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Description of the Old Street in 1769

From Caenby Corner to the Humber bank

Published : 03 November 2018


From Caenby Corner to the Humber bank

SPITTLE IN THE STREET, (Spital in the Street), is eleven miles north of Lincoln, and certainly stands in the Roman road that runs directly from Lincoln to Winteringham. It will not be improper to take some notice of this road, which is called by the common people the High Street ; it is thrown up on both sides, with incredible labour, to a great height ; but is frequently discontinued, and then begins again. It is seven yards broad, and in many places very firm and strong. There have been Roman buildings upon it, as is evident from the tiles and bricks found thereon.

Too many words, skip to the end.

Great Britain is not only the largest island in Europe...

Great Britain is not only the largest island in Europe...

At HEBBERSTOW, (Hibaldstow?), to the south of Glandford bridge, some think there have been a city and castle ; and to confirm it, we find two springs, the one called Julian's well, and the other Castleton well ; likewise there have been great numbers of Roman coins dug up in this village. About a mile further to the northward, and upon a large plain on the west side of the street, the traces of another old town are very visible, though all the walls are destroyed ; some have even been able to distinguish the streets or lanes. (Gainsthorpe?)

From hence the street runs through Scawby wood, where it is all paved, and from thence close by Broughton town end, near a hill, which may be taken for a barrow ; for Broughton is as much as to say Barrow town. But be this as it will, there have been Roman tiles and bricks found there. At Santon there was a Roman pottery, on the west side of the street ; it received its name from the flying sands, among which several Roman coins have been found. There are several sand hills near the street, somewhat like barrows, and on top of one was a great flat stone, now almost sunk into the earth.

In Appleby Lane, to the north of Winteringham, (He means either 'north of Santon', or 'south of Winteringham', otherwise the rest doesn't make geographical sense), there are two places called Julian's Bower, and Troy Walls, where it is supposed Roman games have been practised ; and they are still in part kept up. From hence the road runs straight on towards Roxby, which it leaves half a mile to the west, and here a Roman pavement was lately discovered, together with Roman tiles, and the bone of the hinder leg of an ox, with many pieces of plaster, painted red and yellow, that seemed to belong to an altar. About three or four miles farther, the street leaves Winteringham, about half a mile to the west, and extends to the Humber.

But to return from this digression : at Spittle in the Street was a chapel and hospital founded before the sixteenth of king Edward the Second, and dedicated to St. Edmund ; it was augmented by Thomas Ashton, canon of Lincoln, in the reign of king Richard the Second, and is yet in being, under the care of the dean and chapter of Lincoln.

KIRKTON, or KIRTON, is seated about eighteen miles to the north of Lincoln, and six to the north of Spittle in the Street, and derives its name from its kirk or church erected by Alexander, bishop of Lincoln. It is built in the form of a cathedral ; is very neat both within and without, and has a handsome tower in the middle, raised upon four pillars, with a ring of five bells : it is built on the ruins of a former church, part of which is visible at the west end. This town has a market on Saturdays, and two fairs, one held on July 18, and the other on December 11, for all sorts of cattle and merchandize. The neighbourhood of this town is famous for producing a sort of apple, called from this place Kirton pippins. (The text in red relates to Kirton in Holland near Boston.)

In 1769, a French bloke called Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot built an early prototype of the 2CV

In 1769, a French bloke called Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot built an early prototype of the 2CV

At a place called TUNSTAL, (Dunstall near Corringham), supposed to have been near Kirkton, was a house of Gilbertine nuns, founded by Reginald de Crevecoeur, in the reign of king Stephen. At GOKEWELL, a village eight miles north of Kirton, was a Cistercian nunnery, founded by William de Alta Ripa, before the year 1185. About the time of the dissolution it had a prioress and six nuns, with an annual revenue of £16/12/10.

TL;DR - Conclusion.

In 1769, the Industrial Revolution was just getting started, James Watt received his first patent for the Watt steam engine. Jeanne Baret became the first woman known to have circumnavigated the world. Captain Cook set off on his way to invent Australia, because Britain was getting overrun with sheep stealing ne'er-do-wells due to the American colonies moaning about being a dumping ground for our unwanted criminals. In 1769, a French bloke called Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot built an early prototype of the 2CV, and it was also the year that Francis Newbery (1743–1818) published "A Description of England and Wales containing a particular account of each county ... ;", from which the preceding text was extracted. It is the earliest book that I have found, that confuses Kirton in Lindsey with Kirton in Holland, and quite possibly the root cause of the continued confusion through to the middle of the 19th century when the likes of Pigot, White and Kelly finally got their facts straight. A careful reading shows a few other inconsistancies, Gainsthorpe isn't a mile further north than Hibaldstow, but if Hebberstow isn't Hibaldstow, where is it? Although Francis Newbery studied at both Oxford and Cambridge, he didn't manage a degree from either, and Cambridge was probably the nearest he ever got to Kirton. Also, I'm pretty common, as people go, and I've never heard of the A15 being called the High Street, it has always been the Old Street or the Ramper. We know the Romans built it, or more likely, dramatically improved on what was there already, but we don't know what they called it. In modern English it is the Ermine Street, the great majority of it in northern Lincolnshire is now the A15, further south it is the A1, but it was the main road from London to York when the Romans were using it.

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