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Words: Melanie Burton
Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the May 2016 issue

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Louth is a traditional Lincolnshire market town with a varied history, a vibrant calendar and plenty to offer visitors and residents alike.

With a plethora of long-established independent businesses and a well laid out town centre, Louth is considered to be the capital of the Lincolnshire Wolds and once discovered, is a place that people want to return to time and time again.

The Wolds has been a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) for more than forty years and is the highest land in eastern England between Kent and Yorkshire with fine views to the Pennines in the west, and the coast to the east.

It is managed as such by the Lincolnshire Wolds Countryside Service which is based in Louth itself.

Project officer Helen Gamble said the area was blessed with having a range of different market towns surrounding it.

“Louth is the biggest one,” she said. “It has a range of markets that people rely on and great open spaces such as Hubbards Hills and Spout Yard. You can explore the surrounding countryside on bikes or by foot and get a real feel for market town life as well as the historic side of things.”

This month thousands of visitors will flock to the area for the 12th annual Lincolnshire Wolds Walking Festival which runs from 21st May to 5th June.

“There are 103 walks this year all in the Wolds and many in the Louth area,” said Helen. “There is a children’s event, short walks of one mile and longer routes of twenty miles.

“The festival attracts 5,000 people over the two weeks and it really does bring people in. They do a walk and come into town and have a cup of tea.

“Many people take a week off and stay in Lincolnshire, so it adds an extra dimension, and from that people will come back later in the year and discover that Louth is not flat and Lincolnshire isn’t flat either.”

Helen has lived in Louth for seventeen years and it is one of her favourite market towns in the Wolds.

“For the size of the town it has an amazing range of independent shops, local produce, great butchers, bakeries and grocers. It even has a three-screen cinema. The people are friendly, there are nice open spaces, you are not far from the coast and within a couple of miles you are in the Wolds.

“It is a unique town and is just about right for everything. When people know about it, they keep on coming back.”

The Lincolnshire Countryside Service is a small team that strives to protect and enhance the Lincolnshire Wolds area of natural beauty.

“It is a protected landscape,” said Helen. “We are based in Louth but spend a lot of our time out and about. It isn’t about tourism, it is about making sure the Wolds and hills are as protected and enhanced for the future so people can enjoy it.”

Louth developed where the ancient trackway along the Wolds, known as the Barton Street, crossed the River Lud. The town is east of a gorge carved into the Wolds that forms the Hubbard’s Hills. This area was formed from a glacial overspill channel in the last glacial period. The River Lud meanders through the gorge before entering the town.

The Greenwich Meridian passes through the town and is marked on Eastgate with a plaque on the north side of the street, just east of the junction with Northgate.
Mayor of Louth, Mrs Sue Locking, said Louth is a very special town and she is proud to have been its mayor for the past year.

“We have a wonderful, volunteer-run museum on Broadbank, which is a must for visitors to see,” she said. “Our local beauty spot, Hubbard’s Hills, through which the River Lud gently flows, is ideal for picnics, walks, children playing, and just family get-togethers.

“The Meridian Line goes through the town, and is marked in various places, including silver-coloured markers on the pavements in Eastgate just past the Northgate junction.

“There are many independently-owned small shops, where unique gifts can be found for friends and family and we have five butchers, a poulterer’s, two wet fish shops, two fruiterers and a cheese shop, all of which sell high quality products.”

Many of the independent traders have been part of the fabric of the town for centuries such as Eve and Ranshaw department store and Pocklington’s bakery.

Eve and Ranshaw was founded in 1781 by Adam Eve during the reign of King George III at 1 Market Place, where you will still find the shop today. Ten years after first opening his shop, Adam purchased the James Street wool spinning factory and began to make the exquisite flat weave carpets, for which Louth became renowned.

The factory closed in 1883; however, Adam’s shop continued to flourish and expand and is still going strong.

Pocklingtons was established in 1924 by Cyril Pocklington, the third youngest of fourteen children of Louth miller James Pocklington.

Another family run business whose name is synonymous with Louth is Luck of Louth, which was established in 1985 and offers a traditional English country shopping experience. It stocks an extensive range of the finest quality classic countrywear, men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, footwear, leathergoods and luggage.

