour worn by Champions, and a collection of “Champion
Cups.”  The collection of armour was much finer a few years ago, but, on
the extinction of the line of the late Sir Henry Dymoke, most of these
were dispersed by sale, and the Cups were bequeathed to the Queen,
although Her Majesty, through the intermediation of the late Right
Honourable E. Stanhope, most graciously restored them to the father of
the present Champion.  On the wall of the “Lion gateway,” to the right of
the arch, is a rebus, or “canting” device, formed of a rude
representation of a tree dividing in a Y shape referring to an old-time
emblem of the family.  As the Plantagenets had their “planta genista,”
the broom; so the Dymokes would seem to have had their “oak.” {209b}  The
descent of the early Dymokes may be briefly given thus:—Scrivelsby,
forming part of the Soke of Horncastle, of which the Conqueror held the
manor, was given by William to Robert Dispenser, his steward, whom we
have several times named in connection with other neighbouring parishes.
From him it passed, by some process unknown, to the Marmions.  The last
Lord Marmyon died in 1292, and the Lincolnshire portion of his
estates,—for Sir Walter Scott describes him as

          “Lord of Fontenay,
    Of Lutterworth and Scrivelsbay,
    Of Tamworth tower and town.”—

passed to his younger daughter, Joan, whose granddaughter, Margaret de
Ludlow, married, in the reign of Edward III., Sir John Dymoke, who acted
as Champion at the coronation of Richard II., and from that time, more
than 500 years, the Dymokes have acted in that capacity for their
respective Sovereigns, down to the last century, the ceremony, however,
having been dispensed with, to the regret of many, on the accessions of
William IV., Queen Victoria, and our present Most Gracious Majesty King
Edward VII.

As this, formerly, State ceremony was so imposing, and of such antiquity,
it deserves more than a passing notice.  We here give a description of
it, as observed at the coronation of Queen Mary, from the account of
Planché, in the Royal Records.  “At the close of the second course of the
Coronation Banquet, the Champion, Sir Edward Dymoke, entered Westminster
Hall, riding on a roan destrier (war horse) trapped in cloth of gold,
with a mace in one hand and a gauntlet in the other.  He was escorted to
the upper end of the hall by the Lord High Constable, and the Earl
Marshall, and the Herald of the Queen with a trumpet; and after he had
made obeisance to the Queen’s highness, he turned him a little aside, and
with a loud voice made proclamation, ‘If there be any manner of man, of
what estate, degree, or condition soever he be, that will say, and
maintain, that our Sovereign Lady Queen Mary, this day here present, is
not the rightful, and undoubted, heretrix to the Imperial Crown of this
realm of England, and that of right she ought not to be crowned Queen, I
say he lieth as a false traitor, and that I am ready the same to maintain
with him, whilst I have breath in my body, either now at this time, or at
any other time, whensoever it shall please the Queen’s highness to
appoint; and thereupon the same I cast him my gage.’  Then he cast the
gauntlet from him, the which no man would take up, till that a herald
took it up and gave it to him again.  Then he proceeded to another place,
and did in this manner, in three several places in the said Hall.  Then
he came to the upper end, and the Queen drank to him; and after sent to
him the cup, which he had for his fee, and likewise the harness and
trappings, and all the harness which he did himself wear, and then he
returned to the place from whence he came, and was gone.”  On the last
occasion, when this ceremony was observed, viz., at the coronation of
George IV., the rightful champion being in Holy Orders, his son Henry,
afterwards Sir H. Dymoke, Bart., was allowed to act for his father, who
was the eighteenth of the hereditary champions of his family.  Sir Walter
Scott was present, and, writing to a friend, says, “Young Dymoke is a
fine-looking youth, but bearing perhaps a little too much the appearance
of a maiden knight to be a challenger of the world.”  But he adds, with
the eye of an antiquary, “His armour was in good taste, except that his
shield was out of all propriety, being a round ‘Rondache,’ or Highland
target, impossible to use on horseback, instead of being a
three-cornered, or leather, shield, which, in the time of the Tilt, was
suspended round the neck.  However, on the whole . . . the Lord of
Scrivelsby looked and behaved extremely well.” {211}

One _contre-temps_, however, occurred on this occasion, which Sir Walter,
perhaps, thought it polite, or politic, not to mention; others have not
had the same scruples, and hence an incident is recorded which may have
had something to do with the future omission of the ceremony.  The Duke
of Wellington, as Lord High Constable, had to ride by the Champion’s
side, with the Deputy Earl Marshal on the other side.  It was part of the
observance that, in withdrawing from the Sovereign’s presence, the riders
should back their horses, keeping their heads towards the King.  The
Duke, in his anxiety that all should go without a hitch, had hired a
horse from Astley’s circus, which had been specially trained for that
part of the ceremony; but, unfortunately, the intelligent animal chose
the wrong stage in the ceremony for the performance, and most
conscientiously and obstinately persisted in turning tail and backing
_towards_ the King instead of from him, and was with difficulty slewed
round by the attendants. {212a}

It were much to be desired that this picturesque and interesting relic of
feudal custom’s might be restored.  The present may be an age of new-born
energies, and even revolutionary ideas, but the spirit of “Reverentia
Cani” is by no means extinguished, and the interest in old institutions
seems ever widening and deepening in the general sentiment.

As a curiosity I will give here a bill, sent in by Sir Edward Dymoke to
Sir William Cecil (he spells it “Syscell”) for the cost of some of the
articles necessary to him as Champion at the coronation of Mary, which he
seems to have had a difficulty in getting paid, although he was, by
custom, entitled to them.

    Stuff yt Phyllyp Lenthall have delyvered to Sir Edward Dymocke.

    Item for a showrde (_a_) and gerdyll (_b_), and scabbart (_c_) of
    velvet . . . xls

    Item for ij pardeynzyns (_d_) gylte (_e_) . . . xls

    Item for a poll (_f_) ax . . . xxs

    Item for a chasynge (_g_) staff . . . vis viiid

    Item for a gylte payre of spowres (_h_) . . . xvis

    Sm total VI£ ..  IIs .. VIIId. {212b}

It may strike us as singular that so high an official as the King’s
Champion should perpetrate such spelling as the above; but those were
days in which many a baron bold found it easier to inscribe his name on
the scroll of fame, by dint of his trusty sword, than by the clerkly

The church of Scrivelsby was thoroughly restored in 1861, and further
improvements made in 1876, the previous structure being a poor one.  Sir
Henry added, at his own cost, a spire.  The most interesting features of
the former building were carefully retained.  There is an aumbrey, in a
curious position, near the north-west door.  The font is octagonal, on
pedestal, apparently modern, the faces having poppy head and other simple
devices.  There is a tomb, of Lewis Dymoke, under the reading desk, in
the nave; in the north aisle, having Early English columns of three bays,
and eastward two bays with Norman columns, there are recumbent figures of
a knight and lady (supposed to be Sir Philip Marmion and wife), the male
figure with shield, delapidated, the female entire.  At the east end of
the same aisle is the tomb of Sir Robert Dymoke, “upon whose soule
Almightie God have m’ie.  Amen.”  There is a good rood screen in the
chancel.  In 1899 a beautiful window was given, of coloured glass, by
Mrs. Dymoke, of the Court, in memory of her husband, Francis Scaman
Dymoke, the Hon. the Queen’s Champion.  The subjects illustrated are (1)
Our Lord preaching the sermon on the Mount, and (2) in the act of
blessing little children, under the former of which are the words
“Blessed are the pure in heart,” and under the latter “Suffer little
children to come unto me.”  In the chancel is also a rich mural monument
to Lewis Dymoke, “who performed the service at the coronation of George
I. and George II.  He was the youngest son of Sir Charles Dymoke and
Eleanor eldest daughter of the first Lord Rockingham.”  There are two
other tablets, on the north and south walls, of Dymokes, and others in
the floor; also a tablet to John Tyrwhitt, Esq., of Pentre Park, and his
wife Sophia, a Dymoke; and another of the Rev. I. Bradshaw Tyrwhitt, of
Wilksby.  In the churchyard are also tombs of Dymokes, one a massive
structure opposite the east window, containing the remains of the late
Sir Henry Dymoke, Bart., and Emma his wife.  There are also many
tombstones of the Gilliat family.  Some years ago, when repairs were
being made in the church, the flooring was removed, and a skeleton was
discovered without a head, a block of clay lying in place of the skull.
This was supposed to be the remains of Sir Thomas Dymoke, who, with his
relative, Lord Welles, was beheaded by Edward IV., in London, at the time
of the Battle of “Loosecoat field,” near Stamford, 1470, when the
fugitive rebels threw off their coats to expedite their flight.

Among the privileges of the Champion family was the right to hold a
market and fair at Scrivelsby, first granted, 42 and 43 Henry III., to
Philip de Marmyon, to which he proved his claim in the 9th year of Edwd.
I.; also the right of free warren over the Manor of Scrivelsby, and to
erect a gallows for the punishment of felons at Scrivelsby.  Where the
gallows were erected is not known.

Sir Edward Dymoke, Sheriff of Lincolnshire 27 Henry VIII., and also 1 Ed.
VI. and 2 and 3 Philip and Mary, married Anne, sister and coheir to
Gilbert, Lord Taillebois of Kyme; by which alliance the castle and manors
of North and South Kyme came to the Dymoke family, and members of the
family resided there until it was sold, about 1730, to the Duke of
Newcastle.  This Sir Edward had issue Sir Robert Sir Charles, and a
daughter Elizabeth, who married Henry Ascough, a member of a very old and
distinguished family.  Sir Robert Dymoke, Champion to James I., married
well, the daughter of Edward Clinton, Lord Clinton and Saye, afterwards
created Earl of Lincoln and a K.G.  Her mother had been the widow of
Gilbert, Lord Taillebois, previously a mistress of Hen. VII., by whom she
had a son, created Duke of Richmond.

Charles Dymoke, who died, unmarried, at Oxford in 1644, was a zealous
supporter of his unfortunate Sovereign, Charles I., and by his Will
bequeathed £2,000 (a large sum in those days) to relieve his necessities.

Sir Edward Dymoke, at the time of the Commonwealth, being, from his
office and his loyalty, obnoxious to the Republican party, was fined, for
his “delinquency,” £200 a year, and yet was obliged to pay the further,
then enormous, sum of £4,633.

His son, Sir Charles, was highly esteemed for his loyalty, and was put
down among those who were to be created by Charles II.  “Knights of the
Royal Oak,” in grateful remembrance of the King being saved in an oak at
Boscobel in Staffordshire, resting on the lap of Colonel Careless,
afterwards Carlos.

The Dymokes’ estates were greatly reduced by sale in the year 1871, when
most, if not all, the lands not entailed were disposed of.  Within the
writer’s memory the Dymokes shot over lands extending from their own door
(with the exception of the Ostler ground) to Kirkstead wharf.

We must here, however, pass on our way from Scrivelsby, although we shall
meet with Dymokes again in the next parish.

Taking an accommodation road {215} which branches off westward from the
main road opposite the Lion gate, and going through some fields, past the
modern rectory, a substantial residence, we emerge, by an old cottage,
whose roof, covered with ancient drab-coloured slates or slabs, reaches,
on one side, to the ground, upon another main road leading to Boston.
Pursuing this about a mile and a half, and passing a disused churchyard,
with two or three gravestones and no church, at Dalderby, we reach the
village of Haltham.  Here we have a church of considerable interest.
Taking the exterior first, we find a remarkable semi-circular tympanum
over the door, within the porch on the south.  It has a kind of Maltese
cross within a circle, with a second circle running through the limbs of
the cross.  Below this is a small round object, with an oblong on each
side of it; and below them, to the east, is an oval figure like a buckle,
while below, to the west, is a square, having three-quarter circles at
its corners, and semi-circles in the middle of its sides, which form the
extremities of a cross, and between the limbs and the sides of the square
are roundels.  Below this is a curious lobated object, with what may be
called a fish placed perpendicularly on it; east of the circle containing
the Maltese cross are four rows of inverted triangles, of different
lengths; below them, within a circle, is a curious figure, made of twelve
unequal curved lines, arranged in four groups of threes, and forming a
triple Fylfot or Swastica.  Touching the east side of this circle is
another, which cuts into the border of the base of the tympanum at its
eastern corner, containing a cross within a square similar to that on the
west side.  This very curious tympanum is Early Norman, or possibly
Saxon. {216}  There is a priest’s door in the south wall of the chancel.
There was once a north door in the nave, now bricked up.  There was a
large western door, round arched, with triple moulding, now also bricked
up.  Over this door are two stone gurgoyles, one above the other, let
into recesses in the west wall, which is mainly of brick.  The length of
the nave, externally, is 150ft.; and its breadth, with the porch, is
150ft.  The length of the chancel is 30ft.  The east window is a fine,
decorated, flamboyant specimen, its date being about 1350, which has been
copied on a larger scale, in St. Mary’s Church, Horncastle.

Taking the interior, the sittings are all of very old oak, many of them
with rudely carved poppy heads.  There are very fine, heavy, old oak,
carved canopies over two long pews in the north aisle for the Champion
Dymokes and their servants.  These, probably, were taken from a former
rood screen.  There is now a low screen, fragmentary, in the chancel, and
an oak pulpit, old but plain.  There is a piscina, with two fronts, in
the south wall of the chancel, and a series of three sedilia and an
aumbrey in the north wall; also carved brackets on each side of the east
window.  The font stands in the north-east corner of the north aisle, on
a very broad base which serves as a seat.  The north aisle has three bays
with round arches, and two eastward with pointed arches.  The windows
throughout are perpendicular, but either square-topped or debased, except
the fine east window, and one in the south wall of nave, of two lights.
There is an incised slab to one of the Dymokes.  The bell chamber is
closed by ancient boarding adorned with the Commandments in old
characters, and very curious Royal arms of Charles I.  There are three
bells, and a very curious old ladder, constructed of rude beams, leading
up to the belfry.  Miss Spurrier, the Rector’s daughter, assisted by the
coachman, have improved the church by renovating the screen.  This lady
has also carved a cover for the font in very delicate pattern, the
ironwork being done by the village blacksmith, Mr. Priestley.

In the village is an old hostel, partly of the Tudor style, with pointed
gable ends, projecting upper story, and constructed, externally, of brick
and woodwork.

In the parish register, at the bottom of the page containing the entries
for the year 1584, by way of accounting for the number of funerals (51),
is the following note: “This yeare plague in Haltham.”  Although Haltham
and Roughton are ecclesiastically united, and, in position, contiguous,
there were, in that year, no extra deaths in Roughton; while in the year
1631–2 there were 43 burials at Roughton, and no increase of mortality at
Haltham.  The only peculiar record which I can find in connection with
Haltham is a “Feet of Fines, Lincoln, 9 Henry III., No. 52,” too long to
be quoted in full, which contains an agreement between Henry del Ortiay
and Sabina his wife on the one hand, and Ralph de Rhodes on the other
hand, tenant of lands with appurtenances, in Horncastre, Upper Tynton,
Cuningbye, Holtham, &c., whereby the said Henry and his wife recognise
the said lands &c. to be the right of Ralph; he on his part granting to
Henry and Sabina other land with appurtenances, in Upper Tynton; certain
of the lands being designated Pese-wang, Leir-me-Wang, Whete-wang, and
Krunce Wong, with Hethotenacre (Heath of ten acre), Sexacre, and other
names.  These names illustrate what was said on a previous page regarding
the field named “the Wong,” at Horncastle.  A very curious feature of the
agreement is that the said Henry and Sabina are “to have and to hold”
these lands “of the aforesaid Ralph and his heirs forever, rendering
therefor, by the year, one pair of gilt spurs, or 6d., at Easter, for all
service and exaction.” {217}

Having thus made our halt at Haltham, we bid adieu to the place, and push
on southward.  Passing Tumby Lawn, the residence of Sir H. M. Hawley,
surrounded by leafy groves, within whose shade (teste scriptore) Philomel
doth pour forth (malgré the poets) _his_ flood of song, while a whole
coterie of other birds in “amorous descant” join; and sheltered from the
east by the extensive woods of Haltham, Fulsby, and Tumby, remains of the
whilom “Tumby Chase,” we find ourselves, at the end of some three and a
half miles, entering the main street of Coningsby.  Here again, we might
ask, with love-sick Juliet, “What’s in a name?”  But, in sooth, a name
may be an epitome of history.  There is an old proverb that “knowledge is
power,” and we might say, the name of Coningsby is a territorial
exemplification and perpetuation of this adage.  In the language once
spoken in these parts, {218} the conning, cunning man and the king were
one and the same; the king _was_ king because he was the conner, the
thinker, and so overtopped his fellows in cunning.  He embodied in his
own person the moral of every age of progress, that brute force must
yield the palm to skill and judgment.  Mob-rule may for a while snatch
at, and hold, the mastery; but ’tis the man who has the cunning to bide
his time, and then seize the opportunity, who will be borne in triumph on
the shoulders of those who once hustled and jostled him.  Within some
miles northward of where I am writing lies Kingthorpe, “the king’s
village”; and at just about the same distance southward lies Coningsby,
with precisely the same meaning.  Both names imply the presence at one
time of a king; who he may have been we do not know, but he put down his
foot there, and the stamp remains.  There was once a castellated
residence here, the home of the Coningsby family; and one of them,
Thomas, was created Earl of Coningsby, but, dying without issue, the
title became extinct in 1729.  I may here mention that the tomb of the
last Countess of Coningsby is in the north chantry chapel of Heydour
church (between Sleaford and Grantham); it is a marble monument by
Rijsbrach.  There is also a slab to the last Viscount, 1733, who is
traditionally said to have been taken from his cradle by a pet monkey,
and dropped by it, in the terror of pursuit, from the roof of the house
on to the stone pavement below, and so killed.  The position of this old
Coningsby mansion is not precisely known; but in a field on the south
side of the main street there is an ancient dove-cot, and some fine
trees, such as one might expect about a baronial residence.  The
Coningsbys moved from Coningsby to Hampton Court in Herefordshire more
than two centuries ago. {219a}  There was a very fine collection of
pictures at this place, a list of which was given in the “Gentleman’s
Magazine” of April 26, 1826.  Among these was a painting of the old
mansion of Coningsby.  Hampton Court is now the residence of John
Arkwright, Esq., and is situated between Hereford and Leominster.  But
“vixere fortes ante Agamemnona,” and there were men of mark at Coningsby
long before those who took its name as their patronymic.  In Domesday
Book we find that Sortibrand, the son of Ulf, the Saxon, who was one of
the Lagmen of Lincoln, and had “sac and soc {219b} over three mansions in
that city,” as successor to his father (loco Ulf patris sui), held a
berewick (a corn farm) in Coningsby.

When the powerful favourite of the Conqueror, Robert Despenser, laid
claim to a fishery and certain land in Coningsby, the Jurymen of the
Wapentake of Horncastle decided that his claim was good, because Achi,
his Saxon predecessor, had held the same in the time of Edward the
Confessor.  Moreover, the said Robert Despenser already held in Coningsby
a berewick—“bere” (barley) land—of nine oxgangs, or some 225 acres, of
meadow and wood, besides land in a score more parishes.  And, again, from
the same source we learn that a noble Fleming, Drogo de Bruere, who
fought under the Conqueror at the battle of Hastings, and was rewarded by
the gift of the whole of Holderness in Yorkshire, and other manors in
Lincolnshire and elsewhere, also held land in Coningsby.  Of this noble,
Camden relates that the Conqueror valued his services so highly that he
bestowed his own niece upon him in marriage; but that he destroyed her by
poison, and then fled the country, all attempts to discover him having
failed down to the time of the Domesday Survey being taken. {220a}

In the List of the Gentry of Lincolnshire, made on the Herald’s
Visitation of the county in 1634, and still preserved at the Herald’s
College, are the names of John Carter and Clinton Whichcote, of
Coningsby. {220b}

In a Chancery Inquisition, post mortem, taken 31st May, 10 Henry VII.,
No. 72 (1495), it was found that Robert Taillebois, Knight, and John
Gygour, Clerk, Warden of the College of Tatteshale, were “seized in their
demesne as of fee of the manors of South Kyme, North Kyme, Conyngsby,
Dokdyke, Byllingay,” and other properties. {220c}  While, as an evidence
of the trade of Coningsby, in a list of “Lincolnshire Town and Traders’
Tokens,” made by the late Mr. C. J. Caswell, of Horncastle, there occurs
one of a Coningsby tradesman, bearing on the obverse side, “John
Lupton—The Baker’s Arms,” and on the reverse side, “Of Cunsby, 1663—J. A.
L.” {220d}  Mr. Caswell adds a note that “where three initials are given,
as in this case, the issuer’s wife is included, sometimes joined in a
true lover’s knot.  Mr. John Lupton (in the present day) is a well-known
and respected farmer of Pinchbeck West.  His daughter married T. A.
Roberts, Esq., M.R.C.S., late of Coningsby.”

I have already, in connection with Haltham, quoted an old Record, Feet of
Fines, 9 Henry III., No. 52, which gives an agreement between Henry del
Ortiay and Sabina his wife, as plaintiffs, on the one part, and Ralph de
Rhodes on the other part, holding lands in Coningsby, Haltham, Marynge
(Mareham), and other places; by which they recognise these lands as his
by right, and, in return, he assigns certain land to them in Upper
Tynton, to have and to hold for ever, by the tenure of a pair of gilt
spurs, given annually.  This brings this powerful baron into connection
with Coningsby. {221a}  While further, in a Feet of Fines, 19 Henry VII.
(1503), on the Octave of Holy Trinity, an agreement is given between Sir
Edward Ponyngs, Knt., Sir Thomas Fenys (Fynes?), Knt., Sir John Peeche,
Knt., John Mordaunt, and others, plaintiffs, on the one part, and Sir
George Nevyll, of Burgavenny, Knight, and Joan his wife, deforciants,
whereby George and Joan recognise certain lands in Conysby, Halton,
Belcheford, and elsewhere, to be the right of John Mordaunt, for which
the plaintiffs gave them £l,000. {221b}  Here we have another proprietor,
John Mordaunt, brought into connection with Coningsby, and that he was a
man of substance was shewn by the fact that this recognition of his
property was not confined to Coningsby, but extended to the manor of
Estwardesbersoke, etc., in Notts.; the manors of Halton, Aukebarow, and
Burton Stather; lands in Winterton, Theylby, Hybalstede, Barnaby, Eyrby,
Crosby, Gunnall, Donyngton, etc.  Further, by Feet of Fynes, 21 Henry
VII. (1505), an agreement is given between Richard, Bishop of Winchester,
Sir Giles Daubeney, of Daubeney, Knight; Sir T. Lovell, Sir R. Emson, Sir
James Hobart, _Humphrey Conyngesby_, one of the King’s Sergeants at Law,
and others, as plaintiffs, and Robert Ratclyfe de Fitzwater, and Margaret
Ratclyfe, widow of Sir John Ratclyfe de Fitzwater, deforciants; whereby
Robert and Margaret recognise the castle of Egremound, and various other
manors and properties, to be the right of the Bishop.

Further, it is known that the manor of Coningsby was formerly held by the
Marmyons, and they and their descendants, the Dymokes, were largely
commemorated in stained-glass windows once existing in the church; and a
tombstone records the “Hic jacet” of Anna, daughter of Thomas Dymoke, and
his wife “que obijt A° Dni 1462.”  The manorial rights ultimately passed
to the Heathcotes, and are now the property of the head of that family,
the Earl of Ancaster.

Let us now look at the church; and, taking the exterior first, we are
struck by the fine tower, which is visible for many miles round.  It is
of the Perpendicular order, very plain; indeed, almost without ornament,
except for the roses on the cuspings of the upper window; but it is of
solid, good ashlar work, well supported by buttresses, and its outline
relieved by several set-offs.  It is pierced, below, by an arched
passage, through which there is a public thoroughfare, existing from time
immemorial, {222} the supposition being, that the monks of Croyland and
other southern monasteries, on their way to Kirkstead, and their more
northern brethren, “baited” at the rectory hard by, where there are still
traces of a large refectory in the presence of an arch of wide span,
which runs through the oldest part of the house, from top to bottom.  In
the east and west walls, on either side of this tower arch, is a
sex-foiled, circular window; that on the east being in the west wall of
the nave, and filled with coloured glass; that on the west, being in the
outside wall of the tower, has never been glazed.  In the south-eastern
wall of the porch is a stoup, which formerly was open both within the
porch and outside, though now it is closed outside.  Built into the west
wall of the south aisle, probably at the restoration in 1872, is a block
of stone, carved with a closed hand, having a finely-laced cuff.  This
is, doubtless, an importation from elsewhere.  Near the top of the wall
of a cupola-shaped south finial of the rood-loft turret, is an old
sun-dial.  Taking now the interior, we find a massive heavy roof, of
beams somewhat rudely hewn, with traces of former colouring still
perceptible.  The four western bays of the arcade are Early English, with
low arches rising from octagonal piers; the easternmost bay seems to have
been an addition at a later date; some of the piers, two on the north and
one on the south, have been heightened, and the arches are higher and
wider.  The moulding between two of the north arches terminates in a
head, on each side of which an evil spirit is whispering.  Another
terminal is the head of a woman wearing the “branks,” or scold’s bridle.
{223}  The clerestory windows were spoilt at the restoration, when their
height had to be reduced.  Externally their original design remains—two
lancet windows over each arch; but internally the lancets have been cut
short and converted into triangular lights with curved sides.  On the
south side of the chancel arch is a rood-loft staircase turret, of which
both the upper and lower doorways remain.  The chancel east end is
apsidal, modern, and out of keeping with the rest of the structure.
There are three two-light windows in the three faces of the apse.  In one
of these the present rector, Canon Arthur Wright, has placed a two-light
memorial window, to his deceased wife, of some beauty.  South of the
Communion table, attached to the wall as a credence table, is an Early
English capital, with piscina behind.  The windows in the north aisle are
decorated with reticulated tracery.  Those of the south aisle are
Perpendicular, with segmented heads.  The windows throughout the church,
and extending even to the rectory house, were, at a former period,
unusually rich in stained glass,

    With varied hues all richly dight,
    In radiance and collateral light,
    Of knight’s and baron’s heraldic scroll,
    And prayers invoked for manie a soule.

The marvel is, what has become of it, since there is no record of any act
of spoliation such as is known to have been committed in the neighbouring
church of Tattershall.  We give here extracts from Gervase Holles’ “Notes
on Churches,” descriptive of these windows, etc., from the Harleyan MSS.,
No. 6,829, as they are given in Weir’s “History,” pp. 50–52, ed. 1820.

                     _In fenestra Orientali Cancelli_

Quarterly                                                          Marmyon

Verry a fesse G. fretty d’or

Sa. 2 lyons passant arg. crowned d’or

Empaled                                                             Dymoke

G. a frett of 8 pieces d’or

B.3 garbes d’or

G. a lyon rampant d’or

Sa. a sword in pale arg

Sa. 3 lyons passant arg crowned d’or                                Dymoke

Arg, 3 flowres de lize between 6 crosse crosslets,                 Hillary
fitchy sa. a border G.

Arg. a playne crosse G.

G. a playne cross arg

                           _Tumulus lapideus_.

‘Hic jacet Anna fillla Thome Dymoke Militis D’ni . . .
et Margaretis consortis suæ que obijt A° Dni 1642 &c.

Empaled } Verry a fesse G. fretty d’or                             Marmyon

Empaled } Or a lyon rampant double queue sa                         Welles

                     _In mure boreali aere sculptum_.

Orate pro a’i’a M’ri Joh’is de Croxby quondam Rectoris istius ecclesiæ.
qui dedit annualem redditum xxs annuatim in p’petuum, et in secunda,
Feriæ primæ hebdommadæ quadragesimæ habitantibus in Conningsby sc’am
formam evidentiæ suæ distribuendorum.

“This charity hath ceased for many years, the evidence having been
sacrilegiously stolen out of that monument within the wall, as by the
loosening of the plate of brasse may appeare.

               _In fenestra Occidentali Capellæ Orientalis_

Orate pro a’iabus . . Hatcliffe . . . Ux’is suæ                  Fenestram

Sa. 3 welles arg. bis                                               Wellis

Empaled } Sa. 3 welles arg                                          Wellis

Emplaed } B. 2 bars d’or over all a lyon rampant . .             Hatcliffe
. G.

Sa. a sword in pale arg

Arg. a fesse daunce betw. 3 talbots’ heads erased

Arg. a fesse betw. 3 cootes sa

B. 2 bars d’or over all a lyon rampant G                         Hatcliffe

“Orate pro bono statu H. Wellis notorii publici                  Hatcliffe

Uxoris suæ et sequelis eorum, . . . hanc fenestram
fieri fecerunt A’no D’ni 1460.

                 _In superioribus fenestris Borealibus_.

G. a cinquefoil pierced betw. 8 crosse crosselets              Umframyille

Quarterly                                                      Willoughby.

Sa. a cross engrayled d’or . . . Ufford

G. a cross sarcely arg. . . Beke

G. 3 Waterbougets arg                                                  Ros

Or a lyon rampant double queue sa.                                  Welles

Arg. a crosse patonee G.

Arg. a chiefe G. over all a bend engrayled B

Chequy or & G. a chiefe ermine                                   Tateshale

Ermine a fesse G.                                                  Bernake

Arg. a chiefe over all a bend B.                                  Crumwell

Sa. 2 lyons passant arg. crowned or                                 Dymoke

Or on fesse G. 3 plates                                       Huntingfield

Quarterly or & G. a border sa. bezanty, on the                    Rochford
2nd quarter a garbe arg.

Quarterly &c. an annulet on the 2nd quarter                       Rochford

B. crucilly a lyon rampant arg. bis

Arg. 3 shell snayles sa.

Dymoke Crumwell Holland

Quarterly France & England a label of 3 arg.

