History in the making

For a small town in rural Lincolnshire, Kirton in Lindsey has an awful lot of history.

Neolithic worked flint has been discovered, there are two Roman villa sites, and it was the county town for the Corringham wapentake - an administrative area - in Anglo-Saxon times.

It also has a more recent military history which means it holds a special place in the memories of people all over the country.

Mary Hollingsworth, chair of the Kirton in Lindsey Society which explores local history, said: “For a small town we’re known by people all over the place who were based here either with the RAF or Army.”

“We have a member who lives in New Zealand and through our websites we get queries about Kirton from all over the world.”

Mary said compiling Kirton’s history was like having a 1,000-piece jigsaw with only 100 pieces in it.

“We are discovering something new all the time,” she said.

Kirton in Lindsey Society is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Mary and her husband Martin joined 23 years ago when they moved to the town and decided it would be a good way to find out something about the place, and meet new people.

“We have 80 members and it’s a very active group. It’s quite good that we have survived this long,” she said.

Society members meet monthly in the town hall and have a programme of speakers to talk about both local and general history. These talks are also open to the public.

“We have varied talks, we had one about the solar system and we’ve had one on the history of Oxford,” said Mary, whose day job is working for West Lindsey District Council.

The Society has been successful in recording a lot of Kirton history, and has produced two books, as well as a series of pamphlets.

The first book published in 2008 was called Sticking the Pig, in recognition of Kirton’s agricultural heritage, and has sold 500 copies.

Mary said: “Killing the pig was a big event in the lives of local families, who would do it about this time of year before Christmas, and then use the meat through the winter.”

“We have stayed with the same theme for the title of our second book, which is called Bringing Home the Bacon.”

Society members recorded interviews with lots of Kirtonians, including a 104-year-old lady Mrs Stork, who has since passed away.

“She could remember Kirton in Edwardian time and her memories will live on now through the book,” said Mary.

The books can be bought from the society, which has a website at www.kirtoninlindseysociety.org.uk.

Old photos and other memorabilia are often donated to the society and members put on three displays on different themes each year in the museum in the town hall.

Some of the rarer material is sent to the Lincolnshire Archives for safekeeping.

The 25th anniversary celebrations include a dinner in the town hall in February, and a Tudor re-enactment in May.

To find out more about joining the society contact Martin Hollingsworth on 01625 648435.