Tag Archives: West Deeping

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)

“Fresh from the fields” : Rectory Farm Archaeology

Our programme for Autumn 2018 starts off with something special!

Tuesday 25th September 10 am to 4 pm

Rectory Farm Archaeology Day

Thanks to Breedon West Deeping Quarry and PCAS Archaeology Ltd , West Deeping Heritage Group invites everyone to an exhibition in the Village Hall about the Rectory Farm archaeological investigations, on Stamford Road, West Deeping

Look round the display and see examples of the finds, before taking a minibus trip to visit the site itself to the north of Stamford Road– at 10.30, 12.00, 1.30 and 3.00

(Please wear appropriate footwear. Hard hats and high visibility jackets provided)

West Deeping Heritage Group visit to Rectory Farm excavation site 2011

followed at 7.30 pm by West Deeping Heritage Group’s first talk of the season

Simon Savage of PCAS Archaeology Ltd: “Fresh from the Fields: an archaeological update from the Rectory Farm site at West Deeping”

It was 6 years ago that we last heard from the archaeologists about the extensive multi-period landscape in the fields to the north of the village, which has been progressively surveyed and excavated since the 1990s. This important site has revealed evidence of settlement and land use dating from the Neolithic period, including a late Bronze age co-axial field system, Iron age enclosures and a Roman British villa with a bath house.

  • Village Hall, King Street, West Deeping PE6 9HP
  • Refreshments are available from 7 p.m. for a 7.30 p.m. start.
  • Admission is £2.50 at the door.

West Deeping Remembers 1914 – 1918: Woodland Trust donation

IMG_20171111_0001This donation is really thanks to Joyce Stevenson, who gave last month’s interesting talk on the Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest. She generously waived any speaker’s fee and suggested instead this double commemoration, on behalf of West Deeping Heritage Group.

Find out more about the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood at Normanton le Heath, north-west Leicestershire.

The Spalding Gentlemen’s Society

We welcome Tom Grimes on Wednesday 8th February to give an illustrated talk on

300 years of the Spalding Gentlemen’s Society

7 for 7.30 pm at the Village Hall, King Street, West Deeping.

Tom may or may not mention one of the archival treasures I discovered when I first visited the library and museum of the Spalding Gentlemen’s Society. West Deeping Heritage Group was involved in its Heritage Lottery-funded project on the Stamford Canal and we were looking for illustrations of vessels on the River Welland from the period when the canal was in use.  Until then, we had only seen some pictures reproduced in black and white in The Stamford Canal, the book published by Deepings Heritage in 2005.

But here were the originals!  In a bound volume is a collection of small watercolour paintings, not much bigger than postcards and two to a page. They are each numbered, captioned and dated. The 3 below –  “The Chain Bridge, Spalding” , 1828, “The River Welland in Spalding Lincolnshire”, 1827 and “View of Spalding from the Deeping road”, 1828, include vessels under sail and fenland lighters of the type which brought goods up the Welland Navigation to the Deepings and on the canal as far as Stamford.

Each picture is initialed HB – by the artist Hilkiah Burgess. Born in Bethnal Green in 1776, his family later lived in Lincolnshire. He worked as an engraver with his father William, who was also a Baptist minister at Fleet, near Holbeach.

The collection is a treasure trove for local historians. There are several more scenes of fenland and river scenes near Spalding, but keep on turning the pages and you will also find illustrations of historical buildings and churches further afield in Lincolnshire. What a treat it was to discover the illustration of our own church at West Deeping, dated 1821!


There are several other watercolours of particular local interest –
Maxey Church, Fletland Mills, Northborough Hall, Uffington House and the “Ancient Cross at Deeping St James”.

What other treasures are to be revealed? Do join us to hear Tom Grimes talk about the history of the society, how it was formed in the early 1700s, about its  famous and erudite subscribers and the collection of artefacts, archives and literary treasures that has been built up over 300 years.

Images by Maggie Ashcroft for West Deeping Heritage Group (2013) by kind permission of Spalding Gentlemen’s Society

“Site meeting” at The Granary

A scrap of wallpaper, a grain chute, a handful of dried beans …

Recent finds at The Granary, one of West Deeping’s National Heritage listed sites, might be considered as only minor details but for the owners they have helped to bring to life the building’s history and its previous occupants.

The Granary was once part of the watermill known as Molecey’s Mill, on Stamford Road between West Deeping and Market Deeping. The history of the site is closely linked with its position alongside one of  12 locks on the former canal between Stamford and the Deepings. On the same site was West Deeping Toll Bar Cottage, where tolls were collected for the Deeping and Morcott Turnpike road.


Now a separate building from the watermill, the granary has been extensively refurbished by the most recent owners. Their attention to architectural and constructional detail has ensured that every clue they found as to the granary’s history was noted and investigated.

Rather than sitting in the Village Hall to hear a talk, we’re going “on site”. West Deeping Heritage Group’s first meeting of the autumn season will be hosted by Graham Magee, who will talk about the history of Molecey’s Mill  and take us on a guided tour of the Granary.

Everyone is welcome

Come and join us on Wednesday 7th September 2016

The Granary, Stamford Rd, West Deeping, Peterborough PE6 9JD

  • Refreshments will be served as usual from 7 p.m.
  • The talk & tour will start at 7.30 p.m.
  • Admission £2.50.
  • If you wish to walk over the fields from West Deeping, allow 20 minutes. There will be a number of cars to provide lifts back to the village afterwards.
  • There is plenty of parking. Turn off the A1175 (Stamford Road) at The Granary (not The Water Mill), over the bridge and through the gates, then turn left for the car parking area.



Announcing the AGM

West Deeping Heritage Group will be meeting on Tuesday 19th April 2016 for the Annual General Meeting, at  7.30 p.m. in West Deeping Village Hall. The Agenda  includes the usual round-up of the year’s activities and finances as well as a special item – to propose a couple of amendments to the original Constitution.

We will try our best to deal with the business as briefly as possible!

This will be followed by: Delving into village archives – an informal, participative session to look at some of the group’s collection – old photographs, property deeds, Parish Council minutes, the village undertaker’s account book and more. Here are some examples:

If anyone has a particular interest or a query that might be answered from the collection, please contact Maggie Ashcroft before the meeting. Bring your own village or family archives if you have them!



Researching local WW1 servicemen for West Deeping Heritage Group’s next talk

Wednesday 25th November   “We will remember them”

  • At West Deeping Village Hall
  • Refreshments from 7 p.m. for a 7.30 start
  • Admission £2.50 on the door.

Revd Martin Brebner talks about his research on the Roll of Honour for the Uffington Group of parishes, which includes Barholm, Braceborough, Greatford, Tallington, Uffington and West Deeping.  He went far beyond the memorials in local churches (even to the battlefields) in the quest for photographs, service records and commonwealth war graves.

Martin has prepared a series of information sheets on those who lost their lives which will be displayed at the talk.

Also on display – in folders – will be the Poster Gallery previously shown at “The Deepings Remember” exhibition in November 2014. This includes several West Deeping people, some of whom died, others who survived. 

Deepings Poster Gallery

The Deepings Remember 1914 to 1918 Poster Gallery