MACLA News Magazine - 29. Winter 2007

News Magazine 29, Winter 2007 - Editors Corner


And here we are again just weeks away from Christmas - I am sure it is not only me but dont the years just fly by. I was only checking the other day and it is now three years since I took over as Editor of the magazine and cant believe where the time has gone. What do they say “time flies when you are having fun”
I am sure there is something for everyone in this issue and I would like to thank all the contributors for their input - we now seem to be spreading our wings further in the community but I am sure we can go that little bit further (including Martin please).

All it remains is for me to wish, on behalf of all involved in the production and delivery of your local magazine, a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year

Pete Ford

Pete Ford (Editor)

Metheringham Parish Council Winter 2007 Update


From the Chairman

Playing Fields

Over a number of years the village has acquired almost eleven acres of superb playing fields for recreational and sporting activities. Some, like the Star and Garter field, was obtained after tremendous fund raising by the village. Other areas were bought by the Parish Council. However, by far, the largest section was acquired through a gift of land in 1927 and 1928 by Lord Londesborough. By all accounts this provided a much needed recreation area for the village but much of the land was little more than rough pasture. A condition of the gift was that the land would remain a recreation area in perpetuity. However, in the 1960’s, plans were being developed to expand the village. Permission was given to sell the “Rec” as it was known, provided new recreational areas were obtained. So started an ongoing need to provide recreational facilities for the village.

The Flax Factory - Metheringham Heath


Following the request in your recent magazine on your website may I be allowed to provide some details regarding the Flax Factory on Metheringham Heath.

The Flax Factory was built early in WW2, the brick building housing the machinery and the ten Dutch Barns to store the Flax. This was a new crop for Lincolnshire, the reason being that war was underway. Much more home grown food was needed so many acres of old rough grass came under the plough but a chief menace, the "Wire worm" grub became prevalent in the corn crops. With no spray on the market to kill them off a recommendation was made by the Ministry of Agriculture that one or two crops of Flax be used and this would clear the soil of the grubs. If the land was then to be used for potatoes a thick lush crop of mustard was ploughed in.

The first drilling of Flax was in March 1940 while the factory was being built. Given good weather it grew very quickly and by late June it was ready for harvesting, thus being out of the way before the corn harvest. Long strong green stalks were pulled by a machine just when the flowers had fallen. The roots were pulled because they held fibre which was then made into sheaves. "Stooking", the same as corn, it was left to dry until the sheaves were brown and then it was stacked and thatched.

At the factory the dry sheaves were elevated to the top of the building so the process began. Words like "retted", "scotching" and "green-scutching" were used by the ladies who worked there. What these words mean only these ladies will know and hopefully this article might rekindle a few memories from those still alive.

In the process some parts were awash with water while others were dry with plenty of dust about. Buses conveyed the works to the factory from the surrounding villages with others even coming from further afield including Ireland to then settle here after the conflict of war.

In 1941 the crop produced was some 8,000 tons processed from 3,000 acres.

The manager was a Mr William Dalton who came from Cottingham near Hull. He lived at Dunston Pillar and was awarded the BEM for his Service to Flax.

Mr Ellis of Digby was the Overseer of the "Carting" and came to the farms for helpers to load the lorries.
The late Mr Eric Parker of Scopwick House was Chairman of the company.

One of the Secretaries was Eileen Kew the daughter of the then Station Master at Metheringham Station.
As stated - perhaps this article will rekindle a few old memories of the ladies who worked there doing an excellent job for King and Country.

Peter Baumber Brookside, Scopwick

Postings on MACLA Website


The Willson's and Sleaford's of Blankney, Walcott and Martin
My family lived in the Blankney, Martin and Walcott area for hundreds of years and as a family history junky my database has become huge as years go by. It includes many of the families from those villages.
I am always happy to hear from people who link to my family and my data can be viewed via

Sue & Jenny Holt
Compliments on a lovely website. My sister and I used to live in Metheringham Fen in the 50s and early 60s love to hear from anyone that remembers us, Sue & Jenny Holt from 2 Council House Metheringam Fen.

