WILLIAM THE HERMIT OF LINDHOLME
Archaeological digs have found evidence of human presence on Lindholme island dating back at least 16,000 years. A 5,000 year old wooden track-way has also been discovered in the north of the island.
Lindholme island is now in the centre of the Hatfield Moor National Nature Reserve, a 3500 acre site which is also part of the Humberhead Peatlands National Nature Reserve, the largest reclamation project in Europe.
Lindholme Hall, in the centre of the 'island', is now an international centre for the study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism. A solitary retreat hut has also been constructed in a secluded wooden setting in the grounds. According to the website “The design is simple and well insulated with basic amenities. It has a large window overlooking the woodland with screened porch area for outside meditation, a small wood burning stove, a kitchenette(with small gas hob) and a compostable toilet. The hut is ´off the grid´ and has no electricity and solar lights are supplied. Retreat at the hut is fully supported. Supplies can be ordered and delivered...once a week, and weekly washing is possible.”
About one and a half miles, as the crow flies, from Lindholme Hall, is the entrance to HMP Lindholme, a Category C men's prison and Immigration Removal Centre. Opened in 1985, the prison is on the site of a Royal Air Force base. This airfield was constructed just before the start of the Second World War. In the 1950s and 60s, on several occasions, airmen working nights on the airfield reported a figure dressed in wartime aircrew clothing who approached them and asked if the all the lads were back safe, before mysteriously disappearing. The figure was nicknamed Lindholme Willie.
FONABY SACK STONE
The location of the stone is at OS Map Sheet 113, grid reference TA116017.
ANWICK DRAKE STONE
Anwick is four and a half miles north-east of Sleaford, on the A153. The stones are located outside the gateway of St Edith's Church at OS Map No 121, grid reference TF114506.
THE LAD THAT WENT TO LOOK FOR FOOLS
There was a post script to the story....
And the old man put a railing round the well; but when the children began to arrive thick and fast he pulls it up again, and says to his wife, that he's sure, if the Lord means to take them, a bit of fencing won't stand in his road. But not long after that the burial-clubs were started, and then bairns began dying before they were big enough to creep down the garden to the well. If the Lord didn't take them, something else did, so they never had the chance to fall into the water and drown themselves.
The Pyewipe Inn is still a popular riverside pub on the Fossdyke Canal, Britain's oldest man made waterway. Situated between Lincoln and Saxilby, it is signposted from the A57 Saxilby Road. The postcode is LN1 2BG.
THE FOX AND THE HOUSE DOG
This tale mentions Sawcliffe Farm, which can be found near to High Risby, North Lincolnshire.
THE WILD MAN OF STAINFIELD
Stainfield is situated to the west of the B1202 Wragby to Bardney Road. The grid reference for the Church of St Andrew in Kingsthorpe Lane is TF 11190 73208
THE EAST HALTON HOB-THRUST
East Halton is situated about a mile south of the Humber Estuary. The village can be reached by taking the Top Road, from the roundabout on the A160 at South Killingholme, and then driving north for about three miles. Manor Farmhouse lies adjacent to an old moated site, filled with grass-grown mounds, that are believed to be the remains of an old religious house. The moated site is close to postcode DN40 3PU.
THE FARMER AND THE BOGGART
Mumby is a village in East Lindsey, four miles south-east of Alford. Situated on the A52 it is also about eight miles from Mablethorpe and nine miles from Skegness.
THE GREEN MIST
This tale shares aspects with a short tale collected by Mabel Peacock of a witch that lived near Lincoln who bewitched a girl by giving her something to eat so that she would waste away. The witch also gave the mother a pot plant which caused her to become excitable. Her husband, noticing her strange behaviour, asked if she had taken anything from the witch and, realising the cause threw the plant into the fire. The woman immediately recovered and "ailed nothing."
THE LEGEND OF BYARD'S LEAP
Ethel Rudkin noted that there was a field at Ashby Lodge Farm, (just off the A15, four and a half miles north-east of Byard's Leap) known as 'Meg's Hole' where it was said that the witch spent time and also died.
The site of the preserved horseshoes can be found on the A17 past Sleaford on the way to Newark, past Cranwell Airfield then left onto the B6403 to Ancaster. Postcode NG34 8EY.
