Some interesting facts from Lincolnshire
Fight with the D-e-v-i-l
The winds blowing around Boston Stump are said to be caused by the struggle between the D-e-v-i-l and St Botolph, the Saxon saint who founded his monastery here in AD654. The octagonal tower still resists the 'breath of the d-e-v-i-l'.
Early Pest Control
St Guthlac is portrayed in a window at Fishtoft church. He is holding a whip allegedly given to him by St Bartholomew. Legend has it that as long as he held the whip, Fishtoft would be free of rats and mice.
The Haxey Hood
The Haxey Hood Game is played on St John's Eve, January 6th and resembles a pagan rugby match. Legend has it that some 700 years ago the wife of Sir John de Mowbray lost her hood whilst riding in the wind over Haxey Hill and local 'Boggans' (from the boggy fens) chased and rescued it. In reward they each received a half acre of land on the understanding that they re-enact the chase each year. Today men from 5 local hamlets attempt to 'sway' the leather hood to their local inn, and so win.
The King's Champion
The office of Sovereign's Grand Champion was inherited by the Dymoke family from Scrivelsby in 1350. At a Coronation it was the Champion's duty to ride into Westminster Hall and challenge anyone who questioned the Monarch's right to the throne. Today the ceremony has been replaced by carrying of the Royal Standard.
Canute and the Tides
One of England's best known legends is associated with Gainsborough. Sitting beside the River Trent, famous for its 6ft wall of water accompanying the spring tides, King Canute ordered the tide not to wet him. The river of course did not heed his words. A sodden Canute yelled "Let all the world know that the power of Monarchs is in vain, no one deserves the name of King but He whose Will the Heavens, Earth and Sea do obey".
The Lady in Green
The story of a lost love: Thorpe Hall is said to be haunted by a lady in a green dress. The story goes that Sir John Bolle, who lived in the hall in the late 16th Century had been with the British forces that had captured Cadiz in 1596. A Spanish girl fell in love with him and wanted him to take her back to England, but he was married and refused. Heart broken she entered a convent, after giving him jewellery for his wife, a picture of herself in a green dress and her everlasting love.
The Lincoln Imp
High on the pillar of the Angels_teu27.gif Choir in Lincoln Cathedral is the stone effigy of the Lincoln Imp. The 12-inch high creature is said to have wreaked havoc over years within the magnificent cathedral, until it was turned into stone by an Angels_teu27.gif.
Poison and Patriotism
When King John dined at Swineshead Abbey in 1216 he developed a fever and died a few days later. It is said that a monk had poisoned him as he intended to increase the price of bread. The monk died too, as he had taken a drink from the King's ale first to prove it was safe.
Thereby Hangs a Tail
An 8-year-old boy named Hugh was found murdered in Lincoln in 1255. A Jewish man named Copin was arrested and under torture admitted the crime, which led to a wave of anti-semitism resulting in the torture and death of Copin and 18 other rich Jews. Copin was dragged through the streets tied to a horses tail before being hanged at Canwick Hill.
Family's Good Name
Sir William Massingberd's daughter tried to elope with one of his postilion riders but her father shot the man dead. Sir William was sentenced to appear in London annually at which time the family coat of arms was smeared with blood. It proved too much so Sir William demolished the family seat at Bratoft Castle and built Gunby Hall in 1700. It's said the ghosts of his daughter and the man walk on the path near the hall.
Stones and Lies
St Paulinus, a 7th Century missionary, was riding along Fonaby Top, near Caistor when he met a farmer sowing corn. He wanted some feed for his ass but the man said he had none, and when Paulinus pointed to the sack of seed lying in the field, the man told him it was only a large stone. "Then stone it be" said Paulinus, turning it to stone which still stands there today. Ill fortune is said to haunt anyone trying to damage or move the Fonaby Stone.
Leave the Drake Stone be
Legend says when an Anwick farmer lost his horses to the swampy lands of olden times, a drake flew out of the hole as they were sucked under. Later he found a drake shaped stone on the spot. In the 19th century attempts were made to move it, but the chains broke, releasing another drake; then in 1930 it was lifted but broke in two. Often there are two drakes sheltering under its shadow