The ‘Great Plague’ of 1665

With all the recent talk about bookcases I noticed, in mine, a copy of “A New History of England and Great Britain” by Prof. J. M. D. Meikeljohn, of the University of St Andrew’s, and published in 1903.

Unsurprisingly, it records many notable events in the story of our nation including the first ‘English’ landing in 449 – “They sent word home to their friends how fertile the land was, and how weak the people; and thus began the stream of English immigration into the goodly island of Great Britain.”

A recent blog about ‘The Black Death’ of 1349, was surprisingly well-read, perhaps because of its topicality or maybe because it was widely shared, so I’ve plucked out a passage about England’s second most famous plague incident…

The Great Plague

June of 1665 was a month of extraordinary heat, and the winter and spring had been the driest ever known in England. London was at that time a city of narrow streets, overhanging houses, and no drainage of any systematic kind. There was in this summer no grass to be seen anywhere, and the country round London looked dreary, parched, brown and dusty.

In the coffee-houses – which were the clubs of the seventeenth century- hushed whispers pass from man to man, that the Dutch fleet is in the waters of the Thames, and that the plague is in the city. On the 7th June, Pepys, the Secretary for the Navy, see in Drury Lane “two or three houses marked with a red cross upon the doors (the ‘fatal red cross, a foot in length’), and ‘Lord have mercy upon us’ writ there.” Into the ill-drained and narrow streets of London neither light nor fresh air could easily penetrate. The richer people fled, and even the physicians and the clergy ran to the country for their lives.

The streets were filled all day and all night with “coaches and wagons and carts hurrying away with goods, women, servants, and children,” and the king and his sorry court were the first to set the bad example of flight. Only the stout Duke of Albemarle, Monck, among the higher ranks, stood to his post, and fearlessly chewed tobacco and drank his strong beer, in his town garden.

All night – and, when the plague had advanced, all day and all night – the dead-cart went its rounds, with the weird noise of the gloomy bell, and the hoarse voices of the buriers crying, “Bring out your dead!” Slowly it rumbled along, picking up a corpse in this house and another in that, until it appeared at the mouth of a vast and deep common foss or grave, into which it shot at once sixteen or seventeen bodies, uncoffined and unshrouded, unattended and uncared for by friends or by relations.

“The people fell thick as leaves in autumn when they are shaken by a mighty wind;” grass grew everywhere in the silent and untrodden streets, – silent but for the groans of the dying and the doomed; rows of houses stood empty, and those that were occupied were marked with the red cross; and a strange and wild-looking man walked the streets day and night at a swift even pace, speaking to no one, but constantly uttering the words, “Oh, the great and dreadful God!”

In September a huge bonfire was kindled at every sight house, and kept burning day and night; ten thousand people died in one week; and in six months more than a hundred thousand had perished.

Most of the clergy had fled, but the Nonconforming ministers had the courage to stay with the people, to preach from the forsaken pulpits, to visit the sick, to relieve the poor, and to minister to the last moments of the dying. The reward which these brave men received for their self-denying work from Parliament was the Five-Mile Act.

Footnotes

  1. The plague of 1665 is called The Great Plague, because it was the worst – the last of many which under the names of The Death, The Black Death etc., had frequently devastated London and England. The narrow ill ventilated streets, the filthy lanes and alleys, the want of systematic drainage, the complete ignorance of the time as to the value of pure air and cold water, made the great cities of mediaeval and of later Europe hot-beds and forcing-houses for all kinds of pestilence. “The terrible visitor came to London once in every twenty years, and then swept away a fifth of the inhabitants.”
  2. The most picturesque account of the Plague is given by Defoe in his Journal of the Plague Year. There are also some vigorous verses on the subject in Dryden’s Annus Mirabilis ( = Wonderful Year -because the Plague and the Fire both fell within a twelvemonth).

Detailed breakdown of SKDC Ward Member grants for the Bourne area

The following table lists the grants allocated from the Members Ward Budget of South Kesteven District Council during financial year 2019/20. Each Councillor can allocate up to £1,000 each year.

I do not currently have specific project details for each award but I have written a more general overview of the scheme.

