Stay at home: March & April talks postponed

Our talks for the remainder of this season are, regrettably, postponed.  An AGM will be held when we start up again, which will hopefully be in September

Pease, Puter and Piggs: a Lincolnshire village in the 16th and 17th centuries

Strangers in Thorney

All best wishes for the health and welfare of all our supporters.  We look forward to seeing you again, as soon as it is safe.

A saint for every sinner

The subject and timing for West Deeping Heritage Group’s forthcoming talk on Tuesday 25th February have nothing to do with St Valentine, whose day, in case anyone has forgotten, is today.   It is very appropriate though, that it should be on Shrove Tuesday, ‘shrove’ being the past tense of ‘to shrive’, derived from the Old and Middle English words for being absolved or having done penance, after confessing all one’s sins  in preparation for Lent.

Dr Avril Lumley Prior’s tantalising synopsis of her talk might lead you to research some of the lesser-known saints’ names – who knew for example about  St Wilgefortis?  She was also known as St Uncumber, and could reputedly rid women of unwanted husbands, the antithesis of St Valentine!

The name and the story of  St Guthlac will be well-known to the Market Deeping folk in the audience, as will be that of St Swithun, to anyone who knows their weather folklore.

Would-be West Deeping historians might want to go and check out the saints depicted on the stained-glass windows in St Andrew’s Church.   The familiar ones – St Andrew, of course, and disciples St John, St Peter and St James are all there.  So too are St Augustine and St Edward the Confessor, St Alban and St Osmund. These saints were the ones chosen by our  Victorian predecessors responsible for the restoration of the village church in the 1870s. The architect was William Butterfield and the stained glass designer Alexander Gibbs – both well-known for their work in churches nationwide.

We look forward to seeing you at the Village Hall, King Street, West Deeping, from 7 pm for light refreshments, and for the talk starting at 7.30 pm.  As always, everybody is welcome; £2.50 at the door.




West Deeping’s prehistoric next-door neighbours

West Deeping Heritage Group’s next talk is  on Wednesday 20th November 2019: Prehistoric Settlement in the Welland Valley

at the Village Hall, King Street, West Deeping

Refreshments are available from 7 p.m. for a 7.30 p.m. start

Everybody is welcome; there is no membership subscription.

Admission is £2.50 at the door


The Welland valley was a focus for prehistoric settlement, as is being discovered by archaeological excavations in advance of gravel extraction –  which then removes all traces. The speaker, Andrew Hatton (known as Bob) was involved with the 1990s excavation at Stowe Farm near Greatford.

Stowe FarmMore recently, as part of his research for an M.Phil. at Sheffield University, he has analysed the different phases of settlement to be found on the site and completed a review of Bronze Age field systems located along the Welland Valley, including the Rectory Farm site at West Deeping. The aim of the research was not only to record and interpret the archaeology but to place the site at Stowe Farm in a local and regional context. Previously Archaeology Supervisor for Cambridgeshire County Council’s Archaeology Field Unit, Bob is now a lecturer and Coordinator for Archaeology and Landscape History at the University Centre, Peterborough

Growing bulbs – a talk for local & gardening historians

It’s the time of year to be planting bulbs to flower in the spring  and so it’s appropriate that the first of our Autumn season of heritage talks on Tuesday 24th September is the History of bulb-growing in East Anglia.  It could hardly be presented by anyone more knowledgeable and closely involved in its history than Johnny Walkers. (For further information about him, see the Programme page)  

He might not, however,  mention the village of West Deeping, so let’s not forget the contribution made to the area’s bulb-growing heritage by three commercial growers in the early 1900s.

Reverend John Carpenter, the rector of St Andrew’s Church between 1899 and 1918, wanted to provide employment for women and children and hit on the idea of letting out allotments in the ‘Six Acre’, one of the fields to the west of King Street.  Apparently he grew bulbs for sale in the winter months and for their flowers in the spring and early summer.  Selling bulbs by mail order was evidently quite common in 1902, and even with free carriage, was probably quite profitable.  The rector advertised a range of bulbs and other plants in The London Monitor and local newspapers, but narcissi were obviously his speciality – a dozen bulbs of the highly prized ‘Horsfieldii’ daffodil, with white petals and a rich yellow trumpet, were priced at 1 shilling or 100 for 5 shillings.  The more common Pheasant Eye, (narcissus poeticus) were 1s 6d for 100.  The Rector was apparently famed for the flowers of double white narcissus, which were picked, bunched and dispatched all over the country.


1902 12 12 London Monitor and New Era

1902 advertisement; London Monitor

In 1908, landowner and farmer John Benner, who lived in the three storey stone house on King Street (now number 30), was also advertising double white narcissus, pheasant eye and rugilobus (also known as narcissus bicolor).   Seth Stevenson, listed as a florist in the 1911 census and as a ‘Flower and bulb grower’ in  Kelly’s Directory for 1909 and 1913, lived in The Lane but used the field behind the cemetery, just south of the Six Acre.

The rector’s business was sold to farmer T. F. King, who presumably carried on the tradition of using the local labour force.  In June 1920 the Stamford and Rutland News reported ‘Once more the annual harvest of flowers has been gathered in by Mr King and his flower pickers and recently Mr King invited all his employees to a tea-party held in the schoolroom at West Deeping. … After tea a social evening was passed.  Songs were given by Mrs Laud, the Misses Bloodworth , D. Wright and E. Roden.  Miss L King accompanied at the piano and also played for dancing.  At 8 o’clock votes of thanks and applause were accorded the host and hostess and artistes and the party then broke up.’

