Book details ‘quirky’ Sleaford

Author Andrew Beardmore with his new book.
Author Andrew Beardmore with his new book.

A new book has been published which celebrates the ‘quirky’ history of Lincolnshire - with several curious tales from the Sleaford area.

Lincolnshire: Unusual and Quirky chronicles the county’s history - from the conventional facts to the most bizarre accounts - supported by around 450 glossy photos.

The Drake Stones (Dragonstones) are located outside St Edith's church at Anwick.

The Drake Stones (Dragonstones) are located outside St Edith's church at Anwick.

The book is split into two sections - conventional Lincolnshire, which features the history of the county from the Stone Age to the 21st century, interspersed with historical ‘quirk alerts’ - and the ‘quirky Lincolnshire’ section.

Author Andrew Beardmore said: “Lincolnshire conjures up images of fenland, windmills, and vast seas of crops and flowers, along with rolling wolds, pretty towns and villages, and the gloriously medieval city of Lincoln.

However, lurking not far beneath the surface is a host of oddities and peculiarities that turn the apparently staid and conventional into something much more intriguing.”

Some of the Sleaford area entries are as follows:

l During the Second World War a bomb fell near to the church at Pickworth and the explosion dislodged much plasterwork. However, when the plaster was cleared away, a number of medieval paintings were found which had been hidden behind the plaster for centuries. The paintings are of immense historical interest and have been dated to around 1380.

l The remains of Haverholme Priory, three miles north of Sleaford, are those of the house rebuilt in 1830 by George Finch-Hatton, and which was used as a family home for almost a century before going up for sale in the early 1920s. It was eventually bought in 1926 by an American woman who had most of it dismantled, stone by stone, fully intending to rebuild it back in America. Alas, with the masonry ready and waiting at Liverpool docks, the buyer died in a train crash. The stones were therefore never shipped to America, and didn’t travel much further in their life either, as they were used to build new docks in Liverpool.

l Two large stones known as The Drake Stones are located outside St Edith’s Church at Anwick. The story goes that a man ploughing a field north of the church saw his horses and plough mysteriously disappear into the ground after which a dragon (or drake) flew out. On investigating the spot, villagers found a stone in the shape of a drake’s head. The stone remained unmoved for hundreds of years until the 19th century when a traction engine dragged it to the church. It was during this transportation that the stone broke into two and thus inherited the name Drake Stones.

The hardback book Lincolnshire: Unusual & Quirky is out now, priced £19.99.