Carrying the torch – Day 40
Grimsby to Lincoln.
When I finally got my arse in gear and decided to take a stint in carrying the GLBTQ torch around this fine country of ours many of the spots had already been filled. The area I live in. Gone. Several places I visit on a regular basis, areas full of interest and history from the Romans through to WW2. Both snapped up.
Now, I’m not a stay at home lazy daisy, when time and money allow I like nothing more than to hop in my car and see some sights. I was bound to find one of those areas free, surely. South Devon. Gone. South Wales. Nope.York and Whitby. Nuh huh.
In the end I chose Day 40. Grimsby to Lincoln. After all, Lincoln is on my list of places to visit, even if I haven’t been there yet, and maybe writing about the area would encourage my wandering feet to head that way sooner rather than later.
So which part of the route did I settle on to wax lyrically about?
By the 1950s Grimsby was the world’s largest fishing port.
Not exactly what I was trying to go for in the tone of my piece. Although, I did find an intriguing snippet on the legend surrounding Grimsby’s origin. Apparently, a fisherman named Grim, was ordered from Denmark on a mission to drown the young Prince Havelock whose three sisters had already met their fate at the hands of wicked Earl Godard. Grim could not bring himself to kill the child but, unable to return, he landed and settled on the Humber estuary, his home becoming known as Grimsby.
I moved on, past Cleethorpes, Louth and Tothill.
Sea side town with a bracing North seawind, where the young Lillian Francis once rode a donkey across miles of sandy beaches. This is undoubtedly a cue for a photo of me in bad 70s fashion astride a donkey, but there’s no way that’s going to happen!
Nothing exciting there then—apart from me in dodgy yellow and orange striped dungaree shorts–let’s skip to the very end of our journey.
Now, this–to quote one of my heroes, Francis Albert Sinatra–is my kind of town.
The cathedral has been on this site since 1092, destroyed and rebuilt on more than one occasion; first by fire, then an earthquake and later the collapse of the central tower which resulted in extensive alterations.
It is a stunning building, even without the snow.
A castle of sorts occupied the site from 60AD but it wasn’t until 1068 that William the Conqueror began building Lincoln Castle as we see it today. To enlarge the original site, 166 Saxon houses were demolished to clear the area. So, not much different to the sort of thing that happens today—anyone remember a little village called Heathrow?
For 900 years the castle was used as a court and prison. The coffin like pews in the chapel, were to remind prisoners of their fate and to ensure that they could not see each other. Many prisoners were deported to Australia, those less lucky were executed on the ramparts.
The Lincoln Magna Carta–often thought of as the corner stone of liberty–is housed here. It is one of the four surviving originals sealed by King John in 1215.
There has been a palace on this site for not much short of 1,000 years. From here the medieval bishops ran the huge Diocese of Lincoln, which at that time stretched from the Humber to the Thames and from Cambridgeshire to the edge of the West Midlands.
You can just see the Cathedral in the background of this photo.
So, is that where we end our journey? Well, actually, no. A town caught my eye as it traversed the route for maybe the tenth time. A town I didn’t even know existed but it gave me tenuous link to something I’m working on. Although when I looked into it further it appeared the link wasn’t quite as oblique as I had first thought.
Boston is a town and small port in Lincolnshire, on the east coast of England.
For such a small town it has some items of historical interest.
The Boston Stump (aka St Botolph’s Church) contains the tallest parish church tower in the world. It was also the holder of the record of the tallest building to roof (not spire) in the world until the mid 19th century. The tower is open to visitors who can climb 209 stairs to approximately two thirds of its total height. Blasphemous graffiti, using satanic crosses from as early as 1731, is still visible today. Many of the stained glass windows around the porch and site of the Charnel House were damaged by rioting puritans in 1612.
Hussey Tower was once the impressive manorial home of Sir John Hussey, a member of the court of Henry VIII. Built in around 1450,the tower was constructed entirely of hand-made red brick produced using local clay and was originally part of a large manor house, including a great hall, servants quarters, kitchens, stables and a large gatehouse. The tower was reserved for the accommodation of the Lord and his family. Lord Hussey was executed by Henry VIII for treason in 1536 after the unsuccessful Lincolnshire rebellion.
Hang on a minute! Go back to the Stump and the rioting puritans.
There is a memorial stone in a little park in Boston, its inscription reads:
‘NEAR THIS PLACE IN SEPTEMBER 1607 THOSE LATER KNOWN AS THE PILGRIM FATHERS SET SAIL ON THEIR FIRST ATTEMPT TO FIND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ACROSS THE SEAS’.
So, it was from here that one local puritan priest, John Cotton, was amongst those who sailed from Boston, Lincolnshire to Boston, Mass. and was instrumental in the founding and naming of the city after his home town.
And finally we get to the tenuous link that will finally find this post in some way related to my writing.
Lovers Entwined, is my next novel which is currently in the editing stage.
It is set in Boston, Massachusetts (see, I told you we’d get there eventually). Incidentally, Boston is considered to be ‘the birthplace of American genealogy’. I can see you all throwing your hands in the air and cursing. “Why has she mentioned that?” “More tenuous links!” “WTF!?”
Maybe my unofficial blurb will help.
Ewan Matthews is one of Boston’s leading genealogy experts despite his tender years. He knows how to get the best out of all the records available to him, be they paper or virtual. But when a would-be bridegroom comes looking for confirmation that there are no skeletons in his ancestral closet, Ewan finds himself delving into records he never expected to access. His own dreams!