Quarterly France & England a label of 3 ermyne

                         _In fenestra Orientali_.

“Orate pro a’iabus fratrum and sororum Gildæ be’æ Mariæ de Cuningsby qui
istam fenestram fieri fecerunt.

“This a fayre Window, adorned with the genealogy of the Kings of Israel
and Judah, David lying along through the whole bottome, from whose roote
branche out the several stems.  In one part of it below the Picture of
King Edward the first, crowned, &c., &c.

Edwardus primus regnavit annos . . .

“Orate pro Matilda de Padeholme et Alicia . . .

                            _On a gravestone_

“Hic jacet D’nus Thomas Butler, quondam Capellanus Gilda be’æ Mariæ
Cunningsby, qui obiit 10 die mensis Decembrie A’no D’ni 1510.  Cujus a’iæ
&c., &c.

                               _On Another_

Pray for the soule of John Smith of Cunsby sometime M’chant of the staple
of Calis, which died in the yeare of our Lord God 1470, and Jonet his
wife which died the 24 day of November in the yeare of our Lord God 1461.

    And all goode people that this Scripture reade or see
    For their soules say a Paternoster, Ave Maria, & a creed for Charity.

“On another the pourtraytures of a man and his two wives on either side
of him in brasse with this inscription, viz’t.

    Pray for the soules of Richard Whetecroft of Coningsby M’chant of the
    Staple of Calice, and sometime Lieutenant of the same, & Jane &
    Margaret his Wives, which Richard deceased the 23d day of November,
    A’o D’ni 1524.

                 _In the Parlour of the Parsonage House_

Arg. a crosse engrayled G. betw. 4 water bougets sa.             Bourchier

Quarterly & Quartered with Quarterly                               Lovayne

Gules billetty d’or a fesse arg.

Crumwell and Tateshale

B. a manche d’or

Empaled                                                             Dymoke

Sa. 3 lyons passant guardent arg.

Sa. 2 lyons passant arg. crowned d’or




Verry a fesse G.                                                   Marmyon

Or. a lyon rampant double queue sa.                                 Welles


a coate defaced



Verry a fesse G.

B. a manche, d’or.

“All these Escucheons are in 2 windows, in which 2 windows are also these

    Alme Deus, cæli Croxby tu parce Johanni
    Hanc ædem fieri benefecit sponte Jo Croxby
    Anno milleno quater C L X quoque terno

                         _In the other windowes_

Barry of 6 ermyne & G. 3 cresents sa.                             Waterton

Quarterly Ufford & Beke                                          Willughby

Verry a fesse G.                                                   Marmyon

Ermyne 5 fusils in fees G                                           Hebden

Arg. a crosse sarcely sa.

Empaled } Quarterly Crumwell & Tateshale                          Crumwell

Empaled } B. fesse betw. 6 billets d’or                          Deyncourt




Sa. an arming sworde pile in poynte arg


Arg. 8 bulls passant

G. on a chevron arg. 3 pomeis


Arg. a fesse daunce betw. 3 talbots heades erased

Arg. a fesse betw. 3 cooks sa.

                                    Harleyan MS., No. 6829, pp. 179 to 182

The font is plain, octagonal, Early English.  In the centre of the nave
are two slabs, once having had brasses, but these are no longer _in
situ_.  Over the porch is a parvis, as a priest’s chamber, or school.
The church has a clock and six bells.  The curfew, or _ignitegium_, was
rung down to within the last thirty years.  Among the Rectors have been
two poets, one of them the Laureate of his day (1718), the Rev. Laurence
Eusden, who died in 1730.  A man originally “of some parts,” by
inordinate flattery he obtained that distinction, which, however, invited
criticism; and his mediocre abilities, accompanied by habits somewhat
intemperate, provoked ridicule.  Among other productions, he translated
into Latin Lord Halifax’s poem on “The Battle of the Boyne.”  Pope refers
to him, in his “Dunciad,” thus:—

    Know, Eusden thirsts no more for sack or praise,
       He sleeps among the dull of ancient days;
          Safe, where no critics d---n, nor duns molest

Another writer says of him,

    Eusden, a laurell’d bard, by fortune raised,
    By very few men read, by fewer praised;

while the Duke of Buckingham, describing, in a “skit,” the contest for
the Laureateship, says,

    In rushed Eusden, and cryed, “Who shall have it?
    But I, the true Laureate, to whom the king gave it?”
    Apollo begged pardon, and granted his claim,
    But vowed that till then he’d ne’er heard of his name.

John Dyer, born 1700, was a much more reputable person.  He was educated
at Westminster; began life as an itinerant artist, with a keen eye to the
beauties of nature, when that taste was little cultivated.  He was
appointed to the rectory by Sir John Heathcote in 1752, and in 1755 to
Kirkby-on-Bain, for which he exchanged Belchford, where he had formerly
been.  He was the author of “Grongar Hill,” “The Fleece,” and “The Ruins
of Rome.”  He was honoured with a sonnet by Wordsworth; but his longer
poems are somewhat wearisome reading.

The place-names in this parish indicate the condition of woodland and
waste which formerly prevailed.  Immediately south of the church and its
surroundings we find the “Ings,” or meadows, the Saxon term which we have
noticed in several other parishes.  Further off, we have “Oaklands” farm,
and “Scrub-hill,” “scrub” being an old Lincolnshire word for a small
wood; as we have, in the neighbourhood, ‘Edlington Scrubs’ and ‘Roughton
Scrubs.’  “Reedham,” another name, indicates a waste of morass.
“Toot-hill” might be a raised ground from which a watch, or look-out, was
kept, in troublous times; and Dr. Oliver says, in his “Religious Houses,”
Appendix, p. 166, “‘Taut’ is a place of observation; ‘Touter’ is a
watcher in hiding;” but it is more likely to be from the Saxon “tot,” an
eminence (“totian,” to rise), in which case the second syllable, “hill,”
is only a later translation of the first.  However, Toot-hill, Tothill,
or Tooter’s hill, are not uncommon in other parts, and are said to have
been connected with the heathen worship of Taith.  Langworth Grange, in
this parish, would probably be (as elsewhere) a corruption of Langwath,
the long ford over some of the fenny stretches of water.  The most
peculiar place-name is “Troy-wood.”  It is possible that, as at
Horncastle, this may have been a place where the youths gathered to play
the old game of “Troy town”; but is more likely of British origin, a
remnant of the Fenland Grirvii.  Troy Town is a hamlet near Dorchester,
but there are several spots in Wales named Caer-troi, which means a
bending, or tortuous town, a labyrinth, such as the Britons made with
banks of turf.

We have now about done with Coningsby.  We are welcome to enter the
rectory, where we notice the large arch, already referred to, of the
former refectory.  Other objects of interest may be shewn us by the
Rector, but we turn to the western window of the drawing-room to gaze
upon a sight unparalleled.  Not a mile away there rises up before us the
stately structure of Tattershall Castle, “the finest piece of brickwork
in the kingdom”; and, close by, beneath, as it were, its sheltering wing,
the collegiate church, almost, in its way, as grand an object.
_L’appetit vient en mangeant_; and, as we devour the prospect, we hunger
and thirst for a closer acquaintance with their attractions.

Leaving Coningsby, and proceeding westward, we reach the bridge which
spans the Horncastle canal.  Here we pause to turn round and take a look
behind us eastward.  The massive tower of Coningsby rises far above the
trees of the rectory precincts, themselves of a considerable height.
Looking along the canal, the eye rests upon a very Dutch-like scene; the
sleepy waters of the so-called “Navigation” fringed by tall elms growing
on its southern margin, and on its northern by decaying willows, studding
the meadows, which are richly verdant from the damp atmosphere which it
engenders; a slowly-crawling barge or two might formerly have been seen,
with horse and driver on the towing path; but they are now things of the
past.  The canal, on its opening in 1801, was expected to be a mine of
wealth to the shareholder’s, but, having been ruined by the railway, it
is now disused; in parts silted up and only a bed of water plants; in
other parts its banks have given way, and the bed is dry.  Its only
present utility is to add picturesqueness to a scene of still life.
Following the towing path westward, with the straggling street of
Tattershall on the other side of the water, we reach what is called a
“staunch,” a weir, over which the surplus carnal water discharges itself
into what was the original channel of the river Bain, {228} which,
between Horncastle and here, has been more than once utilised to
replenish the canal.  Not far off, down this small stream, are some
favourite haunts of the speckled trout; and beneath overhanging willows
fine chub may be seen poising themselves in the water sleepily.  We now
leave the towing path and enter the main street, with church and castle
close at hand to our left, but first we will go a hundred yards to the
right, and make for the Marketplace.  By the gift of “a well-trained
hawk,” Robert Fitz-Eudo, in 1201, obtained from King John a charter for
holding a weekly market; and the shaft and broad base of the market
cross, bearing the arms of Cromwell, Tateshall, and D’Eyncourt, with a
modern substitute for the cross on the top, still exists.  An old brick
building, in a yard on the south side of the Market-place, now used for
malting, is traditionally said to have been the original, and smaller,
church, before the present one was erected in the 15th century.

As prefatory to our examination of both castle and church, we give here a
brief notice of the owners of this barony, and the founder of both these
erections.  Among the Norman knights who accompanied the Conqueror in his
great venture against Harold for the throne of England,—and we can hardly
help reflecting on the vast deviation in the stream of English history
which would have followed if that “bow drawn at a venture” had not sent a
shaft through the eye and brain of Harold at Hastings,—there were, as
Camden tells us, {229a} two sworn brothers in arms, Eudo and Pinso, to
whom William, as the reward of their prowess, assigned certain
territories, to be held by them in common, as they had themselves made
common cause in has service.  They subsequently divided these
possessions, and the Barony of Tattershall, with Tattershall Thorpe and
other appendages,—among them two-thirds of Woodhall,—fell to the share of
Eudo.  He was succeeded, in due course, by his son, Hugh Fitz-Eudo,
surnamed Brito, or, the Breton; who, in 1139 founded a monastery for
Cistercian monks at Kirkstead.  The male line of this family continued
for some eight generations.  His grandson Philip died, when sheriff of
the county, in 1200; his great grandson Robert married, first, Lady
Mabel, eldest sister and co-heir of Hugh de Albini, {229b} 5th Earl of
Sussex and Arundel, represented now by the Dukes of Norfolk (Earls of
Arundel), hereditary Earl-Marshals and Chief Butlers of England; and,
secondly, a daughter of John de Grey.  This Robert obtained, in 1231,
permission from Hen. III. to rebuild the family residence of stone.  As
to this permission, it may be observed that castle-building had been
carried on so extensively in the reign of Stephen, and the powerful
barons, backed by their fortified residences, had proved themselves so
formidable, that it was deemed politic to prevent further erections of
this kind, except with the Royal licence. {229c}  This would be the first
substantially-fortified structure at this place, but of this building
there is not now left one stone upon another; views, however, of the
castle, drawn by Buck, in 1727, shew that there were then remaining
extensive buildings, whose style would seen to correspond with the date
of this licence.  This Robert, having married two wives, who were
heiresses, would be a wealthy and important personage; he died in 1249.
Two more Roberts succeeded in their turn; the second of them being
summoned to Parliament, as 1st Baron de Tateshall, in 1297, died in the
year following.  On the death of his grandson, another Robert, and 3rd
Baron, without issue, in 1305, the estates reverted to his three aunts,
Emma, Joan, and Isabella, the second of whom, married to Robert de Driby,
inherited Tattershall.  Their two sons dying, the property again reverted
to a female, viz., their daughter Alice, married to Sir William Bernak,
Lord of Woodthorp, co. Lincoln, who died 1339.  His son, Sir John Bernak,
married Joan, daughter and co-heir of Robert, 2nd Baron Marmyon, who died
1345; and, on the death of his two sons, the property, for a third time,
passed to a female, in the person of his daughter Maude, who married Sir
Ralph Cromwell.  He was summoned to Parliament as Baron Cromwell in 1375,
and died in 1398.  His grandson, the 3rd Baron, also a Ralph, married
Margaet, sister and co-heir of William, last Baron D’Eyncourt.  These
several marriages with heiresses had largely augmented the estates and
wealth of the successive families, and this Ralph, being made Lord
Treasurer in 1433 by Henry VI., levelled the older castle to the ground,
and, having obtained the Royal licence to rebuild, he erected the present
majestic pile in 1440, at a cost, as William of Worcester informs us,
{230} of 4,000 marks.  At this palatial residence, and in London, he
lived in great state, his household consisting of 100 persons, and his
suite, when he rode to London, commonly comprised 120 horsemen; his
annual expenditure being £5,000.  In a previous chapter we quoted a
charge made upon Lord Clinton, when living at Tattershall, for 1,000
faggots.  At Hurstmonceux Castle, a similar building to Tattershall, the
oven is described by Dugdale (“Beauties of England—Sussex,” p. 206) as
being 14ft. long.  In such a furnace the daily consumption of faggots
would not be a trifle.

To speak here for a moment of building in brick.  From the ordinarily
unsightly character of brick structures it is usual to regard
brick-building disparagingly, but we have only to go to Italy, the
hereditary land of Art in various forms, to see edifices unsurpassed for
beauty in the world, which are constructed wholly, or in part, of brick.
The Cathedral at Cremona, with its delicately-moulded Rose windows and
its Torrazo, 400ft. in height; those of St. Pantaleone, Pavia; of the
Broletto, Brescia; or the Ducal Palace at Mantua, with its rich windows;
or the Palazzo dei Signori at Verona, with tower 300ft. high; not to
mention more, are all splendid specimens of what can be achieved in
brick.  In England, nothing like these has ever been attempted; the only
modern church of brick worth a mention is that of All Saints, Margaret
Street, London, with its graceful spire.  In the 15th century, and
slightly earlier, a few substantial and finely-constructed erections of
brick were made, of which one of the earliest, if not the earliest, was
the magnificent Gate Tower of Layer Marney in Essex, built by the 1st
Lord Marney, and for which he is said to have imported Italian workmen
for the moulded bricks.  Owing to his death the entire structure was not
completed.  But the gateway, flanked by two octagonal towers, each of
eight stories; and the summit, chimneys and divisions of windows, with
their varied mouldings, are a very fine piece of work. {231a}  Another of
these brick structures, of about the same date, was Torksey Castle, in
our own county; another was Hurstmonceux Castle, in Sussex, said by
Dugdale {231b} to be the only one at all rivalling Tattershall; while, by
a curious coincidence, its founder was Sir Roger de Fiennes, one of the
family, which, at a later period, owned Tattershall.

As we stand before Tattershall Castle and gaze on its stately
proportions, we cannot but feel that brick, properly, treated, can rival
stone.  What remains now is probably barely a third of what the building
originally was, and stands, doubtless, on the site previously occupied by
the Keep of the earlier castle.  It is a type of a particular stage of
construction, when the palace was superseding the grim feudal fortress,
although retaining several of the warlike features.  Besides an inner
moat, completely surrounding the castle, there was also an outer one,
protecting it on the north and west. {231c}  Both these moats were
supplied with water from the river Bain, and they had an inter-connection
by a cut on the north side of the castle, close by which there was a
small machicolated tower, probably connected with a drawbridge.  On the
space between the moats were buildings detached, serving for barracks,
guardrooms, etc., and one of these, now used as a barn, opposite the
north-west angle of the castle, is still fairly perfect.  The entrance to
the inner castle court, on the north-east, was defended by a lofty
gateway, with portcullis, and flanked by two turrets, which were still
remaining when Buck’s drawings were made, in 1727.  This noble keep, in
Treasurer Cromwell’s time, had at least five groups of noble buildings
about it; so that we can now hardly conceive the imposing appearance of
the whole.  What remains is 89ft. in length, by 67ft. in width, rising
boldly into the air, slightly sloping inwards as it rises, to give a
greater idea of height, until its turret parapets are found to be 112ft.
from the ground; while its massive walls, the eastern one 16ft. thick at
the base, are in keeping with its large proportions.  The variety of
outline in the well-set windows, the shadow-casting angle turrets, and
the massive machicolations, all serve to relieve the structure of
monotony.  The red bricks, too, are varied by having others of a dark
grey tint introduced in reticulated patterns, which relieve without being
obtrusive.  As I have observed elsewhere, a geologist of experience
states that both the bricks and the locally-termed grouting, or mortar,
are alike made from local material. {232}  The covered gallery on the
summit of the keep, surrounded by battlements, pierced with windows, and
partly pendent over the machicolations, though said to be unique in this
country, is a feature not uncommon in France and Germany.  The internal
arrangement of four grand apartments, one above another, is similar to
that of Kirkby Muxloe, but it is now difficult to assign to them their
particular uses.  Nothing remains of these apartments beyond their
windows, three beautiful stone mantelpieces, and two or three massive oak
bauk-beams.  Of one of the latter, now gone, the writer has a rather
gruesome recollection.  In the reckless hardihood of youth, there were
few parts of the castle which were not reached by himself and his not
less daring companions; and, in a moment of heedless adventure, on
jackdaws’ eggs intent, he walked across one of these beams from the
eastern gallery to the western wall, with nothing but empty space between
him and the ground, 70 or 80 feet below.  He performed this feat safely,
but a few days afterwards the beam fell.  At that time, in the forties,
{233} three of the corner turrets had conical roofs covered with lead.
The writer’s name was cut in the lead of the most inaccessible of these,
as well as on several other places, still to be seen.  The lead has been
sold, and the roofs removed, long ago.  Within these roofs was a
complicated network of supporting beams, crossing and re-crossing each
other, among which pigeons, and even owls, nested.  A schoolfellow of the
writer clambered up into one of these, bent on plunder, but the beams
were too rotten to bear his weight, and he fell to the floor, some 15 or
18 feet, on to the hard bricks.  No bones, fortunately, were broken, but
he sustained such a shock that he was confined to his bed for some weeks.
But a more remarkable escape occurred at a later date.  Visiting the
castle, a dozen or more yeans ago, while the writer was looking down to
the basement from the topmost gallery, close to the foot of the small
staircase which leads to the flat roof of the south-eastern turret, the
son of a farmer in the parish came up to him and said, in the most
unconcerned manner, “Sir, my brother fell from here to the bottom
yesterday.”  I replied, with surprise, “Was he not killed on the spot?”
“No,” was the answer, “he was only a little shaken.”  The boy, probably
about 10 or 11 years old, was wearing a smock frock, loose below, but
fastened fairly tight about the neck.  In search of eggs, I presume, he
sprang across the open space below him, from the eastern gallery to a
ledge running along the south wall, but, in attempting to do this, his
shoulder struck the brickwork of the corner turret, which spun him round,
and he fell.  His smock frock, however, filled with air, and buoyed him
up, thus checking the rapidity of his descent, and he alighted on the
ground upon a heap of small sticks and twigs dropped by the jackdaws, and
the result was little more than a severe shaking.  We have noticed the
handsome mantelpieces, which are referred to and engraved in several
publications.  They are ornamented with the Treasurer’s purse and the
motto “N’ai j’ droit,” and other heraldic devices of the Tattershall,
Driby, Bernak, Cromwell, D’Eyncourt, Grey of Rotherfield, and Marmyon
families, a study for the genealogist.  Nor may we forget the vaulted
gallery on the third floor, with bosses of cement and beautifully-moulded
brickwork in its roof.  This fine old ruin has not only suffered from the
ravages of time, but the elements have also played havoc with it.  On
March 29, 1904, at 2.30 p.m., in a violent thunderstorm, it was struck by
lightning.  The “bolt” fell on the north-east corner tower, hurling to
the ground, inside and outside, massive fragments of the battlemented
parapet.  The electric fluid then passed downward, through the building,
emerging by a window of the third storey, in the western side, tearing
away several feet of masonry, and causing a great rent in the solid wall
beneath.  The writer inspected the damage within a few days of the
occurrence, and was astonished at the violence of the explosion.

After the extinction of the Cromwell line the estates probably reverted
to the Crown, as we find that Henry VII. granted the manor of
Tattershall, and other properties, to his mother, Margaret, Countess of
Richmond; and in the following year he entailed them on the Duke.  On the
Duke dying without issue, Henry VIII., in 1520, granted these properties
to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, by letters patent, which were
confirmed by Ed. VI. in the year 1547.  On the deaths of the two infant
sons of the Duke, shortly after the father’s decease, Ed. VI., in 1551,
granted the estate to Edward, Lord Clinton and Saye, afterwards Earl of
Lincoln, whose descendant, Edward, died without issue in 1692, when the
property passed to his cousin Bridget, who married Hugh Fortescue, Esq.,
whose son Hugh was created Baron Fortescue and Earl Clinton in 1746; and
the estates have continued in that family ever since.

We now pass to the church.  As the castle was a sample of transition from
the feudal fortress to the baronial palace, so the church, although of
the Perpendicular order, is not quite of the purest type, being of the
later Perpendicular period.  Begun by the Treasurer Cromwell, it was not
completed at his death in 1455, but the work was carried on and finished
by his executors, one of whom was William of Wykeham, Bishop of
Winchester, the most famous building prelate of his time.  It has been
noticed, by competent judges, that there is “a remarkable resemblance in
points of detail, in the churches built or enlarged by Ralph, Lord
Cromwell, at Colly Weston, Northants; Lambley, Notts.; and Tattershall,”
as is the case with other groups of edifices erected by the same parties.
(“Archæolog. Journ.,” No. 12, 1846, pp. 291–2.)  It was established as a
collegiate institution, with provision for a provost, six priests, six
secular clerks, and six choristers.  Dedicated to the Trinity, it is a
noble stone structure, in shape cruciform, with nave, aisles, and north
and south transepts, chancel, north and south porches, and tower at the
west end.  There were formerly cloisters on the south side, but they were
demolished.  The tower is supported by buttresses, having six breaks
reaching to the base of the embattled parapet, and angle pinnacles, with
a square-headed west door; on the whole it is rather heavy.  The best
external feature of the church is the clerestory.  Internally the nave
has six lofty bays with very slender pillars and a low-pitched roof.  It
is very spacious.  It has been recently supplied with chairs, and the old
pulpit revived.  But for many years the chancel was the only part used
for services, and, indeed, as regards accommodation, the only part
needed.  The chancel is separated from the nave by a very unusual
arrangement,—a massive stone rood screen, the upper part of which was,
some years ago, used as the singing gallery; and a former old female
verger used to refer, with keen enthusiasm, to the time when, under the
late Mr. Richard Sibthorpe’s ministrations (whose perversions and
reversions between Romanism and Anglicanism were, at the least,
remarkable), this gallery reverberated with the inspiring strains of the
fiddle, the trombone, the hautboy, the clarionet (“harp, sackbut,
psaltery, and dulcimer”), and other kinds of music, to the hearty
enjoyment of all.  This massive screen was the gift of a member of the
collegiate body, one Robert de Whalley, in 1528.  Little survives of the
original choir but some stalls and sedilia.  In the north transept,
removed, for preservation, from their original positions, are some of the
finest brasses in the county; only half, however, of the once very fine
brass of the Treasurer Cromwell and his wife remains, remarkable for the
ape-like “wild men” on which his feet rest; and in the course of years,
since Gervase Holles wrote his “Notes on Churches” (1642), no less than
14 brasses have disappeared, and only 7 now remain.  Gough, in his
account, says that, on the brass of Maud Willoughby (1497), one of the
small figures, with book and keys, at the side is inscribed “Sta Scytha.”
St. Osyth was the daughter of Frewald, a Mercian prince, was born at
Quarrenden, Bucks., and became the virgin wife of an East Anglian king.
She is a saint not often mentioned.  “Sithe Lane (says Stow the
historian) at the east end of Watling Street, London, is known as St.
Scythe’s Lane, so called of St. Sithe’s church.” {236}  The windows of
this church were originally filled with beautiful stained glass of the
Perpendicular period, much of which survived the barbarism of the
Commonwealth, only to be removed by Earl Fortescue in 1757, and presented
to the Earl of Exeter for St. Martin’s church in Stamford, where some of
it may still be seen, more or less damaged by transit.  This spoliation
so enraged the parishioners that they, with some justification, raised a
riot to prevent it; and the glass was only, it is said, got away under
cover of night.  For 50 years afterwards the windows of the chancel
remained unglazed, and being thus exposed to the weather, the finely
carved oak stalls, rich screens, and other ornamental work, fell into a
state of decay.  The chancel was restored several years ago, and fitted
up in a neat, plain manner by the present Lord Fortescue, at a cost of
£800, £1,000 being further spent on the nave.  Some very interesting
fragments of the old glass were collected, and they are now chiefly in
the east window.  In both transepts are piscinas, shewing that they were
formerly used as chapels.  The north transept was enriched by Edward
Hevyn, the agent of Margaret Countess of Richmond, as was evidenced by “a
fayre marble within it,” when Holles visited the church, bearing this

    Have mercy on ye soule, good Lord, we thee pray
    Of Edward Hevyn, laid here in sepulture.
    Which, to their honour, this chappell did array
    With ceiling, deske, perclose, portrayture,
    And pavement of marble long to endure
    Servant of late to the excellent Princess,
    Mother of King Henry, of Richmond Countess.

As this is not intended to be a complete guide to the church, and all its
beauties, but rather to whet the appetite of the visitor to investigate
them further for himself, I shall only make some detailed remarks upon
the brass of Lord Treasurer Cromwell and his wife, which, while entire,
was a fine typical specimen.  A good engraving of it, from a drawing
preserved at Revesby Abbey and made for Sir Joseph Banks, is given in
“Lincolnshire Notes & Queries” (vol. iii., p. 193); a description is also
given there, taken, it would seem, from the “Notes” of Gervase Holles, as
follows:—Cromwell, with hands in prayer, is in armour of plain cuirass,
with very short skirt of ‘taces,’ to the lower end of which are strapped
a pair of ‘tuiles,’ or thigh-pieces, pendent over the cuisses
genouillieres, jointed with mail, and having edged plates fastened to
them above and below, long pointed ‘sollerets’ of plate armour, and
rowell spurs, very large condieres, cuffed gauntlets of overlapping
plates, with little scales to protect each finger separately; sword
hanging from his waist in front by a strap; over all a mantle, once
thought to be that of the Order of the Garter, but now supposed to be the
official robe of Lord Treasurer, reaching to the ground behind, and
fastened by cords which spring from rose-like ornaments, with long
pendent tasselled ends.  The support of the feet are two “Wodehowses,” or
hairy wild men, armed with clubs.  On the remaining portion of the canopy
pier, on the right, is the figure of St. Peter, in a cope, wearing the
tiara, a key in his left hand and a crozier in the right, with canopied
niche.  In another, above, is a figure of St. Maurice, in armour of the
15th century, in his right hand a halbert, and in his left a sword.
Corresponding with these, on the left, is a figure of St. George, in
similar armour, thrusting his lance into the dragon’s mouth.  Above is
the figure of St. Cornelius, holding a bannered spear in his left hand,
and a sword in his right.  The lost saints were on the right, St.
Barbara, St. Hubert, and another, not known; on the left, St. Thomas of
Canterbury, the Virgin, St. John Baptist, St. Anne with the Virgin
kneeling, and a Saint with short spear and ring, probably Edward the
Confessor.  Beneath the two wild men is the inscription:—

    Hic jacet nobilis Baro, Radulphus Cromwell,
    Miles, dux de Cromwell, quondam Thesaurius Angliæ, et
    Fundator hujus collegii, cum inclita consorte sua,
    Una herede dni Dayncourt, qui quidm
    Radulphus obiit quarto die mens Januarii, ano dni
    Milio CCCC, et p’dicta Margaretta obiit xv die
    Septebv, ano dni milio CCCC quor. aiab. p. piture Deus.  Amen.

Men rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.  The founder
has passed away, and the college also is no more; and the once
richly-endowed benefice is now little better than a starveling.  But the
humble Bede-houses, connected with the college, still remain.

One only further record can we give of Tattershall.  Most places have had
their characters.  Tradition avers, and not so long ago either, that a
certain worthy farmer, living in the neighbourhood, used to ride into
Tattershall, almost nightly, to his hostel, to play his game of cards
with certain boon companions.  It was before our toll-bars were
abolished, and there stood, near Tattershall bridge, a toll-bar with gate
made formidable by a chevaux de frise of iron spikes.  At times the play
ran high, and our friend would return home without a coin in his pocket
wherewith to pay toll.  But he was well-mounted, and on a moonlight night
he would not hesitate to obviate the difficulty by taking the toll-bar at
full speed and landing safely on four legs beyond it.  Although I cannot
set my seal to this tradition, yet, from the style in which he would
follow the hounds, I can well believe that not even a toll-bar, spikes
and all, would debar him from his “long clay” and glass of wholesome
“home-brewed” by his own fireside as a “night-cap.” {238}

We now bid adieu to Tattershall, prepared, presumably, to endorse the
verdict of a writer in the “Quarterly Review,” that the castle is indeed
“the finest redbrick tower in the kingdom,” {239a} and the best example,
except, perhaps, Hurstmonceux, of what good brickwork is capable of in
architecture; and, further, that the church is not unworthy of a place
beside it; and it is not a little remarkable that William of Waynfleet,
who completed it, also built the most beautiful college in the world,
viz., that of Magdalen, Oxford.

Our itinerary is now approaching its conclusion, yet we shall finish with
a _bonne bouche_.  We turn our faces northward, and, passing by land
still called “Tattershall park,” though now under cultivation and broken
up into fields; and, where formerly were two ancient encampments, British
or Roman, but now obliterated, a walk of some three miles brings us in
view of a tall fragment of stone-work, two fields distant on our left.
This is the last remaining portion of Kirkstead Abbey.  It is now some 50
feet high and 18 feet, or so, in width, but an engraving by Buck gives it
as at least double that width; and the writer has conversed with a man
whose father was labouring in the Abbey field when he noticed some
cattle, which had been standing under the shade of the ruin, suddenly
galloping away in alarm, and immediately afterwards a large portion of
the stonework collapsed, and, with a loud crash, fell to the ground,
leaving the relic much about the size which we see now.

