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Title: Memorials of Old Lincolnshire

Editor: Edward Mansel Sympson

Release date: June 20, 2021 [eBook #65653]

Language: English

Credits: Tim Lindell and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries)



Memorials of the Counties of England

General Editor:
Rev. P. H. Ditchfield, M.A., F.S.A., F.R.S.L., F.R.H.

Memorials of
Old Lincolnshire



Lincoln Cathedral, Evening.

E. R. Taylor pinx. Andre & Sleigh Sc.


Memorials of
Old Lincolnshire

Author of “Lincoln” (Ancient Cities)
Co-Editor of “Lincolnshire Notes and Queries”

With many Illustrations


[All Rights Reserved]


Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co.
At the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh






Lincolnshire, perhaps, is known most widely as the second largest county in England, as pre-eminent in agriculture and stock-breeding on wold, heath, marsh, and fen, as well to the fore in the manufacture of agricultural and other machinery, as possessing the largest fishing-port in Europe (Grimsby), and as being associated with “The Handicap.”

But, apart from all these, she can boast of very many attractions for the traveller and the antiquary. Flat and low though her shores may be, yet there is a fascination in the great extent of “yellow sands”; and there is a recompense for the level plain of marsh or fen in the vast expanse of sky, where “The incomparable pomp of eve, And the cold glories of the dawn,” are seen at their finest.

And the views are wonderful: from Alkborough, over the junction of the Trent, the Ouse, and the Humber; from Lincoln, over the plateau eastwards to the wolds, or westwards over the valley of the Trent to the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire hills; or eastwards, from the edge of the “high wold,” over the great plain

“That sweeps with all its autumn bowers,
And crowded farms and lessening towers,
To mingle with the bounding main.”

The county possesses the birthplaces of Newton, Tennyson, Henry of Bolingbroke, Archbishop Whitgift, and John Wesley. She has produced explorers like Franklin, and[viii] heroes of romance and reality like Sir John Bolles (the hero of the Spanish Lady ballad) and Captain John Smith of Willoughby (who was rescued by Pocahontas). St. Botolph, St. Guthlac, and St. Gilbert of Sempringham were all Lincolnshire in origin and life, and the latter founded the only monastic order (that of the Gilbertines) which originated in this country.

The monastic institutions of this county have had to be passed by in this volume. Although there are no vast or splendid remains (if Thornton Abbey gate-house and Crowland be excepted) above ground, still the excavations of the Rev. C. G. Laing at Bardney Abbey have proved how large and beautiful one at least of those buildings was.

The city of Lincoln, again, demanding a volume to itself, has not been dealt with here, save in so far as it appears in Roman times.

The greatest and noblest “memorial” of all is, of course, the mighty Minster, superb in its architecture and in its situation, with its great roll of bishops from St. Hugh and Grosseteste to Christopher Wordsworth and the much beloved, most saintly, Edward King. But this subject could not be treated of piecemeal, and has been deliberately omitted.

But Lincolnshire is particularly rich in splendid and interesting churches, and much will be found in this volume to justify these epithets.

Stamford, Boston, and Grantham all have had full justice done to them, while Tattershall Castle may well serve as a specimen of the best domestic building of the time of King Henry VI., as Doddington does of “the spacious times of great Elizabeth.”

The history of the county has been interesting, and at times very important. The wars of King Stephen, the battle of “Lincoln Fair,” the Lincolnshire rising in 1470, and the second insurrection in 1536 at the suppression of[ix] the monasteries, have had to be passed over; but the pre-historic facts, those of the Roman rule, and of the great Civil War will be found.

To the Rev. P. H. Ditchfield, the General Editor of this series, and to the Rev. G. E. Jeans, whose knowledge of Lincolnshire is unequalled, for much kind help and advice; to all my contributors, and to all who have given photographs or illustrations, I desire to tender my most sincere thanks.

E. Mansel Sympson.

Deloraine Court, Lincoln,
November 1910.

Note.—As the County of Lincoln possesses no heraldic bearings, the Lord Bishop has kindly permitted the use of the coat-of-arms of the See of Lincoln to be used on the cover of this volume.




Prehistoric Lincolnshire By Rev. A. Hunt, M.A. 1
The Romans in Lincolnshire By Rev. E. H. R. Tatham, M.A. 24
Saxon Churches of Lincolnshire By A. Hamilton Thompson, M.A. 53
Kirkstead Chapel By C. Hodgson Fowler, F.S.A. 81
South Lincolnshire Churches By W. E. Foster, F.S.A. 85
The Church of St. Andrew, Heckington By W. G. Watkins, A.R.I.B.A. 114
Boston and its Church By G. S. W. Jebb, M.A. 120
The Town and Church of Grantham By A. Hamilton Thompson, M.A. 131
Stamford By V. B. Crowther-Beynon, M.A., F.S.A. 162
Tattershall Castle and Church By the Editor 179
The Sepulchral Brasses of Lincolnshire By Rev. G. E. Jeans, M.A., F.S.A. 198
Mediæval Rood-Screens and Rood-Lofts in Lincolnshire Churches By the Editor 206[xii]
Lincolnshire and the Great Civil War By Rev. E. H. R. Tatham, M.A. 249
Doddington Hall By Rev. R. E. G. Cole, M.A. 280
Lincolnshire Families By Rev. Canon Maddison, M.A., F.S.A. 309
Spalding Gentlemen’s Society By Marten Perry, M.D. 319
Index 341



Lincoln from the South-East (Evening) Frontispiece
(From a water-colour drawing by E. R. Taylor)
Facing Page
St. Peter’s Church, Barton-on-Humber (from S.W.) 54
(From a photograph by C. C. Hodges)
St. Mary’s Church, Stow (Interior, looking S.E.) 58
(From a photograph by C. C. Hodges)
St. Margaret’s Church, Marton (Tower before restoration) 78
(From a photograph by C. C. Hodges)
All Saints’ Church, Holbeach (Nave, looking W.) 86
(From a photograph by T. M. Foster)
St. Mary and St. Nicholas Church, Spalding (Nave, looking N.E.) 86
(From a photograph by T. M. Foster)
All Saints’ Church, Moulton (Nave, looking E.) 100
(From a photograph by T. M. Foster)
All Saints’ Church, Moulton (South Aisle, looking N.W.) 100
(From a photograph by T. M. Foster)
St. Andrew’s Church, Heckington (Plan) 116
(From a drawing by W. G. Watkins)
St. Andrew’s Church, Heckington (South Transept and Porch) 118
(From a photograph by H. W. Hitchcock)
St. Andrew’s Church, Heckington (from the E.) 120
(From a photograph by H. W. Hitchcock)
St. Botolph’s Church, Boston 126
(From a photograph by G. Hadley & Son)
Angel Hotel, Grantham 138
(From a photograph by G. W. Wilson)
[xiv] St. Wulfran’s Church, Grantham (Plan) 146
(Drawn by H. Thompson)
St. Wulfran’s Church, Grantham (North Porch) 150
(From a photograph by Emary)
Stamford (from the Meadows) 164
(From a photograph by Nicholls)
Stamford, St. Mary’s Church and Hill 170
(From a photograph by Nicholls)
Stamford, Screen in Browne’s Hospital 172
(From a photograph by Nicholls)
Tattershall Castle (from the S.W.) 188
(From a photograph by G. Hadley & Son)
Tattershall, Holy Trinity Church (from S.E.) 196
(From a photograph by G. Hadley & Son)
Brass of Matilda, Lady Willoughby de Eresby 200
(From a photograph by F. E. Harrison from rubbing by W. Scorer)
Brass of John and Alice Lyndewode 204
(From a photograph by F. E. Harrison from rubbing by W. Scorer)
Crowland Abbey, Rood-Screen from the East 218
(From a photograph by Aymer Vallance)
Lincoln Minster, Pulpitum from the East 222
(From a photograph by G. Hadley & Son)
Holy Trinity Church, Tattershall, Pulpitum from the East 228
(From a photograph by G. Hadley & Son)
St. Denis’ Church, Sleaford, Rood-Screen 231
(From a drawing by the late Herbert Kirk)
St. Edith’s Church, Cotes-by-Stow, Rood-Screen and Loft from the Nave 236
(From a photograph by G. Hadley & Son)
St. Mary’s Church, Winthorpe, Rood-Screen and Chantry Screen 238
(From a photograph by Aymer Vallance)
[xv] St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church, Middle Rasen, Rood-Screen 246
(From a photograph by G. Hadley & Son)
Doddington Hall (from S.E.) 284
(From a photograph given by R. E. G. Cole)
Doddington Hall, Long Gallery 300
(From a photograph by W. J. Smith)
Doddington Hall, Dining-Room 306
(From a photograph by W. J. Smith)


Page 106, line 4, for “Norman capital” read “Norman pier.”
108, paragraph 6, should read—“This church probably had its origin from the Abbey of Castle Acre—aided by the laity.”
109, line 1, for “St. Mary Magdalene’s, Gedney,” read “St. Mary’s, Gedney.”
180, line 28, for “1220” read “1201.”



By the Rev. Alfred Hunt, M.A.

That part of England which we now know as Lincolnshire passed through great changes in its surface before the advent of mankind.

The rocks which lie beneath the surface soil in this county are all made by deposit, for several thousand feet in thickness, and are what are called stratified rocks. They indicate the fact that in past periods of time Lincolnshire was all under a great sea. Occasionally in the limestone rocks are found small branches or pieces of trees, as well as great quantities of fossils of many kinds. The fact that oak and silver birch twigs are found inside the limestone shows that trees were growing elsewhere when the rocks were being laid down by the action of water in Lincolnshire.

Beneath the limestone are found thick beds of red sandstone, while still deeper down, over 3000 feet below the surface, lie beds of coal in the north-western part of the county—indicating vast changes in the land since what is now coal was first formed.

After the deposit or formation of these thick beds of rock, the land seems to have been raised above the surface of the sea, to be in turn covered with vast sheets of ice, called glaciers.

These glaciers extended all over Lincolnshire and up into North Britain above Aberdeen in the one case, and joined another vast glacier stretching right across what is now called the North Sea to land which is known to-day as Norway.


These glaciers carried on their surface blocks of rock of many kinds, some of an igneous nature, and as the glaciers moved slowly the fragments of rock were carried many miles from their original source. As the ice melted, these blocks of rock fell to the ground, and are now found all over Lincolnshire.

The time when these glaciers of Britain melted away is given by Lord Avebury[1] as about fifty thousand years ago, but they “may have lingered among the mountains, and occupied some of the valleys down to a much more recent period.”

The deepest borings in Lincolnshire have not yet reached the fiery or igneous rocks in situ, except in the Isle of Axholme; therefore those fragments of igneous rocks found on the surface, or in the soil, or in glacial clays, indicate that they have been transported from their original source, which, in certain instances, is as far distant as Norway.

Since the melting of the most recent glacier, other great changes have taken place in the surface of the land, owing to elevations and depressions, and the action of rain, frost, and denudation over wide areas.

A vast forest (now submerged) formerly existed right along the edge of the east coast of Lincolnshire; at specially low tides it is seen exposed at Chapel St. Leonards, Ingoldmells, and other places on the East Coast.

When the Romans came to Britain, and began their conquest or occupation of Lincolnshire, A.D. 50, they found extensive portions in the south-east of the county covered by great meres stretching many miles in extent. In the south-western part of the county were extensive forests; in the north-western part of the county was the island, now called the Isle of Axholme; but during the Roman occupation, and for centuries afterwards, were vast sheets of fresh water, with here and there an island or islet standing out[3] above the surrounding meres. On the eastern side of the county, along the sea-board, the Romans built extensive banks or sea walls.

Prior to the Roman occupation of Lincolnshire, a race or different races of people lived in the land we now know as the county of Lincolnshire; and it is of this period that we write regarding the earliest known races of mankind in the county.

The different races of mankind in the Prehistoric Ages or Periods have been tabulated as—

We will deal with each of these races separately as they concern Lincolnshire.

The Eolithic Period

Of this period no traces of the work of mankind have been found in the county of Lincolnshire.

It is a period which some experts strongly affirm show traces of the work of man in other more southern parts of Britain; so far as our experience by definite research has extended, we are not satisfied with the evidence offered, and prefer to keep an open mind.

The Paleolithic Period, or Old Stone Age

Many thousands of specimens of man’s work in this period or age have been found in Southern England—that[4] is, as we define it south of a line drawn from the Severn to the Wash—but none of these old rough stone weapons have been found in situ in Lincolnshire. From the facts presented by geology and a careful study of the county, it would appear that, while Paleolithic Man existed in the south of England, north of an imaginary line from the Wash to the Severn no traces of mankind have been found relating to the Paleolithic Period. It is probable that the great glaciers covered what is now known as Lincolnshire and Northern Britain in that period, and formed an inaccessible barrier to the progress of mankind.

The River Drift Period and the Period of Cave Man

In these ages or periods, mankind found a home in the caves of North Yorkshire, at Kirkdale and on both sides of Cresswell Craggs, the boundary line between Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. Quite recently[3] discoveries have been made at Upper Langwith, also on the borders of the two counties, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, showing unmistakable signs of Cave Man dwellings and handiwork. While these places are not far geographically from Lincolnshire, yet, to be accurate, no trace of Cave Man or River Drift Man has been found in what is now the county of Lincolnshire.[4]

The Neolithic Period

It is in this period we first find traces of mankind in Lincolnshire. Various burial places and many finds of implements show how widely Neolithic Man spread over and occupied the county.


These implements are described as stone axes, spear-heads, lance-heads, arrow-heads, scrapers, gouges, chisels, pot-boilers, knives, borers, graving tools, hammer stones, whetstones, polishers, sink stones, anvil stones. A list of the places where these “finds” have been recorded is as follows:—

Those marked with an asterisk (*) are to be seen in the County Museum at Lincoln.

Many of these implements are excellent specimens of the art and skill of the Neolithic workers in stone. For the purpose for which they were made, they seem to have served well.


The axe-heads have been (in some cases) made to be used with wood handles formed out of the branches of trees. In the course of ages the handles have perished, but the stone implement remains.

Often people unacquainted with the subject of stone implements ask, “How do these stone implements differ from stone forms of natural shape?” There are several points for students to notice about “Worked Stone Implements.” The points to be noticed with the Old Stone or Paleolithic Implements are as follows:—

In the characteristics of the New Stone Implements, or Neolithic Stones, which are found in Lincolnshire, the points to be noticed are—

The Neolithic Boats

Several boats made out of the trunks of trees have been found in the county—

One of the two boats found at Castlethorpe was an exceptionally fine specimen of the Neolithic boat craft. In[7] length it was 45 feet, and 5½ feet wide inside, made out of an oak tree trunk. Within the boat was found a very fine polished stone axe-head.

The interior of the boat showed that it had probably been charred, and scraped or chopped out with a stone hatchet.

The boat is now transferred from Brigg to the Hull Museum.

Pottery of the Neolithic Period

Very little pottery of this period has been found in the county.

One very good specimen of a jar or vase, broken in pieces, was found by Mr. S. Maudson Grant on the sea-coast, outside the Roman Bank at Ingoldmells.

This specimen is now deposited in the Lincoln Museum.

Neolithic Burial Places

The burial places of early man in Lincolnshire must have been very numerous, judging from the remains we still have surviving to this day. These people were buried in barrows or large mounds of earth, which are called “Tumuli.”

In Lincolnshire the barrows are of two classes, called Long Barrows and Round Barrows.

The Long Barrow is the oldest form of interment, and belonged to the race of people called Dolicho-cephalic, or long-headed people. Sir John Lubbock says: “The Long Barrows are like the Gang-graben of Scandinavia, in which the dead are buried and not burnt.”

It is in the Long Barrows that we find this Neolithic race of people buried their dead in Lincolnshire.

One of the Long Barrows still exists at Swinhope, near Grimsby, and there are others in different parts of the county.


In a map of Lincolnshire, published about 1570, by Saxton, the position of some of the barrows was indicated. From that map we have compiled the following list, but the list includes both kinds of barrow, long and round—there being no indication on the map to distinguish the one form of barrow from the other:—

The custom of raising a mound over the place where the dead are buried is very ancient, widespread, and continuous to the present day: examples are to be seen in Egypt, India, America, and Britain. In its simple form it is seen in the village churchyard, in its greatest development it is seen in the magnificent pyramids of Egypt.

In the Long Barrows no metal implements are found[9] unless they have been used for what are called “secondary interments.”

The date of these Long Barrows is variously stated; Canon Greenwell says, “probably 1000 B.C., but may be much earlier”; others say they were probably made 3000 B.C. or 5000 years ago. The definite date cannot be given, but only probabilities stated.

It is in this Neolithic Age that the bodies of the dead were placed in a cist or stone box; that is, large stones were placed round the body, and on these upright stones was fixed a covering stone.

One such system of burial was found at Rothwell, near Caistor, and another at Dunholme.

In nearly every case of burial of this kind, which is called Inhumation, the body has been placed facing the sun in a contracted position; that is, with the knees drawn up to the chin and lying on its side. Some specialists think this position indicates the sleeping attitude, others think it points to the fact that as the child entered into life in a contracted position, so the dead body was similarly placed for departure from life, with the possibility of entering into a new life after death.

Frequently by the side of the dead body were placed the weapons that he used when living—axe-heads, arrow-heads, knives, and spear-heads.

Life of the Neolithic People

Naturally we may ask how did these people live? The answer undoubtedly is by hunting, fishing, and fowling. They appear to have had large flocks of sheep, goats, and cattle, and possessed dug-out canoes or boats.

Their dwelling places were probably hut circles, but no remains of these have so far been found in the county of Lincolnshire.

Their care of the dead would lead us to suppose that, by[10] comparison with similar practices in other parts of the world, they believed in a future state or future life.

Who were the Neolithic people?

This question has been asked by many, and the answer given by Professor Boyd Dawkins[5] and others is that they were Iberians, and are represented at the present time by the surviving Basque peoples of the Western Pyrenees, on the borders of Spain and France.

“By a chain of reasoning, purely zoological, we arrive at the important conclusion that the Neolithic inhabitants of the British Isles belong to the same non-Aryan section of mankind as the Basques, and that in ancient times they were spread through Spain as far south as the Pillars of Hercules, and as far to the north-east as Germany and Denmark.”

The Pygmy Race of Man in Lincolnshire

One of the most recent discoveries regarding Prehistoric Man in Lincolnshire is the finding of some thousands of diminutive flint implements at Scunthorpe, Manton Common, and Scotton, in North Lincolnshire. At the suggestion of the writer of this article, Mr. E. E. Brown made a careful search at Scunthorpe in A.D. 1900, and found some thirty or forty specimens.

Since then the Rev. Reginald Gatty, the Rev. Alfred Hunt, and others have found hundreds of specimens at Scunthorpe.

The Pygmy Flints are of various forms and sizes. Similar forms and shapes have been found in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Bedfordshire, Suffolk, Sussex, and elsewhere in England. On the Continent similar forms of Pygmy Flints have been found in Belgium, France, and Germany. They have also been found in Egypt, Palestine, North and Central[11] Africa, and in great numbers on the Vindhya Mountains, India.

The bodies or bones of these Pygmy people have been found at Sohâgi Ghât, on the Vindhya Mountains, in Germany, and at Bungay, Suffolk, quite recently, by Mr. H. A. Dutt, of Lowestoft.[6]

The Pygmy Flints all show points characteristic of the work of man:—

Their shapes have been described as—

They are figured in the British Museum Handbook to the Stone Age, on p. 110, Fig. 132.

They are beautifully made, and show extraordinary keen sight in those who made them—frequently one side only shows secondary working, and the chipping is so finely done that often twenty and thirty different chips have been made on a fine thin edge of flint in the length of half an inch.

The question has been asked, how may we know Pygmy Flints are the work of mankind? Practically by the same method that we know other flint or stone implements are the handiwork of man. Examine these Pygmy Flints closely, and you will be able to trace—

These distinct characteristics prove these flints are no haphazard flakings from a flint core.

When you can pick up these Pygmy Flints, and show all these peculiarities, you are able to convince reasonable men that they are the work of a race of people, who, with keen vision and clever handiwork, were able to make tools which have outlived their own age and race by many thousands of years.

Similarity in Design

One point of great interest in these widely scattered Pygmy Flints is the great similarity in design. So much is this similarity carried out that, if you place a Scunthorpe specimen beside one found on the Vindhya Hills in India, it is almost impossible to say which is from the one place and which is from the other.

This similarity in design has led many specialists to think that the Pygmy Flints of Scunthorpe are the work of a migrating people, who passed over from India through Asia and Europe to Britain. Amongst those who accept this theory are Dr. Gatty and Vincent A. Smith, M.A., of the Indian Civil Service, one of the greatest specialists we have on this subject.

What was the Use of these Pygmy Flints?

Various conjectures have been made as to the use of these small flint implements. They must have been made for human daily use and need.

Arrow Points are easily accounted for as used in[13] hunting—being, it is supposed, fastened to wood shafts; which is still the practice of Australian savages.

Fishing Hooks is another very natural suggestion for some of the forms; when fixed with sinew or gut, the triangular form makes a specially suitable hook to catch in the throat of fish.

Knives is undoubtedly another use to which some specimens are adapted; the clear cut edge would, even after the lapse of thousands of years, cut flesh of animals at the present time.

Boring Tools, for making holes to sew skins together for clothing purposes, is also a natural theory for other specimens of these Pygmy Flints.

Chisels for scraping and shaping wood handles or hafts of their tools is also another suggestion, which is highly probable from the shape of the flints with a square cutting edge.

Skin Scrapers is still another use for which some specimens of the implements may have been made by these people who lived by the chase; while it is also possible that other shapes were mounted in wood frames and used as saws, sickles, and harpoons, as shown in British Museum Handbook, Fig. 118.

Some of them may have been used for tattooing, as has been suggested, but certainly not a great proportion of the many thousands that have been found.

By what Class of People were these Implements made?

To begin with, these small implements were made by people with keen vision, the minute character of their work being more easily seen and appreciated under a magnifying glass than with the naked eye of an ordinary observer.

They were also clever designers, as the persistent shapes of these implements show. It is not to an ordinary person an easy matter to chip out a piece of flint in the shape of[14] these samples; the same figures or shapes are repeated in hundreds of instances.

Again, they were careful workers, as is seen by the way in which these flint implements are made. To-day men would have to exercise almost the care of a jeweller if they wished to make implements equal in shape and accuracy to those found on the Scunthorpe Floor, made by these Pygmy workers.

They knew how to make a fire, as many fragments of charcoal have been found on the floors of their dwelling places.

As regards their clothing, I am inclined to the idea that they clothed themselves but slightly, and what clothing they had was made of the skins of animals taken in the chase.

Pygmy Sites, Stations, or Dwelling Places

One very interesting feature regarding Pygmy stations, sites, or dwelling places where these Flints are found is their close association with a Peat Floor. Monsieur de Pierpoint says: “He collected some thousands of Pygmy Flints on the high plateaux above the Meuse. Formerly a thick forest covered these mountains, and in that district the small flints are mostly found near springs and away from the east winds.” Both at Scunthorpe and on the hills of the Pennine Range, it is on or in the Peat that these diminutive Flints are discovered. Dr. Colley March found them in a bed of Peat 6 feet deep, in certain cases 10 feet deep, and at an altitude of 1350 feet above sea-level. Dr. Gatty found them at Scunthorpe on the top of the Peat and below the wind-blown sand 200 feet above sea-level.

It was on the Peat that I and my friends, the Rev. R. N. Matthews, of Tetney, in the year 1900, and the Rev. Samuel Wild, of Dunholme, found numerous examples as recently as the spring of 1907. Dr. Gatty found as many as 200 implements on the floor of one habitation. These facts lead me to the belief that the natural conditions or surroundings[15] of Scunthorpe have completely changed since the time of the deposit of these implements.

I believe that the natural conditions at Scunthorpe were very much like the conditions at the Ituri Forest of North Africa at the present day, where we see a Peat deposit in progress; that the Pygmies lived in a warmer atmosphere at Scunthorpe than now exists in England; and that these people lived in communities in small huts, such as may be seen now among these living survivals of Pygmy people. They were in fact Forest Dwellers.

No pottery has been found with the Pygmy Flints in Lincolnshire, but a class of rude hand-made pottery has been found with the Indian Pygmy Flints, and entire skeletons of the Pygmy people have been found both in India and Germany. In India they dwelt in caves and rock shelters, but at Scunthorpe we have no trace of caves or rock shelters; therefore hut circles seem to be the only alternative to fall back upon as their dwelling places in Lincolnshire.

To what Period in the Stone Age must we attribute the Pygmy Race of Mankind?

Here we have a problem that puzzles many at the present time. Mr. Read, of the British Museum, suggests a Neolithic Age or Bronze Period, while Mr. Vincent Smith does not agree with that, but inclines to the belief that they are to be placed at the end of the Paleolithic Age. Dr. Colley March calls it the Early Neolithic Floor of East Lancashire.

One thing is certain, we do not find any smooth or polished stone implements on the Pygmy Floor. Another thing is equally true, we do not find Pygmy Flints associated with Bronze or Copper implements, so that they were not metal workers.

The suggestion has been thrown out that the Pygmies were a weak race who were overcome by Neolithic Man.[16] This may be true, but we have the authority of Herodotus, 2000 years ago, and modern travellers like Dr. Wollaston of 1907, pointing out that the Pygmies were, and are at the present time, rather a fighting race of people. After considering all the evidence obtainable, I am inclined to think that the Pygmy Race must be placed in the Messeolithic or Middle Stone Age.

It is true that at one period “there were giants on the earth in those days,” so also it is true that there were dwarfs on the earth in other days. Was this race the Iberic race?

It is ably argued by Mr. W. J. Knowles, Vice-President of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, that Neolithic Man is the descendant of Paleolithic Man.

The question before ethnologists to-day is: How was this transition effected? Was it through a Messeolithic Age?

Because there are no references to the Pygmy Flint Age in the standard books of thirty years ago on Prehistoric Man, such as those of Boyd Dawkins, Canon Greenwell, Sir John Evans and Mr. Mortimer of Driffield, some few people are prepared to question the reality of what are called Pygmy Flints.

To begin with, each of these authors referred to have within the last few years become thorough believers in Pygmy Flints as the product of mankind. This is shown by their speeches at the recent meetings of the British Association at York and elsewhere.

Then let the doubtful person concerning Pygmy Flints turn to recent works on Prehistoric Man, such as Mr. Charles H. Read’s Handbook or Guide to the Stone Age, in the British Museum, published 1902, to Prof. Windle’s book on Remains of Prehistoric Age in England, published 1904, to the articles by Vincent A. Smith, late of India Civil Service, to Dr. Gatty, and other works, he will then, I think, if open to conviction, be ready to admit there is more evidence for a Pygmy race than he anticipated.


Historical Reference to the Pygmy Races of Mankind

If we go back to the ancients, we have the authority of Herodotus, Book II., Chapter 33, page 51, that “the Nasamonians were captured and carried off by the Pygmy Tribe and led across extensive marshes, and finally came to a town where all the men were the height of their conductors and black complexioned under the middle height.”

Homer’s Iliad, Book III., line 9, refers to Pygmy nations.

Aristotle calls them Troglodytal—which would seem to indicate that they were Cave Dwellers in that age. Homer and Aristotle both place them near the sources of the Nile.

Pliny, Book VI., 19, and Philostratus, Vit. Apoll., Tz. III., 47, and others, place them in India, where, in modern days, many thousands of Pygmy Flints have been found.

The representation of Pygmy people is frequently met with on Greek vases and Egyptian pottery.

After two thousand years of literary silence about Pygmy people, modern travellers like Captain Harrison have brought over from the Ituri Forest Pygmy people, and exhibited them in all parts of England.

Small Dark-coloured People under the Middle Height

Major Powell Cotton, in the year 1907, gives his experience of life among the Pygmies of the Congo Forest, and describes them as “small dark-coloured people under the middle height.”

Dr. A. F. R. Wollaston, also in 1907, returned to civilisation through the Congo Forest and the volcanic region[18] of Mfumbiro, and says the tops of the extinct volcanoes are covered with dense bamboo and inhabited by a Pygmy race.

In Central Mexico we have relics of a Pygmy people, the dried head of one being offered in Mr. Steven’s London auction room this year (1907).

The last surviving Aztecs, a very diminutive people, we remember to have seen exhibited in Manchester thirty years ago.

All these instances point to diminutive or Pygmy races of men scattered over the world.

As the literature on this subject is so limited, we venture to name the authorities quoted:—

The Bronze Age in Lincolnshire

The earliest appearance of bronze in Britain is put down at 2000 B.C.[19]

As we have already stated this period is divided into Early and Late Periods by specialists.

Specimens of both periods have been found in many parts of the county, and so far as we have been able to trace them, we have compiled the following list of places where they have been discovered:—

Those marked with an asterisk (*) are to be seen in the County Museum at Lincoln. Those marked B.M. are in the British Museum.

The objects found include swords, celts (socketed and unsocketed), arrow-heads, spear-heads, palstaves, adzes, knives, daggers, circular shields, armlets, bracelets, bridle bits, trumpet, horse trappings (probably a peytrel at Caenby).

These show progress in the art of man from rude plane castings to what may be called high art in decoration, as shown in the very elaborate shield from the river Witham, and now in the British Museum, figured in their catalogue to the Early Iron Age on page 90.

It is to this period that we must attribute many of the very fine pieces of pottery belonging to Mr. H. Preston, now deposited at the Lincoln Museum. It consists of cinerary urns, drinking cups, food vessels, incense cups, and other forms of vessels.

The places where this early class of pottery has been[20] found in the county, so far as we have been able to compile it, is as follows:—

Those marked with an asterisk (*) are to be seen in the County Museum at Lincoln.

All this pottery is made of burnt clay in an open fire.

Clothing of the People in the Bronze Age

In the one instance where a body has been found with clothing at Haxey in the Isle of Axholme, it was that of a woman dressed in skins with sandals on her feet. Cæsar’s statement in Book V., paragraph 147, describes the Celts or Britons as wearing skins on their bodies for clothing, and the parts of the body not covered with skins being painted in order to render themselves more terrible in battle.

Bronze Age Burials

We have already referred to two classes of barrows or burial places. One is described as a long barrow, the other as a round barrow.

It is in this latter class of burial place that the people of the Bronze Age buried their dead.

The round barrows belong to another race of people who existed in Lincolnshire, and are described as Brachy-cephalic or round-headed people.

In these burial places bronze implements have sometimes been found, and occasionally stone implements, showing that the Stone Age overlapped or ran into the Bronze Period.

Incompleteness of the circle in the barrow points to design.


An alphabetical list of the places where in recent times the round barrow existed is as follows:—

The barrow was considered to be the habitation of the spirits of the dead.

In the Bronze Age often the body was burnt wholly or in parts. Sometimes the ashes were collected and placed in an urn. This burning of the body seems to have been one of their sacred rites of burial. In nearly every case where the body has been burnt, holes seem to have been bored or drilled into the ground underneath the body. Sometimes these were stake holes, but the wood has perished. In these barrows was buried the chief of the clan or tribe.

A plate picture of the different kinds of skulls of the Dolicho-cephalic and the Brachy-cephalic people appears in the British Museum Handbook to the Antiquities of the Bronze Age, page 20.

It is considered very probable that the round-headed people were the conquerors of the long-headed race.

Entrenchments of the Iron Age

It is to this age we must refer the making of the lines of entrenchments in various parts of the county at Honington, Ingoldsby, Kingerby, Hoe Hill, Fulletby, and other places.

The Bronze Age people are generally called Celts, and have been subdivided by Professor Rhys as Goidelic and[22] Brythonic races—the older race being the Goidels and the later race Brythons.

“Both races spoke a language that belonged to the Aryan or Indo-European family, but had certain peculiarities that point to racial divergence.”—C. H. Read.

It is to the Bronze Age Professor Boyd Dawkins would attribute the erection of the great stone circles, such as Stonehenge, Avebury, and other places, but of these stone circles no remnants exist in Lincolnshire.

The Prehistoric Iron Age, 400 B.C.

Traces of the occupation of Lincolnshire in this period are to be found in the pre-Roman smelting furnaces for iron in various parts of the county at Manton and elsewhere.

Certain iron spear-heads, daggers,[7] sheaths,[8] and swords[9] of bronze from the river Witham are also attributed to this period. The art of enamelling the surface of metal appears in the Prehistoric Iron Age, and its chief centre seems to have been the British Isles.

The shield found in the river Witham is put down to this period in the British Museum Handbook, pages 87 to 92. It is one of the most beautiful specimens of inlaid work yet discovered.

“With the introduction of iron a change in the burial customs took place in Britain. Cremation was carried on, but the dead were frequently interred at full length in a stone chamber, or shallow pit, along with various articles used in daily life.”

Doubtless there are many “finds” of stone and bronze and iron implements from Lincolnshire in private collections that are not described in any book or catalogue extant.

It is only by personal knowledge, and by contributing[23] that knowledge to a common centre, that anything like a correct record can be made for the benefit of students and futurity of the Prehistoric Period in Lincolnshire.

With the coming of the Romans, B.C. 55 and 47 A.D., we enter on the Historic Iron Age, which is outside the scope of this article. As regards the Roman occupation of Lincoln, A.D. 50, we have written elsewhere.[10]



By the Rev. E. H. R. Tatham, M.A.

Roman Lincolnshire has no written history. There is not a line in any extant ancient writer describing the progress of a Roman army within its limits. Yet that wonderful people have left indelible marks of their presence in the county, not merely, as elsewhere, in a few fortifications connected by military roads, but in the systematic reclamation of a whole district. The details remaining to us of their conquest of the island apply principally to the south-east, the north, and the north-west. And yet the marshy plain of the Lincolnshire coast must have been then, as it proved in later times, an ideal refuge for native tribes at last driven to bay. Bounded on the east by the sea and on the south by impassable fens—subject in parts to submersion by the sea—the county was only accessible to a southern invader on its south-west side, through the forest which then covered Kesteven. But the Roman conqueror was seldom daunted by natural obstacles; and some further explanation is needed of the fact that, in the earlier stages of the conquest, his efforts seem constantly deflected to the west. Some have fancied that the Romans recognised their most implacable enemies in the Druids, and that these priestly fanatics retreated westward before them until they were finally exterminated by Paulinus in their stronghold of Mona (Anglesey). A simpler hypothesis is that, like the Regni in Sussex and the Brigantes in Yorkshire, the inhabitants of our county at first propitiated the enemy by alliance and by giving hostages for good conduct.


The tribe which, according to Ptolemy (about A.D. 120), then occupied the counties of Lincoln, Leicester, and Nottingham, was the Coritani. If, as some have supposed, this tribe was a branch of the Eceni, it would almost certainly have been involved in the rebellion of Boudicca (A.D. 61). Yet for at least ten years we hear of no further expedition undertaken in this direction. If, on the other hand, the tribe was subject to or allied with its powerful northern neighbour, the Brigantes, it may possibly have been included in the compact which, before the year A.D. 50, was made by that tribe with the invader. Professor Rhys conjectures, rather hesitatingly,[11] that the Coritani may have been a remnant of the pre-Celtic population, and that their submission may have synchronised with the conquest of the warlike tribes of the southern midlands, to whom they had been subject.

Anyhow there is no positive indication that before A.D. 70 the Roman forces had penetrated into the eastern counties beyond the southern shore of the Wash. Some have fancied that the Coritani were subdued by Ostorius (A.D. 50-55), or Paulinus (A.D. 57-62). But the line of advance taken by both generals was to the north-west, along Watling Street, rather than due north; and Ostorius in particular is said to have established a chain of fortified camps—doubtless to secure his communications—from the Nene to the Severn. But when Petilius Cerealis assumed the command in the year A.D. 71, the peace with the Brigantes was broken, and Tacitus represents that the ensuing campaigns, of which he only says that “there were many battles and some not bloodless,” lasted the four years of this command. As his father-in-law, Agricola, was then in command of the Twentieth Legion, Tacitus must have known the facts, and may have reserved a full account of them for his Histories, but the portion of the work which deals with this war has not survived.


We do not know what were the headquarters of the Roman governors from A.D. 61 to 71, but they were almost certainly south of the Wash. An advance, therefore, against the Brigantes of Yorkshire must have brought them along the western branch of Ermine Street to Lincoln, as any good map will show. To the west they had the difficult country of the Peak, to the east the dreaded Fenland, and there is no direct road through Nottinghamshire to York. Starting from Durobrivæ (Castor)—which was perhaps the most easterly fort on the Nene, and as such occupied by the Ninth Legion in A.D. 61—and taking the line of road afterwards laid down, the army would at first bend to the north-west to avoid the immediate neighbourhood of the fens. Along this road, still traceable, and called in parts the “High Dyke,” there are camps at Casterton, Easton, and Ancaster, the last of which subsequently became an important station. At length, after traversing the high ground of the Cliff, the army would appear on the ridge of Canwick, facing the “Lincoln Gap.” On the crest of the opposite hill, from which they were separated by a flooded valley then reached by the tide, lay a strong British “oppidum.” It would be no light matter to take such a position by storm, but taken it was, whether by force or through a timely surrender. When once occupied, this stronghold would be turned into a military earthwork and used as a base of operations against the Brigantes, thus becoming the nucleus of the subsequent city. The advance into Yorkshire, if supported by a fleet, may have been made from the north gate of the camp by the direct line of Ermine Street to Winteringham on the Humber, for the Ouse was then navigable as far as York. But it seems more likely that this was a land expedition, and that the earliest road was that which leaves the main Ermine Street four miles north of Lincoln, and under its present name of Tillbridge Lane points direct to Littleborough on the Notts bank of the Trent. Here a camp would be formed, which developed later into the walled station Segelocum; here[27] also was a ford which could soon be made available for the passage of an army. The banks were sloped away so as to make the descent easy to a raised causeway—paved with stones and held up by strong stakes driven into the bed of the river. This causeway, which was 18 feet wide, existed till 1820, when, owing to the obstruction it caused to navigation in dry seasons, it had to be removed; but part of the paved descent can still be seen on the farther bank. The reason why the road from Lincoln to this ford was not more direct is that it avoided the low land, then subject, as will be shown, to constant flooding from the Trent.

It was perhaps not till the governorship of Agricola (A.D. 78-85), when the country between the Humber and the Tyne was completely subdued, that Lindum became an important fortress. In his Life of Agricola Tacitus names a provokingly small number of places in Britain; but he states that that general, in the second year of his command, “erected garrisons and fortresses among those tribes which had hitherto considered themselves a match for Rome.”[12] His, therefore, may have been the vigilant eye, which first discerned the strategic value of Lindum; but possibly it was Hadrian, or one of his commanders, who elevated it to the rank of a “colony.” This term was applied under the Empire to a settlement of veterans, which was held to form an integral part of Rome, and whose government was a copy in miniature of that of the capital. Each colony had its senate or “curia,” and annually elected two “duumviri,” corresponding to the consuls. A portion of the neighbouring land was assigned to each soldier, and the men were sometimes allowed, for a time at least, to retain their arms. If we may trust the “Ravenna” list of towns, the only “coloniæ” in Britain were Colchester, Lincoln, and Gloucester, and this was perhaps the order of their foundation. These colonies formed in themselves so strong a nucleus[28] of Roman civilisation that they were seldom or never made garrison towns. The three headquarters of the legions—York, Chester, and Caerleon—were not colonies;[13] and there is no trace of a colony among the military stations on Hadrian’s Wall. The small number of these towns in Britain, and their intimate connection with Rome, indicate the great importance of Lindum. Another proof of this is the fact that the Foss Way, which, at least in part, is a work of the second century, seems to have been constructed with the express object of creating easy communication between Lincoln and the thickly-settled district of the south-west. No other town, except London, York, Colchester, and perhaps Cirencester, was connected with so many highways of the first class.

The existing remains of Lindum, though unfortunately much defaced by continuous occupation, fully corroborate this view. In the third and fourth centuries it was a kind of twin-city—the original “colonia,” about 37 acres in extent, occupying the brow of the hill, while the lower town, a sort of “annex” to the first, descended its slopes to the banks of the Witham. The original town must have been of great strength. Its northern and southern walls were about a quarter of a mile in length, and were each pierced by a gate—probably a double gate—through which the Ermine Street passed and bisected the city. The eastern and western walls were a little shorter—about 420 yards—and each had a gate in the centre, also probably double, with guard-rooms on each side of the central space. The walls were 10 feet thick and over 20 feet in height. Though obviously repaired at various times, it is likely that they were erected at the foundation of the colony, as the recent destruction of the unwalled Camulodunum would be a stern warning to the first colonists. A few fragments exist, none in a perfect state; but the inner face of the[29] northern (now strangely called “Newport”) gate is still entire, though half buried in the soil, and is a unique monument of Roman rule in Britain. It consists of a central arch about 16 feet wide, which had two posterns, of which the eastern, though built over, still remains; the other was destroyed about a century ago. The gate was formerly supposed to have been single; but it stands 20 feet back from the neighbouring fragments of the wall; and an old engraving, here reproduced,[14] shows the remains of two arches on its northern side. Such double gates are a frequent feature in the stations on Hadrian’s Wall. The south and east gates were still standing at the end of the seventeenth century, at least in part. But the former, which was near the brink of Steep Hill, was pulled down soon after, though its eastern postern can still be seen within a house; while the latter, which stood just east of the Deanery, was only demolished in 1763. The western gate was accidentally discovered in 1836, buried beneath the high mound of the Castle. The arch was uncovered, and found to be of the same age as Newport; but it collapsed a few days later from the weight of the superincumbent earth, though fortunately not till the sketch of it here shown had been taken. From this it appears to have been exposed nearly as low as Newport without discovering posterns, which may have been absent from this gate, because no military road passed through it. Yet there were signs of a return wall, which indicate that the gate was double. The western wall followed the line of the Castle rampart and beyond it to the waterworks reservoir; the eastern passed under the chapter-house and the eastern transepts of the Minster.

The Forum was in the north-western quarter of the town, for the bases (and part of the shafts) of nineteen fine columns were found between 1878 and 1897 in Bailgate, standing in a line north and south, and fronting the course[30] of Ermine Street. Of these five are double and one triple, and the space of 16 feet between two of the double columns—the sixth and seventh from the south—doubtless represents the street between the east and west gates; it is exactly in the line, and the side pavements were found much worn by the foot traffic. The building on the south side of this entrance to the Forum is thought to have been a temple; that on the north was probably a basilica, and a part of its northern wall—now called the Mint Wall—is still standing some 25 feet above-ground. It is 70 feet long and 3½ feet thick, and is formed of stone and of six courses of triple bonding tiles, with intervals of 5 feet between the upper courses. This building is supposed, from the red tint of the columns and the charred remains found at their base, to have been destroyed by fire. Along the centre of the city, parallel with Ermine Street, has been found a large main sewer, with branches running into it from right and left. The city was supplied with water by underground pipes from two springs—one on the hill outside the western wall, the other three-quarters of a mile away, on the Nettleham Road. From the latter the water was conducted, by pipes cemented together, into a neatly bricked well, called the Blind Well, which once existed a few yards north of the Assembly Rooms, but has now been filled up.

But the most interesting discovery in this quarter was that of the milestone dedicated to the Emperor Victorinus (one of the Thirty Tyrants), which was unearthed in 1879, and is now to be seen in the Lincoln Museum. It was found probably on its original site, where the cross street entered the Forum from Ermine Street. Victorinus held the supreme power in Gaul for little more than a year, so that the erection of this stone can be placed with certainty in A.D. 266-7.[15] This discovery confirms the reading “Segelocum”[31] in the Antonine Itinerary, and also the distance there given. Some have thought that Carausius, the “Menapian admiral,” who seized the reins of power in Britain twenty years later under Diocletian, resided for some time in Lincoln. For this there is not much evidence. His coins, of which there are 300 known types, are common not in Lincolnshire only, but in all parts of England; and he is more likely to have established himself in London or near the south coast. But it is possible that the northern wall of Lindum, in which some of his coins have been found, was repaired in his time or a little later. Less than half a mile north of Newport Arch are to be seen remains of an earthen rampart, with a fosse on the northern side extending about 350 yards east and west, and with entrenchments running from the corners at right angles towards the city. Stukeley imagined that these were the defences of the British “oppidum”; but their shape and the practical certainty that the Britons would choose the edge of the hill leave little doubt that they are Roman outworks, possibly enclosing a northern suburb.

But the natural direction for the enlargement of the city would be the southern slope of the hill towards the river; and at some period—perhaps in the third or fourth century—the eastern and western walls were prolonged until they met a transverse wall, 50 yards from the river, at about the centre of which is the mediæval gate called the “Stone-bow.” Leaving the south-east corner of the original wall at the Cantilupe Chantry, the prolonged east wall descended the hill between the Vicar’s Court and the Bishop’s Palace (where part of it still exists), through the Temple Gardens, with the “Were Dyke” as its fosse, to the junction of Silver Street and Broadgate, where was a gateway, called Clasket Gate. Thence it was continued to a bastion, once called the Tower Garth, on the south side of St. Swithin’s Square. From this point the southern wall, which was lately uncovered in several places, extended to the “Stone-bow” and along Guildhall[32] Street and Newland to its south-west corner at the (so-called) “Lucy” Tower, whence it ascended Motherby Hill to the western end of the original south wall at the corner of the Castle. This later town would be nearly double the size of the original colony, and the whole twin-city must have covered an area as large as that of Roman Colchester (108 acres). The walling of the lower city points to a sense of insecurity, but whether this arose from native disaffection or from a fear of foreign invasion there is no evidence to show. It probably contained no official buildings, and few important remains have come to light within it, but a hypocaust was found in 1782 near the top of High Street.

Space would fail us in enumerating the many lesser articles of interest discovered in Lincoln. Seven tessellated pavements have been found, all in the upper city; a perfect Roman altar, with inscription, came to light in 1884 on the site of St. Swithin’s Tower; and at least six sepulchral slabs have been unearthed, three of which were in memory of soldiers of the Ninth (Spanish) Legion—perhaps an indication that to this legion, which is not mentioned after Trajan’s reign, lands were assigned at the foundation of the colony. Traces of interments have been found bordering the roads on the north, east, and south of the city; those beyond the east gate seem to be the most numerous, and in one case the remains were enclosed in a large burial-chamber. In the immediate neighbourhood of the city were villas of some size. At Canwick Church there is a tessellated pavement, two feet below the floor-level, extending the whole length of the nave; and at Greetwell, a mile and a half to the east, a substantial residence was discovered, with many rooms and corridors, and with pavements of artistic design.

In the three centuries between Ptolemy, who first mentions the city, and the abandonment of Britain by Rome, Lindum is named but once—in the Antonine Itinerary. But it seems likely that Adelfius, one of the[33] three British prelates at the Council of Arles, was its bishop in 314.[16]

With regard to the roads radiating from Lindum, it will be convenient to deal first with those to the north. From Newport Gate, Ermine Street continues to the Humber for thirty miles in a direct line—absolutely straight, indeed, for five-sixths of the distance. Mr. Codrington assumes without reason that this road was earlier than that already mentioned, which crossed the Trent and passed by way of Doncaster and Castleford to York.[17] Present appearances certainly justify his view, for the latter road now seems merely a branch of the former. But this may not always have been the case. Originally the first four miles may have been nearer the edge of the high ground through Burton and North Carlton into Tillbridge Lane; but when the direct Ermine Street was constructed this portion would not be repaired, and therefore would be completely disused, as the increase in distance by the new road would be trifling. It is a curious fact that the only section of Ermine Street between London and the Humber included in the Antonine Itinerary is that between Lincoln and Godmanchester; the route from Lincoln to York in two Iters (V. and VIII.) is by the Doncaster road, which is longer than Ermine Street by several miles if York were the objective, but which rather points directly to Isurium—supposed by some to have been the Brigantian capital.[18] The presumption should surely be that the shorter route, which involved the crossing of a broad estuary, would be a later construction of more settled times. In the parish of Scampton, adjoining the Doncaster road, and about a mile and a half north-west of the point where it branches from Ermine Street, was discovered in 1795 a large Roman villa, with forty rooms and thirteen[34] tessellated pavements—one of a very beautiful design. The whole building covered a space 70 yards square, and included two courtyards, thus differing somewhat in plan from the great villas of the south-west.

Ermine Street from Lincoln to the Humber is one of the finest of Roman highways—clearly traceable to-day for almost the whole distance. In a stretch of thirty miles there must have been a middle station, which was certainly in Hibaldstow; but since remains have been found here on both sides of the great “Way,” its exact site is uncertain. At the farm of Gainsthorpe, about 200 yards to the west, is a remarkable cluster of ruined habitations, which has never been properly explored: excavation here, and in a large camp a little to the north on the east side of Ermine Street, promises to yield fruitful results. From this point there would naturally be a by-road to Caistor, ten miles due east across the Ancholme valley, but no traces of it are on record. A pavement has been found in Hibaldstow, and two more at Storton in Scawby—the next parish to the north. The line of the road passes through Broughton, three miles west of Brigg, where various remains have been discovered; and the country round it, as it approaches the Humber, abounded in rural residences of the better class. At Roxby, a mile and a half to the west, a good pavement was found in 1709; and about forty years later, three more of very superior design were discovered below the Cliff House in Winterton, one of which had a bust of Ceres in the centre. A fourth near the same spot, with a figure of Apollo, was unearthed in 1797; and in a garden at Horkstow, more than three miles east of this site, was found a pavement with three compartments, in which are depicted the Fates, Orpheus playing the lyre to the animals, and a chariot race. Among the remains found at Winterton are many coins, spear-heads, a brass eagle, and a potter’s kiln; while another kiln was found at Santon in Appleby, a few miles to the south. This district—as also the chalk ridges of the Eastern Wolds—seems to have been[35] favourable for the manufacture of the coarse grey and stone-coloured pottery, so common on Roman sites in the county. The Ermine Street ended at a promontory overlooking the Humber in the parish of Winteringham, below which was an ancient haven called Flashmire, now silted up. This point is a little east of the Roman “station” of Brough on the opposite shore, so that boats could make the crossing of under two miles with the inflowing tide. In the dry summer of 1826, when the water was low, a paved causeway or jetty—like that leading to the Trent at Littleborough—was exposed on both the Lincolnshire and Yorkshire banks. Stukeley says that, when the “station” at Winteringham was ploughed up in 1700, extensive remains were found—as of stone foundations, pavements, and streets made of gravel and sea-sand. About four miles south-west of this point, and half-way to the Roman Camp at Barton, lies South Ferriby. Here is an ancient well-spring, near which at various times interesting articles have been found—some, perhaps, votive offerings to the local goddess of the spring. These objects, now principally in the Hull Museum, include cinerary urns of all kinds, fireplaces, coins, and a remarkable collection of bronze fibulæ—many harp-shaped (two with the Gaulish maker’s name, “Aucissa”) and others flat, with the disc in the shape of a fish or sandal. From Winteringham there may have been a branch-way to Barton—seven miles to the east. At Alkborough, about four miles westward, there is a strong camp, about one hundred yards square, overlooking the junction of the Trent and the Humber. Its Roman origin is disputed, and the area has never been carefully excavated.

Returning once more to Lincoln, we find at least one road leaving the east gate of the city, which is nearly identical with the present Wragby road. This was in line with the Foss Way, but was of much less importance. At Claybridge, about seven miles from Lincoln, a by-way branches off south-eastwards to the fort at Horncastle; while another, called Horncastle Lane, which is probably[36] Roman, bends westward to the junction of Ermine Street and Tillbridge Lane. The main way continues north-eastward through Ludford and Ludborough to the coast, where it ends at some remains of saltworks in the parish of Grainthorpe. Its easterly part used to be known as “Salters’ Lane,” and it crosses the “High Street” from Horncastle to Caistor at Ludford. It is possible that this route and a branch-way from Ermine Street were the only roads from Lincoln to Caistor; at least no traces of a road, or even of Roman remains, are known to me on the direct line between the east gate and Caistor.

No road of any importance seems to have left Lincoln by the west gate; and the reason for this is to be found in the physical features of the neighbourhood at the time of the Roman occupation. The part of Lincolnshire north of the Witham is still called “Lindsey”—a name which indicates by its final syllable that, when it was given, the district was practically surrounded by water. On all sides but the south it is so to this day—viz. by the sea on the east, by the Humber on the north, and by the Trent on the west. In the Roman period—and indeed for many centuries after—the Witham was tidal as far as the narrow “Gap” between Lincoln and the opposite high land of Kesteven. Geologists tell us that this “Gap,” now intersected by the Witham, was in pre-glacial ages scooped out by the Trent, the course of which from Newark was then north-east instead of north; and that after that river had been “captured” by the Humber (i.e. diverted into its present bed by the opening of a longitudinal valley from the north) it would always tend to revert to its original course in time of flood. The result of this constant flooding was the formation of a large mere, extending from the western end of the Gap as far north as Brampton, beyond which the east bank of the Trent was too high for the water to escape. The first syllable of Lindum no doubt represents the Celtic word, which was applied to this large sheet of water. Faint remains of it can still be seen in the small[37] pool of Brayford—just below the south gate of the lower city. The flood-water came through five openings in a low range of sandhills between Spaldford and Brampton; and the first work of the Roman engineers was to build banks across these openings, and so shut out the water of the Trent. The southernmost opening at Spaldford—the most dangerous because the highest up the valley—was closed by a bank from 12 to 15 feet high and a mile and a half in length.

Through the marsh which was left when the water disappeared the Romans constructed a navigable canal, now called the Fossdyke, between the Witham and the Trent. Its original course at the western end was, according to Stukeley, more direct than at present—joining the Trent not, as now, at Torksey, but about two miles farther south. From its bed was dredged up in 1774 a small bronze statue of Mars, with a Latin inscription. At Lincoln itself the Sincil Dyke, a drain of the “Slaker” type—to ease off the water in time of flood—was constructed connecting the upper and lower ends of the loop which is made by the Witham in order to pass through the Gap. These operations certainly took place at a very early period of the Roman occupation of Lincoln. For until they were made effective, it would be impossible to lay the line of the Foss Way between Lincoln and Leicester; and we know from a milestone discovered on that road three miles north of Leicester, and dedicated to Hadrian in A.D. 120 (when he was in Britain), that the eastern part of the Foss Way—doubtless the earliest made in order to connect Lincoln with Watling Street—was being laid down in the first quarter of the second century. In the valley below Lincoln, Ermine Street and the Foss Way, which were united for the crossing, traversed the marshes of the Gap on a pile-foundation.

But the chief anxiety of a Roman general, who would secure the submission or tranquillity of this part of Britain, must have been the condition of the Fen district along the lower reaches of the Witham, and beyond it to the south.[38] If the Coritani had to be subdued by force of arms, as we have supposed, their subjugation must have been a long business. Moreover, the Romans were experienced agriculturists, and must have guessed the value of the rich fenland east and south-east of their colony. On that side there was doubtless an even larger mere than on the west—caused partly by the flood-water which had overflowed the Gap, partly by streams from the high land of Kesteven; and this sheet of water must have risen considerably in height during the spring-tides. In this mere for many miles the stream of the Witham must have been barely discernible. Below it the district of Holland was a vast morass, liable to inundation both by the sea and by the rivers—then of much larger volume than now—which fell into the Wash. It is not likely that this district was largely settled by the natives before the Romans came, and the British antiquities found are few; but it was a natural refuge for the disaffected—as was shown later during the Danish and Norman invasions. Herodian says[19] of the campaign in Scotland in 209 that the Emperor Severus made passage for his troops over the fens, where, “from the frequent overflowing of the ocean, the inhabitants will swim and walk, though up to their middle in water.”

The engineering skill needed to cope with this situation was very great; and if proof be required that the Romans exercised it, the answer is sufficient that neither before nor for a thousand years after this period was there a central organisation strong enough to carry out such operations. The work had to be of two kinds—draining, to carry off the flood-water and void the rainfall coming from the high land, and embanking, to shut out the sea. In the former the Romans acted upon sound principles, which were often neglected in after times. They used the natural rivers as arterial drains, and led the subsidiary drains into them. History records that they executed similar works in other[39] parts of the Empire. The Pontine marshes and the Lombard valley of the Po were drained under the Republic. The Emperors Claudius and Hadrian began and completed a canal between the Fucine Lake and the Liris. In the Low Countries, Drusus, in 12 B.C., drew a channel connecting Lake Flevo (Zuyder Zee) and the Rhine; and in A.D. 47 Corbulo made a canal, twenty-three miles in length, between the Rhine and the Meuse. Eleven years later a project for uniting the Saone and the Moselle, and thus completing a waterway from the Mediterranean to the North Sea, was only not attempted from fear of the jealousy of Nero. If a full account was ever written of the Roman settlement of Britain, the operations now to be described must have filled a large place in it.

The present channel of the Witham from Lincoln to Boston is much too straight to have ever been the course of a natural stream. From Chapel Hill just below Dogdyke, where there was a tidal creek, the river was canalised to Boston as late as 1761; but there is no record in historical times of such an operation in the twenty miles from Lincoln to Dogdyke. In order to drain the lower mere described above, a channel was cut along the high land for that distance, and the upper waters of the river directed into it. In very early (perhaps in Roman) times there was another branch of the Witham due east from Dogdyke through the upper fen to Wainfleet, where it received the Steeping, and thence into the sea near Gibraltar Point. Very probably it was the draining of the district near Lincoln which hastened the silting up of this ancient channel. But at no time can it have been, as some have fancied,[20] the principal outfall of the river, for it is much farther from the sea, and could not have been tidal, like the other, for the whole distance.

The most remarkable monument of Roman engineering in the Fens is the catchwater drain called the Cardyke[40] (Brit. “fen-dyke”), which leaves the Witham at Washingborough about three miles from Lincoln, and then for eighteen miles takes a southerly course parallel to that river at distances varying from two to five miles from it. The primary object may have been to intercept the water of the numerous streams coming from the Kesteven uplands; but it was doubtless intended to be navigable, as its width at the water-level was 50 feet, and at its bottom 30 feet. On both sides was a raised bank, flattened at the top to serve the purpose of a road, and still in some places crowned with a modern road. In the parish of Heckington, nine miles due west of Boston, it makes a sharp turn to the south-west, and then skirts the western border of the Fen for over thirty miles, till, after a course of fifty-six miles, it joins the river Nene, half a mile south-east of Peterborough, and about five miles below the Roman town of Durobrivæ (Castor). In some parts the Cardyke has been obliterated, and in many it is now a mere ditch; but its whole course can be exactly traced, and for a few miles it is still used as a drain. The last eight miles are beyond the borders of our county; but within those borders Roman remains have been found in at least ten parishes through which it passes. No vestiges can be found of the seven forts alleged by Stukeley to have been raised along its course, but there is a camp at North Kyme, within a short distance. Even with the aid of forced labour—partly, perhaps, imported from the Continent—such a work must have taken many years to construct; and it may have been in progress during a great part of the century between Trajan and Severus (A.D. 100-210). Its long course, parallel to the canalised channel of the Witham, suggests that its northern portion was first undertaken to assist in draining the mere south-east of Lincoln. But when this object was accomplished, and the immense work was taken in hand of embanking the shores of the Wash, the canal would gradually be extended southward in order to provide an inland waterway past Lincoln, by the Fossdyke, the Trent, and the Ouse, to the northern capital at York.[41] This measure could hardly have been contemplated until the Holland Fen was sufficiently dry to admit of causeways being made across it into Lindsey on the north and Norfolk on the east.

The seabanks in Holland and East Lindsey, which are now called the “Roman Banks,” extend by a most circuitous route for about a hundred and fifty miles from Wisbech nearly to Grimsby. Tradition ascribes them to the Romans; and as their bases are deeply buried in silt, they are evidently of pre-Norman origin. Mr. Skertchly has estimated that at least eleven million tons of material must have been used in their construction. His collaborator, Mr. Miller,[21] suggests that this stupendous work may have been partly executed before the Roman invasion. But as this idea rests upon two very uncertain conjectures—(1) that the Coritani were Germans from the Low Countries with a knowledge of embanking, and (2) that they may have learnt engineering from the Greek colonies in Gaul, it may be dismissed as improbable. The tribal natives, whatever their state of civilisation, could hardly do more than provide a core of clay, upon which the banks of blown sand could gradually form. It has been well pointed out that the Roman Banks are not works of such a kind as could be carried out in portions, and spread over a number of years.[22] “The enclosure of a large tract covered by the spring-tides is a work that requires great vigour, and must be carried on continuously, or the earth put into the bank during one set of tides will be washed away again.” That is to say, it is a work which would require a strong, and even despotic, central authority. In the fen south of Boston there is a succession of about twenty tumuli, called the Fen Mounds, which are all within about three miles of the ancient banks, and some of which are called “toot” (or “look-out”) hills. They have been supposed to be British,[23] but only one of[42] this southern series is crowned with a circular entrenchment, and it seems much more likely that they were raised to protect the bankmakers from a surprise attack.

The Romans do not seem to have reaped much fruit from their labours, except perhaps in the complete pacification of the district. Holland affords but few traces of their settlement, except in pottery and coins found along the line of the banks, as at Holbeach, Fleet, Heckington, and Swineshead. There was an important oblong camp on the Witham at Redstone Gowt, about a furlong south of Boston, where remains have been found. Its importance was due to the two circumstances that here was a ferry in connection with the road called the Saltway into the Midlands, and that at this point a canal, now called the Old Hammond Beck, took over some of the Witham water due west round the end of Bicker Haven to Swineshead, and thence, taking a sharp curve, after a southerly course of thirteen miles, fell into the river Glen at Pinchbeck. This canal was here parallel to the Cardyke at distances of from four to six miles. It could not have been made until the seabank had been thrown up all round Bicker Haven to keep out the tides. The course of these banks show the enormous amount of land near the Wash—about 64,000 acres—that has since been gained by accretion. The Wash, called by Ptolemy “Metaris Æstuarium,” was a bay with an entrance some two miles narrower than at present, into which fell the waters of four tidal rivers—the Ouse, the Nene, the Welland, and the Witham. The Seabank, starting from Wisbech on the Nene estuary, proceeds north for about ten miles, and then curves round west to the Welland estuary below Spalding. But about eight miles farther south is another westerly bank, parallel to the first, from Cowbit to Tydd St. Mary. This bank, called “Ravenbank,” was probably used as a road from Ermine Street into Norfolk, and south of it, between the Welland and the Nene, are three entrenchments, a few miles apart, where Roman remains have been found. About Spalding, where the[43] Westlode—an ancient drain now filled up—fell into the Welland, the Seabank turns north to Surfleet, and then, running west, north, and east to encircle Bicker Haven, reaches the Witham at Redstone Gowt. From this point it can be traced north to Wainfleet, and thence, with intervals, to beyond the entrance to the Humber opposite Spurn Point. Its character varies considerably in different places. Between Boston and Skegness it often appears too broad to be artificial; but in general it is only a few yards wide, at an elevation of from 10 to 20 feet, and is frequently used as a modern road.

Some of these banks were doubtless used also by the Romans as roads, not for wheeled vehicles, but for pack horses in connection with the salt industry. The Romans were well acquainted with the manufacture of salt by evaporating sea water in pans or reservoirs prepared for the purpose. The flat coasts of Lincolnshire are especially favourable to this industry. Remains of such pans can still be detected on Bicker Haven, which is many miles from the present sea-shore; but the principal saltworks appear to have been at Wainfleet St. Mary, just outside the Roman Bank. If Ptolemy’s “Salinæ” is to be placed in Lincolnshire, as some suppose, no spot is so likely as Wainfleet. There was an ancient road into the Fen called the Saltway, or Bridge End Causeway, which crossed the Cardyke between Swaton and Bridge End. It is found on both sides of Bicker Haven, which must have been crossed by a ferry, and thence it points north-east through Frampton and Wyberton to Redstone Gowt and the Seabank beyond the Witham. If this be a Roman way—and remains found along its course in Kesteven seem to prove the fact—it probably belonged to the late Roman period, after the seabanks round the Wash had been completed. But the Wainfleet saltworks may have been developed much earlier, and the salt conveyed by road through Lindsey to Horncastle and Lincoln. Oysters were another commodity that could be procured from the Boston Deeps,[44] though they were not of so fine a quality as those from the Richborough beds, which delighted the epicures of Rome.

One immediate result of the draining and embanking of the Fens would be the more complete occupation of the forest or heath district of Kesteven. That district was intersected by two branches of Ermine Street, which both start from Castor, and may have united at Lincoln. The eastern branch, which enters the county at West Deeping and runs along the high land parallel to the Cardyke for over twenty miles, is the shorter in actual distance; but it was not the main route, and the branch-ways from it across the Fen indicate that it was the later in date. South of Bourn, where was a camp close to the Cardyke, it is known in parts as Langdyke, High Street, and King Street; between Bourn and Sleaford it is generally called Mareham Lane. There was a by-way from it at Morton, which has been traced to the western branch at Great Ponton; and at Threckingham it is crossed from the east by the Saltway just mentioned. On each side of the latter way, about four miles west of Threckingham, tessellated pavements have been found at Haceby and Aisby; and after crossing the western branch at Cold Harbour,[24] near Grantham, the Saltway passes south-west into Leicestershire. At a ford near Sleaford, where coins and much pottery indicate that there was some kind of station, the eastern branch is within six miles of the western at Ancaster; and there was doubtless a cross-road between them, as interments have been found at Rauceby and coins at Bully Wells.

Ancaster, on the western branch of the Ermine Street, is one of those sites which, from a military camp on a main southern route, rose to be a small town, with a population probably engaged in agriculture. It is now generally identified with Causennæ, the station next to Lincoln in[45] the fifth Iter of the Itinerary; but its distance from the colony is only fourteen miles instead of the twenty-six there given. No traces of walls are now visible above-ground, and even Leland, nearly four hundred years ago, spoke doubtfully as to their existence; but since his time their foundations have been met with on the north and west sides. The boundaries of the station, which was nearly square, and was surrounded by a fosse 50 feet wide and 10 feet deep, can still be distinctly seen; and it was defended at the corners by circular towers, the outlines of which on the north-west and south-east are well defined. The area enclosed is about six acres; and the course of Ermine Street, which intersects it, is near the western boundary. This suggests that the town was extended, before the erection of its walls, up the slope towards the east. Its position, on much lower ground than the heights around, was probably chosen partly to provide shelter from the bleak winds of the heath, partly for the sake of two springs which are close to its northern and southern limits. From a description of the place in 1579, it appears that pavements and “arches” had then been discovered within it; but a large part of the area, called the “Castle Close,” has long been under grass. It needs no practised eye to detect that there are foundations beneath the uneven turf, and systematic excavation might yield discoveries of much interest. An immense quantity of coins were found in Stukeley’s time not only within the area but about the surrounding hills. But the most remarkable object—unearthed in the churchyard in 1831—was a small sculptured group of the three Deæ Matres, seated in a sella carved upon a plinth, with a column and a little incense altar on the base in front of them. Statues of these “Protecting Mothers”—who were provincial rather than Roman deities—have been found at the Wall stations of Chester and Birdoswald; there, however, the figures are separate, and not ranged in a single sella. The cemetery of Causennæ seems to have been just outside the southern gate, while north of the village has been found a potter’s[46] kiln and a small milliary with an inscription to Constantine the Great. The latter was not on its original site, and its base had been broken off.[25] On a high hill in Honington, about two miles south-west of Ancaster, is a small British camp, with a triple vallum almost circular, enclosing about an acre and a quarter. This was doubtless occupied by the Romans, for two urns full of coins have been found within it. There was probably a cross-road west of Ancaster, communicating with the Foss Way at East Bridgford (Margidunum) in Nottinghamshire. Coins and pottery have been found at Foston and Allington along the direct line; and the Sewstern grass lane, locally supposed to be Roman, joins it from the south-east.

The eastern branch of Ermine Street can be traced for about four miles north of Sleaford, but its subsequent course is unknown. At or near Sleaford it threw off a branch-way, which passes through Ewerby and North Kyme (where it crosses the Cardyke), and points towards Tattershall and Horncastle. At North Kyme, where two bronze leaf-shaped swords have been found, is a small camp with a double vallum, and two more are on record in Tattershall Park. These entrenchments are in a position to protect the draining operations in the upper fen. Nine miles to the north is Horncastle (in mediæval documents always written Horncastre), which was a castellum, or walled fort, built in the angle (Saxon “Hyrn”) formed by two streams, the Bane and the Waring. The Celtic name of the chief stream is responsible for its identification with the “Banovallum” of the anonymous Ravennas. A few detached portions of the wall can still be seen, showing its area to have been about four and a half acres, with its longer sides (about 200 yards in length) on the north and south. The masonry is rude, but probably only the core remains, the facing-stones having been removed for building purposes in later ages. The only remains known to[47] have been found are coins, pottery, and some leaden coffins outside the walls. This fort may have been built in the first century if coins are any indication of date, for among a large number, covering the whole Roman period, about ten belong to that century. If so, it may have been purely military in origin—built in order to overawe the natives of the Southern Wolds, and so serving the same object as Caistor among those of the north.

