The Voyage of HMS Beagle 150 150 SGSocAdmin

The Voyage of HMS Beagle


The lectures are held on Friday evenings commencing 7.30 p.m. The lectures running through the autumn of 2021 will be held at Spalding Methodist Church in Broad Street, directly opposite our museum. Admission will be £3.00 per person. We ask that only people who are fully vaccinated or have passed a recent clear Covid test should attend in person. We plan to live stream the lectures using the Microsoft Teams platform for the benefit of those unwilling or unable to attend at the venue. Booking will required to access the stream at the same cost, £3.00.

To attend online please book through Art Tickets by clicking

Available online events will be published on Art Tickets 7-10 days before the event

‘Picture Quiz’ Results 150 150 Dave Jacobs

‘Picture Quiz’ Results

The latest Spalding Gentlemen’s Society ’Picture Quiz’ has now closed, and the results are in.

Many thanks to all those that took part, a total of £132 was raised, which is a great achievement.

A special thank you to all those that sent in a donation as well.

The three prize winners were as follows.

1st Prize: J Baker of Chesterfield with 99 points.

2nd Prize: A Ashenhurst of Exeter with 98 points.

The £5 random prize went to E Collier of Frome.

All entrants who supplied an email have been contacted, and all SAE’s have been posted, and the winners notified.

I hope you all enjoyed the challenge, I understand this one was a bit tough, sorry about that.

Kind regards,


SGS Member

Charity No. 216131

Stukeley Memoirs Project Volume 2 150 150 Dustin Frazier Wood

Stukeley Memoirs Project Volume 2

SGS is pleased to release Volume 2 of William Stukeley’s Memoirs of the Royal Society.

Volume 2 spans the period from to April 1742, when Stukeley ‘quitted [his] house in Glocester street, & retired,  for alltogether, to Stamford’. Yet in February 1748 he returned to London as Rector of St George the Martyr in Queen Square. Stukeley would remain in London until his death in 1765.

William Stukeley’s drawings of two ancient Egyptian urns carved in the figures of Isis and Osiris

Among the notable topics in Volume 2 are the early horological works of Benjamin Harrison; the discovery of the polypus or hydra; and a prototype canon capable of firing 20 balls in quick succession, a precursor of the machine gun. Volume 2 also introduces readers to the important but short-lived Egyptian Society, of which Stukeley was an associate member.

We hope you enjoy reading Volume 2.

The Editors

Dr Dustin M. Frazier Wood, SGS Librarian

Dr Mandy Topp, u3a Research and Shared Learning Coordinator (East Midlands)

Musings from the Museum 19 150 150 SGSocAdmin

Musings from the Museum 19


The Enemy having invaded the Coast of Lincolnshire


This poster dates from about 1914 and was obviously never used, but it shows us that the nation feared invasion then, just as in the Second War, and had made preparations.  We have 15 of these unused posters in the collection and 116 pages of documents showing the local plans for dealing with an invasion. Included are the names of all the Committee members and Special Constables, which feature surnames still familiar in the area.

The County Lord Lieutenant was charged with forming a small Central Organising Committee (COC) under the Chief Constable, including an Army officer representing the military.   In Lincolnshire, each Petty Sessions Division formed a Local Emergency Committee (LEC) under the Chairman of the Bench. In turn the LEC organised sub-committees for each District.   All Committee members were sworn in as Special Constables, thus bringing them under control of the Police.  18 sub-committees were formed in South Holland and 112 Special Constables recruited.

These Special Constables lived near road junctions and were to direct traffic, being issued with a map showing the main roads, which were reserved for military use, and the minor roads to be used for civilian traffic.  Each Parish had a defined route for evacuation, all leading towards Leicester.  Other areas of Lincolnshire were to evacuate to Nottingham, via Lincoln & Grantham. This meant that there had to be LECs for inland counties too, to plan for this influx of refugees.  