There are mounds and hollows about the Abbey field which show how
extensive the buildings at one time were, covering several acres; and a
canal can be traced which had connection with the River Witham, which is
two fields distant. {239b}  We here give a brief account of the Abbey.
The manor of Kirkstead was given by the Conqueror, along with that of
Tattershall, as above stated, to the Norman soldier, Eudo; and his son,
Hugh Fitz-Eudo, surnamed Brito, founded here a Cistercian monastery, in
1139, dedicated to the Virgin.  The Abbey was very richly endowed from
more than one source.  The Harleyan MSS. (144) give a full account of its
possessions (29 Henry VIII.).  Its lands were situated in the city of
Lincoln, and in Horncastle, Nocton, Blankney, Branston, Metheringham,
Canwick, Sheepwash, Billingham, Thimbleby (where the Abbot had gallows),
Langton, Coningsby, South Langton, Scampton, Holton, Thornton, Stretton,
Wispington, Strutby, Martin, Sudthorpe, Roughton, Haltham, Benniworth,
Hedingley, Woodhall (with the advowson), Wildmore Fen (45,000 acres),
etc., besides property in the parishes of St. Andrew, Holborn, St.
Botolph, Aldersgate, and St. Nicholas, in the city of London; and the
further advowsons of the benefices of Covenham and Thimbleby.  The Abbots
exercised the rights of hunting, fowling and fishing; an old Cartulary of
the Abbey {240a} states that “Robert son of Simon de Driby . . . grants
to the Abbot of Kirkstead to have their ‘mastiffs’ in his warren of Tumby
all times of the year, with their shepherds, to take and retake their
beasts in the said warren, without any contradiction of the said Robert
or his heirs.”  “Witness Robert, son of Walter de Tatessal.”  The demesne
in Wildmore was granted to the Abbey by Baron Robert Marmyon of
Scrivelsby, and William de Romara, Earl of Lincoln, jointly, on condition
that he should not allow any other parties to pasture on the lands, but
only themselves and their tenants. {240b}  This William de Romara also
founded the Abbey of Revesby in the 8th year of Stephen, and both to that
Abbey and to Kirkstead he granted a Hermitage in Wildmore; and to show
the power of the Abbots of Kirkstead, it is recorded that when, in course
of time, Ralph de Rhodes, “the Lord of Horncastle,” succeeded to the
manorial rights in Wildmore, he, contrary to the grants of his
predecessors, “did bring in the said Wildmore other men’s cattell”;
thereupon a plea of covent was sued against him by the Abbot of
Kirkstead, with the result that a “fyne” was acknowledged by the said
“Ralfe de Rhodes.”  Similarly, a Marmyon, successor of the one who made
the grant, “contrary to the graunt of his ancestors, did bring into
Wildmore other men’s cattell, whereupon a like plea of covent was sued
against him.”  And in both these cases these secular lords had to yield
to the Abbot.  “From which time,” the old Record states, “the said Abbots
have bene Lords of Wildmore, and peaceably and quietly have enjoyed the
same as true Lords thereof, without impedimte of any man.” {240c}

These successes, however, seem to have elated the spirit of the Abbots of
this monastery, and to have led them, in the pride of power, not always
to have due regard for the rights of others.  As early as the reign of
Edward I., it was complained, before Royal Commissioners, that the Abbot
was guilty of sundry encroachments; that he obstructed passengers on the
King’s highway; {241a} that he made ditches for his own convenience which
flooded his neighbours’ lands; and that, from his power, inferior parties
could get no redress; {241b} that he prevented the navigation of the
Witham by any vessels but his own; {241c} that he trespassed on the
King’s prerogative by seizing “waifs and strays” over the whole of
Wildmore; {241d} that he had hanged various offenders at Thimbleby; had
appropriated to himself, without licence, the assize of bread and beer.
{241e}  Further, he refused to pay, on certain lands, the impost called
“Sheriff’s aid,” {241f} or to do suit and service for his land, either in
the King’s Court or that of the Bishop of Carlisle at Horncastle. {241g}
Against none of which charges does it appear that he returned any
satisfactory answer.  Yet, while thus acting with a high hand, he was not
above worldly traffic on a considerable scale, as is shewn by certain
Patent Rolls, {241h} where a note is given to the effect that, on May
1st, 1285, a licence was granted, at Westminster, for three years, “for
the Abbot of Kirkstead to buy wool throughout the county of Lincoln, in
order to satisfy certain merchants, to whom he is bound in certain sacks
of wool, his own sheep having failed through murrain;” while it was
further alleged that he carried on an extensive system of smuggling,
whereby it was calculated that some £2,000 a year were lost to the
corporation of Lincoln.  Proceedings like these do not give us a very
favourable impression as to the virtues of these spiritual lords, their
charity, or their standard of morality.  Yet, on the other hand, we have
to make allowance for the times and circumstances in which they lived.  I
quote here a letter written by a Lincolnshire man who had viewed matters
from the different standpoints of an Anglican and a Romanist. {241i}
“You say ‘the monks were not saints.’  I have no doubt but a small
proportion were.  Yet, taking them as a whole, the wonder is they were as
respectable as they were.  It is not enough considered what the monastic
life was for several centuries.  It was the refuge of hundreds and
thousands who could find no other occupation.  There was no Navy as a
profession; the Army was not, in the sense we understand it, a
profession.  Law and medicine were very restricted.  What were men to do
with themselves?  How to pass life?  Where to go to live?  There was next
to no education, no books hardly to read.  How can we wonder that the
mass of monks were a very common kind of men, professedly very religious,
of necessity formally so, but taking their duties as lightly as they
could?  The number of them who outraged their vows was wonderfully small.
The Inquisitions of Henry VIII.’s time, atrociously partial, as they
were, to find blame, found comparatively little.  Compare the monks of
those days with the Fellows of Colleges in the last (18th) century, and
down almost to our own day.  Were the former much lower in morals, if at
all?  Less religious, if at all?  I think not.”  Nor should we forget
their unbounded hospitality, in an age when there were few inns for the
traveller, and no Poor Law for the destitute; their skill in horticulture
and agriculture, which were a national benefit; or their maintenance of
roads and bridges; apart from their guardianship of the Scriptures, and
their witness to Christianity.  It has been said, “From turret and tower
sounded the well-known chime, thrice a day, to remind the faithful of the
Incarnation, and its daily thrice-repeated memorial” (F. G. Lee,
“Pilgrimage of Grace”).  The poor were never forgotten in these
multiplied services.  When mass was celebrated, it was a rule that the
sacristan rang the “sanctus” bell (from its cherished sanctity often the
only bell still preserved in our village churches), “so that the rustics
who could not be present might everywhere, in field or home, be able to
bow the knee to reverence” (Maskell’s “Ancient Liturgy,” p. 95.
“Constit.,” J. Peckham, A.D. 1281).  If the strict rules of their
continuous services were occasionally relaxed by exhilarating sport, or
even, as the monks of Kirkstead are said to have done, by frequenting
fairs, as at Horncastle, their abbots presiding at the pastimes of the
people, {242} the Maypole processions and dances; or getting up
mystery-plays, or other exhibitions, perpetuated still at Nuremberg,
where our most cultivated Christians go to witness them; surely these
were comparatively harmless recreations.  It must, however, be recognised
that, in time, prosperity had its usual corrupting effects.  The
Aukenleck MS. (temp. Ed. II.) says, “these Abbots and Priors do again
their rights.  They ride with hawk and hounds, and counterfeit knights.”
As the Bishop of Ely attended divine service, leaving his hawk on its
perch in the cloister, where it was stolen, and he solemnly
excommunicated the thief; or as the Bishop of Salisbury was reprimanded
for hunting the King’s deer; or as Bishop Juxon was so keen a sportsman
that he was said to have the finest pack of hounds in the kingdom; {243a}
so the Abbott of Bardney had his hunting box, and the Abbots of Kirkstead
excluded others from sporting on their demesnes, that they might reserve
the enjoyment for themselves.  It is stated by Hallam (“History of the
Middle Ages”) that, in 1321, “the Archbishop of York carried a train of
200 persons, maintained at the expense of the monasteries, on his road,
and that he hunted with a pack of hounds, from parish to parish”; and
such an example would naturally be contagious.  But it was only when
long-continued indulgence and immunity had pampered them to excess, that
laxity of morals became flagrant or general.  And even when of this very
Kirkstead it is recorded that, at the time of the Dissolution, the Abbot,
Richard Haryson (1535) was fain to confess, in the deed of surrender,
that the monks had, “under the shadow of their rule, vainly detestably,
and ungodlily devoured their yearly revenues in continual ingurgitations
of their carrion bodies, and in support of their over voluptuous and
carnal appetites.” {243b}  We cannot but suspect that such language was
that of their enemies, put into their mouths, when resistance was no
longer possible.  They had, however, through long ages, acquired a
powerful hold on the respect and affection of the people, and there were
hundreds and thousands who were ready to say, what one once said of his

    England! with all thy faults, I love thee still. {244a}

That the many virtues and the value of the monasteries came to be
recognised by many after they were abolished is shewn by the “Pilgrimage
of Grace,” and similar indications of smouldering discontent among the
people whom they had long benefited.  Yet there was always the danger
arising from the perfunctory observance of multiplied services, that the
“opus operatum” might oust the living faith; and there can be little
doubt that such a result had largely come about.  Though greed and
plunder were the main motive of the Royal Executioner and his agents, the
parties who suffered had certainly become only fitting subjects for
drastic measures.  But we pass from this digressive disquisition to the
one interesting relic of Kirkstead Abbey which is still spared to us, in
the little chapel standing in the fields, with reference to which I will
here quote the words of a writer to whom I have referred before. {244b}
He says, “A mile away from Woodhall is one of the loveliest little gems
of architecture in the country, a pure, little, Early English church, now
dreadfully dilapidated, which belonged, in some unexplained way,—probably
as a chantry chapel,—to the Cistercian Abbey of Kirkstead.”  As this
little gem is now locked away from public view, I will here give extracts
from the description of it given by the late Bishop Suffragan, Dr. Edwd.
Trollope, one of our greatest authorities, on the occasion of the
Architectural Society’s visit to it a few years ago; and which was handed
to me by him at the time.  They are worthy of careful examination.

“The situation of this lovely little chapel, on the south side of the
Abbey of Kirkstead, and without its precincts, is most remarkable.  It
has been surmised that it may have served as the Abbot’s private chapel,
or for the use of the Abbey tenants; but I can scarcely think that either
of these suggestions is likely to be true, as such a chapel, so far from
the monastic building, and without its protecting girdle, would not have
been convenient for the Abbot’s use, and such an elaborately-ornamented
structure would scarcely have been erected simply for the monastic
churls.  Had it been nearer the other buildings, and especially the great
Abbey church, we might have thought it had served as the Chapter-House,
on which much pains was always bestowed by the Cistercians, so that, in
richness of design, this usually ranked second only to the church itself.
I am inclined, however, to suggest that it was a chantry chapel, put
under the protection of the Abbey and served by its inmates according to
the Will of one of the former wealthy lords of Tattershall and Kirkstead,
whose burial place it eventually became.

“This beautiful little structure consists of an unbroken oblong,
supported by plain buttresses, insufficient to shore up its side walls
and bear the weight of its vaulted roof.  A plain plinth constitutes the
footing of the structures, above which is a bold boutel string, below the
window sills, and it is surmounted by quarter round corbels which
originally supported a corbel table and a higher pitched roof than the
present one, not long ago (in the forties), covered with thatch.  The
side windows consist of very narrow little lancets.  At the east end is a
triplet, and at the west end structural ornaments of a most beautiful
kind have been most lavishly supplied.  Owing to the loss of the gables
of this chapel, and its present hipped roof, its appearance at a distance
does not promise much, but, when approached, the remarkable beauty of its
design, and especially of its western elevation, will most assuredly
command admiration.

“From its own architectural evidence we may safely assume that it was
built during the first quarter of the 13th century, and it nearly
resembles the contemporary work in the north transept of Lincoln
Cathedral.  The western facade is supported by a buttress on the south,
and a larger buttress on the north in the shape of a staircase turret,
the upper portion of which is now lost.  Between these is one of the most
lovely doorways imaginable.  Its jambs are first enriched by an inner
pair of pillars, having caps from which spring vigorously, and yet most
delicately, carved foliage; and then, after a little interval, two more
pairs of similar pillars, carrying a beautifully-moulded arch, one member
of which is enriched with the tooth mould.  Above this lovely doorway, in
which still hangs the co-eval, delicately-ironed oak door, is an arcade
of similar work, in the centre of which is a pointed oval window of
beautiful design; but, through the loss of the gable above, this
elevation is sadly marred.  In the north wall, close to the west end, is
a semi-circular-headed doorway, similar in general character to the
western one, but plainer.  Its arched head, however, is charmingly
moulded, and has the tooth ornament worked upon its inner chamfer.

“Within, is a still more beautiful sight than without, for the whole of
the interior is, in every respect, admirable.

“A bold, boutel string runs round the walls about five feet from the
ground, and from this, at intervals, rise dwarf shafts surmounted by most
delicately carved caps, the foliation, of which almost looks as if it
might expand, and yield to the breeze.  These serve as supporters to
vaulting principals, enriched with the tooth ornament, dividing the roof
vaulting into four squares, having large circular foliated bosses in the
middle, on the easternmost of which is also carved the holy Lamb and
bannered cross.

“In each bay of the side walls is a pair of lancet windows, except in the
westernmost one of the north wall, where the north doorway takes the
place of one of these, and close to this, in the west wall, is a little
doorway giving access to the turret staircase.  The triplet at the east
end is simply exquisite.  This consists of a central lancet and a smaller
one on either side, between which rise lovely clustered and handed
pillars, enriched with flowing foliated caps, supporting, with the aid of
corresponding responds enriched by the tooth ornament, lovely moulded
arches, on which the nail head ornament is used.

“Towards the east end of the south wall is a piscina, having a triangular
head and shelf groove.  Towards the west end, on the north side, are
portions of some very valuable woodwork, apparently co-eval with the
chapel itself.  These probably constituted the lower part of a rood
screen, and consist of slender pillars, supporting lancet-headed
arcading.  They are now used as divisions between the seating, and are
most noteworthy. {246}  There is also a respectable canopied pulpit, of
the time of James I., but scarcely worthy of the worship it seems to
invite, from its peculiar position at the east end of the chapel.

“I must now refer more particularly to a sepulchral effigy in the chapel.
The lower portion of this is lost, and the remainder is now reared up
against the south wall.  This represents a knight in a hauberk of mail
covered by a surcoat, and drawing his sword slightly out of its sheath,
pendent on his left.  At a low level on the right is his shield, and over
his coife de maille, or mail hood, covering his head, is a cylindrical
helm, slightly convex at the top, having narrow bands crossing it in
front, the horizontal one, which is wider than the other, or vertical
one, being pierced with ocularia, or vision-slits, but destitute of
breathing holes below.  The head, thus doubly protected, rests upon a
small pillow, from which spring branches of conventional foliage.  These
helms began to be worn about the opening of the 13th century; to which
breathing holes were added about 1225.  Thus the armour of this knightly
effigy exactly coincides in date with the architecture of the chapel in
which it still remains, and it may well have served to commemorate Robert
de Tattershall and Kirkstead, who died 1212.”

To these remarks of the Bishop I here add some valuable observations made
by Mr. Albert Hartshorne, F.S.A., in a Paper read before the
Archæological Institute, {247} and reprinted for private circulation, on
“Kirkstead Chapel, and a remarkable monumental effigy there preserved.”
He says: “Reared against the south wall at the west end is a monumental
effigy in Forest marble, larger than life, of a man in the military
costume of the first quarter of the 13th century.  He wears a cylindrical
helm, a hauberk, apparently hooded, a short surcote, and a broad
cingulum.  The left arm is covered by a ponderous shield, and he draws a
sword in a scabbard.  He wears breeches of mail, but the legs, from the
knees downward, are missing.  The head rests upon a cushion, supported by
conventional foliage.  The occurrence of a cylindrical flat-topped helm
in monumental sculpture is, of itself, sufficiently rare to merit a
notice.  There are two examples of it at Furness Abbey, two at
Chester-le-street, one at Staindrop, and one at Walkern,—seven only in
all, so far as appears to be known.  They occur in the seals of Hen.
III., Edward I., Alexander II. of Scotland, and Hugh de Vere.  Actual
examples of such headpieces are certainly of the utmost rarity.  There is
a very genuine one in the Tower, and another at Warwick Castle.  Some
sham ones were in the Helmet and Mail Exhibition, held in the rooms of
the Institute in 1880, and are suitably exposed in the illustrated
catalogue of this interesting collection.”  “Banded mail,” as it is
called, has been one of the archæological difficulties “of the past and
present generations, and the late Mr. Burges took great trouble in
endeavouring to unravel the mystery of its construction . . . having
casts made from the only four then known . . . effigies (with it) at
Tewkesbury, Tollard Royal, Bedford, and Newton Solney; but . . . he had
to confess, in the end, that he could make nothing satisfactory of it.
Here, at Kirkstead, is the fifth known sculptured example of banded mail
in the kingdom, and . . . it is the earliest example of all . . . it
resembles most the Newton Solney type; but I can throw no light upon the
mail’s construction, though I have long considered the subject, and must
leave the matter as I found it, twenty years ago, a mystery.  If we are
to suppose, as the Bishop Suffragan has suggested, that a local lord
built Kirkstead chapel, then I am disposed to think, with him, that that
lord was Robert de Tattershall and Kirkstead, who died in 1212.  The date
of that chapel may certainly be of about the same period, namely, a
little after the time of St. Hugh of Lincoln, and co-eval with the Early
English work of the second period in Lincoln Cathedral.  The effigy may
very well have been set up to the memory of Robert de Tattershall, a few
years after his death.”

So far the Bishop and Mr. Hartshorne.  We have only to add that, some
time in the forties, certain alterations were made, such as removing the
thatched roof and covering it with slates, taking away much rotten timber
and replacing it with fresh.  Some so-called “unsightly beams” were also
removed, but they had probably been introduced at a very early period,
and it was, probably, also mainly due to them that the walls had not
fallen further outward than they had done.  Whereas now, without any such
support, and with the massive stone roof pressing upon them, the
destruction of the building must be only a question of time, and that not
a very long one, unless some remedy is applied.  I have a note, from
Baron Hubner’s “Travels through the British Empire,” {249} that “when the
town of Melbourne, in Australia, in 1836, was yet a small scattered
village, with wooden houses, wooden church, &c., a tree was the belfry.”
At that same period the bell of Kirkstead chapel also hung in a tree,
still standing at the south-west corner of the churchyard.  Climbing up,
a few years ago, to examine the bell, I found the following, cut in the
lead under the bell turret: “Thomas Munsall, Nottingham, August, 1849;
Edward Gadsby, Nottingham, Aug., 1849.  George Whitworth (of Kirkstead),
Joiner.”  The two former slated the roof, and the last was the local
carpenter.  The history of this church in modern times, as a place of
worship, has bean peculiar.  The estate, having been bestowed upon the
Fiennes Clintons by Henry VIII., passed, in the 18th century, by
marriage, to the Disneys and the benefice, being a Donative and,
therefore, almost private property, Mr. Daniel Disney, being a
Presbyterian, appointed a minister of that persuasion to officiate; also
endowing it with lands which produced a stipend of £30 a year in 1720.
This gift was confirmed by his Will.  Presbyterian ministers continued to
hold it till the death of a Mr. Dunkley in 1794.  The manor had then been
sold to the Ellison family, and a suit was instituted to recover the
benefice to the Church of England; the case was tried at Lincoln Assizes
in 1812, when, by a compromise, the fabric was restored to the Church of
England; but the Presbyterian endowment remained in the hands of
trustees, who subsequently erected a Presbyterian chapel at Kirkstead,
and in more recent times, a manse was built in connection with it, now
occupied by the Rev. R. Holden.  Dr. John Taylor, of Norwich, was one of
the ministers appointed by Mr. Disney.  He held it some 18 years, from
1715, and here composed his Concordance, in 2 vols.  In 1876 the church
was visited by the Architectural Society, when, in consequence of its
dangerous condition, it was closed by order of the Bishop, awaiting
restoration, and it awaits it still.

Of this interesting structure no one can get any view of the interior
beyond (strange to say) what can be seen through the keyhole.  May we
hope that the Rontgen Rays may soon be sufficiently developed to enable
us to photograph it through the boards of the ancient door, the hinges of
which, we may add, are worthy of notice.  I conclude these remarks upon
it with the words of a former owner, {250a} who was inspired to write of
it thus:—

    This ancient chanel!  Still the House of God,
    And boasting still the consecrated sod,
    ’Neath which, where ancient oaks, wide-spreading, shade,
    The rude forefathers of the place were laid.
    Fair, too, as ancient, is that holy place,
    Its walls and windows richest traceries grace;
    While clusters of the lightest columns rise,
    And beauties all unlooked for, there surprise.
    ’Twas well, when Ruin smote the neighbouring Pile,
    It spared this humbler Beauty to defile.
    . . . . . . . . .
    O!  ’Tis a gem of purest taste, I ween,
    Though little it be known, and seldom seen.

The writer may add that he has himself twice made strenuous efforts,
backed most earnestly by the late Bishop Wordsworth, and has sent out
many hundreds of appeals for aid, to prevent this little gem going to
ruin; but, owing to apathy and indifference, where they should not have
been found, those efforts proved futile.  He can only reiterate the
warning words of Mr. Albert Hartshorne:—“I know not whether such aid will
be forthcoming; but of two things I am quite certain: if nothing is done
the chapel must collapse, and that very soon; and when it does so fall,
it will become such an utter ruin that it would be quite impossible to
put it up again.” {250b}

One more historical incident, of more than local interest, may here just
be mentioned.  It has already been stated that after the Dissolution the
Abbey lands were granted by Henry VIII. to Charles Brandon, Duke of
Suffolk, and that, on the death of his issue the King granted them to the
Fiennes Clinton family, in the person of Lord Clinton and Saye,
afterwards Earl of Lincoln.  In this family they remained for several
generations, until by marriage they passed to the Disneys.  In the time
of the unhappy King Charles I., families were often divided, one party
remaining true to the Sovereign, and a relative espousing the cause of
the Commonwealth.  But Henry Clinton, alias Fynes, remained staunch to
his King, providing horse and arms for the Royalist cause.  This, no
doubt, brought him not a few enemies; and in consequence he had the great
compliment paid him of being granted a deed of “Protection” by his
grateful sovereign.  We cannot give the whole here, but it is entitled
“Protection of Mr. Henry Fynes & his Wyfe.”

“(Endorsed) by Major Markham of ye Lyfeguards,” and is headed “Charles R
. . . whereas Wee are informed that Henry Fynes of Christed Abbey . . .
and his wyfe are, and have been, in all these rebellious times, persons
very loyall and well affected to us and our service, wee are graciously
pleased to grant them this our speciall Protection, &c., &c. . . . given
at our Court at Oxford ye 7th day of February, 1643.”  A fac-simile copy
of the original is given in “Linc. N. & Q.,” vol. i. (1889), p. 22.

To any of his kith and kin who may still be living among us, and they are
not few, it may be a pleasure and a pride to reflect that their ancestor
“of Christed” shewed himself a true man in times when it needed some
courage to do so.  None of them could have a better motto to abide by, in
all things, than that of the head of the House, “Loyaltè n’a honte,”
Loyalty is not ashamed.

Our lengthy peregrinations have now brought us, once more, within a mile
of Woodhall Spa; thither let us proceed, “rest and be thankful.”

                                * * * * *

And now, gentle readers, it would seem we have arrived at a fitting
“period, or full stop,” in our somewhat arduous undertaking; and here we
might well shake hands and finally part company,—we would fain hope, with
a hearty “au revoir.”

I find myself much in the mood of the Alpine guide who feels that he has
had more than one long day with his trusty alpenstock, although with a
willing heart in the work, and, we might say, even proud that he has been
able to show his party through so many attractive scenes.  He stands, as
it were, before them, hat in hand {251} awaiting the “pour boire,” the
due recompense of his services.  Freely he has given, freely he hopes to
receive, that he may retire to his quiet châlet on the hill, where he may
rest awhile, till perchance he finds a fresh engagement.  But, at this
juncture, he is accosted by one of the party to this effect: “Mon cher
Guide Walder, you have taken us through more than one enjoyable round in
your interesting country.  We have looked with pleasure upon many a long
vista in the past, and on many a wide-spreading prospect of varied
character.  You have, indeed, given us a bonne-bouche, to finish with, in
Kirkstead, but we would ask, ‘Why have you omitted Somersby, Somersby not
so very far away, and hallowed as the birth-place of the Bard of the
Century, who is reckoned as one of the High Priests of Poesy, wherever
our English tongue is spoken?’”  We confess the omission.  Our apology
is, that our excursions have already, in the more immediate
neighbourhood, been only too long.  As to Somersby, as its associations
are _sui generis_, so it lies in a direction of its own; not easily to be
combined with other places of interest; but the fault can be remedied.
Quid multa?  A short supplementary excursion is arranged; and we are to
muster on the morrow for the last, but not least, of our Looks at


In the year 1890, an enthusiastic Tennysonian, giving an account in the
“Globe” newspaper, of an excursion to Somersby, which he approached from
Louth, says that he was somewhat disgusted to find that his Jehu, though
familiar with every ragamuffin on the road, and with the gossip and
traditions of the villages through which they passed, had never heard the
name of Tennyson.  Somersby itself, at the time when Tennyson there
enjoyed ramble and reverie, was so withdrawn from the outer world that it
is said that the battle of Waterloo was not heard of there until a month
after it had been fought.  But all this has now been changed, and is
changing.  Not long ago, the proprietor of Somersby (now, alas! an
absentee), complained to the writer that his carpets were being worn into
holes by the feet of the many pilgrims to this modern poetic “Mecca,” who
seemed to think they had a right freely to intrude everywhere; with the
barren compensation to himself that his paternal home was becoming
historical.  Sympathising fully with the country squire whose privacy has
been thus invaded, we are now ourselves about to make the pilgrimage,
which may soon be as common as that to the birthplace of the immortal
Bard of Avon.

Having arrived at Horncastle by train, or otherwise, we pass through the
town, by Market-place, Bull Ring, and over the far bridge, where we turn
due eastward, by East street.  At the end of a mile or so we arrive at
High Toynton, with a modern church of Spilsby sandstone on our right, in
good condition, but of no special interest; here we turn to the left, and
100 yards further on, again eastward to the right.  We are now on the
Wolds, and have before us a steady rise, followed by three steepish
descents with their corresponding rises, till, as we approach Holbeck
Hall, we see before us, to the left, a hill in the shape of an obtuse
truncated cone.  This is Hoe Hill (Norse ‘hof,’ holy and so possibly a
sacred place for heathen worship; or, the Norse ‘haugr’ or ‘howe,’ a
burial place, possibly the resting-place of some Viking chief, the names
all round having Danish elements).  It has a Dyke, or scarpment, running
round it, like a collar, and was probably a British or Danish encampment;
geologically it consists of ironstone, quite distinct from the sandstone
formation on the lower ground.  At Holbeck it is worth the while to turn
in at the Lodge gate, and proceed some 250 yards along the drive, when we
find ourselves among very pretty scenery; the modern Hall confronting us,
built by the late J. Fardell, Esq., who was M.P. for Lincoln for about a
week.  We pause in a woody dell with a picturesque lake and rocks on each
side of us.  (N.B.—In these rocks the badger still survives).  Retracing
our steps into the main road again, and some 200 yards back towards
Horncastle, by a guide-post the road turns off southward, and, following
this, we arrive at Ashby Puerorum, or Ashby “of the boys,” so called to
distinguish it from the other two Ashbys, not far off, the name being
derived from the fact that certain lands in the parish are appropriated
to the maintenance of the choristers of Lincoln Cathedral, the Dean and
Chapter being patrons of the benefice.  The road here is somewhat
tortuous, but we find our way to the church, the chancel of which was
restored by the patrons in 1869, and the rest of the building in 1877.
It is a small fabric, consisting of nave, north aisle, chancel, small
porch, and western tower.  The main building is Early English.  A lancet
window still remains in the south wall, and at the west end of the aisle.
The other windows of the nave are mostly Perpendicular.  On the south
side of the chancel is a two-light, square-headed, decorated window.  The
arcade has two chamfered arches, on low cylindrical piers.  The tower is
a low, stunted example of Perpendicular, the green sandstone
picturesquely patched with brick.  The west doorway is well proportioned,
and the three-light Perpendicular window above, and the tower arch, are
plain but good.  There is a plain octagonal font.  On the south wall is a
brass to Richard Littlebury, of Stainsby, in the parish (obiit 1521); his
wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Edmund Jenny, of Suffolk (died 1523); and
their ten children.  The brass, according to Haines, was not cut till
1560, at the same time with another of a knight in armour, now without
inscription, but probably one of the six sons of the above.  In the
pavement is a the incised slab of blue marble, representing a priest in
Eucharistic vestments, with chalice on the breast.  The head, hands,
chalice, and other portions were of brass, but these have disappeared.
As has been elsewhere stated, in 1794, a Roman sepulchre was discovered
three feet below the surface,—a stone chest, containing an urn of strong
glass of greenish hue.  The urn held small pieces of calcined bone, and,
among them, a small lacrimatory of very thin green glass.  Sir Joseph
Banks thought it not improbable that, some day, the site of a Roman villa
might be found near at hand. {254}

We again take to the main road, due eastward, and at the distance of
another mile or so, we arrive at a steep descent, embowered in lofty
trees; and, at the foot of this, “The Brook,” immortalized by the
Laureate, winds its musical way beneath the road, under a bridge.  To the
left we see its course (where the writer has ofttimes “tickled” his
trout), through a green meadow, as it issues from the wood named “Holy
Well.”  To the right it speeds onward through low-lying lands until it is
lost in the distance.

