I’ve just finished what I started…

Following on from my last post – I’m a bit excited.

Regular readers will remember that at the start of 2019 I started a journey down the Meridian Line from Yorkshire (Sand Le Mere) to the bottom of the county of Lincolnshire.

I ended with a trip to Greenwich, with some good friends.

The photographs themselves took 12 months to take and edit; and then another 7 months to organise them and write the text.

I self published using Blurb books, and have made both a hardback, and a soft-back.

I am really pleased with the end result – and in fact the statue on the front cover of the book (John Harrison of Longitude fame) was only installed at Barrow On Humber in March of this year. It was one of the images I had to wait to get before I could finish the book.

So, it’s done – and what next?

Well, Covid has put a stop to a lot of travel, but I am starting to get out and about a bit more – with other photographers too – though we go out in separate cars.

I’ve got a couple of ideas for projects going forward – which I’ll talk about when it’s more formalised in my head.

I’ve also got lots of people to thank who helped me get this book done – the naggers, the drivers, the pushers. The folk who have stood behind me when I got despondent and said “It’ll be OK”.

So – thank you to my other half for letting me travel at all hours, leaving him to dog-sit. Thank you to all the members of Lincolnshire Image Makers who encouraged me to keep going.

And to Mike Bennett, Keith Balcombe and George Lill for coming out with me – keeping me on the straight and narrow, and generally shoving me in the right direction.

It’s done…………….

NEXT……………………

Where East Meets West – Part 13 – Holbeach

Holbeach is a fenland market town in the South Holland district of south Lincolnshire.  It is 8 miles from Spalding, 17 from Boston, and 43 from Lincoln.

The town’s market charter was awarded in 1252 to Thomas de Moulton, a local baron.  All  Saints Church, was built in the 14th century and the porch, which was built around 1700, possibly incorporated parts of Moulton Castle.  The associated All Saints’ Hospital, for a warden and fifteen poor persons, was founded by Sir John of Kirton, in 1351. 

The image below is the meridian marker here.

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Until the beginning of the 17th century, the sea came to within 2 miles of the town and there were severe floods recorded in the 13th and 16th centuries. The land drainage programmes that followed moved the coastline of the Wash to 9 miles away, leaving Holbeach surrounded by more than 23,000 acres (93 km2) of reclaimed land. In 1615,

Further enclosure of marshes were recorded in 1660, in Gedney, Whaplode, Holbeach and Moulton.  The work included the building of an embankment, and resulted in 9,798 acres being added to Holbeach parish.  You can see part of this embankment below.

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Holbeach also had a workhouse (as did most places) – and only read the following if you have a strong stomach… !!!

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In April 1882 the master of Holbeach Workhouse, Walter Brydges Waterer, was accused of the manslaughter of a workhouse inmate, 22-year-old Thomas Bingham.

Poor Thomas suffered from a skin disease, and therefore to treat him, Waterer had left the man in a sulphur-burning cabinet, which was used as a treatment for what was known as “the itch”, or scabies.

The patient stood naked inside the cabinet with his head poking out of the top. The sulphur was then placed on an iron tray at the bottom of the cabinet, beneath a grating, and ignited by a piece of hot iron.

On this fateful day, though, Waterer had left Bingham encased in the cabinet and disappeared to attend to a matter elsewhere, but then completely forgot about his patient.

Others were eventually alerted by Bingham’s cries for help, and he was released…but on stepping out of the cabinet, he had been so hideously burned that skin and flesh appeared to just slide away from his body. Thomas Bingham died a few hours later. Waterer was found not guilty of manslaughter.

And sadly also, here ends my trip around Lincolnshire – I’ll be doing one more post – following on a trip to Greenwich, which seems to be to be a logical final step.

I’m busy now putting the talk together which will accompany the photographs taken on my journey.  In the meantime.  Onwards to Greenwich…….