Somewhat naively, the initial official line in 1914 was ‘unauthorised movements should not take place, owing to the risk of the movements of our troops being impeded, and the hardships that fugitives would endure.’  This seems to assume set piece battles between opposing forces rather than hand-to-hand skirmishing in villages & towns, also it ignores widespread publicity about the brutal treatment of the Belgian population, which was bound to cause fear and panic in the face of an invasion.  

As well as controlling civilian movements, the LEC had to make plans for impeding the enemy advance.   Horses and carts were to be removed to Sleaford, animals were to be dispersed and driven out onto the fens, tool dumps and labouring gangs arranged for destruction of bridges, piers and barges.  Any transport that could not be moved to be disabled (e.g. by removal of wheels); petrol stocks to be burnt; money & documents removed from banks and Post Offices; Water, Gas and Electric Works to be disabled by their engineers.

Everything was in place by early 1915, culminating in a meeting of LECs at the Guildhall Nottingham to confirm arrangements for refugees.

The flurry of memos from Whitehall seems to ease in 1915 and we have only a few documents from  1916 & 1917.   Then, on 28th March 1918, Major General Hay of Eastern Command writes to the Lincs COC : ‘Reports have reached this office that…the emergency measures, once doubtless completely organised, have either been allowed to lapse, or remain in a very incomplete condition’.  The Germans had launched their Spring Offensive on the Western Front and this had renewed invasion fears.

The LEC plans are brought up-to-date and become more comprehensive.  A sequence of 20 potential alert levels are laid out, with secret telegraphic codes for use between the Military & LECs, e.g. “ALERT DEFAREA” – Hold yourself ready; “BREEZE DEFAREA – The enemy have invaded the coast; with further codes to trigger the various planned measures, culminating in the reassuring  “WARMTH DEFAREA” – Assure civilian population all danger is now over, resume normal conditions.

Official guidance on refugees had changed: ‘It will be impossible to expect the population to remain where a town comes under actual bombardment…it is always possible that a large number of the inhabitants may take to flight though no danger is imminent, and in spite of the advice to remain in their homes.  The inhabitants should be advised to take with them none of their property except their money, sufficient clothing and as much food that they can contrive to carry. A certain quantity of biscuits and cocoa, to provide two meals, has been placed at the disposal of COCs at distributing depots not less than 12 to 15 miles inland’.    Public notices advised – on notification by the Police – ‘IMMEDIATELY start your horses and vehicles on the road to Sleaford.  Bear in mind, and tell your neighbours, that to do this is to save their horses and carts from being seized by FOREIGNERS WHO WILL NEITHER PAY FOR THEM NOR RETURN THEM.  Don’t wait to load your carts, the foreigners won’t touch your furniture.’

This heightened state of alert remained right through 1918. As late as 23rd October, the Chief Constable wrote warning LECs that precautions for home defence ‘were never more necessary than now’.

Following the Armistice there were a number of letters from the authorities thanking all concerned for their work.  Finally, on 22nd Dec 1918, a final meeting of the Spalding LEC was called at the Sessions House and a group photograph was taken.

We have these posters and documents because the Chairman of the Magistrates Bench, and thus Chairman of the LEC was Fitzalan Howard, a member of the Society who, in 1918, became our President and remained so until his death in 1932.  He lived with his wife, 4 children and 4 servants in Holyrood House, a fine mansion next door to Ayscoughfee Hall.  In 1950 Holyrood House was suggested as a new home for the Society but the finance could not be found, so the house was demolished in 1953.  The Society has an album of photographs showing the demolition.

by J. Bowkett

Musings from the Museum 18. 150 150 SGSocAdmin

Musings from the Museum 18.


A Tale of Four Rivers                                                                      

 An article by Dr Martin Blake                                                                                                             

    Our corner of South-East Lincolnshire, the area historically known as Holland, is largely defined by its relationship to water, and in particular to four rivers which flow into the Wash, namely the Witham, the Glen, the Welland and the Nene.

Some rivers are believed to retain the oldest names surviving in our landscape. Most can be identified as deriving from known Celtic, Old English (Anglo-Saxon) or Old Norse words, but there is a significant corpus of river-names which, philologists assure us, cannot be related to any known language. These, it is assumed, date back to an era before the arrival of Celtic speakers in these islands, in other words to the Bronze Age or before, when we can only characterise the language spoken here, of which we know nothing, as early Indo-European.