But towards the end of the third century, when the Pax Romana had long been established, there arose a new enemy—the Saxon sea-rovers—against whom new measures had to be taken. The first British fleet, which was formed under the leadership of Carausius, had such success against them that its commander seized the supreme power, and for a time maintained the independence of the island. But after the continental Empire resumed its sway in A.D. 296, this fleet was allowed to melt away; and a new land organisation was established, described in the Notitia Imperii, which split up the military command into three divisions, and placed them under the Prætorian Præfect of Gaul. By this arrangement, which may have originated in Constantine’s jealousy of his subordinates, the military force was chiefly massed in the two districts most exposed to invasion—the northern province, under the Duke of the Britains, whose headquarters were at York, and the south-eastern littoral, under the Count of the Saxon Shore. The central and western parts of the island, being much less exposed to danger, were defended only by a few squadrons of cavalry under the Count of the Britains, who had no legion under his command. It has generally been assumed that the northern province was bounded on the south by the Humber.[26] But if the “Saxon Shore” ended, as seems likely, at the eastern side of the Wash, such a division would result in leaving a long stretch of Lincolnshire[48] Marsh, the flat shores of which were peculiarly exposed to invasion, outside the control of both the commanders, who had to defend the east coast. This district would thus be the “Achilles’ heel” of the whole system. Personally I am convinced that the northern province extended to the Wash, and that its southern boundary, which perhaps was ill-defined, was, roughly, the river Nene and Watling Street from High Cross (Venonæ) to Chester. It was essential for security that both banks of the Humber should be under one command; and it is hardly conceivable that Lincoln and York, whose connection by road and water was so intimate, were in different provinces. But though there was apparently no walled fortress on the hilly shore between the Tyne and the Humber, the exposed coast of Lindsey would naturally need some defence of the kind; and direct communication would, of course, be established between the northern province and the forces on the Saxon Shore.

Such communication, I believe, already existed before the Notitia system was set up. The Peddar’s Way, “one of the best preserved Roman roads in East Anglia,”[27] can be traced to-day for 45 miles from the borders of Suffolk (starting no doubt from Colchester) to Holme-on-Sea, at the eastern headland of the Wash. This spot is four miles west of Brancaster, the northernmost fort on the Saxon Shore, and the presumption therefore is that it was laid down before that fort was built. Pointing from the opposite promontory of the Wash (which would have to be crossed by a boat journey of perhaps ten miles) an undoubted Roman road passes by Burgh into the Wolds, and communicates directly through Caistor with the Humber, and by branch-ways with Lincoln and York. The town of Wainfleet (All Saints), some six miles west of this promontory, is often said to have been the Roman haven for the Lindsey coast; but it is singularly poor in Roman remains, and its supposed name of “Vainona” is an invention of[49] the eighteenth century. The road just mentioned is difficult to follow in the Marsh east of Burgh, but there are signs of it outside the Roman Bank west and south of Skegness. Here, according to tradition related by Leland, stood a walled haven town “with a castle,” which was destroyed by the sea not long before his time; and the shifting sandbanks of “The Knock” now covering it must have been the promontory which gave to Skegness its name. Mediæval documents mention the site of this “castle,” but are silent as to its owner; we may therefore infer that it was the ruins of a Roman castellum, which in other instances, both in our county and elsewhere, is called a “castle.” Such a conjecture is incapable of absolute proof; but as Peddar’s Way ends in no walled fort, there would naturally be one on the opposite coast. The coincidence is at least curious that the two Notitia forts of Branodunum (Brancaster) and Præsidium (which has been placed in our county) were both garrisoned by a body of Dalmatian cavalry, whose native shores were marshy tracts indented by deep bays.

Just beyond Burgh—where coins are found, though the station must have been small—the Lindsey road takes to the Wolds, and traverses the high ridge overlooking the Marsh, its straight course for five miles (two only on a modern road) being unmistakable. Coins and pottery have been found in the adjacent parishes of Welton, Willoughby, Well, and Claxby, in the last-named parish chiefly in a well-marked camp overhanging a stream, which here issues from the chalk. At the highest point in the district, where this “way” separates the parishes of Ulceby and Dexthorpe, there was some kind of station or “mansio,” roofed with flanged tiles, in a field where the plough annually turns up many coins and other remains. From South Ormsby the road follows the Blue Stone Heath Road (probably British in origin) along a winding ridge and through a camp, now scarcely traceable, below which, in Worlaby, have been found the walls of a building containing Samian pottery and a quantity of charred corn. Either here or at[50] Ulceby a branch-way may have left this road direct for Horncastle and Tillbridge Lane; its course is not certain, but cinerary urns have been found at Ashby Puerorum, about half-way. At Ludford the main “via” crosses Salters’ Lane from Lincoln, and becomes merged in the “High Street” from Horncastle for nine miles to Caistor, and beyond it for fifteen miles, by Yarborough Camp, to Barton or South Ferriby.[28] Near this road have been found tessellated pavements at Walesby, Claxby, and Bigby. At Barton there are remains of an earthwork called the “Castle Dike,” but much of it has been washed away by the Humber. Another road, long known as Barton “Street,” leaves the first about a mile south of this camp, and passes through or near to Louth; its subsequent course is uncertain, but there are various camps in the Marsh district which may have been connected by it.

Caistor, which stands on a tongue or spur half a mile west of “High Street,” is a very interesting spot. Its position is one of great strength, and suggests a British origin, as it has all the characteristics of a “promontory fortress.” It was surrounded by a wall, strengthened at intervals by turrets or bastions, one of which remains in ruins on the south side of the churchyard; there is also a considerable fragment of the western wall in the garden of Grove Cottage. The exact area of the station is difficult to estimate, as the north and east walls have disappeared; but it was perhaps ten or twelve acres. There are two fine springs issuing from the rock on the south side of the fortress. In the churchyard, which is entirely within the area, Roman coins and pottery are constantly found, but stone foundations seem absent, and the fine ornamental ware is scarce. In early records the site is often termed Than—or Thwang—Castre, probably from the tongue of[51] land on which it stands, and from this name Geoffrey of Monmouth ascribes its building[29] to Hengist, according to the legend by which that mythical chieftain encompassed an area granted him with “thongs” of ox-hide. The same story is told of other “Tong Castles” in Shropshire and Kent, and seems borrowed from Virgil’s account of the foundation of Carthage.

The occupation of our county by the Romans appears to have been more thorough than is sometimes supposed. Only in the north-west corner—the Isle of Axholme—which was then marshy and exposed to the Trent floods, are traces of their presence wanting. Much more doubtless remains to be discovered, for Eastern Lindsey is still comparatively unexplored. The district seems to have been, as now, largely agricultural; and the finding of over twenty villa sites in Kesteven and Lindsey indicates that the wealthier class of landowners resided on their estates. This circumstance points to a long period of peace, which may have lasted more than a century—from about A.D. 170. During that time the road system would be completed, and the industries of potters and saltworkers, so characteristic of our county, gradually developed. But a time came when the Pictish and Saxon marauders must have made great havoc in a district which had a long sea-front, and was but slightly protected by walled towns. In the year 368 these two sources of trouble united to overwhelm the province like an invading flood. The northern tribes broke across the Wall of Hadrian, and in concert with the sea-rovers, who had defeated and slain the Count of the Saxon Shore, advanced their plundering hosts to the very gates of London. By a series of victories, Theodosius, the ablest of the imperial generals, gave the province a short breathing-space. But the weight of taxation imposed by an over-centralised government was gradually crushing the[52] provincials; and discontent gave an opening for the revolt of various usurpers in the last days of the Roman rule. When the legions were finally withdrawn in A.D. 410, the country districts became unsafe. Traces of fire in the ruined villas of Scampton, Worlaby, and other places betray the work of a ruthless, uncivilised foe. The owners may have escaped to the towns, or even, if wealthy, have reached the Continent. But their industry was doomed, and many miles of cultivated land must have passed back into mere prairie. The banks and drains were neglected, and much of the fenland, so laboriously won, returned to its former flooded state. If we could recover the story of one large town, such as Lincoln, in the fifth and sixth centuries, many a dark problem would be solved. In the absence of such records, the withdrawal of the Roman legions and officials is like the ringing down of a thick curtain upon the drama of British history in the ancient world.



By A. Hamilton Thompson, M.A.

Lincolnshire is more rich than any other English county in churches which, if few are indisputably of a date earlier than the Norman conquest, retain traces of an architecture whose character at any rate is of a distinctly pre-Norman type. The county has nothing to show, it is true, of that early work, associated with the first century of Saxon and Anglian Christianity, which gives so unique an interest to the church architecture of certain districts in Kent and Northumbria. The neighbouring shire of Northampton possesses in Brixworth a monument whose importance overshadows that of Stow, and in Barnack and Earl’s Barton buildings which are, in point of detail, a match for Barton-on-Humber; while many who might hesitate to grant the pre-Conquest origin of Bracebridge, could hardly deny it to the Northamptonshire church of Wittering. The missionary visit of St. Paulinus has left but one trace, in the dedication to St. “Paul” of a church in Lincoln, of the connection of Lindsey with the religious life of Northumbria. That distinction on which Lincolnshire has prided itself, the possession of a Saxon cathedral at Stow, not hidden away in the foundations of a later building, but still in use as a parish church, begins to lose its value as the historical evidence on which it depends is more carefully examined. With the exception of Stow and St. Peter’s at Barton, the Saxon monuments of Lincolnshire are humble and unpretentious in character, without any very definitely architectural features; and he[54] would be a bold man who should assert positively, on the little evidence which we have to show for their date, that they were built in days of Saxon rule. Equally bold was the assertion of Professor Freeman with regard to the two towers in the southern suburb of Lincoln, that native workmen built them while the Minster was rising in the style of the conquerors on the hill above.[30] Such positiveness is rebuked by the discovery that this picturesque statement was founded on evidence referring to churches in a different part of the city.[31] Avoiding either extreme, we may say, in our present state of knowledge, that most of the so-called Saxon churches of Lincolnshire represent a late state of Saxon art, open to Norman influence, but preserving a distinctly national tradition. Some of these monuments are undoubtedly later than the Conquest: of others, and perhaps of the majority, it may be said that, though a post-Conquest date is possible, yet the character of the work is of a kind that might be expected rather before the Conquest than after, and belongs at any rate to a type of art prior to the general spread of Norman influence. Thus the epithet “Saxon” may fairly be given to such buildings, even though, in point of date, they may belong to the Norman period.

St. Peter’s Church, Barton-on-Humber.

Of the pre-Norman date of the lowest stages of the tower and of the western forebuilding of St. Peter’s at Barton-on-Humber there can be no doubt, as we shall presently see. And at Barton the chief point of interest comes into view, in which these churches are of most importance to the architectural student. At the end of the tenth century, a date which may perhaps be claimed without extravagance for the Barton church, the parish[55] church plan in England was a matter of experiment. The basilican plan with aisles had never been popular beyond a few larger churches: Lincolnshire does not furnish us with a single instance of the nave with aisles or of the apsidal sanctuary, which, with certain modifications, are features of some Saxon plans. The simple plan of aisleless nave and rectangular chancel, which had been adopted probably in most Saxon churches, had been complicated by the introduction of the tower into the scheme. The tower was for the present the uncertain factor whose place in the plan the Lincolnshire builders, and those of other counties with them, were trying to determine; and it is the position of the tower which gives Lincolnshire Saxon ground-plans their peculiar importance. We may be doubtful about the place of towers like Earl’s Barton and Barnack in the plan: they may have been merely western appendages to churches which have now been entirely replaced by later buildings, or they may have been the church itself, with its walls raised into a lofty tower, at once a place for bells and a look-out in time of danger. There can be no such doubt at Barton-on-Humber. In our own day the tower and its western annexe stand at the west end of a large late Gothic church; but, at a restoration in 1898, the foundations of an eastern annexe, very similar in size and shape to the western, were discovered, showing beyond all doubt that the tower formed the main body of the church, standing between a chancel and what may have been a baptistery—rooms for the altar and the font—of almost equal size. The tower was broader than its adjunct: two entrances remain, one on the north, the other on the south, opposite each other, and towards the western end of either wall. Mr. Hodgson Fowler, who discovered the foundations of the chancel, also discovered other foundations, presumably of Saxon date, to the east of the tower, which seem to suggest that a larger building with an elongated plan was in contemplation, but was superseded by a compact plan which[56] found itself centralised in the space allotted to the tower.[32]

A somewhat similar plan occurs at Broughton, a village some four miles west of Brigg, and close to the line of Roman road which led from Lincoln to the Humber. Here the fabric has none of those distinctively Saxon features which are found at Barton; it is almost certainly a work of later date. The eastern wall of the tower, as at Barton, has been absorbed in the breadth of an aisled nave of a later period; but the eastern quoins are still visible, continuing to the ground, and indicating that the tower was once broader than the portion of the building east of it. That this eastern building, moreover, was small, and that the bulk of the congregation occupied the space west of it, is suggested by the fact that, as in many later chancel arches, decorative treatment—too rude here to be taken very seriously as architectural membering, in spite of its efforts—is confined to the western face of the arch by which the chancel was approached from the tower-space. Here, then, we have once more the tower-space forming the main area for worship, with a small chancel to the east. At Broughton, however, instead of the corresponding western annexe which we find at Barton, there is a large three-quarter-circular projection, containing a newel staircase which leads to the belfry stage of the tower; and, instead of the two doorways at Barton, there is only one, this time in the south wall. The western projection at Broughton is often ridiculously called a western apse. It is, and always was, a turret for a staircase. Three other such turrets exist. One, at Brixworth in Northamptonshire, was added in front of an earlier western doorway, when the original porch of the basilican church was heightened into a tower. Another, at Brigstock in the same county, forms an integral part of a western tower with strongly Saxon features; its staircase was always[57] of wood, as may have been originally the case at Broughton.[33] The third instance is in Lincolnshire, at Hough-on-the-Hill, seven or eight miles north of Grantham. Here the stair turret is part of a western tower of more than probably pre-Conquest date, and of proportions as ample as those of Earl’s Barton; and one is tempted to discover a parallel to Broughton, and another quasi-parallel to Barton-on-Humber. But the face which the tower presents to the church behind it is singularly blank; and it remains to be seen whether there lie hid, beneath the plaster, quoins, like those at Broughton, to indicate the existence of a chancel whose foundations may still be buried beneath the western floor of the nave.

At Barton and Broughton, and possibly at Hough, we are face to face with a small compact plan—at Barton definitely centralised in the tower-space, at Broughton without the same centralisation, but with the main body of the church still gathered beneath the tower. In these cases, when we speak of the tower and the tower-space, we must regard the tower simply as an upward continuation of the body of the church. The congregation has not found shelter on the ground-floor of a tower: the tower is the upper storey or storeys of their church. However, in the two further instances of towers not western which Lincolnshire affords us, the tower-space must probably be regarded as a feature in the plan distinct from the main body of the building; it is not a church on which a tower has risen, but a space which is there because a tower forms a definite part of the design. Waith Church, a few miles south of Grimsby, is for the most part a modern Gothic building, with an entirely modern plan.[34] But between the chancel and nave,[58] and flanked by a south transept, rises a tower of a type very familiar to travellers in Lincolnshire, but here alone seen in a central position. Its position must always, however, have been between eastern and western out-buildings; for its eastern and western walls are pierced by low arches of equal height and width, very different in proportion from the ordinary western doorway and tower arch. There seems to have been no entrance in either of the side walls. In all probability, then, we have here, not a definitely centralised plan, but a tower-space intervening between a nave and chancel. Of the relative dimensions of these to the tower-space it is impossible to speak: we have no remains to guide us. Again, this tower may have been simply an elevation of the eastern portions of the nave walls, as in those cases to which the term “axial” has been given; or, as in some Norman churches, it may have projected north and south of the adjacent nave and chancel. In the last case, we should have the ground-plan of Barton-on-Humber, with its centralised character probably destroyed by the elongation of its western annexe. The nave and the tower-space become independent divisions of the plan.

St. Mary’s Church, Stow, looking East.

The Saxon church of Stow survives only in part; and to assert that the present fabric, which is largely of the later part of the eleventh and the earlier part of the twelfth century, is a rebuilding of the older church on its original scale, would be to assert what we do not know. However, the church was planned on a scale somewhat more imposing than was usual in Saxon times; and enough of the older work is left in the transepts to assure us that they, at any rate, covered their present site from the date of its foundation. Their length and general proportions postulate a nave to match; and we may assume, without much doubt, that the present Norman nave rose upon Saxon foundations. The chancel may have been enlarged to its present dimensions by Norman builders; this is, at least, more likely than that the Saxon chancel was equally spacious. The visitor to Stow about the time of the Conquest would have seen nave,[59] chancel, and transepts, as indeed the visitor to-day may see them, grouped round a central tower, which rose straight from the ground in their midst, independent of their buttressing aid. The quoins of the tower go down to the ground; the arches which connect the tower-space and the adjacent arms of the building are, as it were, piercings in the tower walls rather than the actual substructure on which the tower walls rested.[35] The tower-space at Stow is thus in some measure a central area, the focus of the plan; and a vivid imagination might conjure up in this instance the Barton-on-Humber plan reproduced on a larger scale, and converted into a Greek cross by the addition of transepts. But it is more probable that here, as at Waith, the tower-space is shifted slightly to one side of the centre of the plan, and, while keeping much of its dignity in the general scheme, is no longer the main body of the building.

In most English churches the most convenient plan from the earliest times has been the oblong nave and practically square chancel, divided by an arch which, to our modern ideas, has sometimes been inconveniently narrow, but without the intervening tower-space, which became in so many later churches an obstruction to the unity of worship in chancel and nave. We have seen Lincolnshire builders experimenting with that new-found addition to the plan, the tower, packing their nave into its ground-floor, trying what can be done with a central area, abandoning—we speak of probabilities—the complete symmetry of the centralised plan, and finally wedging the tower in between the arms of the building, as an effective focus for the church as seen in elevation. The difficulties, the inconvenience, the uncertain conditions, of centralised or quasi-centralised planning, are now in most cases abandoned: the builders frankly remove their tower-space to the west end of their plan. Upon it rises a bell-tower, which may on occasion[60] be used as a look-out tower in time of disturbance, or even—though this seems very doubtful—as a place of refuge for the inhabitants of the township. In most instances the tower-space will be entered by a western doorway, and will be the porch of the church, just as, at Brixworth or at Monkwearmouth, in other counties, the original porch has become the substructure of the tower. The porch will lead into the nave of the church, oblong and aisleless; and, in the east wall of the nave, an arch will give access to a small rectangular chancel. This is the normal Lincolnshire, and indeed the normal English plan; and this plan powerfully affects the architecture of the Norman and Gothic periods of English art. The centralised plan may survive in beautiful forms, and will always be the more interesting, owing to its greater capacity for variation; but the western tower of the Saxon period, and the elongated plan associated with it, will be the standard of planning congenial to the larger number of English masons.

It is unnecessary to particularise between the various churches of Saxon origin in Lincolnshire which have western towers. There are many, and the number may be stated rather variously. The present writer, excluding Hough and Broughton, which, as we have seen, may be treated more suitably with centralised plans, counts some thirty towers in part or wholly of the distinctively Saxon type.[36] Some of these, as he already has said, evidently were built at a date later than the Conquest. Of no one of them would he courageously assert, on the mere evidence of plan and details, that it was built actually and beyond doubt before the Conquest. But that they were built by the hands of Saxon workmen, and that they represent a definitely Saxon tradition, are hypotheses which, if they do not offer themselves to a very clear proof, may at any rate be enunciated as highly probable.


The consideration of the dimensions of these towers on plan may be left to the discussion of their relative dates, with which this chapter will conclude. Having noted variations of plan, we must now look at architectural details. Of those peculiarities of technique which are most readily recognised as Saxon, St. Peter’s, at Barton-on-Humber, is a nearly unique example in Lincolnshire, and its value is still higher, in that the upper stage of the tower presents features of a rather different kind, more typical of Lincolnshire, but less specially and exclusively Saxon than those of the lower stages. The tower is divided by two string-courses into three stages, the middle stage low and squat, the lowest stage much the tallest of the three, and subdivided into two parts, an upper and lower, by external decorative arcading. This subdivided stage represents the body of the church; the middle stage probably represents the original bell-chamber; and both these stages, together with the small western annexe, have definite “long-and-short” quoining. The “short” stones, as usual, back into the rubble-work, of which the tower is built; but their protruding faces are cut away flush with the rubble, and are hidden beneath the plaster which covers the whole surface of the tower. The decorative arcading, however, already alluded to, is formed by irregular strips of dressed stone projecting from the surface, the heads of which, formed by small horizontal impost-blocks, are connected in the lower stage by semicircular strips. On the crown of each of these rude arches rests the foot of one of the upright strips of the upper stage, which are connected similarly by strips of triangular form, the apices of which touch the under side of the string-course between the lower and the middle stage. The surface of the lower stage is thus cut up into two series of tall arcaded panels. The bottom part of one of the lower panels is pierced on the north and south sides of the tower by a doorway with rounded head. The upright, dividing two of the upper panels on each of these sides, is partly cut away to make room for a double window-opening[62] with rounded heads, the opening being divided by a small piece of wall faced, at the level of the outer wall, with a baluster-shaft. These windows lighted the body of the church, the inner roof of which came at this point. The middle stage keeps the “long-and-short” quoining, but the strip-work has here given place to an unpanelled plastered surface, broken only by a double window-opening, similar in construction to that in the stage below, but with triangular instead of semicircular heads. Like the middle stage of the tower, the western annexe of the church has no strip-work on its walls, but has “long-and-short” work at its angles. It is lighted by a semicircular-headed opening in each of the north and south walls, and in the west wall by two circular openings set one above the other. All these openings are splayed outwards as well as inwards. The eastern wall of the tower can be seen from the inside of the present church, with its “long-and-short” quoining perfect to the ground, and with breaks in the masonry where the eastern annexe originally joined it. The arch which pierces it on the ground-floor—the chancel arch of the Saxon church—is very plainly treated with dressed jambs, impost-blocks, and voussoirs, but without any moulding. In the wall above is a single opening of considerable width, with rounded head, rather massive jamb-stones, and thin, flat impost-blocks. Above this comes the double opening of the belfry stage, which would have stood clear of the roof of the Saxon chancel.[37]

Turning from these features of the original church walls, its western annexe, and its belfry stage, to the uppermost stage of the tower, we are met by a striking difference. We already have seen the strip-work of the lowest stage disappear. Here the “long-and-short” work is gone as well, and the quoining is of small oblong stones set on one another at right angles, so that each of the adjacent faces of the wall is in bond with every other of the quoins. The[63] window-openings are still double, and have rounded heads, but they are taller than those below, and are divided, not by slabs of wall with baluster facings, but by slender rounded shafts set in the middle of the thickness of the wall, with heads corbelled out so as to form rude capitals, and to support through-stone impost-blocks, corresponding to those at the head of the jambs on either side. Of the absence of splay, inner or outer, to the openings we can say nothing; the double splay has occurred only in the western annexe. But the disappearance of “long-and-short” work, that most unmistakable of purely Saxon details, and the introduction of a new type of double opening, are significant of a change of style which has come over the Saxon building art since the church and tower began to rise.

Thus, at Barton-on-Humber, we have two different types of Saxon work—that very peculiar form, with its tendency to panel decoration with strip-framing, which produces its highest decorative effect at Earl’s Barton, side by side with a more staid, less fantastic manner of building, which is without architectural ambition, uses decoration very sparingly, but can achieve very pleasant effects of proportion within its modest limits. This second style, as it may be called, is emphatically the style favoured by Lincolnshire builders. Of the first style, Barton-on-Humber is the only really conspicuous example in the county.[38] Strip-work decorations, not uncommon in the Saxon work of the South Midlands and South of England, of Mercia and Wessex, is quite the exception within the belt of Danish influence. It appears here and there as a kind of frame to arches and their jambs, or to the heads of window-openings. The best examples of its use in this connection anywhere in England are to be found in the jambs of the noble tower arches at Stow, where a semicircular shaft is carried down the face of the wall close to the angle of the jambs, and is[64] accompanied by a flat strip of stone at a few inches distance. Both shaft and strip are finished off by rough corbels a little above the floor level.[39] But Stow is an exceptional church. As a rule, we find the strip-frame retained purely as a flat hood-mould to doorways and windows, without a trace of that individuality of style which distinguishes it at Stow, and preserving a still more distant kinship to the work at Barton.

“Long-and-short” work pursues a more hardy existence. Quoining was necessary, and the “long-and-short” method was at once serviceable and fairly ornamental. So, while strip-work, a merely decorative arrangement of pilasters without constructive use, went its way, “long-and-short” quoining remained. We come across it chiefly at the angles of naves, which in several cases have been left almost untouched, when aisles of a later date have been added. St. Mary-le-Wigford and St. Peter-at-Gowts at Lincoln are cases in point. Bracebridge is an excellent example, for here all four angles of the nave can be traced. Cranwell, near Sleaford, and Ropsley, near Grantham, are other unmistakable instances. But here we must beware. The critic is too common who, assuming that a piece of wall is Saxon in character, immediately jumps to the conclusion that its quoining must be “long-and-short.” If the quoins are not arranged in a regular series of pieces alternately vertical and horizontal, then the work is not “long-and-short” work. If one or two stones thus arranged occur in the middle of irregular or of the common “small-stone” quoining, we are not justified in speaking of the fabric as showing “long-and-short” work. If the quoining shows a merely rough general resemblance to the “long-and-short” arrangement, it is[65] not “long-and-short” work, but work of a quite haphazard type.

This brings us to one of the leading features which distinguish the towers so characteristic of Saxon work in Lincolnshire. We may study their angles to our heart’s content, and discover “long-and-short” work with the eye of faith, but we shall actually see it in only one instance, and there in the jambs of a western doorway of the tower, rather than in the quoining of the tower itself. In this instance, at Rothwell, near Caistor, the south-west quoining of the adjacent church has been left standing, like a small rectangular buttress, against the junction of the twelfth century nave and south aisle. It is formed of irregular stones, but such “long-and-short” work as there is, is confined to the tower. This is an exception. At the Lincoln churches and Bracebridge, where we have noticed “long-and-short” quoining at the nave angles, the quoining of the tower is of small stones; and this is universally the case. If we go northwards, by Marton, Heapham, Springthorpe, Corringham, Harpswell, and Glentworth, to Winterton and Alkborough; if we cross the Ancholme to Worlaby, and then go by Barton-on-Humber to Clee, Scartho, Holton-le-Clay, Waith, and Laceby; if we traverse the Wolds by Swallow, Cuxwold, Rothwell, and Cabourn to Caistor and Nettleton, and, descending by way of Hainton to Lincoln, make our way along the South Cliff to Branston, Harmston, and Coleby; if we go as far south as Boothby Pagnell, Little Bytham, and Thurlby-by-Bourn, and finish our journey in the midst of the parts of Holland at Great Hale, the only genuine piece of “long-and-short” work we shall have found in a western tower is that at Rothwell. It is true that this journey will have included more than one doubtful member of the family, and some of its genuine members which have lost, under the hand of the restorer, most of their appearance of age; but its result will be the establishment of the general rule that the Saxon tower-builder in[66] Lincolnshire did not avail himself of the “long-and-short” method of quoining.

It will hardly need this journey to be convinced of his preference for the double window-opening, divided by the mid-wall shaft. This declares itself patently in the well-known towers at Lincoln; and all the towers mentioned above still have, or probably have had, such windows. Sometimes, as at Nettleton or Coleby, the belfry stage has been entirely renewed in the later Gothic period. Sometimes, as at Winterton or Alkborough, the tower has simply been heightened, and the Saxon belfry stage has become an intermediate storey. Sometimes, as at Cuxwold, the top of the tower has been lopped off altogether, or, as at Swallow, has been replaced by a modern stage in a rather incongruous style. In every case the original existence of the “mid-wall shaft” window cannot be reasonably doubted. The form of such openings as remain is very much the same. Its main outlines have been seen in the uppermost stage of the tower at Barton: two adjacent openings, with dressed jambs and voussoirs flush with the general surface of the wall, with rounded arches springing from through-stone impost-blocks, and received at their meeting by another such block, which rests on the mid-wall shaft itself. These openings pierce the wall without any splay. They have no strip-framing, and seldom, if ever, any attempt at hood-moulding. Although, as has been hinted, some beauty of form may be claimed for them, they are as simply constructed a type of arched opening as could well be devised. Their proportions are sometimes rather elegant; and, when they are set round a small upper stage, divided by a projecting string-course or off-set from the unbuttressed and sometimes slightly tapering length of the lower stage, their effect is always striking.

The architectural value of these towers, so simple in their principles of construction, so insignificant in their height, is less than their historical interest. Saxon builders[67] had little architectural knowledge or skill; and buildings like Stow impress us more by their height and mass of wall than by any very striking architectural feature. The work at Barton-on-Humber is curious and interesting building: it is not architecture. In the Lincolnshire towers, a step is taken in the right direction by the avoidance of merely decorative surface-ornament. The tower asks for judgment on its own merits. Where it is divided by offsets into two or three stages, the result is satisfactory; although, if the belfry stage is of much the same area as the stage below, the tower looks top-heavy. This certainly is the case of St. Mary-le-Wigford. At St. Peter-at-Gowts, a small upper stage is set firmly and squarely upon a long and tapering lower one; and there is no finer tower in the whole series. The third type, where there is no off-set—the much-restored tower of Springthorpe is now, if it was not always, in this state—is merely insignificant.

The treatment of openings in these towers, other than the mid-wall shaft windows, is open to few variations. Western doorways are low and narrow: large stones are used in the jambs; and, though the heads are arched, the actual opening is covered by a flat lintel. The roughest of these openings is in the tower at Winterton, where the head of the doorway is formed by a huge stone, cut with a segmental curve on its under side to give the effect of an arch. Flat rectangular hood-mouldings of small projection sometimes follow the curve of the doorway arch and meet the extreme edge of the impost-block. At Clee, one of the best towers of the group, such a hood-moulding bounds a doorway head of two orders of voussoirs, the lower slightly recessed beneath the upper; but such refinements are rare. A similar recessing of a lower band of voussoirs occurs in the tower arches at Clee and Scartho, but in no case is it accompanied by any attempt at moulding the arch or recessing the jambs to match. An edge-roll was worked very tentatively at Nettleton along part of an unmoulded tower-arch, but was abandoned when about[68] half completed. An ambitious and unique attempt at recessing, in the chancel arch at Broughton (now the arch from the tower into the nave), remains as a monument of the failure of the Saxon mason in his search for means of architectural expression. Both orders of the arch spring from an undivided impost-block, and the shafts, which should bear, and are intended to correspond to, the inner order, are stranded on either side of the back of the opening, with their heads left bare and their function denied them. As a rule, in doorways and tower arches, the mason was content with a plain unmoulded arch, springing from projecting impost-blocks on the top of jambs, the dressings of which are simply the quoins of a rubble wall. He varied the proportions of his tower arches, giving them great height, breadth, and dignity at St. Peter-at-Gowts, building them tall and narrow at Clee, Scartho, and Holton-le-Clay, or with rather less elevation and rather more breadth at Rothwell and Cabourn, frequently allowing them, as at Cuxwold or Alkborough, to remain low and rather broad in proportion. These variations of the tower arch constitute one of the most interesting features of this type of building: they introduce an element of individual design, and the loftier form of arch often produces by its mere size an effect which is not due to any obvious architectural virtue.

The lesser windows of the towers are usually small and narrow, with an inner splay. Their outer openings are often flanked by very large dressed stones: their rounded heads are seldom arched—there is a good arched window head in the south wall of the tower at Coleby—but are more often cut in the under side of a lintel; and sometimes this cut, exceeding a semicircle, produces the “key-hole” form of opening. At Rothwell there is in each wall of the tower, below the “mid-wall” windows, a small rectangular opening with a wide inner splay: a somewhat similar opening pierces the wall above the west door at Nettleton.

In the masonry of these towers two striking features[69] are apparent. One is the disappearance of that “through-stone” treatment of dressed masonry, which is an undoubted characteristic of early Saxon work. A little doorway in the west wall of the north transept at Stow has voussoirs and jamb-stones, each of which faces the whole thickness of the wall. But the jambs below the tower arches are faced with double or triple, not single stones. And while it is rare to find a tower arch or doorway of this style formed of a core of rubble between facings of dressed stone, yet there are few in which the facing stones do not become less closely set together, and wide rubble fillings do not take the place of neat and close jointing. The other feature is the appearance of “herring-bone” masonry. This may be seen in some profusion at Broughton, and in a striking and unusual form at Marton; and, although it is not general, it occurs in other places.

Modifications in the tower plan are almost confined to an increase of dimensions which, in some members of the group—notably Caistor—is rather remarkable. One tower alone—Great Hale—introduces a newel staircase into an angle of the fabric; and this is almost absurdly unsuited to the probable size of those who had to climb it. We have seen that, at Hough and Broughton, nearly circular excrescences were formed to hold stairs on the west side of the towers. As a rule, we may believe that the upper floors of the towers were approached by ladders. It may be noted that in Lincolnshire there are very few of those openings above the tower arch, which are often quoted to prove the use of the tower as a place of habitation, and probably led to a landing and wooden stair communicating with the interior of the church. There are such, as at St. Peter-at-Gowts, Winterton, and Broughton; but they are exceptional, and the probable plan of Broughton makes it possible that, as at Barton-on-Humber, the opening was merely a piercing in the wall between nave and chancel.


But if there is little variation in plan, there is, as has been noted, even in the simplest towers, some degree of variation in detail. There are cases, moreover, in which the tendency to variation takes the direction of increased ornamental treatment. Instances are quite common in which the heads of the mid-wall shafts, bulging to support their impost-blocks, have been carved into the form of capitals—plain cubical or cushion-blocks, as at Winterton or Clee; rough suggestions of classical volutes and foliage, as at Glentworth or Scartho; varied forms of fruit and leafage, as at Bracebridge; or delicate and cleverly cut relief work, as at St. Peter-at-Gowts. And these capitals are not the only features which show the tendency. At Alkborough ornamental material has been transferred from some deserted Roman villa in the neighbourhood: a cornice from an entablature has been cut up, used as imposts, and turned upside down to form plinths for the jambs of the tower arch. But at Branston, south of Lincoln, the builders have not borrowed ornament. Like the masons at Broughton with their abortive recessed arch, they have tried to copy what they have heard of, what some of them at any rate have seen, and have covered the lower part of the west wall of their tower with arcaded panelling, with rounded arches and cushion capitals. This, and the central doorway with shafting and rudely foliated capitals, have been inspired from a source quite distinct from that which brought into being the strip-work panelling of Barton-on-Humber.

We are at once impelled to ask what this source is. And this question brings us to the consideration of two final questions, which are complementary to one another. What influences from the Christian architecture of other countries were felt by Lincolnshire masons? Is there any element of progress to be traced in the Saxon buildings of the county? In short, to combine the two questions into one, can any chronological sequence be traced in these buildings, by comparing them with the work of Romanesque builders in other countries?


We already have allowed the term “Saxon” to them, on the understanding that a pre-Conquest date is not implied thereby, but merely the fact that their style is different from that of buildings to which we give the term “Norman.” It may also be premised that, in considering their relative date, we have to deal cautiously and tentatively with a series of probabilities. We must also put legend aside. A hardy tradition, resting on no authentic basis, but engraved on a brass tablet within the church, points to certain traces of fire in the church of Stow as evidence of its burning by the Danes in 870. If this were true, and if the lower walls of the tower, as they exist to-day, were the tower walls of the Saxon cathedral of Sidnaceaster, we should be able to point to a church of the ninth century, if not earlier, which would probably have supplied an architectural standard to the diocese. However, we have nothing but the size of the church and an unfounded, if time-honoured, assumption to give it claim to cathedral rank. The very name of Sidnaceaster was probably invented in post-Conquest times, by some one who misread the signature of one of the bishops of Lindsey to the decrees of a Saxon council.[40] And, finally, the authentic history of the church of Stow does not begin till about the year 1040, when Eadnoth, Bishop of Dorchester, with the powerful assistance of Earl Leofric and his wife Godiva, set a band of religious men on the site hallowed by memories of the miraculous sojourn of St. Etheldreda on her flight from York to Ely. All that[72] lies behind 1040 in connection with this church is pure romance. When Bishop Rémi later in the century restored St. Mary’s Minster at Stow, what he probably did was to complete Eadnoth’s ambitious beginnings, on a worthy scale, out of reverence for St. Etheldreda, and not out of sentimental feeling for an old cathedral church which he had superseded for all time by his new church at Lincoln. If a small archdeaconry in the Norman diocese of Lincoln, corresponding to the original district of Lindsey, took its name from Stow, we must not consider this as admitting the old cathedral dignity of Stow. The size of Eadnoth’s and Rémi’s church made it the most prominent building in the archdeaconry: no more convenient or suitable name could be supplied to the district.[41]

1040, then, is a recognised date to which we can refer the earliest work at Stow. We know, too, that a church was founded at Alkborough in 1052, and the work in the western tower there, with its triangular-headed belfry windows, may be claimed for that date or not long after. These are practically the only two pieces of dated evidence on which we can rely, for we have already seen that the evidence as to Coleswegen’s churches at Lincoln does not apply to existing buildings.[42] Stow, as we have seen, retains strip-framing to the tower jambs on a large scale: “long-and-short” work occurs in the north transept doorway and in the jambs of a window opening in the south transept: through-stone masonry is used in the north transept doorway, but abandoned in the tower arch jambs. Alkborough has none of these characteristics. We are thus at liberty to assume a gradual cessation of purely Saxon technique between 1040 and 1052.

Further, at Barton-on-Humber, although we have no[73] documentary evidence to guide us, it is obvious that the tower is of two styles. The uppermost stage forms an addition to the original design in a somewhat more simple style. An interval of date between the stages is certain: the length of that interval would be hard to ascertain. But the fantastic strip-panelling and “long-and-short” work of the lower stages of the tower belong to the height of a fashion in architecture which is seen gradually disappearing at Stow. The strip-framing and “long-and-short” work at Stow are of a different and less purely decorative type: we are not surprised when in the upper stage of the tower at Barton, or in the tower at Alkborough, they disappear altogether. So far, then, this statement of progress is justifiable. The lower stages of the tower at Barton are obviously earlier than the upper stage. The upper stage has affinities of detail with the tower at Alkborough, and clearly belongs to much the same or a slightly later period. The tower at Alkborough is at least twelve years later than the only trustworthy date for the early work at Stow. And, as we have just seen, the work at Stow, in its selection and treatment of elements which had been used at Barton in careless profusion, is probably later in date than the earlier portion of Barton. With Barton may be grouped, from the character of its “long-and-short” quoining and the window-openings of its stair turret, the interesting tower at Hough-on-the-Hill. With Stow we may group, at any rate provisionally, those fabrics which have “long-and-short” quoining of a substantial type, flush with the surface of the wall, instead of projecting in rather thin strips beyond it—this will include, as we have noticed, some naves of churches. With Alkborough and the upper stage at Barton can be combined church towers generally, Hough alone excepted, and work of a partly Saxon character, like that at Stragglethorpe, not far from Hough. The “long-and-short” work in Rothwell tower is so small in quantity that it can hardly be treated as an exception to the third group.


Professor Baldwin Brown, in his valuable monograph on Saxon ecclesiastical architecture, has provided strong arguments for the influence of Teutonic Romanesque architecture on our Saxon builders.[43] It has long been the fashion to suppose that the decorative detail at Barton-on-Humber and other kindred churches is an imitation of timber construction in stone; the rudeness of treatment makes the supposition excusable. But we can hardly grant that Saxon builders could have imitated a system of construction which was not at any rate general till a much later date; and it is much more likely that the work at Barton is copied roughly and clumsily from a type of decorative work which, in the tenth and early eleventh centuries, was common in the Rhenish provinces and in the districts of Northern Italy architecturally related to them. It is unquestionable that the double opening with mid-wall shaft found its origin in the same provinces. Northern Italy doubtless exercised its influence on Germany; Germany, in turn, influenced the Saxon masons. In three other cases at least German influence is more than probable. It is certainly responsible for the double-splayed window-opening; it probably affected the simple type of capital which was developed into the cushion capital of later days; the unfaced rubble masonry and thin walling of Saxon churches are found commonly in early Romanesque German churches, and are the antithesis of the faced rubble and thick walling of Normandy and the Romanesque buildings of France; while the position of the western tower in the Saxon plan is a further German feature.

On the details of English intercourse with Germany it is unnecessary to dwell. There is plenty of evidence to show that a close connection existed between the two countries, which cannot but have had influence on the progress of art in England. That progress must have been practically at a standstill during the long epoch of Danish invasion. The[75] date at which we may most reasonably expect an architectural revival to be general is that period, the last thirty to forty years of the tenth century, when so many monasteries were rebuilt or newly founded, and the monastic life re-established. This revival was strongly influenced by the monasteries of the Netherlands, which lay in the direct current of architectural progress between Germany proper and England. To this date at earliest, then, may be assigned the earliest parts of the church at Barton-on-Humber, and possibly the tower at Hough. We cannot go further back without deserting probability. At the same time, if we limit this work to the latter half of the tenth century on the one hand, we are not precluded from allowing that it may be later. Barton-on-Humber lay in the very path of the Danish invaders who established their power in England between 1002 and 1014. The base of operations of the heathen Swegen was at Gainsborough; there he died, and there he was said, though wrongly, to have been buried. The older parts of the church at Barton show no sign of the ruin which we might expect to have thus befallen them. Perhaps the church was left roofless by Swegen, but restored and completed, with the upper stage added to the tower, towards the middle or after the middle of the eleventh century. But it is also equally probable that the whole lower structure may be a rebuilding under the Christian Canute of a church ruined by his father; and that, after an intermediate stage in which the church may have taken the form shown by Professor Baldwin Brown, the tower was heightened by a storey.

The oldest Saxon fabrics in Lincolnshire need not, therefore, be earlier than the eleventh century. It will be noticed that of these Barton gives us a centralised plan, while Hough presents a plan which certainly is not in keeping with that of the usual western tower. The head of the second group, Stow, is another experiment in “central” planning. The remaining anomalies of plan, Broughton and Waith, belong, in the matter of technique, to the third group, in which the[76] western tower predominates overwhelmingly. The German features of the third group already have been described. But they are less marked than those of earlier groups, and the buildings are open to influences, especially decorative influences, of quite another kind.

Towers like those of St. Mary-le-Wigford and St. Peter-at-Gowts, or of Bracebridge, may be regarded, on the strength of their different quoining and their lack of any bond with the fabric behind, as final additions to churches which, in point of date, we have provisionally classified with Stow. Not infrequently, the tower and church were built together without afterthought, as at Winterton, where the ends of the nave walls still remain in bond with the tower, enclosed within the spacious church of the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries. If we attempt to classify these towers chronologically, however, we may try several standards. The relative height and width of the tower arch affords no criterion; this seems to be varied at the fancy of local masons. Again, rude attempts at moulding, like that at Nettleton, tell us nothing; the moulded tower arch at Corringham is so out of keeping with the tower itself that it can hardly be part of the original design; the wide arch at Harmston is clearly a reconstruction achieved comparatively late in the twelfth century. But the absence of through-stone masonry, the approach to the system of rubble core and dressed facing, indicate a growing assimilation to “Norman” methods. The tower at Waith has a facing of rough ashlar, which is found in no other Lincolnshire tower of the type. Another tell-tale sign is the appearance of herring-bone work, which Norman builders used freely in the walling of their earlier castles, and builders of the pre-Conquest period certainly used little, if at all. The “herring-bone” masonry of the tower at Marton is identical in style with that in the curtain-wall of Tamworth Castle.

Can these novelties have come into use before the Conquest? If so, we must presuppose a growing acquaintance[77] with building methods as pursued in Normandy. This is not improbable. Norman influence was felt in English life during the reign of Edward the Confessor,[44] and imitations of Norman, as at an earlier date of German, technique are not beyond reasonable imagination. But it must be acknowledged that, while we are fain to discover the germ of Anglo-Norman art in these simple monuments, the constructive, purely architectural quality, which is the essence of that art as manifested at Durham or in the west front of Lincoln, is totally absent from them. That essential quality is not a home growth, but a foreign importation. The chief element of structural transition in these towers is to be found in their growing spaciousness. Areas which are on an average oblongs of some 10 feet 5 inches long by 10 feet 8 inches broad grow at Caistor to 15½ by 17½ feet, and at Harpswell to about 15 by 16 feet. With the growth of the area the wall thickens, thus affording a contrast to towers like Hough, where the large area is enclosed by thin walls. The eastern wall of the tower at Alkborough is less than 2½ feet thick; the average thickness of such walls is about 3 feet 7 inches. At Caistor the wall is 5¾ feet thick. One cannot fail to recognise that the slender tower of Saxon type, while keeping its unbuttressed character and its “mid-wall” arches, is spreading out into the ordinary broad and heavy Norman tower.

In the capitals of the mid-wall shafts a decided step is being taken in the same direction. The plain “cubical” type may be regarded as following a course of natural development at home which found conspicuous perfection in the architecture of the Norman period. But in other examples, and those fairly numerous, the end aimed at is[78] clearly that reminiscence of the Corinthian capital which is familiar to those who have visited the abbey churches at Caen, with its upper volutes and its lower band of acanthus. The best examples of this are at Scartho and at St. Peter-at-Gowts, where the effort, if somewhat crude, is still to some extent achieved. The effort is again seen in the capitals at Great Hale, in which the general outline is that of the “cubical” cap, with volutes carved on the flat upper part, and the carved under surface reeded so as to give a suggestion of the band of acanthus. At Bracebridge, again, in capitals of the “cubical” type, volutes and rather unusual forms of conventional foliage appear; and in other cases, as at Glentworth, the volute is used without much skill, but with some variety of design. The unfinished form in which the sculpture is sometimes left suggests forcibly that it was added after the capitals were in position. Indeed, if this were not the case, defenders of the pre-Conquest date of these towers would have to give up their position altogether. Unless we imagine that English artists used their memories to reproduce classical capitals which few of them are likely to have seen, we cannot imagine these capitals coming into existence otherwise than under Norman influence, and Norman influence after the Conquest. The most successful imitations of early Norman capitals are at Harpswell, where, as we have observed, the measurements of the tower are of a Norman and not of a Saxon type. At Caistor, unfortunately, the original belfry windows are gone, so that we cannot form any judgment as to the character of their capitals.

St. Margaret’s Church Tower, Marton (before Restoration).

When any attempt, then, is made to demonstrate the transitional character of these towers, to form them into a link between Saxon and Norman work, we may acknowledge at once that they have an abiding influence on the plan of the parish church. Were it not for the tradition handed down from the Saxon period, the towers of Boston, Grantham, Louth, or Heckington might be in all kinds of different situations with regard to their respective churches. But of[79] influence upon Anglo-Norman construction, upon architecture properly speaking, they had none. There is no seed in them of that marvellous development of stone vaulting which, under Norman hands in England, was to set in motion the full artistic energy of the Middle Ages. If, again, we look at the lesser matter of architectural detail, we must confess that the appearance of detail of a semi-Norman kind in them shows little capacity for shaping foreign ornament and adapting it to individual ends. All that we see is inaccurate copying. The life, the independence of thought and aim, the power of adaptation, the force of structural genius, which characterise the works of a transitional period, are all to seek. Yet, in spite of these drawbacks, on which men enlightened by contact with Norman art cannot have been slow to comment, the survival of the Saxon type of tower in Lincolnshire till quite late in the Norman period is a remarkable fact. The tower of Branston Church is of the traditional Saxon form and of much the usual Saxon proportions. The arcades in its western face on either side of the main entrance have unmoulded arches flush with the rubble surface of the tower, small shafts standing on high plinths of ashlar work which form the surface of the lowest five or six feet of the wall, and double cushion-caps, such as occur in more than one Lincolnshire tower. So far the workman does not commit himself as to the date of his work: its character is not inconceivably that which a mason more skilled than usual might have given to his work before the Conquest. But the high archway of the intervening entrance, with its edge-roll, its lesser mouldings, and its hood, its jamb-shafts with their voluted capitals, is unmistakably a copy—rough, but not inaccurate—of the lesser archways which flank the western doorways of the Norman west front at Lincoln, and occur again on the returned sides of the Norman wall. This doorway is no insertion: it is the builder’s chosen enrichment to his tower. No one will presume to argue that Rémi’s masons at Lincoln went for the model of their[80] archways to a clever piece of work which some local artist had achieved at a small local church; and, this argument apart, the earliest date for the tower at Branston must be about 1092. Possibly after this date few towers of such slender and pronounced Saxon proportions were built in Lincolnshire, but the old form persisted. The western tower of Boothby Pagnell cannot, in its present condition, have been built before 1150: it is probably some years later. Like Caistor and Harpswell, it is broad in dimensions, and the walls are thick; but it keeps the unbuttressed form, and the window with mid-wall shaft. This late survival of a type of building which has impressed its features but little on subsequent forms of architecture testifies to its close association with the life of the county, and to the reluctance of the masons to abandon a feature which was a familiar sign of the religious activity of the countryside.



By C. Hodgson Fowler, F.S.A.

Within a few hundred yards of the line of the outside wall of the once-important Cistercian Abbey of Kirkstead, founded in 1139, stands an extremely beautiful chapel of the purest Early English work, the special use of which is not known, but which was probably for the use of pilgrims to the Abbey and was probably served from it.

It now stands solitary and desolate, greatly out of repair, with its north and south walls much out of the perpendicular, and its vaulting consequently twisted and its beautiful lines disturbed.

That the settlement of its walls is not all of recent date is shown by the heavy fifteenth or sixteenth century buttress built against its north wall, but undoubtedly its dilapidation has seriously increased of late years.

The chapel is a simple oblong in plan, measuring inside the walls 43 feet 6 inches in length by 19 feet 6 inches in width, with side walls 2 feet 8 inches, and east and west walls about 3 feet 2 inches thick.

It is divided on plan into three bays by vaulting inside and by buttresses outside; and divided horizontally in two parts by strings running round the building externally and internally. The height from the floor to the inside string is 6 feet, and from the floor to the crown of the vaulting 21 feet.

Both east and west gables have been taken down, and the whole building is now covered by a low-pitched roof hipped at each end, with a poor modern bell-cote of perhaps about the beginning of the eighteenth century.


At the east end is a triplet of unequal lancets, with well-moulded arches internally and double-shafted jambs, the shafts having carved caps and well-moulded bases, the outer shafts also being banded. The centre light is 8 feet 9 inches high and 1 foot 2 inches wide, the side ones being 7 feet high and 9 inches wide.

The exterior of the west end is extremely effective, a richly moulded doorway under the outer string, which is here raised to a height of 11 feet 10 inches, having above it a very well designed composition of three arches, all well moulded, the outer two being blank and the centre one containing a deeply-recessed vesica window about 5 feet 2 inches high and 2 feet 6 inches in diameter.

The two side walls have each six lancets, each about 8 feet high and 9 inches wide, all with shafted jambs internally having carved caps and moulded bases, but plain splayed arches.

Near the west end of the north wall is a second doorway—now walled up—and in the north-west angle a doorway leading into a stair turret.

The vaulting is quadripartite in the centre and western bays, but sexpartite in the eastern one. The ribs spring from carved and moulded corbels, themselves springing from the string round the building. The vaulting ribs are about 9 inches thick, well moulded with a centre and two side rolls and deep hollows between, the transom ribs having the hollows filled with acutely pointed dog-tooth moulding, the diagonal ribs being without it. The springing of these ribs is about 10 inches above the corbels. There is no ridge rib, but there are well-carved bosses at the intersection of the diagonal ribs, the centre and western ones being all foliage, the eastern one foliage, with the Agnus Dei in the centre.

Externally the building is divided into bays by rather flat buttresses of about 1 foot 6 inches projection, running up into a corbel table on the two side walls. The corbels are simply chamfered, and carry an equally simple cornice.


At the north-west angle the two buttresses are of rather greater projection and of considerable width, giving space inside them for the staircase mentioned before.

The west doorway is an excellent example of good Lincolnshire thirteenth-century work, the arches well moulded and enriched with dog-tooth, the jambs having one attached and two detached shafts with well-carved capitals.

The carving of these and all the other capitals in the chapel is of the stiff “celery” stalk foliage so common in Lincolnshire work, and all, equally with the mouldings, refined and evidently the work of high-class masons and carvers.

Internally there are no ancient features beyond those already mentioned, except a very simple triangular-headed piscina in the eastern bay of the south wall. The projecting part of its basin has been broken off, but two grooves for a wooden shelf remain.

The chapel, being a donative without restriction, was used as a Presbyterian chapel from 1720 to 1812, and was then filled up with pews, and a pulpit of Jacobean character, apparently previously in the chapel, was erected in front of the east window.

Most fortunately, however, in thus fitting up the chapel, the joiner incorporated in the pews two pieces of an Early English screen, of an exceedingly interesting description, and which no doubt originally cut off the eastern bay from the body of the chapel. These two pieces are each about 6 feet long, and consist of an open arcade, the upper part of the screen, each having six trefoil-headed openings, the heads being cut out of boards only ⅞ inch thick and rudely pinned on to uprights 2⅞ inches square worked into octagonal shafts 1¾ inch in diameter, with moulded caps and bases. The whole work is somewhat rude in execution, but is an extremely valuable specimen of early woodwork.

The only other object of interest in the chapel is an effigy of Purbeck marble of a knight, now set up against[84] the south wall. This is thought to represent Robert, the second Lord Tattershall, who died c. 1212. He is in a hauberk of banded mail, the earliest of the five known examples, and wears the cylindrical helmet, with convex top, having two bands crossing in front.

For many of these particulars I am indebted to drawings by Mr. J. Nixon and Mr. A. Hartshorne in the Spring Garden Sketch Book.



By W. E. Foster, F.S.A.

In no part of Lincolnshire—a county famous for its ecclesiastical buildings—can so interesting a group of churches be found as that between Pinchbeck and Sutton St. Mary—a distance of about fifteen miles.

First we have the village church of Pinchbeck, next the Church of St. Mary and St. Nicholas, Spalding—always the church of the town; then the interesting village church of St. Mary’s, Weston; then within a mile the village church of All Saints, Moulton; then within another mile the village church of St. Mary’s, Whaplode; then we have the beautiful Church of All Saints, Holbeach, always a town church; then we have the two village churches of Fleet and St. Mary’s, Gedney; and lastly, the interesting town church of Sutton St. Mary.

Any stranger visiting the district must be struck with the size and magnificence of the village churches of Pinchbeck, Moulton, Whaplode, and Gedney, which have always been out of all proportion to the requirements of the inhabitants of those various places. It was not the needs of the people that prompted the erecting of these four beautiful village shrines; but the church-building rivalry that existed between the two wealthy abbeys of Croyland and Spalding.

These four village churches, all within twelve miles, as the crow flies, are probably unequalled in the kingdom, and are lasting monuments of the energy and zeal of the[86] two local abbeys in providing places of worship in the villages over which they had sway.


The first church to which we will direct our attention is that of St. Mary and St. Nicholas, Spalding.

This church owes its origin to a dispute between the prior and monks of Spalding and the town’s people, about the year 1280. The history of the foundation of this edifice is supplied by the records of the priory.

It appears that about the dawn of the fourteenth century there were two parish churches for the town of Spalding, which were on the west side of the river Welland. One, the Holy Rood, stood on the south side of the present market place—on the priory walls, about the spot where the Stamford and Spalding Bank premises are erected; the other St. Mary, Stokes, which also stood on the priory wall, but nearer the river Welland and to the High Bridge, that crosses that river. The bells of these churches not only disturbed the prior and his monks, but the two buildings being in such a dilapidated condition, the parishioners flocked to the abbey church, near by, to the great inconvenience of the inmates of the monastery. William Littleport, who was then the prior, came to an agreement with the townsmen about the year 1283, and obtained leave to pull down the two churches, which were probably small buildings with Norman style of architecture. With contributions from the townsmen, he agreed to erect a new church for the parish on the east side of the river Welland, and in the year 1284 he laid the foundation-stone of the present church. The land on which it stands was then the burial ground for the town, and part of the mortuary chapel that was then standing was worked into the new building, and forms part of the south and east walls of the chancel of the present church.

Spalding Church Nave, looking North-East. Holbeach Church Nave, looking West.

When the church was restored in the year 1866,[87] foundations of an earlier building than the present one were discovered beneath the level of the floor of the nave—extending westward from the chancel to midway of the great arches of the transepts. The lines of these foundations were at right angles with the east wall of the chancel, which is not square with the present chancel walls, and is of much ruder worked masonry.

Most of the churches in the district, when restored, have revealed the carved stone work of earlier edifices, which had been freely used by the builders when either enlarging or rebuilding the churches. This is not to be wondered at, considering the difficulty the builders had in getting the stone from the district of Stamford—for from that neighbourhood nearly the whole of the stone came that was used in erecting the churches the subject of this article. It must have been costly even in those days, when labour was cheap. It had to be quarried in the “Uplands,” and floated on small flat-bottomed boats during the winter months down the shallow rivers to the various churches—for the roads were well nigh impassable for such traffic—dressed by the masons on the spot in the dark season of the year—and built into its place in the summer months, when the stone would be dry and so able to resist the winter frosts. Their work was slow, but it was good and sure.

The present church, of which the abbey and prior were the patrons, was dedicated to the same saints as the abbey, and was erected in the Geometrical style of architecture of a severe character, considering the date it was built—for at that time that style of architecture was dying out, and was not so severe in its character—but in this district, styles of architecture did not give place to the new till much later than elsewhere in England and on the Continent.

The dimensions of this early church are easily defined in the present building externally by the original buttresses on the west end of the nave, the north and south[88] ends of the transepts, the south-east buttresses of the nave, and the south wall of the chancel, which had been built upon the earlier chapel foundations as previously mentioned, and the angle buttresses at the east end of the chancel; and visitors should notice that in building on the old foundations, the east wall of the chancel is not at right angles to the two other walls of the building—the northern wall is upwards of two feet longer than that on the southern side.

Such was the early church at Spalding, with probably a campanile or small tower at the west end of the north aisle. At the restoration in 1866 the foundations at that corner of the building were on examination found to be more solid and capable of bearing a much greater weight than the rest of the building. That a campanile or tower formed part of the early church—and in the Early English style of architecture—is confirmed by the fact that Early English base mouldings and windows are worked into the present tower, as well as ledger stones of Perpendicular date and some whole stone coffins.

In relation to this tower it is interesting to record that in 1401 there was another dispute between the townsmen and the prior in relation to the bells, and it was probably in consequence of that dispute the present tower was erected and the bells hung in the same.

During the Curvilinear Period the south aisle, the south outer aisle, and the present tower were added, with Thomas à Becket’s Chapel at the east end of the south outer aisle. This chapel was used for a great number of years as the Grammar School.

This Curvilinear tower was not originally intended to carry a spire, but one was at a subsequent period added, which so severely tried the strength of the tower that at the time of the Restoration it was in so dangerous a condition that the bells could not be rung.

In the Rectilinear Period the church was further enlarged, and the following were added:—


The present North Aisle.
Outer North Aisle.
North Porch.
One Buttress on the South Outer Aisle.
Two Buttresses on south side of Chancel.
South Porch.
North-east Buttress of North Transept.
Stairs to Rood-loft.

The Parish Church of Spalding presents an excellent example of how the architects of the period transformed an Early Geometrical church into a Rectilinear one.

Originally the nave and transepts were of one uniform height throughout, as were also the roofs, plates, clerestory-range, arches, capitals, and bases respectively. The pillars of the nave were heightened about 6 feet about the year 1450, when the arches were reset and the clerestory rebuilt and the present windows inserted.

The tower (Perpendicular) should be compared with that of All Saints’, Moulton, another church built by the Spalding monks. It is surmounted by lofty pinnacles and flying buttresses connecting them with a crocketed spire rising to the height of 153 feet. It is placed at the west end of the south outer aisle.

Mr. Sharpe, in his Lincoln Excursion, 1871, says: “The tower and spire rank among the finest in the country.” And writing on the church, he says: “Although its separate features have no great merit, it presents one of the most striking interiors to be seen in any parish church; due in a great measure to the variety and irregularity of its different parts, and the many singularities of designs, to which the various alterations of form have given rise, as well as to the excellent restoration it has received.

“The Chapel of St. Thomas à Becket is a curious building, the windows of which have tracery of an unusual kind, in which both right and flowing lines are introduced.

“The north porch is an important structure of somewhat[90] late in the Rectilineal Period, with a groined fan-tracery roof and parvise over it.”

Owing to the proximity of the priory, the rich and influential persons who had died before the demolition of monasteries were buried in the convent church. The parish church was most ably restored by the late Sir Gilbert Scott in 1866. The high pews and galleries were removed. The organ was erected in a new chapel built on the north side of the chancel. The west window of the nave was filled with new tracery, and the whole of the windows filled with stained glass. The roofs were thoroughly overhauled, and new pews erected.

Weston St. Mary

The next church of which we have to treat is the village church of St. Mary’s, Weston, another of the Spalding Priory churches. The parish of Weston formed part of the at one time large Manor of Spalding and its members, of which the Priors of Spalding were lords; and all records point to the able and philanthropic way the monks treated the places within their jurisdiction. With respect to the mode in which they treated Pinchbeck, and the means by which they built that fine village church, the existing records of the monastery give a most interesting account. That Weston Church was restored under the able direction of the then vicar, the late Rev. Canon Edward Moore, F.S.A., is sufficient guarantee that it was a thorough, though conservative, restoration, and those who visit the church will be ready to testify that as a model of a village church Weston St. Mary would hold a very high place.

That the present is not the first church at Weston we have proof, for about the year 1135 Thomas de Multon, who was the chief tenant of the Prior of Spalding, and resided at his castle at Moulton, whilst attending the funeral of his father in the Abbey Church of Spalding, gave to the monks, in the presence of his family, the Abbot of Croyland,[91] and many others, the church at Weston. Weston was in his manor of Moulton. The gift was confirmed in the presence of the Chapter of the Priory of Spalding, and also by Thomas de Multon depositing his clasped knife on the high altar of the Abbey Church. This Thomas was the father of Lambert de Multon, who, with his wife Matilda, was buried in Weston Church; and there is still in the north-west corner of the north transept his sepulchral slab which formerly had two effigies. Lambert doubtless was a benefactor to the church, and so acquired the honour of sepulture within its walls.

In the early part of the thirteenth century (during the reign of King John), and whilst John, a Spaniard, was the Prior of Spalding, a fine was levied between him and Lord Thomas de Multon for the advowson of the Church of Weston, and, judging by the architecture, it was about this time the monks began the building of the present church.

With the exception of the transepts and tower, the whole of this pretty church belongs to the earliest part of the Lancet Period. The two transepts belong to the Geometrical Period, and the tower to the Rectilinear Period of architecture. The student may compare the nave of this church with advantage with the earlier nave of Moulton, another of the Spalding Priory churches—it seems as if the same workmen had been engaged on both buildings. The nave has five compartments of pointed pier arches of two orders, of which the first only is moulded, resting on light clustered piers consisting of circular and polygonal shafts surrounded by four light detached shafts. The piers are low and the shafts not banded. The pier capitals present a series of carved work of the earliest Lancet foliage, and are very stiff, but are more free and of far more advanced character than those at Moulton. The chancel arch of two orders is an excellent example of the early work of the Lancet Period. The clerestories should be compared with those at Whaplode, Long Sutton, and Moulton, which show the gradual change from the Norman to the Transitional[92] and the Transitional to the Lancet styles of architecture. This church illustrates how the Transitional ideas in regard to moulding, &c., show themselves in this early example of Lancet work.

The chancel has single lancet windows and slender buttresses of the early part of the period, and should be compared with the two buttresses at the east end of the south aisle of Moulton Church.

The font is an interesting one, and is of the same date as the nave. The tower, which is the lowest in the district, does not call for observation. The south porch is a very good specimen of the period, and will repay careful inspection.

All Saints’, Moulton

Old though this splendid village church is, it is not the first church the parish possessed, for there was an earlier one which it is believed stood on the north side of the main road leading from Spalding to Holbeach, in the same manner as the Church of Weston now does. The site of this early church was near the present “Bell Inn.” When the turnpike was made in 1761, a great number of human bones were dug up and the foundations of buildings were discovered. The impression then was that the site of an ancient church and burial ground had been disclosed. This church was probably a small Saxon building. Domesday Survey does not record any church at Moulton. That need not cause any surprise, as it was no part of the commissioners’ duty to make a return of churches. It is true some are mentioned, but in the majority of cases, even where churches were known to have existed, there is no mention of them in the Survey.

The Priory of Spalding was founded a few years previously to the Norman Conquest (cir. 1051) by Thorold the Sheriff, and was liberally endowed by him and Lady Lucy, who married Ivo Tail-bois, nephew to the Conqueror. Through her family Spalding Priory became possessed of[93] the manor of Spalding, and the owners of the advowson of Moulton Church.

Cole, in his priceless MSS. now in the British Museum, states:—

“Be it known that the right of advowson of the Church of Moulton was acquired by the Prior and Convent with the manor of Spalding ... and they always held it without strife or controversy.”

The Priory supplied priests to officiate in the early church at Moulton.

The following charter of Robert, Bishop of Lincoln (1094-1123), is interesting:—

“To all the faithful in Christ and to the sons of the Holy Mother Church Robert, by the grace of God Bishop of Lincoln, greeting. We provide for the Church of God usefully when we assign its benefices to fitting persons for pious uses. Therefore, for religion’s sake, and fully trusting to the honesty of our beloved sons H⸺ [Cole states it was Herbert] the Prior and the monks of Spalding, we concede and confirm to them for a perpetual alms the churches of Spalding, Pinchbeck, Multon, and Hautebarge with all their appendages, viz. to the Church of St. Nicholas and the monks serving God there to hold for their own use, for the support of the Poor, of guests, and the infirm; and we corroborate the same by the attestation of our seal; save and excepting in all things the right and dignity of the Church of Lincoln. Witness: Henry of Huntingdon, archdeacon, &c.”

Cole, speaking of this charter, says: “The Prior and Convent appointed the vicars temporal in the said churches according to their will for seven or eight years, or for any other time at their pleasure.”

By the 4th and 5th parts of the Register of Spalding Priory, now in the British Museum, we learn the great sway the monastery had over “their vill of Multon”:—

“The tenants of the Prior in Multone on account of their contracts and misdemeanors struck and committed in the fee of the Prior assemble at the Court of the Prior in Spalding. Likewise the Prior in his said Court of Spalding has control over the bakers and brewers and the vendors of bread and ale in his fee in Multone. Likewise the residents in the fee of the Prior at Multone are in frankpledge to the Prior in the same Court of Spalding, and came there for the purpose of making view of frankpledge and their amendation. Likewise the gallows of the Prior of Spalding in Spalding serve for those condemned in his Court of Spalding, taken in his fee of Multone and[94] convicted of felony in his Court of Spalding. Likewise the right of patronage of the Church of Multone belongs to the manor of the Prior of Spalding in Spalding.”

Such was the position of affairs at Moulton when the monks at Spalding in the twelfth century began building the present Parish Church of All Saints.

During Prior John’s time (circa 1175-1190) we next learn something concerning the church at Moulton. Coles in his MSS. gives some curious articles offered by the rector and patrons of the Church of Moulton against Thomas de Multon, “a great man in these parts,” and head tenant of the monastery, “showing the ill-feeling and jealousy which had sprung up between the ecclesiastical and lay lords as well as the anxiety of the monastery to secure the aid of the parishioners in building the present church, and pointing out their duties to their ‘Mother Church.’”

“Articles offered against Thomas de Multon by the Prior and Convent of Spalding, Rectors, and Patrons of Multon, and by the Vicar of the same.