 

Where East meets West – Part 12 – Spalding

I’m nearing the edge of Lincolnshire now – and was thinking that Spalding would be the furthest point on my journey South down the Meridian Line.

I still have to re-shoot some of the places I’ve visited already, as I’d like to get some more sunshine into the pictures.  Also, I want to visit Greenwich, as this seems to be the place where it should end……

However….. yesterday we visited Spalding…. for the first time ever… so what is Spalding – what does the place name mean?

It’s both English and Scottish: a habitational name from a place in Lincolnshire, so called from the Old English tribal name Spaldingas ‘people of the district called Spald’. The district name probably means ‘ditches’, referring to the drainage channels in the fenland.

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The river Welland runs through the middle of the town, and it was at one time, the town was well known for the annual Spalding Flower Parade, held from 1959 to 2013. The parade celebrated the region’s vast tulip production and the cultural links between the Fens and the landscape and people of South Holland (the clue is in the name)…

Archeological excavations at Wygate Park in Spalding have shown that there has been occupation in this area from at least the Roman period, when this part of Lincolnshire was used for the production of salt. It was a coastal siltland.   At Wygate Park salt making seems to have come to an end by the mid-3rd century AD; climatic change and flooding may have made such activities difficult, causing the practice to die out.

The river was well used, and boats carrying all kinds of produce was moved up and down and out to the sea.  You can see the merchants houses still, though some have had major conversions on them.

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We didn’t have a lot of time to spend, so we moved a little further north to visit a memorial we had seen signed on a previous visit.  This was to the Pilgrim Fathers, just outside Boston.

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During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Protestant non-conformist religious beliefs flourished in England. One such belief was that of the Separatists, a group of Puritans with strong Lincolnshire links – Gainsborough was at the heart of the Lincolnshire Separatist movement, and another group was based just over the border at Scrooby in Nottinghamshire.

Separatists wanted the freedom to worship God away from the constraints of the Church of England. When Elizabeth was succeeded by King James I, there was a clampdown on such groups, it became illegal not to attend church and the Separatist Movement was banned in 1604.

Wanting to escape persecution, The Separatists decided to flee to The Netherlands, a far more tolerant Protestant country. In 1607, both the Gainsborough Separatists and the Scrooby Separatists travelled to Boston where boats were waiting to take them to Holland.

The Gainsborough Separatists successfully completed their journey and joined other English Separatists known as the Ancient Brethren in Leiden.

Unfortunately, The Scrooby Separatists were betrayed by their boat’s captain. Shortly after setting sail, they were intercepted at Scotia Creek (where this memorial stands),  a few miles down river from Boston.  They were arrested and all their goods seized.

The Scrooby Separatists were brought to Boston Guildhall where they remained in the cells whilst awaiting trial at Lincoln. After several months in prison, they were released and returned home to Scrooby penniless. Sympathisers eventually raised enough money to fund a second escape attempt, which this time was successful.

After living peacefully in Leiden for several years, the Ancient Brethren decided to sail for America in search of a better life in 1620. They hired two ships, the Speedwell, which was to transport passengers, and the larger Mayflower, which was to carry supplies, for this very hazardous journey across the Atlantic.

Unfortunately, the Speedwell started to take in water off the coast of Devon and it became obvious that the ship would be incapable of crossing the Atlantic. The passengers transferred to the Mayflower, which set sail from Plymouth on 6th September 1620 and landed in Massachusetts after an arduous two month voyage.

This small group of people became known as The Pilgrim Fathers, the founding fathers of America.

In the 1630s, another group of Lincolnshire Puritans left Boston for America. They founded a new settlement in Massachusetts and named it after their home town – Boston.

One of the most important of these settlers was The Reverend John Cotton, who was the very controversial Vicar of St. Botolphs’ Church in Boston. The Reverend Cotton made many enemies by preaching his non-conformist views and regularly found himself prosecuted at Lincoln’s Law Courts. In 1633, he sailed across the Atlantic to Boston, Massachusetts, and soon became spiritual leader of this church-dominated state.  His influence increased further when he helped to draft the fundamental laws for the colony that are still applicable today.