These names can also be shared across huge areas. The River Don which gives Doncaster its name appears to derive from a root also found in the River Don in Russia, and even the Danube. It’s also a relatively modern convention that rivers maintain the same name along the entirety of their course. Parts of the Great Ouse in medieval times shared the name of the Severn and the Thames, the latter fossilised in the settlement name of Tempsford. The name of the village of Pinchbeck, ‘stream with minnows or with finches’, suggests that it was transferred from an early name for that section of the Glen.

Rivers tend to change their course over time due to geological and other factors. The Witham flows in part along a course taken by the River Trent before the last Ice Age, when it flowed through central Lincolnshire into The Wash. The Nene now has two courses, the Old and New, from where it was canalised centuries ago to aid navigation. Rivers also tend to silt up over time, the Welland being a case in point: its present-day lower course, on the whole unimpressive, belies Spalding’s status as a port for sea-going vessels until a couple of centuries ago.

So, let’s examine in detail the names of our four rivers:

Witham  The earliest known forms are Withma from about 1000, Wythum and Whithum from the early 12th century, and Widme from 1147. It falls into the category of river-names which cannot be related to any Celtic or Germanic element, and may well therefore  belong among the pre-Iron Age names mentioned above.

Glen  aqua de Glenye 1276, Glen 1365, le Glene 1390. The name is shared with a river in Northumberland, and probably derives from an early Celtic (so-called Primitive Welsh) word *glen, meaning clean or clear (Modern Welsh glan).

Welland  Early forms are diverse: Vueolod c1000, Weland mid-12th century, Wailand 1199, Weiland1199. No satisfactory explanation has been put forward for the name, and again it may well be pre-Celtic.

Nene  to Nen in a 963 entry in one recension of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Neen later 12th century, Nene 1232 (from a 14th-century document). There is a River Neen in Shropshire/Worcestershire from the same root, suggesting that it is Celtic in origin, but the meaning is obscure. The name is famously pronounced ‘Nen’ through its upper course in Northamptonshire, but ‘Neen’ once it crosses the border into Cambridgeshire. This is purely a dialectal variation, and the latter is generally considered to be older.

Bibliographical note

The only single-volume work on river-names remains Eilert Ekwall’s English River-Names, published as long ago as 1928 (OUP). Despite its age, it is still acknowledged as a work of enormous erudition. More recent detailed studies are to be found in the volumes of the English Place-Name Survey, published by the English Place-Name Society (EPNS) based at the University of Nottingham. Unfortunately, the relevant volumes for our part of Lincolnshire are still in preparation, but will presumably be published over the next few years. In the meantime, an excellent introduction to Lincolnshire place-names generally, including its rivers, is Kenneth Cameron’s A Dictionary of Lincolnshire Place-Names (EPNS, 1998). There is a detailed discussion of river-names in their topographical context in chapter 15 of the same author’s English Place Names (B.T. Batsford, 1996).

New SGS Charity Quiz 150 150 Dave Jacobs

New SGS Charity Quiz

I have created a new quiz to help pass the time, and to continue exercising those little grey cells etc.

It is a ‘Picture Quiz’ with 100 questions.

Please email and you will be emailed a copy with instructions, or download a copy from the following link:

Picture Quiz

Please consider printing the pages back to back, to save on paper.

It is the usual £1 entry fee, a prize of £20 for first, £10 for second, and a £5 random prize, picked from all entries.

The closing date will be the 1st August 2021.

You will also be able to purchase a copy from Bookmark in Spalding.

Many thanks, happy quizzing.


SGS Lanternist

Fenland and Heritage Network April 2021 150 150 SGSocAdmin

Fenland and Heritage Network April 2021

Fenland Heritage Network_April 2021_V1.doc



The table below shows the contact information for the organisations involved in the Fenland Heritage. If any of the details are incorrect or you would like to provide more information then please email If there are any other group who would like to be added to the list or there are any errors then please get in touch.