Recipient OrganisationCouncillorWardAmount
Haconby Tree FundCllr Dr Peter MoseleyAveland£250.00
Haconby & Stainfield Parish CouncilCllr Dr Peter MoseleyAveland£462.00
Rippingale Parish CouncilCllr Dr Peter MoseleyAveland£216.90
ToolbarCllr Robert ReidBourne Austerby£200.00
ToolbarCllr Jane KingmanBourne Austerby£200.00
The Butterfield CentreCllr Jane KingmanBourne Austerby£800.00
The Butterfield CentreCllr Robert ReidBourne Austerby£500.00
Bourne Town CouncilCllr Paul FellowsBourne Austerby£1,000.00
Bourne Town CouncilCllr Robert ReidBourne Austerby£300.00
The Butterfield CentreCllr Judith SmithBourne East£1,000.00
Dyke Village HallCllr Philip KnowlesBourne East£350.00
Little Miracles BourneCllr Philip KnowlesBourne East£350.00
Don’t Lose HopeCllr Philip KnowlesBourne East£300.00
The Butterfield CentreCllr Helen CrawfordBourne West£333.00
Dyke Village HallCllr Helen CrawfordBourne West£667.00
Bourne FoodbankCllr Anna KellyBourne West£250.00
Rotary Club of Bourne Trust FundCllr Anna KellyBourne West£50.00
Bourne Town CouncilCllr Anna KellyBourne West£200.00
Lincolnshire 4×4 Response LtdCllr Anna KellyBourne West£500.00
Swayfield Village HallCllr Nick RobinsCastle£269.98
Irnham Parish CouncilCllr Nick RobinsCastle£300.00
Braceborough Village Hall CommitteeCllr Barry DobsonDole Wood£1,000.00
Glenside NewsCllr Chris BennGlen£300.00
Carlby Playing Field CommitteeCllr Chris BennGlen£475.00
The Spinney AccountCllr Chris BennGlen£225.00
New Day Baptist ChurchCllr Sue WoolleyMorton£250.00
Morton PCCCllr Sue WoolleyMorton£250.00
Lincoln Anglican Academy Trust (Morton CE Primary School)Cllr Sue WoolleyMorton£250.00
Lincoln Anglican Academy Trust (Little Owls Nursery)Cllr Sue WoolleyMorton£250.00
Springwells Surgery Medical Equipment FundCllr Jan HansenToller£900.00

Detailed breakdown of SKDC Ward Member grants for Stamford

During the financial year 2019/20, four out of the eight Stamford district councillors allocated the whole £1,000 to good causes. Cllr Susan Sandall (unaligned) awarded £500 and Cllr Matthew Lee (Con) only £250. Cllr John Dawson (Con) chose not award any grants at all.

I do not currently have specific project details for each award but I have written a more general overview of the scheme.

Recipient OrganisationCouncillorWardAmount
Stamford Town CouncilCllr Amanda WheelerSt George’s£350.00
Mindspace (Stamford)Cllr Amanda WheelerSt George’s£650.00
Stamford Detachment 2 Squadron Lincs ACFCllr Breda-Rae GriffinAll Saints£300.00
Mindspace (Stamford)Cllr Breda-Rae GriffinAll Saints£250.00
Stamford Welland Academy CCFCllr Breda-Rae GriffinAll Saints£325.00
Britsh Legion Stamford & DistrictCllr Breda-Rae GriffinAll Saints£125.00
Stamford Town CouncilCllr Gloria JohnsonSt George’s£350.00
College PlayersCllr Gloria JohnsonSt George’s£325.00
Friends of Stamford & Rutland TheatreCllr Gloria JohnsonSt George’s£325.00
Stamford Branch RBLCllr Harrish BisnauthsingSt Mary’s£200.00
Stamford FoodbankCllr Harrish BisnauthsingSt Mary’s£300.00
Mindspace (Stamford)Cllr Harrish BisnauthsingSt Mary’s£500.00
Stamford Town CouncilCllr Matthew LeeSt Mary’s£250.00
Stamford Detachment 2 Squadron Lincs ACFCllr Mike ExtonAll Saints£300.00
Mindspace (Stamford)Cllr Mike ExtonAll Saints£250.00
Stamford Welland Academy CCFCllr Mike ExtonAll Saints£325.00
Britsh Legion Stamford & DistrictCllr Mike ExtonAll Saints£125.00
Stamford in BloomCllr Susan SandallSt John’s£500.00

Detailed breakdown of SKDC Ward Member grants for the Deepings

Cllr Virginia Moran (Ind, centre of photo) with members of the Deeeping Cares group.