Proceeding along the narrow lane,—so narrow, indeed, that only at certain
points can two vehicles pass each other, and shut in by banks of
sandstone,—we reach, on the right, a well in the rock, the latter green
and grey with moss, lichen and fern, the water clear as crystal.  It is,
indeed, a lonely, quiet spot, fit place for musing meditation, in a
poet’s wanderings.  Just a cottage or two to remind one that there is a
population, but not obtrusive.  The rectory is the second, and larger, of
two houses on the right, though now occupied as a farmhouse.  It is a
quaint, unpretending, old-time residence, uniting manor house and rectory
in one.  At its eastern end is a semi-ecclesiastical addition, with
pointed windows having coloured glass of no particular merit.  In the
ground-floor apartment in this is a carved mantlepiece, the work of the
Laureate’s father.  Just beyond is a brick castellated building, “The
Grange,” said to have been designed by Vanbrugh.  Its construction is
massive, and its curious cellars and other details make it something of a
“Romance in brick.”  Certainly it is a fair example of that solid style
of building which gave rise to his (suggested) epitaph,—

    Lie heavy on him, Earth; for he
    Laid many a heavy weight on thee.

One can hardly help feeling that it must have been a reduction from some
original, more ambitious, design; and those gloomy cellars may well have
harboured the smuggler, or his illicit hoards, in days when not only
humbler boards, but the table of parson and squire, boasted unblushingly
of the “Schiedam” which had not paid duty, and was thought the better of
it.  This house is the reputed home of Tennyson’s “Northern Farmer,”
whose dialect, however, as given by the poet, is generally considered by
experts, however picturesque, to be considerably overdrawn. {255}  In
Somersby itself, except for its secluded beauty, there would be little to
interest the visitor were it not for its association with the early years
of the Tennysons.  And one of the present writer’s earliest recollections
is, as a small boy, driving his sisters, in a donkey cart through the
village; when they were accosted by two strollers on the road, one of
whom was Alfred Tennyson, then on a visit to the rectory, and not yet

The Church of Somersby has little of interest, beyond a small brass with
kneeling figure of George Littlebury, dated 1612; a stoup in the porch,
and over the porch a sundial, with the legend “Time passeth,” dated 1751.
The tower, however, has two good mediæval bells.  In repairing the tower
in 1883, a fine window in its western face was removed and replaced by an
inferior one (Saunders “Hist.,” vol. ii., p. 173).  The modern
restoration, with bright tiling of the floor, gives a brand-new
appearance, rather out of keeping with the almost crumbling low tower,
and rustic surroundings.  The one really interesting feature is the
churchyard cross.  It is of Perpendicular date, tall, well designed, and
with octagonal shaft gracefully tapering from the base to a corona, and
having above that a cross, which, possibly owing to the very retired
position of the village, has escaped the iconoclast.  It has, on one
side, the Crucifixion, and on the other the Virgin and Infant Saviour.
It is almost unique in its very good state of preservation, the Puritans
having generally ruthlessly mutilated such erections.  Several models of
it, in bronze, were made some years ago to the order of the late Mr. C.
J. Caswell, and were speedily sold off as memorials of Tennyson.  It has
also recently been reproduced in the churchyard of Huttoft, in this
county, where the church was restored, in 1895, by Mr. W. Scorer,
architect, of Lincoln.

One of the places visited should be Holy Well wood.  It is a leafy dell,
where tower up lofty trees still vigorous, while others are lying rotting
on the ground.

    Nature in her old wild way,
    Life blending closely with decay.

The thin stream twines about their roots, or springs over sandstone bars,
in sylvan, solitude.  The spot was described, years ago, by Howitt in his
“Homes and Haunts of English Poets.”  A local authority says that, once
upon a time, a series of steps led down to the well, where an upright
post was fixed, and a cross-bar from it was secured to the rock.  On this
cross-bar was an iron ring and a cable, by which a bather could let
himself down for a dip in the well; and an old servant of the Tennyson
family could remember when numbers of people came to take the water,
which was considered to have health-giving properties. {256}

The manor of Somersby goes with that of Bag Enderby, and the benefices
are held together, being barely a mile apart.  The church of the latter
is rather more interesting than that of Somersby, and it would be a pity
not to see it, while we are so far, or near.  It was built by Albin de
Enderby, who died in 1407.  Some of the windows, as the three-light one
at the east end of the chancel, and others are Perpendicular; while
others are of the Decorated style, but probably of the same date.  There
is some interesting old iron-work on the original oak door in the porch.
The font is octangular, Perpendicular; on the bowl is carved the figure
of the Virgin, supporting on her knees the dead body of the Saviour; a
shield, on which is cut the spear, and hyssop with sponge, crosswise; the
cross and crown of thorns; a deer couchant with head turned back, and
feeding on the leaves of a tree; and other more ordinary devices.  The
chancel arch is fine, and there are some remains of a screen.  All the
windows would seem to have been originally filled with delicately-painted
14th century glass, of which fragments retrain.  In the westernmost
window of the south wall of the nave is a shield bearing the arms of
Croyland Abbey.  In the central alley of the nave are two fine Purbeck
marble slabs, bearing legends on brass plates. {257}  On the north wall
of the chancel is a stone mural monument commemorating Andrew and Dorothy
Gedney, with their two sons and two daughters, kneeling before two
prayer-desks, in the costume of their period.  In the churchyard is the
base of a cross, the upper part having been removed some years ago.  The
font stands on a sepulchral slab, which has been ruthlessly cut into for
the purpose.

As the name Enderby is sometimes, in old documents, written Hinterby, an
idea has been broached that the prefix “Bag,” means “back,” or
“hinder-by.”  But, as we are in the region of sand and sandstone,
abounding in burrows, it would seem more likely that the Bag is the
badger; after a similar form to Bagshot, in Surrey, _i.e._, Bag or
Badger’s holt; Bagley, near Oxford; Badgeworth, near Cheltenham (from
which last neighbourhood the writer has a badger-skin), &c.  An
alternative derivation, of course, is the word Bag, or Bage, _i.e._,
“turf,” for fuel, which might be not unlikely in Lincolnshire; but as
“Bag” enters into place-names all over the kingdom, where the word “Bag,”
for turf, is not used, this is hardly a likely explanation.

A short extension of our travels eastwards, through pretty scenery, with
bold rising ground—Somersby Top, Warden Hill, &c.—capped by woods, brings
us to Harrington, where we find an interesting old mansion belonging to
Sir H. D. Ingilby, built in the reign of James II. with old-time garden,
having parterres and terraces and extensive lawns, but, unfortunately,
not at present occupied, and much decayed.  There is a very interesting
church, almost entirely rebuilt by the late Rector, Rev. R. W. Cracroft,
in 1855, but retaining a series of fine monuments of his own connections,
the Knightly family of the Coppledykes; the earliest of these, Sir John
de Harrington, temp. Edward I., was a Crusader.  His effigy lies on an
altar tomb, beneath an arch in the south wall, at the east end of the
nave.  He is in complete armour, cross-legged, his hands joined in
prayer.  The next is a slab in the chancel floor, once having brass
effigies, but which, with the inscription, have been removed.  It
commemorated John Coppledyke and his wife Margaret Tilney, and bore date
1480.  Her effigy is now affixed to the wall of the chancel.  The third
is that of John Coppledyke, who died in 1552.  Then there is the recessed
altar-tomb of his son, also John, who died in 1585.  It is in the Tudor
style, altar and canopy all of Purbeck marble.  Opposite is the monument
of his brother Francis and his wife, the former dying in 1590.  Then come
tombs of the Elizabethan and Jacobean period.  This typical series closes
with the tomb of Thomas, the nephew of Francis, described in the epitaph
as “the last and best of his race.”  The tower and font are the originals
preserved; the latter bears on one of its faces the arms of Tilney
impaling Coppledyke, shewing that it was the joint gift of John and
Margaret, towards the end of the fifteenth century.

We have taken these latter two churches because they lie within easy
reach from Somersby, the main object of our excursion, and they add to
its interest.  We now turn homewards again, but by a different route.  We
might, from Somersby, have visited Salmonby, barely a mile away, where
there is a restored church with some interesting features; and we might
also have included a visit to Tetford, a large village or small town,
equi-distant from Somersby, with a fairly large church, but in a very bad
condition and much needing careful restoration.  But these we are
constrained to omit, as the day’s excursion is to be a short one.  From
Harrington, we turn south-west, and climb a hill of some mile in extent,
to the pleasant village of Hagworthingham, where we find a model church,
beautifully situated.  It has been largely rebuilt, but retains some
ancient features, which show that the structure was originally Early
English.  This style has been retained.  The church has nave, chancel,
south aisle, tower and south porch.  The arcade is of four bays, with
arches rising from low cylindrical piers, with moulded capitals, earlier
than the arches which they support.  These low arches give a kind of “dim
religious light” to the fabric.  The antiquarian, Gervase Holles, says
{259} of this church: “On a gravestone of blue marble, in ye body of ye
Church is pourtrayed in brasse one in compleat armour, bearing upon ye
manches of his coate of armes on either side 2 crescents.  Between his
feet a right hand couped.  The rest is defaced.”  At the present time the
whole of this is gone.  The font has a plain octagonal basin, supported
by a group of Early English shafts.  The tower is low and square, its
greenish sandstone being relieved by an intermixture of brick, and has a
good peal of bells.  The church is well cared for in every way, and its
position perfect.  Three-quarters of a mile south there is a very
interesting church at Lusby, but, although some of its peculiar features
would well repay a visit, it is slightly out of our beat, and we must
draw the line somewhere.  We have between four and five miles of steep
hills and valleys between us and Horncastle, a route which cannot be
hurried over, and we must push on.  From Greetham Hill, on a clear day,
we command a view across the Wash, into Norfolk, to our left, while to
our right we again see towering up, 25 miles away, the mass of Lincoln

The peculiar feature of this supplementary excursion is that it affords a
revelation to those strangers to Lincolnshire who imagine the county to
be flat as a billiard table.  We have been truly travelling, as was said
by a Dutch sportsman, 300 years ago (whom I have quoted in a previous
chapter), in “Lincolniensi montium tractu” (“Fuller’s Worthies,” p. 150),
“among the mountains of Lincolnshire.”

Here we bring our Records and excursions to a close.  Like Vikings of old
(under a figure) we have harried the country round, and (in a sense)
ravished its many charms.  We have explored shrines consecrated by olden
memories, enriched by the associations of centuries; but (unlike the
Vikings), we have done this in no irreverent spirit, and with no
predatory purpose.  We have carried off our hoards of treasure, but we
have left no ill traces behind us of our raid.  No burning monasteries or
homesteads have marked our track; no orphaned children or widowed wives
follow us with their execrations.  Enriching ourselves, we have not
impoverished others, and the country is still open for further
investigation, with, doubtless, many a nook yet unexplored, and many a
mushy folio unopened, whence others may extract materials of further
interest.  On the whole we trust that our readers will endorse the words
of a Lincolnshire man whom we have already quoted more than once, {260}
that, although ours may be “a county which few have defended, still fewer
have praised, and too many have depreciated”; yet that it does possess
many objects and associations of no small interest, and that not the
least of these are to be found in the Records of Woodhall Spa, and its

This is hardly the place to moralise, nor have we space to do so to more
than a very limited extent; yet two reflections seem to force themselves
upon us as the result of the archæological enquiries which have produced
the last three chapters of this work.  One of these is the evil
consequences of a barren formalism in religion.  The monkish perfunctory
services, with their “vain repetitions” and “long players,” reduced the
individual well-nigh to the level of a praying machine, which could run
off, as it were, from the reel, so many litanies in a given time, with
little effort of intellect, and only a blind exercise of faith; both
fatal to religious vitality.  The dissolution of the monasteries, which
were, perhaps, more abundant in our own neighbourhood than in any other
similarly limited area in the kingdom, is not only a fact in history, but
also may be an object-lesson in a different age.  At the close of the
enlightened 19th century we witnessed a church—may I not almost say, a
nation?—convulsed over questions of religious ceremonial, which, to minds
endeavouring to take a sober and unbiassed view, seem bordering on the
puerile, compared with the weightier matter of the religion of heart and
life.  We can hardly help exclaiming, “Oh, that practical Englishmen
would spend their energies on larger issues rather than thus give a
handle to their enemies!”  There is such a thing as “having the form of
godliness without the indwelling power thereof.”  From such let us turn
away, or history may, even yet, repeat itself.

There can be no doubt that the plunder of the monasteries was primarily,
though not avowedly, caused by the greed of a master mind, in
Wolsey—whose extravagance needed “the sinews of war,” acting upon a
desire for revenge, deeply seated in the heart of a Sovereign,
self-convicted we may well believe, but stubbornly clinging to his sin;
whose unjustifiable act, in the divorce of Catherine of Aragon, outraged
the national sense of right, but especially was condemned by the
religious orders.  Yet, none the less, though brought about by unworthy
motives, and the result, as it were, of side issues, the destruction of
those institutions, with all their virtues and their manifold usefulness,
coincided with a condition of things, widely prevalent, which rendered
them only “fit for the burning.”  They had, indeed, served their
generation, and more than one, but they had become “carrion” in the
nostrils, and, “where the carcase” was, “the vultures” of retribution,
almost in the natural order of events, were “gathered together.”

A second reflection tends in an opposite direction.

A reactionary sentiment of our day is to make an idol of the great
figure-head of Puritanism.  We had lately (April 25, 1899) a celebration
of the Tercentenary of Cromwell; in the place of his birth he has been
made use of (by a strange stroke of irony) as an apostle of education.
Projects are on foot for erecting his statue in positions of honour.  Yet
we see still in our own neighbourhood, as well as elsewhere, traces of
the almost universal desecration of our holy places perpetrated by the
fanaticism which he fostered and guided.  Was Henry VIII. an Iconoclast,
in shattering the monasteries?  No less was the crime of Puritanism in
dismantling our churches and stripping them of treasures which were
beyond price.  The antiquarian Carter says, “Before the hand of
destruction wrought such fatal devastation, every sacred edifice
throughout England, whether of confined or extended dimensions, teemed
with a full and resplendent show of painted glass, all equally excellent,
all equally meritorious” (Remarks on York Minster, Winkle’s “Cathedrals,”
vol. i., p. 54, n. 30).  In confirmation of this I take two instances:
Four miles away we have the fine Church of Coningsby, and we have in
these pages (pp. 222–226) a detailed description of the splendid series
of coloured windows which formerly adorned that church.  We ask, “Where
are they now?” and echo can only reiterate “Where?”  But for Gervase
Holles, a Lincolnshire man and formerly M.P. for Grimsby, we should not
now know that they ever existed.  We take another case, one of the
humblest structures in our neighbourhood, the church of Langton, and we
have records given by the same authority of windows once existing here
whose blazonry connected it with the ancient families of Everingham, de
Seyrt, Skipwith, Bec, Ufford, and Willoughby.  Where are they now?  The
wave of Puritanism has swept away every trace of them.  Somersby indeed
retains its churchyard cross, almost an isolated instance.  The Puritan
axe and hammer missed it, no thanks to them.  The beautifully-carved
fragments of destroyed monasteries, preserved perhaps as relics on our
garden rockeries warn us of the dangers of mere formalism in religion.
The Puritan spoliation of our holy places warns us against fanaticism and
irreverence.  Turn neither to the right hand nor to the left.  In medio
tutissimus ibis.  We may well “hark back” to the devotion of our
forefathers, but from either extreme, Domine, dirige nos.

And now there only remains the duty, or, rather, the privilege, of saying
one parting word more.  A Preface may be called a pre-post-erous
production, because, though standing at the head of a book, it is almost
invariably written after the book is finished, and when the author can
take a general review of his work.  In the present instance this was
impossible.  The exigencies of the situation—these Records first
appearing as a weekly series in “The Horncastle News”—required that the
Introduction, to stand at their head, should be written when the work
itself was yet only an embryo conceived in the writer’s brain.  He may
truly be said to have begun _ab ovo_.  He knew, indeed, generally, his
own intentions, but he could not possibly, as yet, tell the exact form in
which they would be embodied, and, as an unavoidable consequence, in the
present case, as in not a few others, what should naturally be the head
is here found where the tail should be.  The real Preface closes, instead
of introducing, the writer’s work to his readers.

A general outline, indeed, of the work had been laid down on paper more
than a dozen years ago.  During that interval (as also for several years
before it) the materials had been accumulating; but still, when the work
actually began to take shape, the writer was standing, as it were, at one
end of a coil, of which he could not see the other; the windlass was
letting down a chain into depths which his eye could not penetrate, nor
his knowledge yet reach.

The outline originally sketched out has really in one only particular
been departed from, but, in the process of its evolution, the thread has
considerably stretched.  The Clotho of its destiny has spun a longer web
than had been foreseen by the writer.  On coming to closer quarters with
his subject, materials multiplied beyond his expectations, and but for
the pruning knife, the result would have been still larger than it is.

How much the author is indebted to the previous industry of others is
shewn by the number of the footnotes, and other references in the text,
which together amount to close upon five hundred.  Others have laboured
and he has entered into their labours, and his object, in this, as it
were, post-prandial utterance, is to own, with gratitude, the varied
viands—epulæ lautissimæ—which he has found spread before him.  He would
say, with Cicero, opipare epulati sumus; and yet there are many baskets
of fragments left.

He would also here express his thanks for the unvaried kindness with
which his personal visits, in search of local information, have been
welcomed; for the helpful response always made to his enquiries; as well
as for the sympathy shewn towards his undertaking.  But for these the
work could not have attained its present dimensions, nor could much of
its most interesting matter have been obtained; while, further they have
made the work a task of real pleasure to himself.  He can only say, in
conclusion that if others should find, in the perusal of these pages,
even a tithe of the entertainment which he has himself found in the
compilation of them, he will be more than satisfied—gratified—by the


_Argufy_.  To matter, be of importance.  “It does not argufy at all,”
_i.e._ “It does not signify,” or “It makes no difference.”

_Bab_.  A sort of dredge, with hooks below it, to clear out fen drains of
the weeds.

_Bage_.  A paring of turf formerly used for fuel.

_Bandy-ball_.  The game of hockey, also called shinty or shindy.

_Banker_.  A navvy employed in digging or repairing fen drains.

_Bat_.  A small bundle of straw or grass.

_Battle-twig_.  An earwig.

_Baulk_.  Hiccough.

_Bealto_.  To squeal, or bawl, used of a child screaming.

_Beastlings_.  The first milk drawn from a cow after calving, which is
specially rich.

_Beck_.  A brook.  Reed’s beck, Odd’s beck.

_Bested_.  Beaten.  “He will best you,” _i.e._ get the better of you.

_Bevering-time_.  Luncheon time.  Compare “Beverage.”

_Blowns_.  Exclamation of surprise.  Compare “Zounds,” (supposed to be a
contraction of “God’s wounds.”)  Blowns probably a contraction of “blood
and wounds,” _i.e._ of Christ.

_Boon_, _to_.  To repair the roads.  The road surveyor was called the
boon master.

_Bran in the face_.  Freckles.

_Brat_.  A child.  Term of contempt, “Take that tiresome brat away.”

_Breed_.  Each separate line of walk when a party is shooting through a

_Breer_.  The strip of grass between a ditch, and the ploughed land of a
field.  3d. per chain was paid for cleaning out a ditch and mowing the

_Brock_.  Sheep dung dried to be used as fuel.

_Brog_.  To pierce holes with a stick, &c.  “Brog him in the ribs,”
_i.e._ poke him.

_Bub_ or _bubbling_.  A young bird, a fledgling.

_Bule-ding_.  The common pronunciation of “building.”

_Bully_.  The sloe, wild fruit of the black thorn.  Bullace cheese is
made from it.

_By-name_.  A nick-name.  Compare by-word _i.e._ ill-repute.

_Causey_.  Causeway.  Commonly used of the brick paved yard of a cottage.

_Cazzlety_.  Fickle and uncertain in temper.

_Chickering_.  Chirping of the cricket on the hearth, or of a chicken.

_Chittapag_.  A woman fond of using fine words.

_Chuck_, _to_.  To throw.  Chuck-penny, to play at pitch and toss.

_Clagged_.  Draggle-tailed with mud and dirt.  Of an untidy woman.

_Clatty_.  Dirty.  Of roads after rain.

_Clegg_.  Matted wool on hedges, &c.

_Clout_.  A cloth, dish-cloth, &c.

_Clout_.  A knock or blow, as “Fetch him a clout on the head.”

_Connyfogled_.  Cheated, outwitted.

_Crizzle_, _to_.  To crystalize or freeze.  “The window is crizzled.”

_Daking_.  A dyke or ditch.

_Dither_.  To shudder with alarm or dislike.  To shiver with cold.

_Dythe_.  Cow dung dried for fuel.

_Fell_.  Hurtful or fierce.  “The flies are very fell this close

_Frit_.  Frightened, affrighted.

_Gabblick_.  A crowbar.

_Gallous_.  Frisky or lively (of youth).

_Glegging_.  Glancing slily.  “That sly girl’s glegging eye.”

_Glib_.  Smooth (of ice).  Smooth and ready of tongue.

_Gout_.  A sluice by which water passes from one drain to another.

_Gozny_.  To look.  To look stupid.

_Grizzley_.  To shade with grey.  “The evening is grizzling.”

_Hag’s place_.  A situation of hard work and drudgery.  Fit only for a
poor hag.

_Hap up_, _to_.  To wrap up, in shawl, paper, &c.

_Harr_.  A fog.  An old writer says “The air of the fens was crass, and
full of rotten harrs.”  A “sea-harr” is a fog coining inland from the

_Heppen_.  Handy at work.  Helpful.

_Hing_, _to_.  To hang.  This gate hings well.

_Hirpling_.  Limping in gait.

_How_.  Way or mode of acting.  “Do it i’ that how, and you’ll be right.”

_Hug_, _to_.  To carry.  “Hugging about a big load.”

_Ill-convenient_.  Inconvenient.

_Keck_.  A large plant of the Hemlock species.

_Kid_.  A faggot.

_Lamb-toe_.  The plant “Lady’s fingers,” Lotus corniculatus.

_Lap up_, _to_.  To wrap up.

_Leather_.  A ladder.

_Leathering_.  A beating.  “If you don’t keep quiet I’ll give you a good

_Letten_.  Perf. of to let.  “He has letten ’em go,” _i.e._ allowed them
to go.

_Lig_, _to_.  To lie, down, &c.

_Lug_, _the ear_.  The plant Mouse-ear (Myosotis Arvensis) is called

_Lick_, _to_.  To beat, “Give him a licking.”  To be beyond anyone’s
power.  “It licks me how they can do it,” _i.e._ I cannot understand.

_Lug_, _to_.  To drag.  “Why are you lugging (_i.e._ dragging) that bairn

_Marguery_.  The herb Mercury, also called “Good King Henry.”

_Mithered_.  Muddled, dazed, stupid.

_Mizzlings_.  The measles.

_Moiling_.  Working hard, toiling.

_Mort_.  A large quantity.  “Working a mort of hours,” _i.e._ many hours.
“That tree has a mort of blossoms.”

_Mud_ or _mun_.  Must.  “I mun (or mud) do it or I shall be wrong.”

_Nag-nail_.  A corn on the foot.

_Nautling_.  Towering up, a steeple or tall tree.

_Neb_.  A bird’s beak.

_Nobby_.  Handy, clever, ready of resource.

_Nowt_.  Nothing.  Worth nowt means worthless, good-for-nothing.

_Overset_, _to_.  To overcome or surmount trial.  “He’s been very badly
(_i.e._ ill) and cannot overset it,” _i.e._ get over it.

_Owry_.  Dirty, of roads after rain.

_Pad_.  Path.  A footpad is a footpath.

_Pedigree_.  A long story, as of some grievance.

_Petty_.  An outside W.C.

_Pig’s-paut_.  Pig’s foot, a trotter.

_Pismire_.  An ant.

_Plasens_.  Places.  “I’ve seen many plasens but this licks ’em all.”
(See lick.)

_Posy_.  A bunch of flowers, bouquet.

_Pry_.  Name of a field.  Pry-close (from praie, coarse grass.)

_Puddock_.  A kite or buzzard.

_Purr_.  A poker.  “Purr the fire,” _i.e._ poke it.

_Quirking_.  Nimble, active, as a monkey.

_Ramper_.  The highway (probably rampart).

_Remble_, _to_.  To move a thing out of the way.  “Remble that chair,”

_Ratle_ or _Reightle_.  To set to rights, arrange in order.  “Lassy,
ratle them things.”

_Screeved_.  Split up on the ice.  Cattle in former frozen fen floods
were thus ruptured and killed.

_Shale_, _to_.  To walk awkwardly, shuffle along.

_Shan_.  Shy.  Of horses or cattle frightened at an object.

_Shift_, _to_.  To move anything to another place.

_Shiv_ or _Shiver_.  A splinter of wood.  “I’ve got a shiv in my finger.”

_Shout_!  A flat-bottomed fen boat.

_Shove_, _to_.  To push anything along, or out of the way.

_Shugh_!  An expression of disbelief.  Shugh!  Nonsense!  I don’t believe

_Shut_.  Rid.  To get shut (_i.e._ rid) of anything not needed, or a

_Sicker_, _to_.  To soak, as water oozing through a rotten bank.

_Sidle_.  To walk aside, or indirectly, towards anyone.  “Sidle up to her

_Sile_, _to_.  To pour.  “It siles wi’ rain.”

_Skelp_, _to_.  To empty a cart by tilting it.

_Skirth_.  A fen drain.

_Slape_.  Slippery, as roads after frost.

_Slappy_ or _sloppy_.  Muddy and moist.

_Slither_, _to_.  To slide on ice.

_Slive_, _to_.  To slip or creep slowly on.  “The night slives on.”

_Slosh_.  Aslant, as a path running slosh across a field.

_Sloven_.  The stump of a tree.

_Smock-raffled_.  Taken aback, puzzled.

_Smower_, _to_.  To pour over.  “Yon tree smowers over wi’ fruit.”

_Snitchy_.  Bad tempered, irritable.

_Soodle_, _to_.  To daudle.

_Soodly_.  Idle.

_Sooth_.  Soft, gentle, of whispers, winds, &c.

_Souse_, _to_.  To soak in water, &c.

_Spank_.  To strike with flat hand.  “Spank the tiresome bairn.”

_Splats_.  Leggings or gaiters.

_Spry_.  Lively, full of spirit.

_Squarls_.  Quarrels.

_Stang_.  A pole.  Only used in eel-stang, a long pole with iron prongs
at the end, thrust into the mud to catch eels; and in “riding the stang,”
in the old custom of “rantanning,” to serenade with beaten tins and
kettles the wife-beater, when a figure was carried disguised as the
offender, sitting astride of a long pole.

_Stilted_.  Daubed with dirt (stockings, &c.)

_Struttle_.  A runnel, small stream between stepping stones.

_Suthering_.  Sighing, as the wind in the trees.

_Swads_.  Bean pods.

_Swail_.  Shade.  “Left in the swail,” away from the sun.

_Swingle_.  A flail.

_Teem_, _to_.  To overflow or be full.  “He teems wi’ jokes.”  “It teems
wi’ rain.”

_Thruff_.  Pronunciation of “through,” compare “enough,” Linc. enew.

_Tidy_.  A pinafore.  “Put on your tidy, my bairn.”

_Tray_.  A hurdle.

_Trig_.  Trim, neat, as trim as a pin.

_Tue_ or _tew_.  To fret, chafe impatiently, tire oneself out.

_Undernean_.  Underneath.

_Wakken_.  Wide-awake, sharp, noticing everything.

_Wankling_.  A weak child, also wreckling.

_Ware_, _to_.  To spend.  “Are you going to ware anything on me at the

_Wath_.  A ford.  “Kirkstead Wath,” “Shearman’s Wath.”

_Werrit_, _to_.  To worry or fidget, in needless anxiety.

_Wopper_.  Anything unusually large.  “That bairn of yourn is a wopper.”

_Yocks_.  The two chains on which buckets are hung from the shoulder
board, when carrying water from the well.

_Yon_.  Yonder.  “Look at yon boy, what is he up to?”

_Yow_.  Ewe, a female sheep.

_Yow-necked_.  Of a horse with neck too thin.

_Yuck_, _to_.  To jirk.  “Yuck the reins to check the horse.”


Adam’s Flannel                      Mullein

Alehoof                             Ground Ivy

Alexander’s foot                    Pellitory

All-heal                            Valeriana officinalis

“Very precious”—Spikenard.  “The
Box of Ointment,” Mark xiv., 3–5,
worth “300 pence.”

