Monthly Archives: November 2016

Village Life in the 1500s and 1600s

This period of time has uniquely bequeathed to us an intimate glimpse of everyday life, through detailed inventories of household goods, tools of trade, farming equipment and animals, taken when people died.

Dave Mainwaring of Morton has studied several hundred such documents, including Wills, to build up a picture of life in his home village during the Tudor and Stuart era.  He will share this information, which has much in common with life in the Deepings, at our meeting on 10th November.  Dave is a lively speaker who gave a talk last season about Deeping Lakes.

In West Deeping parish register, there is a burial record for SETH OFRENDIKE on 15th December 1669.  From those bare facts we learn nothing about him, but an inventory of his possessions taken three days later, reveals he was an apothecary.  In his shop were “physical drugs and medicines” with bottles, glasses, gallipots (small earthenware pots for ointment), small weights and pewter measures.  He had seven stocks of bees in his yard, so may have used honey in some of his treatments.  Mr Ofrendike also supplied haberdashery items such as buttons, silk tape, laces, needles, hooks & eyes and inkle (coarse linen tape used for shoe laces, garters and apron strings).  He may have been over-generous with credit, as he was owed £3 10s in  “desperate debts not to be got”!


 Inventories of all farming folk are broadly similar, with carts and ploughs, hay and crops and typical furnishings of the age.  The difference between yeomen and poorer cottagers is simply the quality and number of items.

WILLIAM JOBSON was a yeoman in Deeping St James who died in December 1603.   His inventory is a typical list of furniture and bedding and pewter vessels, until we discover he owned “a rapier, a dagger, an elm bow and four arrows and a watching bill.”  The latter weapon is a blade or spear fixed to a pole about 6 feet long.  It was used by night watchmen, hence its name, but it seems more likely that Mr Jobson had a military role in his younger days.

Further back in time, in the “37th year of ye reign of ye Sovereign Lord King Henry V111th”, JAMES SOTHEBE died in Market Deeping.  It was before parish registers were kept, but his inventory dated 1545 states he was a priest and curate.  Among his possessions was “one cloth to hang before an altar” valued at 16d.  He also owned one surplice.  His everyday clothes were itemised  as two shirts, two gowns and one cloak, a jacket of worsted, two pair of hose, two caps, one camlet doublet and one of fustian.  (Camlet was a fine fabric of wool, silk and hair, whereas fustian was a coarse, heavier cloth of cotton and linen). As a man of status and education, he possessed books and a counter (writing table) as well as ten silver spoons.

Dave Mainwaring is sure to give fascinating insights into the lives of  villagers 400 years ago.  His talk starts at 7.30pm in the Conference Centre, Deepings School.

We look forward to welcoming members and visitors.


There was a surprising find in the garden of the East Wing of Market Deeping

Rectory last week.


As soon as this badge was unearthed, Greg Ford recognized it as an Army Chaplain’s lapel badge from the First World War.

Just over 5,000 served as Chaplains in the First World War and two Rectors of St Guthlac’s Church are among that number.

Both men were awarded the Military Cross.

Reverend Paul O Ashby was the Rector during the war and when he left the parish, he was replaced by Reverend Leonard F Pigott as Rector from 1923 until his death on December 26th 1961.

Poignantly, Reverend Pigott was awarded his Military Cross 98 years ago this very week, November 6th 1918 – under a week before the Armistice was signed. So the find could not have come at a more appropriate time.

We are almost certain that the badge belonged to Reverend Pigott and was possibly discarded when the Rectory was emptied after his death.


When we looked at this photograph we could see the lapel badge prominently displayed as well as his cap badge.

Fair to say we were elated but we then began to wonder what has happened to the other lapel badge or indeed who owns his medals now…

Reverend Pigott served in the Royal Army Chaplain’s Division from 5th May 1916 until 6th December 1920 alongside the North Staffordshire Regiment. Although there are few records of  his service we do know he was on the Western Front. He was mentioned in dispatches on several occasions and he was wounded under the chin by shrapnel.

The Edinburgh Gazette reported the award of his Military Cross on November 6th 1918:

“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He went forward with a party about 1,500 yards (almost a mile) in front of the line to bring back a badly wounded man and carried the man back through a heavy artillery barrage to the lines. He was indefatigable in the performance of his duties and showed the greatest disregard of danger.”

Early on in the war Chaplains had been given the order to stay away from the front line, but by 1916, the role of Chaplains had been redefined and they were instructed to go where they were most needed. They performed a critical  role in conducting services and performing burials but also in helping wounded soldiers (and sometimes rescuing them from “No Man’s Land”), giving spiritual guidance on the battlefield, writing letters to the families of wounded/fallen soldiers and boosting morale.

Towards the end of his military service Reverend Pigott was possibly serving in the Edinburgh War Hospital and wrote to the editor of the Scotsman on 3rd July 1920.  He regretted that officials had not scheduled the hospital into the visit of the King to Edinburgh. There were 900 men in that hospital “their bodies shattered in the service of their King and Country.”

pigott-1This commitment to the men who served in the war continued throughout his long service in Market Deeping, indeed he became Honorary Chaplain to RAF Langtoft in 1954 until its closure a short time before his death.

He died on Boxing Day 1961, one day before his 80th birthday.

(Photographs courtesy of St Guthlac’s Church and Greg Ford)

This comment attributed to General Haig provides a fitting tribute to all those Chaplains who served:

“A good Chaplain is as valuable as a good General.”

Without doubt our two Rectors were good Chaplains!