Just as Louth’s unique shops bring visitors from far and wide, the Parish Church of St James is a magnet for tourists from all over the world.

The mainly 15th-century parish church, the third building on the site succeeding 11th and 13th century structures, is widely recognised as one of the finest late medieval churches in the country.

Historian and church guide Stuart Sizer explained that for a period of time the church had a dual name.

“There was an Anglo-Saxon monastery here from 690 to the 800s when the Abbot Herefrith was martyred,” he said. “After that a structure was set up dedicated to him and the church became known as St Herefrith’s Church.

“However, the Bishop of Winchester sent a raiding party to take his bones down to Thorney Abbey near Peterborough and from that time the cult of St Herefrith began to dwindle and the cult of St James the Great began to rise, so for that period of time the church had a dual name.”

In the 1300s, the people of Louth decided they wanted a larger church so set about rebuilding it and making it wider and longer.

“They began building a tower and spire at the west end which was independent from the church,” explained Mr Sizer. ““Part of it was dedicated to St James in 1441 but the tower wasn’t completed until 1515. The spire is the tallest medieval spire in England at 295ft.”

Obviously a number of people have been known to try and climb the spire including Mr Sizer’s father just after the war.

“There have been a couple of incidents where people have climbed to the top,” said Mr Sizer. “One was because of a bet. Two men had drunk ten pints of beer and had a bet to see who was going to pay the bill.

“One of them climbed to the top of the spire while the other held his coat. He waved at everyone from the top but he came down to discover his companion had vanished, his coat was on the floor and he was left to pay the drinks bill.”

The spire was hit by lightning in 1844 and scaffolding had to be put up so repairs could be carried out.

That was when local journalist William Brown climbed to the top to sketch the 360-degree views from the top. He then created two canvases called Brown’s Panorama.

It is an all-round view of the town and district as seen from the top of the spire on a summer’s day in the 1840s. It shows
the pattern of streets and the market place, with a roofscape little changed today. The detail of activity in the foreground reflects the life of the town with horse-drawn vehicles, ladies’ shopping, a funeral, new garden designs, and haystacks.

“It is unique to England and to Europe and is in great detail showing people that he knew, influential people of the time and even the kind of wagons that were used in the day,” said Mr Sizer. “It has lots of little stories to go with it.”

Last year was a busy year for the church, with celebrations to mark the 500th anniversary of the completion of the tower.

Rector of St James’, Rev Nick Brown said after last year’s big celebrations, this year was being spent relaxing.

“It was fantastic last year but it was a very busy year. This year we are relaxing but the church is still open six days a week and for services on Sunday.

“We still have exhibitions at various points during the year, the next one being an embroidery exhibition in July, and there are a number of special events.”

Amongst the special activities coming up over the next few months are a concert by the Louth Chamber Choir on 8th May, a concert to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday and a ‘party in the pews’ both in June.

There will also be a garden party in July and a service to mark Battle of Britain Sunday in September.

“The most recent talking point is that the peregrine falcons have come back and nested for the first time,” Rev Brown said.

DEXTER AND SHARPE AT THE HEART OF LINCOLNSHIRE
We are proud to be part of a thriving and ever changing business community within Louth and its surrounding areas. From our local office overlooking St James’ Church on Eastgate, we see first hand the effect local businesses have on keeping Louth a vibrant and exciting market town.

As a firm we act for a wide range of industries, from farming and construction, to retail and catering. We pride ourselves on taking a pro-active approach and working closely as business advisors to help old and new clients alike.

We understand that running a business is about more than just the numbers; as a small local business ourselves, we understand the challenges that our clients face. That is why we offer our clients more than the just the usual tax compliance work, we aim to become a more integrated advisor.

Following on from recent budget announcements by the Chancellor we have been working to ensure that our clients do not experience any nasty tax surprises as a result of the recent dividend tax introduction or changes to rental property allowances. We would strongly advise shareholders, or landlords who have not already sought advice in this area, to contact us for a consultation.