Find out more about the general history of bulb-growing in the area from Johnny Walkers – as usual the  Village Hall in King Street will be open from 7 pm for refreshments, and the illustrated talk will start at 7.30 pm.  Everybody is welcome; £2.50 at the door.

Any further enquiries should be made to Harriet Gash (01780 740536)

Peakirk Package Tour: paintings, pastries and pottery

Join West Deeping Heritage Group for a summer outing on Wednesday 7th August 2019. Meet at 2 p.m. outside the church or in the church porch if wet.

A guided tour of St Pega’s Church, including the medieval wall paintings, followed by a home-made tea, a tour of the historic village and finishing with the latest  excavation of a test pit by the Peakirk Archaeological Survey Team (PAST).

  • Church tour and refreshments: £6.
  • Village tour and archaeology: Voluntary donation towards Church roof Replacement Appeal
  • Parking alongside the village green or at the Village Hall, St Pega’s Road, opposite the Ruddy Duck Public House

Please email or phone 01778 344768 to book your place by Friday 2nd August

“I can do it” – on Weds 29th May!

“I can do it” is actually the title of Jackie Searl’s talk which follows West Deeping Heritage Group’s Annual General Meeting , on Wednesday evening – 29th May 2019, from 7 pm for a 7.30 pm start, at the Village Hall in King Street, West Deeping. (Refreshments as usual, but no entry charge for this meeting.)

Jackie will be picking out some of the highlights of her Open University course in History. She might inspire you to have a go and take your interest in history and heritage a bit further.

West Deeping Heritage Group’s committee members really hope you might say “I can do it” too!

We hope you will support the group by coming along to the AGM, hear how the last year has gone and perhaps be inspired to help run the group in the future.  Maggie Ashcroft, Liz Noble and Allan Crowson have been doing so for nine years and could really do with some fresh ideas and new energy!

We need

  • Committee members to help to arrange talks and plan projects
  • Someone to help with refreshments at our talks
  • Volunteers to help with village archives

If you would like to help but cannot come to the meeting, contact



This month’s talk: Tuesday 30th April


Stephanie Bradshaw and Andrea Togher are volunteers for Nene Coppicing and Crafts, carrying out conservation work and acquiring skills in greenwood crafts. They will give us a brief history of coppicing in general and some information on coppicing locally.

 Come and find out how it’s done and how the products are used!

loading charcoal burner

Charcoal burning looks like fun!


Tuesday 30th April 2019

7 pm for refreshments and 7.30 pm for the start of the talk, at the Village Hall, King Street, West Deeping PE6 9HP

£2.50 at the door, to include refreshments

WALK: the Stamford Canal: 10 am Saturday 18th May 2019

There’s an opportunity to join a guided walk,  starting from The Bertie Arms, Uffington, along part of the former course of the Stamford Canal, including privately-owned sections not normally open to the public, at the canal’s junction with the River Gwash and at Copthill.

Crayon Drawing of Stamford Canal at Uffington Bridge. A reconstruction by Nelson Dawson 1930s

Uffington Bridge

West Deeping Heritage Group supporters will remember the Heritage Lottery funded project of 2013, when several of us put in a lot of effort to research this historic navigation and raise awareness of its significance. We consulted the experts, created a photographic record of the remaining traces, gathered together copies of the scattered archives, installed interpretation boards, developed this website and published a walk leaflet for the West Deeping and Tallington section of the Stamford Canal. 

For everybody who sticks to the public footpath on the Uffington estate or missed the chance to investigate the Copthill section, here is the opportunity to explore, with the landowners’ permission.

It’s free for anybody who is on West Deeping Heritage Group’s contact list, as well as members of FRAG (Fane Road Archaeology Group).

Please register using the following link to the  FRAG website

Meet in the car park of The Bertie Arms, Uffington at 10 am. The walk will be a circular route of about 4 miles, stopping occasionally for a breather and some information about the history of the canal.  From Uffington Bridge, there is an option of making a diversion into the grounds of Copthill School, and a final visit  to the Bertie Arms for those who would like refreshment! Further details, if required,  from Maggie Ashcroft, West Deeping Heritage Group


“The flowers that bloom in the spring – tra la!”


‘ Dr Hardy’ flamed


A very appropriate talk for the first day of spring – Wednesday 20th March: English Florists’ tulips! These are not any old flowers!

West Deeping Heritage Group is honoured to have as its speaker this month, Teresa Clements,  of the Wakefield and North of England Tulip Society

Between 1750 and 1850, few towns of note in the north of England were without a tulip society.   Today only  the Wakefield and North of England Tulip Society remains,  one of the oldest florists’ societies in Britain,

A ‘florist’ was the name given to a gentleman who grew flowers  for pleasure and for the entertainment of his guests. Traditional florists’ flowers included hyacinths, auriculas, pinks and ranunculus as well as tulips.   Seldom available for sale, with many named varieties now extinct, they are known for their remarkable ‘flames’ and ‘feathers,’ caused by infection with a virus, often by aphids.

7 p.m. for refreshments before the talk starts at 7.30 p.m.

at the Village Hall King Street, West Deeping. 

All welcome: £2.50 at the door (includes refreshments)

West Deeping’s newest arrivals


Born only last week, Liz Noble’s Lincoln Longwool lambs are the latest additions to the flock. Come and hear Liz talk about the history of the breed and the part played in its revival by the late Frank Martin.

The story of Lincoln longwool sheep

Tuesday 19th February 2019 in the Village Hall, King Street, West Deeping.

  • Refreshments are available from 7 p.m. for a 7.30 p.m. start.
  • Everybody is welcome. Admission is £2.50 at the door.
  • Car parking is available behind the Village Hall but drivers should be aware that the entrance is narrow. Alternative parking at The Red Lion Public House, opposite the Village Hall.