“In the first place, it is offered against the said Sir Thomas that he has a certain chapel unlawfully erected in his manor, and causes divine service to be there celebrated without the consent and will of the said prior and convent and of the vicar, and without the authority of any superior person, to the danger of his soul, and to the no small prejudice and injury of the said prior and convent and the vicar of the parish church of Multon. Likewise, that the chaplains celebrating in the same, by the power and authority of the said Sir Thomas, receive the parishioners of Multon, not only at the Sacraments, but also at the Sacraments of the Church, contrary to the injunction of the holy canons, to the danger of his soul, &c. (as above). Likewise, that his chaplains aforesaid, by the power and authority of the said Sir Thomas, unjustly appropriate to themselves, and carry away for their own use, to convert to their own pleasure, the oblations made in the said chapel, and also other offerings which by right belong to the parish church aforesaid. On which account the said chaplains are also ipso facto suspended from the celebration of the divine offices, and are irregular in like manner when celebrating the divine offices, yea, rather profaning them. Which said chaplains the said Sir Thomas, contrary to the law of God and justice, sustains and defends in the wickedness of such iniquity and manifest error, to the prejudice and subversion of the rights of the parish church of Multon, to the danger of his soul, &c. (as above). Likewise, since it pertains to parish rights, that all the parishioners ought, at least on Sundays and Feast-days, to attend their parish church devoutly, there[95] to attend to the prayers diligently, to listen to the divine offices and other salutary admonitions which are wholesomely made for the information of the people; nevertheless the same Sir Thomas has hitherto refused, with contempt, to attend his parish church at Multon aforesaid, whilst he remains there, or in any way to acknowledge it by his personal presence, and still unduly, to the danger of his soul, &c. (as above). Likewise, that since the parishioners, according to ecclesiastical discipline, ought on Sundays and Feast-days, as aforesaid, to come to the parish church not alone to pray there, and hear the divine offices, but also that they might be present together, anxious and attentive to the Declaration of the Feasts and of the Bans, to the mandates of the Church and their superiors, and to the executions and injunctions there made by the ministers of the church as the custom is, for the information of the people and the salvation of their souls, and that they might reverently and devoutly fulfil such injunctions and instructions to the utmost of their power; nevertheless the said Sir Thomas and others of the parish of Multon, by the authority only of the said Sir Thomas, and by occasion of the said chapel, under-estimating and despising their own parish church, assemble in the aforesaid chapel on the said Sundays and Feast-days to hear mass there only, entirely regardless of the salutary admonitions of their mother church, and all injunctions and informations of the same, like sons degenerate towards their mother, which is horrible, to the manifest danger of his soul, and of the souls of many others, and to the prejudice of the parish church, &c. Likewise, that by his own authority, and by occasion of the said chapel, he differs from the community of the parishioners of Multon, and strives to avoid parochial law and subjection, in that although he is a parishioner there he will not receive the holy bread, like as others his parishioners devoutly and thankfully receive it, chiefly because he is not the patron of the said church, neither does he admit the clerk bearer of the holy water, which is disgraceful in such a lord, since even the poor villeins of the parish, and the miserable women likewise, cherishing their household-god, receive it gratefully and kindly; the duty of which said clerk was first of all devised for the common convenience of the parishioners, and thus far laudably approved, and, from time immemorial, has been generally observed.

“Likewise that, since all the parishioners are bound by parochial law to contribute to the building of the parish church, and to acknowledge and sustain it, like as sons a mother, the same Sir Thomas, although a parishioner of the church of Multon, and a son of the same, among others greater and more powerful, has refused to contribute any part of his goods towards the building of the church, and refuses unlawfully, because by no special law is he free from this kind of duty, to the danger of his soul, &c. (as above).

“Likewise, since it belongs to the church of Multon and to its ministers to make citations through the parish, and corrections, for the most part enjoined by the mandate and authority of superiors, the said Sir Thomas, wishing to exempt his chapel aforesaid, and by reason of the said chapel the whole of his manor of Multon, does not permit any one of his family, by reason of any compact or contract, to be cited within the boundaries of the said manor, nor otherwise justified according to the form of the Church, but as well he as[96] others of his family, under his authority and power, waywardly resist and intolerably rebel, lest they should be cited and corrected, as well for the cruel injuries oftentimes brought upon the ministers of the said church, as also for mortal threats, so that the ministers of the said church dare not approach the manor of Multon aforesaid for the purpose of making any citation or execution on the part of the church, neither can they do so without danger of death, or pain of body; on which account many sins committed by the said family are left unpunished, and ample opportunity for sinning is afforded by the said Thomas, whilst he cherishes and defends such persons in sin and error, contrary to the state of the Church, and the reverence of God and the Church, and likewise to the notorious detriment of his soul and of the souls of many others, and to the prejudice and injury of the church of Multon, and of the said prior and convent and of the vicar.

“But the said prior and convent and the vicar protest that, if the said Sir Thomas has, for himself, any special right, by reason of which he can duly claim such rights, or defend himself in the premises, and be in any way exempt from parochial right, that such right and judgment being shown in due form, or inasmuch as he shall show that he is lawfully protected by special privilege with regard to any article in the premises, they will be so far ready to yield to these oppositions, and to cease from their pursuit in this matter, and to dismiss him in peace commended to the Lord.”

The Prior of Spalding, powerful though he was, had formidable opponents in the Multon family, who not only had the Pope, who had given Sir Thomas licence for his chapel, on their side, but also the temporal power of the State. So great was the Multon influence, that the Prior was glad to come to terms with the “head tenant,” and a composition was signed by the parties in the Church of Weston, on Wednesday next before the Circumcision of our Lord in the year 1259.

“Composition between the Prior of Spalding and Sir Thomas de Multon, in a suit moved between them, regarding the minor tenths and an annual rent.

“Memorandum, that in the presence of Sir (dominus) John Prior of Spalding, on the one part, and Thomas de Multon, on the other part, in the Church of Weston, on Wednesday next before the Circumcision of our Lord, in the year MCCLIX., to treat of peace between the parties aforesaid, conceded and agreed upon by the will of both, in a suit moved in the Court of Christianity, regarding the minor tenths, namely, hunting in the park of Multon, herbage of the garden, cut wood, dovecots, butter, domestic geese, fisheries; and in a suit moved in the Court of our lord the King, regarding an annual rent of 60s., peace was renewed in the manner following, the mediators[97] being Master Alexander, Rector of the Church of Swineshead, at that time Official of the Lord Archdeacon of Lincoln, Sir James de Bussi, parson of Skirbeck, Master William de Walpol, Sir John de Grethford, Vicar of Multon, Gilbert de Cheile, and others, namely, that the said Thomas shall pay the tenth of milk at the tenth day, or cheese, with all the collected cream (cum tota pinquedine coagulatim) at the will of the Lord Prior, and the right shoulder of venison (bestiæ suæ venationis). In like manner he shall pay the tenth of domestic fowl, and of his dovecot, fully and wholly without contradiction. But the Lord Prior has remitted to the said Thomas the tenths of the fish-ponds. Moreover the petition regarding the tenths of garden herbage and of cut wood shall cease between the aforesaid parties, until the tenths of this nature shall be generally paid. Moreover the said Thomas has agreed to the payment of the said annual rent of 60s. to the Lord Prior at the proper terms, and with his glove has invested the same in the hands of the said Prior, and has mortgaged the arrears of three years, namely nine pounds; nevertheless the said Lord Prior, at the instance of common friends, has remitted to the said Thomas the half of those nine pounds. And the said mediators are witnesses of this peace.

“Robert, Sub-prior of Spalding; John de Tid; John, monk of Spalding; Master Henry de Edinham, clerk; William de Cletham, clerk; officials, &c., and many others being present, seeing and hearing. In testimony whereof the seal of the office aforesaid is affixed.”

Cole gives an interesting composition between the Prior of Spalding and the vicar of Moulton regarding a pension; likewise regarding portion of the vicarage.

One cannot but think with the erection of All Saints’, Moulton, began the church-building rivalry between the two neighbouring monasteries of Croyland and Spalding, which lasted until the dissolution of the greater abbeys. Croyland had built the Norman portion of the present church of Whaplode. Then Spalding Priory, about 1175, began the present Church of Moulton, the nave of which would be considerably larger than the Norman nave of Whaplode, and though Moulton nave is built in the Transitional Period, in a great number of its details it resembles Whaplode; for you have at Whaplode four shafted compound piers, while at Moulton you have the four shafts arranged round a central column forming part of the solid masonry, still all engaged and forming a solid pier of coursed masonry; next you have a further development of the idea—four larger and four smaller shafts placed[98] alternately, but still engaged, almost immediately followed by the disengaged shafts of the Lancet Period, as at St. Mary’s, Weston.

The pier bases are similar to those at Whaplode, though they show the slight advance art had made, but at Moulton you will find a circular bench round the base. The Croyland monks, when they saw the church at Moulton was finer than theirs at Whaplode, not to be outdone by the younger monastery, lengthened the nave of Whaplode; and though Spalding long afterwards added a bay to the nave at Moulton, that at Whaplode is still the longest and narrowest nave in the district.

The capitals of Transitional work at Moulton are interesting—the stiff engaged leaves are all inclined one way, and follow one another round the necks of the capitals.

Mr. Sharpe says—

“In the pier capitals of the eastern part of the nave of Whaplode and the nave of Moulton churches we see the early efforts of the artists of the period to produce relief and to disengage the flowers and the leaf from the surface to which it was attached. The strong resemblance of the ornamentation of the capitals in these two churches leaves no doubt that the Transitional portion of the nave at Whaplode and the nave at Moulton are contemporaneous work, the same artists having probably been employed on the carved work of the naves.”

At Moulton an arch at one time apparently sprung from the westernmost pair of pillars, across the nave, from the engaged pillar rising through the capital of the nave pillar. There is a strong buttress at the back of each of these pillars, which are continued to the clerestory, and can be seen from the outside. There probably was a tower or campanile standing between the two pillars, which was pulled down probably in the Rectilinear Period, when the present tower was erected—one bay further to the west. The northern clerestory, which is Transitional and earlier than that of the south side, may be compared with that of Whaplode. The south clerestory is Late Transitional. In the Rectilinear Period, in 1400, the windows of the clerestories were altered and the present roof was built.


The aisles, originally only 10 feet wide, were in about 1310 widened to 17 feet, the south aisle being first done. Some of the original Transitional buttresses were re-used (the eastern and smaller ones), as was also the fine south Transitional doorway. The north aisle was done about 1320-25, and the original Transitional doorway was re-used. When the tower and spire were built about 1380, the aisles were lengthened, like the nave. Sharpe writes on the tower and spire: “Their relative proportions may be pronounced faultless.... The tower and spire may be taken as the most perfect realisation of the Rectilinear form of this noble addition to the English parish church to be found anywhere.”

The walls of the tower appear to have settled as the work progressed, but the architects of those days were equal to the emergency, and so rectified the work as the building progressed, and so well was it done that the tower has kept its perpendicular for five centuries. The spire is 6 feet 8 inches at base, and the stone 6 inches thick.

The chancel was rebuilt late in the fourteenth or early in the fifteenth century, but the chancel arch is post-Reformation work. The east window and the organ chamber are new. The sedilia were reset in the fourteenth century. In the north wall is a mutilated sepulchre or founder’s tomb; also there is a blocked-up vestry door of the same period. The vestry and room over it have long since disappeared. The rood-screen, which has been recently very well restored, is of the same date as the chancel, and is by far the best specimen of a rood-screen in the district.

The church was restored in 1867-8, when (inter alia) the organ was removed from the gallery at the west end and placed in the new organ chamber. There were also placed in the church a new font, pulpit, reading desk, and seating, mullions placed in the aisles’ windows, roofs repaired, gallery at west end of nave removed, and new windows in the chancel. There were formerly several[100] chapels with altars in the church, the last vestiges of which were removed at the restoration in 1867-8.

Members of the Multon, Welby, Wigtoft, and Kyme families rest in the church, as well as the body of John Horrox, the founder of the Moulton Grammar Schools. Unfortunately at the restoration the sepulchral slabs were removed to “fit in better,” and at the present time are not over the bodies of those whose memory they perpetuate.

St. Mary’s, Whaplode

This church is not only the oldest in the district, but, in spite of the lamentable condition to which it has been reduced by the ill-usage and neglect in bygone days, it is one of the most instructive and interesting to the architectural student in South Lincolnshire.

“The Parish of Whaplode, prior to the Conquest, was under the jurisdiction of the convent of Croyland, the abbot of which, from the earliest times, was lord of the principal manor. It was proved at a trial before the Bishop of Lincoln in 1447, the abbot “held the principal demesne rights in Whaplode, and had there besides the fee of the church markets, fairs, wastes and warren, right of pillory, as also the assize of bread and beer,” though it is recorded that the abbot’s rights were disputed, and that Ralph Mershe (abbot from 1253-1281), at great expense, and after long suits at law, gained the manor of Gedney and the church at Whaplode. This seems strange, as every record from the earliest times connects the abbot of Croyland with the patronage of Whaplode Church, and that the convent used to supply chaplains to do duty. In addition to the Croyland records, there are the public records, for we find that the abbot, in Henry III.’s reign, in 1245, had a grant of a weekly market on Saturday, and a fair on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin and six days afterwards, and that this grant was confirmed by Edward I.; besides which we have the ecclesiastical documents in the Bishop’s Register at Lincoln, showing that the abbot presented to the church in 1239, 1246, 1250, 1251. The abbot won the day, and Croyland abbots held the presentation to the living until the Dissolution in the reign of Henry VIII.”

Moulton Church South Aisle, looking North-West. Moulton Church Nave, looking East.

The monks of Croyland were the builders of Whaplode’s two churches, though doubtless largely aided by the laity, as we have seen was the case at Moulton. Unfortunately the records of Croyland do not give the same amount of[101] information in reference to the building of their churches as do those of Spalding Priory in reference to theirs.

There is no trace of the building of any earlier church at Whaplode than the present one, and we are unaware of any remains of earlier work being found when the church was restored, about the middle of last century.

The earliest part of the present church is the chancel arch and the four eastmost compartments of the nave, which were built about 1125, in the Norman style of architecture. It is greatly to the credit of King William I. and the invaders and their descendants, that no sooner had they got this island into a settled state than they began building cathedrals, monasteries, and parish churches all over the kingdom. Croyland was the first to inaugurate the church-building move in this district, and if they had completed the church as evidently originally designed by the Norman architect, it would have been a very fine specimen of the period.

Before the work was resumed at Whaplode, in the Transitional Period, the masons had been busy at work on the present churches of Moulton and Sutton St. Mary. The monks of Croyland, about forty or fifty years after they had built the Norman portion of the nave, erected the westernmost portion in the Transitional style (1145-1190), and which made the nave 110 feet long and 19 feet wide, the longest and narrowest nave in the Elloc division of Lincolnshire.

The Norman chancel arch is only 13 feet wide and very low, which gives the east end of the nave a very heavy appearance.

The smallness of the Norman arch seems to have claimed the attention of the architects at a very early date. They cut away the large semicircular shafts which carried the soffit of the arch and worked in a Transitional corbel to make the opening wider.

One cannot but think that the Norman columns of the nave were intended to carry a far heavier structure than[102] was ever placed on them, and that the architects altered their plans even before the arches had been erected. The clerestory is partly Norman, and the rest, with the west front, Transitional.

The west front has been terribly mutilated, but happily sufficient remains to guide the architect to its perfect restoration; fortunately it has not been so badly ill-treated as the chancel, which is a standing disgrace, and is as bad a form of Churchwarden’s style as can well be conceived. There is even here, however, enough of the original work left to guide the architect in its restoration, if only funds were forthcoming from the rectors, who are trustees of a public school.

One regrets it is not possible in an article of this nature to enter into the details of the Norman-Transitional work at Whaplode, or compare it with the work of the same period in the churches at Sutton St. Mary and Moulton. To the student a visit to the three churches is very instructive.

As at Moulton Church, where the tower with its spire wins the admiration of all visitors, so does the tower of Whaplode. It is curiously placed, and with what object one is at a loss to understand.

Mr. Sharpe, writing on the tower, states—

“The very striking south-west tower, standing in an unusual position on the south side of the eastmost compartment of the south aisle, must have been commenced immediately after the completion of the nave. In its four stages in height, of which the three lowest belong to the original design, though carried out in a manner which leads us to conclude that the first stage, which carries a zigzag in its pointed arcade, was the only one completed before the close of the Transitional Period, the arcades of the two upper stages exhibiting an almost pure Lancet treatment in their details.

“The fourth stage, with its embattled parapet, added in the Curvilinear Period, gives an appropriate finish to this elegant design.”

Richard de Gravesend, Bishop of Lincoln, gave the following charter to Croyland in the year 1268:—

“To all faithful Christians by whom this writing may be read, Richard, by Divine permission Bishop of Lincoln, sendeth health in the Lord. We[103] will that you should by this present writing know; that, whereas our beloved children in Christ, the religious persons, the Abbot and Convent of Croyland, have long since obtained the grateful consent and assent of our predecessor, the blessed Hugh, of famous and revered memory, as also of his Holiness Honorius, some time chief bishop of the Roman Church, likewise confirming the same of the church of Whaplode, whereof they were and are the patrons, to have it to their own proper use in manner as in this instrument is more fully contained.

“We, at their devout and frequent petitions that we would favourably, more graciously in the premises, grant them our assent and consent to the permission and favour done them by our said predecessor, the consideration of their order inducing thereto, having due regard to the special devotion of the said religious persons, and their sincere love in the Lord towards our venerable church at Lincoln, and the Bishop thereof, being more readily inclined to grant their petitions and requests, as therefore in the monastery of Croyland the weightiness of religion and observance of their order for the sake of sanctity and principally in favour of hospitality, which are known to flourish in that monastery, and which do and ought to render it esteemed by all men, remembering that favour should not be denied to such requesting it, of the assent and grateful consent concerning of our beloved children in Christ of William Lessington, in respect of Divine Piety, and especially for enlarging the duty of Divine worship therein, have given, granted, and by this our present Charter have confirmed, to the monastery of Croyland, and to the monks there together serving God, the church of Quaplode (Whaplode), in which they obtain the right of patronage, to be possessed to and for their own proper uses for ever, the rent and profits of which church they may indeed convert to their use, and without any impediment; for the future have power lawfully so to convert the same, a competent portion thereof being still reserved for the vicar perpetually serving the same church, wherein we likewise ordain and establish the Vicarage out of the profits of the said church for the support of him and his ministers, and the charges thereof as we have thought fit by our episcopal authority, thus to distinguish the portions of the said abbot and convent and the vicar before mentioned by them to us and our successors to be presented whenever the said vicarage shall happen to be vacant, that they, the said abbot and convent, may have the whole tithe of sheaves of the said church of Whaplode, with all demesne lands, and its rights and appendants to the said church any way belonging, and all the tithe of flax and hemp purely and absolutely. Moreover, that they may have and quietly take or receive the whole tithe of wool and lambs arising from the whole parish (to wit) as consisting in fleeces of wool and bodies of lambs, but that the vicar for the time being successively to us and our successor to be presented by the said abbot and convent to the vicarage aforesaid shall, by reason thereof, by this our ordinances for ever hereafter take and have the whole altarage absolutely and indisputably, in whatever name conceived, and in whatsoever it doth and may consist. The tithes of sheaves, flax, hemp, wool, and lambs, and also the whole demesne land with its rights and appendants, as is before said (only excepted), the said vicar shall have and[104] take the whole tithe of hay of the whole parish entirely and without any diminution, and without impediments of the said abbot and convent. He shall, moreover, have the redemption of wool and of lambs wheresoever in the parish from the number of five and so counting downwards, to wit where according to the custom of the place to the tenth of the fleeces and of the lambs it cannot by any means amount to every kind of tithe as well as of wool as of lambs beyond the number of five, arising by counting upwards to the aforesaid custom, remaining wholly in the power of the before-named abbot and convent, as is before mentioned.

“Whereupon we strictly forbid any deceit or fraud to be by any one done under pain of the greater sentence; but we ordain that the before-named abbot and convent do provide for the Vicars for the place and time successively to be instituted a competent mansion in a convenient place at first by them the said abbot and convent, to be erected and competently built for the first Vicar who shall be instituted next after the cession or decease of Simon, now Vicar of the church of Whaplode, thenceforward to be repaired or new built on the same spot as by accidental cause, necessity, or age requiring it ought to be.

“We moreover ordain that the first and every Vicar by the bishop to be instituted after the cession or decease of the said Simon for the time being do sustain and allow ordinary episcopal and archidiaconal charges due and accustomed, and that they take care of and keep in repair and find books, vestments, and other necessary ecclesiastical ornaments, and repair the chancel of the church when it wants repairs at their costs, and also provide and sustain all ministers necessary for serving the vicarage before treated.

“Now we will and ordain that this our ordinance have force for ever in all and singular the above said articles, saving in all things the episcopal customs and dignity of the church of Lincoln, that therefore full credit may be given to this our present ordinance, and that a perpetual security may be provided for the said abbot and convent and the vicars for the time to come. We have caused this instrument to be corroborated with the sanction of our seal. Done in the month of January in the year of our Lord Christ’s incarnation 1268, and the eleventh year of our consecration.”

The original Norman chancel was destroyed about the year 1320, when a new chancel was built, of which little now remains, worked into the present one, and one bay of the north wall, with a pillar, a part of the east-end wall, and the jambs of the arch at the east end of the north aisle.

The Transitional aisles were taken down, and the present ones, with the north transept, were erected about 1420. At the same time the clerestory was heightened, and the present windows were inserted. Fortunately the builders did not destroy the Transitional work.


When the wider aisles of Whaplode were erected, the builders, as at Moulton, preserved the original Transitional south doorway and re-erected it, and also the west doorway, which was erected in 1180, and is, with the two doorways at Moulton, the oldest in the district.

The north and south porches are post-Reformation.

The roof of the nave, now being repaired, is a good example of the Rectilinear Period.

The font is a creditable imitation of a Norman one, but is of post-Reformation work.

The area of this church is so great that only the eastern portions of the nave (the Norman portion) and aisles are fitted with open seats; the rest of the church is entirely open, which gives it a cathedral appearance. There is a fine seventeenth-century monument to Sir Antony Irby and his wife, ancestors of the Right Hon. Lord Boston. There were formerly three chapels in the church. Colonel Holles, when he visited the church about 1641, found memorials to the families of Fitzwalter, Littlebury, Rye, Beke, Quaplod, Venables, Kyrketon, Haultoft, Walpole, Pulvertoft, Welby, Ogle, and others.

All Saints’, Holbeach

Of this large and beautiful church little need be written. It is a fine Curvilinear building, though merging into Rectilinear in the tower and spire. It belongs to the latter part of the period, and is the only church in the neighbourhood which is built in one style of architecture. The work of erecting the edifice was practically continuous from beginning to finish. It was built in the reigns of Edward III. and Richard II., probably between 1340 and 1380.

The present church is not the first church at Holbeach—one would be inclined to believe it was the third; the first would be a small Saxon church, and the second a small Norman one, but a more substantial structure than the first.


With regard to the earlier church or churches at Holbeach, we have considerable documentary evidence, although we find few if any of their remains in the present church, unless the Norman capital which lies on the floor at the south-east corner of the nave, and some few of the very numerous corbel heads at the terminations of the hood-moulds of the clerestory windows, which are grotesque and rude enough to have been the production of Norman workmen, formed parts of the earlier Norman church.

There is no mention of a church at Holbeach in the Domesday Survey, but Pope Alexander in 1177 addressed a deed to Spalding Abbey confirming the possessions of the Priory (in this district), and amongst them we find it held “the Church of Holbeach with all pertaining unto it.”

Again, in 1189, we find Thomas de Multon, Lord of Holbeach, and others, who conspired against the Abbot of Croyland, meeting in the Church of Holbeach.

In 1194, on the morrow of the Holy Trinity, a settlement was arrived at between Fulco d’Oiri, who claimed the advowson of the Church of All Saints, Holbeach, and the Chapel of St. Peter in Holbeach; and he made over the advowson to Conan, fil Elie de Holbeche, and his heirs for 21s. rent in Holbeche, and for one “calcaria de aurata” (a pair of gilt spurs) at Easter for all services.

The advowson of Holbeach, prior to the Bishop of Lincoln acquiring the same, had belonged to the Multon family, a member of whom in King Henry III.’s reign had a grant of a weekly market and also fairs at Holbeach. The various legal suits brought to recover the advowson of Holbeach are most interesting reading, and are given in Macdonald’s History of Holbeach, a work well worth consulting.

In 1332, however, the church had a new patron—Henry, Bishop of Lincoln. By deed dated at Stone, in the county of Northampton, “on the nearest Wednesday after the feast of St. Martin,” the Bishop, in the sixth year of the reign of Edward III. (1332), William de Harcourt, Knt., for the[107] sum of £500, made over to Henry, by divine permission Bishop of Lincoln, the advowson of the Church of Holbeach; and in the Lincoln Register there is a charter given in 1332 by William de Harcourt, Knight, appointing two attorneys to put the Bishop in possession of Holbeach Church.

The Pope in 1334 despatched a papal bull to the Bishops of Hereford, Ely, and Durham, directing that the Church of Holbeach, the patronage of which the Bishop of Lincoln had lately acquired, should be appropriated to the see of Lincoln.

On 5th February 1334, 7 Edward III. (dated at Nettleham), the Bishop of Lincoln granted a charter to Dominus Thomas de ... appointing him his (the Bishop’s) attorney to receive seisin of the Church at Holbeach.

In 1335 a licence was granted to William de Goseberkyrk, the newly appointed Vicar of Holbeach, to hear confessions in reserved cases.

It appears that almost directly the Bishop of Lincoln obtained possession of the advowson, and had placed his nominee into the vicarage, he at once set about building the present church at Holbeach, which then excelled the two neighbouring churches of Moulton and Whaplode. This doubtless led the monks of Spalding and Croyland to enlarge their respective churches, and rekindled the church-building energy of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

The visitor will not fail to notice the north porch. In appearance it is more in keeping for a baronial castle than a church porch. It is no part of the original design or building, and was added years afterwards. It was flanked at the north-east and south-east angles with massive circular towers, one of which leads to the parvise above, and the other appears to have been used as a cell or porter’s lodge.

Previously to being erected at Holbeach it had, we believe, formed part of the manorial castle of the Multon family at Moulton. A mere glance at the structure will[108] show it was never designed for an ecclesiastical building. It was probably removed from Moulton when the castle fell into decay in the fifteenth century. The Multon family had died out for want of males, and their property had been divided among co-heiresses.

The south porch and door are part of the original building; the door is a beautiful example of the woodwork of the period. The font is also a good example of the period.

The church has been well restored in recent years, and several painted glass windows have been inserted. The work of restoration commenced when the late Rev. Arthur Brook was the vicar, and has been continued in the time of the present vicar, the Rev. Canon Hemmans. The church well deserves a visit.

There is a fine altar tomb to the memory of Sir Humphrey Littlebury, and when about the year 1640 Colonel Holles visited the church he found armorial bearings and inscriptions to members of the families of Littlebury, Kirketon, Calow, Welby, Leyke, and others.

There are chimes in the tower, erected in 1776 by Edward Arnold of St. Neots, and a fine ring of eight bells.

St. Mary Magdalene, Fleet

This church was built in the Curvilinear Period; it is chiefly notable for its detached south-west tower with spire, which, though of no great size, are well-proportioned and of good design. The spire is perfectly plain. There are some well-carved corbel heads serving as supports to the timbers of the roof.

This church has its origin from the laity, most probably from members of the Multon family, who were lords of the manor, or from the Fitzwalters and Haringtons, who divided the Multon family properties through marrying the co-heiresses of that family.

The church has been wisely and well restored.


St. Mary Magdalene’s, Gedney

This church, like Holbeach, is a beautiful fabric, and many think the clerestory is the finest in the district. The history of the church is written in stone—the tower gives it.

“Of the original building,” writes Mr. Sharpe, “nothing but the lower part of the west tower now remains. It is not improbable, however, that the pair of double lancet openings, now forming a lower storey of the present cell chamber, was the belfry-stage of the original tower; and that three different roofs, of which the weatherings still remain on its east wall, have at different times abutted against it. If this be so, the history of this church and its three principal changes of form are written on this wall. The first roof, the ridge of which was below the sill of these lancet windows, covered a low church of the Lancet or Transitional Period. The second roof was that of the more pretentious Curvilinear nave, when the whole church received a new character, a lofty ground storey and spacious side aisles. The third roof, rising high up into these lancet windows, marks the epoch when the handsome Rectilinear clerestory was added and the tower raised another stage, in preparation for a lofty spire that was never executed.”

In the Curvilinear Period the spacious chancel, with its large plain three-light windows, was erected. The ground storey of the nave and the side aisles were shortly afterwards built. The south doorway is of good workmanship for a village church of this period. The twelve three-light clerestory windows are of the Rectilinear Period, as are also the battlemented parapet and pinnacles, also the upper storey of the tower.

The south porch and parvise are of this period, as is also the nave roof and the small square-headed window—low side window in the south wall of the chancel.

On the south door, which is a fine specimen of the period, is this inscription—


The east window of the north aisle contains old stained glass. The church is now undergoing restoration, but as there are some of the original oaken open benches still in[110] the church, the restorers should have no difficulty in putting in suitable woodwork.

Dr. Stukeley, the Holbeach antiquary of the eighteenth century, states: “This church was built by the abbots of Croyland, who had a stately house on the north side of it and vast possessions in the parish. The upper part of the tower is of the same date as the church, but built upon older work; both were no doubt built by the abbots—assisted by charitable donations. In the chancel window is a religious in his habits.”

In the account of Holbeach Church we saw how Fulko de Oiri in 1194 parted with the advowson of Holbeach, and there is little doubt that he had the advowson of the church at Gedney, though Croyland had a manor in that parish.

As stated in the account of Whaplode Church (1253-1281), Ralph Mershe, the Abbot of Croyland, at great expense and after long suits at law, gained the manor of Gedney and the church at Whaplode, but it does not follow he had, at the time, the advowson of Gedney—on the contrary, the following pedigrees from the Plea Roll of 7 Edw. III. and 8 Edw. III. clearly show he had not:—

Plea Rolls (De Banco, Easter, 7 Edw. III.).


James de Ros sues the Abbot of Croyland for the advowson of the Church of Gedeneye (Gedney).

Falk de Oyry, temp. Henry III.
Giles de Gousille, 35 Henry III.
Margaret = Philip le Despenser.


In the following year, in the suit in Coram Rege, Hilary, 8 Edw. III.:—


The King sues James de Roos for the next presentation to the Church of Gedeneye, which he claimed as guardian of Ralph de Goushill.

Fulk D’Oyry, temp. Henry III.
Giles de Goushill, 35 Henry III.
Ralph under age in charge of the King.

There is in the Lincoln Will Registry the will of a Philip Goushill of Gedney, dated in the year 1401.

Eleanor de Clare, who was the granddaughter of Edward I. by his wife Eleanor of Castile, married Ralph le Despenser, who was hung in 1326, and their fourth son Philip, who died in 1313, married Margaret, daughter and heiress of Ralph le Goushill; and when Colonel Holles visited Gedney Church about 1640 he found the arms and monuments to the families of Despensers, Roos, Clare, D’Oyry, Goushill, Welbys, and others.

Doubtless Stukeley is correct in stating the Curvilinear church of Gedney was built under the direction and influence of Croyland, aided by the laity; but one should be disposed to consider the earlier churches were not built by the monks of Croyland. However, it is too long a subject to discuss in this article.

Sutton St. Mary

We have, in our accounts of the churches of Moulton, Whaplode, and Weston, frequently referred to the fabric of[112] the Church of Sutton St. Mary and to the interesting Transitional work it contains.

The origin of the church is clearly shown by a charter, given at the close of the twelfth century (about 1180), by which the site was conveyed to the monastery of Castle Acre in Norfolk.

“Know all men present and to come, that I, William son of Erneis, by the permission of Nicholaa, my wife, give and grant and by this my charter confirm, to God and S. Mary of Acre and the monks serving God, three acres in Sutton, in the field which is called ‘the old fenland,’ near a road, to build a parish church, as a free and perpetual gift for the salvation of my soul and of Nicholaa, my wife, and for the soul of my father, Robert son of Erneis, and the soul of my mother, and for the souls of all my ancestors, and for the soul of Richard de Haia, and for the souls of all his ancestors. And I desire that the previous wooden church of the same town, as soon as the said new church is built, be taken away, and the bodies there buried be carried into the burial ground of the new church and there reinterred, and the old burial ground utterly destroyed.

“Witnesses: John the Chaplain, Doun Bardolph, Radulph Travers, and others.”

It appears that Robert de Haia, about half a century previously, had come into possession of the manor of Sutton, in Holland, through his wife, and had built the small church referred to in the charter.

It is probably through Nicholaa that the monks of Castle Acre were enabled to find the funds to build the Transitional-Lancet work in the present church, as she was a large benefactress to the abbey.

John of Gaunt possessed the manor of Sutton through marriage with Blanche of Lancaster, but whether he contributed to the funds for enlarging the church there is no evidence to show, but one may assume the lords of the large manor of Sutton aided the monks.

The Guild of St. Thomas of Canterbury, founded in the reign of Henry IV., had a chapel in the church, in which masses were said for the souls of Henry IV., his Queen, and John of Gaunt.

Viewing the church from the exterior, one sees no signs of any part of the early Transitional church—the[113] Rectilinear work completely covers it; but on entering we at once observe the interesting early Transitional work of the nave and lower clerestory.

The seven compartments of the nave (ground and clerestory) remain nearly perfect, but in a somewhat altered condition, for the nave walls and roof having been raised, and higher aisles added, the Transitional clerestory now only serves as a blind storey to the later Rectilinear superstructure.

The piers and pier arches should be compared with those at Whaplode, Moulton, and Weston, with which they make an instructive lesson.

The tower and spire are quite early Lancet work. Mr. Sharpe remarks:—

“Unquestionably one of the earliest and most remarkable designs of the Lancet Period in the kingdom—scarcely clear of Transitional influence, erected indeed at the very commencement of the period, and standing originally completely clear of the church on four noble arches, crowned, moreover, by a lofty wooden lead-covered spire flanked by four similar wooden lead-covered pinnacles—it must have been, at the time it was erected, one of the most striking structures in the country.

“It is especially valuable to us as conveying an idea of the manner in which many of the towers of our cathedrals and parish churches of this period, now deprived of their spires, were originally finished; and it is remarkable as one of the very few which, having escaped fire and decay, remains still in its original position.”

The westmost part of the south aisle, with its windows, is of the Curvilinear Period, so is the small building at the north-east corner of the chancel.

In the following period (the Rectilinear) are the lofty side aisles and the north and south porches.

The font is the original Norman one, though it has been new-worked.



By W. G. Watkins, A.R.I.B.A.

Five miles east from the market town of Sleaford, just where the rolling uplands dip down into the great fen stretching out to Boston and the Wash, lies the village of Heckington; it is mentioned in Domesday as Heckintune, where one Gilbert de Gaunt held land, and there was a priest and a church. This same Gilbert de Gaunt had accompanied William the Conqueror to England, and for his services was rewarded with large grants of land in this and many other counties; he rebuilt the Abbey of Bardney, on the banks of the river Witham, about nine miles from Lincoln; richly endowed it; and was there buried in 1094, leaving his son Walter to further enrich the abbey, amongst other endowments, with all the tithe of corn and hay of his land in Heckington. In 1345 it is recorded that Roger de Barrowe, the then Abbot of Bardney, obtained a royal licence to appropriate the Church of Heckington; and it is interesting to note that, among other tomb slabs revealed by the excavation of the abbey church in 1909, was that of this same Roger de Barrowe, while the foundations of the choir and transept showed that they were part of the same Norman church which the piety of Gilbert de Gaunt had raised.

At the time Roger de Barrowe was obtaining his licence one of those waves of building activity that swept over certain localities in the Middle Ages seems to have reached the district round Heckington. The naves of Sleaford, Silk Willoughby, Billingboro, Swayton, and Helpringham,[115] and the whole Church of Ewerby, were rising white from the masons’ chisel in the new and graceful Curvilinear style; but it was at Heckington that this local school, through the resources of the rich and powerful abbey, were able to crown their work by one of the finest and most complete parish churches to be found in this or any other one period. The exact date at which the work was commenced is uncertain, but it appears that closely subsequent to the appropriation of the church by the abbey in 1345 the old fabric was swept away, and the foundations of the new structure laid. Richard de Potesgrave, presented to the living by King Edward in 1307, was the then vicar; his effigy lies under an arched recess on the north side of the chancel, the usual position for the founder’s tomb, and an inscription, now lost, recorded that he built the chancel of the church in honour of the Blessed Mary, St. Andrew, and All Saints, which may not necessarily mean that he provided the funds, but that the work was done under his care, just as we say that Bishop Hugh built the choir of Lincoln Cathedral.

Except in the great Perpendicular structures of East Anglia, it is comparatively rare to find a parish church built at one effort, in one style, and untouched by subsequent accretions, as at Heckington—so rare, in fact, that the picturesqueness and irregularity arising from the association of various styles and dates in the majority of our churches has almost come to be looked upon as an essential part of our Gothic architecture, and one of its leading characteristics; and though it is true that the mediæval builder excelled in the charming naïveté with which he superimposed his own work upon and adapted it to that of his predecessors, yet when the opportunity occurred of starting de novo, he built with dignity and symmetry, and devoid of intentional irregularity or straining after what we call picturesqueness. So at Heckington Church we find a perfectly symmetrical and dignified plan of apparently orthodox cruciform type, and with a western tower; while a more critical examination shows that the transepts are not in[116] their usual position immediately west of the chancel, but separated therefrom by a short bay of aisleless nave, being, as a matter of fact, not really transepts at all, but attached chapels. And their position is therefore logical, for here the tower is, very properly for a small parish church, at the west end, while the true cruciform plan demands, nay requires it, on the crossing.

How well this apparent eccentricity and departure from the orthodox was justified by results is shown as the church is approached from the south-west, whence the nave may be seen continuing through and past the transepts, which are kept on a lower level than the nave, and thus break up the structure into a beautiful piece of grouping, without in any way detracting from its apparent length.

The tower and spire, 97 feet high to the parapet, and 182 feet to the top of the vane, is an interesting example of the transition stage between the early broach spire and the pinnacle and flying buttress treatment of the Perpendicular Period; for here are both pinnacles and broaches, the former hexagonal in plan, and attached to the broaches by gablets, through which openings are pierced, forming a continuous walk behind the parapet. The pinnacles are too high and the general grouping at the base of the spire too heavy for its height, and it seems likely that the architect used the proportions he had been accustomed to in a broached spire and parapetless tower as at the neighbouring Church of Ewerby (possibly by the same hand), and failed to allow for the shortening effect of the parapet and pinnacles. The outline of the spire has no “entasis” or swelling to counteract the drooping effect of the converging straight lines, but the same result has been achieved by the gablets of the eight “lucarnes,” or spire lights, which add bulk, and at the same time break the continuity of the outline; at Ewerby, which has no spire lights, the entasis is distinctly noticeable. Sometimes this refinement was carried to excess, as at Leadenham in this county, where the result has been to produce a grotesque resemblance to a sugar-loaf. No doubt[117] the elaborate crocketing of the angles of later spires was another expedient to the same end.

Transcriber’s Note: this image is clickable for a larger version.

St Andrews Church. Heckington. Lincolnshire.

Ground Plan.

In the flowing tracery and foliage of the south porch gable are three interesting shields—Edward the Confessor, a cross patonce between five martlets; St. Edmund, three crowns two and one; and the royal arms of England, three lions passant gardant. The figure in the apex of the gable is missing, but, from the adoring angels on either side, it was probably that of the Virgin and Child. The whole of the south side is a perfect example of Curvilinear art; the flowing lines of the window tracery and pierced parapets, buttresses with niches and pinnacles enriched with foliage and carvings of vigorous yet refined workmanship, the bold and lofty staircase turrets at the east end of the nave, all disposed in perfect harmony and proportion, and tied together by the admirable group of mouldings sweeping round the base. Here is English Gothic at its zenith—vigorous, yet refined; luxuriant, yet restrained. The priests’ door on the south side of the chancel cuts rather clumsily into the jamb and sill of the window, owing to lack of space between the latter and the adjoining buttress. The writer recollects a church in Suffolk where a similar difficulty had been surmounted by throwing the buttress clear of the wall on a flying arch and placing the door beneath it—a pretty instance of the manner in which the mediæval builder created a virtue out of a necessity. The east end is perhaps the most pleasing part of the exterior—admirably proportioned, vigorous, and graceful, the seven-light window one of the finest in the whole country; were this the only portion of the church left to us, it would yet have proclaimed the unknown architect a master of his craft.

The interior is at first disappointing; the arches only chamfered, not a moulding or a piece of carving visible; rood-screen, pews, pulpit, and every scrap of old woodwork swept away. But walk into the chancel, turn to the north wall, where Roger de Potesgrave, in eucharistic vestments,[118] lies under an arched recess, and a little farther east appears a mass of tracery and sculpture, like an elaborate aumbry; it is the Easter Sepulchre, perhaps the richest in England, except one of the same date at Hawton, near Newark. Below, in canopied niches, sleep four Roman soldiers; next, the sepulchre itself, a small recess, with figures of the three women and the attendant angels, and above this the risen Christ attended by adoring angels. For richness and delicacy of execution it is beyond praise. Easter sepulchres in stone (often they were of wood, and have been swept away) were designed as a permanent receptacle for the celebration of a rite marking the advent and holiness of Easter. On Good Friday the consecrated host was deposited in the sepulchre, where it was continually watched until Easter morning, when it was again placed on the altar. In the articles of inquiry issued by Cranmer in 1547 one is, “Whether they had upon Good Friday last past the sepulchre with their lights, having the sacrament therein?” On the south side of the chancel are fine sedilia in three compartments, in design and execution equal to the Easter Sepulchre; the seats are covered by groining and trefoil arches with gables, above which are sculptured Our Lord, the Blessed Virgin, SS. Barbara and Katherine, and St. Michael; the cornice bears figures of angels crowning the saints below and swinging censers. A recent writer on English mediæval figure sculpture says: “The stone of these pieces is the Lincoln and Ancaster oolite, and they are insertions in the body of the building, so they are probably importations from the Lincoln or Stamford workshops. Of coarser texture than the carvings of clunch at Ely, they have less freedom and incisive cutting, but their composition has the same quality of decorative story-telling.”

St. Andrew’s, Heckington, South Transept and Porch.

From the north wall of the chancel several steps lead up into the vestry, which has a double piscina, and below which is a vaulted undercroft, known as the “scaup” (skull) house. The south transept, known as the Winkill Aisle,[119] from the local family who were probably benefactors to the church, has sedilia and a double piscina.

The architectural features of the church are beautifully illustrated by a series of forty plates in Bowman and Crowther’s Churches of the Middle Ages, but the full story of its connection with the Abbey of Bardney still waits investigation from the patient historian, and would probably prove of great interest.

St. Andrew’s Church, Heckington, East End.



By G. S. W. Jebb, M.A.


Botulf (i.e. Ruling Wolf) is said by Bede to have been born in the seventh century of a gentle Saxon family, and to have studied with his brother Adulf on the Continent. On his return (Adulf remaining to preside over a monastery at Utrecht, and becoming Bishop of Maestricht), Botulf begged permission of Ethelmund, King of East Anglia, to found a monastery in some retired and desolate spot, and chose Icanho (Ox Island) beside the Witham, probably the site of Boston. At Icanho he died on 17th June 655. The monks’ huts were burnt by the Danes in 870, but the relics of the saint had been safely translated, part to Ely, and part to Thorney, and the site of Boston was in later Saxon times included in the wapontak of Skirbeck. After the Norman Conquest the greater part of the parish of Skirbeck, with its two churches, one of which presumably stood on the site of Boston Church, was granted as part of the honour of Richmond in Yorkshire to Alan Rufus, who, shortly before his death in 1089, obtained the ordination of the rectory of Boston, and granted the patronage to the Benedictine Abbey of St. Mary at York, the monks of Boston constituting a priory of that abbey, and the church, which was probably of wood, apparently serving both the parish and the priory. A new church of stone was built at once. It consisted of a nave 25 feet by 60 feet, with aisles each 12 feet wide, a chancel, and a western tower 9 feet square; the floor level was about[121] 4 feet below the present floor. The foundations were exposed in the restoration, 1851-53. The priory buildings were on the north side of the church. In 1309, when the fervour excited by the preaching of the friars was still felt, and the prosperity of the town was at its height, the pious gratitude of the burghers led them to begin the present magnificent church, the foundation-stone being laid on the Monday after St. John Baptist’s Day by Dame Margaret Tilney, assisted by Richard Stephenson, merchant, and John Truesdale, the rector. This church originally consisted of a nave of seven bays with aisles, a chancel originally of three bays, and a south porch. In the Perpendicular Period the chancel was lengthened by two bays, when Fleming, formerly rector of Boston, was Bishop of Lincoln; and the magnificent tower was added outside the former west window. A chamber was also added over the porch, and there were six subsidiary chapels (all but one of which have now been destroyed), besides, at least, two others (those of St. Mary and SS. Peter and Paul) at the east ends of the south and north aisles respectively, screened off within the church itself. The whole was probably completed about 1500; as it now stands the church is, in cubical content, the largest purely parish church in the kingdom, and is only surpassed in floor area (20,270 square feet) by those of St. Michael, Coventry (24,015 square feet), and of Yarmouth (23,265 square feet).

In 1480 the Knights Hospitallers, who had a commandery in the parish, founded by the De Multons about 1230, purchased the advowson from St. Mary’s Abbey, and made the parish church their collegiate church. They also obtained an appropriation of the rectory, and a vicarage was ordained. The Knights maintained a college of ten priests, living in a house in Wormgate (i.e. Withamgate). The old church of the Knights was deserted, and was eventually pulled down in 1626, the material being used to repair St. Botulf’s. After the sale of the advowson the priory became of small importance, and was dissolved in 1536.[122] The Order of the Knights was dissolved in 1540, and its possessions confiscated by King Henry VIII., who, in 1545, sold the endowment of the rectory and the patronage of the vicarage to the newly-created corporation of Boston, subject, however, to the payment of the vicar’s stipend, and to the duty of repairing the chancel. At the Reformation the screens were broken away, and the church despoiled of its furniture and decoration.

During the great rebellion it was used as a cavalry stable, the horses being tethered to iron rings fixed in the pillars. The Antipædobaptists then had a congregation in Boston (which was revived and endowed in 1756, and is still flourishing), and were influential in the neighbourhood; this led to the destruction of the mediæval fonts in Boston and many of the neighbouring churches. The brasses also were torn up, and what remained of the stained glass and stone imagery was broken, and the chapels and other buildings encircling the church were gradually removed during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

On the resumption of the Church services at the Restoration of Charles II., some slight attempts at improvement were made, a new font and reredos and a beautiful pulpit and altar rails being provided. Towards the end of the eighteenth century the present ceiling was put up. The original ceiling of the nave was a flat wooden one, doubtless elaborately carved and gilded, nailed on the under surface of fifteen huge beams which cross the church between each pair of clerestory windows. The ceiling seems to have been injured by fire, and the beams themselves became rotten at the ends, and tended to sag in the centre, and were therefore supported by uprights nailed against the wall with trusses at an angle of 45°; these uprights and trusses were then concealed by panelling which was made to resemble the springers of a sham vault, and was painted a dirty yellow. The lean-to roofs of the aisles were similarly concealed by sham vaulting, and the chancel, hitherto covered with a semi-octagonal roof, divided by boldly moulded ribs[123] into panels, had a sort of sham tunnel vault at a much lower level, so low, indeed, as to have to be tilted upwards to bring it above the crown of the chancel arch. An organ was provided and placed in the chancel arch, having in front of it a gallery supported on oaken columns (now in the Roman church in Boston). The western portion of the church was shut off by a high screen with wrought-iron gates, and the remaining portion of the nave arranged with the pulpit in the centre, and square pews gradually sloping upwards so as to be level with the sills of the windows. The chancel was used only for the quarterly communion. In 1835 the Municipal Reform Act vested the patronage in the Bishop of the diocese, who twice collated under this Act, but the corporation was permitted to sell, and in 1853 did sell, the advowson to Mr. Ingram; he devised it to his widow; she, in turn, devised it to Sir E. Watkin, her second husband, whose representatives in 1906 conveyed it to the Bishop of Lincoln in right of his see. The restoration of the church was begun in the middle of the nineteenth century, about £11,000 being spent under the direction of Sir G. Gilbert Scott. The fabric was put in good repair generally, the stone vaulting of the tower was inserted, a new font was erected, the pews were replaced by oaken benches, the organ placed in a chamber to the north of the chancel, the east window provided with new tracery and filled with poor stained glass, a new altar table with a good red frontal, and some new plate, were purchased, and canopies, copied from Lincoln Cathedral, were added to the stalls; provision was also made for lighting and warming the church. An offering from the Bostonians of America was devoted to restoring the sole remaining chapel, which is situated on the western side of the south porch. The church was re-dedicated in 1853.

Since then there have been a few slight improvements; six of the sixteen windows in the aisle have had stained glass inserted, and it is generally good. The chapel has had three of its windows fitted with stained glass, and has[124] been furnished with an altar and reredos, and a screen separating it from the church provided; two additional frontals have been given for the high altar, and it is backed by an elaborate, though as yet incomplete, reredos of carved oak, designed by Weatherley. The church is still much disfigured by the ugly ceiling, and has a cold unfurnished look, to remedy which screens, stained glass, and colour decoration would be required; unfortunately, the church is so large that nothing can be done which does not involve a considerable expenditure.

General Description

The church consists of a nave of seven bays 150 feet long and 44 feet broad, north and south aisles each 28 feet broad, a chancel of five bays 87 feet long, a western tower (making the total length 293 feet), a south porch with chamber over it, and a chapel 18 feet by 40 feet immediately to the west of the porch. All the nave and aisles windows, except the four at the ends of the aisles, have decorated tracery, two designs (one of them a very poor one) being alternated throughout; the three western bays of the chancel have also decorated tracery. The four end windows of the aisles, the west window of the chapel, and the four windows in the eastern bays of the chancel are Perpendicular. The great east window has modern tracery, copied from the east window of Carlisle Cathedral. The three south windows of the chapel have reticulated tracery. The tower is vaulted at a height of 157 feet. Below the vaulting are the door, three great windows (west, north, and south), and above them four pairs of windows with ogee heads; between the two sets of windows the walls are pierced by an interior passage. Above the vaulting is a ringing chamber, and over that the belfry surrounded by an exterior passage. Access to this is gained by two staircases, the lower portions of which are no part of the tower, but are contained in turrets, which were the principal decoration[125] of the west front before the tower was built. The belfry contains the clock and a peal of twelve bells, on which tunes are played by machinery every three hours. The bells are dated as follows: 1 and 2, 1785; 3, 1772; 4, 1710; 5, 1617; 6, 1758; 8, 1867; and the remaining four, 1897. The roof of the tower rests on the transoms of the four great belfry windows, the upper part being hollow. On the top of the square tower stands the octagonal lantern, which appears never to have been finished. The total height is 280 feet. The furniture is not very noticeable, except the series of sixty-four misericorde stalls in the chancel. The altar is a modern one, 12 feet long. There are a modern brass eagle lectern, a very poor litany desk, and the base of a poor modern screen; the renaissance pulpit, with its sounding board recently restored, is one of the best pieces of furniture. The font was designed by Pugin, and is as satisfactory as could be expected; the benches are clumsy and raised on platforms, and the alleys except the central one have been filled with unnecessary benches, and so appear unduly cramped, but there is a good open space at the west end. At present the base of the tower is used as a vestry, but the erection of a new vestry opening from the chancel is in contemplation. An organ is mentioned as having been in existence in 1480, but it was destroyed in 1590; a new organ was begun in 1713 by Schmidt, and it has since been continually repaired and added to; there are now 2378 pipes. It is rather buried in an organ chamber built out on the north side of the chancel, and has a poor monotonous case dating from the last restoration.


The oldest monument in the church is one dated 1340, a black marble slab in memory of Wisselus Smalenburg, citizen and merchant of Münster. It was originally in the Church of the Franciscan Friars, but was buried on the[126] destruction of that church, then built for about a hundred years into the wall of a cottage, and eventually was placed in Boston Church, near the west end of the north aisle, in 1897. There are two good fifteenth-century altar tombs in recesses in the south aisle: one of a Knight Hospitaller in full armour, the other of a lady; both are unidentified. They were originally in the Knights’ Church, and, when that was pulled down in 1626, were moved to Boston Church, but have only been in their present position since 1853, when the lady’s tomb had the arms of Tilney carved upon it, though without any idea that she really belonged to the Tilney family. On each side of the altar is a black marble slab with brass; that on the north being in memory of Walter Peascod and his wife; that on the south in memory of Richard Strensal, rector from about 1375 to his death in 1408. He is vested in surplice, almuce, and cope, the orphrey of the cope being adorned with figures of the Apostles under canopies. Both these were originally in the Chapel of SS. Peter and Paul. Towards the west end are some slabs which have no doubt been engraved with figures, the faces and hands joined in prayer being now filled in with concrete. The monuments generally seem to have had their places much shifted in the restoration in the middle of the nineteenth century.


The parish was originally endowed with tithes (which are now represented by farms allotted in lieu thereof on the enclosure of the fens) and glebe. On the ordination of the vicarage in 1480, the vicar was allowed the use of the rectory house (pulled down in 1750, and now represented by a house built in 1870), and also had a stipend of £33, 6s. 8d. (fifty marks), charged upon the endowments of the rectory: he also receives from the Governors of Boston Grammar School an annual income of £266, 13s. 4d., representing the provision made by Philip and Mary when[127] they restored to the Corporation of Boston the ancient endowments of the trade guilds, out of which the Grammar School and the assistant clergy had been supported. These endowments had been confiscated in 1552, under Edward VI., by William Parr, Marquis of Northampton, who subsequently took part in the attempt to set Lady Jane Grey on the throne: the vicar also has a fen allotment and various small modern endowments which, allowing £75 for fees, bring up the income to about £400 per annum net. Provision is also made under the charter of Philip and Mary for a second priest—the lecturer—who receives £250 per annum from the Governors of the Grammar School, and interest on £200 (Falkner’s Legacy), which latter sum is in the hands of the Corporation. The Mayor’s Chaplaincy, founded in 1557 by Henry Fox, has an endowment of about £160 per annum, managed by the Boston Charity Trustees. There is a modern endowment of about £45 per annum, given by the Misses Gee, for the curate of St. James’; the Ecclesiastical Commission allow two sums of £60 each towards the stipends of the fourth and fifth priests; and there are other small endowments for the choir, the fabric and the poor, which bring up the total income from endowments in connection with the church to about £1000 per annum. It is impossible to exactly distinguish the rectory endowments from the other lands held by the Corporation, but, roughly, their value may be taken at £1200 per annum. About £2000 per annum is raised by voluntary subscription in connection with the church.

Boston Church.

Rectors and Vicars

1228. John Romanus. His legitimacy was doubtful, and he had to obtain a papal dispensation before holding the benefice. He was Canon and first Sub-Dean of York Minster, and afterwards Treasurer and Archdeacon of Richmond. He was the father of the Archbishop of York of the same name. He[128] died in 1256 at an advanced age. It is not known who was his successor in the rectory.

1309. John Truesdale, as rector, laid the foundation of the present church.

Henry de Hemmyngburgh, afterwards Sub-Dean of Lincoln.

1316. Mr. John Barett.

1362. William de Sandford.

John Strensal, rector in 1378 and 1381.

1408. Richard Fleming, afterwards Bishop of Lincoln and Archbishop-designate of York.

1425. John Ickworth.

1431. Richard Layot.

1448. John Marshall.

1462. Roger Cheshire.

1482. William Smyth, the first vicar, presented by the Knights of St. John. All the rectors had been presented by St. Mary’s Abbey. He was prebendary of Heyther in Lincoln Cathedral. He was buried in Boston Church, but his brass, mentioned by Colonel Holles and by Browne Willis, is not now visible.

1505. William Gunays, died at Boston.

1505. Robert Wylburfos, died at Boston.

1512. John Tynemouth, Bishop of Argos, buried in Boston Church.

1524. John Mabledon, D.D., a brother of the Order of St. John. He resigned on a pension of £6, 13s. 4d. per annum.

1536. Brian Sandford, probably an opponent of the changes which had already begun when he was instituted. In 1552, when the church was being spoiled of its plate and furniture, the Corporation order communication to be had with Vicar Sandford for surrendering his benefice.

1554. Robert Richardson, whose tenure of office just coincided with the reign of Queen Mary. He would[129] be the first of eighteen vicars presented by the Corporation of Boston.

1559. William Fiske, preferred to Moulton vicarage.

1561. William Holland.

1583. Lewis Evans.

1584. James Worshippe, M.A., formerly Mayor’s Chaplain.

1592. William Armstead.

1594. Samuel Wright, B.D.; he resigned.

1599. Thomas Wooll, M.A., a Nonconformist. He was presented at the Archdeacon’s visitation in 1606 “that he weareth not the surplice; it hath been tendered to him, and he sitteth upon it.” He was preferred in 1612 to the rectory of Skirbeck.

1612. John Cotton, M.A.: after twenty years of nonconformity he found it necessary to resign his benefice, and flee to America to avoid prosecution. In compliment to him and other refugees the settlement of Trimountain had its name changed to Boston. He died there in 1652.

1633. Anthony Tuckney, D.D., a Nonconformist, Mayor’s Chaplain from 1629, Master of Emmanuel College in 1644, Trinity College in 1653, and Regius Professor of Divinity in 1655 at Cambridge, and therefore non-resident. From 1651 the Corporation paid Banks Anderson (who had since 1643 been minister at Holbeach) £70 per annum to minister in the church; but as he was an antipædobaptist, a separate minister had to be hired to administer holy baptism. Anderson was one of the elders summoned by Cromwell to his Independent Convention at the Savoy in 1658. About the time of his arrival in Boston, a great witch-hunting campaign took place. On the Restoration he formed an Independent congregation; he died in 1668, and was buried in the church. Tuckney resigned his vicarage in 1660, and his other preferments in 1662. He died in 1670.


1660. Obadiah Howe, D.D., a Puritan, previously successively in charge of Stickney and Gedney. His brass is in the chapel.

1683. Henry Morland, M.A., previously Lecturer. He died at Boston.

1702. Edward Kelsall, M.A., previously Master of the Grammar School. He died at Boston.

1719. Samuel Coddington, M.A., also previously Master of the Grammar School. He died at Boston.

1732. John Rigby, M.A., also previously Master of the Grammar School. He died at Boston.

1746. John Calthrop, M.A., also Vicar of Kirkton, and a prebendary of Lincoln Cathedral. He represented the clergy of the diocese in Convocation. He was buried at Gosberton, of which place he was a native.

1785. Samuel Partridge, M.A. He also held the rectory of the south mediety of Leverton till 1797, and was also Vicar of Wigtoft and of Quadring.

1817. Bartholomew Goe, B.A.

1838. John Furness Ogle, M.A., collated by the Bishop of Lincoln under the provisions of the Municipal Reform Act, 1835. He died at Boston.

1851. George Beatson Blenkin, M.A., a prebendary of Lincoln Cathedral, under whom the church was restored. He died at Boston.

1892. John Stephenson, M.A., a prebendary of Lincoln Cathedral. He resigned.

1905. Reginald Thomas Heygate, M.A., a prebendary of Lincoln Cathedral.



By A. Hamilton Thompson, M.A.

Grantham is still, and long has been, a name familiar to travellers between the north and south of England. Only a few miles west of the old Roman road from London to York, it lies directly in the course of the more modern road, and for more than fifty years has been one of the principal halting-places on a great railway system. The traveller from the south, who has left the Fenland behind him some ten miles north of Peterborough, and has for another ten miles or so ascended the valley of a stream whose waters eventually find their way into the Welland near the Wash, passes through a short tunnel, and rapidly descends into the Witham valley. On his left hand the Witham winds through pleasant meadows, with the noble tower of Great Ponton Church on its farther bank. The stream passes under the railway near the ford by which the traveller approached Grantham during the greater part of its history, leaving the Roman road not far west of Somerby for the by-road known as the Saltway. The smoke of engineering works begins to fill the air; and the tower of Spittlegate Church, close to the line, and, farther away, the rather attenuated tower and cupola of the Town Hall, promise little historical or architectural interest. But if he looks a little beyond his immediate surroundings he will see that beyond this industrial and modern suburb there lies a more inviting town, with a huge tower and spire and the body of a great[132] church mounting high above its red-tiled roofs, with a pretty background of tree-crowned ridge, with the parks of Belton and Syston closing the view to the north-east, and to the north-west the line of the North Road as it cuts its way up Gonerby Hill.

Grantham is sometimes said to take its name from the river, one name of which, as of the Cam at Cambridge, may have been the Grant. The Witham, which rises across the border of Rutland some miles to the south, and flows northward from Grantham, approaching the Trent near Newark, and turning aside to take its own course to the sea by Lincoln and Boston, widened into a small lake or marsh as it drew near to Grantham. The first settlement of Grantham must have been dictated by the sight of a potentially fertile valley. It grew up, so far as we know, neither round an abbey nor beneath a castle, but as a community of agriculturists. The church, which grew to such proportions in its midst, grew probably with the prosperity of the town; while of the castle, which stood on the east side of the town, between it and the river, we know nothing but the name. Grantham was not one of those fortified river towns, like Stamford and Nottingham, which played a part in the campaigns of Edward the Elder and his sister. And its first definite appearance in history is the entry in Domesday Book, where it is numbered with the King’s possessions. It had belonged to Edith, Queen of Edward the Confessor; and included within it there was a right of jurisdiction, granted by a nun named Ælswith to Peterborough Abbey, and now held by Colegrim. The Queen had a hall in the demesne, and the church and its property are mentioned. The history of the manor and soke of Grantham is somewhat complicated, and a full account of it is beyond the scope of this article.[45] When Edward I.’s commissioners visited the[133] town in 1275, to inquire by what warrant lands were held there and privileges exercised, the jurors gave an account of the descent of the lordship, which indicates that the Norman kings, like their successors, treated the manor and soke as grants to be held in dower by their wives or daughters.[46] They said that Maud “regina et heres Anglie”—obviously Henry I.’s daughter, the Empress—enfeoffed William de Tancarville, hereditary chamberlain of the duchy of Normandy, of Grantham and the whole soke, to be held of her in chief, apparently by service of ten knights’ fees, as he sub-enfeoffed this number of knights. The chamberlain’s grandson, Ralph, took part in the rebellion of Normandy against John, and forfeited the possession. John then gave the town with the soke to William, Earl of Warenne, on whose death in 1240 his widow, Maud, a daughter of William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, was allowed to remain in seisin. At her death, however, in 1249, Henry III. resumed the property, claiming that the Earl had held it only while the King was pleased to suffer him; and in 1254, when Prince Edward married Eleanor of Castile, it was granted to him, the claims of John, the then Earl Warenne, being overlooked.[47] Edward, however, a few years later gave the town and soke to the Earl, to be held of him by the service of four knights. The grant was confirmed by a royal charter, in which Henry III. laid stress on the principle that the manor was inalienable from the crown. The lordship and manor seem to have been in different hands[134] from the later part of the reign of Henry II. to this period; but under Prince Edward and Earl John they seem to have been reunited.[48]

Earl John died in 1304, and the lordship escheated to the Crown. It was then granted to Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, who held it till his death in 1324.[49] Edward II. then granted it, or part of it—for here again there seems to have been a temporary divorcement of the lordship from the manor—to John, Earl Warenne, the younger.[50] But he first took care to preclude John from claiming it as his hereditary right by requiring him to quit-claim it to the Crown: this done, he allowed the grant. In 1338, shortly before John’s death, Edward III. gave the reversion of part of the tenement to William de Bohun, Earl of Northampton,[51] after whose death (1360) his son Humphrey was allowed to hold it. In 1363, the castle and town were granted to Edmund of Langley.[52] The manor was possibly retained by the young Earl of Northampton, and the grant of castle and town seems not to have included the soke. In 1399, the manor reverted to the Crown, by the attainder of its holder, the Earl of Northumberland, and was granted to Edmund of Langley. The soke also, on the death of Sir Robert Byron, passed into Edmund’s hands.[53] Edmund died in 1402; and castle and town, with[135] manor and soke, were granted to his son Edward, Duke of York, who died at Agincourt. In 1420 they were given in dower to Katharine of France on her marriage. Edward IV., in 1461, granted the lordship with the manor to his mother Cicely, Duchess of York: his grant included the inn called “le George.”[54] On her death, the manor with its appurtenances was settled on her granddaughter, Elizabeth of York; and from that time till the time of William III., save for an alienation to private owners during the Commonwealth, it was regarded as Crown property, and held in dower by the Queen-Consort for the time being. The Earls of Rutland were stewards of the manor. William III., in 1696, alienated it to the first Earl of Portland, and since then it has remained in private hands, though not in the same family.

Other proprietors also held property, and had certain forms of jurisdiction in the town. The traveller who entered it from the south in the year 1300, after crossing the Salters’ Ford and passing the leper hospital which about this time began to give its name to the suburb of Spittlegate, might have seen, on the wide space outside the town, near the modern Town Hall, the cross which within the last few years the King of England had built to mark the southward progress of his wife’s funeral procession.[55] On his right hand, on and near the modern St. Peter’s Hill, were the lands of the abbey of Peterborough, which had been granted to it by Ælswith before the Conquest, and by Colegrim afterwards, and had been confirmed to it by royal charter.[56] On this land probably stood the[136] Church of St. Peter, of which too little is known to justify definite statement.[57] Near the church he would see the opening of Castlegate, east of which lay the Castle, the visible symbol of the royal lordship. He would keep straight on along the higher ground. Passing along High Street, he might already see here and there a handsome house of Ancaster stone, such as he certainly would see in forty or fifty years’ time. It is doubtful whether the inn, afterwards known as the “George,” was built yet: it is probable that the little guild chapel which stood on the same side of the street till late in the eighteenth century belonged to a later period. Farther on, on the opposite side, stood the “Angel Inn,” on the property of the Knights Templars of Temple Bruer. Within the next decade the Order of the Temple would be no more; and their property here, as elsewhere, would—at any rate, it seems likely—be granted to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem in England. The gateway of the “Angel,” as we know it to-day, was not built till more than half a century later: the rest of the street front is of a still later date. Opposite the “Angel” was the opening, afterwards known as Coal Hill, leading to the market-place—if, indeed, the market-place was divided from the High Street then as now. On the west side of the market-place was the house of the Grey Friars, on the property known later as the Grange, and for some time, in accordance with the modern genius for confounding monks with friars, as Cistercian Place. It is possible that the Franciscans, who appeared in Grantham about 1290, may have come from the house of their order at Bury St. Edmunds, and that the Benedictine abbey of Bury may have allowed them to settle on the property which it had received in frankalmoin from William de Tancarville, and had been allowed to retain after the forfeiture of the[137] Tancarville estates.[58] In 1318 Richard Kellawe, Bishop of Durham, allowed the Friars to convey water to their house from springs on his land at Gonerby; and the conduit, built in 1579, which is to be seen on the west side of the market-place, is the successor of the conduit of the Friars. But it is probable that already, in 1300, the chief of the four ancient wells from which Grantham took its supply was in the centre of the market: it may already have been roofed over, and the dyers may already have begun to spread their goods on market-days beneath the projecting eaves of the roof. At the “Angel” the traveller would be sure to find wool-merchants travelling from fair to fair, or the King’s buyers come to transact business with the rising wool-merchants of the town.[59] North of the “Angel,” the High Street was continued, under the name of Watergate, down the slope of the hill which led to the watering-place at the bridge over the Mowbeck, the little stream which, flowing down the Harlaxton valley, met the Witham below the town. Our traveller would leave this on his left: a narrow lane, now Vine Street, used till 1705 merely as a foot-path to the church, would take him to the head of Swinegate, the road along which the town swine were driven daily to spend the day on Manthorpe Moor. Here possibly markets had been held till within the last quarter of a century; and here, till 1645, stood the old Apple Cross, the High Cross of Grantham. But the space had been encroached upon by the westward extension of the church;[60] so that Grantham lost that magnificent combination of church and market-square[138] which is the unrivalled distinction of its neighbour Newark. What the town had lost, however, the church had gained in architectural beauty; and in the year 1300 the west front, much as we now see it, had been finished, and the scaffolding was probably being removed from a spire which at that time was unsurpassed in England. The spire of the mother church of Salisbury was not to be completed for many years: the spire of Newark was not taken in hand till the second quarter of the century. More than a century later, Grantham spire would be surpassed in height and grace of proportion by the great lantern-tower at Boston: two hundred years later, the spire of Louth would challenge both. But in beauty of detail, whatever may be their advantages in design, neither Louth nor Boston can compare with Grantham; and in this respect the one steeple in England which has ever surpassed it is the “Broad” Tower of Lincoln. Yet even this was not yet completed for another ten or eleven years, so that for the moment the spire of Grantham stood without an equal.

