Grantham writer reveals history of Braceby in new book

Front cover of 'To My Daughter One Red Cow'.
Front cover of 'To My Daughter One Red Cow'.

A local history writer has delved into the past of her village and painted a picture of life there during the 16th and early 17th centuries.

‘To my Daughter One Red Cow - life and death in Braceby, Lincs. 1530s - 1630s’ is the second book of Grantham Civic Society member Marion Ellis. For it she has worked with fellow local historian Ian Rowson, who has helped transcribe some of the harder to read documents discovered at the Lincolnshire Archives during five years of research.

In particular the book focuses on the wills and inventories of those who lived in Marion’s home village of Braceby. As she explains, these are much more than a record of death, for they also reveal lots about the life of the place in this period.

“Wills tell you about the person and their family. For example the one referred to in the title was about a family of six children, who were each left different animals including cows and sheep.

“Using this information you can piece together the life of the village. And from the time of Henry VIII and 200 years on, when somebody died who had made a will, within four days of their death ‘four good men’ would come to their home and do an inventory of all they owned. This was for tax reasons. Could you imagine if they did that now?”

Marion is holding a special book launch at Ropsley Village Hall tonight, from 7pm. The book is also available by contacting Marion by email on or calling 01529 497383. Each book costs £10 or £12.90 by post.