You live in Lincolnshire, but do you really know the county? Kate Chapman been exploring its past and present to compile a little A to Z of all things Lincolnshire.
A is for Adams & Son (now Adams & Harlow) – this family butcher’s has been based in Spalding since 1910 and makes some of the finest pork pies you’ll ever taste. They’re also renowned for other delicacies including sausages, haslets and Scotch eggs, which are also pretty good.
B is for Bateman’s – another long-standing Lincolnshire business based in Wainfleet. This fourth generation craft brewery has been producing ‘Good Honest Ales’ since 1874 and its brews can be enjoyed in pubs and clubs throughout the country and also found in bottled form on numerous supermarket shelves.
C is for Countryside – Lincolnshire is home to some of the country’s most amazing scenery. Its rural charms includes the rolling Wolds to the north, beautiful beaches on the east coast and the wide, open fens to the south – one of my favourite spots to enjoy a sensational sunset.
D is for Dambusters – an elite Lancaster bomber unit also known as number 617 Squadron RAF, based at RAF Scampton. They carried out Operation Chastise on the Germans during World War II in 1943, by dropping bouncing bombs on a series of dams, causing catastrophic flooding of the Rhur Valley. Immortalised on the silver screen, their bravery has gone down in military history.
E is for Election winner Margaret Thatcher (1925 -2013) – love her or loathe her, our first female prime minister was born and raised in Grantham. Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 – 1990, she came to power in 1979. Thatcher was nicknamed the Iron Lady due to her uncompromising politics and leadership style.
F is for Farming - Lincolnshire is one of the country’s prime agricultural areas – it grows 20 per cent of the nation’s sugar beet crop, almost a third of its field vegetables and more than 12 per cent of its wheat and potatoes.
G is for grandeur – Lincolnshire is one of the largest counties in the UK and in turn is home to some of the finest country homes including Burghley House at Stamford, Grantham’s Belton House, Grimsthorpe Castle, near Bourne, and Doddington Hall, not far from Lincoln.
H is for Heckington – home to the country’s oldest village show. A quintessentially English summer occasion for all the family to enjoy – and next year’s will be the 149th.
I is for Imp - the symbol of Lincoln City. Apparently in the 14th century two mischievous imps were sent to Earth to cause mayhem by Satan, which they duly did in Lincoln Cathedral. One was said to be turned to stone by an angel, giving the other time to escape. Now the icon crops up everywhere and is the emblem for several county sporting clubs.
J is for Jolly Fisherman – it has been said that Skegness rose to fame on this iconic poster featuring the portly character and its ‘so bracing’ slogan. Now the most famous holiday advert ever drawn, it was created by John Hassall in 1908 and has appeared in every newspaper in the land.
K is for Keymarket – the Pinchbeck supermarket (now the site of Morrison’s) put Lincolnshire at the forefront of science and technology when it was unveiled as the first store in the UK to use bar code technology back in October 1979. The historic first also cropped up on an episode of Tomorrow’s World.
L is for Lincoln – The Romans conquered this part of Britain in AD 48 and shortly after built a legionary fortress high on a hill overlooking the natural lake formed by the widening of the River Witham (the modern day Brayford Pool). The Celtic name Lindon was subsequently Latinised to Lindum and given the title Colonia when converted into a settlement for army veterans. After the Romans left the name was corrupted to Lindon then Lincoln.
M is for Magna Carta - the story of the historic document which celebrates its 800th anniversary this year begins and ends in Lincoln, after a county cleric instilled his ideas in it – enshrining the rights, privileges and liberties of the clergy and nobles and placing limits on the power of the crown. Lincoln Castle is home to one of only four surviving copies.
N is for Newton, Sir Isaac - a physicist and mathematician who is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time. He was born at Woolsthorpe Manor, near Grantham, in 1642, where he made many of his most important discoveries about light and gravity during The Plague years of 1666-7.
O is for Oscar winners and Olympians – Lincolnshire has some incredibly talented sons and daughters both on the silver screen and in the sporting arena. Actor Jim Broadbent, born near Market Rasen, won the best supporting actor Academy Award for his turn in the 2001 film Iris, while other famous Yellowbellies include Sheridan Smith, Patricia Hodge, golfer Tony Jacklin and strongman Geoff Capes.
P is for Pumpkins. All kinds of produce are grown across Lincolnshire, but the pumpkin patch in and around Spalding, belonging to farmer David Bowman, is one of the largest in Europe. In homage to his giant crop a pumpkin themed festival has been held in the town each year since 2002.
Q is for Quadring, Cowbit, Aslackby, Folkingham and all the other weird and wonderful sounding places which frequently catch out visitors to our county.
R is for Red Arrows – Based at RAF Scampton, the Royal Air Force Acrobatic Team is one of the world’s premier display teams. Formed in 1965 the group, made up of 120 people, including pilots, engineers and essential support staff marked, has flown 4,660 displays in 56 countries, as of the end of 2014 and its 50th season.
S is for Sausages – Lincolnshire is renowned for its sausages. Commonly dominated by the herb sage, rather than the more peppery flavour found in other regional sausages, they’re also chunkier in texture. County residents are passionate about these delicacies – there have been campaigns to win them Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status under European Law, while a sausage festival is held in Lincoln each year.
T is for Tulip Parade – this event was world famous in its heyday. The first parade was held in Spalding back in 1959 to celebrate the area’s connections to the bulb industry. Scores of themed floats all decorated with brightly coloured tulips would weave their way through the streets and at its peak the spectacle attracted 100,000 visitors.
U is for University – Lincoln became a university city in 1996 when HM The Queen opened the first University of Lincoln building at Brayford Quay. More than £150 million has now been invested in the campus, transforming a brownfield site into an award-winning, state-of-the-art learning environment for the thousands of students who pass through its doors every year.
V is for Vegetables. Carrots, celeriac, Brussel sprouts, potatoes, cauliflowers, broccoli, peas and beetroot – they’re all grown here in Lincolnshire thanks to the county’s abundance of top notch silt soil. Farming is an important industry employing 15,000 people directly in production, while many more tens of thousands work in packing and processing.
W is for Windmills - Lincolnshire has more working windmills than any other county in the UK and the highest mill tower is at Moulton. Lincolnshire-type windmills are noted for their characteristic white painted ogee shaped caps.
X is for X marks the spot. If the legends can be believed there is treasure lurking somewhere near The Wash after King John’s jewels, money and gold were lost in the medieval mud of the fens as he made his away across in around 1216.
Y is for Yellowbelly – the nickname given county residents. Its origins are not entirely clear although one explanation put forward is that officers of the Royal North Lincolnshire Militia wore bright yellow waistcoats, while another suggests it’s a derogatory name implying Fen-dwellers creep around in the mud and so got yellow bellies.
Z is for Zoot. Z was always going to be a tough one – but Zoot Money was one of the acts to headline BBQ ’67. We couldn’t write a feature about Lincolnshire without reference to this historic event which has gone down in music folklore as the first true music festival.