DANIELLA’S OF LOUTH
Daniella’s of Louth brings together a collection of shoes and accessories to suit every occasion, giving you quality, comfort, and on trend style and was founded in February of this year, to fill a niche in the market.

Owner Danielle Hardy had been working alongside her mum, Tanya, in her clothing boutique, also in Louth, when the chance came to achieve her ambition of starting her own business. And what better than to be right next door to each other?

“Being next door means that I can compliment the clothing ranges that Mum sells, and ladies can visit us and have their needs filled all in one place,” says Danielle. She is pleased to be associated with well-known quality branded footwear such as Riva, Lisa Kay, and Högl, amongst other lesser known designer collections.

Danielle is driven to create a sociable environment in her shop, where customers can feel relaxed and unpressured, and is constantly sourcing new brands to introduce, that offer individuality and establish an appealing range for discerning ladies.

Whether you’re looking for something for a particular occasion, a quick fashion fix or a classic timeless style, Daniella’s range is diverse and exciting, offering a complete lifestyle collection.

FESTIVAL RETURNS TO LOUTH
The Zero Degrees festival will be returning to Louth between Friday 17th June and Sunday 3rd July and will be showcasing the best of Louth’s music, sport, dance and comedy.

As part of the Zero Degrees festival, The Kings Head will be hosting a live music Festival Weekend on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th June, with several local live bands. Owner Sharon supports the Zero Degrees Festival every year.

The Saturday is Zero Degrees and the Sunday also sees the celebrations for the Louth Run for Life, a fun weekend for all the family with live music and good food. There is also live music every Saturday night, various local charity music events and comedy evenings regularly throughout the year.

MARGARET TAYLOR
Local artist, Margaret Taylor is the talent behind the amazing mural on the wall of the jeweller Scott’s (Lincs) Ltd. A working artist since the 1960s, she was commissioned to create the eye-catching piece by former tenant Pailthorpe’s in 1987.

Margaret, who trained at Lincoln Art College, updates the mural every so often. In 2005 she refreshed it with the addition of two figures and made further slight adjustments in 2012. The mural will be repainted in the coming months. You can find out more about Margaret’s work by visiting www.themargarettaylorcollection.co.uk

NEW LOCATION FOR THE ULTIMATE IN HOLIDAY HOMES
A locally based leisure company has opened an estate of holiday homes that is being hailed as Lincolnshire’s most exclusive location.

Don Amott Parks has created a private, gated estate located within its Lakeside Park at North Somercotes. The new development, Deer’s Leap, is set in a beautifully landscaped, woodland area and offers the latest luxury holiday homes and lodges.

Lakeside Park is one of Lincolnshire’s most exclusive holiday parks and owners of a Deer’s Leap home can enjoy the park’s entertainment and leisure facilities and then stroll back to their own peaceful, woodland retreat.

The star property on offer is the brand new Windsor holiday lodge which was designed and built exclusively for Don Amott Parks by Willerby and is available as a two or three bedroom home. These 40 x 20ft properties are for sale at £99,000 which includes a veranda with colour-coded decking wrap and full set-up.

The homes include a large lounge area with full height ceiling and central fireplace, a family-sized dining area, double sliding patio doors to a decking area with views of the landscaped gardens and beyond. The wraparound kitchen has every conceivable modern appliance and all homes have an integrated Bluetooth MP3 system for surround sound and free Wi-Fi.

Group chairman, Don Amott, explained the idea behind the new development: “We wanted to create a lifestyle concept for like-minded people who appreciate quality accommodation and who value their own privacy.

“Deer’s Leap is the ideal weekend base for couples wanting downtime as well as families who can enjoy all the leisure and sporting facilities we have to offer.”

At Lakeside Park there’s literally something for everyone, from tiny tots to grandma and granddad.

The centerpiece of the park is the Waterfront Club, a custom-built complex with entertainment for all ages. Here residents and visitors can enjoy a drink in The Sportsman’s Bar, seasonal entertainment in Oscar’s Cabaret Room and can dine at Monty’s Restaurant with its extensive family menu and the famous Lakeside Sunday lunch carvery.

