Transcript of a hand written letter 1960.
40 Perny Crescent
25 May 1960?
To the Vicar
Sir I do hope that you will excuse me for writing to you.
But having seen in the Lincolnshire Chronical lately that Mrs Haw of Spilsby Road is 101, it has brought many Childhood memories to me. I and my brothers were brought up for a time in Halton we were orphans and was brought up by Mrs Green, in a row of cottages near the School also living in the row was Mrs Hides and Molly Greyson a real character she used to smoke a pipe; her husband had been in the Irish Police and she kept his helmet and cloke hanging near the door and many a time she has frightened us children nearly to death.
The School master was Mr Heath he had a son George and daughter Margaret.
Mr Heath used to keep Bees and when I was about four or five Mrs Green used to take it to Skegness to sell taking me with her which was quite an outing in those days. We used to go from the station. The station masters name was Mr Croaster, his daughter Kitty was a teacher at school. Mrs Vinter was sewing teacher she lived in a cottage on the way to the fenside. Mr and Mrs Borrill lived at the mill they had a son Charles a daughter Emily and Kate. I can’t remember if there were any more in family but I well remember as a very small child fetching flour from the mill in a little calico bag. Mrs Borrill was a dear woman she often used to take me into her room and sit me on her knee, with her spotless white apron on. I used to think she was an angel. Then there was Mrs Baker at the shop where we used to fetch our weekly grocerys from. We used to go up a lot of stone steps with a handrail; also I remember fetching brewers yeast from the Bell Inn to make the bread. I think they called the people Enderby. Mrs Vessey and her son used to live in a beautiful big house and I once remember taking a message to her from the Vicar and she gave me two of the biggest apples that I have ever seen, and I had nothing to carry them in so I put them in my umbrella and of course it split, which was not a very laughing matter in those days (but of course I got over it.)
The vicar’s name in those days was Mr Sale and they were very good to us. I well remember wearing their little girls cast off clothing and thinking how smart I was, especially a bright red coat. Mrs Green’s husband died when I was six years old but Mrs Green still kept us although she had four children of her own, we used to go to church every Sunday across the Wong. There are several more names I could mention, but of course I know they have all passed on now.
Now about Mrs Haw I can remember her Bungalow quite well and her husband was sexton and he was very strict with children. I don’t think they had any of their own.
Also I can remember his two brothers living at the saw mill and having the house burnt down. They both had families and I went to school with some of the girls: but that is a long time ago: six years ago I was in Lincoln hospital at Xmas and Mrs Haw was in the same ward but I did not know at the time, the nurses was very fond of her and used to brush her hair it was beautiful just greying. I can remember them taking her round the ward to look at the manger and other decorations but I was in quite a time and I didn’t know who she was until after she had gone home or we could have had quite a lot to talk about. There was also a Mrs Farmer from Halton Rd Spilsby in at the same time we had a little talk about Spilsby but she was only in for a short time.
Well I hope you will forgive me for been so forward. I am now 76 and my husband is nearly 88, we celebrated our Golden Wedding three years ago.
We have three sons and two daughters all married and doing well.
We have just got a new vicar Mr Bishop, also a new Vicarage which is very nice and quite near to us. We live in a Council Bungalow for old people which is very nice.
I do hope I have not bored you too much: my name was Georgina Paxley but commonly known as Babs Green
Perhaps some very old people in Your parish will remember the things I have told you about if so I should be pleased to know. We left Halton when I was about 9 years old and went to Toynton All Saints, where I was still the Vicars messenger and often have taken messages from him to Mr Sale. There used to be a Lane reaching from Toynton to Halton which was a long walk in those days for a child, but I used to get a 1/- and a meal which meant a lot to us. I went into service quite young to Mrs Thimblebys, Avenue House Spilsby.
From there (still in with the Vicar) to Bratoft. Mr Gerald Ridley and his sister. She died very sudden, and after a time he married. After that I went to Stoke Rochford Rectory as housemaid to Canon Warner and his family: now the Bishop of Grantham lives there. I hope I have not tired you too much with an old womans whim but I just had to sit down and write it.
Recollections of Mr William Haw.
Mr William Haw was appointed Parish Clerk in succession to his father Mr Francis Haw in 1888. He lives in the smallest house in Halton the only wooden dwelling house in the Parish, on the Spilsby Road
William Haw’s recollections
I can remember the Christmas Eve of 1869. A woman was found nearly frozen to death opposite Mr Vessey’s yard by the ringers, one being one of my brothers. The ringers did not go to bed on Christmas Eve in those days, for they used to start Ringing the Bells about 4 o’clock on Christmas morning. Neither did the servants go to bed on Christmas Eve at the Rectory, Halton House, or Mr Vessey’s as they were busy cooking the dinner for the children and aged poor of the parish, who were always invited to those three houses for dinner on Christmas Day. I can remember how the Church was decorated at Christmas 1870 over the North door in large letters made of evergreen, was “Peace on Earth”, over the South door “Good Will to Man” & a large star over the Chancel Arch, and Stars and Triangles from all the other Arches and the pillars lined round with evergreen and a piece of holly in every pew end.
