What’s in a name? Boothby Graffoe

Featured in:
February 2023

Continuing our series on Lincolnshire villages with unusual names, we turn the spotlight on Boothby Graffoe.

Situated in North Kesteven on the A607 Ermine Street, an original Roman road, Boothby Graffoe takes its name from two sources: Booth, a ‘farm/settlement’, which refers to a herdsman’s temporary shelter and Graffoe, meaning ‘grove hill spur’.

Here, King John of France was imprisoned in 1359 having been taken prisoner after the Battle of Poitiers, before being removed to the Tower of London.

Sir Saier de Rochford undertook to keep safely the King of France for which service he was allowed two shillings per day.

In 1309, this quadrangular castle with circular towers at the corners was given to King Edward II and continued as crown property until it was sold by Charles I in 1628. Thereafter the castle continued in private ownership. The castle remains were converted to a farmhouse in the 19th century.

The parish church of St Andrew was built in 1842 at an estimated cost of £1,000, designed by W A Nicholson, in Gothic revival style.

A church on this site is mentioned in the Domesday Book and it is thought that there have probably been at least three churches in this position, with one destroyed during a storm in 1666; an inscribed tablet under the west window dated 1626 the only survival from the earlier building.

In the 20th century, two stained glass windows were presented by Mrs Marfleet in 1906 and two in 1908 by Miss Marfleet as a memorial to the late C E Marfleet Esq of Boothby Hall.

The Hall (known as Boothby House) was built in 1867 in a carved Victorian Italianate style, with its own gas-making plant, conservatories, orchid house, aviary and vinehouses.

In St Andrew’s churchyard, an ornamental stone cross on an octagonal three stepped plinth on a large square base commemorates servicemen lost in World War One.

Made by Arthur Howson, a monumental mason from Tentercroft Street, Lincoln, from Hopton Wood stone, it was unveiled by Revd H R Hall, Lt Col Hodgkinson, together with local clergy and dignitaries on 13th November 1921, with the words ‘Honour, Justice and Liberty’ carved in bold relief.

Up to date and Boothby Graffoe is now on the map with a new generation through comedian, singer-songwriter James Rogers (aka Boothby Graffoe) who was born in Hull and attended Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Horncastle, claiming to be the only comedian in the world named after a Lincolnshire village!

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