Vulcans, Ghosts & Inns

Vulcans, Ghosts & Inns

“It has been said to exhibit ghostly manifestations which include a
black Labrador dog belonging to a bomber pilot in the Second World War.”

Crew escape as V Bomber crashes 17th January 1977

A Vulcan B2 aircraft, from 101 squadron, with 5 crew members on board, was returning from exercise over the North Sea when fire broke out in one of its engines. Fire extinguishers in the engine bays refused to extinguish the flames.

Another plane from nearby RAF Coningsby carried out an airborne inspection and confirmed the extent of the fire was such that the crew needed to evacuate the aircraft.

The captain ordered the three rear to crew to eject but one of the crew members experienced difficulty and navigator John Clark intervened and subsequently all three members were able to bail out safely.

The delay had given the fire time to burn through the controls to such an extent that the captain could not follow the original plan of flying out over the sea, where he and the co-pilot could eject to safety, and the aircraft would have crashed into the water. (In the Vulcan only the 2 pilots can eject, the other crew members had to parachute out in the usual manner).

The site of the crash. The houses in the background are on Spilsby Road

They ejected out over the land and the aircraft crashed in a field between Halton Holegate and Spilsby. The captain stayed with the aircraft as long as possible and was credited with saving lives, with Spilsby, only 1½ miles away, holding its weekly market on that day.

The Vulcan crashed in thick fog and blasted a 20 foot deep crater with wreckage over 20 acres.

they must have left it extremely late before bailing out after making sure it landed in an open space well away from any houses…”

A former RAF officer

An eyewitness reports: “I watched events unfolding from the school sports field…a Vulcan coming in from the coast with a large light visible…no light, but a fierce fire with a trail of black smoke quite visible…somehow I felt it would keep going…but then we saw a parachute, then another, and then a third…even then I still felt it would fly on by…but it suddenly pointed 45 degrees downwards…another parachute was seen…then the Vulcan went out of sight…and a huge fireball erupted…but I don’t recall any bang…a huge smoke ring slowly drifted off to the North.

I was very concerned at seeing no fifth ‘chute and it was only on the early evening news that I learnt that the pilot had in fact escaped okay.”

Returning home from a shopping trip in Spilsby, Mr Baker, retired from the RAF, heard the crash and on reaching his house at the bottom of Northorpe Road- ½ a mile from the crash site – saw a man dressed in flying uniform walking along the grass track. It turned out to be the Captain, Flight Lieutenant Aspinal, who Mr Baker had known well during his time at RAF Waddington.

The crew all ejected safely, and no serious injuries reported.

The Reading Room

Prior to 1910 the schoolroom was used as the reading room but a purpose built building was then erected by the young men of the village on land at the top of Station Road– at the junction of the B1195.

An entry in the Village Book tells us: “A site for the new Reading Room, has we hope, been secured, and we only wait for the formal sanction of the Governors of the Beverly Poor.”

“The building of the new reading room will be finished shortly, building is of wood, and though not quite as big as originally intended will, we hope, will fully serve the purpose to which it has been erected.”

It was used for reading, darts, dominoes, games, and a venue for small meetings. When the layout of the road was changed the building was taken to Mr Carey’s yard – adjacent to its location – and was used as a garage.

The Reading Room located at the top of Station Road, next to the old road sign. A lady can be seen stood outside the doorway of what is now ‘The Forge’. This is most likely Mrs Carey.

The Halton Singers

This was an a cappella group formed in Halton Holegate.

Below, they are seen performing in Halton Holegate St Andrews Church Patronal Music Festival in 1978.

The Halton Singers: left to right, Rosemary Walker, Florence English, David Lloyd, Tom Barker, Colin Gray, Margaret Harrison and Pam Chapman.

The group ran for about twelve years, performing all over Lincolnshire.

There were from time to time extra members and when the leader Tom left Caroline Sumner took over for a year or two. They sang Madrigals, Folk Songs, Anthems, Christmas Music, and other a Cappella arrangements.

Ghostly going’s on.

Ghost Farm

The inhabitants of High Farm – to the north of the village – claimed that the farmer’s wife had seen the ghost of a little hunchback, on several occasions. The farm became known as ‘ghost farm’.