In the Deepings, all 6 councillors, and the 2 from Casewick, spent all but £4 of their grant pots during the financial year 2019/20.

Recipient OrganisationCouncillorWardAmount
Deeping United FCCllr Ashley BaxterMarket & West Deeping£250.00
Deepings Churches TogetherCllr Ashley BaxterMarket & West Deeping£216.00
Bourne Deeping Hockey ClubCllr Ashley BaxterMarket & West Deeping£334.00
Rotary Club of the DeepingsCllr Ashley BaxterMarket & West Deeping£200.00
Deeping United FCCllr Bob BroughtonMarket & West Deeping£700.00
Deepings Youth GroupCllr Bob BroughtonMarket & West Deeping£300.00
Lives (Deepings First Responders)Cllr Jill ThomasDeeping St James£333.00
Exotic Pet RefugeCllr Jill ThomasDeeping St James£330.00
DSJ Priory Church HallCllr Jill ThomasDeeping St James£333.00
Lives (Deepings First Responders)Cllr Judy StevensDeeping St James£330.00
Exotic Pet RefugeCllr Judy StevensDeeping St James£330.00
DSJ Priory Church HallCllr Judy StevensDeeping St James£340.00
Uffington Village HallCllr Kelham CookeCasewick£200.00
Baston Parish CouncilCllr Kelham CookeCasewick£200.00
Langtoft FestivalCllr Kelham CookeCasewick£600.00
Bourne Deeping Hockey ClubCllr Philip DilksDeeping St James£333.00
Deepings Youth GroupCllr Philip DilksDeeping St James£134.00
Deeping United Football ClubCllr Philip DilksDeeping St James£200.00
DSJ Priory Church HallCllr Philip DilksDeeping St James£333.00
Uffington Village HallCllr Rosemary Trollope-BellewCasewick£200.00
Baston Parish CouncilCllr Rosemary Trollope-BellewCasewick£200.00
Langtoft FestivalCllr Rosemary Trollope-BellewCasewick£600.00
Deeping CaresCllr Virginia MoranMarket & West Deeping£250.00
Deepings First RespondersCllr Virginia MoranMarket & West Deeping£250.00
Deeping United FCCllr Virginia MoranMarket & West Deeping£280.00
Bourne Deeping Hockey ClubCllr Virginia MoranMarket & West Deeping£220.00

Detailed breakdown of SKDC Ward Member grants for the Grantham area

During the financial year 2019/20, four out of the eight Stamford district councillors allocated the whole £1,000 to good causes. Cllr David Bellamy (Con) and Cllr John Cottier (Con) both chose not award any grants at all.

I do not currently have specific project details for each award but I have written a more general overview of the scheme.

