Granthams, Railways & Ladies

Granthams, Railways & Ladies

“the ladies have enjoyed numerous demonstrations
(cake, butchery, chocolate etc.)”

Thomas Grantham

The Granthams are one of the oldest known Halton Holegate families. The Grantham name has been associated with Halton Holegate for 600 years and there are 200 entries in the Parish Registers relating to them.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Mr William Grantham, was living in a house that had been held ‘by one of his name’ for 600 years.

The one who came to the public eye was Thomas Grantham born in the village in 1634.

At the age of 14 or 15 “the Lord wrought repentance and faith in his soul”.

His attachment to a tiny group of Baptists in the ‘South Marsh’ preceded his baptism at Boston in 1653.

1656 became Minister to the Baptists in Halton Holegate.

1656 Still living at Halton Holegate at this time and was continually active in providing ministers.


‘Thomas’s father, not understanding or being supportive of Thomas’s religious leanings, tried to dissuade him in his endeavours by apprenticing him to a tailor, his own profession’.

Records relating to Thomas Grantham’s immediate family are sketchy to say the least, but the most convincing relates to records of a will which tell of a – deceased – wife Bridget, sons Benjamin, John and Abel, and grandsons Thomas and Abner.

According to the will Thomas worked as a husbandman (farmer) and owned at least three plots of land at Hundleby, Ashby by Partney and Halton Holegate.

Grantham was prosecuted by Cromwell’s government because “he would not worship to the particular form of dissent favoured by the protector”, so his goods were taken from him.

Persecution by malicious magistrates and local mobs hindered preaching at Halton Holegate and other local villages, but the congregation later obtained a grant of Northolme Chapel Wainfleet and prospered.

 The core of Grantham’s work was in the South Marsh church he helped to found in the 1650s of which he served for 30 years. Baptist historians have never given a specific location.

We read:

In the district known as South Marsh, probably about the year 1644, a church came into existence, drawing its members from a wide area.

Early Baptists were strong in rural areas, but they were persecuted until the 1690s, so they met in houses and barns miles from anywhere. Monksthorpe is one of the best-preserved early Baptist chapels and is linked to the ministry of Thomas Grantham, a famous early Baptist ‘messenger’ and theologian.

In 1661 a proclamation was issued forbidding Anabaptists to worship anywhere else except in church. Petitions were presented by Thomas Grantham and others.

1662 Thomas was arrested in Boston and charged with being a Jesuit in disguise. He was 15 months in prison in Lincoln.

1664 the Conventicle Act was passed forbidding ‘conventicles’, defined as religious assemblies of more than five people other than an immediate family, outside the auspices of the Church of England.

Soldiers searched for Anabaptists, disarmed them, and broke up meetings. During the ‘round ups’ Baptists were made to ‘run along like lackeys’ besides the soldier’s horses.

Numerous imprisonments followed for Grantham as a result of his dissent. Soon after being set free from Louth prison he baptised a married woman and was accused by her husband of having thereby assaulted her. The case was dismissed.

1686 Thomas Grantham settled in Norwich and founded a Baptist Chapel. He intended to return to Lincolnshire but died before he could accomplish this.

1692 Thomas died 58 years of age of and he was buried by his Anglican friend John Connould just within the West door of St Stephens parish church, Norfolk…. “the better to prevent indignities threatened to his corpse”.

In May 1703Connould himself was granted his wish to be buried alongside – some records indicate in the same grave as – the great man he so much respected.

Halton Holegate Railway Station

The building of the line was authorised by Parliament in July 1865 with authorised capital of £20,000 and loans of £8333, but Spilsby and Firsby Railway failed to raise sufficient capital, so the project was delayed until Spring 1867.

Reverend Rawnsley, who was standing in for the Railway’s company chairman, Lord Willoughby de Eresby, undertook the Ceremonial cutting of the first turf.

The station opened on 1st May 1868 as the Spilsby and Firsby Railway.

There were 5 daily trains with additional ones to Boston market on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Mr John Crouter was Station master in 1882 for 13¼ years.

Members of the Crouter family.

Left to right: (porter?) Amy, John {great great Grandfather}, Ada (or Ada, John, Amy), Mary {great Grandma}, Anne {John’s wife}, (railway worker), Kate and George.

The information above was gratefully received from the great great grandson of Mr John Crouter, and the relationships between himself and the Crouter family.

In July 1890 GNR were authorised to purchase the line due to falling revenues, and proposals were made to extend the line to join up with the Horncastle branch giving a direct route to Sleaford, Lincoln and on to Doncaster and Sheffield. This came to nothing.

The trains, sometimes being mixed goods and passengers, carried coal, general goods, farm produce and supplies, cattle from Spilsby market, sheep from Partney sheep fair. Petrol and paraffin were also brought in for onward distribution via the network.

The Branch closed to passengers as a war-time economy measure on 10th September 1939 and was never reinstated, except for the carriage of goods.

Halton Holegate Railway Station with Steam Train

A combination of the cost of repairing or rebuilding the weak bridge over the Steeping river, and a move to more road transport of both goods and people, threatened the line. Spilsby District Council did not oppose this move, but Halton Holegate Parish Council put up a good fight against it, but still the cost of repairing the bridge outweighed the benefits and arguments put forward.

The line closed completely on 1st December 1958 when it was owned by LNER.

Much of the line has now been turned over to agricultural use.

The road bridge is still in place, and the station master’s house has been extended to become a wonderful family home.

The goods sheds remain as part of the outbuildings of the property, and the track bed has been filled to platform level.

Tuesday was – and still is – Ladies night.

Halton Holegate Ladies Tuesday Club was initiated in 1978 by Gill Lawson, Ann Marsh and Marion Gray to enable the ladies of the village to meet together socially, make new friends, and to enjoy an evening’s entertainment.

Mrs Lawson said the aim of the club was to “have a membership with as wide a range as possible of interest and ages.” The latter was certainly well catered for as, at the time, the membership ranged from a lady in her early twenties to one in her mid-seventies.

The club held its first meeting on 14th November 1978, with Gill as chairman, Ann as treasurer and Marion as secretary.  Initially, there was a small committee to formulate ideas. The meeting, a flower arranging demonstration by Christine Bacon, proved a great success.

Since that time, the ladies have enjoyed numerous demonstrations (cake, butchery, chocolate etc.) talks and slides of places around the world, “hands on” craft evenings, and talks, both serious and lighthearted. 

Six of the original 1978 members are still members at time of writing (January 2021), Carol Clough, Jane Fletcher, Marion Gray, Christina Holmes, Sheila Tuplin and Ann Marsh.

H. H. Ladies Club celebrates its 21st birthday November 1999. Invited guests were Mrs Christine Bacon, who was the speaker at the first meeting, and Mr Yeadon who had been a regular speaker over the past 21 years.
Saving LIVES – The Ladies Club raised £183 for Spilsby’s LIVES First Responder scheme at a coffee morning. Scheme coordinator Victoria Gates with some of the many guests and helpers.