The space by the Apple Cross was then, we may suppose, less impeded by houses than at present; and south and south-east of the churchyard were the outer works of the Castle, whose memory was long preserved in Castle Dyke, the lower part of Castlegate. But of the Castle itself, as has been said, little is known.[61] Only once in its history, and then apparently when the Castle existed no longer, was Grantham prominent as a military centre. The Kings of England, its nominal lords, must all have passed through Grantham in their progresses. Edward I. was often there.[62] Edward IV. came through the town at the head of the procession which brought the body of his father from Pontefract Priory to the College of Fotheringhay. Charles I. was there at least three times, on his way to Scotland in 1633, and again in 1640 and 1641. On none of these[139] occasions do we hear of the Castle. And when, on the 19th of October 1483, Richard III. sealed the death-warrant of the Duke of Buckingham here, causing the Great Seal to be brought for that purpose post-haste from London, he did it, not in the Castle, but “in a chamber called the King’s Chamber in the Angel Inn”—the chamber whose outer wall, and at any rate one window, may be seen above the gateway of the “Angel.” The Castle may have risen in Norman times, possibly on the site of Queen Edith’s hall, the face of which, however, would have been completely altered by the new Norman earthworks. But, if this were so, the most that we hear of it is a casual mention here and there, and its survival in one or two local names.

Angel Hotel, Grantham.

The visit of Richard III. to Grantham was marked by his grant of a charter to the Corporation of the town, which exempted them from the authority of the Sheriff of Lincolnshire in the execution and return of writs, making the Alderman and his twelve Comburgesses magistrates within the town and soke, and giving them a prison in the town. A charter had been granted to the Alderman and Burgesses by Richard II. in 1377; and Richard III.’s charter was probably an extension of the privileges granted by a charter of Edward IV. in 1463. From 1463 Grantham dates its existence as a corporate borough, the recognition of its Merchant Guild, and the right of sending two burgesses to Parliament. Its Alderman was elected by the Comburgesses annually in the church, the Corpus Christi chapel of the chancel being used, as time went on, for that purpose.[63] Probably the members of Parliament were at first elected in the church: their election later on took place in the Grammar School, until in 1765 Corpus Christi College at Oxford, as trustee of the foundation, objected to the damage done on these occasions. It was then decided to transfer parliamentary elections to the church or the Guildhall. Grantham lost one of its members in 1832, but still[140] returns one. James II. converted the Alderman into a Mayor by a charter of 1685. In April 1688, however, a Quo warranto summons was served on the Mayor; and in the following November the Corporation, taking advantage of the banished King’s proclamation which restored such bodies to their ancient rights, reverted to their old state. Their later constitution included an Alderman, twelve senior and twelve junior Comburgesses. For these the Municipal Reform Act of 1835 substituted a Mayor, four Aldermen, and twelve Councillors.

We have seen the connection of the church with the civic life of the town; and it is to the church and its history that we now turn. In 1085 it formed part of the royal manor, and the right of presentation to it belonged then and for some time after to the King. The parish of Grantham was then probably conterminous with the soke. The churches at Houghton, which corresponds to the modern parish of Spittlegate, Londonthorpe, and in the outlying member of the soke at Braceby, were regarded as chapels of Grantham from early times. The extent of the mediæval parish is fairly represented by the report of Henry VIII.’s commissioners in 1535-6. They found the vicar of the northern mediety of Grantham holding as part of his charge North Gonerby and Londonthorpe; while South Gonerby and Braceby were in charge of the vicar of the southern mediety. Belton and Sapperton, also members of the soke, formed independent parishes from an early date: one can scarcely doubt that the alienation of property there to religious houses was followed quickly by the alienation of the townships from their mother church and the building of churches of their own, to which their new lords presented.[64] In 1091 the lands and endowments of the Church of Grantham were granted to St. Osmund, who gave them to his new cathedral at Old Sarum. The presentation still remained with the Crown. If we may trust[141] the shaky memories of the jurors of 1275, with whose statements the justices apparently were satisfied, the Empress Maud granted the advowson and right of presentation to the Church of Sarum.[65] From that time it became a prebendal church of the Cathedral of Sarum, divided into medieties, whose rectors, the prebendaries of North and South Grantham, impropriated the endowments already granted, and claimed some jurisdiction within their prebends. The church was probably served by chaplains, until Hugh of Wells, Bishop of Lincoln, whose energy in providing regular incumbents and stipends for the impropriated benefices of his diocese, has a memorial in the priceless rolls of institutions and charters belonging to his episcopate, and in his book of ordinations of vicarages, arranged for the presentation and institution of regularly paid vicars. The first vicar of North Grantham was instituted on September 23, 1223; the first vicar of South Grantham about two years later.[66] It is not at all unlikely that many of these vicars were careless about residence, and that their duties were often delegated to the chantry priests, whose number grew in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries: we know that, in the seventeenth century, the care of the parish was left often, if not habitually, to one of the two incumbents. But each of the two prebendaries in Salisbury presented his own nominee on a vacancy in his particular vicarage till 1713, when, on the voidance of the vicarage of North Grantham by death, Mr. John Harrison, the south vicar, was instituted also to the other mediety.[142] There are still prebendaries of North and South Grantham in Salisbury, who presented to the vicarage until 1870; but their connection with the prebendal church is now severed save in name, and, while the impropriation has passed into other hands, the vicar is collated by the Bishop of Lincoln.

On its first connection with the Cathedral of Sarum the church was much smaller than it is now. As we stand beneath the tower and look along the nave, we shall see that the second pillar east of the tower in both arcades is a pier composed of a broad mass of wall with a respond on either side; and, coming nearer, we shall see that the western respond is much later in character than the eastern. Across the space between these composite piers, covering their site, and extending a little farther to north and south, came the west front of the twelfth-century church, possibly even that of the church mentioned in 1085.[67] It had no aisles; its side walls stood a little outside the line of the present arcades, where their foundations still exist. Of its connection with the chancel we can say nothing, but high up in the north wall of the chancel there is “herring-bone” masonry; there is “Norman” tooling on the stones in the wall below the east window, and in the south wall it is possible that some of the masonry is of the same date. If the chancel was originally of its present length, it was as long as the nave—a most unusual proportion in Norman times; but the nave may have extended farther east, or there may have been a tower between nave and chancel. If so, the tower was possibly built either as a continuation[143] upward of the eastern parts of the nave walls, or straight from the ground without transepts. The imposing provisions for a rood-screen in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries removed all possible traces of the earlier arrangement.

About 1180, or a few years later, aisles were added to the nave. To this work belong the two eastern responds already mentioned, and the three beautiful clustered columns on either side between them and the chancel-screen. These columns are of that type, in which the shafts, although approaching the detachment and individual emphasis of each member which are the great features of early Gothic art, have not yet wholly broken away from their absorption by the main mass of stonework. That mass, however, has acquired grace and slenderness without losing strength; the pier, adequate to the weight it has to bear, has taken the place of the shafted mass of wall, the bearing power of which was out of proportion to its real function. The carving of the capitals, too, marks the Transitional character of the work. The respond of the north arcade has a carved capital of distinctly late Norman character. As we go eastward, this conventional arabesque sculpture disappears, and foliage, at first here and there, then altogether, takes its place.[68] The carving of the capitals of the south arcade was evidently begun after the north arcade was completed, and only one of them was finished. These piers were connected by semicircular arches, the lower voussoirs of which were in some cases retained as springing-points for the pointed arches which we see at present. These later arches, with their acute points, led to the blocking of the round-headed clerestory windows, the openings of one or two of which may be traced in the wall above. This new arcade was not built, as was so common, by taking the old church walls gradually to pieces and building piers and arches in specially made[144] gaps and breaches; but the older walls seem to have been taken down, and the arcades built, as has been noted, slightly within their line. The east responds of the arcade are gone altogether, owing to the later widening of the eastern bay; and of the aisles which were now added to the church it is difficult to premise anything but this, that they were in all likelihood about half as broad as the present aisles, if as much, and were covered by lean-to roofs, abutting on the nave walls below the clerestory. The earlier chancel, and, if there was one, the central tower (a little to the east of centre), were probably left unaltered.

In this state the church remained until the last quarter of the thirteenth century, a building handsome and interesting, but not specially remarkable for size, and without any peculiar or unique feature. Its western doorway may have opened straight upon what was then, it appears, the market-place of the town. The commercial prosperity of the place, its trade in wool, were growing; and we are justified in supposing that the merchants of the town took their part in the great extension of their parish church. This extension was no mere result of the fact that Grantham was a lordship belonging to the Crown; nor, we may be sure, did the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury undertake the gratuitous task of enlarging to nearly double its size a church which represented to them a portion of their income, and would certainly never occur to them in the light of a cherished possession demanding expensive care. But to the men of the town it was a cherished possession; and the greater part of the cost was doubtless supplied by merchants, the fathers and kinsfolk of the Haryngtons and Saltebys who founded chantries in the next century within its walls. But the mother church at Salisbury helped to supply at any rate some of the ideas to which the townsmen’s money-gifts gave shape. Her chapter-house was finished somewhere between 1270 and 1280, and the cusped circles in the heads of the windows of the north[145] aisle at Grantham, the shafted mullions with plainly moulded caps and bases, are accurate reminiscences of its simple and beautiful geometrical tracery. Lincoln, too, where, in 1280, the great eastern chapel—the so-called “Angel Quire,” built to contain St. Hugh’s shrine—had been consecrated, supplied its share: the west window of the north aisle at Grantham is an ingenious adaptation to six lights, with a slight improvement, of the eight-light east window at Lincoln. These, however, are merely details by which the work at Grantham may be assigned to the year 1280 or a little later. The design of the masons included a western extension of the church, accompanied by a widening of the aisles, and, with this, the building of a western tower.

In setting out their plan, they remembered what had been done at Newark some fifty years before. There a western tower had been begun, standing free of the aisles on three sides; but, as the work advanced, the builders had determined to bring their aisles westward flush with the west wall of the tower, and had pierced arches, as an afterthought, in its north and south walls. The work at Newark was temporarily stopped, and, when it went on again, Grantham led the way with one splendid effort. The Grantham builders apparently began work with their north aisle. It was on a vast scale, and spaced with so little regard to the spacing of the columns of the nave that the north doorway, instead of opening against an interval between columns, has a column and part of an interval opposite it.[69] The earlier north aisle was totally enclosed by this new work, which not merely stretched three bays to the westward—the third of these bays, which roughly corresponds to the internal space occupied by the tower and its piers, being nearly as wide as the other two together—but also was extended a bay eastward, so that it encroached on the chancel wall, or, it may be, on the space hitherto occupied by the tower. From the walls of the aisle the builders probably passed to the lower courses of the tower piers, the arches from the tower into the new aisles, and the western doorway,[70] and then joined the tower piers to the west angles of the older nave by two arches on each side, with intermediate columns whose form was evidently suggested by that of the earlier columns east of them. If this hint was taken from the older work, the imitation did not extend to the rounded arches. The new arches were sharply pointed, and, to give uniformity to the connected work, new pointed arches were built up in place of the old rounded ones. This obviously was done by removing just as much of the upper wall of the nave as was necessary, and blocking the clerestory. No clerestory seems to have formed part of the new design. As part of this task, the chancel was connected by an arch with the eastern part of the new aisle, and the old west front and north aisle walls were removed.




We need not dwell on the beauty of this work, which touches exactly the Transition from the first to the second period of English Gothic, on the north doorway, with its array of mouldings and shafts, on the details of the windows, the grotesque carvings of the eaves, the boldness and cleanness of the outlines of buttresses and base-courses. The next work was the completion of the steeple, and this was done well, but apparently with some rapidity, about the year 1300. There is, perhaps, a slight indecision of design in the small stages of arcading and “smocking” above the west window; and the west window itself, with its mullions crossing in the head, is more effective from the point of view of its parade of “ball-flower” than from that of design; but there can be no question as to the beauty of the twin two-light windows[148] above the “smocking” stage, or to the character which the belfry-lights, with their strongly defined central mullion, their crocketed triangular hoods, and the statued niches in the spandrils they form with the parapet, give to the tower.[71] Nor can there be anything but admiration for the great angle-buttresses, rising from their niched lower stages by a series of sloping offsets into four tall crocketed pinnacles round the base of the spire; nor for the method by which the diagonal sides of the spire, which rises from within a plain parapet, are connected by broaches with the pinnacled angles of the tower: nor for the crocketing, plain in detail but elaborate in effect, and the three ranges of lights of the spire itself. The top was rebuilt in 1664, probably a few feet lower than it had been. It was struck by lightning in 1797, and repaired rather timorously.[72]

The south aisle was already set out on a scale little less than that of the north aisle, and probably it was completed as far as a point corresponding to the east end of the nave, soon after the completion of the spire. This work was done more hastily, and with less consistent magnificence than that of the north aisle; but it has been so much restored that it is difficult to realise its appearance when it was built. The masonry, however, is of a poorer kind, and seems to indicate that funds were not so easily forthcoming as before. The south doorway and the outer doorway of the porch are thirteenth-century structures, removed from their original positions to corresponding places in relation to the new aisle. The windows, where they are original, show the design of crossing mullions which we have noticed in the west window of the tower, but the shafts used in some of them seem to be re-used from windows in the older south aisle.

Whether this aisle was closed by some temporary arrangement at the east end, or whether an east wall was[149] ever built, we cannot tell; no foundations of such a wall exist, so far as is known. Work, at any rate, seems to have stopped about 1310-20. It was not long before it was resumed, but the resumption was gradual. Three great works belong to the next stage—the building of the south chapel of the chancel and the crypt beneath, the rebuilding and northward extension of the north porch, and the building of the rood-screen. Both the south chapel and the extended porch were the result of the foundation of guilds and the multiplication of chantry services.[73] The south chapel itself, extending the whole length of the chancel, and connected with it by an arcade of four bays cut in its south wall, was probably the chapel of the chantry of St. Mary, founded by William Gunthorp. Richard Salteby, whose canopied tomb is in the south wall of the nave, immediately east of the south porch, founded the chantry of St. John the Baptist, whose services were probably performed at an altar near the southern staircase to the roof. This altar may have stood at first against the east wall of the aisle; later, it would have stood against the screen across the entrance of the Lady Chapel. Of the position of the other fourteenth-century chantries we know little; but one helpful document, enrolled among the public records, tells us of some of the altars and services in the church in 1349, and, in particular, of the altar in the rood-loft (in solario coram magna cruce in medio ecclesie), at which a chaplain said mass daily “after the first stroke of the bell which is called Daybelle”—the bell which still rings[150] at five o’clock every morning from Lady Day to Michaelmas.[74] The crypt below the Lady Chapel, divided into an eastern and western portion, and approached by two doors on the outside of the church, may have contained other chantry chapels; but the western portion was possibly used as a bone-hole.

North Porch, Grantham Church (St. Wolfran’s).

The church, in addition to chantry foundations, contained valuable relics, among which were portions of the bodies of the patron saints of the church, St. Wulfran, Archbishop of Sens, missionary to Friesland, and monk of Fontenelle,[75] and of St. Symphorian, the martyr of Autun. It is highly probable that, as time went on, these relics were preserved in the eastern crypt; the beautiful staircase, with its elaborate doorway, by which this crypt in the fifteenth century was connected with the chancel, had evidently some special purpose. But it is almost certain that, on such days as the 15th of October, the feast of the translation of St. Wulfran, when people flocked into the town for what is now known as the Onion Fair, the relics would be exhibited to the devout visitors from the chamber above the north porch,[151] through the small traceried window above the north door. This chamber was approached by staircases in the outer pinnacles of the north porch. Its construction seems to have been the raison d’être of the rebuilding of which we have spoken; the whole lower storey, the inner porch, the open way in the middle, left to give room to church processions, the outer porch, were vaulted over, and, to admit of this vaulting, the pediment of the north doorway was ruthlessly mutilated. Those who have discovered in this upper chamber the vicarage of North Grantham will find in it rather a chapel where the relics belonging to the church were kept and exposed to the faithful, and in the two staircases (an expensive provision for so small a vicarage) a way of entrance and of exit for those who wished to visit the shrine and seek contact with its treasure.[76] The floor and the vaulting beneath it have now been removed, and the destruction which it caused to the north doorway is only too clearly visible. The date of the chamber above the south porch, in its present state, is rather uncertain; the little window looking into the church, which points to its use as a watching-chamber, is of the fifteenth century.

The Lady Chapel is one of the most perplexing portions of the church: the masonry of its walls and the early fourteenth-century tracery of one of its windows suggest that, if there was a more than temporary wall at the east end of the south aisle, its materials were re-used here. The arcade and the tracery of the remaining windows, almost disagreeably fantastic in its exaggerated curves, point to an advanced period in the fourteenth century for its completion, and show signs of that failing force which was an immediate result of the Black Death. We may assign the ten years between 1350 and 1360 to this work. The circular buttress-turrets at the east end are very like[152] those which flank the north porch at Holbeach Church in South Lincolnshire, a building of much the same date. When this work was finished, only one thing remained to be done to give the church the form of a regular aisled parallelogram. This was the building of a north chapel to the chancel, a continuation eastward of the great north aisle. As we have seen, the eastern bay of that aisle already opened into the chancel. The lengthening was not taken in hand until a century and a quarter after the Lady Chapel was built; and, in the interval, one important piece of work was achieved, the widening and heightening of the eastern bay of the nave on either side, evidently to give dignity to the rood-screen and loft. It is not at all unlikely that there may have been a chancel arch up to this time, perhaps with twelfth-century jambs supporting a pointed arch, like those which had been added to the nave arcades. If so, it was now cut away: the responds of the arcades on either side were destroyed, and from the wall-face thus mutilated—the recklessly hacked surface may be seen by opening a hinged panel in the side of the modern screen—wide and lofty arches were thrown across to single dwarf-shafts resting on the abaci of the twelfth-century piers to the west. Thus unimpeded space was obtained for the screen with its loft, and the great rood on its beam above. The character of the work is later than 1350; and the screen to which the document of 1349 refers probably underwent some alteration, or was now replaced by a new one, the central portion of which was certainly of stone.[77][153] Of fifteenth-century work is the crypt door, with its solid panelled screen on the south of the chancel; a window of much the same date was inserted in the south aisle, just east of the south doorway of the nave. In the latter half of the century the east wall of the north aisle was removed; the north wall of the chancel was pierced with three wide arches with slender responds and intermediate piers, poor in design and detail; and the north chancel chapel, with its large Perpendicular windows, was built. This was known as the “Corpus Christi Quire.” This has been repeatedly referred to the munificence of Richard Foxe, Bishop of Winchester, a great benefactor of Grantham Grammar School and the founder of Corpus Christi College at Oxford. Foxe certainly was one of the trustees for the foundation of a chantry in Grantham Church, served by two priests, one of whom was to be the grammar schoolmaster; but the chief founder of the Corpus Christi chantry was a certain John Orston, whose name also occurs as founder of the Trinity chantry. This foundation (1392) was nearly a century earlier than the actual building of the “Corpus Christi Quire.” We have seen how the chapel was the scene of the election of aldermen. For many years the records of the borough were preserved in the eastern crypt, in a great wooden chest with three locks. Foxe’s emblem of the pelican is said to occur on the lower side of the bowl of the octagonal font. However, the font, with its sculptured panels of events in the life of our Lord, is probably earlier than Foxe’s day; and the pelican is, of course, a common emblem of the Blessed Sacrament.

Early in the sixteenth century the present vestry, a long room at right angles to the western bay of the north chancel chapel, was built as a chantry chapel by a wealthy family named Hall. It is now entered through the arch which formerly stood above the founder’s tomb; the small doorway at the side has been blocked. This building abutted against one of the pinnacled turrets by which the roof was approached, and blocked its entrances. This was the last[154] structural alteration to the church during the Middle Ages. The great building, served by its two vicars and at least eight chantry priests—to say nothing of the chaplain, whose stipend bound him to read the Gospel as deacon at the daily mass at the high altar—stood, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, in something like its cathedral-like seclusion of to-day. The vicars had their houses on either side of the church; the chantry priest of St. Mary lived in a house whose site is now absorbed by the south-west corner of the churchyard. The houses of the other members of what was now called the College were either round the church or not far away. A house called the Chantry House stood in Watergate till the middle of the nineteenth century; it was then removed and entirely rebuilt in Belton village, where the date 1470 may be seen above one of the old windows, which was preserved in the rebuilding. East of the church was the mansion of the Halls, where Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII., stayed in 1503, on her way to Scotland to become the wife of James IV. A handsome house of the later seventeenth century stands on the site; the pretty little thirteenth-century doorway in the garden wall may possibly have belonged to the church; its mouldings agree with those of the south doorway and some of the jamb-shafts of the windows of the south aisle, which are obviously remains of work of this period. On the north side of the churchyard still stands the sixteenth-century Grammar School, founded with the aid of Bishop Foxe in 1528, and endowed by Edward VI. in 1553 with the possessions of the Trinity and Lady chantries. Foxe was born at Ropsley, in the hilly country south of Grantham. From Woolsthorpe, in the same district, but further west, came the most famous pupil of the school, Sir Isaac Newton. Among its earliest scholars was William Cecil, a native of Bourn, afterwards famous as Lord Burghley; and a third name, this time of a native of Grantham itself, is that of the metaphysician, Henry More, the head of the school of Cambridge Platonists. Colley Cibber was also educated[155] here, an interesting if not altogether illustrious pupil. The schoolroom was used till within the last few years. Since then handsome school buildings have been completed on the opposite side of the headmaster’s house, in the dip through which the Mowbeck used to flow visibly, and the old schoolroom has been fitted up as a school chapel.

Henry VIII. numbered Grantham among those sees which he intended to found. Not till lately has a suffragan bishop in the diocese of Lincoln taken the title of Bishop of Grantham. The dissolution of the chantries put an end to the “College,” and the vicars of the “prebendary church” in post-Reformation times had to be content with very small stipends. Puritanism raised its head in Grantham formidably, as in most parts of Lincolnshire; and the Corporation, though in the main orthodox, had, in 1620, established a weekly lecture in the church on Tuesday, to which they invited the most eloquent clergy of the neighbourhood. The preacher afterwards attended a Corporation dinner, and was allowed a pint of sack. These lectures, although doubtless intended to afford a substitute for irregular prophesying, also gave opportunities to lecturers of a Puritan cast of thought. Preaching was evidently regarded at Grantham as of more importance than the decency of ritual. The communion-table stood in the middle of the chancel without a rail round it, and was treated without reverence. Peter Titley, instituted to the south vicarage in 1625, removed it, set it altar-wise against the east wall, and railed it in. Unhappily, the Alderman of Grantham in 1627 was a Puritan, and Titley had made himself unpopular by inhibiting the lecturers. Attending the church in state, the Alderman ordered his mace-bearers to remove the altar to its old position. A free fight followed, and Alderman and Vicar appealed to Bishop Williams. The Bishop delayed a final decision; and, a few days later, the Alderman, followed by the Vicar, rode off to seek a personal interview at Buckden. Williams, although he had expressed approval of Titley’s action, and after Titley’s death officiated[156] at the altar itself, acted with some partiality towards the Puritans. His answer to the Vicar, which he sent through the hands of the inhibited lecturers, raised a controversy beyond Grantham; and the war of pamphlets, in which Heylyn, Prynne, Burton, and others took part, became a matter of other than local history. Titley seems to have held his own, and the altar was still against the east wall after his death in 1633.[78] During Titley’s incumbency some additions were made to the church. Possibly the east window, of a very plain Perpendicular type, resting on a fourteenth-century sill, was inserted at this time.[79] A clerestory was added to the chancel about 1628, when the roofs of the church were lowered; and it is much to be regretted that this was destroyed at a nineteenth-century restoration, in that spirit of iconoclasm which imagines that, by destroying post-mediæval masonry and furniture, it is restoring churches to their “original state.” In 1640 the Chancellor of the diocese presented the church with an organ; but although the Corporation approved, the Puritans opposed the gift for the time successfully.[80] The organ was erected, but probably was not used; and the great event of the year was the re-hanging of the bells and the blocking up of the ground floor of the tower by a wooden ringers’ gallery.

Three times between 1601 and 1640 had plague visited the town; and early in 1643 came the scourge of civil war. The Royalists were the first to occupy the town, their troops being quartered in the tithe-barn of the prebendaries, to the south-east of the churchyard, and close to the site of the Castle. In spite of a temporary repulse, they held[157] Grantham till May 22, 1643, when Cromwell won his first battle on a field to the north of the town. “Belton fight” was followed by the battle of Winceby, in October. The year before the Corporation plate had been seized by order of Parliament, but was fortunately restored to the town. This year Fairfax demanded a vote of £300 from the Corporation, who did as they were told; but the town refused to pay, and the Alderman and some of the Comburgesses were sent to Nottingham Castle. Released in 1644, they formed a Royalist faction in and outside the town, corresponding with the garrison at Belvoir, and taking part in the guerilla warfare of the countryside. But in 1646 came the end of the war. Belvoir and Newark castles were surrendered, and their fortifications slighted. Under Puritan rule the Royalist burgesses were deprived of their rights; but the town returned to something of its old quiet and prosperity. The woodwork of the church had been destroyed by the soldiers during the Civil War, who used it for fuel, and probably the state of the building was rather dreary. When in 1648 an Alderman was elected in church, the deprived Royalists took the occasion to brawl. The weekly lectures were restored in 1646, and, somewhat earlier, the poorly paid vicars had their stipends augmented by the sequestration of the Salisbury prebends. In spite of this, one of the vicars found it more agreeable to his conscience to be non-resident. In 1651, the Mercers’ Company, trustees of an investment left by Lady Campden to form the endowment of two lectureships, one of which was to be in Lincolnshire, granted the moiety to Grantham. The Campden Lecture is still preached on Wednesday morning in every week; and yearly by the provisions of another endowment, chargeable on the “Angel Inn,” a sermon is preached against the sin of drunkenness. Of course, after 1646, the colour of the lectures in Church were strictly Puritan; but the ejected parsons of Boothby Pagnell and Barrowby, Dr. Sanderson and Dr. Hurst, were living in Grantham; and their spotless life and example seem to[158] have won the respect of all. Sanderson became Bishop of Lincoln at the Restoration. It was during the Commonwealth period, from 1651 to 1656, that Isaac Newton was at school in Grantham, lodging with one Mr. Clarke, and experimenting with an amateur sundial and with models of horsemills and windmills.

After the Restoration the history of Grantham is that of any quiet country town, until the coming of the railway and the establishment of the engineering works. The most startling event in its story was the pulling down of the Market Cross by Mr. John Manners, then lord of the manor, in 1779. He was compelled to restore it by mandamus the following year. The ecclesiastical history of the town is equally peaceful. The church was invaded by galleries and box-pews; the rood-screen, if it had not already gone, was taken down; the western part of the nave was left unused, and glass screens to shut out the draught closed in the eastern bays of the nave and the chancel. The ringing gallery, which blocked up the lower part of the tower, was removed in 1752; and, though one cannot regret the opening out of the noble western arch, it is probable that other woodwork in the church might have been better spared. The encumbrances of the building were removed during the nineteenth century. Something was done at a restoration which took place in 1851, during the incumbency of Mr. William Potchett. The western part of the south aisle was re-roofed, and the present tracery of the west window of the aisle seems to have been put in. Part of a fund left in 1795 for the beautifying of the church was applied in 1853 to filling the west window of the north aisle with stained glass of a painful brilliance, and the staining of the other two windows of the west front took place between 1852 and 1855. Under Mr. George Maddison, vicar from 1856 to 1874, Sir Gilbert Scott thoroughly restored the whole building. This restoration, completed in October 1868, gave us the church substantially in its present state. While the chancel clerestory[159] was removed, an act of compensation was performed in the recusping of the tracery in the windows of the north aisle. Eight years later followed the restoration of the north porch. Since then, the church has received many beautiful gifts—Sir Gilbert Scott’s chancel-screen; Mr. G. F. Bodley’s reredos, which has been heightened of late years to conceal the east window and add a gradine to the altar; Mr. Kempe’s stained glass; and, latest of all, the restored reredos in the crypt, the lofty font-cover, the organ-case, and the restoration of Hall’s chapel, which are the work of Mr. W. T. Tapper.

One thing remains to be noted in connection with the church—its two libraries. The second of these is of no special interest. It was given to the church in 1764 by Dr. John Newcome, Dean of Rochester, and Master of St. John’s College, Cambridge, and placed within rails at the east end of the south aisle. It was then removed to Hall’s chapel in 1806, and found a third home at the west end of the south aisle towards the end of the century. It has been removed again within recent years. The other library was given in 1598 by Francis Trigg, vicar of Welbourn, and was housed in the room over the south porch, which seems to have been repaired, if not rebuilt, about this time. The books, bound for the most part in stout oak boards, are set, as in mediæval libraries, with their leaves outwards, and are chained to rings on an iron rod in front of each shelf. The collection includes some early printed books of the fifteenth century, and editions of Fathers and mediæval theologians. The library was intended for the use of the vicars; and in 1642 one Edward Skipworth left a small endowment to supply it with firewood in winter, that the vicars might prosecute their studies. Gifts were made to it from time to time. Henry More presented his writings to it, and Dr. Sanderson gave it one of the few copies of Philip II.’s Polyglot, printed at Antwerp, which had escaped destruction by sea. Of the eight volumes, only two and a fragment remain. A verger is said to have been found[160] lighting a fire with some of the leaves. Fortunately, the full value of the library is now appreciated; and, if it does not attract many earnest students, it is at any rate regarded with intelligent curiosity.[81]

With the gift of Francis Trigg, “Welborne quondam Concionator amans,” we leave Grantham. No longer the small market town, whose City Fathers never stirred in the streets without their gowns, the Alderman distinguished by his tippet with its gold clasps, but a busy manufacturing and railway town, with growing suburbs and a population of from 20,000 to 30,000, it yet keeps something of its country aspect. The trees at the back of the church and along the North Road, the splendid chestnut in Finkin Street, close to the middle of the town, the easy escape from the houses to the slopes of the Harrowby Hills, or the canal path to Harlaxton, make it a pleasant place to see or stay in, and compensate for the bleak features of its approach from the south. Though no one could claim for its surroundings the privilege of startling beauty, yet there is no more smiling a piece of country in the English Midlands than that of which it is the centre. Cut off from the Fenland flats on the east by a long table-land with a gradual eastward slope, and on the south by the broken country towards Bourn and Stamford, it has on the north the long line of pretty villages which mark the road to Lincoln, and on the west the vale of Belvoir, overhung by the wooded escarpments of the Leicestershire Wolds. It is the centre of a country which possesses some of the most beautiful village churches and the noblest houses in England. Due north of the town is Belton House, where Wren’s gifts of moderation in proportion and of masterly internal spacing are at their best; and just beyond is Syston, high on the brow of a hill, and gazing across the intervening ridges[161] at Belvoir. Between Grantham and Belvoir are the great modern houses of Harlaxton and Denton. Harlaxton, a palace in size, is set on a terrace at the end of a straight drive which dips down from the Melton road and then rises gradually towards the house, and is backed by a view of wood and hill. And on the south, not comparing with these in size, are the beautiful little houses which the wool merchants of these parts built for themselves—Anthony Ellys’ house at Great Ponton, and Thomas Coney’s high stone mansion at Bassingthorpe, and, farther on, the larger hall which Richard Thimelby built in 1510 at Irnham. These are all within no long distance from the town, and all, except Belvoir, within the county. For those whose acquaintance with Lincolnshire is limited to its legendary reputation of flatness, fogginess, and, if one may use the word, fenniness, there could be no better object-lesson than the climb along the lane from Great Ponton to Bassingthorpe, or the walk from Harlaxton to Grantham, with the great spire of St. Wulfran’s framed, like the vignette on the title-page of a book, within the arches formed by the intervening trees.



By V. B. Crowther-Beynon, M.A., F.S.A.

Of the picturesque and interesting old towns in which the county of Lincoln is so rich, it may be questioned whether any can excel, or even equal, Stamford. Though unable to claim a life-long acquaintance with this delightful, old-world borough, the present writer confesses to have quickly fallen a victim to her charm, a feeling which time has only served to increase.

Possessing, as she does, such strong claims to the attention and appreciation of the historian, the antiquary and the artist, it is small wonder that Stamford has provided the theme for a large number of printed publications, ranging from Butcher’s Survey of Stamford (1646) down to handbooks issued as recently as 1907 and 1908. Chief among these must be reckoned Francis Peck’s monumental Academia tertia Anglicana, or the Antiquarian Annals of Stamford, a most exhaustive, albeit a somewhat wordy and diffuse work, issued in 1727. The present brief account of Stamford makes no pretension to originality, and represents merely a compilation drawn from the many excellent works which have already been contributed by other and abler hands, and to the authors of which the writer desires to acknowledge his indebtedness.[82]

Situated on the banks of the river Welland, which divides the town into two unequal portions and which here forms the boundary between the counties of Lincoln and Northampton, Stamford presents the peculiarity of a town[163] which is in two counties, in two dioceses (Lincoln and Peterborough), and under two civil jurisdictions, though the municipal borough includes the greater part of both portions of the town.

In a volume whose scope is confined to the county of Lincoln, it may savour of trespass to deal with the Northamptonshire portion of Stamford; it is, however, hardly practicable to give an intelligible account of the history of the place without some reference to “Stamford Baron” (as the part south of the Welland has been designated since the middle of the fifteenth century),[83] though every endeavour will be made to introduce as little extraneous matter as possible.

The remote history of Stamford is enveloped in a veil of romance which present-day knowledge has perforce torn rudely away. The establishment here of a British University in 863 B.C. by a British prince, Bladud, seems to rest solely on the statement of Merlin of Caledonia, writing in the sixth or early in the seventh century A.D., and the fable need not detain us further.

When we come to the period of the Roman occupation, we might, in view of the fact that the great military road, Erming or Ermine Street, crosses the Welland close to the present town, expect to find evidences of a considerable Roman settlement at this important point of the road. It is somewhat surprising, therefore, that, with the exception of some comparatively insignificant discoveries to the west, between Stamford and Tinwell, nothing has at present come to light which can be said to point to the existence of a settlement in Roman times on the site of the present Stamford. Possibly the proximity to the south and north, respectively, of the important stations of Durobrivæ (Castor) and Causennæ[84](Ancaster) may have rendered it[164] unnecessary to establish another and intermediate station. At any rate the fact remains that we cannot adduce any proof of the existence of a settlement or village here till Saxon times, and it is probable, therefore, that the name Stamford or Stanford (a name of Saxon origin, from stan, stone, and ford) is the first and only one which the place has borne. The name doubtless had reference to the ford by which, before the erection of a bridge substantial enough for horse traffic, communication between the two sides of the Welland was maintained; and though we find, as is commonly the case with place-names, many variations of spelling, such as Staunford, Staunforth, Staundforde, &c., the name has remained substantially the same.

The earliest contemporary reference to Stamford is found in a charter of Wolfere, King of Mercia, dated 664, wherein “all that part of the town of Staunforde ... beyond the bridge,” is stated to belong to the Abbey of Medeshamstede (Peterborough).[85] It appears, therefore, that even at this early date the town occupied both sides of the river, and was, we may fairly suppose, a place of some size. A few years before this, namely, in 658 (if we may believe the testimony of Prior Wessington of Durham, writing in the fifteenth century),[86] was founded the earliest religious house in the Stamford district. This was St. Leonard’s Priory, erected by Wilfrid, the friend of Oswy, King of Northumbria, and afterwards Bishop of York. Wilfrid bestowed this new foundation upon the monastery of Lindisfarne, where he had received his education, and on the removal of the monks from Lindisfarne to Durham, the Priory of St. Leonard, Stamford, became a dependency of Durham. The site of this priory (of which more anon) is about a quarter of a mile eastward of the present town.

Stamford, from the Meadows.

The ninth century was a period of stress in this part of[165] England, and Stamford was called upon to furnish a contingent of young fighters to defend the country against the marauding Danes. The Danes, however, proved too strong, and Stamford soon fell under the foreign yoke and was joined with Lincoln, Leicester, Derby and Nottingham to form the Danish “Five Burghs.”

Space will not permit us to narrate the varying fortunes of the opposing forces—English and Danes—in the almost incessant struggles which marked the period preceding the Norman Conquest—struggles in which Stamford was held sometimes by one party, sometimes by the other, and not infrequently was in the hands of both, when the river formed the dividing line between the rival camps.

In the year 972 Eadgar granted, or, it may be, confirmed to the Abbey of Peterborough the privilege of coining money at Stamford, but the exact position of the mint in the southern part of the town cannot now be determined. It is an interesting and significant fact that coins of the Stamford mint have been met with in considerable numbers in hoards found in Scandinavia.[87]

The fortification on the north bank of the Welland was doubtless originally a Danish earthwork, an English stronghold being erected by Alfred in opposition on the south side, near the present Midland Railway Station. When the Danes had secured a foothold they seem to have replaced their earthen defences by stone walls which encircled their settlement. At the present day considerable portions of the Stamford town walls are in existence, though these have obviously been reconstructed from time to time, and nothing earlier than Norman work can be positively identified in the portions still remaining. Perhaps the most striking vestige now to be seen is a round bastion on the west side of the town, near Rutland Terrace. Speed’s map of Stamford (1600) shows eleven towers in the line of the walls, together with seven principal gates and two posterns. The[166] southern town does not appear to have ever been defended by walls, though it had five fortified gates.[88] All the gates in both sections of the town have now been demolished, the last (St. George’s Gate) as lately as 1806. The water-mill, situated near the Castle, was originally built by Edward the Confessor, and is still known as the King’s Mill, though the present structure is of the eighteenth century.

Soon after the Conquest the Danish castle was replaced by a substantial Norman building, and the site is still marked by an Early English gate and a portion of the arcaded wall of a chamber which was subsequently used as a manor court. At present the Castle site is occupied by an iron foundry, and it is among the buildings, sheds and heaps of scrap iron connected therewith, that the visitor has to search for what remains of the old mediæval stronghold. It seems a sad pity that a spot of such historic interest and picturesque position should ever have been allowed to fall into the state of unsightly neglect which characterises it to-day.

The dawn of the twelfth century saw the beginning of the long era of building in and around Stamford, the visible results of which have rendered the town so famous among generations of ecclesiologists and students of architecture. St. Leonard’s Priory, already mentioned, which had suffered severely during the Danish incursions, was rebuilt at this time, and, judging by the remains of the nave of the Priory Church (which is all that now remains), must have been a noble edifice. The west front, the portion latest in date (c. 1190) of the existing fabric, is one of the finest examples of its kind in the country. In the centre of the lowest stage is a blocked doorway surmounted by a round arch of four highly enriched orders. The arch is supported by groups of elegant detached shafts, terminating in foliage caps of Early English character and exquisite workmanship. On either side of this central door is another smaller[167] recess of similar character. Above, in the second stage, is an arcade of seven round-headed arches with chevron ornament, three being open and four blocked; while over this again, in the gable, is a vesica-shaped moulded recess. Sad to relate, this beautiful old building is now doing duty as a cart-shed!

Stamford is not rich to-day in architecture of the Norman style, and St. Leonard’s Priory, a small portion of what remains of St. Paul’s Church (now used as part of the Grammar School premises), an arch on the west side of St. Mary’s Hill, known as the “Pack-horse Arch,” and a few fragments of the original Hospital of SS. John and Thomas (now incorporated in Lord Burghley’s Bedehouse at the south extremity of the bridge), are perhaps all that we can assign to this period. We must not, however, conclude from this that Stamford was ill equipped with churches and religious foundations in the twelfth century. All Saints’, Water Street, on the south side of the river, was erected in 1066, but has now entirely disappeared, while the original church on the site of the present St. Martin’s was begun in 1133. All Saints’ College (attached to Crowland Abbey) and St. Mary’s Benedictine Nunnery, founded in 1109 and 1120 respectively; St. Giles’ Lazar House (1150); the House of the Holy Sepulchre and Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene (of about the same date and with some remains still visible in a private residence known as “The Hermitage,” close to the George Hotel); St. Michael’s Priory (1156); the Hospital of St. John the Baptist and St. Thomas of Canterbury (1170); and a cell (c. 1200) of Peterborough Abbey, in Burghley Park (traces of which are said to remain in the kitchens of Burghley House)—form a list which, though incomplete, abundantly attests to the religious activity which existed here at this time. All the above were in the Northamptonshire part of the town. Of those on the north side, there is documentary evidence that the Church of “All Saints in the Mercat” (i.e. Market), so called to distinguish it from All Saints’, Water[168] Street, was in existence in 1170, while we may assert, on architectural grounds, that the Church of St. Paul was also erected in the twelfth century. Among buildings of slightly later date we may mention the Hospital of St. Leger (1208), near St. Paul’s Church; St. Mary’s Priory, Newstead, for Austinian Canons, founded in 1230 and situated about a mile eastward of the town; and the Friary of SS. Mary and Nicholas, for Dominicans (1230), on the south side of St. Leonard’s Street—of all of which houses no traces now remain.

Of the Franciscan or Black Friary (c. 1250), near St. Paul’s Gate on the eastern side of the town, a small postern gate may still be seen; and of the Carmelite or White Friary (1260), situated a little to the north-east of the preceding, the picturesque gateway which now gives access to the grounds of the Stamford Infirmary but which is of later date (c. 1350), is one of the architectural features of the town. In 1292 the Gilbertine Canons of Sempringham, a community which has a special interest as being the only order originating in England, founded a Hall in St. Peter’s Street, on the west side of the town, a few remains of which are still visible; and in 1335 an Austinian Friary was established not far from the same spot, of which a fragment or two remain, built into an almshouse hard by. The list here given, which, it is to be feared, is somewhat in the nature of a catalogue, cannot fail to establish the fact that Stamford was an important centre of religious life during this period, an assertion which receives additional corroboration when we examine further the records of the church-building in the town.

Although Stamford can never have covered what we should now consider a large area, she possessed as many as sixteen churches, a number now reduced to six; and if those which remain may stand as a fair sample of the whole, Stamford, in her halcyon days, must have been able to furnish a veritable feast of architectural beauty. Of some of the churches which no longer exist[169] little is recorded, as, for example, All Saints’, Water Street (already mentioned), St. Stephen’s, St. Thomas’, St. Michael’s Cornstall, St. Mary’s Bennewerk (i.e. within the “works” or walls), and Holy Trinity. These were all destroyed in 1461 under circumstances to be noticed hereafter. St. Clement’s (near Clement’s Gate, now known as Scotgate), St. Peter’s (situated on St. Peter’s Hill, and originally belonging to Hambleton, Rutland), and St. Andrew’s (in Broad Street), were removed under an Act of Parliament in 1553. The parishes belonging to both the above groups of vanished churches were subsequently apportioned to one or other of the surviving parish churches.

Perhaps this will be a convenient place at which to offer a few remarks—necessarily very brief and inadequate—concerning the churches which are still in existence, since no account of Stamford could be deemed complete which did not include some notice, however imperfect, of what many would deem her chief glory—namely, her Gothic architecture.

As a recent writer[89] has pointed out, it is essential that the student of the Stamford churches should bear in mind that the memorable year 1461, when the town was laid waste by the Lancastrian army, witnessed the partial or complete destruction of every church in the place; and that when the work of restoration began, the materials were re-used so far as was found possible, portions of those churches which it was decided not to rebuild being in all probability worked into the fabric of those of which the restoration was taken in hand. When we bear this fact in mind, certain features found in some of the churches can be explained which would otherwise be most difficult to account for.


St. Mary’s Church occupies a striking position at the top of the hill leading from the Welland Bridge to the centre of the town. The thirteenth-century tower, surmounted by a beautiful fourteenth-century spire of the broach type, forms what many would consider Stamford’s fairest architectural possession. The arcading on the belfry and the elegant tracery in the spire lights are among the many exquisite features of this part of the building. The nave appears to have been rebuilt in the Perpendicular Period, though the material is largely of thirteenth-century date. The chancel is in the Early English style, while the chapel on the north side, of fifteenth-century work, contains a fine contemporary wooden roof which still preserves its original gilding and decoration.

All Saints’ Church is favoured by its open situation, having in this respect a great advantage over the majority of the Stamford churches. Though alluded to in a document of the twelfth century, as stated above, no portion of the present fabric can be assigned to a date earlier than the thirteenth century. Of the latter period are the nave and chancel arcades and the remarkable arcading on the outside of the south and east walls. The pillars of the south nave arcade are singularly beautiful, having foliage caps surmounting banded, detached shafts. This church, moreover, is rich in monumental brasses, one of which commemorates William Browne (the restorer of this church in the fifteenth century) and his wife. Of this William Browne we shall have occasion to speak when we describe “Browne’s Hospital.”

St. John’s Church is a strikingly uniform Perpendicular building, and affords an admirable example of the style. It contains a well-preserved oak screen as well as a good specimen of a timber roof, which retains some of its original colouring and has carved figures of angels under the principals. In the windows are some remains of fine old glass.

St. Mary’s Church and Hall, Stamford.


St. George’s Church exemplifies better than any other what has been said concerning the restoration of the Stamford churches after the 1461 havoc. Without this explanation a visitor would be sorely puzzled on beholding a series of nave columns, each consisting of an Early English base supporting an octagonal drum of Decorated date, above which is an Early English cylindrical section, surmounted in its turn by another octagonal portion and a cap, both of Decorated style. The church once possessed a series of windows containing representations of King Edward III. and the first Knights of the Garter, but unfortunately this glass, which would have been of inestimable value and interest at the present time, was destroyed during the Parliamentary wars.

St. Michael’s Church is quite modern (consecrated in 1836), though it occupies the site of an eleventh or twelfth century building. It contains but little of interest to the ecclesiologist.

A portion (the south aisle) of the Church of St. Paul survives, and has been used since the sixteenth century as a class-room in connection with the Grammar School. It is a curious and somewhat puzzling building, being partly of thirteenth-century date, but having on the south wall a Norman corbel-table. It also contains fragments of later date, a piscina and a small heart shrine.

So far all the churches we have been considering are on the Lincolnshire side of the river, but for the sake of completeness a word or two must be said of the Church of St. Martin in the Northamptonshire part of the town, though this is strictly outside our subject. It is mainly a fifteenth-century structure, though there are traces of the older building which is known to have existed on this site. Some of the windows contain some fine old glass which was brought here from Tattershall Church and elsewhere; but perhaps the chief interest of the church to the visitor is afforded by the series of tombs of the Cecil family, including those of the great Elizabethan[172] statesman, Lord Burghley, and of his father and mother, as well as a very pretentious Italian marble monument commemorating John, Earl of Exeter (ob. 1700), and his wife Anne. An opportunity occurs here to correct an error which has found its way, by repeated copyings, into almost all the printed accounts of this church, to the effect that William Laud, who became Archbishop of Canterbury, was once curate of St. Martin’s, Stamford, whereas the parish which can in reality claim this distinction is Stanford (formerly known as Stanford-on-Avon), near the borders of Warwickshire. Both places being in the same county and diocese, the mistake is a not unnatural one.[90]

Before we pass from the consideration of Stamford’s architectural features, we must briefly notice another class of institutions with which the borough is exceptionally well endowed, namely, almshouses; and chief among these is Browne’s Hospital or Bedehouse, founded towards the end of the fifteenth century by that William Browne whose name has already been mentioned as the rebuilder of All Saints’ Church. He was a wealthy merchant of the Staple of Calais, born of an old Stamford family, and was himself six times Mayor of the borough. The Bedehouse is under the care of a Warden and Confrater, and accommodates ten men and two women. The residential part of the establishment was rebuilt in 1870, but the old dormitory (no longer so used), with the audit-room over it, the cloisters, and the small chapel communicating with both, and extending upwards to the full height of the building, remain as they were. The oak screen, through which the chapel is entered from the west, is an exquisite example of woodwork of the best Perpendicular Period, and the windows of the chapel and audit-room contain some very beautiful contemporary glass. The Bedehouse, moreover, possesses some fine and valuable furniture and[173] fittings, including a very curious almsbox discovered in a wall during the 1870 restoration.

Chapel Screen, Browne’s Hospital, Stamford.

Hopkins’ Hospital, founded in 1770, contains in one of its walls a gargoyle and part of a window, the only remaining fragments of the Austinian Friary which stood close by.

Lord Burghley’s Bedehouse was founded by the great Lord Treasurer in 1597. It occupies the site of the old Hospital of St. John and St. Thomas at the south end of the town bridge.

Fryer’s Almshouses, Truesdale’s Hospital, Snowden’s Hospital (or St. John’s Callis), Williamson’s Hospital, and St. Peter’s Hospital (or All Saints’ Callis), of which a mere enumeration must suffice, combine to make a formidable list of such charitable institutions, which speaks well for the philanthropy and public spirit of past generations of Stamfordians.

After this somewhat lengthy architectural digression it is time to resume the thread of Stamford’s general history where we left it at the beginning of the church-building period. In 1206 the manorial rights of Stamford were conveyed by the King to the Norman noble, William, Earl Warren, whose name figures largely in the early history of the town. He made considerable additions to the castle, and, according to tradition, was responsible for instituting the famous “bull running” in the river meadows below the Castle, which became a popular annual celebration. The story goes that Earl Warren observed one day in the water meadows an infuriated bull, which made its way into the town, scattering and attacking in its wild career those of the inhabitants who were unlucky enough to come in its way. The spectacle appears to have appealed to Warren’s sporting instincts, and he thereupon made over the meadow to the butchers of the town on condition that they provided a bull annually on 13th November for a repetition of the pastime. It was not until 1839, after a keen struggle between the public and the authorities lasting for several years, that this ignoble “sport” was suppressed.


Earl Warren’s arms (checquy argent and azure), impaling the royal arms of England, are borne by the borough of Stamford to this day, as can be seen by a glance at the shield on the front of the Town Hall on St. Mary’s Hill.

In 1256 Henry III. granted the first charter to the town, and we may, perhaps, pause here for a moment to consider the municipal history of the borough, which has been a long and honourable one. Edward IV., in the first year of his reign, bestowed a second charter on the town by which the chief alderman was raised to a position of exceptional privilege and responsibility, being within his jurisdiction the immediate lieutenant of the King. The next charter dates from the reign of Charles II., and in this the chief alderman is for the first time styled “Mayor.” The last charter was granted by James II. The early archives of Stamford perished, like so many other valuable possessions, in the Lancastrian onslaught upon the town in 1461, but the subsequent municipal deeds and documents, including the 1461 charter, have been carefully preserved. The Stamford corporation, moreover, possess exceptionally fine regalia, including a small and very beautiful silver mace believed to be of the time of Edward IV., a larger mace dated 1660, and a third of majestic size presented in 1678. The last, which bears the initials of King Charles II., was given by Charles Bertie, who was one of the members representing Stamford in Parliament. He also presented the corporation with a valuable silver punch-bowl, capable of containing five gallons. Two additional silver cups were the gifts of other donors in 1650 and 1658.

In 1266 a situation arose in connection with Stamford which forms a curious chapter in her annals. Following on the revocation by Henry III. of a licence under which a number of students from Oxford and Cambridge had established themselves at Northampton, a migration of these young men to Stamford took place, and their numbers being increased by a further secession from Oxford in 1333, there grew up in the town a species of rudimentary university[175] which at length incurred the jealousy of the older universities. Both parties appealed to the King, with the result that the Stamfordians were ordered to disperse. It was not, however, till some of the more recalcitrant of the students had been removed in custody to Oxford that the royal mandate could effect its purpose. It is believed that up to comparatively recent years the undergraduates of Oxford and Cambridge were called upon to register a definite undertaking that they would abstain from studying at Stamford. The scene of this episode in Stamford’s history was on the south side of St. Paul’s Street, the site being now occupied by a girls’ school, still known as Brazenose, and standing where the old Brazenose College of the Oxford seceders formerly stood until demolished in 1668. The famous Brazenose knocker, which the Oxonians are said to have carried with them from their Oxford hall, remained behind at Stamford until late in the nineteenth century, when the authorities of Brazenose College, Oxford, purchased the premises and bore the precious relic in triumph back to its original home on the banks of the Isis.

In 1293 Queen Eleanor’s body rested here on its way from Harby to Westminster, and a cross (of which nothing now remains to mark the site) was erected on the western side of the town, near St. Clement’s Gate, as was done at each point where the cortège halted on its journey.

In 1363 the Castle and manor of Stamford were given by Edward III. to his son Edward, Duke of York. The connection thus established naturally led the inhabitants to espouse the Yorkist cause in the Wars of the Roses which followed in the next century, and they thus brought upon themselves the calamities which have already been referred to in dealing with the churches in the town. In 1461 the Lancastrian army, marching towards St. Albans under Sir Andrew Trollope, attacked, captured and well nigh demolished the town, at the same time destroying all the municipal archives. Ten years later, however, occurred what is known as the “Lincolnshire Rising,” which ended[176] in the defeat of the Lancastrians near Empingham, a few miles north of Stamford.[91] In this fight the Stamfordians by their courage earned for themselves such distinction that King Edward IV. marked his appreciation of their services by granting permission for the royal lions to be placed on the coat-of-arms of Stamford side by side with the arms of Earl Warren.

Of the events of the next half century we will only mention the re-establishment and re-endowment of the old Grammar School (which is known to have been in existence for over two centuries previously) by William Radcliffe in 1530, the benefits of whose munificence are enjoyed to this day by the boys of the town and district.

The latter half of the sixteenth century witnessed the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII. This event in a town which, as we have seen, contained religious foundations of nearly every order then in existence, must have wrought an overwhelming upheaval, and as we contemplate the situation we are forced to realise that, to a great extent, Stamford’s glory had departed.

In Elizabeth’s reign began the rise of the Cecil family, whose fortunes have since been so closely bound up with Stamford.

Richard Cecil, the father of the great Lord Treasurer, obtained possession of the manor of Burghley in 1528, and, after adding considerably to the estates, died in 1552, and was buried in St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster. His more famous son William, afterwards first Lord Burghley, was born at Bourne, and received part of his education at Stamford Grammar School, proceeding thence to St. John’s College, Cambridge. He rose to be a statesman of eminence under Edward VI., but his name is, of course, more intimately associated with the reign of Elizabeth. The Queen on more than one occasion visited Stamford, and the[177] room, with its furniture, which she occupied at Burghley House is still shown to visitors. The Lord Treasurer was a great benefactor to Stamford, of which he was made lord of the manor by his royal mistress. It is, perhaps, hardly necessary to state that both branches of the Cecil family, now represented by the Marquises of Exeter and Salisbury, trace their descent from the Elizabethan statesman.

In 1565 William Cecil employed John Thorpe to design “Burghley House by Stamford town,” which remains one of the stateliest of England’s stately homes. Seeing, however, that it stands in Northamptonshire, it is not intended to deal at length with the building or the wealth of artistic treasures which it contains.

The troubles of the Civil War did not leave Stamford untouched, and Cromwell’s iconoclastic followers have left their mark on many a church and monument, while Burghley House underwent a siege in 1643.

It is said that Stamford can claim to have been the last place to shelter King Charles I. as a free man; for, after spending a night at a house on Barnhill as the guest of a Mr. Wolph, he passed out under cover of darkness accompanied by two friends, and made his way to the headquarters of the Scottish army near Newark, only to be basely sold by them to the enemy immediately afterwards. The gateway by which the King departed still exists, but was considerably altered by the well-known antiquary, Dr. Stukeley, who occupied the premises in the eighteenth century. From the close of the Civil War, Stamford has enjoyed a period of unbroken peace and quiet prosperity. Before the advent of railways the town was an important posting station from its position on the Great North Road. The immense range of stabling at the back of the famous old “George Inn” sufficiently testifies to the amount of coaching and posting traffic which passed through Stamford during the period in which these were the recognised methods of travelling. The fact that the main line of the Great Northern Railway was taken through Peterborough, instead of through Stamford as was[178] first contemplated, resulted in the latter town being left for a time somewhat in a back-water, though at the present time the railway facilities are admirable. The rapidly increasing use of motor vehicles seems likely to revive to some extent the conditions of the old coaching days; but, like many another venerable and historic town, Stamford seems to have wrapped herself in an atmosphere of dignified repose which even the clamorous passage through her main streets of a stream of turbulent automobiles appears powerless to disturb.

In bringing these memories of old Stamford to a close, the writer is only too conscious that he has been able to do but scant justice to his subject. If, however, any reader be tempted hereby to visit this fascinating old town and thus to supply by his own observation and research all that in these pages is lacking of historical and topographical description, assuredly he will not be disappointed.



By the Editor

The ancient castles of this country, almost without exception, are full of interest to all sorts and conditions of men and women. The remote antiquity of the rude hill-top fortresses of Cornwall, Wiltshire, and Wales; the huge earthworks of Old Sarum; the story of a gallant defence like Newark; the close association with history of the Tower of London, and with the magic of romance like Conisboro’, Kenilworth, and Carlisle, find devotees for each. Often, too, castles are among the most picturesque objects of picturesque scenery, as Manor Bier, Dunolly, and Tantallon may testify; while to the archæologist they present a world of interest as their plans, their builders, and their history are discussed, occasionally with a wordy vigour which recalls the fights their walls have witnessed.

Few indeed of these attractions can be claimed for Tattershall. A huge square pile of perhaps the most admirable mediæval brickwork in the kingdom (its only real rival being Hurstmonceaux), it can scarcely be called picturesque; its military history is of the slightest, and its plan and general arrangements are fairly well known. Still, from the great architectural charm of its construction and the many and various noble families who have been concerned in its building and possession, no “Memorials of old Lincolnshire” would be complete without some notice of its history.

The word Tattershall is defined by Mr. Streatfield as[180] meaning the house or hall of Teitr, a Scandinavian name, signifying blithe or gay, thus showing that before the Norman Conquest there probably was a Norse or Danish dwelling on this spot.

But in Domesday it only appears as Thorp (now Tattershall Thorpe, a hamlet half a mile away on the road to Kirkstead). This manor was given by William the Conqueror to one of his attendant knights called Eudo, son of Spirewic. His son, Hugh Fitz-Eudo, who was also called Le Breton, erected the neighbouring Cistercian Abbey of Kirkstead in 1139. A small fragment, part of the south transept apparently, alone is left, reminding one of the stately remains at Kirkstall and Roche, by its unadorned simplicity of style, which distinguished the early buildings of the Cistercian, itself a reformed branch of the Benedictine Order. The chapel (Capella extra portas, as it is termed), a few yards south of the abbey ruins, is described elsewhere in this volume, and is a most delightful and dainty specimen of Early English architecture. It contains the earliest wooden screen work (after that in the loft above the altar at Compton, Surrey) in the kingdom, and a Purbeck marble figure of an armed knight, which with its barrel helmet with perforations for the eyes, no breathing holes, the general character of the armour, and the foliage beneath the head, is dated somewhat between the years 1200 and 1225, and is most probably the effigy of Robert de Tatesale and Kirkstead (a grandson of Hugh le Breton) who died in 1212. In 1220 he obtained from King John, by present of a well-trained goshawk, a licence for a market on Fridays for Tattershall. The cross still exists, with arms of Tattershall and Cromwell on it. His son, also a Robert, obtained a licence from King Henry III. in 1230 to erect a castle of stone in Tattershall:—“Pro Roberto de Tatteshale—Rex concessit Roberto de Tatteshale quod libere et sine impedimento unam domum de petra et calce firmari faciat apud manerium de Tatteshal: et mandatum est vice comiti Linc. per literas clauses quod ipsam dictam domum firmare[181] permittat sicut praedictum est. Teste ut supra.”—(Patent Roll, fifteenth year of the reign of King Henry III. m. 2.) Nine years afterwards he obtained the same King’s leave to embattle this house (“quod possit kernellare mansum suum.”—Patent Roll, 23 Henry III. m. 12). No remains of this castle are known to exist now; it seems doubtful whether some portions may not have endured into the early years of the last century, but this point will be more fully dealt with later on. If this were not so, then probably the first castle—as far as regards its masonry at least, for the mounds and moats are remnants of its original fortifications—was entirely swept away when the second castle was rising on its site in all its whilom magnificence. The third Robert de Tattershall married Mabel, eldest sister and co-heir of Hugh de Albini, fifth Earl of Sussex and Arundel, and his grandson, the fifth Robert, was summoned to Parliament in 1297 as the first Baron de Tateshale, and died in the following year. His son, the sixth Robert, died in 1303, and the seventh Robert in 1305, without any children. So that three aunts—Emma, who married Adam de Cailli, and died in 1306; Joan, who married Robert de Driby, and died in 1330; and Isabella, who married Sir John de Orreby, became co-heirs. Tattershall seems to have become part of the share of the second one, Joan. By her marriage with Robert de Driby she had four children—Simon (died in 1323), Robert, John, and Alice. The third son, Sir John de Kirketon (Kirton in Holland), apparently acquired and held, from certainly 1334 till his death in 1367, the castle and manor of Tattershall. And in Kirton there is still an entrance-gate which has on it the arms of Tattershall quartered with those of Cromwell, showing that this connection was kept up after his death. Owing to the deaths of her brothers without leaving any children the Tattershall property came through the family of Bernak by the marriage of Alice with Sir William de Bernak (who died in 1339), and she herself died in 1341. Their eldest son, Sir John de Bernak, had married Joan, sister and eldest[182] co-heiress of Robert Marmion, second Baron of Winteringham. This is another link between Lincolnshire and this noble family besides Scrivelsby, which, with “Tamworth tower and town,” had been granted to Robert de Marmion, Lord of Fontenoy, by William the Conqueror, and the parish of Coningsby, only a mile away from Tattershall, was Marmion property also. Sir John de Bernak and his wife had two sons—John who died in youth, William who died in 1359—and a daughter, Maud or Matilda. Consequently the reversion of the Tattershall property came in 1367 to her and her husband, Sir Ralph Cromwell. As pointed out above, the property being in possession of Sir John de Kirketon till this year 1367, the Bernaks can never have actually possessed it, though, curiously enough, William, brother and heir of John, son of John Bernak, has the barony of Tateshale (put wrongfully in Norfolk) twice attributed to him in an inquisition post-mortem in 1360, the thirty-fourth year of King Edward III. The family of Cromwell seems to have been settled in the villages of Cromwell and Lambley in Nottinghamshire, a few miles north-east of Nottingham, from about the year 1166; but I know of no connection between this family and those of Thomas Cromwell, the “Malleus monachorum,” and of Oliver Cromwell, the Protector. The Cromwells had already, in the thirteenth century, been allied with the family of Marmion, as the fourth Ralph Cromwell married Mazera, second daughter and co-heiress of Philip de Marmion. The ninth Ralph Cromwell, knight (son of Sir Ralph Cromwell and Amicia de Beler, daughter and heiress of Roger de Beler, co. Leicester), who married Maud Bernak, was summoned to Parliament as Baron Cromwell in 1375 and 1398, in which year he died, his widow surviving till the year 1419. The second Ralph, Lord Cromwell of Tattershall, died in 1416. His son, also Ralph, was Lord Treasurer of England from 1433-1443, a peer of great wealth and influence, and the builder of the existing castle and church of Tattershall. Another building of his in stone (no doubt because it was[183] easy to procure, as brick was at Tattershall) has been described and illustrated in a previous volume of this series, i.e. Wingfield Manor House, Derbyshire. He also held the appointment in 1435 (after the death of the Duke of Bedford, Regent of France, at Paris) of Master of the Mews, and Falconer to the King. He married Margaret, daughter of John, Baron Deincourt, and his wife Joan, daughter and heiress of Lord Grey de Rotherfield, also connected with the family of Marmion. Lord Cromwell died in 1455 (his wife having predeceased him in 1454), and left no family. They both were buried in Tattershall Church. Consequently, his two nieces, daughters of his sister Maud (who had married Sir Richard Stanhope of Rampton, Notts, and who had died in 1455), became his co-heiresses. Of these Maud married, first, the distinguished soldier, Robert, sixth Lord Willoughby d’Eresby, who died in 1452, having had no children by her; next, Sir Thomas Nevile, third son of Richard, first Earl of Salisbury, who was killed at the battle of Wakefield in 1460, also leaving no family; and thirdly, Sir Gervase Clifton, of Clifton, Notts, who was killed at Tewkesbury in 1471. Maud herself died in 1497 and was buried in Tattershall Church. Joan married Sir Humphrey Bouchier, third son of the first Earl of Essex, who was summoned to Parliament (jure uxoris) in 1461 as Baron Cromwell, and who was killed at the battle of Barnet in 1471. She married, secondly, Sir Robert Ratcliffe, and died in 1472, leaving no children. She also was buried in Tattershall Church.

According to the poet Skelton, King Edward IV. possessed Tattershall, as he makes him say—

“I made the Tower strong—I wist not why—
Knew not for whom, I purchased Tattersall;”

and his badge, the falcon and fetterlock, may be seen in the east window of the church.

The property, being forfeited to the Crown, was bestowed in 1487, by King Henry VII., on his mother[184] Margaret, Countess of Richmond. King Henry VIII. granted it, in 1520, to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, upon his marriage with Mary, the King’s sister. In default of heirs, it again reverted to the King. In 1551 King Edward VI. granted the castle and manor to Edward Fines, Lord Clinton, who was created Earl of Lincoln in 1572. His great-grandson, Theophilus, fourth Earl, in 1649 petitioned Parliament for compensation for the damage done to Tattershall Castle during the civil war. Tradition has assigned the dismantling and unroofing of the castle to the time just after the battle of Winceby, near Horncastle, in 1643, and W. A. Nicholson[92] has recorded several inscriptions on its walls, of the years 1642, 1644, 1645, and 1648, showing that it probably was not in good keeping about that period. It continued in the possession of the male line of the Earls of Lincoln till the year 1692, when Bridget (only daughter and heiress of Hugh Boscawen by Margaret his wife, fifth daughter and eventually co-heiress of Theophilus Clinton, Earl of Lincoln) married Hugh Fortescue of Wear Gifford, North Devon (one of the most charming manor houses imaginable), an ancestor of the present noble proprietor, the Earl Fortescue.

We may now turn our attention to the past and present state of this once magnificent residence. It was built, as mentioned above, by Ralph, the third Baron Cromwell, of whom William of Worcester speaks as follows in his Itinerary: “The Lord Treasurer expended in building the principal and other towers of his Castle of Tattershall above four thousand marks; his household there consisted of above a hundred persons, and his suite when he rode to London commonly of one hundred and twenty horsemen, and his annual expenditure was about five thousand pounds.” The date of the castle’s erection can be told, within a very few years, by the heraldry which is its most prevalent ornament. There is the coat of arms of[185] Tattershall (chequy or and gu., a chief erm.), which might be used by any lord of Tattershall since heraldry began; of Driby (arg. 3 cinquefoils gu., a canton gu.), which would date from the reign of King Henry III.; those of Bernak (erm. a fesse gu.) and of Cromwell (arg. a chief gu. over all a bend az.), from the reign of King Richard II. (the first shield in the fireplace on the ground floor, i.e. gu. 10 annulets or, has been supposed to be an early shield of the Cromwell family), but the shields of Cromwell and Tattershall impaling Deincourt (az. a fesse dancetté between 10 billets or) show that not until after Lord Cromwell’s marriage with Margaret Deincourt could the castle have been thus decorated, and, as there were no children of that marriage, there could be no such union of arms after their deaths. Also, the very frequent repetition of the Purse (with its double bags and the motto, “N’aj je le droit?”), the badge of office, marks the period of building as coinciding with that of Lord Cromwell’s tenure of the Lord Treasurership, i.e. from 1433 to 1443. It is an interesting thought for Lincolnshire folk that very probably a celebrated Lincolnshire man, William Patten of Wainfleet, Bishop of Winchester, was the architect of these “bricky towers”; the school at Wainfleet, also in brick, is another token of his architectural skill in this material, as his work at Winchester Cathedral and at Magdalen College, Oxford, testified in stone. He was a great architect, a personal friend of Lord Cromwell’s, and was one of his executors (another one being, curiously enough, Chief-Justice Sir John Fortescue, an ancestor of the present proprietor); the neighbouring church of Tattershall being unfinished at Lord Cromwell’s death, William of Wainfleet helped to complete it, having probably designed it also.