High Flight - poem by John Gillespie Magee
Thank You for sharing John Gillespie Magee with me. I am haunted by this poem; for no apparent reason; and written before I was born. I felt a sense of quiet peace as I re-read it. God Bless, Kathryne V. Cool
I don't habitually join threads Kathryne, but I stumbled on this page after searching for a printable version of 'High Flight'. For me the poem is forever linked to a few wonderful wave flights in my Libelle sailplane in younger days. Wave is a special kind of smooth, rising air current that in the right conditions takes you far above the cumulus and other low turbulent clouds, up into the brilliant blue that John loved.
My 15m sailplane may not have had the power or agility of John's Spitfire, but in the silent world of the solo glider pilot his poem has a remarkable resonance. It is very hard to explain to a non-pilot how it feels to soar at altitude. John Gillespie Magee used his wonderful gift as a poet to help the rest of us share that experience. For that I am forever grateful to him.
For years I have driven past Scopwick en route to my home in Suffolk. Next time I will make a diversion to pay my respects.
Wonderful thing, the Internet.
Peter - Libelle pilot

Blankney & Scopwick Burial Transcripts
Over on, Shelley Clack has added Cemetery Transcriptions for, amongst others, Blankney & Scopwick Cemeteries. These should be very useful for people searching out their ancestors.

Fayre and Feast 2007 Report


by Village Correspondent Dot Howe

Metheringham's Fayre and Feast theme 'Land of Hope and Glory' for 2007 was very apt as it echoed the feeling of a weekend of celebration and national pride. Fayre and Feast day was also the Rugby World Cup final featuring England and South Africa and the weekend finished on a spectacular note on Sunday night when Andy Bell, nominated by Metheringham Primary School where he taught until July, won the Primary School Teacher of the Year award at the National Teaching Awards.

The Fayre and Feast on Saturday was very lively and well supported in the Autumn afternoon sunshine but tailed off quickly when the rugby final started. Some of those celebrating a good weekend were Metheringham WI who made £250 with their wrapped tombola, the Village Hall which made £500 from the raffle and all day refreshments and bacon baps in the village hall. St Wilfrid's Church made around £150 on refreshments in the church hall. Other local groups having a good day were the Over 60s, the playgroup, LIVES First Responders, Dunston Primary School and the Swimming Pool Association.

At the de-brief meeting in November several points were raised regarding the availability of market stalls next year, that many people missed hearing pipe organs at this year's feast, that there could be changes to the arrangements at the Co-Op corner, more baking stalls and keeping local organisations' stalls open longer, parking on Fen Road, inconsistencies in the sound and positioning of noisy generators, the parade, organisation of stewards and most importantly the need for more stewards. It is never too early to get your name down if you want to help next year when the theme will be the 90th anniversary of the end of the Great War.

Are you in need of Affordable housing?




Housing is one of the most pressing issues facing many people in Lincolnshire. Whilst county house prices have increased by up to 100% in the last few years, wages have not kept pace, houses have been lost due to the right to buy and numerous new developments are aimed at the executive end of the housing market. This means many local people are now priced out of the property market in their own villages.

Metheringham is a village that has seen considerable increases in house prices over the past few years, which inevitably has an impact upon the affordability of properties for local people.

One attempt to rectify this is through the Community Lincs Rural Housing Enabler Project. The project centres on working with rural communities to provide small developments of affordable housing for local people in need and it is often the case that building just a few housing units can mean local residents can remain in their villages rather than have to move elsewhere.

The Rural Housing Enabler and Metheringham Parish Council believe it is important to conduct a housing needs survey in the village to establish if there is a local need. This is a survey that will be sent to every household in Metheringham and looks to identify the housing needs and circumstances of parishioners.

The survey is enclosed with this issue of MACLA and we hope you take the opportunity to respond. The closing deadline for returned surveys will be Monday 31 December 2007. Please see the survey for information on how to return your completed form.

If you would like to find out more about the survey or the Rural Housing Project please contact Ian Penn, Rural Housing Enabler, Community Lincs, Tel: 01529 302466.

Year of Wonders - Geraldine Brooks


Metheringham Book Group Review


This book tells the story of the 17th century plague which was carried from London to a small Derbyshire village by an itinerant tailor and describes how the villagers dealt with the consequences.

