Lincolnshire Customs and Traditions

Please note that our meeting this month is on a Wednesday, 13th November, as the Conference Centre is not available on our usual evening.  We shall be welcoming back Tom Lane and folk singing duo Steppin’ Stones, for another entertaining session.

Tom is an archaeologist with a wide knowledge of Lincolnshire history.  He will describe some of the county’s unusual traditions, accompanied by songs from Nigel and Teri.  We hope you can join them for a cheerful and informative evening.  The event starts at 7.30pm in the Conference Centre, Deepings School. Everyone is welcome.  Entrance £3 for non-members.

In our large county, some customs are confined to specific regions, but local sayings often spread more widely.  Growing up in south Lincolnshire in the 1950s, with a coal fire in the living room as the only source of heat, anyone who let in a cold draught was liable to be told “You must come from Bardney”.  If that produced a blank expression, the accuser added “You never shut a door!”  We had a vague idea that Bardney was somewhere further north (it’s a village nine miles east of Lincoln) but no explanation of why its inhabitants left their doors open. In fact the saying derives from a legend about Anglo Saxon kings.

Bardney Abbey was founded in the 7th century by King Aethelred of Mercia, whose wife Osthryd’s uncle was Oswald, King of Northumbria.  After he was killed in battle in 641 AD he became venerated as a saint.  His bones were take for interment at Bardney, but legend says that when they arrived after dark, monks refused to open the Abbey door.  During the night they saw a beam of light rising from Oswald’s bier, and realising that they had denied entry to holy relics, ordered that the door must never be closed again.

Bardney Abbey was destroyed by invading Danes in 870 AD, the same year they attacked the abbey at Peterborough (then known as Medeshamstede).  Unlike Peterborough which was rebuilt, Bardney was left in ruins for over two hundred years.  A later Norman abbey on the site was closed in 1538 and by the mid 18th century nothing remained except its foundations, overgrown with grass.

Responsibility for maintenance of the Abbey site is being taken over by the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology.  Annual church services are still held there on the Sunday nearest to St Oswald’s Day – 5th August.


A new book titled “A CELEBRATION OF MUSICAL MOMENTS AND MEMORIES IN ST GUTHLAC’S CHURCH” has recently been published to coincide with the refurbishment of the church’s organ.  Researched and written by Elizabeth Parkinson, it tells the fascinating story of over 200 years’ music in St Guthlac’s,  from the early gallery musicians, the barrel organ and harmonium to the current William Hill organ.  The book includes many photographs of choristers through the years and describes amusing moments on their legendary outings and life behind the scenes.

Price £8, copies are available from the Parish Administrator (07725 978445), and will also be on sale at our November meeting. All proceeds go towards the organ and music at St Guthlac’s.  


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