Contact (email)

Ayscoughfee Hall

Medieval merchants house and local history museum.

Boston Hanse Group

History of the Hanseatic League in Boston

Chain Bridge Forge Museum

Blacksmiths museum and local history archive.

Cranwell Aviation Heritage Museum

Aviation and local history.

Deepings Heritage

Local history of the Deepings.

Fane Road Archaeology Group (FRAG)

Archaeology of Peterborough.


Archaeology of the Fenlands.

Fleet Delvers

Local history of Fleet and surrounding area.

Gosberton Local History Group

History of Gosberton and South Holland.

Heritage Lincolnshire

History and heritage of Lincolnshire.



Contact (email)


Holbeach Cemetery Chapels

Local history.


Louth Museum

History of Louth and surrounding area.


Peakirk Archaeological Survey Team (PAST)

Local history and archaeology of Peakirk.


Peterborough Archive Services

Archive of Peterborough records.


Pinchbeck Engine Museum

Industrial Archaeology.


Red Barn Creative

Heritage, creativity, craft and digital skills.


Sleaford Civic Trust

Heritage and history of Sleaford.


Sleaford Museum

Local history.


Spalding Cemetery

(Friends Of)

Local History


Spalding Gentlemens Society

Museum, archive and research hub for general/local history.


Spalding U3A History Group

General and local history.

David Lawson




Contact (email)

Strawberry Glass

Stained glass crafts.

Thorney Museum

Local history and heritage museum.

Trigge Library

Sixteenth century library.

Trues Yard Museum

Local history and heritage museum.

Welland Rivers Trust

Conservation, restoration and education.

West Deepings Heritage Group

Local history and heritage.

Wisbech and Fenland Museum

Local history of Wisbech and the Fenland

Stukeley Memoirs Project Volume 1 150 150 Dustin Frazier Wood

Stukeley Memoirs Project Volume 1

SGS is pleased to release the first volume of William Stukeley’s Memoirs of the Royal Society in an open access digital edition created by SGS and u3a members over the past year. Tremendous thanks go to the 36 volunteers who gave their time and energy to the project.

Title page of William Stukeley, Memoirs of the Royal Society, vol. 1

William Stukeley (1687-1765) was a physician, clergyman and antiquary, and one of the founders of what is now known as archaeology. Born in Holbeach, Stukeley was a long-time friend of Maurice Johnson and joined the SGS in 1722. Although Stukeley rarely attended SGS meetings, he remained a regular and active correspondent for the next four decades. Along with letters to Johnson and the SGS, he contributed books, sketches, specimens and the five manuscript volumes of the Memoirs.

Stukeley compiled the Memoirs to document the activities of the Royal Society, Britain’s premier scientific body. Covering the years 1740 to 1751, the Memoirs provide an entertaining first-hand account of a pivotal period in the history of science in Britain. As a narrative written for friends and fellow SGS members, they also provide insights into the politics and personalities of Britain’s scientific community.

Engaging, informative and often funny, Stukeley’s Memoirs allow us to imagine the early life of both the Royal Society and the SGS through the words and drawings of one of their most remarkable members.

We hope you enjoy reading Volume 1. Further volumes will appear on the SGS website over the coming months.

The Editors

Dr Dustin M. Frazier Wood, SGS Librarian

Dr Mandy Topp, u3a Research and Shared Learning Coordinator (East Midlands)

Abstracts from Symposium 24/04/2021 150 150 Sharon Hoult

Abstracts from Symposium 24/04/2021


Morning Session


The Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Lindsey (Erik Grigg)

I will discuss the early medieval kingdom of Lindsey, which probably covered the north half of Lincolnshire and flourished in the centuries after the end of Roman rule. I will discuss the written and archaeological evidence, its possible origins and the role of religion in its fall. Finds, from recent excavations as well as those reported by metal detectorists, suggest the area was affluent and well-connected, but the kingdom is only known from a single list of its kings, why did it leave such a faint impression on history? I will re-evaluate key evidence to suggest that while many other kingdoms were bolstered by embracing Christianity, the kings of Lindsey seem absent from the narrative of conversion. Perhaps they are the test case that proves the rule that embracing the new religion and becoming connected to other Christian leaders helped solidify the rule of early medieval kings