THE WITCH OF TETFORD
This is a story from the same area as the dream of H of Farforth:
Thirty or forty years ago, a woman named E____, the daughter of a man named F_____ of Woodhall, lived in a cottage near Tetford Church, which had a hole in it, called " the cat hole," through which she went in the form of a hare or cat; she bewitched to death, her son and daughter, and also a sister living at Scamblesby, who had been warned, by the wiseman of Louth, named S, that provided she saw no strangers, she would recover, but if the person who had overlooked her, was able to do so again, she would die, which happened; for when she was almost well enough to come down stairs, her sister Mrs. E called, having walked over from Tetford, and though all others had been prevented from seeing her, yet her sister Mrs. E was allowed, though of course she was the only person to be feared, and as soon as Mrs. E saw her sister, she got rapidly worse, and died soon after she left the cottage to return to Tetford. Mrs. E required to have some victim, whom she bewitched to death gradually, or else tortured for years, thus, while she bewitched her son, daughter, and sister to death, she only succeeded in making a man, named U____ H_______, so ill that he could do no work, though he could walk about, and one day, he had a gun in his
hand, and was walking with a friend, named T______ H________when a hare sat up in front of him, and T H said, " shoot it," but U H said, "I cannot," so T H took the gun from him and fired, knocking over the hare, but before he could get up to it, the hare struggled on to its legs, and got away, though badly wounded; the next day Mrs. E was found very ill, covered with breaders (very bad spreading boils), which nearly ended her, though she gradually recovered, and lived for several years. U H recovered his strength, and went to America, where he did well.
The Wolds village of Tetford is ten miles south of Louth, eight miles north-west of Spilsby and six and a half miles north-east of Horncastle. The village is situated at the bottom of a high ridge on which runs the Bluestone Heath Road. From this road, Lincoln Cathedral, Boston Stump and the North Sea can apparently, all be seen on a good day. The church of St Mary, Tetford can be found a the junction of Church Lane at LN9 6QL.
I would like to point out that many women did some very good work healing the sick, helping to deliver babies and also assist the dying. In fact it was commonly found that the village midwife would double as a 'wise woman' dispensing herbal remedies and homely charms. The church also recognised this and Archdeacon Bayley at Messingham complained in 1823, that “herbs and spells were cheaper and possibly no less efficacious than a doctor’s prescription.”
THE WISEMEN OF LOUTH
Girsby is a hamlet of the village of Burgh on Bain, which is seven miles west of Louth and nineteen miles north-east from Lincoln. The hamlet is about half a mile north of the A157 between Wragby and Louth.
Girsby Hall was the home of the Fox family, who were also lords of the manor. The house was demolished by 'blowing it up' in the 60s either because of RAF or Army officers billeted there severely damaging it or because it was too expensive to run. The ruins survived for a number of years but were eventually removed and a new house built on the site.
ST MARK'S EVE
St Vincent's Church, Main Street, Burton by Lincoln LN1 2RD, sits on the side of the Lincoln cliff with views across the village to the west.
The Church of St Nicholas, Church Lane, Haxey DN9 2JA, is situated in the middle of the village made famous for the Haxey Hood Game. Haxey is on one of the low lying hills surrounded by marshland, west of the River Trent.
TEN-PINT SMITH OF LOUTH
The address for St James Church is Westgate, Louth LN11 ODP
THE UNGRATEFUL SONS
Winterton is a small town in North Lincolnshire, five miles north-east of Scunthorpe and eight miles south-west of the Humber Bridge, which can be viewed from the town.
COUGH IN THE KITCHEN
This tale was recorded by Rev. James Penny in the Horncastle area. He also found that a similar story was told of people living near the village of Algakirk in Holland Fen, near Boston.
Tattershall is a village in East Lindsey, on the A153 Sleaford to Horncastle road, one mile east of the place where the road crosses the River Witham.
THE LASS THAT SAW HER OWN GRAVE DUG
"singling" turnips is the process of reducing the number of turnips in a row, particularly picking by hand the ones that are too big for the hoe.
THE GRUESOME CASE OF TOM OTTER
In 1805 a 28 year old navvy named Thomas Temperell, or Temple (who was also known as Tom Otter) was working on the enclosure of the old Swanpool near Lincoln, when he met young girl local girl called Mary Kirkham.
Tom became 'criminally intimate' with Mary and she fell pregnant. Pressure was placed by the churchwardens on the couple to have what was then known as a 'knobstick' (and later a 'shotgun') wedding, or face serving a gaol sentence.
Tom chose marriage and he and Mary, who was by then eight months pregnant, were joined in holy matrimony at Hykeham Church on the morning of Sunday 3rd November 1805. Unfortunately for Mary, Tom was already married with his wife Martha and baby daughter Mary, living just 16 miles away (as the crow flies) at Hockerton, Nottinghamshire.
As the couple walked home along Drinsey-Nook Lane in the direction of Doddington, Tom took a hedge stake and brutally killed Mary.
Mary's body was discovered the next day, in a ditch by the side of Drinsey-Nook Lane. A newspaper report described how her head had been beaten to a pulp. The murder weapon, and two bundle of clothes were found close by.
The body was carried by cart to the Sun Inn at Saxilby where it was laid on a table to await the inquest.
Tom had fled to Lincoln but was found the following day at the Packhorse Inn, and arrested for murder. He was taken to the Inquest where the Coroner was present and a verdict of Wilful Murder was reached by a jury of twenty locals. Tom was committed to Lincoln Castle to await trial, and though the evidence was circumstantial, he was found guilty and sentenced at first to hanging, with his body to be dissected for medical research. For some reason the sentence was changed from dissection to being hung and then placed in a gibbet close to the scene of the murder.