Recipient OrganisationCouncillorWardAmount
St John’s AmbulanceCllr Adam StokesSpringfield£1,000.00
Grantham FoodbankCllr Annie MasonSt Vincent’s£500.00
Grantham Ark (St Wulfram’s Church)Cllr Annie MasonSt Vincent’s£500.00
Colsterworth Parochial ChurchCllr Bob AdamsIsaac Newton£1,000.00
Grantham Lions ClubCllr Charmaine MorganSt Vincent’s£1,000.00
Grantham Food BankCllr Dean WardArnoldfield£1,000.00
Grantham Disabled Children SocietyCllr George ChiversBelmont£500.00
Grantham FoodbankCllr George ChiversBelmont£250.00
St Wulfram’s Church (Grantham Ark)Cllr George ChiversBelmont£250.00
United Parish of the TrinityCllr Graham JealSt Vincent’s£1,000.00
Barrowby Open DoorCllr Hannah WestroppBelvoir£400.00
Friends of Sandon & AmbergateCllr Helen GoralArnoldfield£1,000.00
St Wulfram’s Church (Choir)Cllr Hilary WestroppHarrowby£1,000.00
South Kesteven District Council (SK Charity Cup printing)Cllr Ian SelbyHarrowby£80.40
Harrowby Football ClubCllr Ian SelbyHarrowby£200.00
Grantham Town FCCllr Ian SelbyHarrowby£100.00
Bourne Town Football ClubCllr Ian SelbyHarrowby£100.00
South Kesteven Charity CupCllr Ian SelbyHarrowby£309.96
Grantham Journal Children’s FundCllr Ian SelbyHarrowby£209.64
Great Gonerby Parish CouncilCllr Ian StokesPeascliffe & Ridgeway£250.00
Belton & Manthorpe Parish CouncilCllr Ian StokesPeascliffe & Ridgeway£500.00
Dr Friers Children’s Holiday FundCllr Jacky SmithSt Wulfram’s£500.00
Commemorative Tree & Plaque Wyndham Park – Frank NorthingCllr Jacky SmithSt Wulfram’s£186.75
Commemorative Tree & Plaque Wyndham Park – Nora EnglishCllr Jacky SmithSt Wulfram’s£186.75
Grantham Senior Citizen Club LtdCllr Jacky SmithSt Wulfram’s£126.50
Foston Parish CouncilCllr Jane WoodViking£600.00
Long Bennington Pre-SchoolCllr Jane WoodViking£400.00
Grantham West Community CentreCllr Lee SteptoeEarlesfield£1,000.00
Londonthorpe & Harrowby Without Parish CouncilCllr Linda WoottenBelmont£500.00
Wyndham Park ForumCllr Linda WoottenBelmont£100.00
Grantham MuseumCllr Linda WoottenBelmont£100.00
Earlesfield Community ChurchCllr Louise ClackEarlesfield£1,000.00
Grantham FoodbankCllr Mark WhittingtonBarrowby Gate£500.00
Grantham Water Polo ClubCllr Mark WhittingtonBarrowby Gate£500.00
Grantham Food BankCllr Nikki ManterfieldSpringfield£1,000.00
Barrowby Open DoorCllr Pam BosworthBelvoir£250.00
St Lawrence Church (Sedgebrook PCC)Cllr Pam BosworthBelvoir£250.00
Barrowby NewsCllr Pam BosworthBelvoir£500.00
Claypole Parish CouncilCllr Paul WoodViking£600.00
Hougham Parish CouncilCllr Paul WoodViking£400.00
Hough on the Hill Parish CouncilCllr Penny MilnesLoveden Heath£200.00
Stubton Parish CouncilCllr Penny MilnesLoveden Heath£200.00
Caythorpe & Frieston Parish CouncilCllr Penny MilnesLoveden Heath£200.00
Fulbeck Parish CouncilCllr Penny MilnesLoveden Heath£200.00
Fenton Parish MeetingCllr Penny MilnesLoveden Heath£200.00
Parkinsons Disease Charity GranthamCllr Ray WoottenSt Wulfram’s£700.00
Grantham Community Heritage AssociationCllr Ray WoottenSt Wulfram’s£300.00
Sudbrook & West Willoughby Village HallCllr Rosemary Kaberry-BrownPeascliffe & Ridgeway£429.99
Caythorpe & Ancaster Medical Equipment TrustCllr Rosemary Kaberry-BrownPeascliffe & Ridgeway£500.00
The Grantham Music ClubCllr Sarah TrotterLincrest£400.00
Welby Parish CouncilCllr Sarah TrotterLincrest£87.15
Ingoldsby Parish CouncilCllr Sarah TrotterLincrest£150.00
Ropsley & District Parish CouncilCllr Sarah TrotterLincrest£150.00
Heydour Parish CouncilCllr Sarah TrotterLincrest£170.00

Charity begins at home – How South Kesteven Councillors have spent your money…

In 2018, after years of to-ing and fro-ing, South Kesteven Councillors agreed to establish an annual budget of £1,000 for each Member to allocate to projects of direct benefit people in their ward. Yes, at the time, I argued that this might be perceived as a bribe and a photo-opportunity in the year before the SKDC election but with hindsight it was a welcome u-turn by the Tories.

The second year of ward budgets has just concluded and I am pleased to be able to publish the details of how councillors have spent and, in some cases, not spent their allocation.