You are able to walk further along – past the memorial, and views of the Boston Stump can be seen on the horizon…

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A pillbox from WW2 still marks part of the estuary

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For the time being, this is where my Lincolnshire journey will end, but I think there will be a further post about Spalding.  We visited the parish church which is beautiful, and also the Alms houses there.

I shall revisit some of the places, and research some more, before finally completing the talk that will go with this exploration.

In the meantime… enjoy…

 

Where East Meets West – Part 11 – Fulstow

I’m sort of going back in time now as I visited and photographed part of Fulstow some weeks ago.

During my research phase though, I came across some information that I found utterly fascincating.

The village was one, that for many years, did not have a war memorial to the soldiers of the first world war. Fulstow was offered one in 1918 but was told it could not include Pte Charles Kirman, of the Lincolnshire Regiment’s 7th Battalion. Pte Kirman, a veteran of the Somme, was shot at dawn in 1917 after going absent without leave.

Villagers insisted that every name be on the memorial,  and the issue became so sensitive that Fulstow didn’t even have an Armistice Service.

The village hall that was built to remember those who died in the second world war, contained no reference to the earlier conflict.

Pte Kirman, a former soldier recalled when war began, went to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. After fighting at Mons and the Somme, and twice being wounded, he went AWOL in November 1916.

After a court martial he was returned to his unit. Terrified at the prospect of being sent back to the front line, he absconded twice, each time turning himself in after a few days.

He told his final court martial: “My nerves are completely broken down. I suffer with pains in the head when I am in the line. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing.”

He was convicted of desertion and of going AWOL and was executed, aged 32, on Sept 23, 1917.

Following a long campaign – and money raised by locals, they finally got their memorial, and Pte Kirman’s name is there – along with the other fallen…..

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Where East Meets West – Part 10 – “Just Jane”

The Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre is the Lincolnshire Memorial to Bomber Command, and is based at RAF East Kirby – which sits directly on the meridian.

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I visited, with a friend a few weeks ago, and was fascincated by what you can find there.

It is of course the home of ‘Just Jane’, a Lancaster Bomber being lovingly restored by volunteers.  More about her later….

Entering the site through the NAAFI – we treated ourselves to tea and bacon sandwiches, which were very good.

We visited the briefing huts, ready to brief the 57 and 630 squadron crews detailed to attack Berlin.  The large map at the end of the hut shows the route to and from the targets, and turning points.  There is also a meterological report showing ice levels.  I’m sure this room would have been full of anxious pilots, as their time for departure drew near.

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Next door, is the billet hut.  This was home to the air and ground crews on the station.  The beds are  made up and covered with uniforms.  The shelves contain personal things from home, and items belonging to the men who did not make it back.

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The Memorial chapel holds a roll of honour, naming all 848 crew who gave their lives.  It is a place for quiet contemplation, and I didn’t feel that taking photographs in there was the right thing to do.

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The control tower, also known as the Watch Tower, was where the aircraft were directed from.  The sound of morse code fills the air in here.

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Inside the main hangar, is the Lancaster ‘Just Jane’.  It’s a huge aircraft, and we timed it just right – there was a talk going on, and afterwards we were allowed to wander under the wings, and examine the Lancaster close up.  Jane does do taxi runs down the airfield from time to time, but as yet cannot fly.  During the talk it was explained to us the enormous cost of having each section checked and x-rayed before it could be re-attached to the aircraft.  It’s an immense job, but one that is being carried out slowly and methodically.

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Further down the hangar is the incredible ‘Bouncing Bomb’, and the full story of the Dambusters Raid.  I was able to stand in a virtual cockpit of a Lancaster, and view the run down the Derbyshire reservoirs, and over Ladybower.  I’ve been to Ladybower and the dams many times over the years, so it was fascinating to see them from a totally different perspective.

