272: Hough-on-the-Hill & Lincoln

OS Explorer map 272, Lincoln: Sleaford, Metheringham & Navenby – I do not own this map, but had visited it before starting this blog. Visited again for this post 10th February 2020. This is the last of five posts about a trip I did from Friday 7th to Monday 10th February 2020; a long weekend away to the Yorkshire Dales with my friends (and housemates) Erithacus, Millicent and Vesper.

My previous post told you of the start of mine and my friends’ journey back home from the Swaledale cottage where we’d spend the last few days, in particular the stop we made in Bedale, to see that town’s leech house. We made two further stops on the journey, the first of which was for lunch, at a pub called The White Horse in the village of Barnby Moor. This was very near Blyth, where we’d stopped on the way up, and was in that same map area. My main memory of the place is that when we pulled up and I went in to check whether it was open, I managed to startle the lady behind the bar severely enough that she let out a scream and had to take a few moments to calm down. Oops! After that though, we had a very nice time – we were the only diners in the place, and I don’t remember what I ate, but Vesper recalls being very impressed with some kind of marinated cauliflower steak think she had.

Our wintry welcome to Hough-on-the-Hill!

After the pub, there was another hour or so of driving before we left the A1 for our next stop (and the one bringing us to this map area), the Lincolnshire village of Hough-on-the Hill, which Millicent had identified as having an interesting church for us to visit. To our delight, as we made our way along progressively smaller roads towards the village, it started snowing!

We parked up on a road, and made our way through the fairly light dusting of snow to the churchyard. The church is very pretty, but the combination of the snow with the sunlight occasionally peeking through the snow made it look really magical.

The Church of All Saints, Hough-on-the-Hill

Upon looking in the porch, we discovered that the way for visitors to gain entry was, as is reasonably often the way with country churches, to knock at a house in the village to obtain the key. Millicent and I went off to do this, and were greeted by an older chap, whose army of dogs swarmed all around as he considered our request. Eventually, he called a lady who came out from deeper in the house and provided us with the key.

The thing that drew us to the church is that it is in part early medieval, with the stair turret at the back of the toweer (visible above) being entirely 11th-century. We had a good wander around inside and out, appreciating the snowy surroundings as much as the church itself, but in the end we didn’t stay too long given that, as the snow might suggest, it was really rather chilly. I didn’t find out until later, but unfortunately Vesper had a hole in her shoe the whole time, and so was suffering from a painfully cold foot the whole time we were there.

Still, Hough-on-the-Hill gave us a beautiful interlude in our journey home, and a great end to the holiday!

Previous visits

I’ve been to this map area once before, in particular to Lincoln itself. Now, unforunately, my memories of this trip are rather hazy: I know I went sometime, as I remember walking around the city streets and being disappointed we didn’t have time to visit the cathedral. I’d guess it was sometime in 2012–15, and I think I was with my parents; I’m confident we didn’t stay overnight, and were just there for a couple of hours. Despite this information, and despite digging through my photos and asking the Dearest Progenitors, I haven’t managed to ascertain more than this.

One possibility is that I stopped there with my parents on the way to the Hemswell Antiques Centre, some ten miles north. Hemswell is great – it’s several large buildings, each full of various rooms from the poky to the cavernous, stuffed with antiques of every kind you could think of. My parents and I went there in 2012ish, I think, to buy some furniture for the old stable block at their house, which had recently been converted into a usable space, following damage from a fire that I, uh, accidentally caused a couple years before. But I won’t give you too many details here, since I need to leave some things to discuss when I visit the map area containing Hemswell. You’ll just have to wait!

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