Perhaps the most popular facility at Lakeside Park is the Tropicana complex. You could be anywhere in the world when you bathe beneath the palms in the superb heated pool.

And the complex includes a sauna, solarium and steam room. For the more energetic, Lakeside provides a host of outdoor sporting and leisure facilities, whatever the weather.

There’s a fitness suite and a tennis court. Or owners can try their hand on the bowling green.

Children can enjoy the state-of-the-art adventure playground while the older kids are sure to head for the multi-use, all-weather soccer pitch and games area.

Lakeside’s most unique feature is its stunning seven-acre lake and fishermen will be pleased to know that it’s always well stocked for their sport, while golfers can enjoy a round or two on the nine-hole executive course. Lakeside Park is close to the village of North Somercotes, just up the coast from Mablethorpe and twelve miles from Louth.

For more information about Deer’s Leap and Lakeside Park you can take a virtual tour on www.donamottparks.com

FOR ALL YOUR FABRIC NEEDS
The Little Fabric Store is located in a quaint cobbled street in Louth, Lincolnshire. My fabrics have been selected to inspire you to make and create wonderful things for you, your family and friends.

These fabrics can be used for Patchwork Quilting, Dressmaking, Home Accessories & Craft Projects.

Supplier of 100% Cotton Fabrics – Moda, Dashwood, Sevenberry, Windham, Blend, Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Denims, Indigo Cottons and Linen Blends. Charm packs and Jelly Rolls, Tilly & The Buttons, Compagnie M and Sew Over It Dress Patterns, Mettler Threads, Clover & Prym Haberdashery, Machine Star Kids Patterns and Wool Blend Felt.

12 New Street Louth LN11 9PU, 01507 201131

www.thelittlefabricstore.co.uk

HUNTERS TURNER EVANS STEVENS AND STEVENS PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
Based in the Cornmarket, in the heart of Louth, Hunters Turner Evans Stevens and Stevens Property Management have been serving the property needs of the local community for many years, with roots stemming back to 1982.

The Estate Agency was founded by Phil Stevens FRICS and the Property Management by Julie Stevens MARLA MNAEA. Since establishing their companies, the couple, together with their children and loyal local team, have built an enviable reputation in the property industry by word of mouth and recommendation.

Having a strong presence in the local community, and with sister branches operating throughout Lincolnshire, the businesses pride themselves on providing a personal and efficient service. The two businesses employ over fifteen knowledgeable and fully trained staff members, some of whom have been with the company for over thirty years.

Today, Stevens Property Management handle a portfolio of around 600 properties, with a large pool of reliable tenants for landlords. In March 2015–2016 they agreed 42% more lets than any other local management agent.

Hunters Turner Evans Stevens averages a stock level of 140 properties, which increases footfall to both businesses, resulting in more than three times the amount of sales in the past year compared to other local agents.

Tel: 01507 601633, enquiries@stevenspropertymanagement.co.uk, louth@hunters.com

LINCOLNSHIRE MOTORS OF LOUTH AND BRIGG
Lincolnshire Motors of Louth and Brigg have been advising county gardeners for over 35 years. We have a large selection of machines on show and specialise in Honda and Lawnflite products. Our dedicated and highly qualified staff are constantly attending manufacturers’ training courses to keep up to date with new innovative products. Every customer is important whether the garden is large or small and we stock something for everyone. We service and repair all makes and models for domestic and semi-professional applications.

Current exciting developments in stock include the new Honda battery powered handheld machines for hedging, strimming and blowing.

Lincolnshire Motors Ltd, Fairfield Industrial Est, Louth LN11 0LF, 01507 604061.

Unit 2, Atherton Way, Brigg DN20 BAR, 01652 657671.

www.lincsmotors.co.uk

VESTRY HAIR SALON
With its plethora of independent businesses and range of services available, Louth offers a visitor experience second to none.

And one of its newest shops has taken that idea to a different level. The Vestry Hair and Beauty Salon opened up in the shadow of the town’s St James’ Church in Bridge Street just six months ago, bringing with it a different kind of beauty experience.