The plan of a mediæval castle was, generally speaking, as follows: There was an outer wall surrounded by a ditch, over which a drawbridge would give access to the main entrance. Then separated from the first by a second ditch would be the second (the inner) wall. Both walls would be[186] strengthened by towers at suitable points. Within this inner ward, as the space inside the inner wall was termed, the chief living rooms—the barracks, so to speak—would stand. Finally, there would be the donjon or keep, the strongest of the castle buildings, frequently erected on a mound, and capable itself of withstanding for some time a hostile attack even though the rest of the castle was in the enemy’s hands.

Tattershall Castle was defended by an incomplete outer moat, which, starting from the north-east angle of the area, went along the north and west sides, and communicated with the river Bain; there is still some water in portions of this ditch. It probably was carried eastwards so as to enclose the church, but there is a noticeable dip in the ground on the eastern side of the castle area, which is probably the same moat defending that portion of the castle. From a plate of the castle published by Buck in 1727 (which is in the writer’s possession), much knowledge can be gathered of the arrangements and buildings of Tattershall at that date. The inner moat was complete, and the outer wall which surrounded it, for the most part of brick, is in fair condition; it was supplied with water from the outer moat by a culvert piercing the outer bank and wall about the middle of the north side, which is plainly visible, and around which the bank is faced with stone. This, according to Buck, was protected by a strong and tall tower over it. On the east side of the moat may be seen a blocked up arch, which was connected with the outer moat at that point, and ran eastwards beneath the church to that part of the moat. The main entrance to the castle was evidently a little north of this arch, much in the line of the present pathway, for Buck plants a large gateway with two towers and portcullis here, on the inner side of the inner moat. Just outside and to the eastwards is a brick building of two storeys, and of exactly similar work to that of the rest of the castle. This house, which was probably used for guard-rooms, had at the north-west angle a turret staircase,[187] and the only door on the ground floor was originally on the southern end, opening on to a terrace wall which defended this part of the castle. The outer wall was about twelve feet high (judging from the mark where it joined the house), with arched recesses and loopholes, and over all a platform with a crenellated parapet. A brick turret was at the south end of it, and the ruins of this and the drain into the moat are still visible. On the south side of the inner moat can be seen some stone corbels in the brick-facing wall, which were evidently to support a drawbridge. On the west side of the outer wall is a large brick one-storeyed building (with little arched cupboards or recesses in the walls, as will be found elsewhere), probably a guard-room, and the ruins of a strong tower farther to the north and east, on the edge of the outer moat.

On the south of the inner court is a large piece of ground, elevated and surrounded by a stone wall, except on its eastern side; this was probably an adjunct of the original castle, and was used for tilting and other exercises. It was approached doubtless by the drawbridge already mentioned. Eastward it joins a still larger portion of ground on the south of the church—the castle garden or pleasaunce. This is walled in partially with brick, and has had two doorways in the south side. In the spandrils of one were the coats of arms of Cromwell and Tattershall quarterly, and that of Deincourt.

The inner ward now is nearly flat, and contains no buildings save the great tower or keep, having unfortunately been levelled about 1790. Besides the entrance-gate already mentioned, we find from Buck’s view that in 1727 there still existed the eastern portion of the chapel, showing an apse of which two perpendicular windows were visible, and a great part of the dining-hall, which had a fine bay window and five other windows. To the left of the keep, and in the left foreground, are some buildings which very possibly were the remains of the castle of King Henry III.’s date.


Next we come to the chief feature of the place, the so-called Castle, which in reality was only the representative of the keep of earlier days. The inner ward wall joined it at the north-east and south-east towers, where the marks are plainly visible; the north, west and south sides were defended by the outer moat. It is 87 feet long by 69 feet wide, and the parapet of its angle turrets is no less than 112 feet above the level of the ground at its base. It is almost entirely constructed of small red bricks, traditionally supposed to have been brought from Flanders, though there is no reason why they should not have been made in the county. The walls externally have patterns, chequers, and lozenges in blue-black bricks upon their surface, and the groining of brick in the upper rooms is most delicately moulded, and may well serve as a lesson to us, even in this twentieth century, in artistic workmanship. On this work still exists considerable traces of pink plaster with red lines, to imitate brickwork—a curious case of carrying coals to Newcastle! Local stone (Ancaster probably) is used for the windows (which retain most of their tracery and mullions, except those of the ground floor), the machicolations, the battlements (in one place cement has been used for repairs), and the very admirably executed chimney-pieces, which will receive special attention later on. There are brick relieving arches over all the windows, doorways, and fireplaces in the castle. The large windows, which are more evident on the west, the exposed side, than on that facing the inner ward, show that the great change in warfare was in progress—that “villainous saltpetre” was altering the type of fortification from a massive tall keep like Rochester or Conisboro’, or the Edwardian castles of Harlech or Conway, to low-walled earthworks, such as those which still surround Berwick, and which were erected in the “spacious times of great Elizabeth”; also, these windows show that the nobleman’s castle was changing into the nobleman’s palace or mansion, of which, again, the Elizabethan buildings, such[189] as Longleat, Hatfield, and Haddon Hall, are the finest examples.

Tattershall Castle, from the South-West.

The basement storey contains a large central room, with a very flat arched ceiling, a room in each of the towers, except the south-eastern one (which contains the staircase), and a room in the thickness of the eastern wall, which has similar arched recesses in its north and south walls to those already described. There has been a well in the centre of this basement area. A staircase leads down to the central room from the outside of the east wall.

There seem to have been no less than forty-eight separate apartments, four of these being very large (about 38 feet long by 22 feet wide and 17 feet high), and occupying the centre of the building one over another.

That on the ground-floor may have been the common hall or hall of entrance; it is entered by a door in the east wall, and has four large windows, which have lost their tracery and mullions, two in the western side, and one at each end, and an exceedingly fine stone fireplace in the eastern wall. Its arch is of ogee shape, well moulded, much flattened, the ogee ending in a finial above the upper battlemented edge, which has small pilasters with capitals at each end. The heraldic decoration is as follows, reading from left to right:—Cromwell (ancient?), the treasurer’s purse, a lion rampant (for D’Albini), treasurer’s purse, Marmion, Bernak, treasurer’s purse, Cromwell and Tattershall impaling Deincourt, treasurer’s purse, Cromwell and Tattershall quarterly. In the lower line come treasurer’s purse, barry of ten (if Cailli, it should be barry of eight; it is sometimes assigned to Clifton, but it does not agree with the shield of Clifton of Buckenham[93] who married Elizabeth, sister of the second Baron Cromwell, or of Clifton of Clifton,[94] Maud Stanhope’s third husband), treasurer’s purse, Deincourt, Driby, treasurer’s purse, Grey of Rotherfield, and treasurer’s purse. In the middle,[190] beneath the point of the ogee, is the shield of Cromwell, much defaced.

The room on the first floor might have been the hall of state or the audience chamber. Approach to it is gained by a newel staircase, the steps being stone, in the south-east turret, which begins a few feet above the level of the ground, and ends at the fourth storey, the ground-floor large room having had an entrance, now blocked up, from its south-east corner into this staircase. The hand rail, continuous and ingeniously moulded in stone, flush with the wall, is noticeable. A similar one, but slightly projecting, is in the staircase of the Alnwick Tower in the Bishop’s Palace, Lincoln; another in the staircase to the crypt in Grantham Church; and another, of much later date, in Kirby Hall.

The large room on this storey has three windows with excellent Perpendicular tracery, and the two western ones have the recess ribbed and vaulted; there is no window opening through to the north, as a chamber has been constructed in the thickness of the wall. The fireplace, which is in the east wall, has a well-moulded depressed arch, with amusing grotesques in the spandrils on either side and at the side of the circles, reminding one of the hard-working creations of Dicky Doyle on the cover of Punch. The pilasters and battlemented top are much the same as in the lower fireplace, but its chief ornament is a row of heraldic shields and badges in circles across its front. First comes the familiar purse, then Tattershall, St. George and the Dragon, Cromwell and Tattershall impaling Deincourt, Cromwell and Tattershall quarterly, on a shield couché, with two savage men as supporters, on an esquire’s helmet a cap of maintenance inflamed. Next comes a representation under an embattled arch of a lion being rent asunder by a man, a feat which was related of Hugh de Nevile, who served in the Crusades under King Richard I. It does not seem quite clear why this achievement of a Nevile should appear here, though, as we have seen, Maud Stanhope married a Nevile as her second[191] husband. Then comes a lion rampant for D’Albini, and the treasurer’s purse. The spaces between the roundels above are occupied with shields of Bernak, Driby, Cromwell (one defaced), Cromwell, Tattershall, and Deincourt below, with the treasurer’s purse. About the end of the eighteenth century this fireplace was bricked up and opened at the back, to be used for the room in the eastern wall, where dwelt a pensioner, whose duty it was to be in readiness to light a cresset beacon-fire on the south-east tower in case of invasion.

The large room on the second floor was perhaps the state bedroom, and has three beautiful windows; a chamber in the thickness of the south wall preventing a similar window in that wall. The fireplace is of much the same general character as the last one, but has the spandrils filled with foliage, and the place of the roundels is taken by ten panels, ornamented with foliated tracery, making altogether an exceedingly delicate architectural composition. Alternating with the treasurer’s purse are the shields of Bernak, Deincourt, Driby, Cromwell, and Tattershall. In the thickness of the eastern wall of this floor is a beautifully vaulted gallery, 38 feet in length, vaulted in five compartments, with diagonal ribs of brickwork; on the connecting bosses are the shields of Driby, Tattershall, Deincourt, and Cromwell. It is lit by three fine mullioned and traceried windows.

The large room on the third floor has very similar windows to the others, and the fireplace also is very like that in the floor beneath; but the treasurer’s purse has invaded the spandrils, and the shields of Deincourt, Driby—one broken and defaced—Cromwell, and Bernak being separated by small treasurer’s purses, are enclosed in eleven dainty panels, with different tracery. On this floor in the eastern wall are two rooms even more richly vaulted than the gallery below, the spandrils being filled in with quatrefoils of moulded brickwork, enriched with the shields of Tattershall, Cromwell, Deincourt, and D’Albini (or Beler).


The floors of these great rooms were constructed of timber, and plastered; each floor resting on four great massive girders of oak, the upper one having a lead roof. Till a few years ago there were still four beams remaining in situ, but after the castle was struck by lightning, and one beam was thrown down, the others were taken down to avoid the chances of any accident. The lightning seems to have struck the north-east tower (which alone had kept its conical roof), and jumped across to the western wall, where it tore out the external footings of one window on each floor, till it reached the ground.

A very noticeable feature of Tattershall Castle is the covered gallery, well supplied with loopholes, which runs from turret to turret, partly projecting over the machicolations of the walls, having had above a parapeted and embattled platform. These galleries upon the machicolations are not uncommon in the châteaux of France. Visitors to the region of the Loire will remember good instances of this feature in Langeais, Azay-le-Rideau, and de L’Islette. A small staircase in the thickness of the wall of the south-eastern turret continues from the large circular staircase to the top of the turret. The turrets are battlemented, and have brick-arched machicolations. They were in Buck’s time apparently all roofed in with conical spirelets, terminating in fleurs-de-lys. All these roofs now are gone. In these turrets are fireplaces, for, no doubt, partly, the warder’s comfort, but also, possibly, for providing a prompt supply of boiling oil or lead “or something humorous” wherewith to discomfort the adversary beneath. And both in turrets and elsewhere in the buildings the necessary garde-robes may be found. The chimney stacks, on the east side particularly, must have added to the appearance of the tower, as they were originally considerably higher than they are now. Excepting the lightning stroke few modern events connected with the castle have been more interesting than the fall of a lad of nine years old, on June the 2nd, 1879, from the top wall of the keep to the floor inside, a distance of[193] 76 feet. He came off with a dislocated hip and other bruises; but, like Joan of Arc’s 60 feet leap from Beaurevoir, “by some miracle broke no bone in (his) body.”

It might be mentioned that the fireplaces, which have been rather minutely described, are believed to have been carefully studied by Pugin when he was engaged in designing the internal decoration and fittings of the Houses of Parliament. About four miles north of Tattershall are the remains of another tower—Tower-le-Moor—of the same date, construction, and materials as Tattershall Castle. It was probably built by Lord Cromwell as a hunting-box, and was about 60 feet high. Only one angle of it exists now; considerably more is seen in Buck’s print of it in 1727.

Since this article was written, the property has been sold to Mr. Albert Ball, J.P., of Nottingham, who is, I believe, quite sensible of the great value to the nation of his new possession.

Tattershall Church

There are no indications existing at Tattershall of any earlier church than the present one, at least above ground—for foundations have been discovered beneath the south transept floor, which have no apparent connection with the church as it now is—except perhaps the font, which, as far as its base and stem is concerned, is of Decorated (i.e. fourteenth century) date. That there was an earlier church is certain for the following reasons. In 1323 Joan de Driby wished to assign, amongst other items, “the advowsons of the Church of the said Manor of Tatreshale, &c., to Gilbert de Bernak, parson of the Church of Tatishale,” &c. “The said church is worth twenty marks by the year.” Also on the choir steps is the brass of a former steward of Ralph, Lord Cromwell, i.e. Hugh de Gondeby, who died in 1411. And in the will of the founder, Ralph, Lord Cromwell (of whom there has been much to say in recording the history of the castle), dated 1451, it is directed that he was to be[194] buried in the middle of the choir of Tattershall Collegiate Church, until the said church is rebuilt, and then to be removed and buried in the middle of the new church, but so that no impediment be placed in the way of going in or going out to those ministering around the divine offices in the aforesaid choir. And in Bishop Alnwick’s visitation of his cathedral in 1440[95] there is mention made of the erection of the parish church into a collegiate one by the Treasurer of England. The present building was, in part at least, erected by Ralph, third Lord Cromwell, as a collegiate church dedicated in honour of the Holy Trinity. He obtained a licence from the Crown in 1439 to endow it for the support of seven priests, one of whom was to be the warden, six secular clerks, and six choristers, and he also founded almshouses for thirteen poor persons of either sex, to be under the supervision of the warden of the college. The chaplains were to maintain divine service perpetually, to pray for the King, alive or dead, and for the souls of the founder, and of his grandmother, Dame Matilda Cromwell.

In 1519 Bishop Atwater visited Tattershall, and remarked that the choristers were only taught to sing, whereas they ought also to be instructed in grammar, and he noticed that the chaplains were in the habit of dressing like laymen, so he ordered them in future to dress as priests, according to their statutes. The seal of the college represented the Trinity in a canopied niche, beneath being a shield of arms, Cromwell and Tattershall quarterly. The college was dissolved in 1545, and was granted to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, the King’s brother-in-law, to whom the adjacent castle and manor had come in 1520. The buildings of this college, which were on the south side of the church, have disappeared. The almshouses, on the north side of the church, are probably on their original site.

The church, which is situated about eighty yards east of the castle, is a large and very spacious cruciform structure[195] of stone (probably Ancaster, which has weathered well, and looks in many places as though it had been worked a year or two ago), consisting of nave, with aisles, choir, north and south transepts, a north porch, doorways in the west and north aisle of nave, south transept, and door in choir, and western tower. There have been cloisters on the south side of the choir to which this door gives entrance, and two porches corresponding to that existing on the north side, and the other at the south end of the south transept.

It is 180 feet long, the transepts together are 100 feet in length, the nave 60 feet wide, the chancel 26 feet, and the transepts 20 feet. Over the entrance to the north porch is a niche for a statue, below a handsome cross, and above a shield, with the coat of arms of William of Wainfleet, Bishop of Winchester, to whom some part of the architectural design of the castle has been attributed (he is supposed to have finished this church after the founder’s death), i.e. fusilly ermine and sable, and on a chief sable, three lilies slipped. Over the south porch was a similar shield according to Holles; in the windows above both porches was the inscription: “Orate pro anima Radulphi nuper domini de Cromwell et Tateshall, Thesaurarii Anglie et fundatoris hujus Collegii.” On the west side of the door of the north porch is a holy water stoup. Over the east window of the choir is another niche, probably for the Holy Trinity. The tower has a fine square-headed western doorway beneath a band of panels containing blank shields, a five-light window above, then a small square-headed light, and three-light belfry windows. The parapet is now plain, with crocketed angle pinnacles, which end, below the parapet, in double angular buttresses, a feature not uncommon in Perpendicular towers, but not much to be admired—especially here, as it makes the tower look rather low and squat. There is a staircase in the south-west angle of the tower, leading also on to the aisle roof. At the junction of the choir and south transept is a circular turret, in which is a staircase from[196] the pulpitum or choir screen, up to the transept and nave roofs: it has been higher, and probably was used, as in so many other Lincolnshire churches, as a Sanctus bell-turret. The first great impression gained on entering the chancel is its exceeding lightsomeness, the window surface is very extensive, compared with the wall space, and unfortunately, except in the east window, all the coloured glass is gone. This came about in 1759, from the then Lord Fortescue giving the then Earl of Exeter the glass from the windows to put in St. Martin’s Church, Stamford,[96] on condition that the Tattershall windows should be glazed with plain glass. This condition was not observed for many years, and the interior of the church, particularly of the choir, suffered terribly from exposure and neglect. The windows of the nave and transepts, of four bays, are of good design, as is the clerestory range over nave and transepts, of three lights, but the north and south transept end windows are very fine, and of almost identical pattern with those in King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, except that the latter have five bays, and Tattershall six, and at Tattershall, throughout all the windows, there is a complete absence of cusps.

“Pulpitum” of Tattershall Collegiate Church, from the East.

The small amount of painted glass that was left has been collected together in the east window of the choir, where can be recognised the Treasurer’s badge, and the shield of Tattershall, &c. A few remains exist of the stalls, which were dated 1424, in an inscription on them, and their stone quatrefoiled base (similar to that of the stalls in Lincoln Minster) is now placed in the nave. There are fine sedilia and a piscina in the south wall of the choir, and angels on the corbels of its roof, holding shields with instruments of the Passion on them. There are two interesting wooden pulpits, and a portion of a cornice of wood along the top of the wall in the nave above the south aisle windows. In the north transept are now carefully fixed the series of[197] fine monumental brasses—one to Ralph, Lord Treasurer Cromwell (the founder of the church), and his wife; to William Moor, second Provost of the College; to Joan, Lady Cromwell; to Matilda, Lady Willoughby de Eresby; to another Provost of the College, possibly John Gyger; to William Symson, chaplain of Edward Hevyn, who was steward to the Countess of Richmond, and who founded a chantry in this transept, where is a piscina (as there is also in the south transept). A small brass to the memory of Hugh de Gondeby, 1411, is in the centre of the choir pavement. The fine and interesting choir screen and loft (pulpitum) is dealt with at length in another chapter by the writer.



By the Rev. G.E. Jeans, M.A., F.S.A.

I propose in this paper to establish the point that Lincolnshire has not hitherto been given sufficient credit among antiquaries in general for its share in the great national treasure of monumental brasses. Brasses are in themselves among the most beautiful and the most durable of monumental records. They can reproduce details of armour and costume with a delicacy which is scarcely possible in the most sumptuous stone or marble monuments. The great majority are of such convenient size that they can be rubbed on a single large sheet of paper; and, unlike altar-tombs, can be studied all at once. And furthermore, for these and other reasons, brasses have long attracted a special body of devotees among antiquaries, some of whom will rub and record a brass with loving zeal, while they will hardly look at the church which contains it, or at any of its other records in tomb or window. Thus it may be that our brasses have been better examined and figured than any other form of monumental effigy.

Nevertheless, I may claim to have shown in my list of Lincolnshire brasses, republished from Lincolnshire Notes and Queries, that a good deal still remained unexplored in this and, therefore, probably in other counties. Brass-lovers (no convenient single name has yet been invented) have naturally turned to the counties where brasses are to be found in almost every church, such as Norfolk, Suffolk, and Kent, or the northern and eastern ring of[199] London; and the best of these have been splendidly illustrated in different forms by J.S. Cotman, the artist (1819), Mr. E.M. Beloe, the Rev. E. Farrer, W.D. Belcher, and others. None but casual single illustrations of the Lincolnshire brasses have been published. But I should think that none of those who saw Mr. William Scorer’s magnificent collection of rubbings of them, at the meeting of the Archæological Institute at Lincoln in July 1909, could doubt the claim of Lincolnshire to a much higher place than has been generally granted hitherto among the counties of brasses. The great long series in Boston Church, and the glorious, though fearfully maltreated, one in Tattershall Church were seen on that occasion in situ, and there is another great display in the county at All Saints’, Stamford, besides the many instances of one noble brass, or sometimes two, as at Spilsby and Gunby St. Peter’s. One of the most learned and accurate brass-lovers I have ever met, the late Rev. C. G. R. Birch, told me that in his opinion Lincolnshire, in the proportion of valuable brasses to the whole number remaining, stood perhaps first among the counties.

I will now place the brasses under different categories to show how well Lincolnshire would come out in a County Championship in almost every class.

First would come the series, say of not less than six, in a single church. These are of course rare everywhere. Even in a county so overflowing with brasses as Norfolk, only about half-a-dozen churches would be able to qualify. Lincolnshire, as I have just said, has three. That in Tattershall Church is beyond all doubt one of the finest series in England, in spite of its heartrending maltreatment. There are seven brasses here, of which no less than four are of the first rank, namely, the great one of Lord Treasurer Cromwell, those of his two nieces—Joan, Lady Cromwell, and Matilda, Lady Willoughby d’Eresby—and the brass of a Provost of the College. Besides these there are two[200] interesting brasses of priests and one of a civilian, 1411. Every brass in this noble set deserves study.

Next comes Boston, which, as being almost the greatest of English ports in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, having a special connection with the Low Countries, and being one of the great centres of merchant guilds, must at one time have been among the richest in England in this kind of memorial. Here there are no less than seventeen brasses, including what are little more than fragments, ten of which are effigies or the remains of figure brasses. Two of these, those of Walter Pescod and his wife and the unnamed priest of about 1400, are of the first rank, and exceedingly valuable for the figures of saints in the canopy shafts of the former and the orphreys of the latter.

All Saints’, Stamford, has eight brasses, six of which are with effigies, one very fine and all interesting.

We turn now to the earliest brasses, which are of course very valuable. The first period in most books is taken to be the reigns of the first two Edwards, 1272-1327; and of this period there are only nineteen or perhaps twenty in all England, of which Lincolnshire has two, at Buslingthorpe and Croft. Everybody knows that the premier brass is Sir John d’Aubernoun’s at Stoke d’Abernon, Surrey, because that is dated 1277. But the extremely interesting half effigy of Sir Richard de Boselyngthorp, unfortunately not dated, is certainly not much later than Sir John d’Aubernoun, and, as I suggested and Mr. Macklin agrees, may be even a little earlier. Buslingthorpe is a very remote church, and there is no rectory house near, so it is to be hoped that some special care is taken about this precious monument. The one at Croft is somewhat similar, but is generally regarded as from ten to twenty years later.

Taking now the classes of people who are represented in effigies, we may regard them as mainly coming under five heads—knights or noblemen in armour, priests, ladies, merchants, or judges. How does the county come out in these?

Brass of Matilda, Lady Willoughby de Eresby (1460?), in Tattershall Church.


In Knights there is a fairly representative sequence. Beginning with the Buslingthorpe and Croft brasses just mentioned, we have then Sir Henry Redford at Broughton, and Sir Andrew Luttrell at Irnham (fourteenth century); Lord Willoughby at Spilsby; and others at Laughton, Gunby, Covenham St. Bartholomew, South Kelsey, and Holbeach (early fifteenth); Robert Hayton at Theddlethorpe (1424); the grand brass of Lord Cromwell at Tattershall (1455); Henry Rochforth at Stoke Rochford (1470); Sir William Skypwyth at South Ormsby (1482); and several of the sixteenth century, as at Norton Disney, Ashby Puerorum (two), Horncastle, Harrington, and Hainton (a tabard).

In Priests the list is only moderate, but it is headed by the fine one at Boston in the sacrarium (c. 1400), and the grand late one of a Provost at Tattershall, whom I take to be John Gyger (c. 1510). There are two other priests at Tattershall—William Moor (1456) and William Symson (1519). Another interesting brass of a priest is that of William de Lound (c. 1370) at Althorpe in the Isle of Axholme. This was covered up by coats of paint daubed over the altar-tomb on which it was set, so that it was only discovered at the restoration of the church. The brass of a priest in cope (c. 1490), at Fiskerton, is interesting as having been lost, but fortunately re-discovered by Bishop Trollope in a shop at Lincoln. The rest are unimportant.

In Ladies the county would claim high rank if it were only for the beautiful brasses of Lord Cromwell’s nieces and co-heiresses, Joan, Lady Cromwell, and Matilda, Lady Willoughby d’Eresby. Lady Cromwell’s effigy, with long flowing hair kept back by a jewelled bandeau (which looks as if the brass had been engraved before she was married), I regard as the most graceful figure on a brass in all England. Both are fine studies of dress. Their date cannot be accurately fixed, since they are certainly earlier than 1497, the year of Lady Willoughby’s death; but in my[202] list, in Lincolnshire Notes and Queries, I have given reasons for believing that they were engraved between 1460 and 1480. The next finest is of another Lady Willoughby, Margery, who died in 1391; it is in the Willoughby Aisle, now kept locked, in Spilsby Church. There is another effigy of a lady with flowing hair, Elizabeth FitzWilliam, 1522, at Mablethorpe. A fine figure of a lady, c. 1400, was discovered at Gedney in 1890. She was probably of the Roos family, who held the manor. She wears the nebular head-dress, with hair flowing from under it. The only other lady with costume of much interest is one, probably a Skypwyth, at South Ormsby. Ladies represented with their husbands are seldom very elaborately treated as to their costume. About 1480 they had the “butterfly” head-dress, which one would suppose must have been as annoying to their husbands and brothers as the modern lady’s gigantic hat.

Turning now to Civilians, Lincolnshire has several brasses of great merchants, though more might be expected in what was in the Middle Ages one of the chief trading counties with the Continent. The finest of these probably was the great brass of Walter Pescod, 1398, now in the sacrarium of Boston Church, though it has lost the wife’s effigy altogether, the feet of the merchant himself, the inscription (happily recorded by Gervase Holles), and part of the superb canopy. For a study of saints in the smaller figures it is, though out of its true place, now happily placed for comparison with the contemporary priest on the other side of the altar. The next important brass of a merchant is that of William Browne, the founder of the great hospital at Stamford, in All Saints’ Church there, where there are others of the same family also. Simon Seman the vintner, standing on two wine-casks, in St. Mary’s, Barton-on-Humber; and the two Lyndewodes, father and brother of the author of Provinciale, at Lynwode. And if judges are to be counted with civilians, the interesting brass of William de Lodyngton, Justice[203] of the King’s Bench of Common Pleas, in the rebuilt church of Gunby, close to Burgh station, must not be omitted.

Now let us turn our attention to peculiar types of brasses, and see how we stand in these. I will take three interesting types—cross brasses, palimpsests, and brasses of local workmanship.

The Cross is not, I should say, a type that one would wish to be largely extended, as it seems to sacrifice the main object of the brass; but that it is capable of much grace is shown by the beautiful though mutilated cross at Grainthorpe, which stands on a rock in the sea, with carefully drawn fishes of five kinds swimming round it.

Of Palimpsests, or brasses used a second time, there is one of the most interesting in England at Norton Disney. This brass of the Disney family is notable as a very late instance (c. 1580) of armour. The reverse is the larger part of a plate with a long Dutch inscription relating to the founding of a chantry with daily mass in a now destroyed church at Middelburg in 1518. No doubt the brass was soon stolen, together with the endowment of the mass, in the Reformation. But the interest does not end here. Not many years ago it was found that the whole of this brass is in England, the smaller portion having been used again for one of the Dauntesay family, also c. 1580, at West Lavington in Wiltshire. There are several others, including one at Boston, with a lady on each face, and one of Sir Lionel Dymoke at Horncastle, which has a Flemish inscription on the reverse.

Provincial workmanship needs, of course, a good deal of technical knowledge to detect. The immense majority of English brasses were made by London artists, and the only provincial schools seem to have been in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. One small mark usually found in provincial work is mentioned by Haines, namely, that the hands are held apart, one on each side of the breast, as in Lord Willoughby’s brass at Spilsby.


I must here mention two very singular brasses to be found in the county. I do not know of any instance of bodily infirmity commemorated except in the curious brass of William Palmer, 1520, at Ingoldmells. He has beside him a “stilt” or crutch, and in the inscription he is called, “William Palmer wyth yᵉ stylt.”

The brass at Edenham is—or rather was, for it is now taken into the church for safety—quite startling, being formerly on the west face of the tower, forty feet from the ground. It is of an archbishop, and when the Lincolnshire Architectural Society went to Edenham in 1888, and the brass was there described by Bishop Trollope, I remember that much amusement was caused by the episcopal figure looking so much like a rough portrait of the good bishop himself. It may, however, be taken as certain that this is not a sepulchral brass, but part of a representation of the giver of the tower, c. 1500, since the rivets of another brass, the donor kneeling, can be detected on the other side of the west window lower down. It must then be of a saint, and so may be assumed to be St. Thomas of Canterbury. It is, however, well worth mention here.

Lastly, I turn to the inscriptions. There are many rather curious ones dotted about the county, but they are mostly too long to be worth transcribing in full. I will give, therefore, two only, from Wrangle and Lusby.

At Wrangle, on the tomb of John Reed, a merchant of the Staple of Calais, and his wife, is a marginal inscription running round a large slab, which has been broken in parts, but was copied by Marratt. The introduction of the verse part is curiously abrupt, and seems to need some link. It runs: “They for man when yᵉ [winde blows make the mill grin]de. and ev. on thy own soule have thou [a minde. that thou givest w]yth thy hande that shalt thou finde. and yᵗ thou levys thy executors comys far behinde. do for your slefe whill yᵉ have space. to pray ihu of m̅cy and grace i̅ heuen to haue a place.

John Lyndewode and his wife Alice (1419) in Lynwood Church.

In the tiny church of Lusby, close to the battlefield of[205] Winceby, there is a small brass plate on a slab which bears, as far as I can make it out, the date 1555. It has a pretty little inscription in verse as a dialogue between a wife and a husband. It runs:

My flesh in hope doth rest and slepe
In earth here to remayne.
My spirit to Christ I gyve to kepe
Till I do rise agayne.
And I wyth you in hope agre,
Though I yet here abyde.
In full purpose if Goddes will be
To ly down by your syde.

I hope now that I have sufficiently proved my point as to the great value and interest of the Lincolnshire brasses. Mr. Macklin in his small work, Monumental Brasses, made a kind of tripos for the counties, in which Lincolnshire, though taking honours, only won a third class. In his larger and greatly improved book, The Brasses of England, in “The Antiquary’s Library,” this list disappears, and I should be surprised if he would not now raise the county to his second class. At any rate, some twenty brasses of great importance or fine workmanship, together with many rare or even unique instances of particular types, are amply sufficient to establish a claim to considerable distinction.



By the Editor

In many times and in many places religious men have loved to veil or screen off those parts of their House of God which they considered more particularly sacred, from the “profanum vulgus.” The veil of the Jewish Temple, the veil which stretched across the Saxon chancel arch, the chancel-screens from the earliest days of Gothic to our own in the Church of England, the “Jubé” in France, Belgium, and Germany, the “screens and ambones” of Italy, and the “Iconostasis” of the Greek Church (different in position though it be), all testify to the widespread character of this custom. The very word “chancel” itself is derived from the Latin cancelli—a lattice-work or screen.

In the decrees of the Second Council of Tours, A.D. 557, “lay persons were not to enter the chancel, which is divided off by screens, except to partake of the sacrament of the altar.” A complete screen extended all round the choir later on. Eusebius describes the choir of the Church of the Apostles, erected by Constantine at Constantinople, as enclosed by screens or trellis work, marvellously wrought: “Interiorem ædis partem undique in ambitum circumductam, reticulato opere ex aere et auro affabre facto convestivit.”[97] Professor Willis describes the screen of old St. Peter’s at Rome as follows (and an engraving of it is also given by Pugin): “In front of the steps (to the altar) were[207] placed twelve columns of Parian marble, arranged in two rows; these were of spiral form and decorated with sculpture of vine leaves: the bases were connected by lattice-work of metal or by walls of marble breast-high. The entrance was between the central pillars, where the cancelli or lattices were formed into doors. Above these columns were laid beams or entablatures upon which were placed images, candelabra, and other decorations; and indeed the successive Popes seem to have lavished every species of decoration in gold, silver, and marble work upon this enclosure and the crypt below. The entire height, measured to the top of the entablature, was about 30 feet; the columns, with the connecting lattices and entablatures, formed, in fact, the screen of the chancel.”[98] At San Clemente, at Rome, the chancel is divided off by a screen wall all round, being 4 feet 6 inches high; each ambo, or reading-desk for Epistle or Gospel, is in the middle of the north and south walls and faces east. Between this choir and the sanctuary is a cross wall of marble, 6 feet high, with an opening in the centre. These existing screens are probably due to Adrian I., and date from the year 790, but they are almost certainly on the original lines.[99] At Giotto’s Chapel of the Arena, Padua, the chancel is formed by marble screens on each side of the nave, leaving a broad entrance-way between them, and enclosing about one-third of its length. Against the west sides of these screens are altars, each with a small carved marble reredos; whilst on the east are steps leading to the two ambones: that on the north being a book-rest, carved in marble, and fixed with its face to the east; that on the south of iron, and turning upon a pivot.

Thus even in Saxon times the choir of Canterbury, which extended into the nave, was enclosed by a breast-high wall. And Gervase tells us of the choir of Conrad (A.D. 1130), “that at the bases of the pillars there was[208] a wall built of marble slabs, which, surrounding the choir and presbytery, divided the body of the church from its sides called aisles.” The same choir of Canterbury is now enclosed by the very beautiful screen built by Prior d’Estria. Rochester again has a solid stone wall round its choir, and the same is the case at Lincoln (though never a monastery). “The choir, as a rule, was occupied,” says Dr. Jessopp, “exclusively by the monks or nuns of the monastery. The servants, work-people, and casual visitors who came to worship were not admitted into the choir; they were supposed to be present only on sufferance. The church was built for the use of the monks: it was their private place of worship.” And, as we shall see presently, the screens were still more solid where there happened to be a parish church in the nave.

Pugin, in his well-known work on the subject of rood-screens, points out another reason for these walled-in choirs (besides the one just mentioned), i.e. that they shut off in some degree the cold draughts of air from the monks during their frequent and lengthy services in buildings which at that time (and for many a century to come) were not warmed at all. Later still the cathedrals, other than monastic, like Lincoln, and collegiate churches like Southwell, followed suit in separating off the choir from the nave. In all these cases, as a rule, the screen was solid, but when the same movement spread to parish churches, the chancel was divided off by a screen of open work, there being no need for the N. and S. screens, as a rule (though Newark has them), so that the congregation—here regarded as an integral part of the worshippers—might see the altar and all the ceremonial. In such Saxon churches as have retained their Saxon chancel arches, these are very narrow, and originally in all probability were closed by a veil, more or less completely. This is alluded to in an Anglo-Saxon Pontifical, “extenso velo inter eos (i.e. clericos) et populum,” and by Durandus (who was Bishop of Mende, a small city in the Lozère district of France from 1286[209] to 1296), “interponatur velum aut murus inter clerum et populum.” Later, when the use of the veil ceased, and these chancel arches were felt to be, through their narrowness, a great obstruction to the view from the nave into the choir, openings were made on each side to partially circumvent this difficulty. At Bracebridge, near Lincoln, for example, the chancel arch, exceedingly narrow (being only 5 feet wide), is of Saxon date and has a round-headed opening—a hagioscope—on either side.

The Lenten veil (a remnant of former use), which was hung across the chancel between the screen and the altar, is alluded to in Lincoln Cathedral Statutes, “velum pendere ante altare,” and at Leverton, as “the veil of the temple hanging between the choir and the altar in Lent.” At Heckington and Claypole still remain the hooks used for this purpose.

But besides separating the clergy and laity, the western portion of the screens, where they were solid, or the upper part where they were open, served to support, or was in close relation to, a horizontal beam—the rood-beam—which stretched across the chancel arch, and itself supported the rood. This, of course, was a crucifix, and, as Fuller says, “when perfectly made and with all the appurtenances thereof, had not only the image of Our Saviour extended upon it, but the figures of the Virgin Mary and St. John” (the former on the north at Our Saviour’s right hand, the latter on the south side and so at His left).

It may be mentioned here that roods carved in stone have been found on the outside of Saxon churches. Thus, on the west side of the porch at Branston, near Lincoln, are the remains of such a sculpture under a three-headed arch; also at Marton by Stow a Saxon crucifix rudely carved in stone was found during the restoration in 1892, and another existed at Headbourn Worthy, Hants.

A Saxon or Runic cross was found in the north aisle in restoring Colsterworth Church; and at Barton on Humber (St. Peter’s), over the inside of the eastern arch of the[210] tower, is a stone slab with a face carved in the upper part of it.

These roods of wood or metal were apparently early introduced into churches, with or without the screens as mentioned before: “A.D. MXXIII. Kanutus Rex dedit ecclesiæ Christi in Doroberniæ” (vel Duroverniæ = Canterbury), “portum de Sandwico cum corona sua aurea quæ adhuc servatur in capite crucis majoris in navi ejusdem ecclesiæ.”

Stigand again, who was buried at Winchester in 1069, according to John of Exeter: “Magnam crucem ex argento cum ymaginibus argenteis in pulpito ecclesiæ contulit.” Aldred, the last Saxon Archbishop of York (1060-1069), erected “Supra ostium chori pulpitum aere, aere auro, argento auro, mirabili opere Teutonico exornavit,” in Beverley Minster. Mention is made of a black marble crucifix at Waltham in the time of Canute, and the rood at Battle Abbey is spoken of as existing in 1095. Gervase, in describing Lanfranc’s cathedral at Canterbury (1174), says: “A screen with a loft (pulpitum) separated in a manner the aforesaid tower” (the central one) “from the nave, and had in the middle and on the side towards the nave the altar of the Holy Cross. Above the loft, and placed across the church, was the beam, which sustained a great cross” (a crucifix almost certainly), “two cherubim, and the images of St. Mary and St. John the Apostle.”

Occasionally, as at Chipping Ongar, we find indications of a rood-beam having been placed across the east end of the chancel, immediately above the altar, and, of course, carrying on it the rood. At Stow, in the chancel, in the jambs of the side windows north and south of the altar space, there was a fracture and displacement of the mouldings exactly in the same place in each, no doubt to support a beam for the crucifix.

In some cases these altar-screens were double walled, with a kind of platform or gallery on the top, whereon the sacred relics could be displayed, while the space between[211] the walls served as a sacristy or feretory. At Lincoln Minster, for instance, the original reredos-screen was double, with a long narrow space, serving as a sacristy, between the two screens lighted by the quatrefoils, still open in the back screen wall, with aumbries, &c., in the walls, and a newel-stair at the north-west corner leading to the tabernacle above. A similar arrangement, according to the late Precentor Venables, of a narrow slip sacristy behind the reredos may be seen at St. Nicholas’, Great Yarmouth, and at Llantwit in South Wales. A somewhat similar example exists at Beverley Minster; at the back (i.e. eastwards) of the altar-screen is a platform, reached by a stair at the north end, and supported by three elegant arches on shafts, with a vaulted roof, an excellent specimen of Decorated work. At York Minster, again, there was a double screen—

“The wooden screen behind the high altar of the same work as the rest of the quire, surmounted with triangular coats-of-arms containing each a rose, &c., of the common form, supported behind by angels. It was handsomely painted and gilt. It had a door at each end which opened into a place behind the altar, where antiently the archbishops used to robe themselves at the time of their enthronization, and thence proceeded to the high altar, where they were invested with the pall. On the top of this screen was a gallery for musick.... By the taking away of this the altar was carried back one arch to a stone screen behind it of excellent Gothick architecture.”

Professor Willis believed that this was the place where the portable feretrum or shrine of St. William was kept. At Winchester Cathedral, behind the high altar (the beautiful altar-screen of which will be mentioned presently), is a raised platform in the feretory, cut off from the choir by the reredos-screen, with originally an arcade in front of it, making a platform of about 10 feet broad. This probably sustained the shrine of St. Swithun, and also those of SS. Birinus, Edda, and Ethelwold. The eastern face is ornamented with tabernacles of Decorated work, and the floor under the platform is carried by a small vault, to which entrance is gained below the range of tabernacles. This vault is supposed to be the “Holy Hole” of the records.


An altar-screen with rood, &c., is to be seen in an illustration of the hearse of Abbot Islip in Westminster Abbey. At St. Cross, Nuremberg, a rood with St. Mary and St. John and several angels, contained in very fine and lofty tabernacle work, surmounts a carving of the Deposition by Veit Stoss, which is protected by triple doors, with paintings by Wohlgemuth, over the high altar. This may also have been the case at Chichester, as in the years 1276 tapers are mentioned: “Supra trabem pictam supportantem crucifixi imaginem viii ejusdem ponderis.” In the Laudable Customs of Hereford, in the twelfth century, there is an allusion to the beam in “Missa accenduntur xiii cerei supra trabem”; and, on great feasts, “iv ante majus altare quinque in basinis xiij super trabem et vij super candelabra.” Joceline de Brakelond tells us that at Bury St. Edmunds, in the Abbey Church, there was a “Crux que erat super magnum altare, et Mariola et Johannes, quas imagines Stigandus archiepiscopus magno pondere auri et argenti ornaverat, et Sancto Ædmundo dederat.” The following quotations from the Liber Niger of Lincoln Minster (about the year 1236) refer to this in all probability: “Item in eisdem festis invenire, xvi cereos supra trabem secus altare,” &c. “Omnes prescripti cerei exceptis cereis super candelabrum ereum et trabem secus altare,” &c. “Item in principalibus festis debent ponere xvj cereos parvos super trabem secus altare et illuminare et extinguere et in depositione habere unum illorum quem voluerint.”

Then on the choir-screen top, whether of wood or stone, there was a gallery—the rood-loft which came into general existence in the fourteenth, although as we have seen it was mentioned in the eleventh century, and in parish churches often the only evidence left of this rood-loft’s existence is the stone staircase of approach.

The names of the rood-loft are various: Holy Loft, Candlebeam, Pulpitum (Englished as poulpete, &c.), Rood Soller or Soler (the latter a word used by Chaucer, who speaks of the “Soler Hall at Cantebrige”; it is interesting[213] to note that there is still a Garret Hostel Lane and Bridge there). In Norfolk it was called the Perk or Perch; in France, the Jubé; in Germany, the Letter; and in Wales, Lloft y Grog. The screen itself has been termed the trelyse, as in Mr. Gibbon’s Early Lincoln Wills we find one R. Bradley bequeathing 3s. 4d. for “gilding of the trelyse.” Also it was termed spur or spere, as J. H. Parker gives us in a contract for a rood-loft at Merton College Chapel, c. 1486, “with speres and lynterns for two awters.”

As there is a great difference between the solid stone screens of cathedral, monastic, and collegiate churches, and the light wood ones of parish churches, both in material, design, and uses, it will be well to describe each class separately.

The solid chancel-screens of cathedrals, abbeys, and collegiate churches have first to be considered. They may conveniently and naturally be divided into two classes, of both of which Lincolnshire, in spite of much ambonoclastic energy, can still show examples.

Those cathedrals which were originally monastic, and those monastic churches which had parochial naves.—In these (and it will be seen later, more especially in the Cistercian foundations), there were two solid stone screens, of which one was at the east end of the nave, with an altar, the Jesus altar, or Holy Cross altar, or parish altar, in the midst of its western front, and a door on either side. This was the rood-screen, and would have the rood with its belongings on its loft or on a transverse beam a little above it. (Mention will be made presently of the parish rood-screen and loft which was still further westwards.) Between the two screens was an interval, generally of one bay, which, among the Cistercians, was allotted to the inmates of the infirmary, the sick, old, and infirm. At Norwich Cathedral this interspace is the Chapel of Our Lady of Pity; the same was probably the case at Peterborough, where an altar is named, “of Our Ladies Lamentation,” and at Durham.


Passing through the interval we should come to the second screen, also of stone, and with a loft. On this would be the organ, and there would be a projecting feature eastwards from which the Gospels, Epistles, and Lessons might be read, or portions of the service chanted. A brief extract from The Rites of Durham,[100] followed by a citation of examples, some of which are destroyed and some fortunately extant, will make this arrangement, I hope, quite clear. After speaking of “the pair of organs over the quire dore” in the eastern screen, the writer says:—

“There” (i.e. in the same loft) “was also a Lanterne of wood, like unto a Pulpit, standing and adjoyning to the Wood Organs over the Quire door, where they had wont to sing the nine Lessons in the old time on principal dayes, standinge with their faces towards the high Altar” (pp. 27-28).

Then, with regard to the western screen, his account runs as follows:—

“In the Body of the Church, betwixt two of the highest Pillars supporting, and holding up the West side of the Lantern, over against the Quire door, there was an Altar, called Jesus-Altar,” &c. “And on the backside of that saide Altar there was a fair high stone Wall: and at either end of the Wall there was a door, which was lock’d every night, called the two Rood-doors, for the Procession to go and come in at; and betwixt those two doors was Jesus-Altar placed, as is aforesaid” (p. 54).

This altar was protected by a screen “of wainscot,” and had a “table” or triptych over it:—

“There was also, in the height of the said Wall, from pillar to pillar, the whole story and Passion of our Lord wrought in stone, most curiously and most finely gilt. And also above the said Story and Passion, was all the whole story and the Pictures of the twelve Apostles,” &c. “And on the height above all the foresaid story from Pillar to Pillar, was set up a border very artificially wrought in stone with mervellous fine colours, very curiously and excellent finely gilt, with branches and flowers,” &c. “And also above the height of all, upon the Wall, did stand the goodliest and most famous Rood that was in all this land, with the Picture of Mary on the one side of our Saviour and the Picture of John on the other, with two splendent and glistering Arch-angels,[215] one on the one side of Mary and the other on the other side of John,” &c. “Also on the backside of the said Rood before the quire door there was a loft,” &c. (pp. 56-57).

This arrangement is scarcely mentioned by writers on foreign rood-screens, though Pugin gives a hint of it in his description of the Domkirche—the Cathedral—of Lübeck, which has a central altar and side doors, whereof he has given a plate, and two bays to the westward of this screen there is a rood-beam supporting the rood. There is an iron screen also, with central altar and side doors, in Freiburg, Switzerland.

In England this double screen seems to have been most characteristic of Cistercian churches. Thus, at Louth Park Abbey there was a stone screen, called the pulpitum, at the west end of the choir, extending across the nave, whereon stood the organs, &c. In the middle of the screen was the choir door or lower entrance (inferior introitus). The bay west of the pulpitum (which was sometimes of considerable thickness, with an altar on either side the quire door, as at Jervaulx) was open, and formed the retro-quire, where those who were extra-chorum for a time (e.g. the minuti, i.e. those who had been let blood), and such of the infirm as could attend, might hear the services.

West of this bay was a second screen pierced with doors at either end, and having an altar in the middle against its western side. On top of this screen was the rood-loft, with the great rood and its attendant images. A bay westward was a low fence screen (the wainscot screen alluded to in the above quotation from The Rites of Durham), and the remainder of the nave was fitted up for the conversi or working brothers. At Fountains, J. T. Micklethwaite noted the same arrangement. At Bolton, in Yorkshire, where the nave is in actual use as the parish church, the altar stands precisely in the position of this Jesus or parish altar; the piscina may be seen close at hand in the south wall, and the Late Perpendicular oak screen, once in front of the altar, is now at the west end.


Where there was a parish service in the nave of a conventual church, the nave was more or less completely shut off from the choir. The parish altar then would stand, as first mentioned in the case of Bolton, against the east wall of the nave, and consequently there would be a parish rood-screen and rood-loft still farther down the nave, so as to cut off a chancel, so to speak, for the parish service. At Freiston Priory (although this eastern separating wall of the nave is modern, the choir having perished), the altar is approximately in the position of the people’s altar, and the staircase to the rood-loft, and the traces of the rood-screen (which exists in a neighbouring parish church—that of Fishtoft), show that three bays of the nave were cut off by it. Almost exactly the same arrangement exists at Dunster, where the choir was ordered, in 1499, to be used exclusively by the monks, and the nave to be appropriated to the parishioners. A coëval rood-screen extends across the nave, cutting off two eastern bays, with a rood-stair in the south aisle, showing its present position to be the original one.

At Edington Priory Church, Wiltshire, a new altar has been erected in the position of the original parish one against the screen. At Westminster Abbey the choir runs far into the nave (cutting off the five eastern bays), and is separated from it by a high and deep screen of which the inner stonework dates from the thirteenth century, but the fronting is modern. One bay west was the rood-screen; below it, on the floor of the nave, was the Jesus altar, at which mass was said in presence of the people. Above, in the rood-loft, was a second Jesus altar, from which, on certain days, the Epistles and Gospels were read.

Also, as everywhere in churches before the Reformation, there were altars in connection with the rood-screens and rood-lofts. For instance, in 1400, Lady Johanna, late wife of Sir Donald de Hesilrigg, bequeaths “To the convent of the house of Gysburgh, in Clyveland, one vestment of camaca to serve in the pulpit there, and one chalice of silver[217] gilt.” At Grantham Parish Church, where there was a stone rood-screen, we know, from a mention in the Patent Rolls, that there was an altar in the rood-loft. In York Minster there was an altar in the loft before the image of the Saviour, on the south side of the church, for two chaplains, founded in 1475-6 by Richard Andrew, Dean of York.[101] In the same place an inventory is given, of the date 1543, of the belongings of the “altar of the name of Jhesu in the rudde loft.”

At Norwich Cathedral the pulpitum still exists as the organ loft (with a staircase north and south from central passage to loft), between the twelfth piers of the nave (from the west end), the space between these and the eleventh is taken up by the Chapel of Our Lady of Pity—the ante-choir. Between the eleventh piers is Bishop Le Hart’s screen, with central door and an altar on either side, that on the north dedicated to St. William, that on the south to St. Mary. Further west, between the tenth piers, was probably a wooden screen, and either on this or above Bishop Le Hart’s screen the rood would be placed.

An early screen at St. Albans, built by Abbot Richard, 1097-1119, is described as a wall of stone finished with a wooden capping, the altar being raised in the centre towards the nave. The present screen, called St. Cuthbert’s, cuts off three bays of the nave westwards of the lantern. In the centre is the altar of the Holy Cross, with a door on each side opening into the choir eastwards. If the rood-beam and figures were not supported by the screen, they must have been probably westwards of it (eastwards in Murray’s Cathedrals), and supported by their own screen perhaps.

The only instance in Lincolnshire of a screen of the kind just described exists in Crowland Abbey. Here the north aisle of the nave seems to have been used for the parish church (as it is now) from early times, but the arrangement in the nave is the same as that mentioned above, though[218] I know of no remains of any eastern screen having been discovered. The splendid western Norman arch of the central tower is screened across below by a solid wall, pierced by two side doors, and on the west side there is a space betwixt them for the altar. Also, on this side, there is a band of panelling of sunk quatrefoils, extending right across the screen a little above the doors (a wooden reredos and panelling probably filling up the plain portions of this wall); while the eastern face of the screen is ornamented with a panelled band of quatrefoils alternating with shields, and the rest of the surface is covered with panelled tracery of Perpendicular date. The doorways on this side are four-centred, with square-headed mouldings above, the spandrils being filled in with foliage. This screen most likely was built by William de Croyland, who was master of the works from 1392 to 1417. In 1539, probably the whole arch was built up solid, with a square-headed two-light window in the middle, so as to allow the nave to be used as the parish church when the choir and the rest of the abbey was pulled down. The roof of the nave fell in about 1688, after which the north aisle would again be used as the parish church. It is interesting to recall the fact that at Leominster a new north aisle was built to serve as the parish church, and so also at Blyth.

This central position of the altar, with a doorway on either side, was a general arrangement in the Jubés of Germany, of which Pugin’s plates of those in Münster Cathedral, the Domkirche and the Hospital, Lübeck, the Dom at Hildersheim, and that at Gelnhausen may serve as specimens. G. E. Street gave a sketch of a choir-screen with central altar on its western front, and a door in either side, at Zamora Cathedral (Gothic Architecture in Spain, p. 92). And a rood-screen at Wechelburg, Saxony, with crucifix, SS. Mary and John, central western altar, and side doors, is figured in Fergusson’s Handbook of Architecture, vol. ii. p. 583.

Crowland Abbey Rood-Screen, from the East.

In all Norman cathedrals, probably, the choir extended[219] westwards across the transepts into the structural nave. Consequently in any later erection of screens to mark the entrance into the choir, this ancient line of demarcation would be followed. The late Professor Willis remarks of the screen already alluded to at Canterbury, as described by Gervase, “that it may have remained, though in an altered form, to the Reformation. One of Winchelsey’s statutes (dated 1298) expressly commands that the two small doors under the great loft between the body of the church and the choir, which are near the altar under the Great Cross, shall remain.” Thus also at Chichester, Bishop Arundel’s Oratory (which was pulled down in 1859) stood across the western arch of the central tower. At Winchester, the rood-screen was in the second bay of the nave. At St. Albans, St. Cuthbert’s altar-screen is three bays down the nave, and at Norwich Bishop Le Hart’s screen (when complete with a vaulted extension westwards, and a screen still farther, whereon the rood-beam would be placed) takes in three bays of the nave. At Westminster four bays, at Gloucester one bay, were included in the choir: at Peterborough the organ-screen enclosed the first bay of the nave, and there was a second screen as at Norwich, one bay farther west. The choir of the monks at Ely extended westwards beyond the central tower, and after that had fallen, beyond the octagon to the second pier of the nave. At Furness Abbey the pulpitum doubtless occupied a bay between the third pair of piers in the nave. At Crowland, as has been stated above, the existing stone screen is across the western side of the lantern. All these, except Chichester, belonged to the Benedictine Order. At Kirkstall Abbey, a Cistercian house, the plan, as it existed in the twelfth century, shows the extension of the choir into two bays of the nave, and at Roche Abbey, also Cistercian, there are traces of the rood-screen, three bays down the nave (with central door and two side altars), no other screen being found save a wooden one in the same line across the north aisle.


In several of the cathedrals on the “old foundation” there is only one screen which—as abroad—has served for rood-screens, the rood either being on or above it. Lincoln, York, Ripon, Wells, and Southwell are all furnished with screens of this kind, which have no trace of altars on their western front. I am rather doubtful whether there may not have been altars on each side of the western doorway of the screen at Southwell.

At Lincoln the solid stone screen stretches across the entrance to the choir between the eastern piers of the central crossing, being thus in length about 42 feet and in depth from east to west about 12 feet 6 inches. Its height from the floor of the nave to the top of the parapet is 17 feet. The western front of the screen consists of a central canopied archway having four recessed tabernacles with rich ogee canopied arches, grained continuously on each side, separated by detached buttressed piers. The wall behind is covered with diaper work, and subdivided by a shelf enriched with leafage below. There are still remains of colour and gilding. Three steps lead up to the doorway, from which a passage, with flat ceiling and skeleton vaulting (reminding one of similar work in the screen at Southwell) gives entrance into the choir. On the left, i.e. on the north side of this passage, opening by double doors, which have some excellent examples of original ironwork upon them, is a broad staircase leading to the loft above. Just at the entrance to the staircase is the door, on the west side, of a dark recess with an aumbry. The staircase has also a flat ceiling and skeleton rib-vaulting, and has, on emerging above, a corbel table charmingly carved with rich foliage, forming a kind of edge to the hatchway, on three sides. On the south, or right-hand side, of the central passage is a small room, with solid vaulting, lighted by a square window looking into the south choir aisle, guarded by the original iron bars.

On the south side also of the screen, there is a second stair leading to the loft, formed in the thickness of the[221] screen wall of the first bay of the south choir aisle, lighted by a pierced quatrefoil, and approached by a small ogee-headed archway, to be reached by a short step-ladder. This, it has been stated, was for the use of the custodian of the choir, and from its smallness could never have been used by priests arrayed in canonicals. The eastern side of the screen is formed by the return stalls, and over the entrance there is a projection of half polygonal shape, and of much the same date as the choir-stalls themselves. It is noteworthy that the eastern doorway in the stone screen has a deep moulding running round the arch, with traces of colour as a finishing touch, evidently intended to be seen, before the woodwork of the stalls was placed in front of it. I may here mention that the date of the stone screen has been generally considered to be about 1320, and that of John of Welbourn’s choir-stalls about 1380. This projection is coved, and some of the ribs run down to the doorway, but it is curiously and mainly supported by horizontal beams running westward from the projection for half their length over the floor of the loft, and being bolted through that floor at their western ends. Four uprights pass downwards from the floor of the projection, two of them to the floor of the choir, which two are stopped by responds at each side of the stone archway. On reaching the loft, there is a broad seat of stone extending the whole length of the loft on the western side, above that a broad band of elegant diaper-work, surmounted by a parapet pierced with trefoils alternately erect and inverted, and finished with a battlemented cresting.

The eastern face of the screen is guarded by a coped wall of about the same height as that just mentioned, i.e. about 4 feet. In the middle, for about 8 feet, this wall is cut away down to the level of the floor of the projection over the eastern doorway, in order to give access to that floor. As already mentioned, the joists of this floor (the floor-boarding probably only dates from 1826) lead backwards, i.e. westwards, over a beam laid in the wall north and south,[222] and in their completed state would form a half octagonal platform. On each side of the break in the parapet wall were found, in the course of the alterations in the organ and organ case (in 1897-98), three stone steps. They are broken across, and removed towards the middle of the space, but they have evidently formed part of a half octagon, as the stone floor of the loft within this mark, made by completing the figure, is of a different colour to that outside. These steps, then, have obviously led up to the complete polygon, half within the projection and half westwards of it, over the floor of the loft. These fragmentary steps were noticed to have been much worn with use. The interior of the projection, apparently, is original work, and it is interesting to find in Wild’s plate, published in 1819 before the changes in the organ, that it is boarded round and finished with a plain moulding. J. J. Smith, the late clerk of the works at the Minster, was satisfied that there was a desk running round the inside of this projection.

“Pulpitum” of Lincoln Minster, from the East.

Canon Christopher Wordsworth, in the Introduction to the second part of the Lincoln Cathedral Statutes, says that there was a rood altar (Sanctæ Crucis) under the lantern, either on the screen over the door, or before the entrance of the choir. He also adds, “there was, circa 1520-1536, a ‘Jhesus Mass,’ but whether this involved a special Jesus altar I cannot say.” And again, “Holy Rood or altar of St. Cross, which may have stood on the choir-screen.” An altar with this title appears to have existed in the time of Matthew Paris, circa 1250, as he says that Remigius was buried in front of it; “in prospectu altaris Sanctæ Crucis” are Giraldus Cambrensis’ own words. Therefore, as the Minster was partly used as the Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalene, on whose site it was built, and a presbyter was deputed by the Dean and Chapter to minister sacraments and sacramentals to the parishioners, “in certo loco ipsius ecclesiæ Cathedralis,” till Oliver Sutton erected the church on its present site in Exchequer Gate, it is probable that there was a Jesus altar for parochial purposes and a[223] rood-screen across the western piers of the lantern, or even farther west in the nave. In this connection, the description of the rood-screen at the entrance to the choir given in the Metrical Life of St. Hugh, will be of much interest. It was almost certainly written between the years 1220 and 1235:—

De crucifixo, et tabulâ aureâ in introitu chori.

Introitumque chori majestas aurea pingit;
Et proprie propriâ crucifixus imagine Christi
Exprimitur, vitæque suæ progressus ad unguem
Insinuatur ibi. Nec solum crux vel imago
Immo columnarum sex, lignorumque duorum
Ampla superficies, obrizo fulgurat auro.”

On which my friend, the late Precentor Venables, remarked, “The meaning is not free from obscurity, but we see that the rood-screen consisted of six pillars—three, we may suppose, either side the entrance to the choir—supporting two beams, on which stood the crucifix, the whole being gilt.”

This, then, may have been the screen on which the rood stood. Abroad, as can be seen at the present day (e.g. at Louvain St. Pierre), it frequently stands upon the screen itself. In other cases it may be supported by a beam above the screen. At Canterbury Cathedral, in Lanfranc’s time, we learn from Gervase that “above the loft, and placed across the church, was the beam which sustained the great cross, two cherubim, and the images of St. Mary and St. John the Apostle.” In later times it probably stood on the existing arch (built by Prior Goldstone II. about 1495 to 1517) inserted under the western arch of the central tower. At Exeter Cathedral the rood stood on a separate bar of iron, high above the screen, and was erected in 1324, after the screen was finished. The rests for it, cut out of the narrow arches on either side, were brought into view recently. At Nuremberg the same arrangement prevails, or prevailed. At Winchester Cathedral the second easternmost bay of the nave from the chancel-screen was occupied[224] by a rood-loft, on which stood the “magna crux cum duabus imaginibus sc. Mariæ et Johannis et illas cum trabe vestitas auro et argento copiose,” &c., made and set up by Bishop Stigand, who was buried at Winchester in 1069. At Glastonbury Abbey we read of William de Taunton, Abbot (1322-1335), making the “front of the choir, with the curious stone images, where the crucifix stood.” Also at St. Edmondsbury, in the earliest part of the thirteenth century, Hugh the Sacrist “pulpitum in ecclesiæ ædificavit, magna cruce erecta,” showing the close connection between the rood and the loft. At Worcester Cathedral there are stone brackets for the rood-beam on the western pillars of the lantern, 28 feet from the floor of the nave. There seem to be no traces of rood or rood-beam in Lincoln Minster.

In the Hereford Consuetudines, one of the duties of the Thesaurarius was to keep three lamps burning day and night, one of which was “in pulpito ante crucem.” The same officer was ordered in the Liber Niger of Lincoln, “Minutam etiam candelam invenire in choro et in pulpito et alibi in ecclesia quandocumque necesse fuerit,” the Eastern use differing from the Western on the score of economy! There seems to be no reasonable doubt that the pulpitum and platform already described was the one from which the Gospel and Epistle were read or intoned, and other portions of the pre-Reformation services sung or said. Dr. Hopkins[102] says: “For the accommodation of the singing monks there was a projecting gallery or pulpit, as it was sometimes termed, standing out from the centre of the east front of the rood-loft, near to the organ.” The author of The Rites of Durham speaks of “the pair of organs over the Quire dore” in the eastern screen. No doubt there were variations in what was read, sung, or chanted from the rood-loft in different dioceses and different cathedrals. According to Wild, at High Mass, as soon as the reading[225] of the Epistle by the sub-deacon was ended (at the altar, we may presume) the deacon, leaving the altar, preceded by the crucifix and taper-bearers, and holding the book of the Gospels conspicuously elevated in his hands, walked slowly and processionally along the south side of the choir (while the choristers sang the graduale) to the steps leading to the rood-loft, where, being arrived and kneeling under the great crucifix usually erected there, he addressed the bishop or priest in these words, “Jube, Domine, benedicere,” to which the officiating clergyman answered, “Evangelium Domini Nostri Jesu Christi,” or some other benediction. And then the deacon would read the Gospel from the rood-loft and would return to the altar. From this custom, especially in France, the gallery over the screen obtained the name of Jubé. The Liber Niger, or Statutes of Lincoln Cathedral, have the following directions for this use:—

“Vnde incepto Jube domine benedicere none leccionis dabit ille benediccionem qui propinquior fuerit dignitate. et iste modus seruetur omni tempore nisi ita sit quod omnes canonici sint absentes. tunc suus clericus incipiet Jube et cetera et ipsemet lector dicat benediccionem. Deinde leget” (p. 372).

Also we find the following references to the use of the rood-loft:—

Gloria, ergo incepto; Eat principalis subdiaconus in pulpitum per dexteram partem chori subdiacono (secundario) librum portante precedente, Vnde si contingat leccionem aliquam precedere sicut in natali Domini siue in septimana Pentecostes iiijᵒʳ temporum; secundus subdiaconus leget, et sacerdos cum suis ministris dicet epistolam. et Gradale et Alleluia et Sequenciam et hijs dictis eat ad suum sedile et ibi dicet oraciones. Lecta epistola in pulpito recedet subdiaconus principalis ex sinistra parte chori socio suo prenotato precedente et librum portante,” &c. (p. 377).

The following passage has against it in the margin:—

De modo eundi ad euangelium in magno pulpito. Et preparent se omnes ministri altaris ad eundum pro euangelio lecturo scilicet iij diaconi et iij subdiaconi Principalibus diacono et subdiacono textus portantibus et ij turiferarij et ij ceroferarij et ij clerici pueri ferentes cruces et hij omnes per chorum exeant Set in eundo ad euangelium diaconi ire debent ex parte dextra chori precedentibus vno turiferario et ceroferario et vna cruce et subdiaconi[226] ex sinistra precedentibus vno thuriferario et ceroferario cum cruce, Vnde incepto evangelio stabunt coram diaconis subdiaconi omnes et clerici cruces portantes principali subdiacono portante textum ante pectus Lecto evangelio ibunt ad altare modo contrario quia diaconi ibunt ex parte sinistra et subdiaconi ex parte dextra. Vnde semper quando aliquis vel aliqui venient in pulpitum magnum ad legendum euangelium siue epistolam siue exposicionem; venient in dextra et recedant in sinistra et dabit sacerdoti euangelium ad osculandum,” &c. (p. 379).


“Completorium pulsatur” in a given way. “Vnde sciendum quod quando iij cantant ad lectrinam in choro siue in magno pulpito.... Nota quod quandocumque canonicus leget siue cantet in magno pulpito siue in choro sequetur eum ministrando vicarius siue clericus in habitu nigro nisi chorus capis induatur sericis” (p. 382).

Later, i.e. in 1236, there are directions for the choir to face the altar whilst the Gospel is being read at the altar, we may presume, for the next sentence runs thus: “Et dum legitur in pulpito debet chorus se convertere ad lectorem euangelij donec euangelium perlegatur.”

There seems to be little doubt that the principal organ (if the church possessed more than one) was frequently placed on the rood-loft, or “pulpitum,” and the smaller one in the choir. There was an organ as late as Hollar’s time over the “Den” in the fourth bay of the north side of the choir at Lincoln. By the extracts already quoted from The Rites of Durham, there was evidently one pair of organs (meaning one complete organ) on the north side of the choir, and another pair on the pulpitum there, and from Henry VI.’s “owne avyse” we learn that it was expressly ordered that the Eton College rood-loft should likewise serve as an organ-gallery. Among the many interesting items in the accounts of Louth steeple, dating from 1501-1518, is this:—

“For setting up the Flemish organ in the rood-loft by four days xxd.

So that the present position of several of our cathedral organs (which is fully justified by convenience and æsthetic satisfaction as being thoroughly Gothic) is only a survival[227] of a very tolerably ancient practice. Playing the organ (“cuilibet cantancium organum, trahenti organa”) is mentioned in the Black Book, already quoted from, in 1322. Canon Christopher Wordsworth[103] considers that the terms organizacio, organizare, apply apparently to vocal music at the lectern in choir at the end of evensong and lauds. Canon Maddison mentions that one of the vicars received a fee as late as 1536 for playing the organ at the “Jesus Mass.” On the 10th September 1442, an order for 5 marcs from the fabrick chest was made for new organs in the great choir, to be constructed by one Arnold, “organer,” of Norwich, in the best manner possible. On 14th October (of the same year, I think), Robert Patryngton is commissioned to find with all speed “a scientific man” who has skill to make the new organs in Lincoln choir. The organ, which was remodelled and enlarged in 1897-8, was the work of Allen, the case being designed by the late E. J. Willson in the year 1826.

A word or two must suffice to describe the side screens of the choir, which separate it from the north and south choir aisles. Very probably, in addition to other uses, these screen-walls were built to connect together the piers of the choir arcades, at least in the three western bays, and so help to take off some of the thrust produced by the central tower, and were constructed after its fall. The north screen-wall has an arcade or triple shafts, ornamented with dog-tooth, and with twisted bosses like the rounded head of a drill or a coil of rope at the springing of the arches. The fourth bay eastwards is of later date, the capitals much under-cut, and the corbels at the apex of the string-course having birds among natural foliage. The fourth bay on the south side is very similar; the next has later work inserted again, for the shrine of Little St. Hugh, the second bay being like the northern three, and the first taken up with the staircase for the constable of the close, and[228] a square grated window lighting the room in the organ-loft, already described. Only those who have seen the magnificent sculptured work on the side screens of the choir of Chartres, Amiens, and Notre Dame can appreciate what can be done in decorating these screens.

