Trip Advisor

Founded in 1884 by Louth Naturalists',
Antiquarian and Literary Society
Registered Charity No. 1145436

A Local Independent Museum
Nationally Accredited
Quality Assured Visitor Attraction

Visits and Lectures 2020

Louth Naturalists’, Antiquarian and Literary Society’s (“LNALS”) lectures take place at 7.30 p.m. in the Conoco-Phillips Room of Louth Library which is situated between Eastgate and Northgate. The Conoco-Phillips Room is on the first floor of Louth Library and has full wheelchair access. Entry to our lectures for LNALS members costs £1.00 and non-members are most welcome, with an entry fee of £4.00 per person per lecture, payable on the night. Booking forms for our summer outings 2020 will be available from Louth Museum when it re-opens on 1st April for its 2020 season.

January – Lectures

Date Title
Jan 28 Sacred Landscapes of the Witham Valley
  Talk by Dave Start

Dave Start is a retired archaeologist living in the Louth area, with an interest in landscape study and medieval settlement. For many years he was Director of the Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire.

Paul Everson and David Stocker have recently won a research grant to facilitate new studies of the monasteries of the Witham valley. This work is in partnership with the University of Lampeter and includes archaeologists, documentary historians and literature scholars from the Universities of Wales, Chester and Leeds.

The aim of their project is to look at the landscape within which these medieval monasteries were founded, to try to understand the presence of ancient rituality in those landscapes, and then to explain how the medieval monasteries made use of that ancient ritual significance in generating their own distinctive identities. David Start is facilitating the survey work being carried out on the various sites and will bring us up to date with progress so far.

February – Lectures

Date Title
Feb 4 My New Life in England
  Talk by Joe Willisch

Joe Willisch was born in 1924 in the Czech Republic. As a teenager his homeland fell to Germany and his life was changed forever. Surviving the war through physical strength, determination and intelligence, he got to Britain aboard a Danish collier. Last year he came to tell us of his early life and we asked him to return to recount his success in building a new life here.

Joe arrived in Britain at Southend in 1946 from the hold of a Danish coal ship. He was dirty, dusty, half-starved and dressed in rags. Having left behind war-torn mainland Europe, his next destination and future was as yet unknown. He did not know where he was, what lay ahead or even if he would be safe.

Feb 11 Bertie Hibbett: Soldier, Priest & Vicar of Tathwell – from Neuville St Vaast to Tathwell St Vedast
  Talk by Elizabeth Hibbett Webb

Feb 18 The Life and Work of Sir Joseph Whitworth, Engineer
  Talk by Martin Chapman

Feb 25 Life in a Mayor’s Nest
  Talk by John Barker

John was born into a Lincolnshire family, brought up in Boston and educated at Boston Grammar School during the five years of the Second World War. He trained and qualified while working as a Chartered Surveyor and has held posts as a Surveyor and Engineer in four Local Authorities all in Lincolnshire with a wide range of responsibilities, mostly involved in building and civil engineering, estate management and valuation. His outside interests have been in family life, community buildings and social housing, Church related youth work and Church property, caravanning and calligraphy.

The talk is based on an autobiography written for the younger members of his family about his life, particularly his professional life.

March – Lectures

Date Title
Mar 3 OTTAWAY LECTURE: A Floral Discovery: The Life and Botanical Artistry of Miss May Lane-Claypon
  Talk by Stuart Crooks

Stuart is the former CEO of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust; Vice Chairman of the Sir Joseph Banks Society; Secretary of the Lincolnshire Branch of the Betjeman Society; and member of the Advisory Committees for Snipe Dales and Gibraltar Point Nature Reserves.

The Sir Joseph Banks Society has unearthed a stunning collection of botanical paintings in a cloth bag where they had lain undisturbed for over a century. They are the work of Wyberton born May Lane-Claypon who married Revd E M Cheales of Friskney. May had trained at the Slade School of Art and also in Germany. A knowledgeable botanist from an early age, she developed a passion for illustrating the wild flowers she found growing around her home. In later life she turned her talent to portrait and landscape painting and religious subjects for Friskney church. Our speaker will illustrate her talents.

Mar 10 Shipbuilders of Louth
  Talk by Stuart Sizer

Stuart is a retired Headteacher and Local Historian with particular interest in Louth Navigation, The Marsh and Churches with particular onus on Louth St James’.