It has already made waves amongst the community, picking up on the quiet and peaceful area of the surrounding neighbourhood to offer a relaxing and luxurious time for its customers, whether they are there to have their hair done, their nails manicured or their lashes curled.

“I wanted it to have a lovely atmosphere and didn’t want people to feel on edge when they visit,” explained co-founder Julia Matthews, who is a Reiki practitioner.

“I want it to be a nice experience for them, somewhere they can come and relax before they have their beauty treatments or hair done. And the area lends itself to a relaxing experience being opposite the church.

“It is a beautiful place to be located.”

The building itself had stood empty for about four years before Julia and her husband Adrian bought it and opened the salon in October.

“We called it the Vestry because it is opposite the church,” explained Julia. “We have done the inside out sympathetically and we have an old pew as a seat and we found a pulpit which we have used as a reception desk.

“We are in the process of doing the garden so people can go out there in the summer, sit and relax with a glass of wine or a coffee while they wait for their appointment.

“We wanted it to be a little bit different for Louth and since we opened in October, it has gone from strength to strength. We are busy every day.”

Julia opened the salon up with Elesha Craig who is an experienced stylist and colourist and used to be Julia’s hairdresser.

“Elesha is the hairdresser,” said Julia. “She was at another salon in Louth and was my hairdresser but she wanted to run her own business, so we set up The Vestry.

“We put a lot of work in to get the salon how we wanted it to be.”

That hard work has paid off with the success of their resident stylist and colourist Demi Stanton, who has just won the title of National Hairdressing Student of the Year awarded by the Hairdressing Council.

“She is such an amazing stylist and has been asked by the Hair Council to go down to the Beauty UK Show at the NEC in May to showcase what she can do,” said Julia.

“With exciting young talent like Demi at The Vestry to complement the rest of our experienced ‘Team V’ the future looks bright.”

Demi (24) has been at the salon since November.

She said: “It was like another hairdressing world and I learnt lots of new skills and techniques that I can bring to my role at The Vestry”.

Part of Demi’s prize was to spend the day at Andrew Barton’s Urban Retreat at Harrods in London.

As well as hair styling/colouring The Vestry also offers a wide range of beauty treatments and alternative therapies including Shellac nails, waxing for men and women, HD brows, LVL enhanced lashes, Nouveau lash extensions, massage and Reiki.

LOUTH MUSEUM
Visitors to Louth Museum may well wonder why there is a Tardis outside the entrance but they only have to step inside to realise the similarities.

In the heart of town for more than 100 years, the museum is owned and operated on an entirely voluntary basis by the Louth Naturalists, Antiquarian and Literary Society, locally known as the ‘Ants and Nats’ which was founded in 1884.

2016 is a milestone year for the museum, marking the tenth anniversary of its reopening to the public after a complete remodel and expansion.

“The building itself looks tiny from the outside but it holds a huge amount, hence the Tardis outside the building,” explained member Gill Chatfield.

“There are three main galleries, and exhibition space housing several special exhibitions each season, and the outside of the museum also displays interesting artefacts. The volunteer team makes changes to the displays each season, to showcase as many items as possible.

“In common with most museums, Louth’s collection is much like an iceberg. Only a fraction of the collection is on show at any one time,” she said.

“There is much local memorabilia on show, as well as the national collection of wood carvings by TW Wallis.”

TW Wallis was a woodcarver with an international reputation. Born and brought up in Hull, Thomas Wilkinson Wallis made his home in Louth, where he had a thriving wood carving business.

He won Gold Medals at the 1855 Paris Exhibition, and the Great Exhibitions in London in 1851 and 1862.

His spectacular ‘Partridges and Ivy’, bought by public subscription from the people of Louth, and entrusted to the Mechanics’ Institute, cost £105.

“Until it went on tour last year it is likely that the carving had travelled no more than 400 yards in its lifetime,” explained Gill.

“Carved in Wallis’s workshop in Upgate, it was displayed in the neighbouring Mechanics’ Institute, later to become the Mansion House, and home of Louth library for many years, where it stayed until being moved to the museum in Broadbank in 2006. 