From the £56,000 budget, a total of £49,882.02 was awarded by 53 councillors and paid to 97 seperate organisations. These included sports clubs, food banks and village festivals.

The organisation that received the highest amount of grant funding was the Butterfield Centre in Bourne which received a combined total of £2,633 from four different councillors. Eighteen different organisations received grants of £1,000 or more.

There were seven grants of £100 or less. The smallest grant was the £50 paid to the Rotary Club of Bourne which was one of the four organisations sponsored by Cllr Anna Kelly (Ind).

Although the scheme was set up to give councillors a funding stream to support grassroots projects run by community groups, organisations, charities etc across the district, over £8,000 was paid to town and parish councils across the district. This is a reasonable acknowledgement that in many villages parish councils are the best available constituted organisation for handling the finances of small projects.

Each grant was supposed to be awarded for a specific project or initiative and not to be used for either ongoing revenue costs or regular events (unless the funding relates to a new aspect).

Some Councillors decided not to allocate their budgets. Three councillors, all Conservative, did not allocate any grants at all. Some others did not use all the available grant. This, of course, is their prorogative and they don’t have to explain their decision to anyone. It is possible that they received no sensible applications; alternatively they might think it is in their residents’ best interests to leave the money in the central coffers at SKDC. Personally, I am exceedingly keen to repatriate as much money from Grantham back to Deeping as possible.

This year I shared our £1,000 among four grant recipients. These were:

  • £250 to Deepings United FC for stretcher equipment. The team also received funding via the other two councillors for Market and West Deeping. (This doesn’t come close to reimbursing them for the unfair and extortionate fees they are charged by SKDC’s Leisure Centre for rent of pitches but that’s another story)
  • £334 to Bourne Deeping Hockey Club towards new equipment. The team also received funding from the other two Independent councillors in the Deepings. (Sadly, the small grant does not compensate for the disaster of having nowhere in South Kesteven to train after the Deepings all-weather pitch was condemned, but that’s another story)
  • £200 to the Rotary Club of the Deepings towards the costs of the Deepings 10k and Fun Run (whenever they might be).
  • £216 to Churches Together in the Deepings for their ‘Open the Book’ schools project.

I have published information about the other grants awarded during 2019/20 year elsewhere on the DeepingDo blog.

In March this year, less than 12 months after the election, councillors voted to slash the budget down to just £500 but maybe this was down to concerns about pressures on council budgets which no-one knew about the previous year? In any case, it doesn’t matter because the world has changed since March and the Council Leader has unilaterally (and rightly imho) decided to put it back up to £1,000 to allow us to support the hyper-local organisations which are supporting our communities through Coronavirus. Furthermore, the County Council has also urgently reinstated its ward budgets of £3,000 for allocation by each of its 70 individual councillors and, yes, it is the year before the county council elections but this is definitely no time to be cynical!

Due to the Covid situation, many of last year’s grants were not accompanied by photo-shoots so here is a picture of me running the Deepings Rotary Fun Run a couple of years ago (courtesy of David Pearson Photography).

Self-isolation, the South Lincolnshire experience – A feature for St Guthlac’s Day

This DeepingDo blog is primarily about news relating to the Deepings and/or South Kesteven but in the absence of any council meetings I’m branching out. My recent topical post about the Black Death of 1349 was particularly popular so perhaps historical context is what you all want?

The 11th April is the Saints day of our local hero, Guthlac of Crowland. Two of the five Deepings churches are named in his honour as well as one of the ‘colleges’ at Deepings school and the local freemasons’ lodge.

Guthlac on his way to Crowland. Photo: British Library

Guthlac’s big thing was ‘self-isolation’ which is as topical today as it has ever been. Here’s a potted history of Guthlac. Less is known about his sister, Pega, although she was also into self-isolation so I might write more about her at a later date.

Wilder even than the western woodland was the desolate fen-country on the eastern border of the kingdom stretching from the “Holland,” the sunk, hollow land of Lincolnshire, to the channel of the Ouse, a wilderness of shallow waters and reedy islets wrapped in its own dark mist-veil and tenanted only by flocks of screaming wild-fowl. Here through the liberality of King Wulfhere rose the abbey of Peterborough. Here, too, Guthlac, a youth of the royal race of Mercia, sought a refuge from the world in the solitudes of Crowland,…1

Yes, Guthlac wanted to get away from it all. Life had been pretty hectic up to the point when he arrived at the edge of the fens in AD 699. Loads of us who have moved to the Deepings can identify with that.

