Sunday, October 8, 2017

Potterhanworth, Lincolnshire

Bits of history

To Lincolnshire, in search of the Resident Wise Woman’s ancestors. Our journey took us to Potterhanworth, southeast of Lincoln, where her grandmother Betsy was brought up and went to the village school. We took with us the Betsy’s typescript memoirs of her early life in this Lincolnshire village with her grandparents* – her grandfather (the RWW’s great great grandfather), the wonderfully named John George Pepperdine Salter¶ was the first stationmaster at Potterhanworth station. We found the old station house, where they lived, and visited the village school, whose head was very happy with the gift of a copy of the memoirs and rewarded us, quite unexpectedly, with the sight of their author’s name in the school register, inscribed in a copperplate hand in 1901.

The most remarkable building in Potterhanworth is this water tower (now converted to a house). I can’t remember when I last saw such an impressive one in a village. It was built in 1903 with funds provided by Christ’s Hospital (a Lincoln charity with a lasting link to the village); the coat of arms of Richard Smith, founder of Christ’s Hospital in Lincoln are on the side of the turret. As well as supplying water (which it did until the 1970s), the building was a useful public meeting place – the Parish Council and Men’s Institute met in the rooms in the brick tower that supports the enormous tank. Now it’s a substantial house with an unusual history in a place that means a lot to those close to me, and now to me too. 

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* So we are talking about a person born in the Victorian period brought up by her grandparents, who were old enough to remember the early years of Victoria’s reign – a long historical vista.

¶ I have a great fondness for names like this, in which it’s unclear where the forename ends and the surname beings; compare the writer Patrick Leigh Fermor and the photographic pioneer William Henry Fox Talbot. 


Joseph Biddulph (Publisher) said...

Pepperdine -From correspondence with a chap in Lincolnshire with this name, now many years ago, I gathered that this "-wardine" name was from "Pedwardine" near Bucknell, Shropshire. There is still a "Pedwardine Wood" grid ref. 350700 just next to the Welsh border. Water towers were necessary in flat country: impressive rather than beautiful.

The resemblance one to another suggests to me that they were tackled by the same firm - or there was a pattern book?

Zoe Brooks said...

There are lots of Pepperdines in Lincolnshire. I discovered this when I was sent as a teenager to look for ancestors in the parish registers held at Lincoln Record Office. I arrived all optimistic about my chances of success as I had an unusual surname to research. By the end of a week I had failed in my search.