The Anglo-Saxon Transformation of the Fens (Michael Chisholm)

The long-standing belief has been that only the Romans or Normans were capable of early major hydraulic works in the Fens.  That belief has been eroded by the realisation that an Anglo-Saxon sea-bank was built round the Wash, protecting the silt fens; and, since the 1980s, that they dug some artificial channels in the peat fens.  I am the first person to have undertaken a systematic search to try to answer the following basic question: How much hydraulic engineering did the Anglo-Saxons undertake?  Piecing together archaeological and other information, it becomes clear that the answer is: A great deal more that has been realised.  The implications of this finding ramify quite widely.  


Invasion of Settlement? Anglo-Saxon and Viking Place-Names in the Fens (Martin Blake)


People of Scandinavian (Sc) origin settled in eastern England from the late 9th century onwards, after the arrival of the (mostly Danish) Great Army in 865. How great were their numbers, and what was the impact on the existing Anglo-Saxon population? Written records for our area from this period are sparse, so we have to look closely at ‘secondary’ evidence, such as place-names (PNs). Cautionary note: the lack of written evidence means that we do not have very early forms for most PNs, and are reliant on Domesday Book (DB) or even much later sources. In addition, PN studies are neither scientific nor static; intensive research is ongoing, particularly for the (hopefully soon to be published) English Place-Name Survey (EPNS) volumes for southern Lincolnshire. Researchers may consider the same corpus of evidence and come to different conclusions. In our context, it is also important to remember that Old English (OE) and Old Norse (ON) were closely related languages, and cannot always be distinguished in PN forms (cf ON thorp and OE throp).

Density of Sc Settlement:

The Great Army probably consisted of a few thousand warriors, a substantial army by contemporary standards but not sufficient in itself to explain the apparent density of subsequent Danish settlement. It seems likely that, once Danish control of eastern England had been formalised by the establishment of the Danelaw, further waves of settlers, mostly farmers, crossed the North Sea to settle in areas newly under Danish control. A further wave may well have followed the conquest of England by Swein Forkbeard in 1015.

Sc place-names are densely distributed through Lincs and other eastern counties (though not in the fens – see below), but it is not possible to extrapolate directly from this to estimate numbers of inhabitants. In recent years, DNA evidence has shown considerable Sc influence on the present-day gene pool of long-standing inhabitants of Lincolnshire.

Where did they settle, and what were relations between the English and Sc populations?

Where settlements with English and Sc names are situated in close proximity to one another, it is often the case that the Sc settlement is on poorer, more marginal soil, e.g. on the Lincolnshire Wolds. This does not suggest that the existing population was driven out by the newcomers, or indeed intimidated by them. Having said this, Sc settlements were doubtless still being established well after the conquest of the Danelaw by the kings of Wessex in the 10th century.

An interesting group of PNs is the so-called ‘Toton hybrids’. These consist of a Sc personal name combined with an English habitative suffix, particulary -tun. Earlier scholars believed that these were former English settlements taken over and renamed from a military leader in the Great Army. It is now considered more likely that they result from a much later land redistribution, perhaps as late as the 11th century, indicating that the settlement’s new overlord had a Sc name. (There are examples of Sc names being adopted by the English aristocracy, e.g. the Godwins). Another group of hybrids consists of a Sc suffix, particularly by, attached to an English personal name or other element. These are generally considered to be later formations, from a time when -by had been absorbed into the English language, and hence are not evidence in themselves of Sc settlement.

From primary PN evidence (towns,villages and parishes), the Sc incomers appear to have had little interest in settling in the fens of Cambs and southern Lincs. Such terrain existed in Denmark, albeit probably not on the same scale, but it requires long experience and specialist knowledge to exploit its resources, and people possessing these were presumably not among the settlers in England. Alternatively, settlements in this marshy area occupied limited areas of higher ground, which were presumably fully occupied and left little opportunity for new settlement. Having said this, it is noteworthy that ‘secondary’ PN elements, particularly field-names, are common in this area. These are believed to belong to a later stage of PN-formation when terms such as -carr, -garth and –wong/wang had been absorbed into the English language, a process which seems to have continued well into the post-Conquest period.