Guthlachttps://www.bl.uk/people/guthlac was born into a noble family in AD 674, As a teenager he started fighting, as a warrior on the side of Æthelred of Mercia2. He fought for about 9 years before experiencing a spiritual encounter after which he entered a monastery at Repton. He only stayed there for two years because the other monks didn’t get on with him because he didn’t drink alcohol. Still, he kept the Faith and moved to Crowland for some peace and quiet. Crowland is quiet now but back then it was quieter still. There was nothing there, except for the aforementioned noisy birds and an ancient burial mound in the marshes which had been partially excavated by treasure hunters and which became Guthlac’s new home.

So how did Guthlac use his time of self-isolation?

https://www.wnsstamps.post/stamps/2018/BY/BY010.18.jpg

Firstly, he didn’t drink too much. He didn’t drink at all in fact.

Secondly, he watched his diet. It is said that he made a solemn vow never to eat before sunset.

Thirdly, he tried to keep in touch with his friends and family. He was visited by various people seeking his advice including the Mercian king, Æthelbald. It is said that Guthlac’s sister Pega lived with him for a while but there was an incident with the ‘eating before sunset’ rule and sadly they parted company. Pega went to live by herself in nearby Peakirk (which is why it’s now called Peakirk).

Fourthly, he prayed. Being by yourself all day gives you time to contemplate, reflect, meditate and listen to God. This was much easier in the days before Facebook and Netflix box-sets which can be a waste of time. Anyway, for Guthlac it was the whole reason for him moving to South Lincolnshire in the first place so he got on and dealt with it seriously.

Finally, he faced his demons. According to Felix, who wrote an early biography of Guthlac, the demons took many forms including horrible, ferocious and sometimes frankly disgusting beasties. In our so-called enlightened age, we don’t think about literal demons very much but we all face our own modern demons, e.g. in the form of addictions, domestic violence, low self-esteem, ignorance, arrogance etc. A time of self-isolation is a good time to confront them and deal with them. There is far more help available for dealing with these demons than Guthlac would have had when he faced his.

“...and so great was the reverence he won, that only two years had passed since his death when the stately Abbey of Crowland rose over his tomb. Earth was brought in boats to form a site; the buildings rested on oaken piles driven into the marsh; a great stone church replaced the hermits cell; and the toil of the new brotherhood changed the pools around them into fertile meadow-land.” 3

This year, St Guthlac’s Day has fallen on Easter Eve, and in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic. For the first time in living memory, we are living through a plague which is spreading throughout the UK as well as the rest of the world. The only weapon we have against it appears to be social-distancing (staying at least 2 metres away from other people) and self-isolation (leaving the house as infrequently as possible). Guthlac of Crowland was one of the most popular pre-Norman English saints and he taught us that being in isolation is not only possible, it can also be productive and even Holy.

Happy St Guthlac’s Day and Happy Easter!

Places to visit in Peterborough: Crowland Abbey - We Love Peterborough
Crowland Abbey – Built on the site of Guthlac’s hermitage.

1 “A short history of the English people”, John Richard Green, 1877
2 Not to be confused with Æthelred the Unready who was king of England 200 years later.
3 “A short history of the English people”, John Richard Green, 1877

South Kesteven dragged ‘kicking and screaming’ to virtual meetings

Screenshot from a recent UK Cabinet Zoom meeting (via @TiernanDouieb).

It should go without saying that the worldwide CoronaVirus epidemic is awful, tragic and we all wish it could have been avoided and we all pray it is over soon.

However, like many crises we have faced, there are some useful learnings and positive outcomes that we should be grateful for when, God-willing, we get through the current turmoil and back to a new normal. These will hopefully include closer families, stronger communities and a greater sense of gratitude for our safety net of NHS, social infrastructure and all the people who work at the hitherto thankless tasks of emptying bins, stacking shelves and keeping us alive.