High Farm no longer remains but a few buildings are still standing, on fields to the north of the public footpath that runs between Halton Holegate and Spilsby.

The White family of Northorpe Road remember visiting the farm in the 1950s when, as boys, they were attending the village Primary School. A Mr Harry Simpson lived at the farm at the time, and he told the boys that he would pin a ten shilling note to the door and they could have it if they dared come up to the house after dark and take it.

Clay’s Light

According to ‘lore’ the phenomenon known as ‘Clay’s light’ foretells of an imminent death in the village.

Thomas Clay, a bachelor, lived alone in a tin hut across the fields a mile away from the church. He was a churchwarden in 1658, 1661 and 1662. and each Sunday would walk across the fields to church for the evening service. He really enjoyed this walk (Clay’s Walk) and refused to walk via the road to the church. Thomas died while still holding the office of churchwarden, and his last wishes, in his will, were that the bearers were to carry his coffin across the fields to the church. Despite leaving funds to pay for this, his wishes were ignored, and he was brought to church via the road. On the evening of the funeral day, as soon as darkness fell, villagers saw a bright light makes its way across the fields from Thomas Clay’s hut, through the churchyard and settle on the church tower.

Ever since then, it is said, a light has appeared above or near to the house where someone is shortly going to die. Again, according to ‘lore’ it has never been known to fail to do this.

Sadness and hauntings at the Rectory

In 1790 the Rector Rev. William Brackenbury built a drawing room on to the Rectory.

His wife, Juliet was in this room, dressed to go out for an evening party when her dress caught fire. She attempted escape but this only fanned the flames and she died as a result of the burns received. 

A second tale re-told by Rev. C.W. Smith:                                                                   

The Rector Rev. Rawnsley was a close friend of the Rector of Somersby, Rev. George Tennyson, who often became depressed. He would make his way to Halton where he knew he would be made welcome.

A large bedroom at the Rectory was always made ready for him, and he would reside there for a week to 10 days. Thereafter he would return to his parish. Since Tennyson’s death, from time to time, heavy footsteps can be heard coming from, what is known as ‘Tennyson’s room’. Rev. Charles Smith (Vicar from 1943 to 1971) recalls the sounds, including the front door opening and footsteps walking upstairs.

The Bell Inn

A 16th century pub, having connections to R.A.F. 44 and 207 squadrons. These were based at nearby RAF Spilsby during World War II.

When this picture was taken the cottage alongside the pub was the village post office and shop. The thatched cottage to the far right no longer exists and was pulled down when a modern bungalow was built further back from the road. 

Believed to have been built in the early 1500s The Bell Inn was originally two properties, the public house taking up two thirds of the building, and a separate cottage, known as ‘The Bell Inn Cottage’ on the right-hand side. This was most likely owned by the landlord and rented out. Up until the early 1960’s the cottage was still being rented out, and at some time subsequent to this the cottage has been incorporated into the main pub.

The fact that that the public house was named The Bell INN would indicate that it used to provide accommodation as well as the serving of alcohol.

Lord Tennyson is said to have ‘frequented the hostelry when visiting the Rectory’.

It has been said to exhibit ghostly manifestations which include a black Labrador dog belonging to a bomber pilot in the Second World War.

“A valuable Freehold ESTATE, consisting of that well-known Public-House the Bell, at HALTON HOLEGATE, with the Yard, Garden, Brewhouse, Stable, Pig-sties, and other Out-buildings, the whole of which are in excellent repair…”

1818 Sale of The Bell Inn. Joseph Atkinson owner at the time

In days gone by Vestry meetings, held across the road at St Andrews Church were usually ‘adjourned’ to The Bell.

One of the children who used to live in the Bell Inn Cottage tells how she would hear the milkman tie up his horse to a ring attached to the side of the cottage, he would then spend quite a bit of time “partaking of the refreshments on offer at the pub” before eventually being “led home by his trusty horse”.

The Bell with Rose Garden. Photograph courtesy of Mrs Maureen Carpenter who was born in Bell Inn Cottage and lived there until she was 2 years old.

This photograph with the rose garden, was taken when what is now the pub car park, was part of Shaw’s butchers in the adjacent plot of land. At some point this area was exchanged for a parcel of land to the rear.