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Finally, there is a complete explanation of what all the bomb signs mean on the side of the aircraft.  I was quite surprised at the ice-cream decal….

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All in all, this is a fascinating place to visit.  Sadly, on the day we went, the weather was cold, and wet – but a repeat visit is planned.

Next time, we are hoping to move a little further South – towards Spalding.

 

Where East Meets West – Part 9

There’s been a bit of a hiatus in the Meridian project – due to life getting in the way…. Unfortunately I missed all the lovely days that came in February, but I did manage to get out and explore a little more of the area just North of Boston.

I intended to visit Stickney

The place-name ‘Stickney’ is first attested in the Domesday book of 1086, where it appears as Stichenai. The name means ‘stick island’, and is thought to refer to the linear shape of the village between two streams. The nearby village of Stickford similarly means ‘stick ford’.

Stickney has been chiefly an agricultural community. The ancient 13th-century Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint Luke and is a Grade II listed building. The parish dates to 1564 . A new chancel was built in 1853 and the rest of the church was restored in 1855. The tower was partly taken down in 1887 because of deterioration, but rebuilt in 1900.

Donations to the poor house and for care of the poor have been recorded since 1552 when William Hardy left a yearly rent charge of £1 6s. 8d. for the poor of the parish.

Stickney was the home of Priscilla Biggadike, who in 1868 was charged and convicted of murdering her husband Richard by arsenic poisoning. They lived in a small two-room house with their five children and two lodgers. She testified that she had seen one of their lodgers, Thomas Proctor, putting a white powder into her husband’s tea, and later into his medicine when Richard was being treated for a sudden attack of severe illness.

At first, the two were both suspects, as they were rumoured to be having an affair. The judge in the case ruled that only Priscilla Biggadike should be prosecuted, and the jury quickly convicted her. She was executed in December 1868. Years later on his deathbed, Proctor confessed to sole responsibility for the murder of Richard Biggadike.

I’ve not got photographs yet of the village itself.  That’s for another visit.

However, it’s amazing what you can find whilst just driving around.  I saw the sign for the Ark Wildlife park, and almost overshot it.  A bit of gentle reversing found me turning into the place and in the end staying for a couple of hours.  I would actually have stayed much longer, but the day was coming to an end, and frankly it was bitter cold.

To add to the difficulty, they had just had a power cut, and so couldn’t serve hot drinks, or even offer change from the till.  Good job I happened to have the right entry feee.

(http://arkwildlifepark.co.uk/)

The ARK is home to a wide variety of captivating animals, from exotic mammals and fearsome carnivores to stunning reptiles and some less exotic  and more farm like creatures.

Included in the collection are a Puma, and Lynx.

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The Ark is also right on the Meridian Line, and they have this plaque to prove it.

The Ark offers an all weather attraction throughout the year, and is set in the Lincolnshire Countryside.  Visitors can get close up and personal with a wide range of animals.

The majority of the animals at the park are rescues from the European pet trade, who, for one reason or another were neglected, or kept illegally.  They now have a permanent home at the Ark.

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Photography is actively encouraged.

If you want to visit and support this wonderful venture (which has only been open for two years),  please do.  It really is worth the trip out.

ARK Wildlife Park,
West Fen Lane,
Stickney,
Lincolnshire,
PE22 8BD

I look forward to hearing from you, please do click the button to continue to get updates on this blog, as I continue my journey down the Meridian Line….

Boston – Where East Meets West – part 8

Boston and the Maud Foster Mill

According to legend, Boston is named after St Boltoph. It is said he came to the area in the 7th Century, and built a monastery and church next to an existing settlement. The settlement was renamed St Boltoph’s Tun (Town) and contracted to Boston.