The last stone screen to be described is in Tattershall Collegiate Church, founded in 1439 by Ralph, Lord Cromwell, Lord Treasurer of England.

The pulpitum, or choir screen, is of stone, and is situated between the eastern piers of the crossing. It is approached by a broad stone step, wider at the southern than at the northern end. It is a solid screen-wall with a central passage, having on the north side a staircase leading to the loft above, and on the south side a door to a small room (in the same position as in the Lincoln Minster screen), lit by three quatrefoils into the nave. The western face of the screen consists of three recesses, with wide ogee-headed arches, cusped internally, and ending in finials which run straight up to the cornice of the loft and are there cut off. There is a string-course at the apex of the arches; the intervening spaces are filled with shallow panels, having arched and cusped heads. The northern and southern ends of the screen are chamfered off, and there are traces of some pedestal and tabernacle work in the broken stonework about the height of the string-course, and again below the spring of the arches. The whole of this west front is finished off with a cresting of Tudor flowers. The central doorway takes up one of the recesses, the oak doors being mainly original, though great hooks for hinges still exist in the stonework behind them. The other two recesses exhibit very evident manifestations of having once contained altars, there being small pillar piscinæ in the south side of each recess, and marks of where the altar slabs were fitted to the work behind. They were in the same position as those at Bishop Le Hart’s screen at Norwich, at the beautiful screen in Glasgow Cathedral, at Eton College, at the eastward screen of[229] Gloucester Cathedral, and at Roche Abbey. Altars in the same position still exist abroad, as at Lierre, Aerschot, Dixmude, and Brou. At Louvain (St. Pierre) the side arches have, unfortunately, been opened out, and the altars removed, and the same process has been gone through with the side arches at Exeter Cathedral.

Holy Trinity Church, Tattershall.

On the eastern side of the screen at Tattershall, facing the chancel, is a doorway with a four-centred arch, square-headed above, with the spandrils filled in with the Tudor rose. Above the doorway, as at Lincoln, only here in stone, is a projecting three-sided feature ornamented with a band of panelling which extends across the whole width of the screen, and is similar to those already described on the western side. Below the band the screen-wall is blank, no doubt for the canopied stalls, of which there are some fragments as well as the stone bases left in the church. The upper edge of this front of the screen is finished off with Tudor flowers, which, however, are not pierced through completely as they were on the nave side. The loft is protected on each face, east and west, by a solid wall, 4 feet 7 inches in height, with a coped projecting portion behind the Tudor cresting on the west side. In the projection into the chancel there are two stone book-rests, one in the middle, 2 feet long by 1 foot 3 inches high, occupying the space behind the three middle Tudor flowers; it is 3 feet 7 inches from the floor, and has a ledge about 1½ inches wide at the lower edge to hold the book safely. The second one faces north-east, and occupies the space behind the two outer Tudor flowers; it is a couple of inches less in length. An example of much the same kind—a stone book-rest—can still be seen at the east side of the loft of the Jubé in the monastic church of Valleria at Sion, in the Rhone valley.

The rood-beam and rood probably stood across the chancel arch, above the loft, as there are marks on both pillars of considerable damage about two feet below the capitals.


From the south end of the loft a doorway gives access to a turret staircase leading up to the roof; the turret has evidently been higher, and has probably served as the bell turret for the Sanctus bell. The date of the screen has been supposed to be settled by an inscription recorded by Holles:—

Orate pro anima Roberti de Whalley hujus collegii, qui hoc opus fieri fecit anno domini mcccccxxviii, cujus anima propicietur Deus. Amen.

He seems to have been buried beneath its archway.[104] But the work is evidently contemporaneous with the rest of the church, as shown especially by the staircase turret, and there is no trace whatever of any Renaissance feeling. Probably the inscription refers rather to some decoration, colour or the like, on the screen. It is curious that this screen possesses the only instance of cusped arches in the church.

Parish Chancel-screens

Simple—as the beginnings of all artistic work are—are the earliest chancel-screens of this country, and the progress from simple forms to the very rich and complex ones of the Perpendicular Period is as evident in wooden screen-work as it is in the history of tracery in stone. Probably the earliest wooden screen-work in the country exists in the Church of St. Nicholas, Compton, Surrey. The eastern end of this church, of Late Norman date, is in two storeys, the lower one forming the sanctuary, vaulted, and opening to the west with a rich Late Norman semicircular arch. Railing off the upper floor above this arch is a screen, consisting of a series of semicircular arches springing from cylindrical or octagonal shafts, with moulded bases and caps, almost certainly of twelfth-century date, and thus coëval with the Late Norman or Transitional portions of the church. In the exquisite little chapel at Kirkstead is the earliest wooden screen-work in the county (and, saving Compton, in the country), which has probably been the upper portion of a choir-screen, in the back of two pews. It is composed altogether of thirteen bays, divided equally between the seats. Each bay consists of a lancet-headed trefoil supported by octagonal pillars with moulded capitals and bases. The total height of the work is 2 feet 9 inches, and it consists of oak throughout. This screen was considered by the late Bishop of Nottingham to be coëval with the chapel itself—i.e. to have been made about the first quarter of the thirteenth century. In Rochester Cathedral is (or was) some screen-work of the same date and character. In Thurcaston Church, Leicestershire, is a screen consisting of plain panel-work in the lower part, and of a series of open arches above, trefoiled in the heads, and springing from slender cylindrical shafts, with moulded bases and caps, being almost identical (save in having cylindrical pillars) with the example from Kirkstead. In Stanton Harcourt Church, Oxfordshire, is a very similar screen, only with circular annulated pillars; this is considered to be forty or fifty years later in date—i.e. about 1260, about the same date as the screen at St. Andrew’s, Chinnor, in the same county.

Transcriber’s Note: this image is clickable for a larger version.

Rood-Screen and Base of Loft, Sleaford Church (St. Denis’).


The screens of Decorated and Perpendicular date may be taken together in general description, more especially as the essential feature of Lincolnshire screens—an ogee arch—appears in both and in nearly every instance.

Firstly, then, a beam runs transversely and horizontally across from pillar to pillar of the chancel arch, or in front thereof, sometimes supported by corbels at either end, as has been the case at Heckington and Wellingore. This may or may not be the rood-beam (i.e. the beam on which the rood stood). In some cases the rood-beam was quite separate from and independent of the screen, as at Claypole, where there are corbels for it on each side of and high[232] up on the chancel arch; at Legbourne, where the same arrangement is made, and in the Morning Chapel, Lincoln Minster. At Blyton the rood-beam remains above the chancel arch; above the upper side of the beam the wall is recessed, probably to allow of a boarded and panelled background to the rood and the other two figures. Further support to this beam (of the screen) is afforded by a number of stout uprights from the floor (where is sometimes a horizontal wooden or a stone base) to the rood-beam, dividing the screen into bays, varying in number with the size of the screen, whereof the middle one is generally the largest, though at Frampton, Stixwould, Mumby, Middle Rasen, Lusby, and Miningsby it is of the same size as the others.

The middle bay is as 13 to 11, for example, at Cotes, as 2 to 1 at East Kirkby, as nearly 5 to 4 at Moulton, as 3½ to 2 at Bratoft, and as 3 to 2 at Thorpe St. Peter’s. These uprights are often formed into small pillars in the front, and occasionally on the eastward aspect also, or, in more Perpendicular work, they are fashioned as slender buttresses, Cotes and Sleaford giving examples of the former, while East Kirkby does so of the latter method. From these uprights, at about two-thirds of their height, spring more or less pointed arches, with their apices at the beam or just below it. Generally, the lower third of the screen is composed of solid panelling, sunk and with foliated and traceried heads; though at Barrow-on-Humber, at Spalding, and at Alford the panels are perforated, probably this is not original. Along the upper border of these panels often runs a scroll or vignette of open work, as at Winthorpe and at East Kirkby, and of Tudor flowers at Croft, while it is embattled at Westborough and Yarburgh.

From the middle of the transom (if it may be so termed), which runs along from upright to upright, below the open portion of the screen, in a number of Lincolnshire examples, arises a mullion up to the spring of the arch, and there divides into two ogee arches, as at Theddlethorpe, Saltfleetby[233] (All Saints’), Mumby, Ulceby (St. Nicholas), and Marsh Chapel. In some of these cases the mullion divides up into two pointed arches above the ogees, and at Middle Rasen, where there are three ogees and two mullions in each bay, the arches intersect and are carried through the spandrils, which are now open (probably an effect of restoration). In other instances the mullion divides up into two almost semicircular arches, which form the lower and outer portion of a large ogee, as at Cotes, Denton, Stixwould, Scrivelsby, Miningsby, Swineshead, Scotter, and Folkingham. At St. Peter’s, Barton, there are two of these ogees in each bay. At Swineshead, Leverton, and Friskney, these arches beneath the ogees are more pointed in character. At Miningsby, on the west front of the mullions, are slender round pillars rising from the transom up to the point of the ogee, and there finishing in tiny crocketed pinnacles, capped by a finial. At Claypole and Althorpe the arrangement is much the same as at Cotes, but the mullions are absent; whether this is original or not seems uncertain. There are no traces of them on the transom of either screen. At Cotes and elsewhere the quatrefoil space between the heads of the arches and the upper part of the ogee is filled by a shield. Another form, which seems like a development of the Claypole scheme (although it almost certainly is much earlier in date), has no mullions, and no inner halves of the arches; from their outer halves springs an ogee, making an outline which has been called—not inaptly—the fleur-de-lis form. An excellent example of this is given by the East Kirkby screen.

Where there is no central mullion, the ogee simply springs from the uprights and terminates in a finial at the rood-beam, as at Sleaford, Ewerby, Saxilby, Moulton, Winthorpe, Croft, and Fishtoft, and in thirteen other instances. The same arrangement is found at Spalding, but the ogee is very depressed, and so the finial ends much lower than in the screens just mentioned. At Bratoft there is an almost semicircular arch beneath the ogee, freely cusped internally,[234] somewhat the same as at Thorpe St. Peter’s, All Saints’, Benington (where the upper edge of the arch forming the base of the ogee is embattled), and Addlethorpe (tower arch screen). These ogees are profusely crocketed, generally, of course, owing to their date, with the square-shaped leaves which mark the Perpendicular Period, and they are also more or less elaborately cusped internally. Special notice should be taken of the crockets at Thorpe St. Peter’s and at Burgh (now across tower arch), which represents pelicans in various attitudes.

The middle bay partakes of the character of the lateral ones, though it is usually so different in width. Thus at Cotes it has a flattened wider ogee, with the descending mullion cut off; at Alford (where there are no mullions), a flattened wider ogee, with a depressed arch under it; at Miningsby (where all the bays are of the same width) the inner halves of the sub-arches disappear as well as the central mullion; at Denton, a flattened wider ogee; and at Swineshead, a larger and taller ogee. At Lusby the central bay ogee is identical with those of the sides; the same is true of Stixwould, with the absence of the descending mullion—also, in a different style, of Mumby; while at Theddlethorpe, Saltfleetby, and Moulton, this bay has a depressed arch with three ogees on it, the last named being also remarkable for having “a series of five shallow hoods or canopies groined in miniature underneath, to simulate vaulting.”[105] At Barton there are two ogees, at Middle Rasen three. At Sleaford and Ewerby there is the same kind of arch, with two ogees upon it, but in the centre the vaulting continues downward to a cap and shaft, which ends on the arch; also at Spalding, only without the ogees.

At Claypole and Althorpe the central shaft is carried down much below the spring of the ogees, and ends on a four-centred arch. East Kirkby has two ogees on an ogival arch beneath. At Saxilby the central feature takes[235] the form of a round-headed arch in a square-headed bay with the spandrils filled with circles, surmounted by seven small bays, each containing a crocketed ogee terminating in a finial. At Barrow there is a pointed arch, with pierced spandrils. At Benniworth there is a large ogee with curious tracery over it (? modern), entirely different from the lateral bays. At Ewerby, already mentioned, this bay has on the inner side of each ogee a beautiful wheel; on the outer side a fine network of tracery. At Folkingham the centre arch is carved and crocketed with grapes and vine-leaf ornament. At Scrivelsby, between two ogees is a large wheel of tracery, with two smaller ones filling in the spaces on each side.

All screens probably had a door or doors, though but few of these are left in Lincolnshire. At Westborough the original doors exist; they are square-headed, with tracery above and panelling below, similar to that of the side bays. Cotes, Spalding, Theddlethorpe, East Kirkby, Moulton, Helpringham, Thorpe St. Peter’s, and Barton still retain their doors, but only the lower panels are left.

Also slender buttresses have been mentioned above, as being moulded out of the uprights. Occasionally there were to the front (western face) of these uprights, especially on each side of the central doorway, flying buttresses with crocketed attachments. Remains of these are still to be seen at East Kirkby, Moulton, Fishtoft, Thorpe St. Peter’s, Bratoft, Croft, Legbourne, Crowland, and Mumby. At Grimoldby, where the lower half of the screen exists, two buttresses project some way westward and are well panelled. The extreme form of these, where the upright part of the buttresses was fashioned into a candlestand, may be exemplified by Ranworth screen (Norfolk), where the buttresses, panelled as to their lower two-thirds, separate the central passage from an altar on either side.

The intervening spaces between the ogee and the confining arch will be filled in with delicate tracery, varying of course in style with the age and locality of each particular[236] screen. Whatever the faults of Perpendicular work may be in stone, the repetition of similar forms, the richness of the detailed ornament, and the lightness of the tracery make Perpendicular wooden screens, more perhaps than any others, the best representatives of the Cancelli (lattice-work), and very valuable portions of the furniture of a church.

In some churches, as at Laughton-en-le-Morthen, there was a low stone screen, buttressed, which would carry a lighter screen of wood. Instances of a similar arrangement may be seen at Nantwich and Morton-by-Bourne, and there is a preparation for it at Wellingore and Boston.

If the 200 churches mentioned in Mr. E. Peacock’s English Church Furniture be taken as a fair sample of Lincolnshire churches, as they well may be, almost every one possessed a rood-loft, which may now be described.

Westwards generally (but eastwards only at Worstead) from the beam, which often forms a kind of breast summer to the gallery about to be described, would extend a platform of varying width (at Selattyn in Shropshire it is 10 feet wide, usually about 4 feet), supported by a coved cornice, ornamented by ribs which intersect sometimes in a very complicated pattern, as at Sleaford, and with—as vignette—a band of carving, such as vine-leaf and grape, along the front. On very many screens, which have lost their gallery, traces can be seen where the ribs and springers for its support have been attached. The eastern portion of the gallery remains at East Kirkby, starting from the top of the screen, and being coved independently thereof. From both sides—east and west (or only one west)—of this platform would rise up a panelled screen, which sometimes, as at Upper Sheringham, consisted of open work. This gallery—the rood-loft—would be approached by one or more staircases in the piers of the chancel arch or in the north or south walls of the aisles. There are two of these staircases at Boston, Sleaford, and Grantham, while[237] Spalding, Heckington, and most of the other churches in the county have but one.

Rood-Screen and Loft, St. Edith’s Church, Cotes-by-Stow.

The only complete mediæval rood-loft in the county is in the little church of Cotes by Stow. It has been carefully repaired, with foliated and traceried panels, and a vignette of grapes and vine-leaves along the lower border. The central projection is interesting and original, and here is evidently not for the crucifix, as that would be fixed at the eastern side of the loft. A similar projection will be seen at Sleaford, and probably both were used for preaching. They are exactly reversed in position from those at Lincoln Minster and Tattershall, and from that mentioned in the contract for the rood-loft at Great St. Mary’s, Cambridge, in 1521, “wyth a pulpete into the mydds of ye quyer.”

There are several screens which yet retain the hang-over, making the floor of the rood-loft. The reason for this at Sleaford is given in Mr. Peacock’s book: “Itm̅—the rode lofte taken downe all save the florthe wc̅h remayneth standing wc̅h we cannot take doune for yt is a waie frome one house to another so yt̅ we have noe passadge but that waie to ytt”—which may mean from chapel to chapel, or from aisle roof to aisle roof.

A few varieties of screens, with or without lofts, may most conveniently be noticed here before dealing at greater length with the rood-loft and its accessories. Screens are met with which most certainly have had rood-lofts, the evidence of which is the existence of remains of the springers or ribs for the coved support of the loft on one or both sides of the screen, and the rough framework above, whence the rood-loft floor has been stripped. But no trace can be found in the church either of rood-loft staircase, doors thereto, or of corbels to support the rood-loft. Also the screen may not fit its place. Of course, in some instances, the rood-loft staircase may have been entirely concealed or taken away. But it is almost certain in other instances that the screen is not in its original[238] church. Most probably an example of this is the Ewerby screen, which is too wide for the chancel, and has evident traces of having had a rood-loft. This screen has in all likelihood come from the neighbouring priory of Haverholme. Very likely the same applies to the wooden screen in the north aisle of Crowland Abbey; it does not fit (has been removed eastwards within this century), has evidence of having had a rood-loft, and there are no signs of anything of the kind in that part of the church. It may have been the rood-screen in the nave, or the very one mentioned, of the year 1413, below. And at Cadney, near Brigg, is a screen said to have come from Newstead on Ancholme.

In other churches, on the contrary, we may find abundant evidence in the shape of rood-loft staircase and doors, and corbels, for the former existence of a rood-loft. The screen, too, may seem quite to fill its position and not show any trace of having had a rood-loft on it, and this not merely from having had the coving neatly removed (as may possibly have been the case in some churches), but by the style altogether of the upper portion of the screen. There is no coving, and therefore no pointed arch over the ogee between each upright, forming consequently a square-headed aperture instead of a pointed one.

Rood-Screen, St. Mary’s Church, Winthorpe.

At Winthorpe, for example, there is no trace of a loft on the existing screen, while some four feet or so westwards are putlog holes and corbels for the front of the rood-loft, as well as a complete rood-loft staircase on the north side of the chancel. Grainsby, Friskney, and Leverton are instances of similar treatment. The explanation is that the rood-loft has been made on the same plan as that at Upper Sheringham in Norfolk. Here a screen of the square-headed kind described, and with good Perpendicular tracery, fills the chancel arch to about the height of ten feet. Four or five feet westwards of this screen extends the rood-loft, not supported apparently by the screen, but just touching it. Two uprights support the front of the loft, with the spandrils filled on the north side with a pelican, on the[239] south with a dragon. The gallery, which has an elegant open traceried front, runs across in front of the chancel arch and is reached by a staircase in the north wall. Much the same arrangement has been at East Budleigh. A feature of minor interest in Sheringham is the diversity of tracery; thus in the rood-loft seven and a half bays have the same, while three more are quite different, and in the screen the number of differences is still more marked.

There are also some screens which show no trace on their westward face of a rood-loft, and yet have or have had one. Of these, Worstead may stand for an example.

Again, occasionally a screen is found, certainly old, certainly in its original position, and yet with no signs on it or in the church of any rood-loft at all. It is fair to suppose in these cases that there never has been a rood-loft, but that the screen itself has carried the rood. Such a screen was the one at Salmonby, now removed, and the existing elegant Perpendicular ones at Wickenby and Scrivelsby. At West Tarring and Broadwater (Sussex) the low screens bristle with spikes, probably contemporaneous, which show that there never was any upper tracery or loft. Also we can have a rood-loft alone, without a screen, as seems to have been the case at Avebury (Wilts). A superb example of this kind abroad still exists in the Church of St. Etienne du Mont, Paris, of sixteenth-century date, with two spiral staircases.

To return to the rood-loft staircases, which, and the doorways to them, are met with constantly, over one hundred instances being found in Lincolnshire alone. Usually, of course, they cut through more ancient work, as at Stow, where a Saxon pier has been cut through (the Saxon piers of the eastern tower arch are likewise cut and channelled to allow of the insertion of the beams of a rood-loft); at Normanton, where a Transitional arch has been cut into; at Frieston, where the third pier from the west of the Norman north arcade of the nave has been replaced by a square mass of stonework containing the[240] rood-loft stairs, with a Perpendicular rebate for the parish rood-screen; or as at Whaplode, where the fine Norman chancel arch has been cut across for the rood-loft, to which a Tudor staircase gave access.

It will have appeared from the quotations already given that at Canterbury, Winchester, and Beverley there were rood-lofts (pulpita) as early as the eleventh century. At Peterborough Cathedral, too, we learn that there was a new rood-loft set up by Abbot Benedict before 1193. At Sibsey (St. Margaret’s) there is a Norman nave and aisle arcades, with lofty circular pillars, square abaci and scalloped cushioned capitals. The easternmost arch of the south arcade is narrower than the others, to admit of a turret staircase formerly giving access to the rood-loft, and its respond has some later detail than the others. The rood-loft doorway at Colsterworth is among the earliest known. It has an abacus on which the nail-head ornament exists. This was probably the original rood-loft entrance, which was subsequently altered when the Perpendicular chancel arch was erected, as this must have partly blocked up the entrance. The builders therefore destroyed the right side of the original doorway and made a side entrance. At East Shefford Church (Berks), in the north wall, are two Early English windows for lighting the rood-loft, the entrance to the staircase for which still remains. At St. Nicholas, Skirbeck, the nave is of Early English date, and in consequence of the rood-loft staircase, the north arcade has narrower bays than the southern. At Bratoft, the aisle arcade, of Decorated date, has the easternmost arch much narrower than any of the others to allow of the rood-loft staircase. The little staircase at Cotes is in the thickness of the south wall. The entrance doorway is moulded in wood, and near the top a tiny two-light window, cut in alabaster, lights the stair. At St. Lawrence, Sedgebrook, the rood-loft apparently was carried across the aisles, as was the case at Corby and Carlton Scroop (and at Grantham); and access to it was supplied by a newel staircase on the[241] south side of the church in a turret, in which a sancte-bell formerly hung. This arrangement of a staircase turret leading on to the nave or aisle roof, and ending in a sancte-bell cot, was obviously convenient, and is not very infrequent. Probably this was the case at Grantham, where the octagonal turrets finish in a spirelet, at Leake, at Fishtoft, at Swineshead, at Langtoft, at Helpringham, Quadring, and at Tattershall, though in the last-named the turret-stair begins from the stone rood-loft. Leverington Church (Cambs) has a rood-loft turret crowned with a spirelet at the south-east angle of the nave, which forms a sancte-bell cot and still retains its bell. At Sleaford there are two rood-loft stairs in the north and south piers of the chancel arch, and running up with the northern one is a separate staircase leading on to the aisle roof. No rood-loft turrets, as far as I have been able to ascertain, date back previous to the thirteenth century. Curiously, at St. Antony in Kirrier, Cornwall, there is only an external doorway to the rood-loft staircase.

Another convenient position for the sancte-bell cot was at the apex of the eastern gable of the nave, and the earliest example of this form seems to be a Norman one at Bledington Church in Gloucestershire. In Tallington Church there still hangs a bell (probably original) in this position; and Seamer Church, near Scarborough, still possesses both bell and gable sancte-bell cot. At Welbourn is a pretty hanging bell cot corbelled out beneath an excellent gable cross. Tydd St. Mary’s is another instance of both features, while Gedney, Claypole, Winthorpe, Boston, Aslackby, Sibsey, and Spalding have the gable bell cot alone. Butterwick has a gable bell cot as well as a rood-loft turret (of good circular brickwork), as have also Benington and Wrangle. Holbeach has had two gable sancte-bell cots, the first dating from 1453; this was replaced at a remarkably late date—that of the Laudian revival, I suppose, in 1629. As well as the sancte-bells which have been already mentioned, at Aslackby is a small[242] bell (unhung in the tower), dated 1611, which is thought to be the sanctus-bell. St. Mary’s, Sutterton, is a small bell of thirteenth-century date, inscribed in Lombardic lettering, “Symon de Hotfelde me fecit.” St. Peter and St. Paul, Algarkirk, has also probably a sancte-bell, as well as Bicker, Ingoldmells, East Halton, Sutterton, Hacconby, Great Hale, and North Witham.

To return to the rood-loft: on it (or above it) would stand the great rood, often with the ends of the cross finished with heads or emblems of the Four Evangelists. Occasionally the crucifix would be sustained partly by chains from the roof, as can be seen abroad—e.g. at Louvain—to this day. In the crown of the chancel arch of Boston Parish Church are the sockets for the two chains to support the rood, and at Billinghay a central mark for a hook. On either side of the rood would be an image of St. Mary the Virgin and St. John the Evangelist.[106]

Not infrequently the whole of the chancel arch was boarded up, and the rood, with attendant figures, stood in front of this, or were painted on it. Just above and behind (i.e. eastwards of) the rood-loft at Cotes the chancel roof is shut off by oak boarding. On each side figures can be dimly discerned, that on the north having a nimbus, and scattered over the boarding are flowers with leaves, most probably meant for lilies. There is a large blank space in the middle, against which, no doubt, the crucifix was fastened. And it is interesting to note that at “Thorpe in parochie de Heythar” (Culverthorpe, near Haydor, probably), in April 1555, the churchwardens state: “Itm̅ we had noe Roode nor other Imageis but that were painted on the wall, and thei are defaced and put oute,” &c.[107] Besides the rood and the images of St. Mary and St. John, which are mentioned in almost every one of the 200 parishes in Mr.[243] Peacock’s book as having been destroyed in 1566, often as “the Rode Marie and John with all other Imageis of papistrie,” there are specific references in several cases to other images and tabernacles on the rood-loft. Their fate seemed to be almost invariably to be burnt. Thus at “Asbye juxa Sleford—Imprimis o̅r Images of the Rood Mary and Jhon w̅th all other Images burned Ao̅ iijᵒ Elizabeth.” At Belton, in Axholme (after mentioning the rood Mary and John), “Itm̅ one Rood-loft with a tabernacle whearin Imageis stood;” at Folkingham, “The Images belonging to the same roode-loft as the Image called the roode Marie and John w̅th an other other (sic) Image called St. Andrewe (vppon the w̅ch the parish church of ffolkinghm̅ drewe his name).” At Corbie, besides the customary three, there was “the Image of St. Johnne the Evang ... of the churche.” At Gretford, again, “roode w̅t marie and Johne and the Image of saincte martine the Patrone.” At Kelby, a “picture of St. Peter” occurs in the same connection. At North Witham, after mentioning the “roode Marie and Johnne,” there are also specified “iij Images of ye rood-lofte.” It will be noted that some of these extra figures are of the patron saints of the various churches. In the rood-loft staircase of Anwick Church was found a statue of the Virgin and Child, with traces of colour on it.

All wooden screens (and probably all the stone ones also) were almost certainly coloured and gilt. The receding parts, or cavettos, of the mouldings are darkened with red or blue, the more prominent white, with often a small diaper. Round mouldings have spiral or wavy lines to show that the feature was circular. The most prominent parts were gilt, as were carved capitals. Gold, too, was often used as star or diaper on a blue or red ground. The mouldings are sometimes all blue and green, while the hollows are red foliage gilt on red ground, with all recessed parts red. A will leaving money to gilding the trelyse has already been given; Sir Richard Bozon, who died 25th March 1524, bequeathed 20s. towards the gilding of the rood-loft at All Saints’,[244] arrowby. Thus, on Lincoln Minster screen can still be seen traces of colour, and a little scarlet blue and gold on cavettos and on crockets on that at Saltfleetby All Saints’. At South Somercotes the round mouldings are in spirals and black and gold, the spandrils of the panelling white or gold, alternate cavettos green and red, crockets gilt. In the portions of the screen at Billinghay the Tudor roses in the spandrils are coloured red and blue. At Addlethorpe the cavettos are red, finials and crockets gilt (in the north chantry chapel screen the cavettos are red and blue). At Croft the border of the panels is spirally in blue and gold, and the square flowers along the top are gilt. At Crowland the pillars of the uprights are spirally black and white, the ogees ending in finials gilt, and the cusping of the lower panels also gilt. In the beautiful screen at Alford the cavettos are red, and the leaves in the spandril gilt.

But, as well as the lavish decoration of the rood-screen and loft, which has just been described, there was very frequently some special colouring and embellishment of those parts of the church in more immediate proximity to it. The roof of the nave often has the eastern bay alone painted, as at Rainham (Kent), or that part more gorgeous than the rest, as at Southwold, where all the roof seems to have been coloured; but the eastern bay of the nave above the rood-loft has been most highly decorated with angels, with scrolls, and the implements of the Passion. In a very large number of churches was a representation of “The Doom,” or “Day of Judgment,” the most frequent place for this being over the chancel arch. “The final separation of the Church Triumphant from everything that defileth was almost invariably represented by the Great Doom painted in fresco over the rood-screen.” At Trinity Church, Coventry, and many other places mentioned by Keyser, this still exists.[108] Over the chancel arch in Caythorpe Church is a rude representation of the Last Judgment, with the[245] Archangel Michael weighing souls, and at Swaton were paintings above and on each side of the chancel arch of scenes from the life of our Lord. “The Doom” also appears on a set of panels above the chancel arch at Mitcheldean, Gloucestershire, and at St. Michael’s, St. Albans; the Day of Judgment, with the crucified Saviour in the centre, is partly over the chancel arch and partly on a panel filling in the head of the arch. A somewhat similar condition has been noticed above at Cotes, and over the rood-loft in Snetterton Church, Norfolk, is a defaced panel-painting of the Day of Judgment. (Pugin gives a view of a similar arrangement at Arnes, near Bergen, now destroyed, I believe.) The most notable of these is the one at Wenhaston, Suffolk, discovered in 1892. This piece of panelling blocked off the chancel (there being no chancel-arch) above the rood-beam, and measured 17 feet 3 inches by 8 feet 6 inches. The position of the crucifix is clearly seen, and the spaces left for the figures of St. Mary and St. John on either side. In the triforium at Gloucester Cathedral is preserved another “Doom” on panel.

Along the upper edge of the rood-screen or rood-loft would be placed basins and spikes for candles, which would be lighted on special occasions. Hence comes the name of “candlebeam,” as before mentioned, and Gibbons[109] has given seven wills which illustrate this: e.g. Thomas Hadstoke leaves “To the Crucifix light in the Roode-lofte xxd. in Hycchyn church,” Thomas Buck to the “Rode lighte viijd. in Dorney Church,” William Gybbons to “the rode light” in Hamilden Church, and Thomas Fissher of Wooborn,“To thre lightes upon the rode beame vjd.” (probably one for the rood and one each for St. Mary and St. John). Also, in the continuation of that history of Crowland which passes by the name of Ingulph’s, we read as follows (1413): “In the Chapel[246] of the blessed Mary, which had been previously prepared on the south side of the church, he (Brother Simon Eresby) most devoutly erected at his own expense two perks, which were becomingly prepared for the arrangement of the wax tapers thereon, together with a screen of considerable height, which terminated the said chapel below.” By the royal injunctions of 1538, no candles, tapers, or images of wax were thenceforth to be set before any image or picture, “but onelie the light that commonly goeth about the crosse of the church by the rood-loft,” &c.

Rood-Screen, St. Peter’s Church, Middle Rasen.

Then, in connection with the parish church rood-screen and rood-loft, there was an altar or altars. A favourite position for these, when the width of the church allowed, was on either side of the central door of the screen, against the western face of the screen. Those at Ranworth have been mentioned already; at Patricio, in South Wales, are two stone altars, one placed on each side (beneath the rood-loft) of the entrance into the chancel, westward of and against the screen supporting the loft. On either side of the entrance into the apse of Peterchurch, Herefordshire, is a stone altar—probably the rood-screen altars; on the western side of the stone screen of St. Mary Berkeley, on the north, an altar to St. Mary the Virgin, the piscina of which remains; on the south, one to St. Andrew. At Limber Magna the steps to the rood-loft are quite perfect, and exactly under where the rood-loft was placed there is on both sides the trace of what looks like a piscina, but no marks of any altar-slab have been discovered. At St. James’, Castle Bytham, at the restoration in 1900, were found at the east end of the nave, on either side of the chancel arch, remains of shallow, semi-circular-headed recesses, bearing traces of coloured decoration, forming the reredoses of the two small altars. At Winthorpe, close to the rood-screen, on the south side, is an aumbry, most probably for use in connection with an altar on the western front of the screen. Below the rood-loft staircase at Colsterworth is a little aumbry. In the base of[247] a pier close by the rood-loft staircase at Barkston is a small hollow, possibly intended as a piscina or stoup for the service of a rood-altar. Mention has been made of an altar on the rood-loft of the perished screen at Grantham. At Frampton a beautiful little quatrefoil window, just under the roof at the south end of the rood-loft, has been opened out, as well as a hole in the wall beneath it, probably for an office book.

The fate of the roods and rood-lofts has been mentioned above; since those days much damage has been done to the screens which were left, by actual destruction, accident, ignorance, and neglect. Fortunately, in the last thirty years opinion has got educated somewhat, and many of the old screens have been restored, repaired, and (where necessary) replaced, while new ones, designed by the first architects of the day, are furnishing our churches. “Le bon temps viendra” for screens, and indeed has already come in part.

In domestic chapels of any size it is not unusual to find a chancel screen, as at The Mote, Ightham, figured by J. H. Parker. Also, in not a few instances, the western part of the chapel thus shut off has been divided into two storeys, the upper chamber being for the use of the lord and his family, the lower one for the domestics. This arrangement, according to J. H. Parker, continued to be usual in the fifteenth century, and even later, as at East Hendred, Berks, at Studley Priory and at Godstow Nunnery, in Oxfordshire. The chapel at Markenfield Hall, Yorkshire, has also been an example of the same. At East Hendred, the screen to both upper and lower chambers still exists; at Berkeley Castle the screen in front of the upper chamber is original, though altered, that of the lower one is modern. Here, as not infrequently, there is a fireplace in the upper chamber. At Chibburn, Northumberland, and at Trecarrel House, Cornwall, the same arrangement has prevailed. “In[248] Hawarden Castle, Flintshire (said the same authority), the chapel is very small, and must have been merely a private oratory, or, as seems more probable, the chancel or sacrarium only, separated by a screen from the principal chamber in the keep, and with also a ‘squint’ or opening from the passage in the thickness of the wall, to enable persons thus placed to see the elevation of the Host.”

In the Chancery at Lincoln, at the north end of what was the Hall (pulled down by Chancellor Maundeville in 1714), are three pointed doorways of fourteenth-century date, the easternmost of which leads to the buttery, the western one to the cellars, while the middle one leads up a flight of steps with a timber-framed plaster partition on each side, and at the top of these stairs a door on the right hand (easterly, therefore) leads into a room which almost certainly was the chapel. On the eastern side of the partition is a screen of three double bays, open from the middle upwards, with contemporary ironwork. In the opposite side of the partition are two double loops, all being probably, according to the late E. J. Willson, of Henry VIII.’s date.

In hospitals also, a somewhat similar arrangement obtained, the chapel being equal in height to two storeys, and separated from a room above and below by a screen. These rooms were dormitories, so that the sick could, as it were, attend service while they were in bed. In Browne’s Hospital at Stamford, the chapel is open to the roof, and on the ground floor it is separated at the west, from a common room once a dormitory, by a handsome oak screen with doors groined over on both sides. There are returned stalls on the east side thereof. In the ancient hospital at Chichester, the chapel consists of a sacrarium only, and is separated from the hall or principal chamber by an open screen with a curtain. In the almshouses, Sherborne, Dorset, is or has been a similar arrangement.

Note.—Considerations of space, unfortunately, have prevented any allusion to Chantry Chapel Screens.



By Rev. Edward H. R. Tatham, M.A.

In three successive centuries Lincolnshire has been the scene of civil disturbances, which were closely connected with the general history of the country. The rebellion against Edward IV. headed by Sir Robert Welles of Belleau, the “Lincolnshire Captain,” was closed by the defeat of his force of 30,000 men on March 12, 1470, near Empingham in Rutland. The rising at Louth and Horncastle, which followed on the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536, was quelled within a fortnight; and the only lives lost were those of officials who were killed by the mob, and of the mob-leaders, who were promptly executed. But in the Great Civil War of the seventeenth century, Lincolnshire played a great part, though in ordinary English histories, and even in Clarendon, the struggle within its borders is passed over lightly. It was the debatable ground between the Royalism of the North and the stern Puritanism of the Eastern Association. “From the summer of 1643 to the summer of 1644,” says Lord Morley,[110] “the power of the northern army and the fate of London and the Parliamentary cause turned upon Lincolnshire, the borderland between Yorkshire and the stubborn counties to the south-east.” Here, in the first two years of the war, Cromwell found a favourable training-ground for his invincible Ironsides.

Before the war actually began, the temper of this county, as of some others, was rather hesitating and uncertain. It[250] is doubtful whether, out of the twelve members for the shire and its boroughs, the proportion of ten to two against the King truly represented the popular feeling. Under the then existing system an altogether unfair preponderance was given to the towns, which returned ten out of the twelve members; and in London and the eastern towns Puritanism was for the moment all-powerful. The Militia Ordinance of Parliament, which brought matters to a crisis, and was doubtless an encroachment on the King’s prerogative, raised a constitutional question that few could understand. In March 1642, when the dispute on this point had reached an acute stage, a deputation from the Lincolnshire gentry in sympathy with the Parliament presented a petition to the King at Newark on his journey north, in which the question of the moment is not even mentioned. This petition simply prayed the King to reside near his Parliament and listen to their counsels; and in view of their determination to wield the power of the sword, it is not surprising that the King in his reply, delivered at York, asserted that Lincolnshire had been misled, and that he was being driven from his Parliament. The city of Lincoln, though it returned two reforming members, was probably not so Puritan as the other boroughs. It has been well pointed out[111] that a large number of the county gentry, many of whom were Royalists, then possessed houses in Lincoln; and their opinions would naturally be reflected among the tradesmen, who benefited by their presence. At this time the two sides were evenly matched among the members of the City Council; but the Mayor, John Beck, was a Parliamentarian, though his father, Robert, who preceded him in the office, belonged to the opposite camp.

A crisis was reached in April, when Sir John Hotham, the Governor of Hull, refused the King admittance to the town. In Lincoln, which had much trade with Hull, the King’s attempt upon that place was not viewed with favour;[251] and on April 27, Parliament appointed a committee of the county members of both Houses (on which of course no Royalist sat) to carry out the Militia Ordinance in Lincolnshire. Francis, Lord Willoughby of Parham, a young noble of under thirty, with Presbyterian sympathies, had just been appointed Lord-Lieutenant of the county, and proceeded, with an alacrity which might well arouse the King’s suspicions, to call up the militia for training. He summoned the constables to meet him at Lincoln on May 31, and render an account of the arms in their district, and all but two or three responded; but he complains that the King’s proclamation forbidding the muster had been “officiously fixed” upon the door of the inn where the committee met. On June 6 he arranged to review the militia from Lincoln and the adjoining villages; and on the same morning received a letter by express messenger from the King at York, dated two days before, charging him upon his allegiance to take no further action, and warning him that if he did so, he would be proceeded against as a disturber of the public peace. Lord Willoughby’s answer, which he penned on the spot, is a curious mixture of humility and defiance. He alleges the opinions of certain eminent lawyers (which they afterwards disavowed) in favour of the legality of the ordinance, and trusts that, if he has offended, his “want of years” may excuse his “want of judgment.” “Nothing,” he says, “hath yet passed by my commands here, or ever shall, but what shall tend to the preservation of the peace of your kingdom.” And yet, within three months, he had accepted the command of a troop of horse in the Parliamentary army. The Mayor and Corporation attended the Lincoln muster; and about eighty of the hundred members of the trained band appeared. When the constable was asked to explain the absence of the remainder, he gave the excuse that they durst not venture down hill owing to the prevalence of plague in the lower city. The committee, however, attributed their non-appearance to the influence of the[252] Royalist Recorder, Mr. Charles Dalison. Volunteers were obtained to supply their place; and at Boston the Lord-Lieutenant was met on arrival by 100 well-armed volunteers, who showed that they had profited by their self-imposed training. But other musters were not to pass off without incident. Lord Willoughby had taken the strong measure of removing William Booth of Killingholme from the command of a company in the Caistor contingent on account of his Royalist views. But Booth, though related to the Lord-Lieutenant, was not disposed to take his supersession tamely. On the day of the muster at Caistor he read the King’s proclamation against the ordinance to the soldiers at a tavern, and dissuaded them from showing their arms. He also said openly that things would never go on well “while King Pym governed,” and expressed a hope that King and Parliament would be separated. For this conduct he was put under arrest, and taken to Louth in custody. On his appearance before the committee next day at Horncastle, he was dismissed upon making submission; but he drew up a petition to the King, supported by an affidavit, protesting against the whole proceeding as illegal; and the King’s reply promised him full satisfaction if his statements were true. This petition was brought to the notice of the Commons by Sir Christopher Wray, one of the members for Grimsby, who disputed some of its allegations; and on his evidence, and that of others present at Caistor, the House found that Captain Booth “had abused His Majesty” with a petition that was “false, scandalous, and malicious.” This incident, though it had no further consequences, shows that a situation, in which King and Parliament were contradicting each other in rival proclamations, was rapidly becoming impossible.

Other events of the same fateful month of June illustrate this still more plainly. The King had appointed Robert Earl of Lindsey Lord-Lieutenant of the county, and directed the High Sheriff, Sir Edward Heron, not to suffer any stores of ammunition to pass out of his custody without an order[253] from himself or Lord Lindsey. The latter ignored the direction of Parliament to bring in his patent of Lieutenancy, and was forthwith declared by the Lords a public enemy, and orders were issued for his apprehension (June 8). The Lincoln magazine, which lay in the outer Exchequer Gate opposite the Castle, was in the custody of the Mayor, and he, upon request, handed the key to Lord Willoughby, who placed a guard over it. The Mayor was at once summoned by the King to York to account for this, and for his refusal to read the King’s proclamation. The royal messenger was promptly put under arrest, and sent with the Mayor under a military escort to Parliament. But on reaching Grantham the messenger persuaded the Mayor to change his mind; they escaped from the guard and proceeded to York, where on June 17 the Mayor made his submission to the King. He received pardon on condition that he at once returned to Lincoln and published the proclamation, which he did. It does not appear whether Parliament called him to account for this; but on July 5 they made an order restraining the publication of royal proclamations, and on the 7th they declared that the King might not require the attendance of any of his subjects except such as were bound to him by special service. The King’s reply to this was to order the arrest of two Lincoln Aldermen for exercising the militia, and they were actually taken in custody to Beverley, but afterwards released under Habeas Corpus. Meanwhile, on June 19, Lord Willoughby reported to Parliament that he had completed his inspection of the county militia, at which “very few or none” failed to appear. He reports them deficient in arms, but this defect he proposed to supply from the magazine at Hull. With his report he forwarded a copy of an address signed by “many thousand hands” of the gentry freeholders, &c., of Lincolnshire; it was of a rather colourless complexion, but protested against any separation of King and Parliament. On the 24th he received fresh orders from the King to desist from his proceedings “as he would answer the contrary at his[254] utmost peril.” In forwarding this letter to Parliament Lord Willoughby complains that a certain captain from York (Edward Middlemore of Lusby) is trying to “aliene” the hearts of the county from Parliament, assuring the people that His Majesty would shortly come among them.

This report proved true, though Charles’s decision was somewhat sudden. After visiting Newark on July 12, he arrived at Lincoln on Wednesday, July 13, with the Prince of Wales, the Earl of Lindsey, and a numerous suite. His progress for the last four miles along the road was “a throng,” and the people rent the air with “peals of shouts and vocal acclamations,” such as “A King, a King!” The attendant gentry drew their swords, and the clergy, who attended to the number of two or three hundred, redoubled their gratulatory salutations with “Vivat Rex!” The Mayor and Corporation, with their Recorder and the trained bands, came out to meet the Sovereign, so that in the opinion of the local pamphleteer, “Wednesday was the funeral of the new militia.” In some large open space, which is not specified, Mr. Charles Dalison, the Recorder, made a speech of welcome to the King, in which he alluded to his promise to defend the established Protestant religion, and offered, on his own behalf and that of the civic body, their “persons, estates, and fortune.” The King in his reply, which was read by Sir John Monson, states as the object of his coming to assure the people of his intention to defend their religion, laws, and liberties, and to certify them that the pretended Militia Ordinance is unwarranted by his authority. If any should presume to execute it, he should treat them as actual rebels and in arms against himself. He speaks most bitterly of the action of Sir John Hotham in excluding him from Hull, but bids the people still their fear that their county will be the seat of war. “The seat of war will be only where persons rise in rebellion against me; that will not, I hope, be here, and then you shall be sure of my protection.” For that end he announces that he has appointed Commissioners[255] of Array for the county, and promises to “live and die” in defence of their religion, and the just privilege and freedom of Parliament.

The King’s Commission of Array included a number of the loyal knights and gentry who had assembled to greet him—its principal members being the Earl of Lindsey and his son Montagu Lord Willoughby D’Eresby (already a baron in his own right), the Earl of Newcastle, Sir Francis Fane, and Sir Peregrine Bertie. On Thursday, July 14, a body of the gentry, headed by Lord Willoughby D’Eresby, sought an audience of the King, who was probably staying at Deloraine Court, and requested permission to form a regiment of horse within the county in support of his cause. In reply the King renewed his protest that he only desired their assistance in defence of their “religion, laws, interests, and the just rights of Parliament.” On the withdrawal of the deputation a written undertaking was drawn up, in which it was declared that Parliament, having put the kingdom “into a posture of war,” had given occasion to the signatories of the document to furnish a number of horse “for the defence of His Majesty’s person, the true Protestant religion, and the just rights of Parliament against all opposition whatsoever.” These horse were to be disposed of within the county for three months from the 20th July. The document was signed by seventy-five persons, who volunteered to contribute 172 horses; but the regiment was ultimately to consist of 400. Among the signatories were the Dean, Dr. Topham, promising four horses, the Precentor and the Chancellor three each, and the Archdeacon two. There were to be four captains of troops, who were probably Sir Peregrine Bertie, Dr. Farmery, Chancellor of the diocese, Mr. John Hussey, and the City Recorder, now Sir Charles Dalison, for on this visit the King conferred upon him the honour of knighthood.[112] On[256] Friday, the 15th, the King left for York by way of Beverley, where he had arranged to meet a deputation from the two Houses.

But before his departure his chief supporters had met to decide on the terms of a petition to Parliament, which was described as from the baronets, knights, &c., of Lincolnshire. Among other suggestions it proposes—(1) That Hull be given up to the King; (2) that all forces be disbanded and the Militia Ordinance waived; (3) that Parliament issue no orders without the King’s consent; (4) that Church government as it stands be put in execution and a national synod summoned; (5) that the licentiousness of press and pulpit be restrained and tumultuous assemblies forbidden; and (6) that Parliament adjourn to some other place where the King can come. The signatories especially desire the retention of “the Protestant religion as now established among us.” This petition, it seems, was, after general discussion, drafted by the two lawyers, Sir John Monson and Sir Charles Dalison. Its proposals, although they have been described as “more bold and audacious than had hitherto been ventured upon by any county,”[113] differ little, except in being more moderate, from the conditions laid down by the King at Beverley the following week in replying to the two Houses. It was addressed to the House of Commons, and ought, of course, to have been presented by a member; but the only county member available, Mr. Gervase Holles, M.P. for Grimsby, had recently been “disabled” from sitting, and therefore the petition was addressed to the Speaker, and sent up by one of the serving-men of the High Sheriff. On Monday, July 18, the Speaker informed the House that he had received a letter from the Sheriff of Lincolnshire, enclosing a petition “of a very strange nature and language,” from divers gentlemen, “most of whom were papists.” This description, unless the term was then considered applicable to all[257] members of the Church of England, was, in face of the wording of the petition, a flagrant abuse of language. A special committee was appointed the same day to consider the petition, and on the 21st reported that it was “false, scandalous, and malicious, and a high breach of the privilege of Parliament.” The High Sheriff was ordered to be sent for as a delinquent, and as he did not appear, a warrant for his arrest was issued on August 30.

Before the King left Lincoln, he had directed the Sheriff to search for concealed arms and to make himself master of all the county magazines. The Lincoln magazine had been secured by Lord Willoughby of Parham, who had wisely removed it before the King came. In many cases the local magazines were in the charge of the county gentry; and two of these—Sir Philip Tyrwhit of Stainfield and Sir William Pelham of Brocklesby—had declined to deliver them up to Lord Willoughby according to Parliament’s injunctions. The Sheriff now proceeded by warrant to search the houses of members of Parliament opposed to the King; and a store of muskets was seized at the house of Sir Edward Ayscough at South Kelsey and sent to the Bishop’s Palace. A warrant was also issued to seize Captain Lister of Coleby, who had accepted a commission in the Parliament’s forces; and he was taken by a troop of horse, who forced an entrance into his house, to the King at Nottingham. Shortly after, while the Sheriff was engaged in conveying a magazine to Lincoln, he was himself arrested by a superior force under Sir Anthony Irby, M.P. for Boston, and carried to London, where, being examined at the bar of the House on October 8 as to his late proceedings and his part in the petition, he was committed to the Tower on the charge of high treason. Here he remained for over three years, being unable to pay the fine of £2000 which was imposed upon him; but in 1645 he obtained his liberty under an exchange of prisoners.

If the Sheriff was arrested near the end of September[258] (the date is uncertain), his taking a magazine to Lincoln would imply that the city remained Royalist for over two months after the King’s visit. Clarendon says that Charles passed through it once more about August 20, two days before he set up his standard at Nottingham, and that he helped himself to some of the arms of the Lincoln trained bands. Apparently the increasing certainty of war was doing much to cool the ardour of some of his supporters. The force which he had raised on his first visit was limited, no doubt by the stipulations of the more cautious, to three months’ service, and that only within the county. But his more eager partisans saw from the first that this would be useless, and presented a petition to him at York that Lincolnshire might co-operate with other counties in his support. This petition was published as a tract with a view to committing the subscribers of the undertaking to more extended service; but it was answered by a counter-tract,[114] in which the writer pleads the necessity for the formation of a regiment (1) to keep order in a time of slack government; (2) to protect the sea-coast against foreign invasion; and (3) to ward off incursions from soldiers in neighbouring counties. He states that Sir John Hotham’s Hull garrison had already committed acts of violence in the north of the county; but protests that those like-minded with himself were not “malignant, either against the King or Parliament.” A similar tract[115] of the same month expresses the views of those who, like the Corporation of Lincoln, after supporting the measures of Parliament, joined in the acclamations of welcome to the King. It declares that the commonalty of the county would “march with the King” and loyally obey his just commands; but if he should command them to “put anything in execution against the Parliament,”[259] they would not only forbear themselves, but “hazard their lives” in opposing him. Of the reservations of these sitters on the fence Charles, at the time of his two visits, probably knew nothing; and when his presence was withdrawn, this party gradually gained the upper hand. We do not know the exact date of Lincoln’s second change of mind. While the King was in the neighbourhood, Lord Willoughby and his friends were content to lie low; but at the Michaelmas election of Mayor, that office was filled by William Marshall, a strong Parliamentarian, who probably carried the city with him.

The fen country about Boston was most devoted to the cause of Parliament. Even at the end of July a band of volunteers was diligently training in the fields near Boston; and that town, so “eminent in disloyalty,”[116] sent reinforcements to Sir John Hotham at Hull. On August 29 the Boston troops seized a Royalist sloop, which had put into a creek near Skegness with arms and stores—Sir William Ballingdon and ten other Cavaliers who were in charge being taken. The King’s party threatened revenge upon Boston, and King’s Lynn sent over for its defence five pieces of ordnance and 1000 volunteers, but no attempt was made upon the town. A month later (September 30) Lord Willoughby received orders from Parliament to arrest and bring to London sixteen of the Royalist gentry, who are described as “divers Popish and ill-affected persons, who have armed and assembled themselves within the city and county of Lincoln.” Of these all but three had been signatories of the Lincoln Petition in July; but many of them were out of reach, having armed their dependants and joined the King’s forces. Lord Willoughby was directed to disarm all “Popish recusants”; he was also to requisition tents, waggons, horses, &c., from all “dangerous and ill-affected[260] persons, as well clergymen as others,” who had sent money and stores for the King. The Lord-Lieutenant’s exertions kept him so long in the county that he was too late for the battle of Edgehill (Sunday, October 23), in which he should have commanded a troop of horse. The general of the King’s army was at first a Lincolnshire peer, the Earl of Lindsey; but as Charles foolishly exempted Prince Rupert and the cavalry from his orders, he declined the position, telling his friends that he would lead his own regiment “and there find his death.” His forecast was too true, for he was mortally wounded and died the next day. A Lincolnshire knight, Sir Gervase Scrope of Cockerington, who commanded a troop by his side, received sixteen wounds and was left for dead upon the field from Sunday afternoon to Tuesday evening, when he was found by his son, tended by the famous Dr. William Harvey, and conveyed to Oxford, where he wonderfully recovered.

During the winter following this indecisive battle, the air was full of rumours of peace; but neither side was disposed to yield upon the real points at issue. On January 9, 1643, Parliament appointed Lord Willoughby Sergeant-Major-General for the county, and ordered the removal of the prisoners in Lincoln Castle to the Bishop’s Palace for greater security, placing the Castle in the keeping of the Earl of Lincoln. Early in the year a stand was made for the King in the heart of the Parliament’s country. The men of Crowland, who were royal tenants, set to work in January to fortify their watery stronghold. They were undeterred by a friendly warning sent them by Mr. Ram, the Puritan minister at Spalding; and, being unmolested for two months, they made a raid on March 25 upon the defenceless town of Spalding, and carried off their censor and two or three more as prisoners to Crowland. Mr. Ram, in his account of the proceedings, shows much ill-feeling towards his captors, and not without reason if his statements can[261] be trusted. When the prisoners were brought into the place, all the people were gathered together to triumph over them, “which put me in mind of Samson’s entertainment when he was taken by the Philistines.” Mr. Ram has to admit that their “usage was indifferent good” during their five weeks’ imprisonment, but complains of some “insolencies” that were offered them. The chief officers of the garrison were Captain Stiles and a Captain Cromwell (one of Oliver’s cousins); but Parson Stiles of Crowland, a very zealous Royalist, himself held command on the western front. On April 13 some Parliamentary forces beleaguered the place, and the prisoners were carried to the point of attack and pinioned in the line of fire. This is said to have happened more than once, but they were not hit, although the bullets flew fast about their ears. Many of the garrison were armed with “hassock knives, long scythes, and such-like fennish weapons”; and a “great water, broad and deep,” surrounded the works, except where it was crossed by three approaches or banks. On the failure of the first attack, the besiegers retired; and the garrison assembled in the Abbey Church to return thanks for their success. But on April 25 a much larger force appeared under the command of Colonels King, Dodson, and Oliver Cromwell, and attacked the town on three sides. Heavy rains, which made the place unapproachable, delayed their success for the moment; but the assault was renewed on the 27th, and next day the garrison laid down their arms. It was scarcely worthy of Mr. Ram to accuse his foes of using “poisoned bullets”; no charge of the kind seems to have been preferred against the leaders, who “were clapt in prison” at Ipswich, Colchester, and other places.

Near the western border of the county the important fortress of Newark was held by Sir John Digby for the King; and it proved a thorn in the side of Parliament throughout the struggle. Early in February a combined attack upon it was made by the forces of Notts, Derbyshire,[262] and Lincolnshire; and, according to Mrs. Hutchinson,[117] this was only foiled by the suspiciously half-hearted conduct of one Ballard, who commanded the Lincolnshire contingent of 1000 men. He refused to follow up the first successes of the besiegers, and ordered a retreat when the other two counties were anxious to attack. We may perhaps see here an indication of the unwillingness of the Lincolnshire troops to take service beyond the borders of the county. Encouraged by this success, the Newark garrison, about a month later, decided to take the offensive. Among their number were some troops of horse commanded by Colonel Charles Cavendish, a brave cavalry officer and a general favourite. On March 22 he appeared before Grantham, which yielded to his summons; he took 360 prisoners (with officers) and three loads of ammunition. This exploit opened the way into the county for the King’s Commissioners of Array, who had spent an inactive winter at Newark. On April 4, with a military escort, they left that place for Stamford, and held another session on April 11 at Grantham. Here, while business was proceeding, a “rebel” force was reported to be approaching, and Colonel Cavendish drew out his troops and faced them half a mile from the town with the river between. The enemy, who had 800 horse and 200 dragoons (a kind of mounted infantry) were in superior strength; but Cavendish, leaving three troops to cover the town, crossed the Witham by a neighbouring bridge and forced the enemy to retreat. On Ancaster Heath, five miles from Grantham, they made a stand, dismounting their dragoons and drawing up the horse in three divisions. But on Cavendish charging with his best cavalry, the dragoons threw down their arms and begged for quarter. Thereupon the horse took to flight, and were pursued for six miles, over 300 prisoners with twelve officers being taken. The Royalist pamphleteer[118] says that they were[263] commanded by Captain Hotham (son of Sir John), who had arrived at Lincoln the previous day from Yorkshire with four troops of “grey-coats,” and had boasted that he would surprise Grantham and capture the King’s Commission. If this were so, it can hardly be true (as stated) that Lord Willoughby of Parham was present and escaped only by the speed of his horse; for, as his rank was higher than Hotham’s, he would necessarily have been in command.

This skirmish probably had two important results. It hastened the arrival of Cromwell in West Lincolnshire, and it impelled Hotham, whose influence over his father was unbounded, to meditate treachery to the Parliament. On May 3 Cromwell, who had been scheming for a combined movement with Lord Grey of Groby and others against Newark, wrote from Stamford to the Lincoln Committee, entreating them to send their forces for that purpose to rendezvous at Grantham. But his efforts were fruitless. Lord Grey was anxious to protect Leicester, and the Lincoln troops were slow to move. Early in May Colonel Cavendish gained another small success near Grantham, surprising the “rebels” in their quarters and taking many prisoners; but within a week he suffered a reverse at the hands of Cromwell and his newly-trained cavalry, though they had but twelve troops to his twenty-five. The encounter took place on the Grantham and Newark road, and is thus described by Cromwell himself:—

“After we had stood a little above musket-shot, the one body from the other, and the dragoons had fired on both sides for the space of half an hour or more, they not advancing towards us, we agreed to charge them. And advancing the body after many shots on both sides, we came on with our troops at a pretty round trot—they standing firm to receive us, and our men charging fiercely upon them, by God’s providence they were immediately routed and ran all away, and we had the execution of them two or three miles. We took forty-five prisoners ... and rescued many prisoners whom they had lately taken of ours, and we took four or five of their colours.”[119]

One consequence of this fight seems to have been that[264] Grantham, whose real sympathy had been shown by its electing two of the stoutest Puritan members, returned to its allegiance to Parliament. With some of the wisdom that is born of the event, Dr. Gardiner says that “the whole fortune of the Civil War was in this nameless skirmish.”[120] But the statement of a biographer of Cromwell,[121] in magnifying the victory, that “never again did the Newarkers range the country with impunity,” is plainly false. The “wasps’ nest” itself remained unattacked; and a month later (June 11) we find Cavendish and his men in Mid-Lincolnshire taking toll of the household stuff, deer, and cattle of Sir William Armyne, one of the Grantham members, and “damnifying him” to the extent of £500.[122] In the same month they had a brush with the enemy at Louth, where the parish register records the burial of “three strangers, being souldgeres slaine at a scrimish”; and perhaps this was the occasion when Sir Charles Bolle of Thorpe Hall, an ardent Cavalier, only escaped capture by hiding under the bridge near the gaol, over which the Roundhead troopers galloped in search of him.

Cromwell remained only about a fortnight near Grantham, and was then ordered to Nottingham to concert measures with the Midland commanders for the support of the Fairfaxes, who were hard pressed by the Earl of Newcastle in Yorkshire. He found a concealed traitor in the camp. Within four days of his defeat at Ancaster (April 15), young Captain Hotham had opened a correspondence with Newcastle, in the course of which he volunteered to betray Hull and Lincoln to the King. But he seems to have been a bad conspirator. When the news arrived of a small success of Sir T. Fairfax at Wakefield, he persuaded the other commanders to send Fairfax a message that their help would not now be needed. He began to correspond directly with the Queen, who arrived at Newark[265] on June 16; but Cromwell and Colonel Hutchinson, who had long suspected him, procured an order for his arrest (June 18). He was committed to a guard for conveyance to London, but on the way succeeded in escaping to Lincoln, where he evidently had supporters, and whence he wrote to the Speaker to complain that Cromwell had employed an Anabaptist against him. On June 27 the Queen wrote to the King that she was delaying two days for the fulfilment of “young Hotham’s” promise to render up Hull and Lincoln; but, before the two days were over, the conspirator and his father were both arrested at Hull and sent up by sea to London, where they were executed on Tower Hill early the next year. Three days later (July 2) the attempt upon Lincoln was made, and completely failed. Two brothers named Purefoy, agents of the Hothams, introduced sixty Cavaliers disguised as “market-folk” into the city, where they were concealed in the Deanery. In the nick of time a letter from the Mayor of Hull caused the arrest of the Purefoys, but their accomplices sallied out and endeavoured to secure the magazine. However, the discharge of a cannon by an inexperienced countryman killed some of them, and the rest were dispersed or taken.

In the month then opening events followed thick and fast. On the last day of June the Fairfaxes were badly beaten at Adwalton Moor; and on July 4 Sir Thomas, whose wife had fallen into the enemy’s hands, arrived at Barton-on-Humber, hotly pursued and with the enemy in sight, but fortunately found a vessel to convey him into Hull. The way now lay open for the advance of Newcastle’s large force of over 6000 men into Lincolnshire. The town of Gainsborough, which was moderately fortified, had been occupied by the Earl of Kingston for the King. This nobleman had long hesitated which side to choose, and in the winter had openly declared that, when he joined either party, “let a cannon-ball divide me between them!” He had but just descended on the royal[266] side of the fence, when Lord Willoughby of Parham, whose home was at Knaith, three miles from Gainsborough, surprised the town with a small force on July 20, and made him prisoner, though he fought till his house was in flames around him. Being a person of importance, he was at once put on board a pinnace and sent down the Trent to Hull for safe custody. On the way the boat was challenged by a Royalist party of horse; and upon his showing himself on deck, “a cannon-bullet,” in Mrs. Hutchinson’s words, “divided him in the middle, according to his own unhappy imprecation.”[123] Lord Willoughby’s position, however, was none too secure, for he was threatened not only by the advance of Newcastle, but by a strong body of the Newark troopers under Colonel Cavendish. Orders were therefore at once sent to Sir John Meldrum at Nottingham and to Cromwell in South Lincolnshire to join forces and advance to the relief of Gainsborough. Cromwell had just been gaining fresh laurels. He had forced a body of Cavaliers, who had taken Stamford, to retreat into Burleigh House, and there, after a single day’s siege (July 19), he received their unconditional surrender, and sent them under guard to be interned at Cambridge. A week later (July 26), by executing a forced march from Stamford, he joined the Nottingham troops at Grantham the same day, and a body from Lincoln at North Scarle on Thursday, and on Friday (28th) he encountered at Lea the mounted troops under Cavendish. Thereupon ensued a cavalry action, which, as described by himself,[124] severely tested the mettle of his newly-trained troops. The fight took place on a sandy plateau, overlooking a marshy tract of low land called the Humble Car. Up the steep ascent to the plateau, which was riddled with rabbit holes, and had to be gained in face of the enemy, the Lincolners led the van. After a hand-to-hand contest with the advanced guard, Cromwell routed them; but seeing a[267] large body of horse under Cavendish in reserve, he kept back part of his men from the pursuit, and on Cavendish routing the Lincolners, charged him in the rear and forced him down the steep into a quagmire, where Captain James Berry slew him “with a thrust under his short ribs.” This description of the end of the dashing young leader does not sound too chivalrous, and to his own side his loss was great. His body was conveyed to Newark, where he was universally lamented.

After bringing a store of powder into Gainsborough, Cromwell drew out his force to reconnoitre from an adjoining hill, and suddenly found himself faced by the whole army of Newcastle. His foot regained the town with some loss; and the retreat of his few squadrons of horse, which were holding the enemy, was accomplished in masterly fashion by Major Whalley. As Cromwell’s horse could be of no service behind defensive works, he at once drew them off and retreated with such speed that his letter of the following Monday (31st) was dated from Huntingdon. After his departure Lord Willoughby made but a faint show of resistance, and surrendered the town on Sunday, the 30th. He had liberty to withdraw his men, but they were first disarmed—contrary, as he alleged, to the terms of surrender, though it is difficult to believe that such terms would be accepted by a far superior force. The Royalist prisoners, on being set free, began to plunder the town, in which they were joined by Newcastle’s soldiers against the express orders of their commander, who soon drew off his army, leaving Colonel St. George as governor of the place. Lord Willoughby retreated on Lincoln; but he decided that the defences of the city were too slight for successful resistance, and so retired to Boston, whence he wrote despairingly to Cromwell:—

“Since the business of Gainsborough the hearts of our men have been so deaded that we have lost most of them by running away.... If the enemy get this town, which is now very weak for defence for want of men, I believe they will not be long out of Norfolk and Suffolk.”


On receiving this letter Cromwell withdrew his cavalry from Stamford, and made Peterborough his headquarters; but he stationed some companies of foot at Spalding as a support to Boston. Lincoln was very soon occupied by the Cavaliers, who appointed Sir William Widdrington of Blankney governor, and made Richard Somerby mayor in place of Marshall. The troopers are said to have plundered the city, and tried to seize Mr. Reyner, the Sunday lecturer in St. Peter at Arches, but he escaped by the vestry window.

At this juncture, if Newcastle could have thrown his whole force upon the Associated Counties in concert with an advance of the King from the West after the capture of Bristol (July 26), the issue of the war might have been different. But his Yorkshire levies objected to leaving Hull unsubdued in their rear. So, after dallying unaccountably during August, he laid siege to that town on September 2—a fatal error, for it was impossible to reduce it by blockade, as the Parliament commanded the sea. On land, however, they were in woeful plight. The town of King’s Lynn, in the very heart of the Association, revolted against them in August; and the Earl of Manchester, newly appointed General of the Eastern Army, laid siege to it and took it on September 16. But all the commanders were in dire straits for money; and the reasons for adding Lincolnshire to the six Associated Counties by an ordinance of September 20 were probably in part financial. The weekly assessment for the county was fixed at £812, 10s., though in the following year this was raised to £1218. The cruelty of such a tax upon Royalists, who were perhaps secretly supplying the King with funds and yet had to pay this tax or suffer sequestration of their estates, is evident enough. Those landlords who were absent with the King did not escape, for the money was exacted from their tenants who were to deduct it from the rent. The ordinance was to be administered by a county committee sitting either at[269] Lincoln or Boston, and consisting at first of 70, afterwards of 105 members. But the practical work was done by a “standing committee,” which might meet anywhere—five to be a quorum and fresh members to be summoned every fortnight.

At the date of this ordinance the hold of Parliament on the county was most insecure. But a change was at hand. News had come from Hull that the cavalry of Sir Thomas Fairfax was useless within the walls, and that their horses were dying from the brackish water. It was determined to bring this body of twenty-one troops across the Humber into Lincolnshire; and Cromwell, with Lord Willoughby, executed a daring march through the Wolds, then infested with Newarkers, to Barton, whither some of the cavalry were transported on September 18. But it seems to have been thought inadvisable to bring across the whole body in full view of the besieging army. On the 23rd both commanders were in Hull, bringing powder and provision for the garrison; and on the 26th the greater part of the cavalry were put on shipboard and landed, apparently the same evening, at Saltfleet Haven. At this old-world seaport there still stands a manor-house, then the property of Lord Lindsey, but somehow—by sequestration or otherwise—at the disposal of his kinsman of Parham, where Cromwell and Fairfax passed the night with their host. It is full of ancient furniture, and “Cromwell’s bed” is still pointed out to the credulous. With the dawn the troops were on the move, and had some difficulty in eluding a force of 5000 Cavaliers, who endeavoured to intercept them. At Louth, where Cromwell is said to have slept on the 27th, he would be joined by the contingent from Barton; and here, perhaps, a few troops were detached with Fairfax for scouting purposes round Horncastle. On the 28th Cromwell was in Boston, “weeping” that there was no money for his soldiers, and pushed on to Lynn to hasten the advance of Manchester and his infantry.