Ambrose                             Wild sage

Arse-smart                          Water pepper

Ass-ear                             Comfrey

Ass’s foot                          Coltsfoot

Aaron’s board                       Spirea

Bairn-wort                          Daisy

Ball-weed                           Centaury

Ban-wort                            Violet

Base-rocket                         Burdock

Beard-tree                          Hazel

Bedlam Cowslip                      Oxlip

Beggar’s buttons                    Burdock

Beggar’s needle                     Shepherd’s needle

Bell-bloom                          Daffodil

Benewithe                           Woodbine

Biddy’s eyes                        Pansy

Bird’s eye                          Germander Speedwell

Blaver                              Corn blue-bottle

Bleed wort                          Wild red poppy

Bleeding heart                      Wallflower

Blood wort                          Blood-veined dock

Blow-ball                           Dandelion

Bobbin and Joan                     Cuckoo-pint

Bog violet                          Butter wort

Brain berry                         Blackberry

Bride wort                          Meadow sweet

Bulls and Cows                      Cuckoo-pint

Bunny mouth                         Snapdragon

Butter and eggs                     Daffodil

Calf’s snout                        Scarlet Pimpernel

Candlegrass                         Goose grass, cleavers

Carnadine                           Carnation

Catstail                            Horsetail

Catch weed                          Cleavers

Cheese rennet                       Yellow bedstraw

Choke weed                          Corn convolvulus

   Ditto                            Dodder

Christmas rose                      Hellebore

Call me near                        Sweet William

Corn bind                           Corn convolvulus

Cow’s Langwort                      Mullein

Crow flower                         Crow’s foot / Wild Ranunculus

Crow’s toe                          Crow’s foot / Wild Ranunculus

Cuckoo’s meat                       Wood sorrel

Cuckoo spice                        Wood sorrel

Culver wort                         Columbine

Death’s herb                        Deadly nightshade

Dick-a-silver                       Periwinkle

Dog-fennel                          Corn chamomile

Dead men’s fingers                  Early purple orchis

Eggs and bacon                      Bird’s foot trefoil

Ears wort                           Mouse ear

Lug wort                            Mouse ear

Five fingers                        Oxlip

Flea dock                           Butter bur

Flybane                             Catch fly

Fuller’s thistle                    Teasel

Gander gorse                        Rag wort

Gnat flower                         Fly orchis

Goose tongue                        Sneeze wort

Gracy-day                           Daffodil

Hairiff                             Cleavers

Hare’s eye                          Wild Campion

Headache                            Corn poppy

Hell weed                           Corn convolvulus

Hen gorse                           Rest harrow

Holy Ghost’s root                   Angelica

Horse daisy                         Ox-eye-daisy

Horse thyme                         Wild thyme

Humblock                            Hemlock

                                    (Humelock, 13th Century)

John that goes to bed at noon       Pimpernel

Kettle case                         Purple orchis

Ketlock                             Cherlock

King’s finger                       Smaller purple orchis

Lad-love-lass                       Southern wood

Lady’s cushion                      Thrift

Lily royal                          Penny royal

Love in idleness                    Pansy

Louse wort                          Marsh red rattle

Lad’s love                          Southern wood

Maiden’s love                       Southern wood

Medwort                             Meadow sweet

Muckweed                            Goose foot

Maiden hair                         Quake grass

Nap at noon                         Purple goat’s beard

Navel wort                          Cotyledon umbelicus

Neck weed                           Hemp

Ox tongue                           Bug loss

Penny weed                          Yellow rattle

Pick-pocket                         Shepherd’s purse

Pincushion                          Sweet Scabious

Pixy stool                          Toad stool

Poor man’s pepper                   Stone crop

Poverty weed                        Purple cow-wheat

Pudding grass                       Penny royal

Red shanks                          Water pepper

Rattle penny                        Yellow rattle

Rust burn                           Rest harrow

Sallow                              Willow

Shepherd’s rod                      Teasel

Shoes and Stockings                 Lady’s slipper

Stike-pile                          Stork’s bill

Toad pipes                          Horsetail

Turk’s cap                          Monk’s hood

Wall pepper                         Sedum acre

Water grass                         Water cress

Withywind                           Convolvulus

Wood sour                           Wood sorrel

Yellow bottle                       Corn marygold


found at Woodhall Spa, or in the neighbourhood, compiled by Professor J.
F. BLAKE, given in the Government “Geological Survey Memoirs,” pp. 191,

Ammonites Berryeri.  Langton and Baumber.

Ammonites decipiens.  Baumber.

Ammonites serratus.  Woodhall, Langton, and Baumber.

Ammonites mutabilis.  Horncastle.

Ammonites hector.  Baumber.

Belemnites nitidus.  Woodhall.

Cerithium crebrum.  Horncastle.

Rostellaria mosensis.  Langton and Horncastle.

Rissoa mosensis.  Woodhall.

Dentalium Quenstedti.  Horncastle.

Arca reticulata.  Horncastle.

Arca rhomboidalis.  Langton and Baumber.

Astarte Michaudiana.  Baumber.

Astarte supracorallina.  Horncastle.

Anatina minuta.  Horncastle.

Anomia Dollfusii.  Baumber.

Avicula ædilignensis.  Woodhall and Langton.

Avicula Dorsetensis.  Langton.

Cardium striatulum.  Horncastle.

Corbula Deshayesia.  Baumber and Horncastle.

Corbula fallax.  Baumber.

Ceromya orbicularis.  Baumber.

Cyprina cyrene-formis.  Woodhall and Langton.

Homomya compressa.  Baumber and Horncastle.

Lima ædilignensis.  Woodhall and Baumber.

Nucula menkii.  Langton, Baumber, and Horncastle.

Nucula obliquata.  Langton.

Ostrœa deltoidea.  Woodhall.

Pecten demissus.  Langton.

Pecten Grenieri.  Baumber and Horncastle.

Pecten arcuatus.  Baumber.

Thracia depressa.  Woodhall and Horncastle.

Lingula ovalis.  Baumber.

Serpula tetragona.  Langton.

Serpula intestinalis.  Horncastle.

N.B.—The Langton here named is Langton St. Andrew, now synonymous with
Woodhall Spa, but referring specially to the ground west of the Stixwould
Road, though including Jordan’s Pond.  All these fossils may be expected
throughout the immediate neighbourhood, in Kirkstead, &c., &c., as they
are all from the Kimeridge formation.

We have no list of fossils from the lower geological formations, which
are out of ordinary reach.  Those here given are near the surface, or
exposed in ditches or pits, and may be found by anyone who has the eye to
discern them.



Abbey, Bardney 167–170
„ Kirkstead 239–248
„ Stixwould 150–156
„ Tupholme 165–167

Abbot, of Bardney, “Mitred” 169

Accident at Woodhall Well 7, 8
„ Poem on, by J. Sharpe 8

Adelaide, Queen 14

Adelias de Cundi 189

Albini, Hugh de 229 and note

Albino Hares 65

All-Hallows’ Church, Ancient 156, 157

Ancient pistol 129

Andrew’s St., Church 14

Anelace, found in Kirkstead 107 and note

Angevine, Robert, of Langton 197

Antiquities of Lincoln 117–125
,, found in Witham 107–110

Architect, Stephen Lewin 14 and note

Ashby Puerorum 253, 254
,, ,, Roman tomb at 254

Ayscough, H., married E. Dymoke 214


Bab, i.e., dredge 100

Badger, beneficial to fox 53

Bad roads to Woodhall 11

Bag Enderby 256, 257

Bage, or sod, old word 23 and note

Bain, Celtic river name 228 and note

Banks, Sir Joseph 189

Bardney 167–171
„ Visited by Henry IV. 194

Barkworth family 139, 140

Bath, discovery of water 5
,, House, the first, 1834 9

Bede-houses at Langton 200

Bell, “Pan-cake” 192

Beriwick, of Langton 197

Bernack, Sir William 230, 234

Birch, clogs 34 and note

Bird-Hag Wood 36, 37

Birds of Fenland, former 48, 49
,, of neighbourhood 34, 47, 51

Bittern 34

Black death 193, 206

Black game 34, 35

Bog’s nook 34

Bolingbroke, New, “city” 6
,, Old 5 and note

Bolles family 145

Bolsover, water discovered 5

Botany of neighbourhood 28–33

Bough-houses 180 and note

Boulders, glacier-borne 88, 91, 201

Brandon, Charles, Duke of Suffolk 234, 250

Brass of Cromwell, Lord 237, 238
,, of Dymoke 190

Brick-work, beautiful 230, 231

Brick tank at Woodhall Spa 9

Buckland, in Woodhall 127

Bucknall 161–165
,, List of Rectors 164, 165

Bull baiting 178 and note

Bull Ring, Horncastle 178

Buzzard 43


Callis, merchant of staple of 225

Canoes, ancient 114–116

Carlisle, Bishop of 189

Carlsbad, water discovered 5

Caroline, Queen’s trial, anecdote 185

Cart, dragged by man 21 miles 185

Carving, S. Andrew’s Church 14 and note

Castle walls, Horncastle 187, 188

Caswell, Mr. Clement J. 185–187, 256

Cathedral, Lincoln 27

Cato-street Conspiracy 159–161

Celts, found 105 and note, 106

Champion Cups 209

Champion, Dymoke 14 and note

Charles I., Dymoke bequest to 214

Charles II., anecdote of 172, 173

Chesney, William, de 185

Chrismatory, mediæval 199

   Andrew’s, St., Woodhall Spa 14
   St. Peter’s ,, 16
   Ashby Puerorum 253, 254
   Bucknall 162–164
   Coningsby 222–226
   Edlington 176
   Enderby, Bag 256, 257
   Gautby 172
   Haltham 215–217
   Horncastle 189, 190
   Kirkstead 244–249
   Langton 198–200
   Martin 203, 204
   Minting 174, 175
   Roughton 205, 206
   Scrivelsby 213, 214
   Somersby 255
   Tattershall 234–238
   Thimbleby 177
   Thornton 201, 202
   Wispington 175, 176
   Woodhall, Old 200, 201

Church, robber’s sanctuary 193

Clarkson, boring for coal 6

Clinton, Sir H. 189
,, Lord 132, 136, 143, 144, 189, 234, 250

Coal-pit Wood 8

“Cobbler, Captain” 170

Coffins, leaden 110

Coins, Roman 112

Collar, brazen, for maniac 159

Coney-garth 169, 170

Conging-street, Horncastle 179

Coningsby 218–227

Coningsby family 219

Coppledyke, knightly family of 257, 258

Corner, Hangman’s, Horncastle 189

Cottage Hospital, Woodhall 17

Creviquer, Alexander 153

Cromwell, Lord Treasurer 136, 137
,, Oliver, in Horncastle 194 and note
,, Ralph de 208, 230, 234

Cundi, Adelias de 189

Cures at Woodhall, early 9

Curfew 226


Daubeney, Sir Giles 221

Dar-wood 127

Deane, tablet of, at Horsington 158

D’Eyncourt, Baron 230, 234

Diocese, Lincoln, Humber to Thames 125

Dispenser, Robert de 202, 208

Doctors, first resident at Woodhall 9

Dog-kennel yard, Horncastle 187

Donatives, abolished 13 and note

Drainage of Fens 101

Drayton’s “Polyolbion” 28, 48

Driby, Robert de 230, 234

Drogo de Bruere 220

Dyer, John, Poet 226

Dymoke, Champion, at Coronation 210–213

Dymoke, bequest to Charles I. 214
,, Edward, of Thornton 203
,, Sir Robert, good marriage 214


Eagle, seen at Woodhall 42

Eagle Hotel, built 15

Editha, Queen 189

Edlington 176

Elizabeth, Queen, held Horncastle Manor 189

Ellison, R., Poem “Kirkstead” 36 and note, 250 and note

Elmhirst, Col. Richard 150

Enderby, Bag 256, 257

Escald, Gerbald de 189

Ethelred, King’s burial-place 169

Eudo, Norman Knight 229

Eusden, Laurence, Poet Laureate 226

Ezmondeys, Galfred de 153

Enderby, Albin de 256


Fairs at Horncastle 179 and note
,, tricks at 181–183

Ferruginous water at Woodhall 10

Fight at Winceby 190

Fishes, list of local 72

Fish, Recipe for Cooking, by Francatelli 74 and note

Fitzendo, Hugh 229, 239

Flintgan 35 and note

Floralia, Festival of 188

Flower as bait for fish 74

“Forest” of Woodhall, Pakinson’s 6, 7

Fortescue, Hugh, Baron 234

Fox, cunning of 58, 59

Franklin, Sir John, at Horncastle 194

Fynes family 136
„ Henry, of Christed 250, 251, 70
,, Henry, of Christed 250, 251


Gallows at Thimbleby 134, 240

“Gap,” the Lincoln 101, 102

Gaunt, Gilbert de 169, 170
,, John of 120
,, John, at Roughton 207
„ Walter de 169

Gautby 172–174

Geological Notes 84–104

Geology of South Scarle boring 84 and note
,, of Woodhall boring 10, 85, and note

Gerard de Rhodes 189

Gerbald de Escald 189

Gibson, Rev. Thomas 191, 192

Glacier-borne boulders 87–91

Godiva, Lady 162

Granges, Moated 127, 129, 134, 135

Green Lady, legend of 145, 146

Gregory, Pope, curse of 196

Grey, John de 229

Gridiron, Horncastle Arms 192

Grosstête, Bishop, Epigram on 171 and note


Hagworthingham Church 258, 259

Hall-garth, Thimbleby 177

Hall, Halstead 146–148

Hall, High 128, 129

Hall, Poolham 138, 146

Hall, Roughton 207

Hall, White 135–138, 205

Hall, Wood 126, 127

Haltham 215–217

Hangman’s Corner 189

Hardy-gang Wood 171

Hare, cunning of 66, 88

“Harr” 27 and note

Harrier, Hen 43

Harrington Church 257, 258

Hawks, farmer’s and sportsman’s friends 41, 42

Henry IV., birthplace of 194
,, visits Bardney 194
,, ,, Horncastle 194

Heron and Kite, fight between 42 and note

High-Hall 128, 129

Hoe Hill 253

Holbeck 253

Holy Thistle 128, 161

Holy Well 254, 256

Home for Gentlewomen 18

Hopton, Sir Ingram 190, 194

Horncastle 177, 195
,, Fairs 179 and note
,, Cheating at 181, 183
,, Murder at 181
,, Plague in 193
,, Poet “Laureate” 184 and note
,, Railway opened 12

Horse-taker Wood 171

Horsington 156–161

Hotchkin, Mr. Thomas 9
,, T. J. Stafford, Esq. 15, 16

Hotel, Royal 15
,, Victoria, built 9
,, ,, enlarged 15

Hussey family 142 and note

Hybrid, hare and rabbit 63, 64


Incident at Kirkstead Hall 21, 22

Indulgence, Letters of 149 and note

Ings, field-name 156, 226

Insect life 33, 82, 83


Jack Musters 57

Jenny, Sir Edmund 254

Jews at Lincoln 122–124

Julian’s Bower 188

Jurors, Non 137 and note, 164


Karilepho, Willm. de 196

Kestrel, useful to man 44

“Kid,” i.e., faggot 133

Kimeridge Clay 92, 93

Kingfisher 46, 47

Kirkstead Abbey 239, 240
,, Abbot 241, 243
,, Church 244–249
,, Poem by R. Ellison, Esq. 36 and note


Langton Church 198–200
,, Hill, extensive view 195
,, Moated House 196
,, Owners of land 196, 197

Langworth 227

Lawrence, St., Chapel, Horncastle 192

Lincoln, Antiquities 117–125
,, Diocese, from Humber to Thames 125
„ Minster 121, 122
,, Spires demolished 122
,, Railway opened 12

Lindsey, Lord of 169

“Literæ Laureatæ” 184 and note

Lizard, shedding tail 72


Marmyon, Baron 230, 234, 240
,, Roger de 170

Martin Church 203, 204

Mastiffs of Kirkstead Abbot 240

Maypole Hill 188

Maze 188

Meeres family 132, 134

Merlin hawk 43

Meschines, Ranulph de 174

Mill, valuable possession 140

Minting Church 174, 175
,, Weavers 175

Moat, valuable possession 136

Moon, race against the 185

Murder at Well-syke Wood 20
,, White Hall Wood 18
,, ,, Queen’s Head, Horncastle 181


Names, old 26

Nevill family 165

Nightingale 49–51

Nightjar 45, 46

Non-jurors 137 and note, 164

Norreys Fynes, monument 137


Osmunda regalis 30

Ostler, Mr. W., at Woodhall 6
,, Plantations, bird resort 35
,, ,, varied sport in 62 and note

Oswald, King’s miraculous hand 169
„ ,, tombstone 167

Osyth, St 236 and note

Otter 54, 55

Overseer, female 207

Owls, anecdote of 45 and note
,, three kinds 44
„ very useful 44 and note


Parishes in Woodhall district 13

Parkinson, John, and Spa Well 5
,, three projects of 5

Partridge, brown and red-leg mixing eggs 39
,, red-leg and keeper, anecdote 38
,, sitting close, anecdote 40
,, when sitting, has no scent 39, 40, and note

Pheasant, cream-coloured 37
„ Kalege 37
,, White 37

Pigeons, wild, three kinds 41

Pike, large 75, 78

Pinso, Norman Knight 229

Pistol, history of 129 and note

Plague 193, 206

Plantation, Ostler’s 6, 35, 62 and note

Plants, lists of 30–32

Poachers 19

Poem, “Kirkstead,” by R. Ellison, Esq. 36 and note

Pry-close, origin of name 200


Quadrupeds of the district 52–69

Queen Adelaide 14
,, Caroline’s trial 185
„ Editha 189
,, Victoria 14

Queen’s Head, Horncastle, murder at 181


Ramper 11

Rebus at Scrivelsby 209

Reptiles, fishes, etc., of district 70–81

Rhodes, Gerard de 189
,, Ralph de 189, 221, 240

Richmond, Duke of 214

Robber, sheltered in church 193 and note

Robbers hanged, last time 24

Robbery frustrated 25, 26
,, at Halstead Hall 23, 24

Roman brickyard 11 and note
,, road, reputed 11 and note
,, sepulchre 254
,, well 177

Romara, William de 152, 240

Rook, the, a marauder 45

Roughton Church 205, 206
,, Plague at 206
,, Registers, peculiar entries in 206

“Royal Oak,” Knight of the 215


Saddler’s shop, famous at Horncastle 179

Savile family 141, 144

Scenery at Woodhall 27, 28

Scrivelsby 208
,, Champion Cups 209
,, Church 213, 214
,, Court 209
,, Lion Gateway 209
,, Parish Stocks 209

“Scrubs,” i.e., woodland 227

Scytha, St. 236 and note

Scythes in Horncastle Church 190 and note

Selling a wife 181 and note

Sewer, a stream 46 and note

Sharpe, John, lines by, on Well 8 and notes

Sherard family 131–134

Shooting, sport at Woodhall 63 and note

Silene quinque vulneralis, rare 29

Skipworth, old county family 133, 134

Snake’s only defence 71 and note

Snowden family, of Halstead, etc. 147, 148

Somersby Church 255
,, Lines on 186

Sparrow hawk, an enemy 43, 44

Spa, syndicate of 15 and note
,, water, analysis 98, 99 and note
,, ,, discovered 5–9

Spurs, tenure by 217 and note, 221

Statue, Equestrian, at Gautby 173, 174

“Statutes,” servant hiring 184

Steep hills 27, 258, 259 and note

Stixwold Abbey 152–155
,, Church 151, 152
,, Meaning of name 150

Stocks, parish 156, 181, 209

Stone coffins 155

Sunsets, fine 28

Swans on Witham 48


“Tab shag,” old man 33, 112, 113

Taillebois, Ivo 152
,, Lord 214
,, Robert, Knight 220

Tattershall, Baron de 230
,, Castle 231, 232
,, „ accidents in 233
,, Church 234–238
,, Market Cross 228

Tench, flower bait for 74

Terrot, Rev. C. P. 175, 176, 189 and note

Thief at Red Cap Farm 24, 25

Thimbleby 176, 177
,, Church 177
„ Family 139, 140, 141

Thistle, “the Holy” 32, 128, 161

Thornton Church 201, 202
,, „ sacrilege at 203
,, Owners of land 202, 203
,, Alured, of Lincoln 202
„ Dispenser, Robert 202
,, Dymoke family 203
,, Gozelin 202

“Tiger Tom,” burglar 23, 24 and note

Tithe stone 163, 164

Toll-bar, leaping 238 and note

Toot-Hill 227

Travelling difficult 11 and notes

Troy Wood 227

Tumby Chase 218

Tupholme Abbey 165–167
,, Abbot, illegal acts of 166

Tyrwhitt, John, of Pentre, tablet to 213
,, J. Bradshaw, Rev., tablet to 214
,, Robert, tablet to 176


Victoria Hotel, Woodhall, built 9
,, ,, enlarged 15
„ ,, Queen 14

Vyner family 172, 173


Waterloo Monument 150

Weasels, and prey 68, 69

Weavers, village 175

Welby family 147

Well at Woodhall 9

Wells, saline, elsewhere 8, 10, 87, 99, 201, 256, note

Welles, Lord, beheaded 214

Wharf, meaning of 11 and note

White-Hall Wood murder 18

Wife-selling 181 and note

William de Karilepho 196
,, de Romara 152

Willoughby, Lord, of Knaith 132

Winceby, fight at 190

Winchester, Bishop of 221, 235

Wispington 175, 176

Witham, ran to Wainfleet 104 and note
,, a sacred stream of Druids 102 and note

Wolds 27, 258 and notes

Wong, Horncastle 187

Woodcock 35, 36

Wood Hall, the 126

Woodhall (Old) Church 200, 201
,, water discovered 9
,, Lines on 8
,, Properties of 98, 99

Woodpecker, three kinds 41

Wry-neck 47


{5}  Mr. Parkinson resided at the Hall, Old Bolingbroke, or Bolingbroke,
as it was called at that date, the prefix not being then needed to
distinguish the old historic market town from its modern offshoot, New
Bolingbroke.  Old Bolingbroke is noted for the ruins of its ancient
castle, where Henry IV. was born, and long ago gave a title to the earls
“of that ilk.”

{8a}  Tradition avers that, shortly before this accident occurred, an old
woman passing near the mine heard a raven—(doubtless a carrion
crow)—croaking ominously as it sat on the bough of a tree hard by, and
that it distinctly uttered these words, “carpse, carpse, carpse” (_i.e._,
corpse), and this she regarded as a certain presage of some fatal
occurence.  Truly the age of witches and warlocks was not yet passed.

{8b}  Mr. John Sharpe was father of the late Mrs. Michel Fynes and a
relative of Mr. James Sharpe, of Claremont House, Woodhall Spa.

{8c}  In Lincolnshire dialect “heard” is commonly pronounced so as to
rhyme with “appeared,” and this is said to be nearest the Saxon

{8d}  This was at the time of the Peninsular War, with its prolonged
sieges and fearful carnage.

{9a}  Mr. John Marshall, grocer and draper.

{9b}  Mr. and Mrs. Michael Fynes—the latter the daughter of Mr. Sharpe,
who wrote the foregoing verses—have told the writer of several other
instances of the use of the water at this early period.

{9c}  This tank was unearthed about the year 1875 by some persons who
were ratting, and the writer saw it.  It was situated at the back of the
Bathhouse, and would be, to the best of his recollection, some 12ft. long
by 8ft. wide, with a depth of 5ft.  It was covered up again, and has (so
far as he knows) remained so ever since.

{11a}  There was a Roman brickyard, about two fields from the Bathhouse,
along the pathway which now runs northwards through Coal Pit Wood and
skirts Bracken Wood.  The pits are still visible where the clay was dug;
also the broad “ride,” running east and west through Bracken Wood, near
these pits, is said to have been a Roman road.

{11b}  In the name Kirkstead Wharf, the etymologist will recognise, in
the latter portion, the old Norse “wath” or ford.  This was probably, at
one time, when the river was wider and shallower, a ford for passengers
and cattle.  There are many places in Yorkshire named Wath, as
Wath-on-Dearne, situated on a ford on that river.  This is further
confirmed by the local pronunciation of the name, which is still
Kirkstead Wath, or “the Wath” _par excellence_.  Wath is connected with
our word “wade,” and the Latin vadum, a shallow.

{11c}  The reader may gather some idea of the slowness of travel from the
following particulars given to the writer by an old gentleman:—“The
carrier’s cart left Horncastle at 8 a.m., arriving at Kirkstead Wath
between 12 and 1 p.m.; or between four and five hours for the seven
miles.  The packet for Boston passed Kirkstead at 2 p.m. and arrived at
Boston at 5 p.m.  This is now done in about 50 minutes.  It would have
been easy for a pedestrian to have walked direct from Horncastle to
Boston in five hours, whereas by this route it took nine hours.”

{12}  As a further evidence of the difficulty, or rather the perils, of
vehicular traffic in those days, the writer may here mention that he had
once the unpleasant experience of being among the passengers of the
aforesaid carrier’s cart, when the conveyance was overturned in the
ditch, the driver being incapable of performing his duty.

{13}  I may here mention that the anomaly of “donative” benefices was
abolished by Act of Parliament in 1898.

{14a}  Sir H. Dymoke, Bart., was the last champion who performed the
ceremony of throwing down the glove in Westminster Hall at the coronation
of the Sovereign.

{14b}  The land extending from the present schoolhouse nearly to
Mill-lane was at that time crown property, with much more in the
neighbourhood, since sold.

{14c}  Mr. Lewin himself presented the handsome pulpit of Caen stone, the
carved poppyheads of the seats, and figures of angels in the roof.  The
corbels, from which the wooden arches spring, were carved by a barber of
Boston, named White, one of three brothers of humble origin, all of whom
developed talent in different directions: One (Andrew) as an artist in
oil-painting of no small merit,—I have seen an oil-painting by
him—another in rustic garden work, and the brother in question (Robert),
continuing his calling as a barber, employed his spare time in carving in
stone.  The corbels in the chancel represent the Queen and Archbishop:
those in the north wall of the nave bear the arms of the Rev. E. Walter
and his wife; those in the south wall the arms of the Dymokes and the
Hotchkin family.  The reading desk was presented by the writer in memory
of his father, the Rev. E. Walter.  As a support to the Credence-table in
the chancel is a stone with an effigy of a lady abbess of Stixwould
Priory.  This, with the stone for the church, was given by the late Mr.
Christopher Turnor, owner of the Stixwould Estate, from the Priory ruins,
and, as from the rude character of the carving it is evidently of very
early date, it has been supposed to represent the Lady Lucia, the
foundress: unfortunately, the masonry being dug from confused heaps,
covered by the soil and turf of ages, was not, in many cases, laid by the
builders in its proper “layer” as it was quarried.  Consequently damp has
penetrated, and frost and thaw have broken it up in many parts of the
church walls.  The small coloured window by the pulpit was the gift of
the writer’s eldest daughter when a child, as a thank-offering on
recovering from an accident, in which she providentially escaped death,
when thrown, dragged, and kicked by her run-away pony.  An engraving of
the church, with description and other particulars, is to be found in the
“Illustrated London News,” of September 25th, 1817.

{15}  This syndicate consisted of the Right Honourable Edward Stanhope,
M.P. (since deceased), Right Honourable H. Chaplin, M.P., Sir Richard
Webster, M.P., T. Cheney Garfit, Esq., Kenwick Hall, Louth, and the Rev.
J. O. Stephens, Rector of Blankney.

{21a}  The date was February 2nd, 1850.  £200 reward was offered.  The
writer has seen the printed proclamation of it.  Tasker was buried in the
churchyard at Scrivelsby, of which benefice his master was rector.

{21b}  That he was, most probably, the guilty man is further confirmed by
the following incident, vouched for by my informant, who knew him.  The
keeper at Tattershall, at that time, was a man named Penny.  He, for his
own reasons, had strong suspicions of the guilt of Kent, but said
nothing, as he could not prove it.  Several years after, Penny retired
from his post as keeper, and took a farm, a few miles distant, in
Timberland Fen.  The man Kent, on one occasion called upon him to buy
some chickens.  In the course of conversation, Penny suddenly turned upon
Kent, and said, “What a thing it was that you shot Tasker, as you did!”
Kent was so taken by surprise, and confused by the remark, that he at
once went away without completing his bargain.  It is not, however,
little remarkable, that, although no one was convicted of this murder,
one of the suspected men, a few years later, committed suicide, another
left the country, going out to Australia, and a third died of
consumption.  This looks, presumably, in all three cases, as though
conscience was at work, condemning them, although the law was powerless.
A tombstone was erected to the memory of Richard Tasker, by his master,
in Scrivelsby Churchyard, stating that he “was cruelly murdered” in his

{24}  A cast was taken of “Tiger Tom’s” head, after the execution; and a
mould from it now forms an ornament over the door of No. 31, Boston-road,
Horncastle: at present occupied by Mr. Arthur Buttery, but formerly the
residence of Mr. William Boulton (grandfather of Mr. W. Boulton, landlord
of the Great Northern Hotel), who was present at the execution, and
obtained the cast at that time.  The features are certainly not
prepossessing.  Another cast is in the possession of Mr. Robert
Longstaff, Mareham Road, Horncastle, lately residing at Halstead Hall.

{27a}  “Over Fen and Wold,” by J. J. Hissey, 1898, p. 290.  Mr. Hissey,
with his wife, made a driving tour from London to Lincolnshire, and round
the county, staying for some days at Woodhall.  Anyone who wishes to read
a delightfully entertaining account of the chief objects of interest in
the county, and in the approach to it, cannot do better than get this

{27b}  So far from Lincolnshire being all on a dead level, there is a
stiff gradient on the Great Northern line, as it passes through the
county, about 2 miles from Essendine, where an elevation is attained
about 10ft. higher than the cross of St. Paul’s Cathedral; and only some
10ft. lower than the highest point, at Grant’s House, near Berwick.  On
the old Coach-road from London to Edinburgh, the worst hill in the whole
distance is that of Gonerby, near Grantham, Lincolnshire.  “Over Fen and
Wold,” p. 417.

{27c}  Quoted by Sir Charles Anderson, in his “Pocket Guide to Lincoln.”
“Harr” is an old Lincolnshire terra for “fog.”  A “sea-harr” is a mist
drifting inland from the sea.

{28a}  Song, 25; date, 1612.

{28b}  “Over Fen and Wold,” pp. 195–6.

{31}  The above lists are, of course, only selections.  Indeed, on the
occasion to which the last list refers, one of the party produced a
series of water-colour paintings of wild flowers which are found in the
neighbourhood, beautifully executed by Dr. Burgess, of Spilsby, and
numbering about 500.

