The Sunday before the Grand Prix we visited some of my relatives in the little village of Caythorpe (& Frieston) which sits midway between Grantham and Lincoln. This was a day full of memories for me as I spent many a happy family holiday here with my aunt and uncle (Audrey and Clarrie).
Calv was very much taken with where my cousins live, in an old cottage fronting onto the old village green. Who knows where we might end up living in our retirement??
We had Sunday lunch in one of the 2 remaining Caythorpe village pubs, The Red Lion, which was lovely. Following this we donned our walking boots and took the dogs, Wally and Murphy – 2 of the best behaved dogs I have ever met 🙂 – for a walk.
We headed first to the church, where John and Jude are very active. This meant that we had more access than normal, and more information too.
The church itself, St Vincents, is Grade I listed and a rare example of a parish church with a double nave; it was built in the early 14th century.
At the end of 1859 a lightning strike damaged the top 25 feet of the steeple. When it was repaired it was shortened by about 12 feet, causing a ‘bulge’ (known as ‘entasis’) at the top.
This information was learned not only from my cousins, but also from a lovely book by Christina Farley that I bought whilst visiting ( ISBN no. 978-0-948639-67-8).
However, the highlight of our visit was, for me anyway, the fact that I challenged myself to go all the way up the tower and into the steeple. The 1st part of this is fairly standard using a narrowing spiral staircase. Halfway up you come to the clock room from where the bell cords hang.
After this room there was a further short section of, extremely tight, spiral stairs before you took a very large step into the bell ‘room’ itself – no real floor of course, just thick rafters. From here we had to negotiate a vertical ladder on the wall, then turn left 90degrees (it feels like backwards!) to step onto a rafter from where you access a ladder which spans the room diagonally up to the roof. At the top of this ladder you have 2 grab handles to help haul yourself up into the steeple itself (stepping sideways off the ladder as you do).
Now, whilst I appreciate that for many of you this wouldn’t represent any sort of challenge (I was with a 9 year old girl who just scurried up there without a care in the world – well done Abigail!), for me this was way out of my comfort zone. It’s not the height, but the ladders over nothingness, and knowing that having got to the top I’ve got to somehow step back out into that same nothingness to descend…! I very, very nearly bottled it, but thanks to my cousin John I didn’t – thanks John!
I was so proud of myself for making it as the views were amazing, but more importantly I pushed myself to do something that I didn’t think I would 🙂 Here’s a couple of photos from the top.
Other things to note from the church are the old school house opposite, the school room is now used as a church room (where my cousin Jude goes to practice handbells) and the school house itself was occupied until very recently by the last school master.
There is also a connection with the 216 (Parachute) signal squadron, and every year current and past members of the squadron visit for Arnham Sunday in September.
After leaving the church we continued towards Love Lane where we found the site where a number of Australian Airmen sadly crashed near to Caythorpe train station (I never previously knew about the crash or, indeed, the railway station!) The site of the station is now a recycling centre. There is a memorial to the lost airmen near to the site itself.
On this walk I was also able to see the house that I have so many happy memories of – it’s actually twice the size now!
Thank John, Jude, Sarah, Andy, Josh and Abigail (and Wally & Murphy of course) for such a lovely day 🙂