The right to site in a particular pew in church 1600!

A letter written by a Barnack resident in the 1680s concerning a dispute about the right to sit in a particular pew in the church.

To ye Right Honerable John Hirle of Exeter

May it please your honour to give me leave to acquante you that your honours Tenant have site in a seate in  Barnak church above this thirty years which was put in by my father when I was a youth & told me it belonged to your honours farme by reason it was builte by one mr Browne that lived in ye farme formely & after wards went to live in Walcot house & some of his servants set in it when he lived thire: now mr Wortly have bought  it he clames ye seate but by ye custume of our church what seates are bult for any house it so contineues & it is ye opinion of all Antinant men in ye towne& parish that  it is your honours rite: now my lord for me to goe to sute with so greate a person I am not able: without your honour would be pleased to stand Tryall or else it will be lost  from your honours farme for ever which I hope your honour will take into consideration & let me know what must be done about it:

Yours honours humble servant & Tenant to comand

Bray Beaver

Read more: The right to site in a particular pew in church 1600!

It lies under our very noses

The first archaeological investigations in Ufford were in 2005 and 2006.  They were led by Carenza Lewis and a team from Cambridge University, assisted by the expert in pottery identification,  Paul Blinkhorn.  It was part of the outreach work undertaken by Access Cambridge Archaeology.   The actual digging was done by  students  from several Peterborough secondary schools.  A total of 23 test pits were dug.  These are 1 metre square holes, dug out in 10 centimetre layers.  The soil is sieved and all man-made items are kept, recorded, labelled and bagged.

Read more: It lies under our very noses

In Flanders’ Fields


On realising that we had a spare day to spend in and around Ypres during a holiday visiting family in Belgium, we thought we might add a little interest and poignancy to our day by investigating one of the five men from Bainton who fought and died in World War 1.

Read more: In Flanders’ Fields

Some corner of a foreign field...

Baston gravestoneIn a shady corner of Barnack churchyard lies my great-great grandfather George Baston buried with his wife Harriet. A little further in there is a headstone to the memory of Harriet’s mother, Mary Sells, wife of David Sells.

However it was another name on the memorial which caught our eye one summer’s evening when we visited this ancient church and this was William David Sells.

Read more: Some corner of a foreign field...

Patrol of P51s out of Kingscliffe Airfield - 1942

Flight out of Kingscliffe 1942I thought the residents of Bainton and Ashton would welcome this picture from 1942 of a patrol of P51s out of Kingscliffe Airfield.

Ashton can clearly be seen on the far right of the picture half way down and Bainton at the top of the image.

Kingscliffe airfield just outside Wansford has a history and holds a memorial to Glen Miller who did his last hanger concert there before disappearing into the night. It is a very important part of local history. Many parts of the airfield still remain and are visited regularly by enthusiasts,with permission by the landowners of course.

There is a public footpath which runs along side of the airfield,where you can see some of the buildings,so dog walkers can have a glimpse. -  Gary Holmes

(Click the Read more link to see a larger image.)

Read more: Patrol of P51s out of Kingscliffe Airfield - 1942

Lords of The Manor of Barnack

The first recorded mention of the Lordship of the Manor of Barnack seems to have been when Wulfhere, King of Mercia, granted the Manor to Peterborough Abbey in 664 AD. The Manor was later claimed by the Monastery of St. Pega at Peakirk, which held it until 1048, when it was successfully claimed back by Peterborough Abbey.

In about 1050 the Manor of Barnack was granted by Peterborough Abbey to a Dane, Siward Bjornsson. He probably arrived in England with King Canute around 1015 and was General to Canute’s son Harthacanute and to Edward the Confessor. Siward was made Earl of Northumbria in about 1041 and, as Shakespeare relates, he led the  10,000 strong army that invaded Scotland in 1053 to depose King Macbeth.

Read more: Lords of The Manor of Barnack 

Marsham Argles: The Forgotten Man of Kingsley House?

Marsham Argles had a considerable influence in Barnack and deserves to be better known, if only because he rebuilt the rectory, which in the 1960s came to be known as Kingsley House.

Kingsley HouseMarsham Argles was born in 1814, the son of a naval officer. In 1831 he entered Merton College, Oxford. After graduating, Marsham was ordained into the priesthood and served first at Cranford and then Duddington. In 1839 he married Margaret Julia Davys, the daughter of George Davys, who that same year was appointed Bishop of Peterborough.

Then in 1851, aged 37, Marsham was appointed rector at Barnack. It was said at the time that it was a curious coincidence that he should succeed to the comfortable benefice of Barnack and to a canonry, both in the gift of the worthy prelate, who when accused of nepotism, replied: Why should an excellent young man be prevented from having a good living merely because he is my son-in-law?

Read more: Marsham Argles: The Forgotten Man of Kingsley House?

Pages from history: Two tragic deaths

There are very contrasting gravestones in memory of two young people in Barnack churchyard. Close to the north east corner of the church is the locally well-known stone monument in the form of a semi-recumbent palm tree.

This astonishing piece of work is to the memory of George Ayscough Booth, Gentleman Cadet R.M.C. Sandhurst, who died in 1868, it is thought in Paris, aged 20. He was the son of the Rev. George Ayscough Booth who had been the curate in Barnack in the 1850s before moving to Clandown in Somerset. He must have decided to bring his son’s body back to Barnack for burial close to his infant daughter’s grave. She had died in 1858.

The choice of the palm tree as a memorial could be explained by the fact that the Victorians were impressed by the way that a palm tree would bend in a tropical storm so that the top could touch the ground, but as soon as the wind abated the tree would spring up again.

Read more: Pages from history: Two tragic deaths