{32}  In speaking of the silene quinque vulneralis, on a previous page, I
said that there was no absolute reason why it should not re-appear in the
garden of the Victoria Hotel.  The holy thistle is a case in point.
Several years ago seeing that it was being steadily exterminated, and
that the end was inevitably near, the writer transplanted a root to his
own garden.  It flourished there through two seasons, but was eventually,
by mistake, “improved” away, when the garden beds were being dug over.
To his surprise, some years after, a vigorous plant of it was found
growing in his kitchen garden among the potatoes.  Alas!  That also has
now gone the way of all thistle flesh.

{33}  “Bage” is an old Lincolnshire word meaning a sod.  In the
overseer’s accounts of the neighbouring parish of Roughton occurs this
entry twice in the year 1707: “2s. 6d. paid for one day’s work of church
moor bages”; _i.e._, peat cut for fuel.

{34a}  The birch trees of the neighbourhood, with their silvery bark and
light and elegant foliage have been very much reduced in numbers, as the
wood is used for “clogs” in the manufacturing districts of Yorkshire and

{34b}  There is a “Pyewipe” Inn at Lincoln, and Pyewipe Hall, near

{34c}  This may seem to the ordinary uninitiated mind to be a stretch of
the imagination; but if we are to believe Mr. Cornish, the old practised
gunners on our coasts, who make the cries of our wild fowl a life-long
study can almost understand them as well as human speech.  See “Animals,
their Life and Conversation,” by C. J. Cornish.

{34d}  They also frequented other moorlands in the north of the county,
in the neighbourhood of Market Rasen and Caistor.

{35}  The writer has enjoyed the privilege (often a welcome relief from
hard literary, and other labours) of shooting over this ground for more
than a quarter of a century, having known it for double that period.  His
father-in-law had it before him; a genuine sportsman of the old type,
being one of a trio, who clung to the last, even far into the seventies,
to the old flint gun—the late General Hall, of Sixmile Bottom, near
Newmarket, being the second, and I believe the famous sportsman, Sir
Richard Sutton, the third, two of whose guns became the property of my
father-in-law.  Only one man was left in the kingdom who made the flints.
A grand weapon was a genuine “flint” of old “Joe” Manton; with plenty of
metal, a hard hitter, and often equally serviceable when converted into a
breech-loader.  Its only drawbacks were, that the exposure of the powder
rendered it uncertain in damp weather; and the slowness of ignition; but
this latter, to a sportsman who had known no other “arm of precision,”
was little hindrance, and naturally, entered into his calculations
whenever he pulled trigger.

{36a}  The writer, from one cause or another, has probably had a unique
experience of shooting in the neighbourhood of Woodhall and elsewhere.
To say nothing of shooting in nine other counties, he at one time shot
over the whole of the Kirkstead estate.  During the absence from home of
the late owner of the Woodhall estate, T. J. Stafford Hotchkin, Esq.,
when residing abroad, he, with a friend, shot over all Woodhall.  Within
the nineties, he, with two others, rented the greater part of the
Woodhall shooting for three years.  He has shot, at one time or another,
in more than 50 parishes in the county.  _Tempora Mutantur_.  Probably
hard times have had an astringent effect on the hospitality of the
shooting fraternity.

{36b}  I quote from a poem, long ago out of print, written by Richard
Ellison, Esq. (of Boultham), entitled “Kirkstead, or the Pleasures of
Shooting,” and published in 1837; the proceeds of its sale to be given to
the funds of a fancy fair held in aid of Lincoln County Hospital.

{38}  Another anecdote of the said keeper may here be given, which is
amusing.  Soon after the above incident he gave notice to quit his place,
in order (as he said) to better himself.  He had often heard me descant
on the charms of grouse shooting and deer-stalking, and he came to me to
ask me to help him to a situation in Scotland.  I got him the post of
keeper on a large moor on the shores of Loch Ness.  He was a man with a
big head, a bulky body, and with rather weak bandy legs (not unlike many
a sketch in “Punch”), and though a good English keeper, and able to
stride along through the turnips, in a level country like our own, he was
not adapted for mountaineering.  One season in the Highlands cooled his
ardour, and the very next year he called on me again, being out of place.
“Well,” I asked my friend, “how is it you’re here again”?  “To tell you
the truth, sir,” he replied, “I could not stand those barelegged Highland
gillies.  [N.B.—He had, himself, no fine calves to show.]  They were
always a-laughing at me.  And their gaelic was worse than Latin and
Greek.  You’ll never catch me in Scotland again.”  We can picture to
ourselves the bandy legs bearing the unwieldly body up a steep brae side;
stumbling over loose stones, struggling through the tall heather, till
breathless he would pause, while the agile gillies would, chuckling,
leave him behind; pause and ponder with the conclusion not slowly arrived
at, “What a fool I was to leave Woodhall for work like this.”  The
Sassenach was indeed out of his element on the Scotch hills.  He took my
advice; picked up a wife half his own age, and now keeps a country
public-house, where he can recount his Scotch and other adventures at the

{39}  This is also confirmed by a writer in the “Naturalist,” of 1895, p.
67.  He says the bird “is very erratic in its nesting habits.”  He has
found its egg in a pheasant’s nest, and in two cases the egg laid on the
bare ground.  Only last season I myself found an egg lying without any

{40}  This peculiar protective property is not confined to the partridge,
but seems to apply to game birds generally.  The keeper on the Woodhall
shooting reported to me, on one occasion, that a pheasant had nested
close to a footpath, where she was certain to be disturbed, and asked
permission to take the eggs to hatch under one of his hens.  Mr. E. M.
Cole reports in the “Naturalist” of 1892, p. 182, _Phasianus Colchicus_
nest of seven or eight eggs “found May 6th, on the road margin.”  Mr. J.
Watson, in his book “Sylvan Folk,” says: “A party of ornithologists were
trying to get a specimen of the ptarmigan in breeding plumage, but failed
up to luncheon time.  Sitting down, the lunch was unstrapped from a pony,
and a strap fell on a ptarmigan, sitting, actually, under the pony.  On
another occasion a dog sat down upon the hen ptarmigan, which it had not
discovered in the middle of the party.”—“Sylvan Folk,” p. 147, Fisher
Unwin, 1889.

{42}  The writer once witnessed a fight in the air between a kite and a
heron.  Hearing a confused sound of harsh cries overhead, he looked up,
and soon caught sight of two large birds wheeling round and round, each
apparently doing its utmost to get above the other.  The two, however,
were very evenly matched, for, whereas the kite had its strong beak and
talons, deadly weapons for seizing and rending when at close quarters,
and could make a powerful swoop at his prey—the heron, though an awkward
bird in the air, and ungainly in its movements, had yet its long, sharp,
bill, with which it could receive its enemy as it were “at point of
bayonet,” and even transfix him, should he make a reckless onset.  Again
and again, when the kite succeeded in getting uppermost, he would make a
rapid downward swoop upon the heron; but as he neared the latter, he was
forced swiftly to turn aside, to avoid being pierced through by the long
bill.  This went on for a considerable time, the two birds by turns
surmounting each other, until they were lost to view in a cloud; and as
to which ultimately gained the day, “witness deponeth not.”

As Mary Howitt prettily says;—

    Up, up into the skies,
       Thy strenuous pinions go;
    While shouts, and cries, and wondering eyes
       Still reach thee from below.
    But higher and higher, like a spirit of fire,
       Still o’er thee hangs thy foe;
    Thy cruel foe, still seeking
       With one down-plunging aim
    To strike thy precious life
       For ever from thy frame;
    But doomed, perhaps, as down he darts,
       Swift as the rustling wind,
    Impaled upon thy upturned beak,
       To leave his own behind.

                                                              TO THE HERON

{44a}  The writer, when the sport of hawking was revived some 40 years
ago by the late Mr. Barr, witnessed several trials of his hawks, and
himself tried hawking with the sparrow-hawk on a small scale.  A great
friend of his took up the sport at one time, and spent a good deal of
money on it in securing good birds and well trained; but it almost
invariably resulted in their getting away.  Failing to kill his quarry,
the bird would fly wildly about in search of it, thus getting beyond
recall, and so would eventually go off and resume its wild habits.  After
losing a hawk for some days, the writer has caught sight of it again,
called it, and swung his “lure” in the air to attract it.  The hawk has
come and fluttered about him, almost within arm’s length, but carefully
eluded being taken; and so, after a little playful dalliance, has flown
away again.

{44b}  Lord Lilford, the great naturalist, states that a pair of owls,
with their adult progeny, will, in three months, rid the land of no less
than 10,000 vermin; and Frank Buckland states that he found the remains
of 20 dead rats in one owl’s nest.

{45}  Among his various pets the writer has tried to keep owls, but not
with success.  On one occasion he brought home two young birds, taken
from a nest on the moor.  They were put into an empty pigeon-cote.  The
next morning they were found dead, with their claws, in fatal embrace,
buried deep in each other’s eyes.  At another time he reared a couple,
and got them fairly tame.  They were allowed to go out at night to forage
for themselves.  But on one occasion, for the delectation of some
visitors, he turned them out in the afternoon before dusk, and
(presumably), taking offence at the affront put upon them, they never
returned to their quarters.  For a time he heard them in the dusk, and
when he called they would even hover about him, uttering a low kind of
purr but keeping carefully out of his reach.

{46a}  The writer on Jan. 7, 1899, walking along a footpath, saw a pedlar
who was meeting him, suddenly stop, and poke out a sort of bundle from
the hedge-bottom with is stick.  On coming up to him he asked what he had
got.  The reply was “One of the varmints that kill the ducks”; _i.e._,
hedgehog.  On his saying that he did not believe that the creature did
anything of the kind, the pedlar replied, rather indignantly, that he
knew an instance where a hedgehog had killed 20 ducks in a night.  While,
however, claiming for the hedgehog, mainly an insect, or vegetable diet,
we are aware that it is open to the soft impeachment, that it does not
object, like some of its betters, to an occasional “poached egg,” whether
of duck, chicken, or partridge; and cases are on record of its being
caught in flagrante delicto, as mentioned by Mr. E. L. Arnold, in his
_Bird Life in England_.

{46b}  The term “sewer” does not at all imply that this stream was ever
used for sewerage purposes.  It is a survival from old times, once
meaning a drain or water course.  Commissioners of sewers were appointed
by Henry VIII. under the “Statute of Sewers.”  But the same bucolic mind
which can see in the most graceful church tower in the kingdom “Boston
_Stump_,” gives the name of “Sewer” to a stream pellucid enough to be a
fount of Castaly.

{47}  There are several other birds occasionally about Woodhall, but they
can hardly be counted among the regular denizens of the district.  The
curlew has recently been seen during a whole season, doubtless nesting
somewhere in the neighbourhood, though the nest has not been found.  The
Green Sand-piper (_Totanus Octaopus_) frequents some of our ponds, but
only as a bird of passage; the writer has occasionally shot them.  The
Razorbill (_Alca Torda_) is sometimes blown inland to us.  A specimen was
caught a few years ago, in an exhausted state, by some boys in Woodhall,
and brought to the writer.  A Little Auk (_Alca Arctica_) was caught
under similar circumstances some years ago.  A specimen of the Scoter, or
Surf-Duck (_Oidemia perspicillata_), was brought to him, exhausted, but
alive.  He took care of it, and fed it.  It recovered, and eventually
regained its freedom, and was seen no more.  Two stuffed specimens of
that rare bird, the Ruff and Reeve, may be seen at the house of Mr.
Charles Fixter, farmer, within three fields of the Bathhouse, Woodhall.
They were shot by a Woodhall keeper, at Huttoft, near the sea coast.

{49}  In connection with this decoy, it may be added that, in order to
prevent the wild ducks being disturbed, no shooting was allowed anywhere
near it.  There was a large rabbit warren close by, where a peculiar kind
of wild rabbit, black with silver hairs, bred in great numbers.  These,
as they could not be shot, were caught in large deep pits with trap
doors.  The skins were exported to Prussia, to make busbies for the
soldiers, while the bodies were sent to Hull market.  For the
entertainment of sporting readers, it may be further mentioned that the
relative and his son were “crack” shots.  The old gentleman rode a
shooting-pony, and fired from his thigh, instead of from the shoulder.  A
wager was, on one occasion, laid between father and son as to which would
miss his game first.  They each fired 18 shots before a miss occurred.
Which of the two was the defaulter, the writer “deponeth not”; but in
either case it was not a bad score.  Sir John Astley, in his
autobiography, mentions that when he was invalided home from the Crimea,
having been wounded in the neck, he, for some time, could not get his arm
up, and shot from the thigh, and managed to kill his rabbits.  In the
case of my relative long practice had made perfect.

{53a}  Mr. A. E. Pease, M.P., in his volume “Hunting Reminiscences,
1898,” in a chapter on badger hunting, says: “In countries where mange in
foxes has become a scourge, the preservation of badgers would do much to
remove this plague, for they are wonderful cleansers of earths.”

{53b}  It is to be hoped that the cruel sport of badger baiting is no
longer indulged in, although not many years ago (1888), there appeared in
the columns of the “Exchange and Mart,” the following advertisement:
“Very fine large badger and baiting cage, in good condition; price 20s.”

{54a}  Badger hunting, a more legitimate sport, is still carried on in a
few rare instances.  A friend of the writer, for several years, kept
badger hounds in Gloucestershire, where these animals, are still fairly
numerous, and the writer still possesses the skin of a badger killed by
his hounds.  A variety of hounds are used for this sport.  There is the
“smell dog” to track the quarry by his trail left in the previous night;
the pack of more ordinary dogs to hunt him, and the plucky, smaller dog,
who “draws” him from his retreat.  It takes a good dog to beard the

{54b}  “Nature Notes, vol. v., 1894, p. 98.”

{55a}  The late Mr. E. R. Alston, F.Z.S., Selbourne Magazine Vol. ii., p.

{55b}  Mr. W. Cartmell.  Ibidem.

{55c}  The Rev. E. Adrian Woodruffe-Peacock, F.L.S., F.G.S., secretary of
the Lincolnshire Naturalists’ Union, has assured me, that, seeing a pike
lying dead on the river bank, with the shoulder eaten away in the above
manner, he has watched it for two days, but the otter never returned.
And Mr. H. C. Hey, Derwent House, West Ayrton, York, mentions a similar
case.  (“The Naturalist,” 1895, p. 106).  While a writer in _The Globe_
(April 30, 1896) says that he has seen half-a-dozen bream dead on a river
bank, from not one of which has the otter taken more than this one bite.

{55d}  See again Nature Notes, quoted above.

{56}  To shew that the writer is not “speaking without book” in calling
this neighbourhood a stronghold of Reynard in former years, it is
sufficient to quote two or three of the entries in the accounts of the
Parish Overseer of Woodhall, still preserved in the chest at Woodhall

                                                £        s.             d.

“1806, March 30.—Needham’s boy for a            0         1              0

“1806, April 6.—Paid for foxes                  0        16             3½

“1814, April 11.—Paid for foxes                 1        12            2½”

The slaughter of foxes, even in the 19th century, was thus remunerated at
the rate of 1s. each; yet, in Woodhall, they would seem to have been so
plentiful, that for such services, with other incidental expenses (such,
probably, as traps, &c.), as much as £1 12s. 2½d. was paid in one year.
Since those days, there has been a reaction in public sentiment.  _Nous
avons changé tout cela_, and instead of putting a price on Reynard’s
_head_, we value his _brush_, and give him general protection.

{57}  This is confirmed by the late Sir John Astley, who states that, as
a boy, he often gave wood-pigeons, rabbits, and rats to a litter of fox
cubs, kept by their keeper within a wire fence, and they almost
invariably preferred the rat.—“Fifty Years of My Life,” by Sir J. Astley.
Vol. i., p. 245.

{61}  “Hinerarium,” vol. vi., p. 58, 1710.

{62a}  Part of the Glebe of Kirkby-on-Bain.

{62b}  I take haphazard two or three entries from my shooting diary,
recording the produce of a morning’s walk, alone, on the moor, from 10
a.m. to 1 p.m.  “Oct. 4, 1874.—9 hares, 8 pheasants, 3 brace of
partridges, 2 couple of rabbits, 3 woodpigeons, 2 waterhens.”  “Oct.
1877.—10 hares, 7 pheasants, 4½ brace of partridges, 2 woodcock, 2 couple
of rabbits.”  “Jan. 29, 1878.—5 pheasants, 4 hares, 2 brace of
partridges, 2½ couple of rabbits, 3 woodcock, 2 woodpigeon, 1 waterhen, 2

{63}  The bag that day (Nov. 1877) was 352 hares, 14 pheasants, 8
partridges, 4 rabbits.  I also find the following brief entry: “Nov. 7,
1878—Shot with a party in Kirkstead, killing to my own gun nearly 60
hares.”  And again, “Oct. 19, 1876.  Shot with a friend in Kirkstead, 15
brace of partridges, 6 brace of pheasants, and 10 hares.”  To show that
the Kirkstead and Tattershall shootings still maintain their excellence,
I give here the bag on a more recent occasion.  “Oct. 12, 1894.—In
Kirkstead a party shot, in the open, 70 brace of partridges, 1 pheasant,
and 110 hares.”  At Tattershall in the same year a party killed 531 hares
in three days.  I have mentioned above, the Tattershall shooting as being
“nearly as good as that of Kirkstead.”  I give here a note or two of
sport on that estate: “Sep. 21, 1876.—Shot with Mr. S. (the lessee of the
shooting) the Witham side of Tattershall.  Bag: 25 hares, 9 brace of
partridges.”  “Sep. 25.—Shot on the same ground, 7 hares, 26 brace of
partridges.”  On the Woodhall ground, hares were always few in number,
the soil not seeming to suit them; but among partridges I have shared in
good sport.  I give two entries as samples: “Sep. 16, 1873.—Shot with
Captain H. (lessee of the shooting) 30½ brace of partridges and 2 hares.”
And again, “Nov. 16, 1872.—Shot for the third day, Bracken Wood.  Total
bag, rather more than 400 pheasants in the three days; rabbits, over 150,
and 20 woodcock.”

{65}  Other instances of albinos are not uncommon, but more among birds
than quadrupeds.  I find among my notes the following: “Albino shrew
mouse caught at Ackworth, near Pontefract, June, 1895; white robin at
Whitby, Jan., 1896; ditto at Boston, Sept., 1898; white woodcock nested
in Manby Woods, near Louth, with four young of the usual colour, July,
1892; buff woodcock shot at Bestwood, Nottingham, Feb. 1892; white
landrail shot at Kedleston, near Derby, Sept., 1892; white thrush caught
at Nidderdale, November 1892; cream-coloured skylark shot near Harrogate,
Sept., 1891; white jay—two young specimens shot near York, 1893; white
sand martin caught at Killinghall, near Harrogate, July, 1898; at
Brackenborough, near Louth, there were two coveys of partridges, in the
season of 1896–7, with white specimens among them: and at Stonehouse, in
Gloucestershire, a covey of mixed white and brown partridges were
reported in 1897.  A buff hare was shot near Bourne in 1897.”  A white
black-buck was killed by a friend in Kattiawar, India, in 1897, and I
have a stuffed specimen of buff blackbird, caught some years ago in the
vicarage garden at Woodhall: the parent birds having buff young two
seasons in succession.

{67}  In the Southdowns, the hills are called “Downs,” and the valleys
“Deans,” or sometimes by the Devonshire term “Coomb.”

{69}  Essays on Natural History, Third Series, p. 169.  Ed. 1857.

{71a}  Gilbert White mentions this habit of “snakes stinking, _se
defendendo_.  A friend (he says) kept a tame snake, in its own person as
sweet as any animal; but as soon as a stranger, a cat, or a dog entered
the room, it fell to hissing, and filled the room with such nauseous
effluvia as rendered it hardly supportable.”  Natural History, Selbourne,
p. 90.  Ed. 1829.

{71b}  Brusher, a well-known character in the New Forest, Hampshire, says
he has seen hundreds of snakes swallow their young in time of danger.
“The New Forest,” by R. C. de Crespigny and Horace Hutchinson.

{74}  Several kinds of fish which we now think coarse or insipid, would
doubtless become, through the culinary skill of the monastic _chef_
“savoury dishes” such as even a lordly abbot’s soul might relish.  For
the benefit of readers who may like to try the fish of our district under
most favourable conditions, I here give two or three recipes for cooking
them.  Francatelli, no mean authority, says, “a pike cooked properly can
hold its own against many fish from the sea.”  Boiled with horseradish
sauce and mustard it makes an excellent dish.  Perch, with sorrel sauce
and mayonnaise, is equally good.  Carp, fried with butter, is excellent.
Chub, taken in frosty weather, are firm, at other times rather flabby,
but treated in either of the above ways they are more than palatable.
Roach, cooked on a gridiron, with butter, make a nice breakfast.  Tench,
with port wine sauce, are a luxury.  Eels, though despised in Scotland,
are very good stewed.

{76a}  Lincoln Records, quoted in Sir Charles Anderson’s “Pocket Guide of
Lincoln,” p. 107.  The spelling “wesh” agrees with the local
pronunciation of the present day.

{76b}  Mr. S. Cheer, of Horncastle.

{76c}  Mr. W. Bryant, of Horncastle.

{78}  Rev. C. D. Ash, Skipwith Vicarage.  Naturalist, 1896, pp. 302 and

{79a}  Mr. J. Watson, in his very interesting book, “Sylvan Folk,” states
(p. 232) that a single swan will destroy a gallon of trout ova in a day.

{79b}  Mr. W. Bryant.

{79c}  Aaron Rushton.

{80a}  This fine specimen of the _salmo fario_ was bought by the late
Rev. J. W. King, of sporting celebrity, to put into the lake at
Ashby-de-la-Launde, to improve the breed of trout there.

{80b}  In one part of “The Brook,” the Laureate has taken a “poetic
licence,” when he says:

    “I wind about, and in and out,
       With here a blossom sailing.
    And here and there a lusty trout,
       And here and there a grayling.”

There are no grayling in the Somersby beck.

{81}  For brothers “of the cloth” with piscatorial proclivities, who
visit Woodhall, the writer would point to this means of healthful
relaxation, which he can recommend from experience.  Any qualms of the
clerical conscience as to the legitimacy of such an avocation—a wholesome
calling away from graver duties—may be set at rest on episcopal, and even
archi-episcopal, authority.  The late Archbishop Magee was an ardent
fisherman, and would go on flogging on Irish lough or river, even though
he did not get a single rise.  (See “Life of W. Connor Magee,” by J. C.
McDonnell.)  And the writer once read, with much enjoyment, an article on
salmon fishing in the “Quarterly Review,” which was attributed to the
versatile pen of the Bishop of Winchester, better known as “Samuel of
Oxford,” who sought occasional relief from his almost superhuman labours
on the banks of a Highland river.

{84a}  The exception to which allusion is here made is the village of
South Scarle, about six miles from Lincoln, where a deep boring was made
in 1876, in search of coal.  The depth attained was 2,029 feet, or nearly
twice that of the Woodhall well; but as only the upper layer of the coal
measures was thus reached, and it was calculated that actual coal would
be some 1,600 feet lower still, or a total depth of 3,600 feet, the
boring was abandoned.  The strata passed through were found to be as
follows: Alluvial or drift, 10ft.; lower lias clay and limestone, 65ft.
rhœtic beds, 66ft.; the three triassic formations, new red marl (Keuper),
lower keuper sandstone, new red sandstone, 1,359ft.; upper permian marls,
upper magnesian limestone, middle permian marls, lower magnesian
limestone, permian marl slates, with basement of breccia, 619ft.; and
upper coal measures, 10ft.; total, 2,029ft.

{84b}  See end of Chapter I. on The History of the Well.

{85a}  We have the testimony of two of the labourers employed in the
shaft (Cheeseman and Belton) who agree in giving this depth.  They also
state that the particular stratum was 54ft. thick; that the set of the
current was from south-east to north-west, running from a crack in one
side of the shaft into a corresponding crack in the opposite side, and
that they both assisted in making a brick and cement lining to the shaft,
leaving a channel behind for the water to run round half the
circumference, from crack to crack.

{85b}  We may further add that it is at the junction of the Northampton
sand with the underlying lias, that we find numerous springs in other
parts of the county; as at Navanby, Waddington, Lincoln, Blyborough,
Kirton, and several other places.  The Government “Geological Survey
Memoir” for the country around Lincoln (p. 208) agrees in saying that the
Woodhall water comes from the “inferior oolite” which comprises the
Northampton sands.

{87a}  “Life of Nansen, 1881–1893,” by W. C. Brögger and Nordahl Rolfsen.
(Longmans, 1896, pp. 350–357).

{87b}  Ibidem, p. 139.

{88a}  Ibidem, p. 123.

{88b}  This subject has been fully gone into by Mr. P. F. Kendall,
F.G.S., in his article “The Cause of an Ice-age,” contributed to the
“Transactions of the Leeds Geological Association,” part viii.  Other
ice-streams also passed down various alleys from Teesdale to Airedale,
and the Ouse.

{88c}  See an article “On the Occurrence of Shap Granite Boulders in
Lincolnshire,” by Mr. W. T. Sheppard, in the “Naturalist” of 1896, pp.
333–339.  Also the “Presidential Address to the Yorkshire Naturalists’
Union,” by J. Cordeaux, F.R.G.S., M.B.O.U., in the “Naturalist” for 1897,
pp. 195, 6.  See also a very interesting article in the “Fortnightly
Review,” November, 1863, on “The Ice-age and its Work,” by A. R. Wallace,

{89a}  Mr. J. Cordeaux gives this thickness in the “Naturalist” (1897, p.
186).  Professor J. Geikie says it “did not exceed 3,500ft. or 4,000ft.
at most, and would take 3,000ft. as an average.”  (“The Glacial Period
and Earth Movement,” a paper read before the Victoria Institute in 1893.
Trans. No. 104, pp. 221–249, where also the question is largely
considered of the causes of the Ice-age).

{89b}  Mr. Wallace says; “Every mountain group, north of the Bristol
channel, was a centre from which, in the Ice-age, glaciers radiated;
these became confluent, extensive ice-sheets, which overflowed into the
Atlantic on the west, and spread far over the English lowlands on the
east and south.”  “The Ice-age and its work.”—“Fortnightly Review,” Nov.,
1893, p., 269.

{90}  Quoted by Mr. Wallace in “The Fortnightly,” p. 630.

{91a}  Quoted from “Glacialist’s Magazine,” “Fortnightly Review,” Nov.,
1893, p. 631.

{91b}  A list of Scandinavian boulders, which have been found in
Lincolnshire is given by Mr. T. Sheppard, in the “Glacialists’ Magazine,”
vol. iii, 1895, p. 129.  Notices of lakeland boulders are given in the
“Naturalist” of 1897, pp. 67, 103–104, 195–6, 283–4; and of 1898, pp.
17–20,85–87, 133–138, 221–224.  In the Quarterly Journal of the
Geological Society for May, 1885, Mr. Jukes Brown gives the general range
of the boulder clay in Lincolnshire, while its range of flanking rocks in
our own more immediate neighbourhood is treated of in the Government
Geological Survey of “Lincoln and the Country around,” pp. 2, 122–129,
155, 156.

{91c}  The average rate of a glacier has been computed at 64 inches for
the four summer months; in other cases one inch a day.  The progress, of
course, varies with the slope or smoothness of its bed, and is more rapid
in the centre than at the sides, where it scrapes against flanking rocks.

{92}  Sydney B. J. Skertchly, F.G.S., joint author of a valuable work,
entitled “The Fenland, Past and present.”

{93a}  Geological Survey, p. 79.

{93b}  At Bardney, Baumber, Horncastle, West Ashby, and Fulletby, &c.
Geological Survey, 79–81.

{93c}  These beds of inflammable shale are also found on the coast of
Dorset, and are worked by levels driven into the cliff.  This clay indeed
receives its name Kimeridge, from a Dorset village, on the coast, near
Corfe Castle and Poole.

{94a}  Mr. Jeans, in “Murrey’s Handbook of Lincolnshire,” [p. 6] puts the
total thickness of the various cretaceous formations at “about 1,000ft.”

{94b}  Geological Survey, pp. 207–209.

{95a}  Ibedem.

{95b}  Quarterly Journal, Geol. Soc., vol. xxxi., p. 125.

{95c}  Geological Survey, pp. 202–206.

{95d}  Geological Survey, pp. 203–206.

{95e}  Ibidem.

{96a}  Ibidem, pp. 198–222.

{96b}  White’s Dictionary of Lincolnshire.  Article on the Geology by W.
J. Harrison, F.G.S.

{97a}  Quoted Ibidem.

{97b}  Geolog. Survey Memoir of S. Yorks and N. Linc. p. 3.

{97c}  Mr. F. M. Burton, F.L.S., F.G.S., Naturalist, 1894, p. 251.  In “A
Selection of Papers relative to the County of Lincoln,” read before the
Lincolnshire Topographical Society, published by W. and B. Brooke, 1843,
there is a paper by W. Bedford on the Geology of Lincoln.  He divides the
rocks into 26 beds, commencing from the north of the Cathedral and
descending to the bed of the Witham.  He gives a very interesting
coloured section, showing these different strata, where the springs arise
beneath the oolite; then the ferruginous gravels, the clunch clay, and
the lias underlaying all.

{97d}  Geolog. Survey, “Around Lincoln,” pp. 33–35.

{98a}  Article on Geology, White’s Lincolnshire, p. 70.

{98b}  Ibidem.

{98c}  Taken from a paper read by Surgeon-Major Cuffe, V.D., before the
British Medical Congress, held in London, August, 1895.

{99a}  The original analysis of Mr. West gave some properties not noticed
by Professor Frankland as follows:—

In one gallon.

