Discover exquisite Tattershall

Words by:
Melanie Burton
Featured in:
April 2015

The village is small in size but big on visitor attractions.
With a population of just under 3,000 and only a handful of shops, businesses and hostelries, Tattershall nevertheless has something to offer all types from history lovers, architecture buffs and leisure seeks, to those who enjoy the outdoors.

It has its very own castle – built in 1434 by Henry VI’s Lord High Treasurer Ralph de Cromwell, 3rd Baron Cromwell – on the site of an earlier thirteenth-century stone castle, of which some remains are still evident, particularly the Grand Tower and moat.

There is the octagonal fifteenth-century Buttercross which stands in the Market Place and is both a Grade I listed structure and an ancient scheduled monument – a relic from the thirteenth century, when King John granted a charter to the village for a weekly market to be held, in return for an annual fee of a trained goshawk. Though markets no longer take place in Tattershall, the Buttercross remains at the centre of the shopping area and is a central feature of the village.

Adjacent to the castle is the Grade I listed perpendicular-style Holy Trinity Collegiate Church, endowed by the 3rd Baron Cromwell, but built after his death.

It houses a plaque marking the grave of the Tattershall resident Tom Thumb, who was said to be just 18.5 inches (47cm) tall and died in 1620 aged 101. His small house can even be seen on the roof of a larger house in the Market Place.

Next to the Market Place are the remains of Tattershall College which was built in 1460, four years after the death of its patron, Lord Cromwell, and which was completed by William of Wainfleet, Bishop of Winchester. This building formed part of the complex of college buildings in Tattershall village and is thought to have been the grammar school. Most colleges provided such educational facilities for their choristers and for the sons of local tenants.

The present building was refounded as a secular grammar school and continued to be used for this purpose until the late seventeenth century. In the late eighteenth century it was converted to a brewery, and later left empty – today it is a ruin.

But despite all its many links to the past, Tattershall is very much a forward-thinking village, with a strong community spirit that is in sync with modern-day thinking.

Marie Scott, together with her young family used to be a regular visitor to one of the village’s most popular attractions and spotted so much potential in Tattershall Farm Park that she and her partner bought it.

“There is major expansion going on to include an animal trail and to make the most of the site we have. There are lots of plans linked to that,” she said. “It is very much a work in progress, but it is something we are very passionate about. It’s not just money we’re investing, it is heart and soul.”

Every year villagers are given the chance to socialise with their councillors at the annual parish dinner held in the village hall.

Parish clerk Karen Elliott said: “It is an informal evening with a hog roast and quiz to allow parish councillors and residents a social event to get to know each other better. We will also be holding our annual parish meetings in May, both for Tattershall and Tattershall Thorpe.

“There are a lot of events being held at Tattershall Castle and there is a very active village hall committee.”

Chairman of the village hall committee Michael Phillips said there was always something going on in the village. The village hall last year marked its 60th anniversary with a celebratory summer barbecue, which was well supported by the community.

“The village hall has been extended so we now have two rooms, a large one and a small one, and both are in use every day. At weekends it is kept free for local people to hold their own functions such as parties and wedding receptions,” said Mr Phillips.

“We also run a car boot sale every Bank Holiday Monday which attracts 800 to 1,000 people. All proceeds go towards the village hall and the committee runs half a dozen fundraising events over the year, which allows us to keep hire rates quite low.”

The village has a very proactive Lions Club which organises a number of events, which this year includes a VE Day celebration sing-along in the village hall and their annual pantomime which is always well supported.

“There are lots of things going on and we cater for everyone. I find a big difference between organisations in communities like this and in the towns and cities,” said Mr Phillips, whose wife Pat also works tirelessly on behalf of the village hall committee.

“They are very strong here and they do their best for the community in general and try to encourage people to come and enjoy themselves.”

And it isn’t just locals who are encouraged to enjoy what is on offer.

The village also has a holiday caravan park, catering for holidaymakers who like to enjoy the peace of being outdoors without it being too quiet.

Beautifully situated amidst picturesque woods and Lincolnshire parkland, Tattershall Lakes and Country Park is perfect for a family holiday – with a golf course, children’s play areas, a lake for jetskiing, another for waterskiing, two lakes for fishing, a man-made beach with an outdoor entertainment area, family daytime and evening entertainment, bars and eateries.