On Monday, October 9, that commander drew out from Boston; and his advanced guard of foot, under Major Knight, summoned Bolingbroke Castle, but received for answer that “bugbear words must not win castles and should not make them quit the place.” That night the foot was quartered in three detachments at Stickney, Stickford, and Bolingbroke; and in the morning preparations were made to mount a mortar on Bolingbroke church tower, which would have rendered the castle untenable. During the day its defenders fired upon their assailants to some purpose, for some of the latter were killed, and Quartermaster Vermuyden, son of the famous Dutch engineer, was bruised by a shot. The cavalry, whose troops were scattered throughout the neighbouring villages, were ordered by Manchester to rendezvous at Horncastle; but Fairfax, who commanded that way, had his outposts at Thimbleby and Edlington driven in. The former troop tried to get into Horncastle, but found it barricaded by the Royalists; and on their joining Fairfax at Kirkby, whither Manchester rode that day, the first order was countermanded, and the rendezvous fixed at Kirkby and Bolingbroke. On Wednesday the 11th, the foot was drawn up at the latter place; but the horse under Fairfax and Cromwell—who was unwilling to fight on account of the hard duty of the last few days—advanced two miles through Asgarby to the higher ground at Winceby, five miles south-east of Horncastle. The Cavaliers, under Sir John Henderson, arrived at the same point from Horncastle by the hill road through High Toynton, their object being the relief of the besieged castle; and it is said that neither party expected to meet its opponents so soon. The King’s troops had seventy-four colours of horse and twenty-one of dragoons, with some infantry in the rear; and the “rebel” horse were as numerous, though their companies were fewer. The passwords for the two sides are variously given as for the King “Cavendish” and “Newcastle,” and for the[271] Parliament “Religion” and “Truth and Peace.”[125] The armies met on a high plateau—one of the highest points of the Southern Wolds; on the north-east was a deep ravine, now called the Ramshaw, which prevented the free manœuvring of the Royalist cavalry. A strategist like Cromwell would see his advantage at a glance; and about midday, with the vanguard singing their battle-psalm, he charged the Royalist left wing under Henderson, after their dragoons had fired the first volley. He was received, however, with a second, which killed the horse under him; and as he rose to his feet he was knocked down by Sir Ingram Hopton,[126] who called to him to yield. But his assailant was speedily killed in the rush, while he himself secured another horse from a trooper. The fight had lasted about half-an-hour, when the Royalist right and centre under Sir W. Saville were seized with panic at a charge from Fairfax, and broke in flight. The disadvantage of the ground was now apparent. The Royalist horse were driven back upon the foot, which had no room to deploy and let them pass; and tradition says that at the boundary between Winceby and Scrafield—along what is still known as “Slash Lane”—a closed gate intercepted their headlong flight, and here the Roundhead troopers, pressing upon the confused multitude, did terrible execution. Their victory was complete; and the pursuit was continued, in spite of the tired horses, beyond Horncastle. Eight hundred prisoners were taken, and the number of the dead, some of whom were drowned in crossing the fens, is variously placed between 500 and 1000. The Parliament’s loss was trifling, and included but a single officer. The affair was entirely a cavalry[272] action, for Manchester’s foot was not engaged, and the Royalist infantry seem to have run away without striking a blow. If the scythes now displayed on the walls of Horncastle Church were carried, as tradition says, by some of the foot at Winceby, it seems that many of them were peasant levies, indifferently armed.

The consequences of the victory, for the moment at least, were far-reaching. A Puritan chronicler[127] could truthfully exclaim: “Yorkshire is discouraged, Lincolnshire is delivered, Cambridge is secured.” On the very day of Winceby some of Newcastle’s forts at Hull were captured by the garrison; and the following day he raised the siege and retreated to York. On the 20th Lincoln capitulated to Manchester, who soon after laid siege to Gainsborough.[128] Manchester did his best by persuasion to win back the county to Parliament; and a number of Royalist gentry changed sides from a rumour that the King was bringing over an army of native Irish. The scare of “Popery” was always the Parliament’s strongest card. Their own alliance at this time with the equally foreign Scots, which really changed the fortune of the war, aroused no such feeling. Late in the year a force of 800 Danes, sent by the King’s uncle, Christian IV., landed on the Lincolnshire coast, and met with a warmer reception than their pirate forefathers. The trained bands were called out, and killed about fifty of them, forcing the rest back upon their ships. Winter set in early, and there was much snow in November. The force besieging Gainsborough suffered much privation; and an Essex officer among them writes:[129] “Our lying in the field hath lost us more men than have been taken[273] away either by the sword or bullet.” He adds that at the time of writing he had only two shillings, and his troop was without money, even for shoeing their horses, repairing saddles, &c. The perseverance of Fairfax, who was in command, was at length rewarded by the surrender of the town on December 20.

In the following month (January 1644), the Newark people addressed a “remonstrance” to the King on the condition of Lincolnshire. They represented that the whole county “is now in possession of the Rebels,” mentioning in particular “that seditious town of Boston,” and urged that, unless a diversion was made by his Majesty’s troops elsewhere, the whole force of the county, which was “above 5000 foot and twenty troops of horse,” would be “poured down” upon them. About the same time a hot dispute arose in Parliament about the Lincolnshire command. Lord Willoughby had much resented his supersession by the Earl of Manchester, which in his opinion lacked the authority of Parliament. Cromwell, as usual, was ready with the first blow. He moved that Lord Willoughby cease to be Major-General in Lincolnshire, as he had abandoned Gainsborough and Lincoln in the summer without necessity, and had permitted loose and profane conduct among his soldiers. These charges caused much ill-feeling. Sir Christopher Wray warmly defended Willoughby, who challenged Manchester to a duel; and three of Wray’s sons went so far as to cudgel one of the Earl’s officers. Cromwell’s motion, however, was carried; and with much difficulty Willoughby was induced to serve under Manchester. With the Lincolnshire levies he appears to have taken part in the siege of Newark in March; and, according to Mrs. Hutchinson, the brilliant feat of Prince Rupert in relieving the place and capturing most of the besieging force (March 22), was only rendered possible by the cowardly flight of the Lincoln men. This exploit caused such a panic that within three days Lincoln, Sleaford, and even[274] distant Crowland were abandoned by their garrisons, and the defences of Gainsborough were dismantled. In his remonstrance to the House of Lords on April 8 the Earl of Essex himself used the words—“Lincolnshire is lost.” Two days before, however, Crowland had been recovered; and in three weeks Manchester and Cromwell were advancing against Lincoln. On May 3, with his army drawn up at Canwick, Manchester summoned the city by trumpet, and, on being denied, sent two regiments of foot against it, while Cromwell with 2000 cavalry held in check a relieving force. The garrison were expelled from the lower town and retreated into the Castle, after attempting to set fire to many houses. The assault on the Castle, which was delayed two days by heavy rain, took place on Monday, the 6th; and the infantry came on with such ardour that, despite the slippery state of the hill, the works were taken in a quarter of an hour. The Royalist loss was 900 in killed and prisoners—the latter including the governor, Sir Francis Fane, and Sir Charles Dalison. The upper town, having been taken by storm, was given over to the soldiers for pillage. It was on this occasion that the Cathedral suffered most at the hands of Puritanism. Pleading a recent ordinance of Parliament, the troopers tore up all the sepulchral brasses, damaged the carvings, and smashed the painted windows. If we are to believe “Aulicus,” the Oxford newswriter, whose statements are disputed, they even stabled their horses in the nave. Other churches were much injured in the assault. St. Swithin’s was destroyed by fire; St. Martin’s and St. Michael’s were much damaged by cannon; and St. Botolph’s fell down two years later through the injuries which it now received. Two extra-mural churches, St. Nicholas’ and St. Peter’s Eastgate, had already been demolished by Lord Willoughby’s order as interfering with the city’s defences.

The whole county had now been reoccupied for the Parliament; and Manchester, throwing a bridge across the[275] Trent at Gainsborough, marched with the army of the Eastern Association to besiege Newcastle in York. The victory of Marston Moor on July 2 decided the fate of the North and East of England. But in the next few weeks the King gained marked successes in the West; and on the return of Manchester to Lincoln on August 6, there were divided counsels among the Parliamentary commanders, which developed later into an open breach between Cromwell and Manchester. For four weeks the latter lay inactive at Lincoln, though Cromwell vehemently urged him to besiege Newark. When at length he moved southwards on September 4, the Newark garrison resumed their activity, and appeared before Sir Robert Carr’s fortified house at Sleaford, the defenders of which had to retire upon Lincoln. On October 5 a force of 500 Cavaliers captured and taxed Stamford; and perhaps it was part of the same band which, a day or two later, once more occupied Crowland for the King. This daring move brought the Fen men out in strength, though at the time the pay of the Boston garrison was four months in arrear; and by October 12 a force of 4000 men of the trained bands, under Sir T. Fairfax and Fleetwood, had assembled to block up the watery citadel. But rain fell in torrents, and most of the besiegers had to be sent back to their counties, although the approaches to Crowland were carefully guarded. On October 29, the water having subsided, a closer investment became possible; and a body of horse under Colonel Hacker was detached to confront a relieving force from Newark. The two bodies came into collision at Denton, when, in Colonel Hacker’s words, his men “shouted as if the skies would have fallen” and fell upon the enemy, who fled, leaving 400 prisoners. Three weeks later another attempt at relief was frustrated by a Royalist repulse near Grantham; and on November 6 an ordinance of Parliament provided for the erection of three forts against Crowland at a cost of £600. In the first week of December the famished garrison of 275[276] men, whose besiegers had been subsisting comfortably on fish and wild fowl, were allowed to march off to Newark without their arms.

The campaign of 1645 was almost wholly unfavourable to the King. When the two armies faced each other at Naseby on June 14, for the decisive struggle, Colonel Rossiter, with the Lincolnshire troops, arrived just in time to take part in Cromwell’s charge on the Royalist left wing. The King retreated eastward after his defeat; but in August he was again approaching the Associated Counties with an army of about 3000 men. In that month the Newarkers made two raids upon Stamford, and carried off some of their opponents; and on the 23rd the King himself passed through the town. But his cause was declining rapidly; and on April 27, 1646, he left Oxford in disguise to take refuge with the Scots before Newark. The night of May 3—his last as a free man—he passed at Stamford in the house of Mr. Wolph; and with the surrender of Newark by his command on May 6, two days after he reached the Scots, the first Civil War ended.

In the second Civil War of 1648 Lincolnshire took little part. Early in June an attempt was made by Michael Hudson, rector of Uffington—the chaplain who had guided the King in disguise through the eastern counties—to raise a Royalist force. Accompanied by Stiles, the Crowland parson, he occupied Woodcroft House, near Stamford, where he was soon besieged. On the surrender of the place he was denied quarter, and, having been thrown into the moat, was “barbarously knocked on the head.” A more serious rising took place at the end of the month. A body of Cavaliers from Pontefract, 600 strong, entered the Isle of Axholme and pushed on to Lincoln, where they doubtless hoped to find arms and ammunition, but the magazine had been removed to Hull. After plundering the houses of the chief Parliamentarians, they attacked the Bishop’s Palace, whither the[277] little garrison of a hundred had retired, and reduced it in three hours; they then wrecked and burnt the building, leaving it in ruins. But their commander, Sir Philip Monkton, found it impossible to hold the town, and on July 4 his force was defeated and dispersed near Nottingham by Colonel Rossiter, who commanded for the Parliament in Lincolnshire.

At the outset of the struggle the feeling of Lindsey inclined towards the King; but the insecurity produced by the constant forays from Newark turned the balance the other way. Holland and Kesteven, especially the fen district, supported the Parliament. The nobility and gentry were about evenly divided. Of the two chief peers, Montagu Bertie, second Earl of Lindsey, followed the King through all his misfortunes, and was one of the few who attended his funeral; Theophilus Clinton, Earl of Lincoln, who held Tattershall Castle for the Parliament throughout the war, changed sides, like Lord Willoughby, in 1647, and with him was impeached and thrown into the Tower, when the Independents gained the upper hand. Of the principal county families (besides those already mentioned), the Dymokes, Heneages, Husseys, Nevilles, Skipwiths, and Thorolds were for the King; the Brownlows, Fitzwilliams, Massingberds, Nelthorpes, Trollopes, and Whichcotes for the Parliament; and the Andersons, Cholmeleys, Harringtons, Listers, and Pelhams were divided. According to one list,[130] the number of persons in the county compounding for their estates was 180, and the total amount of their compositions was £80,800. This, however, does not include the sums set aside for the maintenance of ministers in parishes where the compounder possessed an impropriation. In some instances where the composition-fine could not be paid in full, the estates were either let or sold outright to some supporter[278] of the Parliament at a ruinous loss. This happened to the estates of the Earl of Lindsey near Alford; his mansion and lands at Belleau were sold below their value to Sir Harry Vane the younger, who was residing there in 1655, when he was sent for by Cromwell and imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle. Nor was it only persons of influence and large holders of property who were subject to fine. Anthony Gurley of the Close, Lincoln, had to pay £1, which was assessed upon “his books and apparel.” Sutton Dalton, who had some landed property, was fined £100 for spending only two days in Newark garrison. Sir William Clarke, of North Scarle, used to go to Newark on market-days, and for this offence was imprisoned for six months and had to pay £21. Of the seven Associated Counties, Lincolnshire, which had suffered the most heavily by the war, contributed to the Treasury by far the greatest sum in fines inflicted upon Royalist estates.

The Church history of the county would require a separate chapter; but much of the material has been lost beyond recall. When Walker was compiling his “Sufferings of the Clergy,” in Anne’s reign, he could not get proper returns from Lincolnshire; and the number of ejected clergy which he gives (37) must be far below the true figure. Bishop and Dean-and-Chapter had been abolished in November 1643, and the cathedral was served by a Sunday-lecturer, who, though he may have been episcopally ordained, yet in sympathy, like Hudibras,

“Was Presbyterian true blue.”

In 1644 the Earl of Manchester, who presided over a commission for purging the Association of “scandalous” ministers, appointed committees for the separate counties; but the minutes of the Lincolnshire Committee have not survived; perhaps they were not kept; for the business was done by sub-committees of five, who would not allow the accused clergyman to be present “lest it should[279] discourage the witnesses,” and made him pay even for a copy of the depositions. The clergy of Stamford were all deprived for Royalism; and when Paul Prestland, the rector of Market Deeping, fled to avoid arrest, his wife and children had to spend many months first in a barn and then in the belfry of the church. Thomas Gibson, vicar of Horncastle, a man of exemplary piety, was imprisoned five times, once spending four months in Tattershall Castle, and on his release had to maintain himself by teaching. Several clergy were ejected simply for going to His Majesty’s garrisons; against one, the rector of Hykeham, it was even made a charge that he had by him many copies of the Oxford “Aulicus” gazette. Some were deprived for using the prayer book, or complying strictly with its directions; the rector of Hareby lost his living for “preaching but seldom, and not being above half-an-hour in the pulpit, and having no books.” Though many of the clergy must have taken the Covenant, there is little trace that the Presbyterian “Classis” system was ever adopted within the county. In fact, the ease with which Anglicanism was restored, after eighteen years of persecution, is strong proof that even the most Puritan districts were weary of ecclesiastical chaos.



By Rev. R. E. G. Cole, M.A.

Some six miles to the south-west of Lincoln, well within view of the great Minster on its sovereign hill, but on the very border of Nottinghamshire, stands the little village of Doddington, otherwise Doddington-Pigot, situated on the slightly rising ground which here forms the watershed between the valleys of the Witham and the Trent. Its most notable feature is the Elizabethan mansion, known as Doddington Hall, which is the more prominent, inasmuch as it is not secluded in any surrounding park, but stands guarded only by its own picturesque gate-house, in close and friendly proximity to church, and rectory, and village.

Needless to say, the place had a long history before the present Hall was built. Already at the time of the Domesday Survey it had its church and priest, and its manor had been given by Ailric, its owner in Edward the Confessor’s reign, as an endowment to the newly built Abbey of Westminster. Mention is especially made of the woodland, which still is such a feature of the place, and which then formed an unbroken tract, a mile and a half in length, and half a mile in breadth. No other property was held by the Abbey in Lincolnshire, and doubtless the distance made its personal management by the Abbot and convent difficult and inconvenient. At all events, from very early times the manor was held under them, for a fee-farm rent of £12 per annum, by the knightly family of Pigot, whose long tenure, lasting for some ten generations, attached their name to that of the place, to distinguish[281] it from the several other parishes so-called. Even so, difficulties at times arose; and in 1303 the Abbot had to make complaint in the King’s courts that Sir Baldwin Pigot had failed to render the customary rents and services, and that when he caused his beasts at Doddington to be seized, the knight and his men had rescued them and assaulted the Abbot’s servants. As a rule, however, this fixed rent of £12 continued to be paid by successive tenants to the monastery until the Dissolution. It then passed into possession of the Crown; in 1661 it was sold with other Crown rents by Charles II. to Sir Edmund Turnor, and from his direct descendant it was redeemed by the late owner of Doddington in 1860, after a continuous payment of some 700 years.

It is not our purpose here, however, to trace the early history of the place. It will be sufficient to say that as early as 1194 John Pigot asserted against the Abbot his right to hold not only the manor, but the advowson of the rectory, the patronage of which has remained to his successors down to the present day. Another Sir John Pigot in 1275 claimed to have not only right of free chase and warren in his woods at Doddington, but also his own gallows there—a right which he pleaded that his ancestors had exercised for a hundred years past. The last of the family, yet another Sir John Pigot, was High Sheriff of Lincolnshire in 1433, and died without surviving issue in 1450. His widow not only retained possession of the estate, in spite of two remarriages, but contrived to sell the reversion of it after her death to her neighbour, Sir Thomas Burgh, Knt.

Sir Thomas Burgh, who was summoned to Parliament in 1487, and in the same year was created K.G., became the owner of Doddington in 1473, and the inheritance of it continued in his family for some 110 years. Their chief Lincolnshire manor place, however, was at the Old Hall, Gainsborough, and Doddington was an outlying possession with which they had little personal connection.[282] We cannot wonder, therefore, that when Thomas, 5th Baron Burgh, also K.G., fell into difficulties, chiefly owing to the burdens entailed by his honourable offices as Governor of Brill and Lord Deputy of Ireland under the thrifty Queen Elizabeth, Doddington was the first of his estates sold to meet his expenses.

This was in 1586, and the purchaser was John Savile, Esq., son of Sir Robert Savile, of Howley, co. York. At this time he was M.P. for Lincoln, and doubtless found it convenient to have a residence in the neighbourhood; and as John Savile of Doddington he held the office of High Sheriff of Lincolnshire in 1590. Later he became “the famous Sir John Savile,” who was several times Knight of the Shire for Yorkshire, and was created Lord Savile of Pontefract in 1628. His son Thomas, born at Doddington in 1590, became Comptroller and Treasurer of the Household to Charles I., and was created Earl of Sussex in 1644.

In 1593 Mr. Savile, having ceased to represent Lincoln, sold his Doddington estate. It was bought by Thomas Tailor, gent., who for many years had been Registrar to the Bishops of Lincoln, and whose neat handwriting may still be seen in the diocesan registers, dating from at least 1570. His residence hitherto had been in the parish of St. Martin, Lincoln, in which his two wives and others of his family were buried. The first of these wives was a daughter of Sir William Hansard, of South Kelsey, Knt.; the second a daughter of Martin Hollingworth, Mayor of Lincoln in 1560. Evidently the office of Episcopal Registrar was a lucrative one, for it appears by the inquisition taken after his death that, besides Doddington, he had purchased five other Lincolnshire manors, with messuages and lands in other parishes to the extent of nearly 10,000 acres.

Whatever the ancient manor-house at Doddington may have been like—and it had at least served as a residence for one of Mr. Savile’s position—we must suppose[283] that it had become out of date, and not suited for the requirements of a man of Thomas Tailor’s wealth. And if we wish to see what sort of mansion was considered suitable, when Elizabeth was Queen, as the residence of a man of means, wishing to retire and set up as a country gentleman, we may find one in the present Hall, which remains in all essentials in its original state as it was built by him between the years 1593, when he purchased the estate, and 1607, when he died. Probably the date 1600 on a leaden plate at the top of the central cupola, marks the year of its completion.

Its site, closely adjoining the parish church, was doubtless that of the former manor-house. The principal entrance is on the east, through a three-gabled gate-house, two storeys high, standing back from the public road. Coped walls of brick connect this gate-house with the Hall itself, and enclose a quadrangle, which appears in 1700 as an open grassy court, but is now well-nigh filled by four stately cedars of Lebanon. A similarly walled quadrangle on the west is laid out as a flower garden. Between these courts is placed the house itself, facing east and west, and rising in three storeys to the height of 52 feet, surmounted by a plain parapet and flat roof of lead, from which rise three octagonal turrets of brick, capped with leaden cupolas. Roughly speaking, its ground plan is of that E-shape, fancifully said to represent the initial letter of the great Queen’s name, with projecting wings at either end, and a smaller projection in the centre, the lowest storey of which forms an entrance porch on either side. Its extreme length from north to south is 160 feet, and its greatest breadth at the wings is 75 feet. The house, as well as the gate-house and connecting walls, is built of brick, with stone groins, string-courses and coping, and has large square, stone-mullioned windows. Many of the small-sized bricks, made in fields close by, and of unsifted clay, are over-burnt and black; these are built in alternately with the[284] others, or in parts are arranged so as to form a diamond pattern.

We may be permitted here to quote the description of the house as given by such an authority on the architecture of the period as Mr. Gotch. “Twelve years later,” he says, than Barlborough in Derbyshire, “we get Doddington in Lincolnshire (1595), a plan which reverts to the type of Montacute. It has the usual characteristics of the simplest kind—wings one room thick—the entrance at the end of the hall, leading on the left to the buttery, pantry, and kitchens; the parlour at the head of the hall, and the principal staircase adjacent. Here, however, as at Montacute, the hall is only one storey in height; it has a room above it, the great chamber, and on the top floor the gallery extends over the whole central part from wing to wing.

“There is an entrance court in front of the house, enclosed by a wall. It is approached through one of the quaint gate-houses of the time, which were a reminiscence of a more turbulent state of society, when it was necessary for all who went to the house to do so under the porter’s eye, but which in the calmer times of Elizabeth were occupied by some of the numerous functionaries who ministered to the pleasures of the rich. The detail at Doddington is of the plainest, the only attempt at richness being round the front door. The windows are of reasonable size, the strings are narrow, and are all of the same quasi-classic profile. The parapet is perfectly plain, and the roof is without gables, the sky-line being broken, as at Barlborough, with turrets, formed by carrying up the porch and the two projections in the internal angles of the front. The house is an example of a plain and businesslike type, which may be accounted for by the fact that it was built for a business man, one Thomas Tailor, Registrar to the Bishop of Lincoln.”[131]

Doddington Hall.


What style Thomas Tailor kept up in his stately mansion we cannot tell, but that he had not impaired his fortune in the building of it is evident from his will, proved at Lincoln, 30th November 1607, in which he disposes of considerable sums of money, while the inquisition taken after his death sets forth in detail his numerous landed estates. Though his two wives and most of his children had been buried at St. Martin’s Church, Lincoln, he willed his “bodie to be buried in the parishe church of Doddington.” He was buried there on 26th November 1607, as we learn from the transcript of a former parish register, though there is nothing to mark the place.

He was succeeded by his only son, a second Thomas Tailor, born at Lincoln in 1580, who seems to have been a somewhat eccentric character, if we may judge from the following stories related of him, which were taken down from the mouth of an old inhabitant of Doddington:—“Tommy Tailor once told his steward who was going to Lincoln to market to bring him a goose. On his return he asked about it, and the man told him they were so dear he had not got one. So Tommy shut him up in a room with a lot of money on the table, and kept him there two days, asking him when he came out if he had now discovered that the use of money was to buy what one wanted, not to keep to look at. Another day he met a woman on the road carrying some butter; he asked what it was a pound. The woman told him, and he bought it of her, taking it and putting it on the branch of a tree. She walked on, but soon turned back to take it away. However, he was lying in wait, and pounced on her just as she had taken it down, and said he had bought and paid for it, and he should put it where he liked. Another person on whom he played the same kind of trick took away the chicken he had bought, threw his money at him, and called him an owd fule. He kept his money in a great chest, and hid it away, and, unfortunately, died very suddenly of smallpox before he explained where he had put[286] it.” Some have fancied that his ghost still walks the Hall in anxiety for his hidden money; and it was commonly believed of a late owner of Doddington, who was fond of employing his leisure in working in the woods, that he was in search of “Tommy Tailor’s chist.”

As Thomas Tailor of Doddington-Pigot, he held the office of High Sheriff of Lincolnshire in 1620, and in the visitation of the county in 1634 he signs the short pedigree of his family, comprising only two generations. It was, perhaps, a mark of his eccentricity that, though he had served as High Sheriff, he had not cared to apply for a grant of arms, and the herald has appended to the pedigree a note: “He had been high shreife, but had no coate.” It is doubtful whether he had ever married; but, at all events, he left no issue, and in his nuncupative will, declared 13th December 1652, he acknowledges his niece, Elizabeth, Lady Hussey, to be his heiress.

Thomas Tailor had lived through all the stress of the Civil War, without either himself or his house having apparently been affected by it. In the course of it Lincoln had been twice besieged and taken; Cromwell’s forces had encamped on the neighbouring moor of North Scarle, and must have passed within sight of Doddington as they marched thence to defeat the Royalists at Gainsborough. The house and parish must have been well within reach of the Parliamentary forces at Lincoln, as well as of the King’s troops at Newark, who on one occasion extended their forays past it as far as Kettlethorpe, and on another burnt the very similar hall of the Jermyn family at Torksey, which was garrisoned by the Parliamentary troops. Yet he and his estates seem to have escaped unscathed. It was far otherwise with the family into whose possession Doddington now passed.

Elizabeth, Lady Hussey, who now inherited it, was the only child of the first Thomas Tailor’s daughter, Jane, by her marriage with George Anton, Esq., Recorder of Lincoln, 1598-1612, and M.P. for that city in 1588 and[287] 1592. She married Sir Edward Hussey, of Honington, Knt. and Bart., and so added Doddington to the possessions of that distinguished Lincolnshire family. Sir Edward, her husband, was eldest son of Sir Charles Hussey, of Honington, Knt., and grandson of Sir Robert Hussey, who was a younger brother of John, Lord Hussey of Sleaford, beheaded by Henry VIII. for his supposed complicity in the Lincolnshire rising of 1536. He was already a knight at the time of his father’s death in 1609, having received that honour at Whitehall in 1608, and shortly afterwards, on 29th June 1611, he was advanced to the dignity of baronet. The original bond, cancelled by being cut into shreds, by which he bound himself to furnish £1095 by three yearly instalments for the maintenance of thirty foot soldiers in Ireland for three years, is still preserved at the Hall. He was High Sheriff in 1618 and 1637, and Knight of the Shire in the Parliament summoned to meet at Westminster, 13th April 1640. When the Civil War broke out he exerted himself zealously on the Royalist side as one of the King’s Commissioners of Array; and in 1642, when the loyal gentry of Lincolnshire resolved to provide horses for the King’s service, Sir Edward undertook to supply six, his brother Sir Charles Hussey, of Dunholme, providing two. Later he and his brother and other Lincolnshire loyalists assembled at Newark for its defence, and there Sir Charles Hussey died. Shortly before its surrender by the King’s order in 1646, we find Sir Edward at Honington endeavouring to make his peace with the Parliament. He was very aged and infirm, he says; he had taken the Covenant; his estates had been sequestered; and he asks that his wife may be allowed to compound for him. In spite of his pleading, the great fine of £10,200 was imposed. This was finally reduced to £8750, of which £4500 was raised and paid in December 1647, and three months later Sir Edward Hussey died. His eldest son, Thomas Hussey, some time M.P. for Grantham, had predeceased him in[288] 1641; the next brother, Captain John Hussey, had been slain in the fight with the Parliamentary troops at Gainsborough in 1643. It was left to his widow, and to his eldest son’s widow, Rhoda, now remarried to Ferdinando, 2nd Baron Fairfax, to clear the impoverished estates, and to raise the remainder of the fine, which was finally paid off in 1650. For this purpose Lady Hussey had to sell her jointure, and it must have been a relief to her when, on her uncle’s death at the end of 1652, she inherited Doddington and his other estates. She enjoyed them, however, for no more than six years, dying early in 1658.

She was succeeded in the ownership of Doddington by her grandson, Sir Thomas Hussey, Bart., born in 1639, whose long minority, with the addition of his grandmother’s inheritance, must have done much to repair the shattered fortunes of the family. At the Restoration we find him, with his mother, Lady Fairfax, then a second time a widow, living at Doddington, and contributing, himself £60, and Lady Fairfax £30, towards a loan for the restored King.

In 1662, 20th February, the marriage took place at Great St. Helen’s, London, of “Sir Thomas Hussey, Bart. of Doddington, bach., and Sarah Langham, aged twenty-one, daughter of Sir John Langham, Knt. and Bart., of Cottesbroke, Northants.” Portraits of Sir Thomas and Lady Hussey still look down on the gallery of their former home; and what the house itself resembled in their time we may see from the engraving of it, which was executed by John Kip, after a drawing by Leonard Knyff, c. 1700. It represents the Hall and gate-house much as they are at present, with an open grassy court between. Gardens formally laid out, and orchards of young trees in rows, surround the house; but we cannot tell how much of this is due to the artist’s imagination.

Sir Thomas Hussey was High Sheriff of Lincolnshire in 1668, and Knight of the Shire 1681-95. As such he[289] took a prominent part in the reception of a new charter granted to the city by Charles II. in 1685. On this occasion Sir Thomas Hussey, driving in, we must suppose, from Doddington, was met at the entrance of Lincoln by the Mayor and Corporation, who received the new charter from him on the green against St. Katharine’s. After this Sir Thomas, with the Mayor and aldermen, walked up the city to the Guildhall, with bands playing and bells ringing, and the conduits running claret wine, that all might drink the King’s and the Duke of York’s health. At the Guildhall the charter was read publicly by the town-clerk, Mr. Original Peart, and the ceremony terminated with a great dinner at the Mayor’s, and more drinking of healths. Towards the charges of renewing the charter, the Bishop of Lincoln gave £20, and Sir Thomas Hussey and three other gentlemen £10 a-piece.

Sir Thomas Hussey died 19th December 1706, and was buried, as his wife and many children who died young had been, in the vault of the Hussey family in Honington Church. There his monument, with his bust in marble, may still be seen; but it is in their house of Doddington that the portraits of himself and Dame Sarah, his wife, and their three surviving daughters have been preserved. The church, too, possesses a memorial of him, in the shape of a handsome silver paten and flagon, bearing his coat-of-arms, and the date 1707. His niece Rhoda, daughter of his sister, Rhoda Hussey, by her marriage with John Amcotts, of Aisthorpe, Esq., had already presented to the church a silver alms-dish in 1671, engraved with the Amcotts arms. As he left no male issue, his baronetcy passed to his cousin, Sir Edward Hussey, of Caythorpe, who already held the baronetcy conferred by Charles II. on his father in 1661.

His three surviving daughters became co-heiresses of his estates. The eldest of these was Rebecca Hussey, who “after a life spent principally in devotion and acts of charity, died unmarried, 21st August 1714.” She[290] took care that her charities should not end with her life. Two at least of these—Rebecca Hussey’s Book Charity, and Rebecca Hussey’s Charity for the Relief of Poor Debtors—have kept her name in remembrance down to the present day. The latter was paid for many years out of the Doddington estate, but is now represented by an invested sum of £3192. The youngest was Elizabeth, who in 1714 married Richard, son and heir of Sir William Ellys, of Nocton, Bart., sometime M.P. for Grantham, but who died childless in 1724, and is commemorated with her mother and sister Rebecca on a monument in Honington Church.

Between these came Sarah, who had been already married at the age of twenty-two, at St. Margaret’s, Westminster, in 1700, during her father’s lifetime, to Robert Apreece, Esq., of Washingley, co. Hunts. In a partition of their father’s estates between her and her sister Elizabeth, in 1717, Honington had fallen to her share, but under her sister’s will in 1724 she became possessed of Doddington also for her life, with remainder to her son and daughter as tenants in common. Her son, Thomas Apreece, inherited Washingley and Honington, and was the father of Sir Thomas Hussey-Apreece, created a baronet in 1782. But Mrs. Sarah Apreece bought up her son’s contingent share of Doddington, and by her will, dated 1747, she settled the whole estate on her daughter Rhoda, the wife of Captain Francis Blake-Delaval, R.N., the owner of the great Northumbrian estates of Seaton-Delaval, Ford Castle, and Dissington. It was evidently her wish to secure the continuance of her father’s name and estate, for she strictly entailed Doddington on the second son of her daughter’s marriage, enjoining that he should take the name and arms of Hussey, and resign Doddington to his next brother, if he should succeed to his father’s estates. We are told that amongst their many seats Captain and Mrs. Blake-Delaval resided chiefly at Seaton-Delaval and at Doddington, and we may well believe[291] that it was to Mrs. Delaval’s affection for her family, and her desire to perpetuate their memory in the house that was her own inheritance, that we owe the many family groups of her children, which seem to have been designed for the places they occupy on its walls.

She died in 1759, leaving a numerous and distinguished family of eight sons and four daughters, remarkable for their good looks and talents, which made them of note in the society of the day. Especially was this the case with the eldest son, Sir Francis Blake-Delaval, K.B., who inherited his father’s great estates in Northumberland, and made himself conspicuous in the annals of the time for his wit and gallantry, his reckless extravagance and dissipation. He, however, was not otherwise connected with Doddington than as a visitor to the house, to which he brought his theatrical friend Foote in 1752, and where his own full-length figure, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, may still be seen. We are more concerned with his next brother, on whom Doddington had been entailed. This was John Delaval, born in 1728, who, in accordance with Mrs. Apreece’s will, assumed the name of Hussey on his mother’s death in 1759, and became successively Sir John Hussey-Delaval, Bart., in 1761, Baron Delaval of Redford in the peerage of Ireland in 1783, and Baron Delaval of Seaton-Delaval in the peerage of Great Britain in 1786. He represented Berwick in Parliament from 1754 to his elevation to the British peerage. In 1750 he had married Susannah, widow of John Potter, Esq., Under-Secretary of State for Ireland; she was his first cousin, her mother having been Margaret Delaval, his father’s sister. The young couple at once made Doddington their country residence, John Delaval acting as virtual owner of the mansion and estate, both of which showed signs of energetic management and lavish expenditure. New marble mantelpieces were bought for the more important rooms of the hall in 1760, and to the same date we may ascribe the classic broken architraves with which they and[292] many of the doors are surmounted. The present great staircase was put up in 1761, and the long gallery refloored at a cost of £500, under the direction of Mr. Lumby, the surveyor of Lincoln Cathedral. At the same time the enclosure of the moorlands on the estate was vigorously carried on, many thousand plants of quick being purchased for enclosure, and labourers continuously employed in dyking and fencing and paring sods. Another improvement was the formation of a hop-garden of twenty-six acres in the parish—the only one, it is said, in Lincolnshire. In this Lady Delaval took especial interest, and part of it was known as My Lady’s Acre. In 1770, on the death of his eldest daughter Rhoda at the age of eighteen, he undertook the restoration of the church, adding to it the present south aisle and west tower, and giving it the shape which it retains to-day. He showed his good taste, when church architecture was at its lowest ebb, by copying, though unskilfully, in his additions the fourteenth century work which remained in the older part.

In 1771, however, his eldest brother, Sir F. B. Delaval, died, and Sir John Hussey-Delaval succeeded to the great Northumberland estates. According to the settlement, Doddington ought to have passed from him to his next brother, Edward Hussey-Delaval, Esq., but a compromise was agreed to by which he retained possession of Doddington on condition of paying his brother an annuity of £400. A consideration for this mentioned in the deed is that he found the mansion and offices in a very ruinous and decayed condition, and had laid out upwards of £17,000 in building farm-houses, planting timber, making fences, and draining and enclosing the moors.

Naturally, with his accession to these more important estates, his interest in Doddington declined. The restoration of the church, begun so energetically in 1770, was not completed till 1775. On Sunday, 18th June 1775, the church was reopened in the presence of 800 people,[293] the Sub-dean of Lincoln, the Rev. Robert Dowbiggin, taking the chief part in the ceremony. By that time, however, Sir John’s only son was dying at Bristol, and none of the family were present. In their absence, the rector, the Rev. R. P. Hurton, entertained at dinner at the Hall “thirty gentlemen and ladies of the first fashion in the county, including the Champion of England, both Neviles (i.e. of Thorney and of Wellingore), Mr. Amcotts (of Kettlethorpe), &c.” Refreshments were liberally provided for the other less distinguished guests.

The very first funeral that took place in the newly-opened church was that of Sir John’s only son and heir, John Hussey-Delaval, who died at the Hotwells, Bristol, on 7th July 1775, in the twentieth year of his age. On Sunday, 15th July, his body, in charge of a Bristol undertaker, arrived at Newark, where it was met by Mr. Portes, the Doddington steward. Next morning they left at ten o’clock, and were met between Newark and Collingham by all the servants in black hat-bands and gloves. Within half a mile of Doddington they were met by the labourers, six of whom in black cloaks, hat-bands, and scarves, acted as bearers. On arrival at Doddington at 2 P.M. the body was laid in the White Hall till 5 P.M. Again none of the family were present, but the rector and Mrs. Hurton, with eight others, followed next the body. Then came the tenantry and a large concourse of people. We learn that “there was a very good collation and great plenty of victuals, with a very well furnished table in the Low Paper Parlour, where Mr. Hurton and the other clergymen and several more dined. The tenants dined in the steward’s room: 4 bottles of rum, 4 of brandy, 18 of white and 18 of port wine were consumed, and there was ale enough in the cellar.” The charge of the Bristol undertaker was £203, 8s. 9d., “besides the local bills, some £43 more.” His father began to build a handsome mausoleum in the grounds at Seaton-Delaval, but this was never used, and his body, with that of his sister Sophia,[294] Mrs. Jadis, who died in 1793, still remains in the vault beneath the church, in which the only memorial of him consists of the blackened walls which were so coloured for his funeral.

In the cellars of the Hall there is still some ale which was brewed at the time of young John Delaval’s birth, 26th May 1756, and was bottled in order to be drunk at that coming of age which never took place. Some of the bottles bear the Apreece arms; others a stamp with the name of Sir J. H. Delaval, Bart., or the initials J.H.D.

After his son’s death Lord Delaval, as he shortly after became, not being on good terms with Edward Delaval, his brother and next male heir, cut down all the timber at Doddington that would fetch any money. In the engraving of the Hall in Sir Thomas Hussey’s time we may see a row of young elms standing along the churchyard wall. An old man, employed as a carpenter on the estate, who died, aged 95, in 1858, recollected cutting these down. It blew hard at the time, and Lord Delaval looked out of a window of the gate-house, and gave directions how they should fall. They were then very large, beautiful trees, and the wood quite sound and red. He recollected also fine oaks all over the lordship, but all were cut down for bark and “kids.” This is fully confirmed by the estate accounts of 1775 and the following years, and is the reason why there are no very old trees on the estate, those now in the extensive woods having grown up since Lord Delaval’s time.

On June 3, 1780, Lord Delaval’s youngest daughter, Sarah Hussey-Delaval, then only sixteen, was married by special licence at Grosvenor House, her father’s London residence, to George Carpenter, second Earl of Tyrconnel. He is said to have been the handsomest man of his time, while she is spoken of as “the wild and beautiful Countess of Tyrconnel,” and as “the lovely Lady Tyrconnel, who had hair of such luxuriance that when she rode, it floated upon the saddle.” The following[295] month they visited Doddington. “I am delighted,” writes Lord Tyrconnel, “with Doddington; it has an air of grandeur and solitude about it which pleases me extremely; it is a cruel hardship upon it that you should have two other places which you prefer to it. We have this evening been to Lady Delaval’s hop ground. We had such a game of Blindman’s Buff in the Hall: Mr. and Mrs. Hurton and Mrs. Grant were of the party.”

An elder daughter, Frances, had married in 1778 John Fenton-Cawthorne, Esq., of Wyerside, co. Lanc., who represented Lincoln in Parliament from 1784 to 1793. Lord Delaval exerted his interest actively in his favour, and we hear of Lincoln freemen being entertained at dinner at Doddington, while his steward’s letters to his lordship treat frequently of electioneering matters at Lincoln, of Mr. Cawthorne’s visits there at the time of the races, of his dining with the Hunting Club and “at what they call the Lunitick Club,” and with the aldermen on the day of the Mayor’s election, of his distribution of coals among the freemen, and of the three rival candidates in 1790 walking the streets with their colours flying.

Another of Lord Delaval’s daughters, Elizabeth, was married 21st May 1781, to George, Baron Audley. This marriage also was by special licence at her father’s town house, which at this time was in Hanover Square. The rector of Doddington, Mr. Hurton, of whom we have already spoken, went up to London to perform the ceremony. Lady Audley only lived till 11th July 1785.

Lord Delaval himself died at Seaton-Delaval, 17th May 1808, at the age of eighty, being found dead in his chair in the breakfast-room. His remains were conveyed in state from the north, and interred in the family vault which he had made in St. Paul’s Chapel in Westminster Abbey, in which his wife Susannah Lady Delaval had already been buried in 1783, and his favourite daughter, Sarah Hussey, Countess of Tyrconnel, in 1800. The[296] Gentleman’s Magazine of the day makes mention of “the great funeral pomp and splendour” of his interment: this may well have been the case, as the cost of it was no less than £2300. No other monuments, however, than plain flat stones, with short inscriptions and almost obliterated coats-of-arms, mark the place of their burial; while above them hang the tattered banners, begrimed with the London dirt of a hundred years, on which the arms of Delaval, Blake, and Carpenter (Tyrconnel) may still be distinguished. At Doddington his only memorial is the hatchment in the church, which was fixed to the front of the Hall on his death.

He bequeathed Ford Castle to his granddaughter, Lady Susannah Hussey Carpenter, the only surviving child of his favourite daughter Sarah, Lady Tyrconnel, whose marriage in 1805 to Henry de la Poer Beresford, 2nd Marquis of Waterford, brought it to that family, in whose possession it has continued nearly to the present day. Doddington, however, with Seaton-Delaval and other entailed estates, descended to his next brother, Edward Hussey-Delaval, the only survivor of that band of eight brothers on whom Doddington had been successively settled, and not one of whom left a son to succeed him. As a young man he had been a Fellow-Commoner, and afterwards a Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge. Here he was a contemporary and friend of the poet Gray, who makes frequent mention of him in his letters. Later he established himself in a house which he had built for himself on his own plan and designs on a piece of ground leased to him by the Crown in Parliament Place. Its site is now covered by the Houses of Parliament, but two views of it taken from opposite points, painted by his friend G. Arnold, A.R.A., now hang in the Library at Doddington, and show its gardens running down to the river-side, with Westminster Bridge in the near distance. Here he devoted himself to philosophical and chemical pursuits, being a Fellow of the Royal and other learned[297] societies, both home and foreign, and gaining their gold medals and other honours by his various papers and treatises published in their Transactions, or as independent works. Late in life he had married, and had an only daughter.

He was in his eightieth year when he succeeded to the family estates, and seems to have concentrated all his care and interest on Doddington, buying up, as far as possible, the reversionary interests of his sisters in it, so as to leave it to his wife and daughter. During the years 1809-12 the whole of the mullioned windows of the Hall were repaired by him, new stonework and glass being inserted where required. The Great Fishpond was laid out and its banks planted in 1811, and all the detached buildings in the Hall yard—laundry and brew-house, stable and coach-house—were rebuilt in 1814 and 1815. An expert was employed by him to survey and restore the woods, which Lord Delaval had so devastated that no timber could be supplied from the estate. Various articles of furniture, pictures, and ornaments were brought here from Seaton-Delaval. A survey and valuation of the estate made in 1812 states that the mansion-house and buildings are in excellent repair.

After six years’ ownership Mr. Delaval died, at the age of eighty-five, the last legitimate male heir of his ancient family. His death took place at his house in Parliament Place, 14th August 1814, and he too was buried in Westminster Abbey, not in the family vault, but in the nave among the philosophers, the place being simply marked by the name E. H. Delaval, cut on one of the stones of the pavement. In Doddington Church, which was repaired at his expense in 1810, his hatchment hangs side by side with that of his brother. Many portraits of him remain at the Hall representing him either in the family groups, or as a young man in his gold-tufted college cap, or seated with a greyhound by his side, or in middle age with the artificial jewels of his making, or as a[298] white-haired old man of eighty-five sitting at the window of his house overlooking the Thames.

Seaton-Delaval and his other entailed estates devolved on his nephew, Sir Jacob Astley, Bart., son of his eldest sister Rhoda, by whose descendants they are still possessed. But he had bought up the greater part of the reversionary interests in Doddington, so as to settle them on his wife and daughter. The latter had married in 1805 James Gunman, Esq., who was possessed of considerable property in the neighbourhood of Dover and Coventry, and who was the last of a family singularly devoted to the sea, which had produced a succession of noted naval captains. The fact that he died without issue, leaving all his property to his wife, and the subsequent destruction of his Dover mansion owing to the extension of the town, has added a fresh strain of interest to the Elizabethan Hall, by the removal to it of the journals and other memorials of several of these seamen, including the portrait of Captain Christopher Gunman, the first of the line, who was captain of the yacht of the Duke of York, afterwards James II., as well as pictures of the yacht itself, and of the sea-fights with the Dutch in which he was engaged.

By the wills of Mrs. Gunman, who died in 1825, and of her mother, Mrs. Hussey-Delaval, who survived till 1829, all their property was left to their friend, Lieut.-Colonel George Ralph Payne Jarvis, who had served in the Peninsular War and in the expedition to Walcheren. He came into residence at the Hall in 1829, and bought up the remaining portions of the estate, which is now in the possession of his grandson, George Eden Jarvis, Esq., J.P. and D.L.

Having thus sketched the history of its successive owners, let us enter the house itself. We shall find it still peopled with their memories, their portraits looking down on the rooms in which so much of their lives was passed. Passing through the triple-gabled gate-house[299] which forms the main entrance, we find ourselves in the east garden or fore court, now well-nigh filled with four stately cedars of Lebanon. These might seem coëval with the house itself, but in fact they are coëval only with the latest family of its owners, having been planted here about 1829. Fronting us is the central porch on which more elaboration has been bestowed than on any other part of the building. This admits us directly into the hall, a room 53 feet in length by 22 feet in breadth, filling up the whole width of the body of the house. Originally its floor was plaster, and from this and the general whiteness of its walls and furniture it was known as the White Hall. But in 1861 it was refloored with oak grown on the estate, and furnished with more regard to comfort and suitableness as a general sitting-room for the family. At one end hangs a fine picture by Guido of the Angel appearing to Hagar and Ishmael in the wilderness, its purchase and presence here being due to Mr. Edward Hussey-Delaval’s artistic tastes. The marble mantelpiece is one of those bought by Lord Delaval in 1761, and over it are ranged steel caps and helmets; and among these an iron branks or scold’s bridle, with a projecting spike before the mouth, used as a punishment for scolding women. Near it is another grim relic of the past—the headpiece of the irons in which a man, commonly known as Tom Otter, was gibbeted on Saxilby Moor in 1806 for the murder of his wife. Here, too, we may see several of the oak carvings, framed as pictures, and remarkable for their depth of cutting and multiplicity of figures, that were executed by Colonel Jarvis in his later life.

Passing out of the hall into the northern wing, we enter on the left the dining-room, panelled in oak, now freed from the white paint with which it was formerly coated. Over the marble mantelpiece is a portrait of the late owner of the house, G. K. Jarvis, Esq., painted by Lutyens in 1868. Opposite are the portraits of Mr. Edward Hussey-Delaval with the artificial gems of which[300] we have already spoken, and of his daughter Sarah, afterwards Mrs. Gunman, the latter painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence. Amongst other pictures hanging here are a three-quarter length likeness of James I. in a quaint drab suit; and a small one of Prince Henry, his eldest son. At the end of the room the square mirror with deeply carved gilt frame was brought from the residence of the Gunman family at Dover, and hung formerly in the Anne, the royal yacht of the Duke of York, by whom it was presented to Captain Christopher Gunman in 1671. Near it is a portrait on panel of the Infanta Donna Maria, “ætatis suæ 19, 1617,” daughter of Philip III., the Princess on whose account Charles I. made his adventurous expedition to Spain. The massive oak table below was originally a plain table in the servants’ hall, but was fashioned by Colonel Jarvis’s skill in carving into a handsome side-board. It shows the size of the oaks that grew on the estate before Lord Delaval cut them down.

Opposite the dining-room, at the east end of the wing, is the Library, formerly known as the Green Parlour. Here may be seen an oil painting of the Duke of York’s yacht, which Captain Gunman commanded from 1670 to 1675. Here, too, hang the pair of landscapes representing views up and down the Thames, taken from Mr. Delaval’s house in Parliament Place. They were painted by his friend G. Arnold, A.R.A., the figures of Mr. Delaval seated in the one, and of Mrs. Delaval and their daughter in the other, being put in by G. F. Joseph, A.R.A., who painted the full-length picture of Mrs. Delaval in a similar red velvet dress, which is now in the Long Gallery.

The Long Gallery, Doddington Hall.

Between these two rooms the main staircase is carried in a projection of the house on the north, a broad flight to the first landing, returning in narrower flights on either side to the first floor. Its plain banisters and heavy mahogany rail show that it is of later date than the house, and, in fact, it was put up by Lord Delaval in 1761. On the landing on either side are portraits of Mr. Edward[301] Hussey-Delaval, and of his daughter, Mrs. Gunman. The former, taken in 1813, represents him at the age of eighty-five as a white-haired old man, seated at the window of his house in Parliament Place, looking out on the Thames, with St. Paul’s in the distance, and on the table before him many of his scientific works, including his report on the best means of preserving St. Paul’s from lightning, and its translation into Italian in 1779, which was done by the order and at the expense of the Emperor Joseph II. Following the returns of the staircase, we have on the one side portraits of Rhoda Apreece, the heiress of Doddington, as a girl with a goldfinch, and in later life as Mrs. Rhoda Blake-Delaval. Next beyond is the seated figure of her aunt Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Sir Thomas Hussey, and wife of Richard Ellys, Esq. of Nocton (died 1724), painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller, probably the picture of her “sister Betty,” bequeathed by Rebecca Hussey to her niece, Rhoda Apreece, in 1714. On the opposite flight of stairs are ranged portraits of Colonel G. R. P. Jarvis, to whom Mrs. Gunman left the Doddington estate in 1825; of George Eden Jarvis, Esq., his grandson, and its present owner; of Martha Lowth (b. 1710, d. 1796), sister of Bishop Lowth, as a girl, and of her future husband, Dr. Robert Eden (b. 1702, d. 1759), Archdeacon of Winchester.

On the landing between these flights of stairs is one of the most pleasing pictures in the house, representing a family group of the three youngest sons and three youngest daughters of Francis and Rhoda Blake-Delaval. We may notice that the heads have been painted separately and inserted in the canvas. These were painted by the eldest sister, Rhoda, who married Edward, afterwards Sir Edward Astley, Bart., while the background and figures and draperies were added by Van Hacken, a celebrated painter of the day. The seated figure of the boy with portfolio is George, and the two with musical instruments are Henry and Ralph, who were twins, and so alike as[302] scarcely to be known apart. These three died young, Henry only surviving till 1760, when he was killed in India. Of the daughters, the standing figure is Ann, afterwards the wife of Sir William Stanhope, K.B.; the next Elizabeth, who died young; and the least Sarah, afterwards Countess of Mexborough, who died the last survivor of her generation of the family, at the age of eighty, in 1821.

From this landing we enter the drawing-room, which is on the first floor, above the hall and of the same dimensions with it, with windows opening to the east and west. Here on all sides are portraits of the Delaval family. Over the mantel itself is the portrait of Mrs. Rhoda Blake-Delaval, with a corresponding one of her husband, Captain Francis Blake-Delaval, opposite. Another picture of her at full length, seated, painted by Arthur Pond, occupies the south part of the eastern wall, while the two ends of the room are filled with groups by the same artist, one of four, the other of seven figures of her sons and daughters; the taller lady in the centre is said to have been a cousin. Similar pictures exist also at Seaton-Delaval. On either side of the fireplace are full-length seated figures, also painted by Pond, of the second of these sons, John Hussey-Delaval, Lord Delaval, who inherited Doddington from his mother in 1759, and died in 1808, and of his wife Susannah, Lady Delaval, who died in 1783. The remaining space on the east wall is occupied by the likeness of the eldest son, Sir Francis Blake-Delaval, K.B., by Sir Joshua Reynolds, who has represented him in his red Volunteer uniform, standing musket in hand on the French coast, with villages burning in the background. Similar portraits of him are found at Seaton-Delaval, and Methley Park, Yorkshire, and at Ford Castle, and it has been engraved in a series of portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds, published in 1865. Over the doorways are four smaller portraits, one representing Edward Hussey-Delaval, in his tufted college cap; and a second,[303] the eldest sister, Rhoda, Mrs. Astley; whilst a third, if it is rightly said to represent Lady Tyrconnel, is the only one of Lord Delaval’s children now at Doddington.

Beyond the drawing-room on the south is a bedroom which still retains its ancient tapestry. On it are depicted scenes from the Trojan War, but with its former bright colours sadly faded. To the picture of a dog over the door the following story is attached. It belonged to Mr. Henry Stone, of the adjoining parish of Skellingthorpe, and it is said to have pulled his master three times away from a tree under which he had taken shelter from a thunderstorm. At the third time the tree was struck by lightning, and a pheasant pictured on it was killed. Mr. Stone died in 1693, leaving his estate at Skellingthorpe of more than 3000 acres to Christ’s Hospital, London. He was buried just inside the churchyard at Skellingthorpe, and his dog, it is said, close to him, just outside the consecrated ground.

Returning through the drawing-room to the north wing, we find two other bedrooms with their original tapestry hangings. One is known as the Holly Room, from the great holly tree on which its windows open; the other as the Tiger Room, from the wild beasts depicted on its Flemish tapestry, dating from about 1600. This has retained more of its original bright colouring than the other, which is of English manufacture, made probably at Mortlake, temp. Charles I., in the costume of whose time the figures on it are represented. In the Holly Room the ancient crewel work of the bed hangings deserves attention; while the lofty four-post bedstead in the Tiger Room, upholstered in crimson damask, is said to have been that occupied by Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland, when entertained by Lord Delaval at Seaton-Delaval in 1771. A quaint picture over the mantelpiece represents Nebuchadnezzar in his state of degradation grazing among the beasts.

Mounting thence to the third storey, we find on[304] the uppermost landing another portrait of Mr. Edward Hussey-Delaval, as a young man, seated, with a greyhound by his side—one doubtless of the breed for which Seaton-Delaval was famous in his brother Sir Francis’s time. On either side the bedrooms, above those just described, retain their original plaster floors. In one is the portrait of Admiral Sir Ralph Delaval, “coasting admiral in the time of Charles II.,” painted in armour, with flowing wig, who died in 1691. In the same room a naval picture, brought from the Gunman mansion at Dover, represents the royal yacht, the Anne, Captain Christopher Gunman, passing the Castle of Kronenborg at Elsinore, without striking topsails, and receiving the cannon-fire of the castle, as recorded by Captain Gunman’s log-book under 23rd September 1670. Yet another represents the wreck of Sir Cloudesley Shovel in his flagship, the Association, on the Scilly Isles, on the night of 22nd October 1707. This also was brought from Dover, Captain James Gunman, R.N., having been with the fleet in command of the Weasel sloop, but happily escaping the wreck.

Here we enter the Long Gallery, 96 feet long by 22 feet wide. It has two fireplaces, and windows only on the western side, and fills the whole centre of the house, extending over the drawing-room and two bedrooms beyond. As we enter let us turn, and, beginning at the north-west corner, let us note the more interesting pictures in their order. This white-haired old man, painted on panel, in blue coat and buff sword-belt, is said to represent John, Lord Hussey of Sleaford, beheaded at Lincoln in 1537 for complicity in the Lincolnshire rising. Occupying the centre of this northern end of the gallery is the full-length figure of Captain Christopher Gunman, in a rich costume. In the background is represented the royal yacht, of which he was captain, as well as of several ships of war. We may notice the empty sleeve of his left arm, which he lost in an engagement with the Dutch,[305] while in command of the Orange frigate, 3rd August 1666. A picture of this sea-fight with two Dutch men-of-war is in one of the bedrooms. Higher up on this same wall is the portrait of Thomas Tailor, registrar to the Bishops of Lincoln, who bought Doddington in 1593, and built the hall before his death in 1607. He is characteristically represented as dressed in brown, with wide lawn collar and cuffs, seated at a table with a pen in his hand and an official document before him. On either side, over the doors, are the portraits of Sir Thomas Hussey, the second baronet, who died 1706, and of Sarah (Langham) Lady Hussey, his wife, who died 1697.

Turning now to the long eastern wall, and passing pictures of Lady Frances Howard, by Sir Peter Lely, and of Charles XII. of Sweden, perhaps by David Kraft, we come to the full-length figure of Mrs. Sarah Hussey-Delaval, died 1829, the wife of Edward Hussey-Delaval, Esq. It was painted in 1815 by G. F. Joseph, A.R.A., who has represented her in a crimson velvet dress, with a macaw by her side. Next to her is the likeness of Rebecca Hussey, daughter of Sir Thomas Hussey, Bart., painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller. She died unmarried in 1714, but her name is still well known as the foundress of Rebecca Hussey’s Charities. The boy, in a red dress trimmed with silver, is shown by the coat-of-arms to have been a son of Sir John Delaval, of Dissington, who died 1632, by his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir George Selby, whom he married in 1612. Passing the central door which opens into the little room in the projection over the entrance porch, we have yet another portrait of Mrs. Rhoda Blake-Delaval, died 1759, a duplicate of which is at Ford Castle. Near her is one of Charles I., and beyond these, as a companion picture to that of Rebecca Hussey, also painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller, the full-length likeness of her sister Sarah, daughter of Sir Thomas Hussey, Bart., and wife of Robert Apreece, Esq. She was born at Doddington in[306] 1672, and died 1749, having become the sole heiress of her father’s estates after her sisters’ death. The next picture in all probability represents Mary of Modena, the Queen of James II. Beyond it, the lady in black is Ann Hussey-Delaval, sister of John, Lord Delaval, and of Edward Hussey-Delaval. We have seen her before as a girl in the family groups, but she is here represented in the character of the Fair Penitent, which she acted with other members of the family, and Edward, Duke of York, at their private theatre at Westminster in 1767. She married in 1759, at the age of twenty-two, Sir William Stanhope, next brother to the Earl of Chesterfield, who was fifty-seven; and Horace Walpole writes of the match: “I assure you her face will introduce no plebeian charms into the faces of the Stanhopes.” Naturally the ill-assorted marriage turned out badly, and in 1763 Horace Walpole writes again to his correspondent in Paris: “We sent you Sir William Stanhope and my lady, a fond couple; you have returned them to us very different. When they came to Blackheath, he got out of the chariot to go to his brother, Lord Chesterfield’s, made her a low bow, and said, ‘Madame, I hope I shall never see your face again.’ She replied, ‘Sir, I will take all the pains I can, you never shall.’” She had been brought up by her grandmother, Mrs. Apreece, of Honington and Doddington, and a share of Doddington had been settled upon her, but she sold her reversion of it to her brother Edward in 1810.

Dining-Room, Doddington Hall.

Filling the centre of the south end of the gallery is the striking picture by Sir Joshua Reynolds, in 1762, of Lord and Lady Pollington, later Earl and Countess of Mexborough, in their coronation robes, with their son and heir, John Savile, afterwards second Earl, as a child, between them. She was the youngest of the Delaval family, and is represented as a girl in the family groups below. She married in 1760 John Savile, Lord Pollington, created Earl of Mexborough in 1765, and died[307] in 1821, the last survivor of that generation of her family. The child is represented as reaching up to the coronet which his mother is holding in her hand; and the story is told “that when Reynolds began to paint this picture he tried the effect of setting the coronet on her head, but being dissatisfied with the effect he placed it in her hand. It was shown to the little boy, and he was offered a choice of the crown or an apple. He preferred the former, and within a year inherited it on his father’s death.” In fact, however, his father did not die till 1778, when his son was seventeen, and the anecdote can only be reconciled with dates by supposing it to refer to the child’s succession to the courtesy title of Pollington, when his father became Earl in 1765.

If we pass out at the southern end of the Long Gallery, the well-like back staircase, carried up from the bottom to the top of the house in a projection of the southern wing, will bring us through the southernmost gazebo on to the flat-leaded roof, on which the two other gazeboes open. Here is plainly seen the ground-plan of the house; and by looking over the parapet we may observe the squared leaden spout-heads, most of them bearing the initials and the Ram’s Head crest of Sir John Hussey-Delaval, with the date 1765. A few bear the date 1733, thus going back to the ownership of Mrs. Apreece. Close in front of the Hall, encouraged by its shelter, a broad-leafed magnolia has out-topped the Hall itself, while in the north-west corner stands the great holly, measuring 12 feet round the hole, but with half its massive head now split off by a great storm, 24th March 1895. Tradition says that it once saved the life of a young lady who was pursued to the roof by a too ardent admirer, and who jumped into it from the roof to escape his embraces.

Round the mansion lie its old-fashioned walled gardens, and on the north the orchard with a picturesque group of three gnarled old Spanish chestnuts.[308] Eastward the eye rests on Lincoln, with its houses climbing the steep, crowned by the triple towers of the Minster; and in the nearer foreground are the massive oak-woods of Doddington and Skellingthorpe, the immemorial breeding-place of herons. To the westward the hills of Nottinghamshire rise across the Trent, the hidden course of whose stream is marked only by the clumps of trees at Spalford Bank and Marnham Ferry. Amid such surroundings the great house has stood for full three hundred years, and has sheltered generation after generation of those whose portraits now adorn its walls. Here to all appearance it may stand for three hundred years to come, if only it escapes that doom of fire to which Seaton-Delaval itself and so many other ancient mansions have fallen a prey.



By Rev. Canon Maddison, M.A., F.S.A.

It is quite impossible within the limits of a short paper to give an exhaustive account of the Lincolnshire Families. They can be classified as—1st, Baronial; 2nd, Knightly; 3rd, Gentle.

With the baronial, which includes such names as Darcy, Kyme, de Roos, Trehampton, &c., I do not concern myself. Their pedigrees are given, for the most part, in works of reference. Of the great baronial families I do not think a single one exists at the present day in the male line. The Neviles now seated in Lincolnshire belong to the Nottinghamshire branch of that great family. The Lincolnshire Neviles, which have been a puzzle to genealogists, have long since been extinct.

Perhaps the Watertons may be taken as an almost solitary instance of the survival of a family which held a very high position in the county in the twelfth century. The great Lincolnshire estates, it is true, passed to the Welles family in the fifteenth century, but a junior branch continued at Walton in Yorkshire down to recent times. Walton has been sold, but the late Mr. Edmund Waterton became possessed of property in St. James Deeping, where the original manor of Waterton was, and was “of Waterton Deeping.” Still, although descended from this ancient race, his line, for many hundreds of years, was connected rather with Yorkshire than Lincolnshire.

But the Langtons, of Langton by Spilsby, are an instance, quite unique in this county, of a family retaining possession of the manor and advowson of their estate[310] from the thirteenth century. They seem to have held a higher position then than they did in later times. Strange to say, no Langton was Sheriff of the county till 1612.

The Thorolds must be content to give up the legend of being descended from a Saxon sheriff. It is surely enough to be able to say they hold property which came to them from a Lincolnshire heiress in the fourteenth century, and led them to leave Yorkshire for Marston in Lincolnshire.

The Heneages have held Hainton since the early part of the fifteenth century, and there is no doubt they were connected with it long before. What, however, is doubtful is whether their position was quite so high as a pedigree drawn up in the eighteenth century gives them. The really great person at Hainton in 1398 was Lord de la Warr, who was lord of the manor, and who in his will, proved 1st August 1398, directs that Edward of the Hill and John Heneage should immediately after his death hold conjointly his manors of Hainton for the term of their lives, and then that the reversion of the said manors should be sold, and the proceeds distributed among the poor. He also leaves 100 marks to John Heneage for a certain mansion within his (Lord de la Warr’s) demesne. He leaves Richard Wolmer his manor of Albryghton for life, and makes him, John Heneage and others, executors. When we find the Heneages afterwards in possession of the manor of Hainton, and the Wolmers of the manor of Bloxholm (also de la Warr property) it is not unreasonable to suppose that they became possessors by purchase. The Wolmers have long since passed away.

The Massingberds held land in Sutterton as early as the reign of Edward I., but moved to Burgh, Gunby, and Bratoft later on, having married a succession of heiresses. The estates have passed by marriage to cadets of the Langton and Mundy families, and the present rector of Ormsby, who has been the historian of his parish and family, is the heir male.


The Dymokes of Scrivelsby came originally in the fourteenth century from Gloucestershire. Every one knows their peculiar tenure of that manor which carries with it the right of the Championship. Every one, however, does not know the strange vicissitudes of the family—how that before the death of the old Champion, Lewis Dymoke, in 1760, he had to choose between two branches of his family as his heirs; the one in trade in London, the other in the ranks of the yeomanry in Lincolnshire. He chose the former, which was really the junior of the two, and yet, after more than a century, it became extinct, and the yeoman branch holds Scrivelsby.

The Smyths of Elkington hold an estate which they acquired in the fifteenth century. The pedigree has not been fully worked out, but it would seem that they originally were what their name implies—“Johannes Faber,” being “John the Smith.”

The Cracrofts of Hackthorn are a genuine old Lincolnshire race. They held in early times the manor of Cracroft Hall in Hogsthorpe. Warinus de Cracroft is witness in a deed of the early twelfth century. This manor passed away late in the sixteenth century, but a junior branch held land in Burgh in the marsh at the beginning of that period, and by a fortunate marriage with an heiress of the Grantham family became possessed about 1616 of the present estate of Hackthorn. Robert Cracroft had a licence for an oratory in his house of Cracroft in 1345. The family was once one of the most widely spread in Lincolnshire, but it is now seldom to be found.

The Welbys of Denton cannot prove their descent from the Moulton Welbys, though there is very strong reason for thinking it probable. They own Welby, but it was acquired by purchase.

Any one who has read Lady Elizabeth Cust’s admirably written Records of the Cust Family cannot fail to be struck with the facts she has gleaned from the[312] muniments at Belton. A yeoman race, connected with Pinchbeck for six centuries, holding estates with title-deeds dating from 1479, and which was not “armigerous” till the seventeenth century, is now represented by Earl Brownlow, the direct male descendant.

What of the Irbys? They undoubtedly are extant, represented by Lord Boston, although he is not resident in the county. They begin to rise in position about the middle of the sixteenth century in the person of a lawyer who accumulated property round Boston. If they really are traceable to an Irby of Irby, they would rank among the oldest families; but the Visitation Pedigree of 1562 is not altogether satisfactory, and needs proof.

The Monsons were at Market Rasen as early as 1378. They, like so many other families of the age, became large landowners in the fifteenth century, having accumulated wealth by being merchants of the Staple of Calais. Lord Monson holds estates which have descended to him from the early part of the sixteenth century. The old original property at Owersby, near Market Rasen, was sold in 1834.

The Whichcotes came from Shropshire in the fifteenth century. They were “of that ilk” in the county, and what brought them to Lincolnshire was the marriage of John Whichcote with an heiress of the Tyrwhits of Harpswell. The present head of the family, Sir George Whichcote, still possesses Harpswell, though he resides at Aswarby, near Sleaford. His great-great-grandfather, Sir Christopher, married the heiress of the elder line, and united the estates of Harpswell and Aswarby.

The Maddisons came from the district of Weardale, in Durham, where they held a manor under the Bishop, by the marriage of a cadet with a Lincolnshire heiress of the Angevine family in 1452. They, like the Monsons, invested money, made by being merchants of the Staple of Calais, in Lincolnshire land. The estates acquired in this way passed out of the family, through co-heiresses of the[313] elder line, in 1672. The junior line has still male representatives, and a remnant of the estates, bought by Sir Ralph Maddison in the reign of James I., still remains with them.

Lord Lindsey is the direct male descendant of Richard Bertie, the fortunate Sussex gentleman who wooed and won the heiress of the Willoughbys, the Duchess of Suffolk. The Alingtons of Swinhope are a cadet branch of the Alingtons of Horsheath, Colambridge, who were ennobled in the seventeenth century, and are represented in the female line by Lord Alington. They settled in Lincolnshire in the reign of Elizabeth, and retain a portion of the property then acquired.