Another positive is the reduction in carbon emissions which proves that despite the previous protestations of politicians, Greta Thunberg has been making a valid point i.e. we could get by without a lot of the carbon-filthy activities that we used to think were essential.

Today, Friday 3rd April, South Kesteven Council held its first ever official ‘virtual’ meeting of a committee.

Continue reading

The Black Death – 1349

..It was while this struggle was growing in intensity that a yet more formidable difficulty met the lords who had been driven, by the enfranchisement of their serfs, to rely on hired labour. Everything depended on the abundant supply of free labourers, and this abundance suddenly disappeared.

The most terrible plague which the world ever witnessed advanced at this juncture from the East, and after devastating Europe from the shores of the Mediterranean to the Baltic, swooped at the close of 1348 upon Britain.

Disease and Death

The traditions of its destructiveness, and the panic-struck words of the statutes which followed it, have been more than justified by modern research. Of the three or four millions who then formed the population of England, more than one-half were swept away in its repeated visitations. Its ravages were fiercest in the greater towns, where filthy and undrained streets afforded a constant haunt to leprosy and fever.

In the burial ground which the piety of Sir Walter Manny purchased for the citizens of London, a spot whose site was afterwards marked by the Charter House, more than fifty thousand corpses are said to have been interred.

An 1834 woodcut of Black Death victims being buried in London
Continue reading

Does West Deeping need a roundabout? Residents meet MP to share safety concerns.

A busy meeting with Sir John Hayes MP at West Deeping Village Hall

It may have been Friday the 13th but West Deeping residents were not afraid to visit the village hall last night to express concerns to their MP about road safety and water management issues in the village.

The meeting was convened and Chaired by Coun David Ward who sits on the village’s parish council although the meeting was not organised by the council and Coun Ward explained that he was acting in a personal capacity as a resident of the village and not on behalf of the parish council or anyone else. In fact, most Parish Councillors chose not to attend the meeting but instead published a position statement.

About 25 local residents attended the meeting along with the County Councillor and two of the District Councillors who represent the village. At the invitation of residents, Rt Hon Sir John Hayes who is MP for the South Holland and the Deepings also addressed the meeting.

The agenda focused on the safety of the staggered crossroads where King Street crosses the A1175 Stamford Road. There have been a number of accidents in recent years which have caused severe and minor injuries. There are a number of factors which contribute to the problem including the number of lorries using the junction, the speed of vehicles heading to and from the Tallington crossing and drivers using King Street as an alternative route to avoid the busy A15 near Glinton. Despite the level of concern, Lincolnshire County Council has ranked the junction 91st (ninety-first!) in a list of priorities for road improvements in the county.

A forthcoming planning proposal from Cemex to expand the works to extract aggregates is anticipated to increase the amount of vehicular movements by as many as 70 HGVs each day as well as dozens of ancillary vehicles. Furthermore an additional 42 dwellings are expected to be completed this year at the Tallington Lakes Caravan Park which now has an exit on King Street very close to the junction in question.

Coun Ward expressed a preference for a roundabout as a road safety measure but he acknowledged that any improvements would be welcome. These might include improved signage, speed restrictions, traffic lights etc.

Sir John Hayes MP with Coun David Ward.

In response to a question from District Councillor Ashley Baxter, there was some conjecture about the likelihood of a bridge alternative to Tallington level crossing where morning queues of traffic often extend back to beyond the junction. Despite many years of discussion between villagers, Highways England, Lincolnshire County and other stakeholders, the project has never made it beyond ‘the drawing board’. Neither the MP nor the County Councillor were aware of any firm or feasible proposals currently in progress.

Sir John Hayes MP made a number of pledges to the campaigners. Firstly, he promised to express his opposition to planning applications for further aggregates extractions unless they were accompanied by road safety improvements. Secondly, he promised to contact Lincolnshire County Council to established what action had been taken in response to a meeting between officers with parish councillors back in October 2019. Sir John also told the meeting that he would continue to lobby for a solution to the problem of Tallington level crossing.

Later in the meeting, residents also raised concerns about the continued issues of water and sewerage at the North of the village. Representatives of Anglian Water attended a parish council meeting on 12 February but the complex issues have not been satisfactorily resolved.