Boston was not named in Domesday of 1086, but probably grew into a town in the 11th or 12th Century. At that time, international trade was booming, and Boston was well situated to trade with Europe, and became a busy port. It became a focal point for the villages around Lincolnshire, and slowly grew as the population expanded.

Once the church and tower (known locally as the “Stump”, was completed in the 15th to 16th Century it was a local landmark and used by sailors to find their way to the coast, and the town.

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It was the wool trade that made Boston important – and with a Royal Charter to hold a market – it became the place to see, and be seen.

The wool trade had almost stopped by 1500, but Boston continued to be an important trading town, with the import of spices and other goods.

In the mid 16th Century, work was started on the Maud Foster Drain.  Why this drain has this name is not entirely clear.

In History and Antiquities of Boston, Pishey Thompson states (p201) “Maud Foster herself  has ceased to be a myth, for we find frequent mention of her in the Corporation Records. But we cannot connect this person with the Drain, so as to discover any reason why it should bear her name. Tradition asserts, that Maud Foster was the owner of the land through which the new cut would pass, and that she gaved consent to its passage on very favourable conditions, one of which was that it should bear her name. Our readers must take this tradition for what it is worth, as we cannot strengthen it by any facts.”

The Mill was not built till 1819.

When we visited the windmill in February of this year – there was some construction work going on in front of it, but the current miller was talkative, and I was able to purchase some of the flour, ground there.  He sells a good variety, and I purchased both seed and plain strong bread flour – since made into a loaf.  You can also purchase porridge oats.

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I appreciate that there has been quite a jump from the last location to this one – and I intend to fill in the gaps as time goes on.

On the same day that we visited Boston, we also went to East Kirby Airfield, which houses not only the Lancaster ‘Just Jane’, but a stone which deliniates the East West Meridian.

I think that East Kirby deserves a post all to itself, but I think I need a return visit for more photographs.

Old Bolingbroke – Where East Meets West – Part 7

It was a gloomy day when I set out with the intention of covering Old Bolingbroke, East Kirby and Snipe Dale.  The weather was really not conducive to photography, and it was very cold.  The water in the moat round the castle was frozen, and so I made the decision to return home after only visiting the castle and church.

The village of Old Bolingbroke lies in a broad valley of the Lincolnshire Wolds, and is not far off the Prime Meridian.  It is three miles West of Spilsby, and has one church – that of St Peter, and St Paul.  It is also the home of Old Bolingbroke Castle.  To the southwest a hill known as Kirkby Hill is topped with a former windmill, that sits just within the parish boundary.  So much for an introduction….. Castle First

Bolingbroke Castle was one of three built by Ranulf de Blundeville, Earl of Chester and Lincoln, in the 1220s after his return from the Crusades (the others being Beeston Castle, Cheshire, and Chartley, Staffordshire).  After Blundeville’s death, the castle remained in the ownership of the Earls of Lincoln and was later inherited through marriage by John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster.  It is now owned and maintained by English Heritage.

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John of Gaunt and his first wife, Blanche, lived at the castle during the 1360s. Their son, Henry of Bolingbroke, was born there in 1367.

Henry had a tempestuous relationship with Richard II and was exiled in 1397. He returned to England after the death of his father in 1399, enraged that the king had seized the estates he had inherited. Richard was in Ireland, attempting to quell a rising, when he heard of Henry’s return.

These events marked the end of Richard II’s reign. Henry of Bolingbroke was encouraged to claim the throne of England from his unpopular rival, and Richard was imprisoned. Soon afterwards, Henry was crowned king as Henry IV.

There is no documentary evidence to suggest that Henry IV ever returned to his birthplace.

The main function of the castle during the 15th and 16th centuries was as an administrative centre for the estates of the Duchy of Lancaster. The current names of the towers, for example the Auditor’s Tower and Receiver’s Tower, refer to their use during this period.

Surveys undertaken at the castle in the 17th century show that only a few of the towers then remained in use and that the enclosing walls were extremely dilapidated.