The Andersons are now represented by Lord Yarborough, the male line at Lea having terminated with the death of the late Sir Charles Anderson. The family was virtually founded by the Lord Chief-Justice in Queen Elizabeth’s reign, who presided at the trial of Mary Queen of Scots. Francis Anderson of Manby, a gentleman of moderate estate, married Mary Pelham, who was born at Brocklesby in 1671. Her brother, Charles Pelham, the last of his race, selected as his heir, in 1763, her descendant Charles Anderson, who took the name of Pelham in addition, and was raised to the peerage. The name of Anderson has been dropped by the present Earl and his brothers.

Up to this point I have been considering only those families who are extant in the male line, and retain in some degree the estates acquired by their ancestors, from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries. The seventeenth century brought in a decidedly changed condition of things. Changes had indeed taken place before, for the Wars of the Roses and the suppression of the monasteries had caused a vast quantity of land to change hands; but nothing shows the effect of this economic convulsion more clearly than a comparison of the Visitations of Lincoln in 1562 and 1592 with that of 1634. The number of[314] families that had sprung up from the yeoman and mercantile classes is very remarkable. Then came the Commonwealth families—those who had taken the side of the Parliament in the Civil War, and had bought up the estates of “malignants” at an easy price.

A glance at the lists of sheriffs in the sixteenth century serves to show who were the leading families. The Ayscoughs, Dymokes, and Tyrwhits occur most frequently. The Copledikes had begun to decline in importance during the latter half of the century, owing no doubt to litigation; and the Skipwiths of South Ormsby by no means filled the same position they had done in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. A change was taking place. The Monsons and Heneages were rising in importance. Families of comparatively humble rank in the preceding century had acquired land on easy terms after the suppression of the monasteries, when the land-market was glutted with monastic property. Towards the close of Elizabeth’s reign we see the Trollopes beginning to come forward and purchase land; Casewick was bought from the Evingtons in 1621. In 1642 a baronetcy was granted, and in recent times a peerage—i.e. Kesteven. The Listers, formerly of Burwell, still survive in the male line. They came into Lincolnshire in the seventeenth century. So also do the Scropes of Cockerington. Their connection with Lincolnshire is not of much older date, but in point of splendour of ancestry they are in the first rank. The present Mr. Scrope of Danby, in Yorkshire, still owns Cockerington, though it is no longer a place of residence. The Cholmeleys of Easton and Norton Place are also still represented in the male line. They, of course, are really a Cheshire family, but came into this county in the sixteenth century. The Fanes of Fulbeck, a cadet branch of the Westmoreland family, hold the estates they acquired early in the seventeenth century.

Up to this point I have considered families which are still extant in the male line and connected with the[315] county. It would take far too much space if justice were done to the numerous families now represented in the female line—such as the Skipwiths, Ayscoughs, Wrays, Saundersons, Copledikes, St. Pauls, Meres, Fitzwilliams, Granthams, Armynes, Angevines, Amcotts, Asfordbys, Billesbys, Husseys, Ogles, Tournays, and many others. It may be enough to say that in the fifteenth century the Skipwiths, Copledikes, and Tyrwhits took the lead in county matters, at any rate in the Lindsey division; while in the Isle of Axholme the Sheffields, who became eventually Dukes of Buckinghamshire, were paramount. The Skipwiths and Copledikes dwindled down to extinction in the seventeenth century, and the Tyrwhits in the eighteenth, so far as Lincolnshire is concerned, though Skipwiths and Tyrwhits still hold baronetcies, but in other counties.

The Monsons, Heneages, and Wrays came into prominence in the sixteenth century. The seventeenth witnessed the Civil War, which rivalled the Wars of the Roses in its effects on families and their estates. A new class sprang up as the old families succumbed to the fines and sequestrations which befell them as a consequence of being on the Royal, i.e. the losing side. On turning to the list of High Sheriffs after the Restoration this is very evident. In 1670 Thomas Browne of Saltfleetby, of a family which was distinctly a yeoman one before the Commonwealth, served that office. The names of Lodington, Hatcher, Rothwell, Toller, all belong to families which had only recently risen from the ranks of the yeomanry.

With the eighteenth century the same change may be observed. Henry Andrews, High Sheriff in 1728, was of a family which had grown rich in trade. Joseph Banks of Revesby, High Sheriff in 1736, was a successful attorney; so also was Coney Tunnard in 1737; while St. John Wells, in spite of his aristocratic Christian name, had been a tanner. Richard Popplewell in 1740 belonged to[316] an Isle of Axholme family of no high standing; so also Henry Herring in 1744. To multiply more instances would be needless.

But the eighteenth century witnessed also a change almost as striking as that produced by a convulsion like the Civil War; and this was the formation of a great estate on the North Lincolnshire Wolds which engulfed a number of manors belonging to impoverished families sinking under the weight of mortgages and incumbrances. In 1763 Charles Pelham of Brocklesby died childless, leaving his estates, which during his long life had been greatly increased, to his great-nephew Charles Anderson of Manby, who was then a child. During his minority the trustees bought up, by degrees, what at last constituted a magnificent property, greater than that of any other family in Lincolnshire. But this was not done without the inevitable disappearance of many families of the lesser gentry.

It has often been noted as a disastrous circumstance that the yeomanry, as a class, has vanished out of the country, and certainly the contemplation of the long list of those under that category, who contributed towards the defence of the country against the Spanish Armada in 1588, gives rise to many reflections and regrets. It may also be a subject of reflection how many of what might be called the lesser gentry have also ceased to exist. Here and there a small manor-house, now turned into a farmhouse, attests the previous habitation of an ancient family which never perhaps rose to the rank of what is now called a county family, but which had been in the county a great deal longer than many who were much higher in the social state. The name of Newcomen suggests, of course, the idea of a “Newcomer,” but the race under the name of “le Newcomen” were in Lincolnshire as early as the twelfth century. They never rose to be High Sheriffs, nor were any knighted, but they put out several branches which all possessed landed estates, and[317] sent to Ireland a branch which was graced with a Baronetcy and Viscountcy. Not one of these branches is now to be found. The very name in Lincolnshire is almost extinct.

In writing the above paper one is conscious of not having by any means done justice to the subject. To give an exhaustive list of all the old families in this county, and to trace their fortunes, would be absolutely beyond the scope of this paper. All that can be done is to give a sketch of those families which still survive in the male line after the vicissitudes of several centuries. They are not numerous. Others, such as the Turnors of Stoke Rochford, the Sibthorps of Canwick, the Nelthorpes of Scawby, came in with the Commonwealth. A multitude sprang up in the eighteenth century, and have been largely recruited in the nineteenth. It may be questioned whether Gervase Holles would recognise many of the names which would meet his eye in the lists of magistrates. It is still more open to question whether a herald of 1562 would not “respite for further proof” a good deal of modern heraldry. To bear another man’s coat-of-arms because you happen to be of the same name would scarcely pass muster with a sixteenth century herald, but it is an innocent appropriation by no means uncommon at the present day.

I may add a word on the subject of the extinction of old mediæval families. Are they really extinct? Names are found among the peasantry which at first sight suggest a negative to that question, but I have never yet met with an authentic instance of such descent. The one that occurs to me as most probable is that of the Bushey family. Families of that name were at Leverton, Leake, and Friskney three hundred years ago, and doubtless there are descendants in the male line. The name Bushey is identical with Bussy; in fact, the pronunciation of the name at the time of the execution of Sir John Bussy, Richard II.’s favourite, in 1398, was undoubtedly Bushey,[318] as the punning rhymes made upon it by writers of that day testify, e.g.

“Ther is a busch that is forgrow,
Crop hit welle and hold it lowe,
Or elles it wolle be wilde.”

There is therefore some ground for supposing that these yeoman families may have descended from cadet branches of this race which held so high a position in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, though positive proof is wanting.

It would be extremely interesting to trace, if possible, the descent of such families, but the difficulties are very great. The absence of wills of yeoman families prior to the fifteenth century is one great obstacle; the dearth of documents in that century is another.



By Marten Perry, M.D.

If thou hast gathered nothing in thy youth, how canst thou find anything in thy age?” (Motto on title-page of 1st vol. of S.G.S. Minutes.)

At the very commencement of the eighteenth century, a number of gentlemen interested in antiquarian pursuits were in the habit of meeting weekly in London at various coffee-houses in the vicinity of the Temple. At one of these places Maurice Johnson was introduced by John Gay, the poet, to Pope, Addison, Steele, and other learned men. The Tatler was here read and discussed, but one of the principal subjects for discussion seems to have been the resuscitation of the London Society of Antiquaries. It was then agreed that, so soon as sufficient funds should be obtained, a start should be made. Among other arrangements, Maurice Johnson was designated its first librarian.

Johnson, however, having completed his studies, and been admitted a member of the Inner Temple, removed to his native town of Spalding.

Born in this town (baptized June 26, 1688), a member of a very influential family in Lincolnshire, he soon met with several professional and other appointments. These led him into the society of many eminent men. He also continued in touch with his friends in London, and retained his love for antiquarian pursuits.

In 1709 he took up his residence in Spalding, and the same year married Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph Ambler, and granddaughter of Anthony Oldfield, who was lineally descended from Sir Thomas Gresham. He, perforce,[320] exchanged the society of the wits at Buttons’ Coffee-house and of antiquaries at the Temple ’Change, for the ordinary society of a small country town. So great, however, was his love of learning and science that he at once entertained the bold design of establishing a literary society in the very heart of the Fens of Lincolnshire. It was, as he very truly said, “an endeavour new and untried before.” Those to whom he looked for assistance “were unaccustomed to such a mode of spending an evening.” He took care not to alarm the country gentlemen by premature mention of antiquities, but endeavoured to allure them into the more flowery paths of literature.

The Tatler came into service; it was read at a coffee-house in the Abbey Yard to some friends who were induced to meet him there.

“These papers being universally approved as both instructive and entertaining, they order’d ’em to be sent down thither when they were read every Post-day, generally aloud to the whole company, who could sit and talk over the subject afterwards. This insensibly drew the men of sense and letters into a sociable way of conversing, and continued ye next yeare, 1710, until the publisher desisted to their great regret, whose thoughts being by this means bent towards their own improvement in knowledge, they again in like manner heard some of the Tatlers read over, and now and then, a Poem, Letter, or Essay upon some subject in polite literature; and it being hapily suggested that as they take care to have these papers kept together, it would be well worth their while to take into consideration the state of the Parochial Library, where there were some valuable editions of the best authors in no very good condicon, and they did accordingly agree to contribute towards the repairing of the old and adding new books to it. But being by ye two worst enemies to understanding, Ignorance & Indolence, prevented doing much for it, they turned their beneficial intention towards the royal and ffree Grammar School, in which there was at that time a large but empty desk capable of being made a press or class on wᶜʰ ye one only solitary volume then belonging to the school lay (viz.) ‘Langius Polyanthæa,’ bestowed upon it by Sir John Oldfield, Bart., some years before, & to this these Gentlemen did now voluntarily add several other Authors in Gram̅atical, Critical, or Classic learning, wᶜʰ was to ye great pleasure & convenience of the worthy Master.”

The use of both these Libraries was, however, reserved for the members of the Society.


According to the Society’s book-plate, which was engraved by George Vertue, after a design submitted to him by Maurice Johnson, the date of the institution of the Society is 1710. This date is also frequently referred to by the founder as that of its institution.

In March 1711, the Spectator came out, and was duly read here as the Tatter had been.

“From the time of its first foundation in 1709,” says Johnson, “it was only a meeting at a coffee-house upon trial, how such a designe might succeed, to the time when it was fixed upon yᵉ rules signed and subscribed in 1712. Yet I constantly kept every paper communicated to the company, and read and left there, tho’ these being for the most, part printed papers no minutes were made thereof. Upon the proposal being signed or subscribed, I attempted taking minutes, that some account might appear to be serviceable for conducting this good design and assisting other gentlemen, my acquaintance and friends in Lincoln City, Peterborough, Stamford, Boston, Oundle, Wisbech, and elsewhere, to institute and promote the like design and hold correspondence with us. In some places this succeeded.”

Proposals for the carrying on of the Society having been submitted on November 3, 1712, the same were on that day agreed to, and the Rev. Stephen Lyon, minister of Spalding and rector of Mereworth, in Kent, was elected the first president. On January 5, 1712/3, Mr. William Ambler was, on the proposal of Mr. Lyon, elected to succeed him; and, it having been proposed to elect a secretary “to minute their proceedings, and keep all papers, &c., in good order for the furtherance of their laudable design,” the Society elected to that post Mr. Maurice Johnson, “who very willingly accepted that office.” At the meeting held on 2nd February the Rev. John Wareing, headmaster of the Grammar School, was elected president for the month of February; but, he being much indisposed, Mr. Johnson, senr., was on the 25th elected president for a month. The Rev. S. Lyon was again chosen to act as president from 25th March, but on the 30th of the same month it was decided that, as so frequent a change was not beneficial to the Society, the president should remain in office “quam diu se bene gesserit.”


This year the Lay Monk and Memoirs of Literature were taken in. A resolution was also passed for the admission of extra-regular or honorary members, to the number of fourteen, each of whom was to give to the library of the church a book or books to the value of one pound.

In 1715-16 a little room in the old part of the parsonage-house was fitted up, and by favour of the Rev. Timothy Neve (subsequently Prebendary of Lincoln and of Peterborough, and Archdeacon of Huntingdon), who hired that part, the Society met there at the usual times, until the number of members having increased they were obliged to find a larger room, and agreed to take one in the “Markett-stead.”

“The Society, having resumed their intention of advancing the Parochial Library, effected it with vigour answerable to their strength; and the books belonging to it were by these gentlemen removed from a damp, little, and inconvenient room, with a chimney difficult of access, and deposited in the Vestry.”

After the death of the Rev. John Wareing, the Society purchased from his widow the very valuable collection of books which he had formed, and divided them between the libraries at the church and Grammar School.

Papers called the Englishman, Guardian, Entertainers, and Lovers were taken in, and (so long as they meddled not with politics) were read; as were also the Honest Gentleman and the Spyes, so far as they were non-political.

At first the various acts and regulations of the Society were recorded on odd sheets of paper of various sizes and shapes. These were subsequently bound together and entitled “the first book of Minutes or the Institution Book.” Subsequently other volumes of minutes were duly kept; the sixth volume being in use at the time of the death of the founder. The entries in these books are chiefly by Maurice Johnson, and the illustrations are numerous, and several of them beautifully[323] coloured by him. Each is bound in vellum, and has a book-plate engraved by Vertue. A motto, differing in each case, is affixed to each of the first four volumes. They form some of the most valued works belonging to the Society.

The varied nature of the communications received by the Society is indicated by the earliest of those recorded in the Institution Book. Thus, on November 10, 1712, there is a sketch of “The forme of a Tomb in the Cemetery of the Cathedral Church in Peterborough, in the County of Northᵗᵒⁿ on the south side near the choir, with yᵉ inscription thereon—


Anima Johannis de Sancto Ivone Quandam Prioris per Misericordiam Dei. In pace requiescat. M.D.xij.”

At the next meeting, held on 17th November, Mr. Maurice Johnson communicated to the Society “2 copies of Verses from the Revᵈ Mr. Francis Curtis, the one an Epistle from a Gentleman at Eaton to his Fʳᵈ at Cambridge, in Latine Hexametre and Pentametre; the other in English upon the D. of Marlborough’s goeing for Germany, where he commanded the Allyd army agᵗ the French and their allies.” He also gave a list of materials for painting in miniature, &c., collected from the directions of Albert Dürer and others, with the method of preparing them. The next week’s proceedings were of great interest. A Spalding halfpenny of 1667, showing a view of the old Town Hall, was exhibited by the secretary. The Rev. J. Wareing gave a “Description of a Journey to Bath, and of the Antiquities and Natural Curiosities of the City of Bath, in several Latin Epistles, attended with Drawings.” Next followed the “Exhibition of an Impression in Wax of a Brass Seal of Elizabeth Lady, Dutchess of Severki, in Poland.” This shows the figure of a lady seated on a side-saddle, with a hawk perched on her left[324] hand, and a lure in her right hand. Thereupon followed a dissertation on hawking, on ladies’ habits, and on side-saddles, with reference to their introduction into England in 1382, by Queen Anne (daughter of Charles II. of Bohemia and Emperor of Germany), the wife of our King Richard II. Lastly comes “Inscriptum Picturæ Reverendi Martyrologistæ et S.T.P. Dni Johannis Foxij, Anno Domini 1509. Ætatis 70, penes Johan. L. Toley. Armiger apud Boston, ubi idem doctiss. Autor natus fuit.”

The admission of regular members was very strictly guarded.

“Persons proposed to be elected and admitted members, whose names, titles, degrees, and places of residence must be certified in writing by the regular member proposing them, with any two other members signifying also their assent thereto, must be minuted, notified, and put up by the Secretary at the two next succeeding meetings, and be balloted on the third. The proposer to be answerable for the donation of a guinea, or to that value, and for the first 12 months payment of such person or persons proposed, if a resident and elected member, at 12d. a month; saving all noblemen and gentlemen invited by the Society to become members, and of all foreigners, for the honour of the institution and carrying on a learned correspondence.”

It is evident that the Society was now in a most flourishing condition, and had obtained a position seldom, if ever, equalled by any Society in a provincial town. Extraneous assistance was, however, needed to sustain the interests of its members and maintain its prosperity. Papers were contributed, valuable books given, and interesting letters written by many who were not resident in the neighbourhood. These donations are still preserved with religious care. Some of the communications, e.g. from such men as Roger and Samuel Gale, Stukeley, the Earl of Oxford, Sir John Clarke, and others are of considerable interest. Four portfolios of drawings and engravings, several ancient manuscripts as well as books of reference, and many books printed in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries are still in the[325] library. A commencement was also made towards forming a museum.

The Society annually added to its list of members the names of some of the most learned men of the day. Amongst these we find Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Hans Sloane, Edward Harley (Earl of Oxford), Roger and Samuel Gale, Dr. Stukeley, Beaupré Bell, Dr. Jurin, Dr. Mortimer (Sec. R.S.), Dr. Massey, Archdeacon Neve, Joseph Banks (father of Sir Joseph Banks), Samuel Wesley, Rev. Dr. Desaguliers (mathematician, a noted Freemason), Dr. Richard Bentley (at that time Master of Spalding Grammar School, but soon afterwards preferred to the Mastership of Trinity College, Cambridge), William Bogdani, George Vertue, R. Collins and Samuel Buck (the engravers), Lord Coleraine (Pres. Soc. Ant.), Dr. Dodd, Emanuel Mendez da Costa, Charles Jennings (Solyman the Magnificent), Dosithæus (Archimandrite, Abbot of the Monastery of Pantocrateras on Mount Athos), Martin Folkes (the numismatist), Captain John Perry (engineer to the Czar, Peter the Great, but about that time engaged in the drainage of Deeping Fen), Archdeacon Sharp, Rev. Richard Southgate, Thomas Sympson (of Lincoln), Chancellor Taylor, Browne Willis, John Grundy (engineer), and many others of eminence, who are too numerous to mention separately.

The attention of the Society was not confined to antiquities, but was also given to discoveries in natural history, to literature, to chemistry, to paintings, sculpture, mathematics, music, and, in fact, anything worthy the attention of cultured men of that period. It had a valuable collection of electrical apparatus. It possessed a physic garden. “We deal,” says Johnson to Archdeacon Neve in 1745-46, “in all the arts and sciences, and exclude nothing from our conversation but politics, which would throw us all into confusion and disorder.”

Antiquarian pursuits, however, are shown by the minute books to have been the favourite study. Scarcely[326] a single meeting was held at which some antique specimen was not exhibited, or an address given on some antiquarian subject. Not only were papers concerning the monastic remains of the district and the architecture of its churches eminently interesting, but the secretary had inherited from his ancestor, Sir Richard Ogle, several manuscripts which had formerly belonged to the mitred Priory of Spalding. He had access also to many other documents in public and private collections. From these and other sources he was able to produce a history of the Priory, with an account of each Lord Prior in succession. This account was entered in extenso in the minute books. It is also recorded that he wrote an account of his native town. He exhibited charters of the Priory and various documents belonging to other places. He had an ample collection of ancient coins, some of which, judging by the illustrations in the minute books, were of considerable value. These were at times shown to the members, and his remarks thereon must have been of great interest. He wrote an essay on the Mint at Lincoln, which was published. He also wrote a lengthy account of the coins of Carausius and Allectus, which is in MS. in the keeping of the Society, as are also many other of his dissertations.

Encouraged by Mr. Secretary Addison, and Captain (afterwards Sir Richard Steele), Maurice Johnson prepared “a true, succinct, historical account of the Royal Society, as also of the restoration of our Antiquarian Society of London. These documents were obtained from him by Dr. Mortimer, under the assured promise of publishing them, and so introducing the better and fuller knowledge of us to the learned world, in a dedication, preface, or preamble to some volume of the Philosophical Transactions, wherein he proposed to give an account of all the Societies of Great Britain and Ireland, restored, re-established, or founded since the Royal Society.” It appears that the Society of Antiquaries was pleased with this[327] account (and desired a copy of it), as was also the Royal Society. Dr. Mortimer, however, never published the account, and Maurice Johnson was unable to obtain the paper back again, though he several times applied for its return both personally and through his friends.

Another member who contributed much towards the success of the Society was Dr. William Stukeley. A native of Holbeach, he became a member of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, graduated M.B. in 1709, commenced to practice medicine at Boston in 1710, was admitted F.R.S. in 1717, graduated M.D., Cantab., in 1719, and became F.R.C.P., London, in 1720. Dr. Stukeley removed to Grantham in 1725; he then forsook the medical profession, and was ordained in 1729. He became vicar of All Saints’, Stamford, with St. Peter’s attached, in 1730. We find his name as one of the founders of the Egyptian Society in 1741, and in 1747 he accepted the rectory of St. George’s, Queen’s Square, London, on the presentation of the Duke of Montagu. The Society still possesses some forty of his communications, nearly all being illustrated. In this collection are a set of drawings of the figures on the west front of Croyland Abbey, and of the triangular bridge. These are now of value as showing the state of those structures in the year 1746. When in London in 1740 to 1750, he used to go to the meetings of the Royal Society, and on his return in the evening he wrote down what he could remember of the debates. In this manner he filled five small volumes, which were sent down to Spalding. These volumes were bound in vellum, and are still carefully preserved.

Stukeley’s publications were very numerous, and they contain many references to this Society. His Itinerarium Curiosum is dedicated to Maurice Johnson, to whom he was much indebted for assistance in composing his Medallic History of Marcus Aurelius Valerius Carausius.

Browne Willis, Roger Gale, and Beaupré Bell wrote[328] many letters and essays which were read at the weekly meetings. George Vertue, among many other benefactions, presented to the Society a copy of “Justes at Westmʳ, the 12th of Febʳ., by the King, my Lord of Devon, Sir Tho. Knyvet, and Edw. Nevill, Aᵒ 1ᵒ H. viij.” It was long unknown who was the engraver, but the S.G.S. minute books prove that it was the work of Vertue himself. John Grundy, jun., engineer for the Deeping Fen drainage, drew the map of Spalding, surrounded by views of twelve ancient buildings in the neighbourhood of the town, which still adorns the Society’s room. This map has been since engraved, and even reproduced, by a firm at Chicago, to illustrate a volume on the family of Spalding in America. Dr. Bolton, of Boston, gave some engravings of Albrecht Dürer, Heinrich Aldegreve, and Callot, which were purchased by him in Holland.

Imitation being the most sincere form of flattery, other societies were formed upon the same model at Stamford, Boston, Peterborough, Oundle, and Wisbech. At Lincoln, Worcester, Doncaster, and Dublin similar institutions also arose. Most of these soon became extinct. The Peterborough Society, established by Archdeacon Neve, lived sufficiently long to enable it to complete two or more volumes of minutes, becoming known as the Peterborough Book Society in 1810. It has now ceased to exist. The Brazenose Society at Stamford, established by Dr. Stukeley, did not long prosper, and an effort to revive it some time afterwards appears to have completely failed. Of the other societies little, if anything, is known. The Gentlemen’s Society at Spalding is probably the only survivor.

The esteem in which this Society was held is proved, not only by a number of letters written by leading men of the day, notably by Kortholt (Epist. ad Kappium de Soc. Ant. Lond. Lips. 1730, p. 6), but also by the action of the Royal Society who, by order of the president, showed its approval by sending their Transactions. The[329] Society of Antiquaries also ordered all their works, “as published,” to be sent by their Directors. They also exchanged their papers, after having been read in London, for those read at Spalding. On the minutes of the Society of Antiquaries are recorded several of these communications, but the minute books of the Gentlemen’s Society show that a still larger number were sent up.

To the end of his life (obiit Feb. 7ᵒ, sepult. Feb. 11ᵒ, 1755, as recorded in the Register at Spalding Parish Church) Maurice Johnson continued to be the mainstay of this Society. As long as he lived the Society flourished. The greater part of the communications were made by him, or obtained through his activity. The minute books were chiefly his penmanship, and the beautiful illustrations therein mainly his handiwork. To the library he gave many of its most valuable books, and the museum owed much to his liberality. Even to the very last he showed his love for the Society, by providing in his will an endowment for the chaplain of Wykeham, who was, previous to his appointment, to undertake the duties of librarian and take charge of its supellex literaria.

Before his death Johnson, with reference to the state of this Society, observed in a letter to his friend Gale, “realms and all communities have their periods.” Nevertheless, as Gale in return assured him, “the supellex literaria of the Society still remains a glorious monument of the public spirit and learning of its founder, and the record of a noble attempt, which otherwise would scarcely be credited by posterity.”

After Johnson’s decease a change comes over the scene; the Society continued to meet every week, and the accounts were duly kept, but the minute book ceased to be used, little was added to the library or museum, and the Physic Garden was given up. It is not, however, to be supposed that the objects for which the Society was established were entirely neglected. The “Books of Accompts” contain several instances of money having[330] been spent for the purchase of books, &c., but its activity decidedly slackened.

A further evidence that the Society was not defunct is shown by the following extract from the will of Mr. Michael Cox, an apothecary and the “Operator” to the Society:—

“I do hereby order that neither my said wife nor the said John Motson, or his heirs, nor the person or persons to whom they shall sell the same estates, shall have power to discharge or eject the Gentlemen of the Literary Society in Spalding from the occupation of the room they now hold of me, with whatever Liberty’s they now enjoy ... they continuing well, duly and faithfully to pay the Annual Rent of Five pounds and to occupy the same as and for a Literary Society room only.”

This room remained in the occupation of the Society until, in the year 1878, the Improvement Commissioners, being anxious to widen the street near the High Bridge, made an offer of £100 for its interest therein. This sum was accepted, and the contents of the library and museum were removed to a room in Double Street until the trustees of the Johnson Hospital, which had recently been erected, offered the use of the Board-room and other accommodation at a small rental.

The “Books of Accompts” above referred to are three in number. Each volume is bound in parchment and is 16 inches high by 6½ inches wide. They are ruled by hand, and have on each page a debit and credit account side by side. The entries therein are very conclusive as to the continuity of the Society, as they contain the weekly expenditures and annual contributions of the members. The election of new members and of the officers of the Society are recorded, although omissions are evidently numerous. In order to show that the original objects of the Society were not overlooked, the following items, taken at different periods, will suffice:—

On August 21, 1760, a payment is made to Mr. E. Kingston for experiments in electricity. On June 11, 1761, a reflecting telescope is paid for. On December 24,[331] 1767, seven guineas are given for an electrical machine. On December 27, 1789, there is an entry of payment for repairs to the telescope. On January 1, 1805, an order is made to have the books, manuscripts, prints, &c., catalogued. This order was carried out, and several copies of “A Catalogue of the Spalding Gentlemen’s Society, by T. Albin, 1808,” still exist. On January 1, 1811, is the last entry in the account books. This is a revised set of “Rules and Regulations,” wherein the following items are noticeable:—

“All books, maps, prints, papers, medals, curiosities, furniture, &c., already in the possession of the Society, or which may hereafter be purchased by or be bequeathed to them, shall be considered the joint property of all the existing members, and no person shall claim a separate right to them.”

(Needless to say, this rule remains unrepealed.) At the same meeting a sub-librarian was appointed and his duties defined; regulations were made as to the issue of books to the members; ladies were to be admitted to the Society, but were not to have votes; and minutes were to be entered in a book to be provided for that purpose. These minutes were signed by the Rev. Maurice Johnson as president, and by fifteen other members. Possibly this new book was never procured, as from this time neither minutes nor accounts are anywhere to be found, until 1828, when the entry of minutes was resumed in the old book (vol. vi.), and this book continued in use up to the 15th July 1889, when another volume was commenced.

On the 18th of February 1828, Dr. Maurice Johnson resigned the office of president, and the Rev. Dr. William Moore was elected to succeed him. The Rev. J. H. Marsden, then an assistant curate of Spalding, was appointed librarian and secretary. At that time the number of members was only fifteen, but seven others were admitted at the same meeting.

At the next meeting, on February 25, the secretary was requested “to examine the Society’s records in order to ascertain the terms upon which certain books were[332] deposited in the church and school.” He gave in his report on March 3, and the members present were unanimously of opinion “that the books appear to have been a free gift.” At this meeting a committee was appointed for the purpose of examining and arranging the museum.

From this time the election of members and the gifts of books to the library are duly recorded. The meetings, however, do not appear to have been held regularly, but all the entries refer to the work of the Society—e.g. on 25th July 1838, “examined Mr. Grundy’s plan of the town of Spalding, the same being in a state of dilapidation, and resolved that it will be advisable to obtain a lithographic fac-simile.” This order was duly carried out, and copies were sold at fifteen shillings each. It was then arranged that the meetings should be held quarterly.

On 14th June 1848, Sir Charles Anderson wrote asking permission to have the minute books sent to Lincoln for inspection at the meeting of the Archæological Institute which was then being arranged. This request was complied with, and accompanied by a paper entitled “The Gentlemen’s Society at Spalding: Its Origin and Progress.” This paper was subsequently printed by the Institute, and afterwards reprinted as a pamphlet by Pickering in 1851. After the meeting, Mr. Albert Way wrote as follows:—

Wonham, Reigate, August 19, 1848.

Dear Sir,—I have the honor to convey to you, and to request you to communicate to the Gentlemen composing the Spalding Society, the hearty thanks of the Central Committee of the Institute for the kindness with which you have been pleased to transmit the memorials of the Society to Lincoln for the gratification of our members during the late meeting. I hope that these precious documents have safely reached you: they were committed to the custody of Mr. Swan’s clerk in the absence of that gentleman.

“The Committee request me also to express their acknowledgment and thanks for your interesting and valuable notice of the Society of Spalding, and the character of its early labors in the field of Archæology. The Committee would hail with the utmost satisfaction the re-establishment in full vigor of such a Society in your County for the examination and preservation of historical memorials and ancient monuments or antiquities. They would[333] hope that the names of Maurice Johnson and his contemporaries might yet form the watchword to rally round the Gentlemen of Spalding all those who cherish the memory of ancient times in your County, so rich in historical recollections and examples illustrative of ancient usages or arts. The Committee would most thankfully have esteemed your kindness had it been compatible with the safe custody of the valuable memorials of the Spalding Society sent to Lincoln, to permit any more detail’d examination of them than was feasible at that time, or had it been practicable to select any portion of their curious contents which might have been given in the Lincoln volume about to be published. The memoir, however, which we owe to your kindness and hope you will permit me to publish in that volume, will excite curiosity regarding the labors of the Antiquaries of Spalding, which we would hope you may feel disposed, on some future occasion, to gratify by further notices and extracts.—I have the honor to be, Dear Sir, your obliged and obedient Servant,

Albert Way, Hon. Sec.

“The Rev. Dr. Moore.”

The minute book contains reference to, or has copies of correspondence with, several other antiquaries of note. Amongst them occur the names of Pishey Thompson, the author of the “History of Boston”; Admiral Smyth, author of “A Descriptive Catalogue of a Cabinet of Roman Coins, belonging to His Grace the Duke of Northumberland”; William Hopkinson of Stamford; John Yonge Akerman, Secretary to the Society of Antiquaries; Rev. A. Poole, &c.

Several valuable books were given to the Society, and papers on local antiquities and other subjects read by the members of the Society, and entered in extenso by Canon Moore, who also wrote memoirs of some of the members, viz.: John Richard Carter, Maurice Johnson of Blundeston (the fifth in lineal descent from the founder), Dr. W. Moore, and Dr. Cammack.

A vacancy having occurred in the presidency by the death of Dr. Moore in 1867, Thomas Cammack, F.R.C.P., was appointed to that office, which he retained until his death. On November 22, 1872, Canon Edward Moore, F.S.A., was chosen president. He was eminent as an architect, the restorer of the fine Parish Churches of Spalding, and of Weston St. Mary, and the preserver[334] of the west front of Crowland Abbey. The three Churches of St. John Baptist, St. Paul, and St. Peter, Spalding, were built under his auspices, as was also the new Grammar School and the Johnson Hospital. Canon Moore was well versed in archæology, and added much to the minute books of S.G.S. He died on 13th May 1889.

Between the years 1828 and 1889, although the meetings were held at infrequent and varying intervals, much interest must have been taken in the Society. The valuable papers read by Canon Moore, Dr. Cammack, Rev. R. Hollis, and others, and the communications from such men as Bishop Trollope, Matthew Bloxham, and Professor Marsden show that the Society still retained a considerable amount of energy. In addition to those whose names appear above, the list of members of this period gives those of Joseph Banks of Revesby (father of Sir Joseph Banks); Bertie, Lord Brownlow; Yarrard, the miniature painter; Count Montalembert, Lord Boston, Sir Gilbert Scott, T. J. Pettigrew, F.R.S.; J. J. Howard, Joseph Toynbee, F.R.S.; J. Russell Jackson, &c.

On July 15, 1889, the few remaining members met in the library, then situate in Double Street, and decided that an earnest effort should be made to revivify the Society. A president was elected, and a committee appointed to consider the rules and report thereon. A paper, In Memoriam Canon Edward Moore, was read. Several articles were exhibited and some donations made.

The next meeting was held on September 30 following, when the rules drawn up by the committee were adopted. A treasurer, a librarian, and a secretary were elected. A paper on “Numismatics” was read and some books were presented for the library.

Thus, again, working order was re-established; and from that date quarterly meetings have been held without a single intermission. At these meetings one or more papers have been read, gifts and purchases of books and specimens announced, and articles of interest exhibited.


For some years past the quarterly meetings have been supplemented by monthly ones, and at these also useful work has been accomplished. Summer excursions to places of antiquarian interest have also been organised.

Since 1889 many hundreds of volumes have been added to the library and the donations to the museum have been of considerable value.

The Society of Antiquaries of London continues to show its interest in the Spalding Gentlemen’s Society, by presenting annually its Proceedings and Archæologia.

The Society has purchased several valuable books at auction and other sales, e.g. from the late Joseph Philips, Esq., Colonel Moore, T. H. Brogden, Esq., and especially from Mrs. M. Johnson, widow of Maurice Johnson, Esq., of Ayscoughfee Hall and Blundeston, Suffolk. Most of these last-named works formerly belonged to our founder and have his book-plate inside the cover. The following extract from a Spalding newspaper will show their value:—

Library of Maurice Johnson, Esq., F.S.A.—As the sale of this library by public auction has been a subject of considerable interest in the town, on account of the intimate connection of its original owner with Ayscoughfee Hall, we are pleased to learn from Dr. Perry that the Spalding Gentlemen’s Society, which was instituted by Maurice Johnson in the year 1710, has been able to secure the following books and manuscripts which formerly belonged to their venerated founder, in addition to the large number of similar works which have been in the possession of the Society from the beginning of the last century. Most of the books are in a very satisfactory state, and the officers of the Society will have pleasure in showing them to any one interested in book lore. The works are:—

Sir Lawrence Myntling’s Court Book, containing calendars of the bond tenants, constitutions, orders, customs, &c., of the Priory of Spalding. MS., circ. 1455. This book was also formerly in possession of Sir Richard Ogle.

Registrum Brevium, Statuta Vetera, Summaria legis. MS., circ. A.D. 1300.

Middlecot’s Exchequer Records of Lincoln Holland, &c. MS.


Rental in Comitate Lincoln, by various writers. MS.

Catalogus Librorum Societatis Generos; Spalding, by Maurice Johnson. MS.

Of Sewers in Lincoln—Johnson’s collection.

Statute of Sewers, principally MS., collected by Maurice Johnson. This contains Callis’ original manuscript, signed by himself.

Pleas of the Crown, together with a large treatise of the Clergy, by M. Johnson. MS.

Rerum Anglicarum Scriptorum Veterum. Quorum Ingulphus nunc primum integer, ceteri nunc primum prodeunt. Oxoniæ (1684).

A Survey of the Cathedrals of Lincoln, Ely, Oxford, and Peterborough, by Browne Willis. S.G.S.S. (1730).

Harrington’s History of Croyland, translated by Sir Thomas Lambert. MS.

Roberti de Avesbury Historia de Mirabilis Gestis Edwardi III. Oxonii (1720).

Mariani Scoti Chronica; cum Martini Poloni Historia (1559).

Aristotelis de Reip bene administrandæ Ratione Libri Octo. cum commentariis domini Richardi Ogle Equitis Aurati (1567).

Antiquitates Rutupinæ, auctore Joanne Battely. Oxoniæ (1711).

Chronicon Saxonicum et MSS. Codicibus nunc primum integrum ac Latinum fecit Edmundus Gibson, Episc. Lincoln. Interleaved and containing many MS. observations by M. Johnson, F.S.A. (Oxon. 1692).

Fines inter Abbes de Burgo et de Croyland, VII. Regis Johannis (A.D. 1205); Ibid. inter Croyland et Burgo XXXI. Henrici Filii Johannis (A.D. 1247); et conventio inter iidem Abbes. Manuscript on vellum (13th century).

Tracts, viz.: Lewis’ Antiquity and use of Seals (1740); Sale Catalogue of the collection of Statues, &c., of Edward (Harley) Earl of Oxford, S.G.S.S.; Sale Catalogue of Coins of the same (1741-42); Marmor Sandvicense cum Commentario et Notis Tayleri, folding plates (1743); Sannazerius, The Oziers, translated by Beaupré Bell, S.G.S.S. (1724); The First and Second Satires of the Second Book of Horace, by Alexander Pope (1st Edition) (this was given by Pope, who was a member of the S.G.S., to his friend Maurice Johnson, 1734); Solomon, de Mundi Vanitate, by Matthew Prior (1735).

Another book of Tracts, containing Croyland’s Chronicle, compiled from the Charters, &c., by Sir John Harrington, Knight, in Latin, and translated into English by Sir Thomas Lambard, Knight, with additions by Maurice Johnson, Steward of the Manor of Crowland; Speeches by King Charles I. and others (1640); The Bedford Level Act (1662); Deeping Fenn Act (1664); The Allotment made out of the Fenns, by John Johnson and Timothy Tubbs, 1ᵒ July 1669.

Madox Thomas—History and Antiquities of the Exchequer of the Kings of England (1711).”

Gifts of books have been made by the Rev. A. W. G. Moore, Rev. E. Adrian Woodruffe-Peacock, Rev. R. Hollis,[337] Rev. J. Conway Walter, Rev. Dr. Astley, Rev. Canon Hemmans, Rev. James Penny, Rev. H. Larken, Rev. H. Kenelm Smith, Canon Atkinson, W. E. Foster, Esq., W. H. Wheeler, Esq., H. Peet, Esq., A. K. Maples, Esq., G. L. Nussey, Esq., The President, S. H. Perry, Esq., and others. The donation of “Sir Laurence Myntling’s Court Book of the Priory of Spalding” (MS., circ. 1455) by Alexander Peckover, Esq. (now Lord Peckover of Wisbech.), deserves special mention. His Majesty’s Stationery Office has given a large number of the Master of Rolls Series.

The books in the Grammar School library have been returned to S.G.S., as the Headmaster found they were becoming more and more dilapidated. Those books which were given to the Church library by S.G.S. have also been sent back for greater security. The other books in the Church library were removed to the Parsonage.

To the museum have been added various specimens, including coins, tokens, seals, casts, pottery, glass, ironwork, &c., of dates from the Roman period downwards.

The number of members has considerably increased, and their interest in the work and well-being of the Society is manifest.

The names of the present officers of the Society, and dates of their election, are as under:—

PresidentMarten Perry, M.D., F.R. Numismatic Society, M.R. Archæological Inst., &c. elected 1889
TreasurerHarold Stanley Maples, Esq. 1889
Librarian—Rev. E. M. Tweed, M.A. 1895
Hon. Sec.Ashley K. Maples, Esq. 1899
Hon. OperatorE. M. M. Smith, Esq. 1907

In consequence of the additions made to the library and the museum, and with a special view of celebrating its bicentenary, it was resolved that an effort be made to secure a permanent home for the Society, and with that object in view an urgent appeal was issued to the members in 1908. As a result a sum of £1150 was received. An appeal to non-members was made in the spring of[338] 1909, with the result of a further addition being made to the funds.

During the present year (1910) the members have made additional contributions. The Society has purchased a site, and commenced the erection of a structure to serve as a library, museum, caretaker’s residence, &c. The foundation stones were laid on July 9, 1910, by Everard Green, Esq., F.S.A., Rouge Dragon; Major Wingfield; Alderman F. Howard, High Sheriff of Lincolnshire; M. Perry, M.D.; E. M. E. Welby, Esq.; H. S. Maples, Esq.; Edward Gentle, Esq.; W. S. Royce, Esq.; E. E. E. Welby-Everard, Esq.; A. K. Maples, Esq.; G. L. Nussey, Esq.; Rev. S. Yates; Dr. S. H. Perry; and Rev. P. L. Hooson. The building is dedicated to the memory of the worthy founder of the Society.


The following quotation from the Publications of the Surtees Society, vol. lxxvi. p. 321, gives Dr. Stukeley’s opinion of the value of the work done by Maurice Johnson:—

“20th February 1755.—At the Antiquarian Society I gave them Samuel Gale’s MS. of Cornu Ulphi, with the Latin translation by himself, and the copper plate of a Runic inscription relating to it, which they might print if they thought fit. I gave them an account of Maurice Johnson’s death, and the eulogium I wrote of him that morning, in the following terms: On Saturday, 8th February 1755, dyed Maurice Johnson, Esq., of Spalding, Lincolnshire, Councellor at Law, a fluent orator, and of eminence in that profession, but to an extravagant acquisition of riches which he ever had in his power, he preferred the serene sweets of a country life, learned leisure, study, and contemplation. He is one of the last of the founders of the Antiquarian Society, London, begun in the year 1717, the only survivors being Brown Willis, Esq., and Dr. Stukeley. What is singular in Mr. Johnson’s praise is that he is the founder of the Literary Society in Spalding, which memorable transaction happened on 3rd November 1712. This Society, through his unwearied endeavors, interest, and applications of every kind, by his infinite labors in writing, collecting, methodizing indexes, and the like, has now subsisted in great reputation for these 40 years, and excited such a spirit of learning and curiosity in that level part of Lincolnshire, called South Holland,[339] as probably will never be extinguished. By this means they have got an excellent library, and all conveniences for their weekly meeting, have established a most extensive correspondence even to both Indies; are very exact in answering all communications; have made vast collections of MSS. letters, written historys, coins, medals, antiquities of every denomination; fossils, all kinds of natural and artificial curiosities, drawings, surveys, prints and the like. They keep exact minutes of everything that appears before them, have members in every branch of knowledge, try useful experiments and improvements tending to the common benefit or entertainment of mankind. Mr. Johnson was a great lover of gardening and planting, had an admirable collection of flowers, flowering shrubs, fruit-trees, exotics, an excellent cabinet of medals, in which he had great knowledge and judgment. Many years ago, particularly, he made large collections of memoirs of the history of Carausius, which he sent to me last summer, and is still in my custody, as a generous assistance in my work on that head, together with all his coins of that emperor, and one coin especially, which he always took to be Carausius’ son, of which I give a sketch. The face is like that of the young Tetricus, but singular in this, that the legend begins with Cæsar, the name Silvanvs, or whatever else, obliterated, which is the more to be regretted. Mr. Beaupré Bell, a young gentleman of most excellent learning and knowledge in medals, now dead, to the great loss of science, was confident that the coin belongs to Carausius’ son. In general, the antiquities of the great mitred Priory of Spalding, and of this part of Lincolnshire, are for ever obliged to Mr. Johnson’s care and diligence, being rescued and preserved from oblivion thereby. Thus much I thought proper to commemorate concerning the just eulogium of my friend and countryman.”



[1] Scenery of England, p. 85.

[2] Professor Boyd Dawkins, Early Man in Britain, p. 224 and ff.

[3] March 1909, by Rev. E. H. Mullins.

[4] Since the above was written, a fine specimen of River Drift Man’s handiwork has been found by the author in the River Trent Gravels, June 21, 1910.

[5] Early Man in Britain, p. 315.

[6] Nature for December 1907, p. 103.

[7] Early Man in Britain, by Boyd Dawkins, p. 434.

[8] Kemble’s Horæ Ferales, pl. 17.

[9] Celtic Art, by Bowdly Allen, p. 77.

[10] Introduction to The History of Lincolnshire, “Pike’s Series.”

[11] Celtic Britain, pp. 30, 288.

[12] Vit. Agric. c. 20.

[13] “Richard of Cirencester” says that there were nine colonies in Britain, including Chester and Caerleon; and the statement is still often repeated, though no confidence can be placed in it.

[14] The date is unknown, but the original must be older than the eighteenth century, as neither T. Sympson nor Stukeley speaks of a double gate.

[15] Another milestone of his reign has been discovered in Wales, and his coins are not uncommon; so we have here fresh proof that the Gallic usurpers in the time of Gallienus were acknowledged in Britain.

[16] His see is given as Colonia “Londinensium,” and the reading “Lindensium” is the best hitherto suggested for a word that is evidently corrupt.

[17] Roman Roads in Britain, p. 384.

[18] It is once called in the Itinerary “Isubrigantum.”

[19] Herodian, iii. c. 14.

[20] The Fenland, Past and Present. By S. H. Miller and S. B. J. Skertchly, p. 181.

[21] Skertchly, op. cit., p. 142, and Miller, p. 28 and pp. 43-54.

[22] W. H. Wheeler, Fens of South Lincolnshire, p. 7.

[23] Miller, op. cit., p. 47.

[24] Of the name of “Cold Harbour,” which is generally associated with ruined buildings near Roman roads, there are at least ten instances in the county, and probably more. Five of these are in or near the Wolds of East Lindsey.

[25] The statue, altar, and milliary can still be seen at Ancaster Vicarage.

[26] This view has survived the discredit now attaching to the forged Itinerary of “Richard of Cirencester,” in which alone is found the positive statement that this province was beyond the Humber.

[27] So it is termed by Mr. Codrington in his Roman Roads in Britain, p. 225.

[28] Mr. R. Brown, jun., F.S.A., in his Earlier History of Barton-on-Humber, vol. i. p. 12, supposes that this road kept to the heights, leaving Yarborough to the east, and ended at South Ferriby. But if the Barton earthwork be really Roman, as Yarborough unquestionably is, a road connecting both with Caistor seems not unlikely.

[29] Geoffrey gives its British name as “Caer Corrie”—strangely corrupted by Camden into “Caer Egarry.” The name suggests a connection with the Coritani; but it occurs only in this mass of fantastic legend.

[30] E. A. Freeman, English Towns and Districts, 1883, pp. 210, 211.

[31] The Church of St. Peter “ad Fontem,” which Picot, son of Coleswegen, gave to St. Mary’s Abbey at York (see notice of grant ap. Dugdale, Mon. Angl., ed. Caley, &c., 1846, vol. iii. p. 549), was in the eastern suburb of the city. Here, then, we must place that “wasta terra” which King William gave to Coleswegen, and the two churches which Coleswegen endowed there (Domesday Book, Lincolnshire fac-simile, f. 2b).

[32] See plan of Barton-on-Humber and conjectural elevation of the original building, ap. Baldwin Brown, Arts in Early England, 1903, vol. ii. p. 210. An account of Broughton, with views of the tower arch, follows, pp. 211 sqq.

[33] The wooden stair at Brigstock has been replaced by a ladder, but the holes for the stair-logs remain in the inner wall of the turret. The stone stair at Broughton has been supposed to be an afterthought of the builders, but the present writer is very doubtful about this.

[34] An illustration and description of this tower will be found in Assoc. Archit. Societies’ Reports, vol. xxix., 1907, p. 70, at the end of an article in which the present writer has collected the results of his observation of towers in the neighbourhood of Grimsby and Caistor.

[35] The present belfry stage of the tower is of the fifteenth century, and is built on piers and arches placed against the inner face of the older tower walls. For plan of the older tower, see Baldwin Brown, op. cit., ii. 240.

[36] Twenty-six is the exact number of towers which may be said to be unquestionable members of the group. But the number may be raised by the inclusion of a few more possible examples.

[37] The roof-line, visible on the eastern wall of the tower, is that of the mediæval church before the addition of the clerestory.

[38] Hough-on-the-Hill, as noted later, is the only example in which the details of the quoining really approximate to those at Barton; but at Hough there is no strip-work.

[39] A kindred example of strip-framing finished off in this way is the north doorway at Laughton-en-le-Morthen, near Rotherham. At Skipwith, near Selby, the tower arch has strip-framing. Both these churches lie within the area to which the Lincolnshire group may be said to belong. The present writer has dealt briefly with the Yorkshire churches in this area in an article on “The Village Churches of Yorkshire,” in Memorials of Old Yorkshire.

[40] Historical evidence which points to this conclusion has been summarised by Dr. Mansel Sympson (“Where was Sidnaceaster?”—Assoc. Archit. Soc. Reports, vol. xxviii., 1905, pp. 87 sqq.). A charter of Edward the Confessor, preserved at Peterborough, which contains the grant of the church, &c., at Fiskerton to the Abbey of Peterborough, is witnessed by several bishops and nobles, including Wulfwig, Bishop of Lindsey, who signs himself “Lincolie episcopus.” The charter, however, appears to be a copy of the original, in which “Lincolie” may have been written by error for “Lindisse.” But, if “Lincolie” is right, the use of the title by a bishop whose see was at Dorchester-on-Thames points to the fact that he looked on Lincoln as his true episcopal city. And the conviction of the present writer, on other grounds, is that “Sidnaceaster,” whose site was unknown even to writers of the Norman period, is simply a careless MS. corruption of “Lindaceaster,” or some allied Saxon form of “Lindum Colonia.”

[41] The old archdeaconry of Stow comprised the deaneries (now subdivided to some degree) of Aslackhoe, Corringham, Lawres, and Manlake—in fact, the original district of Lindsey, east of Trent and west of Ancholme.

[42] The dedicatory inscription on the tower of St. Mary-le-Wigford, while clearly pointing to its English origin, must not be taken as indicative of any positive date.

[43] Baldwin Brown, op. cit., vol. ii. chap. ii.

[44] See the article on this subject by Dr. J. H. Round, Feudal England, pp. 317 sqq. How far the influence of Normans in England before the Conquest may have affected work in masonry is a point which may be left to the judgment of the individual reader. The foreigners who threw up their own characteristic earthworks at the “Pentecost’s Castle” and “Richard’s Castle” of the Chronicle cannot be certainly credited with any influence outside their own branch of work; and the appearance of “Norman” technique at Westminster does not imply its general acceptance in the provinces.

[45] There is a concise account of the lords of Grantham in the Rev. B. Street’s Historical Notes on Grantham and on Grantham Church. To this book the writer is indebted for much of the historical matter of the present chapter, but has carefully checked it by his own research, adding where necessary references not noticed or imperfectly given by Street and his eighteenth-century predecessor, Edmund Turnor, author of the History of Grantham. Much research into the mediæval history of the town is still necessary.

[46] Rotuli Hundredorum (Record Commission), vol. ii. pp. 259, 288. The jurors, who suffered from bad memories, called the original grantee Ralph instead of William.

[47] See Street, Notes on Grantham, pp. 30, 31. The facts and dates given there are not wholly consonant with history, and the names and relationships of the owners of the manor are entirely wrong, Ranulf de Blundeville, Earl of Chester, being confused with Ranulf de Glanville, and the descendants of his sister Mabel with those of his sister Maud.

[48] Patent Rolls, 37-8 Henry III., pt. i., m. 8 (1253-4, 14 February, Bazas): grant to Edward of Stamford and Graham [Grantham] with its honour (cf. ibid., m. 3, 1254, 14 April, Meilhan); ibid., pt. ii., m. 8 (1254, 26 August, Bordeaux): notification supplementary to assignment in dower to Eleanor. They had been assigned to her 1254, 20 July, at St. Macaire (ibid., m. 10).

[49] See Close Rolls, 18 Edw. II., m. 12 (1324-5, 18 March, Westminster): order to deliver goods of Aymer de Valence to his executors, towns of Stamford and Graham [Grantham], &c., excepted; ibid., 19 Edw. II., m. 31 (1325, 28 July): escheat of manor.

[50] Patent Rolls, 19 Edw. II., pt. ii., m. 8 (1326, 17 May): grant; Close Rolls, 19 Edw. II., m. 4 (1326, 29 May): order to deliver; ibid., m. 3d (1326, 7 May): enrolment of release on quit-claim.

[51] Patent Rolls, 12 Edw. III., pt. ii., m. 22 (1338, 20 June).

[52] The date is given on the strength of Street’s notes; but Street adds that the grant was made on the marriage of Edmund with Isabel of Castile, which did not take place till 1372. Possibly the grant was made in 1373.

[53] In 1402 Edmund, Duke of York, was said to hold Grantham immediately of the King, warrant unknown (Subs. Rolls, box 106, No. 105, &c., ap. Inquisitions and Assessments relating to Feudal Aids, vol. iii., 1904, p. 252).

[54] Patent Rolls, 1 Edw. IV., pt. iv., m. 1 (1461, 1 June).

[55] It may be noted that the authority for the existence of this cross is no earlier than Weever’s Ancient Funerall Monuments (1631). There is some reason for supposing that the funeral procession travelled by way of Newark and the old road, known as Sewstern Lane, and did not touch Grantham. The cross destroyed at Grantham in the seventeenth century, and known as the Queen’s Cross, was not necessarily an “Eleanor” cross.

[56] Charter Rolls, 11 Henry III., pt. i., m. 20 (1226-7, 17 March, Westminster): grant to abbey and convent of lands which they hold in the town of Graham, and manses and land which Colegrim granted. For privileges claimed by the abbey see Placita de Quo Warranto (Record Commission), p. 394, col. 2.

[57] This was a chapel to the parish church of St. Wulfran, mentioned in the interesting inspeximus and confirmation of the agreement between the Abbot and Convent of Vaudey and Roger de Wolsthorp and Richard de Saltby (1349, 16 October; Pat. Rolls, 23 Edw. III., pt. iii., m. 22) as the Chapel of St. Peter in the south street (in australi vico) of the town.

[58] There is a document relating to the Friars Minors of Grantham, Close Rolls, 19 Edw. II., m. 11 (1325-6, 6 March, Leicester).

[59] Grantham lay on the way to Boston, the great port for the export of wool. Allusions to the connection with Boston are common: see, e.g., Patent Rolls, 42 Henry III., m. 9d, where the mayor and bailiffs of various Lincolnshire towns, including (the bailiff of) “Graham,” are ordered to provide carts at the King’s cost to carry the King’s wines from Boston Fair to Chester. It will be remembered how at a later date local merchants, members of the Staple of Calais, built their houses in villages near the town.

[60] This was Mr. Street’s idea, and it seems fairly probable.

[61] It is mentioned in the grant to Prince Edward from Bazas (see note 1, p. 134), and is said to be mentioned in the grant to Edmund of Langley.

[62] e.g. on 30th and 31st August 1291 (Pat. Rolls, 19 Edw. I., mm. 7, 6).

[63] Street, Notes, pp. 121, 122, quotes the earliest minutes of this ceremony from the Corporation Records (21 October 1634).

[64] The Abbot and Convent of St. Mary at York presented to Belton; the Abbot and Convent of Croyland to Sapperton.

[65] Rot. Hund., Edw. I., vol. i. p. 290, col. 2.

[66] The institution of Bononius, on the presentation of William de Yngoldesby, canon of Salisbury, to the vicarage of the prebend of [North] Grantham, occurs in Bishop Hugh of Wells’ roll for Lincoln Archdeaconry, m. 3. The last entry but one on the same membrane is the institution of Richard de Newerc, chaplain, on the presentation of Geoffrey de Boclond, canon of the south prebend of Grantham, to the vicarage of that prebend. Brief definitions of the vicarages follow each entry: the vicarage of South Grantham is said to consist in a moiety of the altarage of Grantham and Gonerby, and in all the fruits of the altars of Horton (Houghton) and Bresteby (Braceby). Each vicar had to pay a pension of 100 shillings yearly to his prebendary.

[67] A very full account of Grantham Church, by the late Bishop (then Archdeacon) Trollope, compiled for the Lincoln Diocesan Architectural Society’s meeting at Grantham in 1867, is printed in Assoc. Arch. Soc. Reports, vol. xi. pp. 1-12. Sir Gilbert Scott’s brief summary of its architectural history will be found in the same publication, vol. xiii. pp. 28-35. Turnor’s History of Grantham and Street’s Notes contain accounts of the building; and a small pamphlet by the Rev. D. Woodroffe, called Half-an-Hour in Grantham Church, may also be mentioned. The present writer, while mentioning these, has been led in some instances by his own study of the building to somewhat different conclusions.

[68] The carving is allied to that of the capitals in the Castle Hall at Oakham and in Twyford Church, Leicestershire, but is somewhat smaller in scale and less bold in outline. The foliage of some of the capitals was much mutilated by the introduction of galleries in the eighteenth century.

[69] No doubt the builders intended to rebuild the nave arcades in conformity with this new spacing. The design, however, was abandoned.

[70] The study of Newark Church is a necessary complement to the study of Grantham. From what happened there in and after 1313, probably as a result of the great extension at Grantham, we may gather that, as an initial part of such an extension, the lower courses of the new walls were first built, and that then the masons, beginning at the east end of one aisle, worked westwards, and left the other aisle, in which they worked eastwards, to the last. This would account for some differences in the masonry of the upper and lower parts of the walls of the south aisle.

[71] The top stage of the tower was probably added as an afterthought, and not designed until the stage below had been completed.

[72] A mill-stone was placed on the top, and the new vane mortised into it.

[73] The chantry returns of Edward VI.’s commissioners (Roll 33, Nos. 91-96) enumerate the chantries of the Holy Trinity, founded by John de Orston; Corpus Christi, by the same John and others; St. Mary, by William Gunthorp and others; St. John Baptist, by Richard Saltbie and others; St. Peter, by Robert Stonesbie; and Curteys’ Chantry, by the executors of Richard Curteis for two priests. No. 97 is a return relating to the endowment known as the “Deacon’s Land”; and No. 113 is the certificate of the Guild of the Name of Jesus, which held its services in Grantham Church. These chantries, with the exception of “Curteys Chantry,” were all of fourteenth century origin; and their foundation took place between 1346 and 1362. The early history of the Guild is obscure, until the endowment of a chaplain by the will of Robert Pacie of Barkston in 1494. Seven returns of Grantham guilds, in pursuance of the Act of 12 Richard II. (1388) appear among the Chancery Guild Certificates (Nos. 109-115).

[74] For the reference, see note 1, p. 136. The document deals with the endowment and appointment of three chaplains, one at the altar in the rood-loft; another in St. Peter’s Chapel in the South Street; and a third in the chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr in the churchyard. Their duties are carefully detailed; and the Abbot and Convent of Vaudey, in return for benefits conferred on them by the founders of the chantries (Roger de Wolsthorp and Richard de Saltby), charge themselves with the maintenance of the chaplains. St. Peter’s Chapel, mentioned here, was, as already noted, distinct from the parish church; and the chantry of St. Peter (see note 1, p. 149) may have been endowed in this building, and not in St. Wulfran’s. It is possible that the Haryngtons, whose tomb is in the south aisle, west of the doorway, may have been founders or co-founders of a chantry there, the position of the chapel of which may be indicated by the bell-cot at the west end of the aisle. The licence for the foundation of the chantries at the Holy Trinity and Corpus Christi altars bears date 18 August 1392; and on the same date William Gunthorp and others had licence to alienate land, &c., in augmentation of the chantries of St. John Baptist and St. Mary (Patent Rolls, 16 Rich. II., part i., mm. 13, 12).

[75] Evidence of the existence of relics of St. Wulfran here is given by a churchwarden’s minute in 1565: “Item, a sylver and copper shryne called seint Wulfrane shryne was sold, and bought with the pryce thereof a silver pott full gilt and an ewer of sylver for the mystification of the holye and most sacred supper of owre lorde Jhesus Christ, called the holy comunyon” (Peacock, Monuments of Superstition, p. 88, quoted in Bishop Trollope’s account, u.s.).

[76] Colonel Welby suggests that the niches, of which traces remain in the east wall of the outer part of the north porch, were intended for a holy-water stoup and almsbox at the foot of the stair. They have also been supposed to indicate the presence of an altar in this part of the porch; but this is less probable.

[77] The foundation-wall of the screen was discovered in the nineteenth century across the entrance to the chancel. No similar walls existed across the aisles. This points to the probability that the screen was built after the cessation of work in the south aisle of the nave, and before the building of the south chapel of the chancel (i.e. between 1320 and 1360). No screen could thus be continued across the south aisle, as the wall came in the way; and a light wooden screen would be sufficient for the single bay of the north aisle east of the nave. At the same time the evidence of the wide eastern bay of the nave points to some enlargement or rebuilding of the screen, or at any rate to a desire to free the rood and its beam of the eastern wall of the nave, against which they had not improbably been placed up to this time. The dislike of chancel arches in districts where elaborate screens are common will be remembered.

[78] A paper by Precentor Venables (Assoc. Arch. Soc. Reports, vol. xiii. pp. 46 sqq.) summarises the history of the controversy, and explains the part which Bishop Williams took in it more satisfactorily than other accounts within the writer’s knowledge.

[79] This, in 1662, was filled with armorial glass, as we learn from Gervase Holles’ notes on the heraldry of Grantham Church, in the Harleian MSS.

[80] A memorandum relating to the erection of the organ and position of the altar in 1640, containing a copy of a petition to Parliament from the Corporation against Puritan objections, is printed from the Corporation Records at the end of Precentor Venables’ article (see note 1, above).

[81] There is an interesting account of the history and contents of the library, by the late Canon Hector Nelson, in the Lincoln Diocesan Magazine for December 1893 and March and April 1894. Canon Nelson is responsible for the catalogue of the library.

[82] Particularly to the Rev. S. C. Tickell, author of a Guide to Old Stamford (1907), and Henry Walker, author of Stamford with its Surroundings (Homeland Handbooks), 1908.

[83] Having been granted as a barony to the Abbot of Peterborough.

[84] The conjectural identification, which appears in several accounts, of Causennæ or Gausennæ with Great Casterton (a village two miles north of Stamford and the site of a Roman camp) will not bear the test of comparison with the distances given in the Fifth Antonine Itinerary.

[85] Mackenzie Walcot, Memorials of Stamford, p. 2.

[86] There is some little uncertainty whether the “Stanforth” mentioned by Wessington can be positively identified with the Lincolnshire Stamford. Cf. Vict. Cty. Hist. of Lincs., vol. ii.

[87] Cf. Vict. Hist. Northants, vol. i. p. 256.

[88] Peck.

[89] E. W. Lovegrove, M.A., in the chapter on “The Churches of Stamford,” in the “Homeland” Handbook to Stamford, by H. Walker (1908), from whose admirable notes on the architecture of Stamford much of the present account has been taken.

[90] For this information the writer is indebted to the Rev. E. A. Irons, rector of North Luffenham, who has long made a special study of the records of the diocese and district.

[91] An interesting account of this fight, and the circumstances which led up to and followed it, is to be found in an article entitled “An Unnoticed Battle” in Rutland Magazine, vol. i. p. 186 et seq.

[92] Lincolnshire Topographical Society, 1843.

[93] Chequée or and gu., over all a bend erm.

[94] Sa. semée with cinquefoils arg., a lion rampant arg.

[95] Lincoln Cathedral Statutes, vol. ii. p. 447.

[96] According to Gough (Camden’s Britannia) the stained glass of the church was taken out in 1737 to save the vicar wearing spectacles!

[97] Chancel Screens, A. Welby Pugin, p. 14.

[98] Pugin, p. 22.

[99] See plan and view in Gally Knight.

[100] Published by J. D. of Kidwelly, MDCLXXII.

[101] York Fabric Rolls (Surtees Society), p. 300-1.

[102] Archæological Journal, vol. xlv. p. 429.

[103] In the Lincoln Diocesan Magazine, 1895.

[104] In this respect resembling Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s third husband, who “lith y grave under the rode-beme,” and an Alderman H. Philyp, who wished “to be buried in the Church of Seynt Petres, in the Baylly of Oxford, under the Rode.”—A. Gibbons, Early Lincoln Wills, pp. 87-8.

[105] Aymer Vallance, “Rood-Screen of Moulton Church,” Archæological Journal, vol. lxvi. p. 264.

[106] At Grimoldby, Addlethorpe, and Winthorpe still exist the pulley holes for working the lights in front of the rood-screen, according to “A. V.,” Church Times, July 29, 1910.

[107] English Church Furniture, E. Peacock, 1866, p. 151.

[108] Mason and Webb, Durandus’ Symbolism of Churches, p. civ. ed. 1893.

[109] Early Lincoln Wills, A. Gibbons. The bequests seem to begin early in the fifteenth century. There is only one instance (Jas. Burton, of Horncastle, 1536, to the Rood light xijd.) in Canon Maddison’s collection of Lincolnshire wills of the sixteenth century.

[110] Oliver Cromwell, p. 141.

[111] J. G. Williams, Linc. Notes and Queries, vol. viii. p. 101.

[112] On this occasion, probably, the Lincoln Corporation received from the King’s hands its third sword.—Williams, Linc. Notes and Queries, viii. p. 155.

[113] J. G. Williams, Linc. Notes and Queries, viii. p. 140.

[114] True Intelligence from Lincolnshire, presented to the view and consideration of the peaceably-minded, 15th August 1642.

[115] Joyful Intelligence from Lincolnshire, quoted in Linc. Notes and Queries, viii. p. 154.

[116] Clarendon’s History of the Rebellion, book v.

[117] Memoirs of Colonel Hutchinson, ed. 1892, pp. 143-45.

[118] Relation of a Fight in the County of Lincoln, &c., 1643.

[119] Carlyle, Letters of Cromwell, Part II. x.

[120] Great Civil War, i. p. 143.

[121] A. Paterson, Oliver Cromwell: his Life and Character, p. 51.

[122] Calendar of MSS. of the House of Lords, vii. App. i., quoted in Victoria History of Lincolnshire, vol. ii. p. 282.

[123] Memoirs of Colonel Hutchinson, pp. 150, 154.

[124] Carlyle, Part II. p. 123 (to the Committee of the Associated Counties).

[125] Possibly, as suggested in the Victoria History of Lincolnshire (vol. ii. pp. 284-85), the first password in each case was for Tuesday, the second for Wednesday.

[126] He was younger brother of Ralph, Lord Hopton, the Royalist commander in the West. Cromwell is said to have visited Horncastle after the battle to see that the body of this “brave gentleman,” as he styled him, was fitly interred. It is possible that he owed his life to Hopton’s forbearance at a critical moment.

[127] Scottish Dove, E. 75, 24.

[128] Mr. E. Peacock, F.S.A. (Lincs. Architectural Society’s Reports, vol. viii. p. 265), thinks that no move was made against Gainsborough till after the capture of the fort at Burton-on-Stather on December 18. But the letter of the Essex soldier (below) disproves this; and I suggest that a force from Lincoln invested the place till it was compelled to retire by the severity of the weather.

[129] Barrington MSS. quoted in Kingston’s East Anglia and the Civil War, p. 147.

[130] In Oldfield’s Wainfleet and Candleshoe, Appendix No. 6, pp. 12-16. The list is not complete, for the names of Sir John Monson and others are omitted.

[131] J. A. Gotch, Early Renaissance Architecture in England, 1500-1625, pp. 69, 70.



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