Wallis has seventy-two items listed, from ‘4 gargoyles’ which graced the Market Hall clock in Louth to ‘Spring’, carved in 1851, at a cost of £200.

“This piece won the Gold Medal at the 1851 Exhibition, and was generously bequeathed to Louth Museum by Keith Tiedemann, of San Francisco,” said Gill.

“It arrived in Louth from the USA last year, housed in its earthquake-proof cabinet, following the death of his widow. Eight major pieces by Wallis are on show in the museum, as well as a cabinet of smaller items, personal effects, and several self-portraits. He was a man of many talents.”

The museum has a range of other items – much of local Louth interest such as local geology, Roman artefacts and medieval coffins. There are several drawers of butterflies, beautifully displayed, most collected locally in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

One item of local significance is Brown’s Panorama, which is a painting of the view from the topmost point of the spire of St James’ Church.

It was produced by William Brown who was a house painter and part-time journalist from Louth. The spire was covered in scaffolding for repair, and he spent the summer of 1844 making sketches, which were subsequently turned into two huge canvases, 9x6ft each.

The originals belong to Louth Town Council, and are housed in the Sessions House in Louth. The museum has a smaller reproduction, backlit, in an elegant curve approximately 11ft long.

“This shows everyday life in Louth in the 1840s – carriages, children playing, drunks outside pubs – as well as being an accurate representation of the town and surrounding countryside as far as Grimsby, Spurn Point and Mablethorpe,” said Gill. “The view inland is, of course, of the Wolds.”

Outside the museum are a number of objects, too, including old shop signs, commemorative wall plaques and doors from the old police station.

The museum is hosting four different exhibitions this season – the next one opening on 25th May and is dedicated to Pubs and Breweries of Louth: Past and Present.

EVE AND RANSHAW
With a history spanning 235 years Eve and Ranshaw in Louth’s Market Place certainly understands the local community. Whilst business may have changed over the years, the ethos is still clear: get it right for the customer, get it right for the area, get it right for us.

2015 saw Eve & Ranshaw placed firmly on the map (or TV screen) after they appeared on channel 4’s Running the Shop. With the ‘boss’ out of the way for three weeks, the staff were left running the business to try to boost profits. The staff were left with a task or creating a new beauty salon, which is still going strong a year down the line.

Although David Sandwith, Eve & Ranshaw’s current owner, has moved the salon to a new location on the first floor, he is pleased with the new profile the business has following the fly-on-the-wall documentary.

“We’re still reaping the benefits from appearing on the show. It not only raised our profile, but it also let the wider world know about the business and Louth,” said David.

ORCHID BOUTIQUE
Celebrating its first anniversary this month, Orchid Boutique of Louth, offers an appealing collection for the summer, in a riot of colour, pattern and texture.

The holiday season is underway, not to mention that impending wedding invitation, race day or party, and we all require a ‘heroine’ dress that can work for all occasions. That’s where Oui, Bianca and Frank Lyman can save the day. Dresses can be cleverly and stylishly teamed with a jacket or wrap and a fascinator for that formal occasion, or dressed down with a cardigan or scarf and flats to give a more casual look.

If you’re looking to give your wardrobe an instant update, you won’t go far wrong with an exclusively designed shirt from the Just White collection, or a stunning Italian designed top from Monari, teamed with a pair of co-ordinating summer-weight jeans from Michèle.

In February this year, Danielle, the daughter of Orchid Boutique’s owner, Tanya, established ‘Daniella’s Shoes’ in the shop next door, offering a range of lifestyle shoes to complement the boutique’s fashions, enhancing the shopping experience and enabling ladies to complete their outfit in one visit.

Look out for Orchid Boutique’s First Anniversary promotions in May.

Comments Add your thoughts.

  1. Prisca Furlong January 02, 2018

    Conjecture on the early Church establishments in Louth contained in the above article is not proven and indeed there is much new evidence coming to light to prove that it is mistaken. It might be helpful to state that the evolution of the early Church in Louth is still being researched and what is stated in the above article is merely a suggestion for which there is no definitive proof.

    Prisca Furlong (researcher and commissioner of specialist archaeological reports that throw into doubt statements made in the above article)

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