It is difficult to imagine Louth as a centre for a shipbuilding industry, but that was what it was at the end of the 18th and through the 19th century. This trade gave employment to quite a few people from the town. There were two dry docks, workshops and blacksmiths as well as the stocks for the ships. These can be clearly seen on William Brown’s Panorama painted in 1847. The shipbuilders were the Smith and Wray families, who between them built well over 50 craft that we know of. They ranged from sea-going Sloops to Clipper Schooners capable of voyages to London, supplying the town with all kinds of goods and wares, including tea to be sold at C G Smiths in Upgate. The talk is a fascinating insight into the world of the shipbuilding industry in the town.

Mar 17 Lincolnshire and the Making of Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley
  Talk by Michael Allen

After a lifetime spent working in industry Michael took a PhD at Anglia Ruskin University on the ‘Victorian Sonnet’. Following this research he published the five-volume ‘Anthem Anthology of Victorian Sonnets’. In conjunction with Rosalind Rawnsley, he is currently researching the life of her great-grandfather, Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley. A biography, ‘Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley: An Extraordinary Life’, will be published by Methuen in May 2020.

When he died in 1920, Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley was a national figure and a pioneer in the early conservation movement. He is best remembered today, if at all, as one of the co-founders of the National Trust. His achievements, however, spread way beyond the field of conservation. Although not born in Lincolnshire, he had strong connections with the county where many members of his family lived. After a brief overview of his life and diverse interests the talk will focus on how Lincolnshire, its people and countryside, helped to shape the character of this intriguing individual.

Mar 24 Fifty Years after Closure: The East Lincolnshire Railway and its Branches
  Talk by Mike Fowler

Mar 31 AGM and DAVID ROBINSON MEMORIAL LECTURE: The Wesleys at Epworth
  Talk by Catherine Fordham

After a number of different jobs, Catherine trained as a teacher and then a nurse. After 15 years teaching, then ten as a Registered nurse, she retired to house renovation before volunteering at Epworth Old Rectory where her duties have grown to include being gift shop manager, press officer and tour guide.

The talk will cover a brief biography of Susannah and Samuel Wesley, their meeting, Samuel’s career path to Epworth, their large family. It will describe the ups and downs of life at the Rectory until Samuel’s death when the remaining family members moved away.

July - Summer Outings

Date Title
T.B.A. Guided tour of the Abbeys along the Witham
  Led by Dave Start

T.B.A. Guided visit to Epworth, the Mechanics’ Institute and the Old Rectory
  Led by T.B.A.

September – Lectures

Date Title
Sep 22 The Crafters of Kingship: Smithcraft, Gender and Elite Power in Early Mediaeval Europe
  Talk by Dr Duncan Wright

Sep 29 A Tudor Page-turner: St James’ Churchwardens’ Accounts 1527-1570
  Talk by Brian Hodgkinson

Brian was for many years a bus and coach driver in Nottingham. He “retired” in 1995 and started courses at the Nottingham WEA, mostly in history. Having been encouraged to take the Certificate in Archaeology in the School of Continuing Education at the University of Nottingham, he went on to complete a BA (Hons), MA in Local History and finally a PhD on the dissolution of the monasteries in Lincolnshire. During his research he came across the Louth Churchwardens’ Accounts. Having given a talk for the Lincoln Record Society, Nicholas Bennett suggested he transcribe the second book of accounts, the result of which awaits publication.

The Louth Churchwarden’s Accounts are some of the county’s most comprehensive surviving parish documents, continuing in an almost unbroken sequence from the beginning of the 16th century until the present day. These documents open a panorama on the undertakings of a large, wealthy parish church and its interactions with the local community during the period of the Reformation. This talk will illustrate small examples of the vast number of entries that together bring an understanding of the trials and tribulations of a market town during this period of unrest, both political and religious.

October – Lectures

Date Title
Oct 6 Tastes of Lincolnshire
  Talk by Neil Curtis

Oct 13 The Archaeology of the Triton Knoll Power Line through Lincolnshire
  Talk by Allen Archaeology

Oct 20 WALLIS LECTURE: Lincolnshire’s Angelic Host: The Wonderful World of Mediaeval Roof Angels
  Talk by Geoff Wheatley

Geoff was one of the founder members of the Spirit of Sutterby Project which has been running now for seven years. The project is based on the tiny church and Deserted Mediaeval Village of Sutterby in the Lincolnshire Wolds. It is a community heritage project with members pursuing a wide range of research interests.