Finally, it is worth noting the literary evidence from both English and Icelandic sources, in some cases contemporary, suggesting that, as late as the 11th century, OE and ON were mutually intelligible. If there is any truth in this, it would presumably have been even more true in the late 9th century andwould have aided the integration of the English and Sc populations if they had been minded to do so.

Afternoon Session


Crowland Abbey and the Battle of Threekingham (Freya Trotman)

In 869 during Theodore of Croyland’s Abbacy, the Danes who had landed all along the east coast and were encamped at Thetford for the winter. The men and monks of Crowland along with hundreds of others living in the Fens met them in battle at Threekingham on the Fen edge. The battle was brutal and hundreds were killed on both sides. Bodies were rumoured to have lain three deep and the slaughter was appalling.

The Anglo Saxons who had survived the battle made their way home through the Fens to tell others that the Danes had won and to warn of the danger. The Danes followed the monks back through the marshes and waterways. On the flat landscape of marsh and water the low lying island of Crowland with the whitewashed Abbey would have looked like a beacon on the horizon. As they came from Threekingham the Danes attacked the other churches on the fen edge. St Firmin’s Church at Thurlby was one of many others that suffered at their hands.

Before the inevitable reprisals, the brothers at Crowland hastened to move the Abbey’s treasures to safety, transporting them across the water to Anchorigg at Thorney, where the treasures were alleged to have been hidden in a pond, (which still exists). When the Danes came they slew all the brothers as they were at Mass. One young brother was saved by a Dane who took pity on the boy. My talk aims to tell the story of the battle and the aftermath in the context of the modern landscape and buildingsthat have survived.


Hereward and the Saxon Resistance: The Ely Rebellion (Michael Gilbert)

The Ely Rebellion was one in a series of uprisings against the Norman invaders in the ten years following the conquest. It has generally been overlooked and regarded as of minor importance not posing a serious threat to Williams rule. However, the rebellion combined three powerful elements; local rebels under the leadership of Hereward, surviving members of the Saxon nobility and a Danish fleet that together had the potential to provide a credible challenge to the Normans. This talk considers how serious a threat the Ely Rebellion posed and why it failed? It also asks what do we know about Hereward as a leader of the Saxon resistance and can we separate fact from fiction?


Countess Lucy: AngloNorman Heiress (Neal Sumner)

The focus of this session will be on Lucy, Anglo-Norman heiress, founder and benefactress of the Benedictine Priory of St. Mary and St Nicholas in Spalding. Drawing on recent research I will discuss what is known of her ancestry and its influence on her life and marriages. I will examine how her roles as daughter, wife, mother and widow contribute to our understanding of this crucial period of transition between the Anglo-Saxon and Norman periods. How does Lucy’s life reflect themes of gender, identity, and the limits of female power and agency in the era of the Norman Conquest? The discussion concludes with an evaluation of the ways in which her legacy was preserved and extended by her children.

SGS Symposium 2021 Abstracts.doc

Latest ‘Double Letters’ Quiz Results 150 150 Dave Jacobs

Latest ‘Double Letters’ Quiz Results

The latest Spalding Gentlemen’s Society quiz ‘Double Letters’ has now closed, and the results are in.

Many thanks to all those that took part, a total of £175 was raised, which is a great achievement during these trying times.

A special thank you to all those that sent in a donation as well.

With twelve entries scoring maximum points, two people sharing first and second prizes.

V Ries of Chelmsford

E Barker of Nantwich

The £5 random prize went to A Peters of Brothertoft

All entrants who supplied an email have been contacted, and all SAE’s have been posted.

I hope you all enjoyed the challenge, I am working on another quiz now.

Kind regards,


SGS Member

Charity No. 216131