Bolingbroke Castle is a prime example of 13th-century architectural design and is described as an ‘enclosure’ castle. Such castles are characterised by curtain walls with towers enclosing a courtyard. Within this courtyard there would have been timber-framed structures, including a great hall and service buildings, evidence of which was found in excavations during the 1960s.

The south-west tower, which is now known as the King’s Tower, was rebuilt between 1444 and 1456 on an octagonal plan. By this time, the castle was more than 200 years old, and this remodelling represents an attempt by the owners to express their wealth and importance.

From the Auditor’s Tower can be seen the Rout Yard – the field to the south of the castle – which contains several earthworks, including a rectangular enclosure.

Debate continues as to the original use of this earthwork, which may have been a fishpond, an animal compound or a 17th-century fort.

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The Church of St Peter and St Paul – Old Bolingbroke

Seating about 250 people, the church was built of traditional Spilsby sandstone c1363 by John of Gaunt and was originally three times its current size.

The church suffered at the hands of Oliver Cromwell and fellow parliamentarians as they laid seige at Bolingbroke Castle in 1643 and was restored and the north aisle added in 1889.

In the centre of the village is a rose garden, and is depicted the Shield of the Duke of Lancaster.

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The Royal Village of Old Bollingbroke. The shield bears the arms of Edmund first Earl Of Lancaster. These are the arms of theDuchy of Lancaster who presented the sheild to this village on August 4th 1966 in commemoration of the birth in Bollinbroke Castle in 1366 of Henry Bollingnroke Duke of Lancaster. King Henry of England. The Roses are the original rose of Lancaster grown in Provins and adopted by Edmund as his emblem in 1280. They are a gift to the village from the mayor and people of Provins. March 1967.

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The text from the above plaque is shown inbetween the two images.

Next time – East Kirby Airfield – home of ‘Jane’, the Lancaster, and site of a Prime Meridian marker stone.

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Where East meets West – Part 6

It’s Sunday – January 20th – it’s minus 4 outside – it’s frosty, and the light I know is going to be fabulous.  I drag my other half out of bed and announce that we’re going out.  “Where?” he says…. “To the Meridian of course”.

I’m retracing some of the route I took the other week, but taking in the village of Hagworthingham.  This historic village nestles on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The important and beautiful Snipe Dales Country Park is adjacent and Hagworthingham is situated approximately equidistant from the market towns of Horncastle, Alford and Spilsby.

Snipe Dales is right on the Meridian, and I’ll be visiting there another time.  We had to stop at the ford though just outside Hagworthingham, and the cold seeped into my hands and feet – out of the sun, and near water, the temperature plummeted and we got a move on quickly…

Next – was Stockwith Mill and Bridge.  The 17th Century Mill was run for over 30 years as a tea room, but recently it has closed, and the property has been sold.  I would have loved to have photographed the mill and included the overshot waterwheel (which was last used in the 1950’s).  As it is, I had to make do with images from the main road.


The mill used to have a small museum which included artifacts which belonged to Alfred Lord Tennyson.  I have seen some beautiful photographs of this house, but sadly it’s all marked as private now, and I could get no closer.

On the route back, I decided to stop again at Somersby – as I’d seen a lovely tree lined road, which I didn’t photograph last time, as the light was dull and flat – today was much better, and having got the trees – I looked around where I had parked the car.


I’d parked in what looked like a small quarry – though very overgrown – and I clambered up the rocks to see the view from the top – what I didn’t notice on the way up was all the carvings in the rock face – and because the sun was low still, it highlighted the names engraved there.  It didn’t seem to be random graffiti.  You would have had to have taken tools to inscribe your name so deeply in the rock.


It has obviously been going on for generations, and I wondered why, and how it came that people travelled to this really out of the way place to carve their names on the rocks.

Next time, a bit further South still, to  Bolingbroke and East Kirby.


You can follow the tour on Google by clicking this link