From this and a passion and love of churches in all their aspects, was born this particular project undertaking new research into mediaeval roof angels in Lincolnshire.

Oct 27 New Archaeological Discoveries: Finds and Sites in the Louth Area and Wider County
  Talk by Dr Lisa Brundle

November – Lectures

Date Title
Nov 3 Flinders’ Discoveries & Flinders Discovered
  Talk by Alan James

Alan is a retired teacher, formerly Head of Department at Cowley’s School, Donington. On retirement, he took over the church display on Flinders, enlarging it to its present size. He looks forward to being able to make it more professional in the likely event of funding becoming available.

The talk will begin with the early life of Flinders and a brief resumee of his first two voyages to the Southern Ocean as Midshipman/Lieutenant. Emphasis will be on his third journey as Commander of HMS Investigator: his marriage prior to sailing, the findings of the voyage and subsequent travels before captivity on Isle de France (Mauritius). It will cover his eventual return to Britain, his poor health and early death in parallel with the successful outcomes of the voyage.

The talk will then explain the various attempts to bring his achievements to the fore, successful in Australia, but not so in Britain. The 2019 discovery of the mortal remains of Captain Flinders near Euston Station is the breakthrough for Britain with publicity never envisaged. The final part of the story is yet to be written with his re-burial in Donington in 2020.

Nov 10 RAF Stenigot – a Pioneering Radar Station
  Talk by Chris Lester

Chris is a retired engineer with an interest in Lincolnshire’s industrial archaeology and the history of technology.

RAF Stenigot formed part of the WWII “Chain Home” radar system – the world’s first integrated air defence radar system, many of whose principles are still applicable today. In the 1990s it was the most complete survivor of the original 20 stations, when the decision was made to demolish most of the buildings. This illustrated lecture results from survey and research work carried out by the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology working with English Heritage to record the buildings and uncover their story. It starts with the background to Chain Home, describes the site and its equipment, the people who worked there and the auxiliary activities. It also covers the Cold War period when the site was part of the “Ace High” NATO communications system.

Nov 17 The Voyage of The Beagle
  Talk by Peter Worsley

Peter is a native of Grimsby, leaving Winteringham Grammar School initially for University College of North Staffordshire - University of Keele - to read for a double honours degree in Geography and Geology. Thereafter he studied at the University of Manchester (PhD in 1967). Although in 1980s he was Chair of Physical Geography at the University of Nottingham, it was the University of Reading that furnished both his first job and a longer-term post as Professor of Quaternary Geology, and where he was conferred as Professor Emeritus in 2000. He has published over 150 research papers and his first book on the Lincolnshire land holdings of the Darwin family.

Charles Darwin spent just over five years voyaging around the world in a counter-clockwise direction between 1831 and 1836. However, for most of the time he was ashore exploring on horseback the landscapes inland from various anchorages. The vast bulk of his observations concerned the local geology and not as popularly believed biology. The speaker has visited many of the landfall locations and will describe a selection of these. Reference will be made to the publications which resulted from the voyage and assess their significance.

Nov 24 Plough Monday, its Customs and Traditions in Lincolnshire and Beyond
  Talk by Ruairidh Greig

Born in Northampton, Ruairidh Greig grew up and was educated in Grimsby, Lincolnshire. Inspired by the folk revival of the 1960s, he began to explore his Scottish family traditions and those from his local area in Lincolnshire. His initial interest in song soon extended to most aspects of folk life and folklore. Whilst training to be a teacher, in Sheffield, he became involved with the University Survey of Language and Folklore as a volunteer collector. After qualifying, he completed a postgraduate Master of Philosophy degree on Seasonal House-Visiting Customs in South Yorkshire. Returning to Lincolnshire in 1979, he has continued to research local customs and traditions, especially the Plough Play.Plough Monday has long been celebrated in Lincolnshire, marking the start of the agricultural cycle in the New Year. The talk charts the records of the earliest references in church records to reports of related customs in general and to the Plough Play in particular. First reported in the eighteenth century, this local version of the mummers’ play combines elements from various sources, including folk song, stage drama and chapbooks. These will be examined in more detail with regard to music, language and humour as well as noting the response of the community.

Our Past 'Visits and Lectures'

Visits and Lectures (2019)
Visits and Lectures (2018)
Visits and Lectures (2017)
Visits and Lectures (2016)
Visits and Lectures (2015)
Visits and Lectures (2014)
Visits and Lectures (2013)
Visits and Lectures (2012)


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