Welton

The name Welton derives from the Saxon word Welletone and this is its name in the Domesday Book AD1085. There are a number of different spellings, Wellatuna, possibly Danish and Wylton, Wulton for example. All mean the same, an enclosure around a well or spring/bubbling water and seem to refer to the Old Man’s Head Spring, situated off Cliff Road.

There is evidence of settlement in Welton dating back 7500 years, but it was the Romans who first left most signs of settlement. Artifacts and remains were found in Chapel Close in 1863 and pottery in 1904. In 1963 thirteen skeletons were discovered in the Cliff Road/Norbeck Lane area. The Roman settlement was probably temporary and an outpost of Lincoln during the building of Ermine Street, the present day A15. There is some evidence to suggest Cliff Road was built by them, although not to the same high standard that was used for a main artery. The only sign of a more permanent structure, a villa possibly was found some distance away in the Hackthorn Road area.

It was the Saxons and Danes who established proper settlement in Welton. Research for the Neighbourhood Plan, in consultation with English Heritage, revealed a scheduled ancient monument in the Cliff Road area, although we could find no Parish record of it. The monument is the site of fish ponds which would be the mediaeval equivalent of today’s fish farms and would have provided an essential food source for the adjacent settlement and this seems to be confirmed by the discovery of Anglo Saxon remains during the building of Healthlinc House in 1971. Regrettably, due to limited resources, a full archaeological survey of the surrounding area was never carried out.

Further research at the Lincolnshire Archives indicates that this same area would have been the site of a Danish court known as the “Welton Thing” or more precisely, a Wapentake or Tink, giving us the name Tinkermere, from whence Tinkermere Close derives its name.

The Danes moved north over time and Saxon influence re-established itself; it seems ever more likely that this area was the site of the original Welton and remained occupied until the 14th Century.

Following the Norman Conquest, ownership of Welton came to William the Conqueror, who appointed Remigius to be Bishop. When Remigius started to build a cathedral, the King gave him the Parish of Welton to endow six prebends for the support of six Canons to the cathedral. The six were Westhall cum Gorehall, Beckhall, Rivehall, Brinkhall and Painshall. These six are names of roads in the Parish today, along with Prebend Lane.

Although the local population would be Christian and the Saxons had built churches, a fine example of which can be seen in nearby Stow; it was the Normans who embarked on a large scale building programme, partly to put, quite literally, the fear of God into the local population and partly to demonstrate that He was on their side.

Thus it was the Normans who built the original church in Welton and parts of it can be seen in today’s St Mary’s. The result was that people started to move around the church, which had become the focal point, resulting in outlying settlements being abandoned and reverting to pasture.

It was no coincidence that inns were built close to churches, Welton’s Black Bull being an example. The church and pub becoming forerunners of today’s Community Hubs.

The next major change came with the Enclosures Act of 1772 which divided and enclosed certain open fields, ending traditional farming and creating the field patterns that survived until 20th Century farming techniques took over.

Parish records of marriages for this time show most men to be agricultural labourers.

The old Poor Houses bequeathed to the Parish in 1607 were sold in 1855 and the proceeds used to build bridges at Snarford and the southern entrance to the Parish where the village pump now stands.

Records indicate there must have been a school in Welton in the 18th Century, but the old village school was first erected in 1826 by subscribers including Rev W de Foe Baker.

At the beginning of the 20th Century, village life remained centred on the church, pub and village green. Houses were mainly of stone and most residents were employed in agriculture.

A grocer, three butchers, watchmaker, saddler and two cobblers made a living and there was a Post Office with a telegraphic link to Lincoln and so, to the world.

 

The First World War saw many of the village’s men folk go off to serve. Sadly, thirteen never returned, their names being recorded on the village War Memorial which is maintained and insured by the Parish Council.

With a population constant at around 650, the inter-war years brought about change with the arrival of electricity, piped water, radios and modern buses to carry the new working class commuters to the industries in Lincoln. However, another war was to become the catalyst for the biggest change in the Parish since the enclosures.

The Second World War brought a huge influx of airmen, with airfields hastily built and huge camps erected. These airmen and women came from all over the world and changed the social fabric of the Parish through social events and marrying into the community. The war also saw the addition of three more names to the War Memorial. One of whom is buried in the Churchyard and his grave is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

With peace came other changes. Farming became more mechanised and less manually intensive. Livelihoods and social aspirations shifted with greater expectations for an improved lifestyle.

From the 1960’s Welton experienced house building that changed the whole aspect of the village. Although planning controls kept the character of the village centre intact, expansion has seen the Parish population grow from about 700 to nearly 5,000 in fifty years.

This resulted in Welton village absorbing the area of Ryland and almost becoming joined to the neighbouring village of Dunholme. In 2014, only a decision by the District Council to refuse a planning application which was upheld by the Planning Inspector prevented it from actually happening.

The schools have grown and earned an enviable reputation for excellence which, in turn attracts more people wanting to take up residence. This caused a rise in the price of houses, resulting in a demand for more homes, which increases traffic and places pressure on the infrastructure and environment with an erosion of the sense of community.

These are the challenges facing the Parish now and in the future.

[Source: Neighbourhood Plan]