A spokesman for the park said: “There is plenty going on to keep all the family happy. The children can learn a new skill, like wakeboarding on the cable tow wakeboard park. Alternatively, good old classics such as Hide & Seek are made extra special when they are on a wooded island surrounded by ‘shark infested waters’.

“In the meantime, dads can relax and try a spot of fishing in one of the well-stocked lakes, while mums can let all their stresses flow away with a spa treatment massage and facial.”

There is a big emphasis on ‘play’ themed children’s entertainment this year, including the park’s brand of the classic Punch and Judy show at the Puppet Theatre and an innovative approach to storytelling with Animated Story Book.

To meet the increasing popularity of music festivals in Britain, Tattershall is also running its ‘Rock the Lakes’ event over two weekends this year, and for sporty types staying at Tattershall there’s a brand new multi-use games court.

One popular visitor destination is Tattershall Farm Park, which is now in the hands of new owners and about to get a new lease of life.

Marie Scott with her partner and young children, used to be regular visitors to the Farm Park and had spotted the potential that existed to expand it. So when it came up for sale, they decided to buy it and turn their ideas into reality.

“We’re currently expanding into a beautiful paddock with a lake and established trees which will be our Animal Trail where our larger animals like Heidi our Highland Cow and her calf will live,” said Marie.

“The existing lake has been adapted and work has started, to create a pond dipping/wildlife area. Our Lincoln Longwool sheep arrived at the end of March and, as rare breeds native to Lincolnshire, will join Hilary our Lincoln Red and some Lincoln Buffs. Our aim is to provide a much bigger and better visitor experience that is open seven days a week.” 

The couple, who live locally, are both continuing in their careers so that every penny the Farm Park makes can be re-invested to keep it growing and maintain a refreshed visitor experience.

“It is very much a work in progress but something we are very passionate about. It’s not just money we’re investing, it is heart and soul,” said Marie.

“While as a couple we’re very hands on in terms of the vision for the future of Tattershall Farm Park, it’s important that we employ local people while we keep very much behind the scenes. So for that reason my partner is ‘The Farmer’ and I’m the ‘Farmer’s Wife’.”

They have just added a 1958 Fordson Super Major tractor to the team which even has a Twitter page (@tractor_tim).

Marie explained: “He is going to be a voice for us on social media. He’s helping us on the farm, and getting some well-deserved TLC along with a new paint job, with the plan that in the near future he’ll be able to give tractor rides around the farm.

“We’ve already changed the menu in the cafe and can proudly say that key ingredients like our Lincolnshire potatoes, Lincolnshire Sausages, thick cut bacon and our 100 per cent beef burgers are all sourced locally. Our motto in the cafe is Fresh, Local & Tasty.”

The Post Office has died away in many communities up and down the country but in the village of Tattershall it is still very much the centre point for the community.

Barrack’s Post Office in the Market Place which is also the village shop, has served the people of Tattershall for fifty years and it is still run by the same family. Karen Barrack helps to run it now with her father Peter Barrack and eighteen-year-old nephew Sam Walker.

“It started out as a grocer’s shop set up by my grandfather Hoyland (Bert) Barrack, in 1963, and it is still being run by the family. Because it is a post office, it is at the heart of the community and a lot of people have been coming here for a long time.”

Barrack’s, which was forced to close for five months when the neighbouring supermarket went into administration, is still paramount to village life and breathed a huge sigh of relief along with other business owners when the news came through that Tesco had shelved its plans to build a supermarket in the village.

“Everyone is celebrating and pleased that Tesco is not coming but we are now all wondering what is coming next. Hopefully it will be residential, which will be good for the community and help to improve the area,” said Karen.

She said there were lots of things in the village to attract visitors, from the castle and the farm park to the lakes and country park.

The Sivill family go back to 1799 in Tattershall and Coningsby, running many different businesses during this time.

Richard and Stella Sivill established their business, Richard Sivill Gallery twenty-four years ago, moving into their present shop on the High Street in 1996.

The business offers framing services to cover anything from pictures to wedding dresses, medals etc. They also supply the local community with ID Photography and engraving. In addition, they can supply local clubs with trophies and cups.

Richard also has a large collection of old photographic images of the local area including Tattershall, Coningsby, Woodhall Spa and beyond.

Their son Christopher also runs his own shop in the Market Place selling reconditioned TVs and computers and also servicing them.

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