Chloride of Sodium                                               1,215,175

„ Potassium                                                          2,453

„ Magnesium                                                         86,146

„ Calcium                                                          105,001

Bromide of Sodium                                                    5,145

Iodide of Sodium                                                     2,731

Bi-carbonate of Soda                                                45,765

Carbonate of Lime                                                    9.381

,, Iron                                                              0.277

Silica                                                               0.339

{99b}  Smith’s Dict. of Bible.  Art., “The Salt Sea,” and The Dead Sea
and Bible Lands,” by F. de Saulcy.

{99c}  Geolog. Survey Memoir, p. 210.

{99d}  Information by R. Harrison, at one time resident at the farm where
the well was sunk.  Geolog. Survey, p. 205.

{99e}  The Roman generals are supposed to have imported Belgian workmen,
and by their aid, with their own soldiers, and the forced labour of the
Britons, to have made the huge embankments, of which there are remains
still existing in “The Roman Bank,” near Sutterton and Algarkirk, Bicker,
and other places.  The Car Dyke, skirting the Fens, on the west, some
four miles from Kirkstead, was their work, and a few miles westward is
Ermine Street, the great Roman highway, which stretches from Sauton on
the Humber to London.

{101a}  The revolution effected in the drainage of the Fens was not
accomplished without considerable and even violent opposition on the part
of many of the inhabitants, who thought that their interests were being
ruthlessly disregarded, and in some cases even their means of subsistence
destroyed.  The state of affairs at this period, and the measures
resorted to, are very graphically described in the historic novel, “A
daughter of the Fens,” written by Mr. J. T. Bealby.  This book the
present writer would recommend to visitors to our Lincolnshire
health-resort, as likely to give them an interest in the neighbourhood.

{101b}  Mr. H. Preston, F.G.S., of Grantham, goes into the matter rather
fully in the “Naturalist” of 1898, pp. 247–255; as also Mr. F. M. Burton,
F.L.S., F.G.S., of Gainsborough had previously done, in the “Naturalist”
of 1895, pp. 273–280.

{102}  Dr. Oliver (in his “Religious houses on the Witham,” appendix pp.
165–167) says: “The honours of the Witham may be inferred, not only from
the consecrated spots and temples (once existent) on its banks, but from
its very names.  It was called Grant-avon, or the divine stream; and
Cwaith-Ket, _i.e._ the work or river of “Ket” (Ked or Keridwen, the Druid
goddess Ceres).  Ket survives in Catley, not far from the Witham.  The
river was worshipped as her embodiment.  Oliver adds: “The sacred places
on its banks were more numerous, perhaps than those of any other river in
Britain.”  It will be apparent, to anyone that the name Witham is not a
river name at all, but that of a village, the village near which the
river rises.  In the time of Leland, the antiquary (circa 1550) it was
known as the Lindis.  He says: “There be four ferys upon the water of
Lindis betwixt Lincoln and Boston.  Shut (Short) Fery, Tatershaul Fery,
Dogdick Fery, Langreth Fery” (quoted by Mr. G. Sills, Archl. His. Wash.,
“Lin. N. and Q.,” Nat. His. section, July, 1897, p. 108).  But Mr. Taylor
tells us (in his “Words and Places,” p. 130) that “throughout the whole
of England there is hardly a single river name which is not Celtic,” and
accordingly the Celtic name of the Witham was Grant-avon (avon meaning
“river”), while the town upon it was Grantham.  It was also known by the
names “Rhe” and “Aye,” the former Celtic, the latter Saxon or Danish.
“Lin. N. and Q.,” vol. ii., p. 222.

{103a}  “Introduction to vol. on “The Geology arounde Lincoln.”
Government Geolog. Survey Memoir.

{103b}  “Naturalist,” 1895, p. 274.

{103c}  The late Mr. W. H. Wheeler, one of our ablest engineers, held the
opinion that there was a time when the Witham, by a somewhat similar
process, instead of passing through “the Lincoln Gap,” if it then
existed, found its way through a low tract of country northward into the
Trent, and so passed out into the Humber.  See “Lincolnshire Notes and
Queries,” vol. i., pp. 53, 54, and 213.  It would almost seem that the
poet Drayton had an idea of something of this kind, when he says of the

    “Leaving her former course in which she first set forth,
    Which seemed to have been directly _to the north_,
    She runs her silver front into the muddy fen
    . . . coming down,
    . . . to lively Botolph’s town.”

                                                     Polyolbion, song xxv.

It may here be added that the antiquary, Stukely, who at one time lived
at Boston was of opinion, that the Witham, at one period, diverged from
its present channel a little below Tattershall, about Dogdyke, to the
east, and through various channels, which are now drains, found its way
to Wainfleet and there debouched into the sea.  And an old map of Richard
of Cirencester, in the 14th century, confirms this.

{105a}  “Naturalist,” 1895, pp. 230, 231.

{105b}  This “celt,” as they are called, has been exhibited by the writer
at more than one scientific meeting.  It is still in the possession of
Mr. Daft, who would doubtless be glad to show it to any one wishing to
see it.—N.B.—the term “celt” is not connected with the name Celtic or
Keltic, but is frem a Latin word celtis, or celtes; meaning a chisel, and
used in the Vulgate, Job xix., 24, the classic word is cœlum.

{106a}  Gov. Geolog. Survey, “Country round Lincoln,” p. 161, now in the
possession of Mr. Fox, land surveyor, of Coningby.

{106b}  S. B. J. Skertchly, “Fenland,” p. 344.

{107}  A representation of Chaucer on horseback, in a MS. on vellum, of
the Canterbury Tales, in the possession of the Duke of Sutherland, and
reproduced as a frontispiece to “Illustrations of the lives of Gower and
Chaucer,” by H. J. Todd, F.S.A., 1810, shows the anelace hanging from a
button on the breast of his surcoat.  It was usually worn at the girdle,
except in the case of ecclesiastics.  M. Paris mentions Petrus de
Rivallis as “gestans anelacium ad lumbare, quod clericum non decebat.”
The present writer possesses what he believes is an anelace, which was
found among the ruins of a cottage on the Kirkstead Abbey estate some 25
years ago.  He exhibited it at a meeting in London of the Archæological
Institute, in November, 1882, where it was described as a “beautiful
knife handle, decorated with nielli of Italian character.”  It is of blue
enamel, beautifully chased with an elegant filigree pattern in silver.
It has also been pronounced by an authority to be Byzantine work.  As
being found near the ruins of Kirkstead Abbey, we might well imagine it
to have hung at the girdle, or from the breast, of some sporting
ecclesiastic; and to have belonged to the jewelled blade,

    Wherewith some lordly abbot, in the chase,
    Gave to the deer “embossed” his _coup de grace_.

{108a}  The conserving properties of the mud ooze is remarkable.  The
“Philosophical Transactions” mention a human body dug up in the Isle of
Axholme, of great antiquity, judging by the structure of the sandals on
its feet, yet the skin was soft and pliable, like doe-skin leather, and
the hair remained upon it.-—“Lincs. N. & Q.”  Vol. III., p. 197.

{108b}  This relic of not less that 1700 years ago is further interesting
from the fact that the bone, of which it is made, was proved to be that
of a horse, yet the horse must have been smaller than any of the present
day, except the Shetland pony.  The Britons are known to have had horses
of great size, which excited the admiration of Cæsar; which survived in
the huge war-horse carrying the great weight of the mail-clad Norman
knight in the active exercises of the tournament; and the descendants of
which are the Shire horses of to-day.—“The Old English Warhorse,” by Sir
Walter Gilbey.  We may add here, as an interesting fact, that there is
evidence to show that the horses of our neighbourhood were specially
valued, as far back as the time of the Commonwealth.  Cromwell wrote to
an acquaintance, “I will give you sixty pieces for that black [horse] you
won [in battle] at Horncastle”; and on the acquaintance not jumping at
the offer, he wrote again, “I will give you all you ask for the black you
won the last fight.”—Quoted, “Animals and their Conversations,” p. 85, by
C. J. Cornish.

{108c}  The bolt of a crossbow was forged square, hence its name
“quarrel,” from “carre,” or “quarre,”—square.—“Lincs. N. & Q.”  Vol. IV,
p. 21.

{108d}  The Roman lituus is supposed by antiquarians to have been adopted
from barbarous nations, the serpentine form indicating the object of
their worship.  The serpent was held sacred among the Druids of Britain.

{110a}  “Archæological Journal,” No. VII., Sept., 1845, p. 253.  The
dimensions of the chest were 16 inches square by 8½ inches high; the
interior 12 inches square.  The height of the urn was 7 inches; its
diameter at the widest part, 7 inches; diameter of mouth, 4 inches.

{110b}  At the restoration of the Parish Church in 1864, in making some
alterations in the floor of the chancel, a lead coffin was found below,
said to have been that of Lady Jane Dymoke.  It was temporarily removed
during the operations, but orders were given that it should be
re-interred.  Before, however, these instructions could be carried out,
it mysteriously disappeared, and doubtless found its way to the

{111}  “Proc. Soc. Antiq.” 1849, 1st series, 57.  The finding of the
Horncastle coffins is described in “The Reliquary and Illustrated
Archæologist,” April, 1897.

{112a}  In Norwich one of the principal thoroughfares is named “Rampant
Horse Street.”  To this same superstition also we owe the huge figures of
the white horse cut in the turf at Bratton Castle and at Oldbury Camp,
both in Wiltshire.  Tacitus speaks of “immolati diis abscissum equi

{112b}  Quoted, “Surtees Society Publications,” vol. lxxvi.

{112c}  Weir’s “History of Horncastle,” p. 27.

{113}  “Provincial Words of Lincolnshire.”

{114a}  An old Lincolnshire term for a male elf is “Tom-tut,” which may
be a corruption of Tom-cat.  A person in a rage is said to be “quite a
Tom-tut,” or spitfire, like a cat spitting.  In connection with “shag,”
we may add that there is a sea bird frequenting some of our coasts called
a “Black-shag.”  Another explanation of Tab-shag, which has been
suggested is that “Tab” is another word for turf sods, and sods used to
be cut on the moor for fuel.

{114b}  “Facts and Remarks relative to the Witham, &c.” by W. Chapman, p.
18.  A large anchor was also dug up at a considerable depth, indicating
that large vessels also ascended the river to Lincoln.

{115a}  Thompson’s “Boston,” p. 126.

{115b}  Letter from Sir Joseph Banks to the Editor of the “Journal of
Science and Art,” No. ii., p. 224.

{116}  There was a wood called Synker Wood, which extended from within
100 yards of Kirkby lane, westward to the Tattershall road skirting the
boundary between the parishes of Kirkstead and Thornton, having at the
east end of it Synker Wood House.  South of this wood, near the
Tattershall road, was a lee, or strip of grass land: and south of that
again, and opposite the present larger farm house, there was another
smaller wood called the Synker Pool Wood.  Of this there is one solitary
oak left still standing, about 20 yards from the road; and it was some
yards eastward of this tree that the boat was found.

{118a}  Account of trees found under ground in Hatfield chase.
“Philosoph, Transactions,” No. 275, p. 980

{118b}  Richard of Cirencester (circa A.D. 1380) says of them, Coitani in
tractu sylvis obsito (habit-antes).  Some writers, following Ptolemy,
call them Coritani, others Coriceni, but the learned Dr. Pegge prefers
Coitani, as a name in harmony with the “circumambient woods,” Coed being
still Welsh for wood.

{118c}  “Flores Historiarum,” A.D. 1377.

{118d}  Brooke’s “Lincoln,” p. 14.

{119a}  Brooke, Ibid.  But the earliest record of a stone church in the
British Isles is that built by St. Ninian, first Bishop of Scotland. A.D.
488, at Witherne, in Galloway.  Bede, “Eccles. Hist.,” book iii., ch. iv.

{119b}  “Egregii opperis,” Bede, “Eccles. Hist.,” book i. p. 32.

{119c}  Weir’s “Hist. Lincolnshire,” vol i., p. 32.

{120a}  A fine copy of Magna Charta, is still preserved among the
Archives of the Cathedral.

{120b}  In the preamble to a Charter granted to the city (4 Charles I.)
Lincoln is called “one of the chiefest seats of our kingdom of England
for the staple and public market of wool-sellers and merchant strangers,
&c.”  There came into the writer’s possession a few years ago a curious
relic, consisting of a terra cotta cube, light red in colour, each of the
six sides being 1¾ inches square, and having each a different,
deeply-cut, pattern; crosses of different kinds, squares, or serpentine
lines.  It was found in a private garden in Lincoln, and was pronounced
to be a stamp for bales of wool.  I exhibited it before the Linc.
Architectural Society, the Society of Antiquaries, &c.; and ultimately
presented it to the British Museum.

{120c}  The number of monasteries closed by Henry VIII. was 645,
containing some 20,000 religious persons.

{121a}  Anderson’s “Pocket Guide,” pp. 119–121.

{121b}  Anderson, p. 126.

{121c}  Letter written to Mr. Page, who was Mayor of Lincoln in that

{122}  “Brooke’s “History,” pp. 56, 56.

{125}  Brooke’s “History, pp. 55, 56.

{126a}  Demesne is an old Norman compound word.  “The Mesne” was “the
Lord of the Manor” (conf. Fr. “mener” and “menager”—to command), and
“de-mesne” was the land “of the lord.”  In this case, the “mesne” was
originally the Baron Eudo, to whom the Conqueror gave the manors of
Tattershall and Kirkstead, with certain appendages, of which Woodhall, or
a large portion of it, would seem to have been one; for, when his son
Brito endowed the Abbey of Kirkstead, he assigned to it two parts of the
manor of Woodhall, and the advowson of the benefice.

{126b}  It was customary, where feasible, to thus connect the moat with
running water, to avoid complete stagnation, and so to keep the water
more healthy.

{127}  The writer has also an old map, undated, but belonging to a Dutch
History of “Lincolnshire” or “Nicolshire,” probably published in the
sixteenth century; also another old map, inscribed “Fodocus Hondius
cælavit Anno Domini 1610,” as well as another by Christophorus Saxton,
undated; in all of which Buckland is given instead of Woodhall.

{128a}  The Abbot of Bardney had a hunting establishment at Bardney
Vaccary; and why not the powerful Abbot of Kirkstead also, who possessed
the right of “free warren” over many thousands of acres; in the Wildmore
Fen alone about 45,000 acres.

{128b}  That this supposition is correct would seem to be shewn by fact
that this property—High-hall wood and land adjoining—still belongs to the
Earls of Fortescue, who now own the manor of Tattershall, the estates
having gone together since the days of Eudo, in the Conqueror’s time.  In
the Award Map, one of the fields in Woodhall just outside the High-hall
property, is named “Priests’ Moor,” probably as marking the limit of the
Church (formerly the Abbey) estate, as distinguished from the land of the
Baron.  The Abbots’ land in Woodhall was, at the Dissolution, given to
the Bishops of Lincoln, and only enfranchised from them in the year 1868.
The writer has in his possession a copy of the deed, conveying, in the
first year of Edward VI., the rectorial rights and appurtenances of
Woodhall to Henry Holbeach, at that time Bishop of Lincoln, and his
successors, “post mon. de Kirksted nuper dissolutum.”

{129}  The pistol was originally a German invention, so named because its
calibre corresponded with the diameter of the old coin, “pistole.”  They
were first used by German cavalry at the battle of Renty (1554), and
contributed greatly to the defeat of the French.  After that they were
introduced into the French army, and later into the English.  They were
at first furnished with a matchlock, and fired by a match.  This was
followed by a wheel-lock, wound up like a clock, and having a piece of
iron pyrite, and later, a piece of flint, for producing ignition.  The
wheel-lock was superseded by the trigger and the hammer, still with
flint.  The percussion cap, invented by the Scotchman, Alexander Forbes,
was introduced about 1820 (“Notes on Arms and Armour,” by C. Boutell).
The pistol found at High-hall is inscribed with the two French words
“Shermand Brevete” (patentee).  The earliest pistol preserved in the
United Service Museum is supposed to date from Charles I. (Haydn, “Dict.
of Dates”), and it is known that, at that period, the French gunsmiths
were much in advance of the English.

{131}  Series ii., 1600–1617, p. 30, No. 34, edited by Rev. A. R.
Maddison, 1891.

{133}  It may occur to some to wonder for what purpose the Lord Clinton
could need so many as “1,000 kiddes”; and as a probable answer we may say
that, in those days, coal was not in universal use, as it is now.
Peat-sods, called in Lincolnshire “bages,” and wood, were the ordinary
fuel.  Hence we find frequent mention of the right of “Turbary,” _i.e._,
of cutting turf on certain lands, as a valuable privilege.  At such an
extensive establishment as Tattershall Castle, then at least three times
its present size, there would be no small number of persons needing
fire-warmth.  The old writer, William of Worcester, (“Itinerarium,” p.
162), tells us that the Lord Treasurer Cromwell’s household consisted
ordinarily of 100 persons, and that, when he rode to London, his retinue
was commonly 120 horsemen (Weir’s “Hist.” vol. i. p. 304, ed. 1828).  The
beautiful mantelpieces still remaining in the castle, embellished with
his arms, and the proud motto, “_Ne j’ droit_?”—“Have I not right?” are
famed throughout the kingdom; and on the spacious hearths beneath them
the smouldering peat and blazing faggot would yield welcome warmth to
guests and retainers reclining before them, wearied with the varied
labours of the day: days, indeed, we may well believe, by no means
monotonous, when it is remembered that, besides the sport of hunting and
hawking, the Lord Clinton’s followers were not uncommonly engaged in
predatory strife (of which I shall presently give instances) with
neighbours hardly less powerful than himself.  By way of adding note to
note, I may here say that, among the poor, cheaper kinds of fuel were in
use than the peat and faggot.  Cow-dung was dried in brick-shaped blocks,
which were called “dythes”; or sheep-dung into “brocks,” and stacked like
peat for burning.  I have spoken with old people, in the marsh, who
remember both these being in common use.

{134}  There is a prevalent tendency to pronounce, in a general and
uncritical fashion, many things to be “Roman” which are only ancient and
of indefinite date; an easy way of getting out of a difficulty.  Possibly
we may trace to this source the origin of the Lincolnshire expression,
descriptive of anything or anybody out of the ordinary, that it is, or he
is, or she is, “a rum un.”

{137}  I may, perhaps, here explain that “non-jurors” were those persons
who considered that James II. was unjustly deposed, and who refused to
swear allegiance to William III. and his successors.  Non-jurors were
subjected to double taxation, and obliged to register their estates
(1723); and from the first were excluded from any public office.  I may
also here state that the Sir Richard Morrison who is named in this
epitaph was a man of great learning, and employed by Henry VIII. and
Edward VI. in several embassies to the greatest princes in Europe
(Camden’s “Britannia,” p. 302).  He was also appointed “President of
Mounster in Ireland.”  He had a brother, Fynes Morrison, who was fellow
of Peterhouse, Cambridge, who obtained from his college permission to
travel, and spent eight years in foreign parts.  On his return he went to
Ireland and became secretary to Sir Charles Blount, the Lord Lieutenant.
There he wrote an account, in Latin, of his “Travels through the twelve
dominions of Germany, Bohemia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark,
Poland, England, Scotland and Ireland.”  These he afterwards translated
into English, but they were not published till three years after his
death, which occurred in 1614.  His works are a treasury of old-time
information, and he is named in the second volume of “Magna Britannia”
among the learned men whom our county has produced.

{138}  It is a coincidence which seems to merit a note, that on the very
day on which these lines were penned it was the writer’s duty to unite in
the bonds of wedlock a young woman whose mother’s maiden-name was Fynes,
to her cousin, Charles Fynes: their common grandfather, Charles Pelham
Fynes, a fine sample of the old English yeoman, having been, as well as
two of his sons, the tenant of land held under the writer, and under his
father before him, during many years.

{139}  This font which is old Norman, plain, but massive, was, some years
ago, taken away from its position at Poolham, and, by way of rescuing it
from destruction, was placed as an ornamental relic in the garden of
Whispington Vicarage, by the late Rev. C. P. Terrot who was, in his day,
one of our greatest antiquaries.  When the writer restored Woodhall
Church, in 1893, the font in that church being of no architectural value,
he obtained the gift of this ancient font and restored it to its original
religious purpose, where it now stands, supported by four handsome
columns of serpentine, the gift of the Rev. J. A. Penny, the present
Vicar of Whispington.  The gravestone here referred to was taken away
some years ago, and now forms the sill of a cottage doorway in Stixwould.

{142a}  He sold Tetford to George Anton, Esq., through whose daughter
Elizabeth, married to Sir Edward Hussey, that property passed to the
Hussey family, the head of which was Lord Hussey of Sleaford, who, for
his treachery at the time of the Lincolnshire Rebellion, was attainted
and beheaded by Henry VIII., as were also the Abbots of Kirkstead and
Barlings, and many more.  He sold Somersby to George Littlebury (to whom
there is a memorial tablet in the church), a younger son of Thomas
Littlebury of Stainsby.  These Littleburys, again, Sir John of Stainsby,
with Humphrey of Hagworthingham, and Robert his brother, were all mixed
up with the Lincolnshire Rising; so, also, was their relative, Andrew
Gedney, “lord of Oxcombe and of Bag Enderby” (of whom, and his wife
Dorothy, there is a mural monument in the church), who married a daughter
of Sir William Skipwith of South Ormsby; so, also, were the Dightons,
Robert of Stourton and Thomas of Waddingworth, all in this neighbourhood;
so, also, was William Dalyson, of a very old family (D’Alencon) of
Laughton; with scores more: John Savile of Poolham, Vincent Welby of
Halstead Hall, Stixwould; several Dymokes, Heneages, Massingberds,
Tyrwhitts, &c., &c.  But these are mentioned here because the
Littleburys, the Gedneys, the Dightons and the Dalysons, were connected,
in one way or another, with the family, on one side, of the present
writer.  He may further add here, in connection with the Saviles, that
when the first Napoleon was expected to invade England, a Company of
Volunteer Grenadiers was raised in the loyal town of Pontefract, of which
a Savile, Lord Mexborough, was Colonel Commandant, and the writer’s
grandfather, George Pyemont, of Tanshelf House, of Methley and Rothwell,
was Major.  The Major’s sword hangs on the dining-room wall at Langton

{142b}  Thoroton’s “Hist. of Notts.,” vol. iii., p. 360.

{142c}  “Collin’s Peer.,” vol. i., p. 207.  This Denzil Hollis, or
Holles, is mentioned in the list, given at the “Spittle Sessions,” March
1, 1586–7, of those gentry who supplied “launces and light hors,” as
furnishing ij. horse, being “captaine”; John Savile of Poolham furnishing
“ij. launces and ij. horse.”

{142d}  “Illustrations of English History.”

{143a}  “Lansdown MSS.” 27, Art. 41.

{143b}  This would be the present Halstead wood, on the western side of
Stobourne; the ditch, or sto-bourne, running between the two is the
bourne or boundry of the two parishes, Woodhall and Stixwould (or
Halstead), where the Welbys lived at that time.  The first syllable of
Sto-bourne would be “stow” or “stoc” a “stake” or post, marking the
boundary; oftener used as a suffix than a prefix, as in Hawkstow,
Chepstow, Woodstock, &c.

{143c}  Thomas Metham of Metham.  The chief seat of the Methams was
Bullington Priory.  A George Metham was executor, with Andrew Gedney, to
Sir William Skipwith’s will proved 31st March, 1587.  Metham’s letter,
quoted above, is given in the “Lansdown MSS.” 27, Art. 32.

{144}  “Lansdown MSS.” 27, Art. 41.

{145}  These details are given in a Paper on “The feuds of Old
Lincolnshire Families,” by Lord Monson (“Proceedings of Archæol.
Institute, Lincoln,” 1848).

{146}  There is a common tendency to give a far-fetched origin to ancient
structures and things, to make them more remarkable; but the skill and
economy of the old builders often lay in utilising and making the most of
material at hand.  The bricks of Tattershall Castle have been said to be
Dutch, and brought up the Witham from the “Low Countries” in exchange for
other commodities; but a geologist assures me that both the bricks and
the mortar at Tattershall, when examined, shew a native origin; and, so,
doubtless, the bricks of Halstead are “born of the soil” of the locality.

{149a}  To show that I am not here speaking “without book,” I may cite
the following:—Some years ago a bundle of papers were found among the
Archives at Lincoln, stitched together, and much damaged by time.  They
proved to be “Letters of indulgence,” issued by Bishop Dalderby of
Lincoln, in which he instructed the Deans to enjoin the clergy throughout
their deaneries to make it known, on Sundays and other festivals, that
money was needed to complete the central tower of the Cathedral, and that
indulgences and other privileges would be granted (indulgencias
multiplices, et alia Suffragia) to any who should contribute to this
object (qui ad constructionem campanilis contulerint subsidia.)  This
mandate was dated Stowe-park vii.  1d.  Marcii A.D. MCCCVI.  Among these
papers was found a letter of indulgence from John, Bishop of Carlisle,
dated Horncastle, May 12, 1305 (that Prelate then having a palace at
Horncastle, on what are now the premises of Mr. Lunn, grocer), and a
similar document from Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury, dated Lincoln,
Oct. 11, 1314; shewing that the practice was a universal one.  The
Indulgences were, in each case, for forty days.  We may look with
admiration at our Cathedral, “fabrica tam nobilis, et honorifica toti
regno,” as the Bishop calls it; but surely it takes not a little gilt
from the gingerbread, when we reflect that this grand edifice was not
entirely the product of the piety of our forefathers, as we have too
fondly supposed, but due largely to the episcopal sanction of what with
all charity, can hardly be called a pious fraud; and that it was really
paid for by “the wages of sin.”  The individuals were granted their forty
days’ “fling” of iniquity, with the episcopal pledge of exemption from
its penalty, provided they responded to the episcopal call—a system of
“Do ut des,” based on a “superstitio damnabilis,”—Bishop Dalderby’s
Memorandums, 101 b.  Quoted “Archit. Soc. Reports,” vol. iv., pt. ***.,
pp, 42, 43.  The author of a book recently (1904) published on “French
Cathedrals,” says that many of them were “built in expiation of wrong

{149b}  “Ayen-bite of Inwyt,” by Dan Michel (Early English Text Society),
edited by R. Morris, Esq.

{151a}  This being in a fragile condition was recently removed to the
wall of the east end by the late Vicar, and forms a rather fine reredos.

{151b}  The device on this stone was a cross, within a circle.  On the
four arms of the cross were the capital letters LX—DI—ST—VRA, and in the
centre the letter E.  Taking this letter as common to all four arms, we
get Lex., Dei, Est, Vera; the law of God is true.  A similar device is
graven on one side of the font in Dunsby church, near Bourne.

{152a}  “Itner. Cur.,” vol. i., p. 88.

{152b}  “Monast.,” vol. i., p. 486.

{152c}  “Stikeswalde Prior.  Monial Cistert.  Collectanea,” vol. i., p.

{152d}  The Rev. Thos. Cox, in his “Lincolnshire,” calls it a Gilbertine
Priory, and Dugdale, in a second notice of it (vol. ii., 809), also
places it among the Gilbertines.  Further, Dr. Oliver, on what authority
he does not state, says that the nuns were habited in a white tunic, with
black scapulary (bands across the back and shoulders), and girdle, with a
capacious hood, called a culla; whereas Dugdale has an engraving of a
nun, in black cloak, under skirt, and culla.  Probably they wore
different attire on different occasions.

{153a}  Leland, vol. i., p. 92.

{153b}  Dugdale, vol. i., 486 ii., 809.

{153c}  Within quite recent times a handsome satin pulpit cloth,
embroidered with rich emblematical devices, was still in use in Scopwick
church, some 6 miles from Woodhall.

{154a}  Candlemas was one of the chief festivals, of which we now only
retain the name; but in those days every family contributed its quota, or
“shot for wax.”—Oliver, p. 65, note 4.

{154b}  Oliver, p. 67, note 8.

{154c}  It is still on record that Queen Elizabeth, an ardent
sportswoman, shot her four bucks before breakfast.

{154d}  “Placit. de quo Warrento,” 22 Ed. I.

{154e}  Matthew of Westminster, “Flores Historiarum,” p. 313.

{154f}  “Rot. Hund.,” p. 317.

{154g}  “Rot. Can. Reg.,” 6 Rich I.

{154h}  Leland, “Coll.,” vol. i.. 92.

{155a}  The buildings of the Priory must have been on a large scale, as
they covered several acres, and of great architectural beauty.  Not one
stone of them now remains upon another, but, as an ornament, outside the
front door of a house in Horncastle, there stands a large “boss,”
formerly in the Priory roof, from which branch off six concentric arches.
It is about 2ft. in diameter, and most exquisitely carved with elaborate
foliage.  The writer has a photograph of it.

{155b}  The Rev. James Alpass Penny, now Vicar of Wispington.

{156}  Bedæ Martyrology, D. Kalend, Nov.

{157}  Commem. of All Souls.  “Golden Legend,” fol. 200.

{158}  Maddison’s “Lincolnshire Wills,” Series I., p. 32, No. 84.

{159}  This collar disappeared about the year 1887, but has since been

{160}  “The Story of Two Noble Lives.”  Memorials of Charlotte, Countess
Canning, and Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford, pp. 93, 95, 96.

{161a}  It is said that Thistlewood’s last words before mounting the
scaffold, addressed to one executed with him, were “Courage, brother, we
shall soon learn the great secret.”

{161b}  “The Story of Two Noble Lives,” p. 187.

{161c}  Compare “Bucks.,” Buckinghamshire, Buckland, Buckhurst.  Taylor’s
“Woods and Places,” p, 321.  Beechnuts, it should be remembered, were the
chief food of the herds of swine, very numerous in olden times.

{162}  A carucate is the extent cultivated by one plough in one year and
a day (120 acres).  “Villeins” were the lower class of labourers, living
in the village; “bordars” a better class, living in cottages attached to
the Manor House, and enjoying certain privileges.  “Soc-men” were tenants
of the lord, holding their tenures by rent or “service” of various kinds;
i.e., freemen.