I was prepared for Confirmation by Canon Rawnsley the then Rector in 1876 and Confirmed in Spilsby Church by Bishop Wordsworth. About the year 1878 they started ringing the Bells on Easter Sunday Morning. My Father revived an old custom, which died out before he was made Parish Clerk, of chiming two bells at half past 7 on Sunday Morning. Mr Samuel Vessey said to my Father, he should scarcely remember it was Sunday Morning if he did not hear those bells.
When my Father was Parish Clerk, one of his duties was to go into the Vestry to help the Rector to change his surplice for his black gown in which he used to preach. That was the early part of the time, but later, he kept the surplice on for all the service. Then he followed the Rector to the pulpit and closed the door. The Pulpit was higher than it is now and had a door to it, he then went to his desk below the Pulpit. The Rector used to read one verse of the Psalm and the Clerk the other. The Clerk used to show people into seats who were not regular and afterwards go round with a plate (the Churchwardens did not do it in those days), take up the collection. Another custom was when there was a funeral, the Rector and Clerk met the funeral at the Churchyard gate and both read the opening sentence of the burial service until they entered the Church.
Custom for ringing the Bells for Sunday service, 10.30 the big Bell is raised and lowered again, chiming a quarter of an hour, Ting Tang 5 minutes.
That custom I can trace back to Rashdall Holderness who was once Parish Clerk this was told me by his son.
Canon Rawnsley died and is buried in Halton Churchyard. It was a very large funeral. The Magistrates came from Spilsby. We afterwards rang a muffled Peal. The Rev.T.W.Sale then became our Rector he entered upon his duties the following Easter. He at once set to work to improve the choir which needed some improvement and encouraged Bell ringing.
While Mr Sale was Rector the Church was again restored 1894 the present vestry built and the Organ put in. There used to be an Organ near the Font, but for some years before the present one was erected we had a harmonium.
Recollections of what my Father told me
Our Forelders came from Belchford after the battle of Winceby Field. They had killed two fat pigs and they did not want Cromwell’s soldiers to eat them, they had a donkey and cart so they put the pigs and a few other things in the cart and came by night through Hagg to Spilsby and settled there in a house near the Avenue and started a business as a Wheelwright, Bellhanger and Harpsichord tuner. There were two brothers. My Father’s Mother knew the Franklins well and, when a girl, had nursed some of the children.
My Father can remember the alarm which was caused in Spilsby and the surrounding Villages when it was remoured (sic) that the French were going to land at Skegness. A Drum was sent round Spilsby in the night to call out the Volunteers, his Father being one. The beacons were lighted on Burgh Church, Grebby Hill, Halton Church, Keal Hill. The man at Tattershall Castle was ordered not to light his that night as it was but a false alarm, to see how many men could be got together in a short time. The Farmers were ordered to have waggons in readiness to take the women and children away. The Volunteers were mustered in the Market Place at Spilsby. Barrells of beer were brought out the ends knocked out and then they set off in waggons for Skegness shouting and singing. That was just a test, but they really did think that Napoleon would try to land at Skegness sometime. As soon as my Father was old enough he was taught Bellringing and music and played in the Church band. He played the Bassoon.
My Father could remember seeing a man whipped round Spilsby for some offence. He skated across the canal one Good Friday morning. He could also remember the first balloon that visited Spilsby, come down on Blue Hill. Also seeing a woman sold in Spilsby Market, the man whose wife she was delivered her to the man who bought her in a round halter, as the people at that time thought if she was thus delivered up, the Law could not interfere but of course the Law did interfere. He could remember William Hunt the Blacksmith of Halton who was hung for stealing the valuable horse of Dr Bass. In the afternoon he had to shoe the horse and accidently pricked its foot, and he could not sleep about it, so he go up in the night and fetched the horse from the stable to take the shoe off again and attend to the foot. The next morning the horse was gone, although Hunt had taken it back after attending to the pricked foot. A year after a man was convicted for horsebreaking and was sentenced to be hung, before he was hung he wished to make a confession. He said “I am the man who stole the horse that William Hunt was hung for”
The Blacksmith’s shop was where Shaw’s butcher’s shop is now. The Church band used to have a practice in a plantation below the Tan House on a Sunday morning at 6 o’clock. The members of the band were Augustus Booth Esq, Francis Haw, Edward Sorfleet, George Smith each in turn would come up on the road and listen to the others playing. Francis Haw used to warn the others on a Saturday night not to be late.
During the time my Father was parish clerk he had to help to take up a man who had been buried three weeks, (on a very hot day) named Westerby as there was a suspicion abroad that he had been poisoned but it was proved to be false.