When I opened the book, I inwardly groaned because I don't normally like anything written in the first person. However, I quickly became involved with Anna Frith's narrative and warmed to it. The fact that, although there was some "poetic licence", the story is based on facts about things that actually happened in Eyam, made it, at times, a harrowing read. I never quite trusted the Mompellions. And could anyone really be as virtuous as Anna Frith? I did enjoy the tales about all the superstitions that abounded at that time, probably because I was brought up by a mother who regularly repeated many of those superstitions to me. It was a well written book, and the twists towards the end made it, for me, even more enjoyable.

In my opinion definitely not the best book I have read about that time, but certainly a good read. I would give it a score of 7/10.


(this book achieved an average score of 8/10 amongst the rest of the group)

Poem - Untitled


Just a note to say I'm living,
Though I'm getting most forgetful
Sometimes I just can't remember
If I must go up for something
And before the refrigerator often
Have I just been putting food away
Times there are when it's dark
I don't know if I'm retiring
So if it's my turn to write you
I may think that I have written
So remember - I do love you
And now it's nearly mail time
I'm standing by the post box
Instead of mailing you my letter

That I'm not among the dead,
And very mixed up in my head;
When I stand at the foot of the stairs
Or have I just come down from there?
My muddled mind is filled with doubt,
Or have I come to take it out?
And my night cap's on my head,
Or just getting out of bed.
There's no need getting sore,
And just don't want to be a bore.
And wish that you were here:
So must say"Goodbye" my dear.
With my face very red -
I've opened it instead!

Brass Band moves to Dunston


(15 July 2010) - The band now has it's own website - Check it out!

A friendly and fun youth brass band has recently moved to Dunston. The band held a recruitment day in September, and six more learners joined, but we still have room for more! The Band plays at a variety of events in the local area (including the Dunston Duck Race and Metheringham Fayre & Feast), and will be taking part in numerous Christmas activities during December. Several members of the band will be entering the Lincoln Music & Drama Festival in March 2008.


The band still needs more players, and is now in a position to open the membership to other youngsters in the area who are already learning to play a brass instrument, or wish to learn from scratch (age up to 18 years). Although essentially a youth band, if there are any adult players out there who would like to sit in and help to bring the youngsters on, please contact us.

The instruments we have in a brass band are:
cornets, flugels, tenor horns, baritones, euphoniums, trombones and basses
We will provide tuition, loan of an instrument and music; and the subs are £12/qtr.

The Band would also be interested to hear from any budding drummers or percussionists.

Practice times - Dunston Village Hall

Tuesday: tuition for beginners 6.30-7.15pm, band practice 7.15-8.15pm

Friday: tuition for intermediates 6-7pm, band practice 7-8pm, advanced group 8-9pm

For additional information, or to join the band, contact:
Helen Duncan
Tel: 01526 323860


Frederick John Robinson


Famous people on our doorstep

Frederick John Robinson -Nocton Hall - 19th Century Tory Prime Minister


Perhaps to the surprise of many, Margaret Thatcher was not the only Prime Minister to come out of Lincolnshire as our area saw this country’s twentieth Prime Minister living on our doorstep, namely at Nocton Hall.

Frederick John Robinson was born in London on 1st November 1782, the second of three sons born to Thomas Robinson (second Baron Grantham) and his wife Lady Mary Jemima Grey Yorke. He was educated at Harrow and St John's College, Cambridge and then trained as a lawyer. He ended these studies when the post of private secretary to the Earl of Hardwicke, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, was offered to him. He held this position between 1804 and March 1806.

Children catch the YogaBug!


YogaBugs have arrived in your area.


Penny Cowling has recently set up classes at Dunston St Peter's Primary School and in Dunston Methodist Chapel and is hoping to increase this to make yoga available for more youngsters. Classes are suitable for children aged between 2 ½ and 7 years of age.

YogaBugs is a great way to introduce young children to yoga. We go on an exciting adventure in each class and the children learn all the different yoga poses as the story unfolds. It is not just physical exercise; the children are encouraged to use their imaginations too and the classes are great fun.

Penny says yoga is suitable for all children and can help build stamina as well as increase flexibility. She also uses breathing exercises to improve concentration and energy levels. "We always end each class with a relaxation session which the children really enjoy." Penny adds "Parents have said that their children sleep better after a yoga class!!

Penny is offering to give demonstration classes to local schools and nurseries who are interested. She has full CRB checks.

For more information about demonstrations, existing or future classes or birthday parties contact Penny Cowling on 07850 879755 or email