{165}  I am indebted for these particulars to an account given by the
Rev. J. A. Penny in “Lincs. N. & Q.,” vol. iii., pp, 97–201.

{166a}  Among the questions asked at Monastic Visitations were, whether
the monks were guilty of superstition, apostacy, treason or thieves, or
coiners.—MSS., Cott. Cleop. ii., 59.  Henry, Prior of Tupholme, was said
to be “very ingenious in making false money.”—Monas. Anglic., ii., p.
269.  Thompson’s “Boston,” Append., p. 61.

{166b}  Horn was much used for drinking vessels, spoons, hunting horns,
the heads of walking sticks, etc.; and, by statutes of Edw. II. and IV.,
a Horner’s Guild was founded and protected by Charter.  Thus the Priory
might well ply a lucrative, if illicit, trade.

{168a}  “Monasticon,” vol. i., 142.

{168b}  “Itin.,” vol. vi, p. 214.

{169a}  Dugdale’s “Mon.,” vol. ii., 848.

{169b}  Quoted in Oliver’s “Religious Houses on the Witham,” p. 87, note
21, ed. 1846.  The Venerable Bede relates that while Oswald’s body
remained outside the Abbey through a night, awaiting burial, protected by
a tent, a pillar of light was seen reaching up from the waggon to heaven.
The water in which his remains were washed was poured on the ground in a
corner of the sacred place, and the soil which received it had the power
to expel devils.—“Hist.” vol. iii., c. xi.

{171}  Among the monks of Bardney was one known as Richardus de Bardney,
whose chronicles are preserved to this day (Anglia Sacra, II., 326).
Among other curious items given by him is one recording the miraculous
birth of Bishop Grossetete, so named from his great head.  It reads thus,
in something better than monkish Latin:—

    Impregnata parens patitur per somnia multum,
       Quod nihil in ventre sit, nisi grande caput;
    Et tam grande caput, et tanto robore forte,
       Quod puer ex utero fultus abit baculo.

Which may be done thus into English:—

    A mother, great with coming child,
       Much suffers in her dreams,
    That naught beyond a monster head
       Her inward burden seems.
    A head so huge, yet with such might
       Endowed, that at his birth,
    Supported on a wooden staff
       The infant issues forth.

{173}  The account of this incident is also given in “Gilda
Aurifabrorum,” by Chaffers, 66.  King Charles seems to have made himself
merry over his cups, with others beside the Lord Mayor.  It is recorded
that dining with Chief Justice Sir George Jeffreys, the sovereign found
his lordship’s wine so good that he “drank to him seven times.”—Verny,
“Memoirs,” vol. iv., p. 234

{175}  Early in this chapter.

{176}  “Religious Houses on the Witham,” Appendix, p. 167, note 46.

{178}  Bull-baiting was in vogue at Stamford in this county as early as
the reign of King John, 1209, and continued till 1839.

A bill against the sport was introduced into the House of Commons, May
24th, 1802, but was rejected, mainly through the influence of Mr.
Wyndham, who used some curious arguments in favour of the sport.  It has
since been made illegal, through the instrumentality of the Society for
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, established 1824.  At one time many
towns, and even villages, practised the sport.  Strutt, “Sports” (p.
277), says many of the rings “remain at the present time” (1780.)

{179}  Liberty to hold an annual fair, two days before the Eve of St.
Barnabas, and to continue eight days, was granted by Henry III. by
charter, to Ralph de Rhodes, Lord of the Manor.  This is the present June
Fair.  A. second charter, granted by the same king, empowered the Lord of
the Manor to hold an annual fair, to commence on the Eve of the Feast of
St. Lawrence, and to continue seven days.  This is the great August Fair,
once perhaps the largest in the world, though now greatly reduced.  Our
third, or October, Fair was removed to Horncastle from Market Stainton,
where it was a Statute Fair, in 1768.

{180}  The institution of “Bough-houses” at fairs was not confined to
Horncastle.  By Act of Parliament (35 George III., c. 113, s. 17) an
exception was made to the general rule of a license being required for
the sale of beer, that at fair-time any one hanging a bough at their
door, and thus constituting the house a “booth,” might sell beer without
a license.  It prevailed at Pershore, with the sanction of the
magistrates, as late as 1863; also at Bridgewater, Church Staunton, and
Newton Poppleford (“Notes and Queries,” 3rd series, vol. iv., pp. 141 and
258).  Hence we find at Carmarthen, the principal hotel named “The Ivy
Bush”; and at Carlisle, in English Street, there is a coaching inn called
“The Bush.”  (“On the track of the Mail Coach,” by J. E. Baines, p. 226).
There is also a “Bush Hotel” at Farnham.  In out-of-the-way parts of
Germany, as in the Upper Eisel District, at the village feast called
“Kirmess” a bough is hung out at a house door to shew that refreshment
may be obtained there.  (“Field, Forest, and Fell,” by J. A. Owen, p.
74).  Of the existence of similar houses at an early period in England,
we have evidence in Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.”  There were ale-houses
on the country road-sides, marked by a pole projecting over the door; and
as the pilgrims rode along, the Pardoner would not begin his tale till he
had stopped to refresh himself,

    “But first, quod he, her, at thys ale-stake,
    I will both drynke, and biten at a cake.”

Jusseraud, in his “Wayfaring life of 14th century,” gives a sketch of
such a Bow-house from a XIV. century illuminated MS.

{181}  This peculiar and ready mode of dissolving the bond of wedlock was
not uncommon in former times; but I have a note of a similar transaction
occurring in or near Scarborough in a quite recent year; and in 1898
(Nov. 18) a case came before Mr. Justice Kekewich, in the Chancery Court,
when it was found that one of the parties concerned, before leaving this
country for Australia, had sold his wife for £250.

{183}  Abbey and Overton, “Church of England in the 18th Century,” quoted
“Church Folklore,” by J. E. Vaux, p. 2.

{184}  “Literæ Laureatæ”; or, the Poems of John Brown, the Horncastle
Laureate.  Edited by J. Conway Walter.

{188a}  Other Roman mazes have been found in Lincolnshire at Alkborough,
as well as at Louth and Appleby; at Wing, in Rutlandshire; at Sneinton
and Clifton, in Notts.; at Hilton, in Hunts.; and many other places.  The
one at Hilton is also called “Julian’s Bower.”  Views of the plans of
some are given in the Architectural Society’s Journal (Yorkshire), vol.
iv., pp. 251–268.  I shall go into this subject again further on, in
dealing with “Troy wood,” at Coningsby.

{188b}  “Architect. Soc. Journ,” vol. iv., p. 200.

{188c}  Stukeley, “Itin. Curios.” p. 91.

{188d}  At Helston, in Cornwall, on May 8th, a procession of young
persons marches through the town, decked with flowers; and the day is
called “Flurry-day,” doubtless a corruption of the Roman “Floralia.”

{188e}  “The Vikings of Western Christendom,” by C. F. Keary, p. 52.

{188f}  “History of Horncastle,” p. 27.

{188g}  “Collectanea,” vol. ii, p. 509.

{190}  In the “Memoirs of the Verney Family,” Vol. i., it is stated that
the King’s army were raw levies, pressed by force at short notice, ill
fed and ill clothed.  The Verneys’ relative, Dr. Denton, present with the
forces, writes, “Our men are very rawe, our armes, of all sorts, naught,
our vittle scarce, and provision for horses worse” (p. 315).  Sir Jacob
Astley writes, his recruits “have neither colours nor halberts”; and he
has to “receive all the arch knaves of the kingdom, who beat their
officers and break open prisons.”  Edmund Verney writes, “We have 6
weeks’ pay due, and unless there be some speedy payment, you may expect
to hear that our souldyers are in a mutiny; they are notable sheep
stealers already.”  Many had only rude pykes and lances; few who had a
musket had a sword as well.  Pistols and matchlocks were scarce.  Old
armour, which had hung in churches and manor houses, was used over again
(pp. 109–116).

{192a}  Walker’s “Sufferings of the Clergy,” pt. ii, pp. 252, 253.

{192b}  Chancery Inquis., p. mort, 8 Ric. II, No. 99.

{193c}  Some of these fragments were taken by Mr. Stanhope to Revesby
Abbey.  Two of them stand in the writer’s garden, at Langton Rectory.

{193}  Cl. Rot., 13 Hen III., given in “Lincs. N. & Q.,” vol. i, p. 49.
From a very early period churches and churchyards were regarded as so
sacred that a criminal, having reached one of these, like the Biblical
cities of refuge, could not be disturbed.  On the north door of Durham
Cathedral there is a ponderous bronze knocker-ring, to which the
criminal, clinging, was safe.  There is another at Hexham, and at St.
Gregory’s, Norwich.  At Westminster, Worcester, Croyland, Tintern, and
many other places, there was the same privilege.  In Beverley Minster
there is a remarkable stone called the “Frith-stool,” because it “freeth”
the criminal from pursuit.  It is recorded that in 1325 ten men escaped
from Newgate, four of them to the Church of St. Sepulchre, and one to St.
Bride’s.  Nicholas de Porter joined in dragging a man from Sanctuary, who
was afterwards executed.  But this act was itself so great an offence,
that he only obtained pardon through the Papal Nuncio, on doing penance
in his shirt and bare head and feet in the church porch, on Monday,
Tuesday, and Wednesday in Whitsun week.  A result, however, of the abuse
of Sanctuary was, that churches being so numerous over the country,
criminals could always obtain a refuge, and the roads became infested
with highwaymen.  Henry VIII. passed Acts curtailing the privilege, and
it was finally abolished by James I., 1624—“New Quarterly Mag.,” Jan.,
1880.  _Et alibi_.

{194a}  Collectanea, vol. ii., p. 300.

{194b}  Although these events happened more than 250 years ago, it does
not require many links to connect that day with the present.  The writer
was informed, at the time he was putting these records together, that a
man named John Barber died in Horncastle, aged 95, in the year 1855 or
1856, whose grandfather remembered Oliver Cromwell sleeping in the
above-named house, then a mud and stud structure, on the night before
Winceby fight.  In the Register of West Barkwith is recorded the burial
of Nicholas Vickers in 1719, who guided Cromwell over Market Rasen Moor
after the battle.  Cromwell may well, therefore, have returned to the
same house at Horncastle before proceeding northward by Market Rasen.

{196a}  “Monasticon,” p. 45.

{196b}  “History of the House of Marmion,” p. 18.

{197a}  Berewick is a hamlet or minor manor attached to a larger.  The
word strictly means cornland (bere, or barley).  This Dispenser, as his
name (Latin Dispensator) implies, was steward to the Conqueror.  His
descendants were the Despensers, Earls of Gloucester.  He was brother to
the Earl Montgomery.  Being a powerful man, he forcibly seized the
lordship of Elmley from the monks of Worcester.  At the time of Domesday
he held 15 manors in Lincolnshire, seventeen in Leicester, four in
Warwickshire, &c.

{197b}  Maddison’s “Wills,” series i., p. 360, No. 96.

{198}  In a note on the Will, Mr. Maddison says, “The testator was the
second son of Robert Dighton (of Sturton), by his wife, Joyce St. Paul (a
lady of another very old and well-connected county family).”

{199a}  Land Revenue Records, bundle 1392, file 79, Pub. Rec. Off.

{199b}  North’s “Church Bells of Lincolnshire,” p. 497, ed. 1882.

{200a}  There are still Willoughbys in the neighbourhood, and one living
in Langton.

{200b}  There are, however, several modern spires since this saying came
into vogue, two—at Horsington and Wispington—being within sight from
Woodhall, and a third at Sausthorpe near Spilsby, a very fine one,
designed by Mr. Stephen Lewin, who was the architect of St. Andrew’s
Church, Woodhall Spa.

{201}  Gov. Geol. Survey, “Country round Lincoln,” p. 205.

{204}  He was supposed to have been asleep in the train, and hearing the
name of the station called out, he aroused himself too slowly, and
stepped out of the carriage when the train had passed 80 yards or more
beyond the platform.  He was discovered an hour or more afterwards by a
railway servant, who walked down the line.  He was conveyed to his
residence at Horncastle, but never recovered the sense of feeling below
his neck.  The present writer frequently read to him in his illness.
After some weeks he regained a slight power of movement in his feet,
which gave hopes of recovery; but soon after this, his attendant, on
visiting him, found him dead in his bed.

{205a}  Blomfield, “Hist. of Norfolk,” vol. iii., p. 187.

{205b}  Dugdale’s “Baronage,” vol. i., p. 439.

{208a}  This list was published by T. C. Noble.

{208b}  “Architect. Soc. Journ.,” vol. xxxiii, pt. i, pp. 122 and 132.

{208c}  Locally pronounced “Screelsby,” and even on one of the family
monuments in the church we find, “the Honourable Charles Dymoke, Esquire,
of Scrielsby,” died 17 January, 1702.

{209a}  Weir’s “History,” p. 63.

{209b}  This is referred to in the old book, “Court Hand Restored,” by
Andrew Wright of the Inner Temple (1773) p. 48. where, among a list of
‘canting’ titles of different families, we find a note, “de umbrosa
quercu, Dimoak.”  This ancient family have performed the office of
Champion to the Kings of England ever since the coronation of Richard
II., as holding the manor of Scrivelsby hereditarily, from the Marmyons
of Lincolnshire, by Grand Sergeantry, so adjudged, M. 1. Henry VIth.  The
umbrosa quercus, or shadowy oak, represented a play upon the two
syllables dim-oak.  The term ‘Rebus’ is from the Latin rebus, ‘by
things,’ because it is a name-device, the representation of a name by
objects.  On this principle the crest of Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam, was
a boar.  The boar is also found in the arms of Swinburne, Swinton,
Swinney, &c.  An old poem says,

    Whilst Bacon was but bacon, had he fearde,
    He long ere this had proved but _larde_;
    But he, instead of larde, must be a lord,
    And so grew leane, and was not fit for boarde.

And, again, we find,

    There needed not to blazon forth the Swinton,
    His ancient burgonet the boar; &c.

                             “Cambridge Portfolio,” vol. i., pp. 233, 234.

This may be a convenient place to discuss the origin of the name Dymock.
Walford (“Tales of Great Families”) says the name is Welsh, being a
contraction of Daimadoc, which means David Madoc.  He was a descendant of
Owen Tudor, Lord of Hereford and Whittington.  This chief had three sons;
the second married a daughter of the Prince of North Wales, half a
century before the Conquest, and was ancestor of David ap Madoc;
Dai-Madoc, in course of time, shrinking into Daimoc, or Dymoke.  Burke
says that the John Dymoke who married Margaret de Ludlow, granddaughter
of Philip de Marmion, was a knight of ancient Gloucestershire ancestry,
and there is a village of Dymock, near Gloucester.  A Welsh origin is
likely, as there were Dymokes of Pentre in Wales; the Lady Margaret de
Ludlow, who married Sir John Dymoke of Scrivelsby, took her title from
Ludlow in the adjoining county of Salop.  And another Welsh origin of the
name has been suggested.  “Ty,” pronounced “Dy” in Welsh, means “house”;
“moch” means “swine”; and so Dymoke would mean Swinehouse, after the
fashion of Swynburne, Swinhop, Swineshead; all old names.  The motto of
the Dymokes, adopted at a later date, Pro Rege Dimico, “I fight for the
King,” is again a case, though most appropriate, of a “canting” motto.

{211}  I am indebted, for these details, to that very interesting work,
Walford’s “Tales of Great Families.”

{212a}  “Words of Wellington,” by Sir William Fraser, Bart., pp. 41–44.
The “Gentleman’s Magazine” for 1821 contains a picture of Sir H. Dymoke,
riding on his white charger into Westminster Hall, supported on either
side by the Duke of Wellington and Marquis of Anglesey, on horseback; and
two Heralds, with tabards and plumes, on foot.

{212b}  (_a_) sword, (_b_) girdle, (_c_) scabbard, (_d_) partisans,
_i.e._ halberts, (_e_) gilt, (_f_) pole-axe, an ancient weapon, having a
handle, with an iron head, on the one side forming an axe, and the other
side a hammer; this, in the hands of a strong man was a fatal instrument
of destruction; (_g_) the chasing staff was a gilt “wand of office”
carried before the Champion, to clear the way, (_h_) a pair of gilt

{215}  Had we continued on the road skirting the Park and passing within
150 yards of Scrivelsby church, we should have presently reached the
village of Moorby, with a modern brick church, but having a remarkable
old font, and part of an uncommon “minstril column;” thence, turning
westward, we might have passed through Wood Enderby, with modern church
of sandstone; and so have reached Haltham, our next stage; but this route
must be considered as rather beyond a walk or drive from Woodhall Spa,
although it would repay the energetic visitor to take it.

{216}  This description is mainly taken from an account given by the Rev.
J. A. Penny in “Linc. N. & Q.” vol. iv., pp. 161–164.

{217}  “Lincs. N. & Q.,” vol. iii., pp. 245, 246.  It may be remarked
that this kind of tenure is not so uncommon as has been supposed.  In an
old undated Deed, but of the time of Richard I., William, Clerk of
Hameringham, a parish within four miles of Haltham, makes a grant of land
to the monks of Revesby on condition of their providing him and his heirs
annually at Michaelmas a pair of spurs.  Blount (“Tenures of Land and
Customs of Manors,” pp. 115, 237) mentions similar tenures in Notts. and
Kent (“Lincs. N. A Q.,” vol. i., p. 256).  There is a peculiarity about
these two “spur” tenures in our neighbourhood worthy of note.  An old
chronicler says that, when the freebooter’s larder got low, his wife had
only to put a pair of spurs in his platter, as a hint that he must issue
forth to replenish it.  We can, without any great stretch of imagination,
picture to ourselves the knight, Ralph de Rhodes, making an inroad on a
neighbour’s soil, and therefore the annual gift of spurs would be
acceptable, for himself or his men.  But to the country parson we can
hardly deem such a gift appropriate.  He could scarcely be a “clerk of
St. Nicholas,” as well as clerk of his benefice; and even were he always
to make the round of his parish on horseback, his spurs would hardly need
yearly renewal.

{218}  The Saxon is Cyning; the Danish Koning, and Konge; English King.
In not a few cases history records the occasion when the king’s presence
gave the name; as at Kingston-on-Thames, where there is a stone, still
carefully preserved, on which the Saxon kings sat to be crowned.
King’s-gate, in the Isle of Thanet, is the spot where Charles II. landed
at the Restoration.  The manor of Hull (Kingston-on-Hull) was purchased
by Edward I., and King’s Lynn, Lyme Regis, Conington, Cunningham,
Coney-garth, Coningsby, all tell the same tale.  They perpetuate their
respect for Royalty in the very name they took.—Taylor, “Words and
Places,” pp. 201, 203.

{219a}  Lord Coningsby had two sons, Humphrey and Ferdinand, whose
baptisms are entered in the register of Bodisham, or Bodenham,
Herefordshire, with dates 16 Feb., 1681–2, and 6 May, 1683.—“Lincs. N. &
Q.,” vol. iii, p. 24.

{219b}  “Sac” means the power to hear causes, levy fines, &c.; “soc” is
the district over which he had this power.  “Mansion,” according to
Bracton, is a dwelling-House consisting of one or more tenements.

{220a}  “Britannia,” p. 742.  His name, as “Terrius de Bevra,” (Bevere,
or Bever-lee in Holderness), he holding the Seigniory of that country,
appears among the “Milites Flandriæ” in the rolls of Ban and Arriere Ban,
in the time of Philip Augustus.  To show that he was of a somewhat
overbearing spirit, it is related of him, that the Conqueror, having
bestowed upon him the lordship of Holderness, he was not content with
that, but claimed all the land held by the church of St. John (now the
Minster) at Beverley, with which it had been endowed by the King.

{220b}  “Linc. N. & Q.,” vol. ii., pp. 10 and 108.

{220c}  “Ibid.,” pp. 141, 142.

{220d}  “Ibid.,” p. 228.

{221a}  “Linc. N. & Q.,” vol. iii., pp. 245, 246.

{221b}  “Ibid.,” p. 150.  The above Burgavenny should be Abergavenny, in
South Wales, but both forms were used.

{222}  A similar thoroughfare formerly existed through the tower of the
old All Saints’ Church at Cambridge, and there is still one through the
tower of the church at March.

{223}  In the church at Walton-on-Thames there is preserved in the
vestry, a scold’s bridle: two flat steel bands, which go over the head,
face, and round the nose, with a flat piece going into the mouth and
fixing the tongue.  It locks at the back of the head.  It bears this

    Chester presents Walton with a bridle
    To curb women’s tongues that be idle;

the said Chester being, it is said, a man who lost money through a
talkative woman of Walton.  An engraving of a “brancks” is given in the
volume of the Archæological Institute for 1848, p. 211.  It was
exhibited, by Col. Jarvis of Doddington, at Lincoln, on the visit of the
Institute to that city.

{228}  River names, as Taylor, in his “Words and Places” (p. 130), tells
us, are almost invariably of Celtic, _i.e._ British, origin.  “Ban” means
bright, or clear, and is found not only in our Bain, but in several other
rivers.  There is a Bain in Hertfordshire, a Ben in Co. Mayo, Bandon in
Co. Cork, Bann in Co. Wexford, Bana Co. Down, Bannon (or Ban-avon) in
Pembrokeshire, Banney in Yorkshire, &c.

{229a}  “Britannia,” pp. 470, 471.

{229b}  The name de Albini, corrupted into Daubeny survives, as a family
name, and as a place-name in many localities.  In the writer’s own parish
there is a field called “Daubney’s Walk,” and a small stream named
“Daubney’s Beck.”

{229c}  The Patent Roll, 15 Henry III., m. 2, gives this: Pro Roberto de
Tatteshale—Rex concessit Roberto de Tatteshale quod libere et sine
impedimento unam domum de petra et calce firmari faciat apud manerium
suum de Tatteshal.  In cujus &c, teste Rege, apud Hereford xxj die Maii.
Et mandatum est vicecomiti Linc. per literas clauses quod ipsam dictam
domum firmare permittat sicut prædictum est; teste ut supra.

{230}  “Itin.,” p. 162.

{231a}  See “Proceedings of Essex Archæol. Society,” vol. iv.; and
“Beauties of England,” vol. x., p. 285.

{231b}  “Beauties of England—Sussex,” vol. xiv., p. 205.

{231c}  A ground-plan of the castle and its precincts is given in a
Selection of Papers of the “Lincolnshire Topographical Society,” 1841,
1812, printed by W. & B. Brooke, Lincoln; and a full description is given
by the late Bishop Suffragan, E. Trollope, in the “Architectural
Society’s Journal,” 1858, in a Paper on “The Use and Abuse of Red

{232}  Mr. H. Preston, F.G.S., of Grantham, examined these on the visit
of the Linc. Naturalists’ Union to Tumby in the autumn of 1898, and gave
this as his opinion.

{233}  Allen, in his “History of Lincolnshire,” states that these conical
roofs remained in the thirties, but they were there at least ten years
later, to the writer’s own knowledge.

{236}  At Revesby there is St. Sythe’s Lawn, where the Abbot of that
monastery used to reside, and some of the carving from his residence is
still preserved in the very handsome new church erected there by the late
Right Honourable E. Stanhope.  In Mells church, Somerset, in the coloured
glass of a window, St. Sitha is also represented with two keys in one
hand and three loaves in the other.  She was slain by the Danes about
A.D. 870.  (“Archæol. Journal,” No. 6, June, 1845).

{238}  Toll-bars are not always so successfully negotiated.  The writer,
when at Cambridge, had three college acquaintances who, on one
occasion—_contra leges_—attended Newmarket races.  Riding home in the
dusk, they found the toll-bar closed, and charged it.  The first of them
cleared it successfully; the second, rather a bulky man, rode at it, but
the horse stopped short and he himself shot over, without it.  The third
took the gate, but the horse and rider fell together, and he was carried
into the bar-house insensible, to be presently found there, and taken
home _by the Proctor_, who had been looking for them.  He, however,
proved a friend in need and in deed, for he kept council, and did not
divulge the incident.  A future clergyman, afterwards residing in this
neighbourhood, attempted the same feat, but suffered for it ever
afterwards.  A screw was left loose in his cranium, and he might
sometimes be seen riding along the ditches by the roadside rather than on
the road itself.  His horse, however, and he, as should always be the
case, thoroughly understood each other, and did not “fall out,” or in.

{239a}  “Quarterly Review,” July, 1891, p. 127.

{239b}  A volume was published by the Lincolnshire Architectural Society,
in 1846 (J. H. Parker, Oxford), which gives a History of the Architecture
of the Abbey Chapel, now standing.  Dr. Oliver, also, in his “Religious
Houses on the Witham,” gives a very interesting history of the Abbey.
Both these books are now scarce.

{240a}  MS. Vespasian E. xviii, in British Museum: quoted “Architect.
Soc. Journ.,” 1895, p. 109.

{240b}  Harlevan MS., No. 4127.

{240c}  Quoted from the Fenman’s Vade Mecum.

{241a}  “Placitum de quo Warranto,” p. 401.

{241b}  Quoted Oliver’s “Religious Houses,” pp. 77, 78.

{241c}  “Hundred Rolls,” p. 317.

{241d}  “Ibid.,” p. 365.

{241e}  “Ibid.,” p. 299.

{241f}  “Placit de quo Warranto,” p. 404.

{241g}  “Hundred Rolls,” p. 317.

{241h}  For the years 1281 to 1301.

{241i}  Letter from Rev. R. W. Sibthorpe to Dr. Bloxham, “Life of
Sibthorpe,” (1880), p. 138.

{242}  Stukeley, “Itin. Cur.,” p. 29.  The pageants of Corpus Christi day
are described by Dugdale, and in the “Northumberland Household Book,”

{243a}  Acta Regia.  Quoted by Oliver, “Religious Houses,” p. 52, note
68.  The corruption which was gradually eating its way into the monastic
life came, in some cases, to be felt by those who were admitted to their
intimacy.  The author of a poem contemporary with Chaucer, in the 14th
century, says,

    I was a friere ful many a day,
    Therefor the soth I wot;
    But when I saw that their lyvinge
    Accorded not to their prechynge,
    Of I cast my friere clothynge,
    And wyghtly went my way.

Quoted, Jusseraud’s “Way-faring Life of 14th Century.”

{243b}  Cottonian MS. “Cleopatra,” E.

{244a}  Cowper, “The Task,” 1. 206.

{244b}  “Quarterly Review,” July, 1891, p. 126.

{246}  Referring to these portions of screen, Mr. G. E. Jeans, author of
“Murray’s Handbook to Lincolnshire,” says “Kirkstead Abbey, most valuable
Early English screen, one of the earliest in England” (“Lincs. N. & Q.,”
vol. ii., p. 91).  Also Dr. Mansel Sympson, in a Paper on “Lincolnshire
Rood Screens,” read before the Architectural Society, June, 1890, goes
into further detail.  He says, “It is composed of 13 bays.  Each bay
consists of a lancet-headed trefoil, supported by octagonal pillars, with
moulded capitals and bases . . . total height 2ft. 9in.  Some screen-work
exists in Rochester Cathedral of exactly the same character.”  And the
late Mr. Bloxam gave a drawing of a similar specimen in Thurcaston
Church, Leicestershire.  That at Stanton Harcourt, Oxfordshire, is not
quite similar, and is 40 or 50 years later (1260); so that we may be
proud of possessing, at Kirkstead, almost the oldest fragment of work, in
this particular line, in the country.  (“Architect. Soc. Journ.,” 1890,
pp. 198, 199).

{247}  See “Archæological Journal,” vol. xl., p. 296.

{249}  Vol. i., p. 286, 1886.

{250a}  Col. Richard Ellison, of Boultham, in a poem, entitled
“Kirkstead; or, The Pleasures of Shooting,” printed by Painter, 342
Strand, London, 1837.

{250b}  The concluding words of Mr. Hartshorne’s Paper quoted above.

{251}  A photo of the writer in this attitude, in Alpine costume, hat and
alpenstock in hand, and with the sweat of his brow still glistening from
a mountain climb, has been exhibited at more than one lantern-illustrated

{254}  “Archæol. Journ.,” No. 7, Sept., 1845, p. 353; and Saunder’s
“Hist. Linc.,” vol. ii., pp. 170, 171.

{255}  Sir Charles Anderson says “Tennyson’s ‘Northern Farmer,’ excepting
his ‘yal’ for ‘ale,’ is a failure.”  (“Pocket Guide to Lincoln,” p. 17).

{256}  “Tennyson Land,” by J. Cumming Walters, note p. 79.  Less than a
mile away there is a saline spring, in the adjoining parish of Salmonby,
said to be similar in its properties to the Tunbridge Wells water, but
stronger.  (Saunder’s “Hist. Linc.” vol. ii., p. 178).

{257}  One of these slabs has the inscription, “Orate pro anima Albini de
Enderby qui fecit fieri istam ecclesiam cum campanile, qui obiit in
Vigillia Sancti Matthie Apostoli, Anno MCCCCVII.”  The other has, in
Norman-French, “Thomas Enderby, et Loues sa feme gysont yey dieux de lour
aimees pour sa grace eyt mercy.”  A nearly similar inscription runs round
the cross-legged figure of a knight on an incised slab in the church of
St. Bride’s, Glamorganshire, “Iohan: Le; Botiler: git: ici: Deu: De: Sa:
Alme: Ait: merci: Amen.”—“Archæolog. Journal,” No. viii., p. 383.

{259}  Harleyan MSS. No. 6829.  Saunder’s “Hist. Lincs.,” vol. ii., p.

{260}  Col. Ellison of Boultham, author of the poem “Kirkstead; or, The
Pleasures of Shooting,” Preface, Painter, 342 Strand, 1837.  A book now
out of print.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Records of Woodhall Spa and Neighbourhood - Historical, Anecdotal, Physiographical, and Archaeological, with Other Matter" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.