On the 14th March 1806 Tom Otter was hung on the gallows near the Union Workhouse in front of a crowd of thousands.
Six days later, on a wild windy Thursday a thirty foot high gibbet was erected near Drinsey Nook on what is now known as Tom Otters Lane. On this gibbet was placed the body, which had been pitched in tar, placed in irons and hung in the specially constructed cage
The body slowly rotted away but the gibbet remained as a gruesome reminder of the foul act, until the structure blew down over forty years later.
It was said that even the hardiest of men would not have walked alone on that lane past the gibbet where the rattling chains swung to and fro with a strange screeching, groaning and complaining sound.
Five years after the hanging a nest containing 'several young birds half fledged' could be seen in Otters mouth prompting the poem:
'There were ten tongues all in one head-collar
The tenth went out to fetch some bread
To feed the living in the dead.'
Folklore has grown around the murder case, much of it based on a fictional tale wrapped around the historical truth, written by Thomas Miller and published in The Lincoln Times on 26th November 1859.
It is said that the murderer still haunts the Sun Inn at Saxilby. It was also said that because they had omitted to put straw into the cart that carried Mary's body, a trail of blood ran from the lane to the Inn. the stone by the door of the Sun Inn was soaked with blood and no amount of cleaning, with sand, freestone or vigorous scrubbing could eradicate the stain.
Miller also created a piece of folklore connected with the murder weapon. Each year, he said, no matter where it was kept, the hedge stake would mysteriously disappear on 3rd November to be found wet with blood where it had been left after the murder. Evidence of it having been securely hung on the wall at the White Swan at Torksey Lock, and at the Pyewipe Inn on the Fossdyke, could, he alleged, be seen in the 1860s. On the night of the 3rd November when the stake was fastened to the wall of the Peeweet Inn (as the Pyewipe was then known) a group of men gathered to sit in the room with the weapon, determined to watch its removal, but at about midnight a deep sleep came over them all. When they awoke the stake was once again gone. It was then decided that the stake should be exorcised by the Bishop of Lincoln and burnt in the yard of Lincoln Cathedral in the middle of the night.
Drinsey Nook and Tom Otter's Bridge can be found on the A57 between Lincoln and Gainsborough. Close to this is Tom Otter's Lane, which leads to Gibbet Wood. To the west of this is Gibbettwood Farm and close by are Gibbet Lane Cottages.
The Sun Inn at Saxilby is still a very popular riverside pub and the remains of the gibbet-irons can still be seen in the Great Hall, by visitors to Doddington Hall.
Additions to the Bibliography
Rudkin, Ethel (1935) Traditions Attached to Large Stones at Audby and North Thoresby in Folklore, Vol. 46, No. 4 (Dec., 1935), pp. 375-376
Brierley, Harwood (1898) Traditions of Lindholme in The Newcastle Courant, Saturday May 21 1898.
Parkinson, Thomas (1889) Yorkshire legends and traditions, as told by her ancient chroniclers, her poets, and journalists, pp.119-120.
Rudkin, Ethel (1934) Lincolnshire Folklore, stories about stones in Folklore, 45(2), pp.147-149.
Sternberg, Vincent T (1852) Popular Stories of the English Peasantry, Notes & Queries, Vol V (129), April 17, 1852, p.363.
Penny, James (1915) Folklore Round Horncastle, Horncastle pp.29-30.
Binnall, Peter (1940) A Brownie Legend from Lincolnshire in Folklore Vol. 51 No 3 Sept 1940 pp.219-222.
Leland Lewis Duncan (1897), Correspondence. Folklore, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Mar., 1897), pp. 68-70.
Legend of the Death Cure Cooking Pot, in Lincolnshire Echo Feb. 17 1975
Heanley, Robert (1903) ‘The Vikings - Traces of their folklore in Marshland’ in The Saga Book of the Viking Club Vol. III pt 1. London. pp.37-38.
Northampton Mercury Saturday 24 July 1886
Thiselton-Dyer, Thomas (Reprint of 1878) English Folk-Lore. Lightning Source UK: Milton Keynes, p.45.
Bennett, Gillian (Eds) (2010) Peacock, Mabel Unpublished document - Lincolnshire Folklore and Legends, p.20.
Olney R J (1979) Rural society and county government in nineteenth-century Lincolnshire. History of Lincolnshire series p.53.
Penny, James (1922) More Folklore Round Horncastle. Horncastle: WK Morton, p.29.
Holles, Gervase. Lansdowne Manuscripts (207) at the British Library plus online sources.
Gentleman's Magazine, 1818, part i. p. 634.
Swales, T.H. (1939) Article in The Lincolnshire Magazine. p.104
The Sacriligious Gamesters Item 1359, Fenland Notes & Queries (1907-1909) Vol 7, p.240.
Macdonald, Grant. (1890) Historical Notes of Holbeach. pp.137-139.
Norgate, Kate (1902) John Lackland. London: Macmillan.