Ike visits Bourne, Lincolnshire

Ike had been hearing about a trip to Bourne, and eventually, when it stopped raining, he was able to pay a long-delayed visit with his friend Marian.  Bourne is a market town 11 miles north-east of Stamford, in the south of Lincolnshire, on the western edge of the Fens. It lies on the old Roman road – King Street – built around natural springs.  That is why the town is called Bourne – from the Anglo-Saxon word burna or burne, meaning water or stream.

Bourne castle was built in the area now known as the Wellhead Gardens, although there is little or no evidence of the building remaining now.  The Norman castle was built by Baldwin FitzGilbert. It was destroyed after it had been used by Cromwell’s army in 1645, and a farmhouse was built on the site.  Next to the park is Bourne Eau running along South Street – this was diverted to be part of the moat of the castle. 

This is the War Memorial, in Wellhead Park.  The names of those who lost their lives in the 2 World Wars are listed on the memorial.

Ike stopped on his walk round the park, to have his photo taken in front of the river.

Ike thought he would have a little rest on one of the benches in the park, many of them are in memory of local people, and he wanted to have a sit on a seat cleverly made from an old tree that had had to be taken down.

In the middle of the Wellhead Gardens is St Peter’s Pool where the Bourne Eau rises.  This is only a very short river, and it joins the River Glen at Tongue End, just to the east of the town.  Navigable until the 1860s, it is now a very important part of the drainage system for the surrounding fenland – enabling the land to be farmed.

This is St Peter’s Pool in Wellhead Gardens. This is where the spring is, from where the Bourne Eau originates.  Ike decided he didn’t want a paddle – typical of a cat!

Ike is looking at the Bourne Eau as it leaves the town, on its way to joining the River Welland at Tongue End.

William Cecil – the famous minister of Queen Elizabeth l, who later became Lord Burghley – was born in a house right in the middle of the town.  The building is now the Burghley Arms Inn.  It looks a typically Tudor building, but actually Ike was fascinated to learn that the ‘Tudor’ arch and mullions are a later affectation.  The first floor mullions may be original.

Charles Worth was born in a house on North Street called Wake House, and he was the son of a local solicitor. The house was built in the early 19th century.  Charles Worth later moved to Paris where he became very famous for his haute couture designs, founding his own Fashion house.  There is a blue plaque to commemorate his birth place. 

There is a replica of a dress designed by Worth in Baldock’s Mill, now a heritage centre, having been converted by Bourne Civic Society.  This dates from 1800, and was used for corn-grinding, as well as being the house of the miller. 

Unfortunately, due to covid, Ike couldn’t go into the mill, but he had a lovely walk round the outside, and saw the way the water ran under the building.

Ike had a good look at the river as it went towards the mill. 

Not far from the mill is Red Hall, dating from 1605; it was built by a London grocer, Gilbert Fisher, who had the intention of living in the country. It gets its name from the local red bricks of which it is built.  In 1836 it became a school for young ladies.  Between 1860 to 1959 it became the booking office for the railway station.  Ike wondered where the railway was – but it had closed long ago.  It is a Grade ll listed building, and is now being looked after by Bourne United Charities.  It is said that the building is haunted.  Ike couldn’t check this out, as the building is currently shut up – covid!

Raymond Mays was a famous racing driver – he won the Formula One constructor’s world championship in 1962 having co-founded BRM in 1945.  He lived at Eastgate House.

Ike saw the memorial to Raymond Mays in the centre of Bourne, and also observed that the bypass around the south west of Bourne is called Raymond Mays Way.

Bourne Woods is a very ancient area of woodland.  Although much has been lost, it is still a beautiful area to walk in, and Ike enjoyed having a little explore.

Ike was really impressed with the size of Bourne Abbey, founded in 1138, on land given by Baldwin FitzGilbert de Clare, possibly on the earlier foundations of a Saxon church.   It followed the order of St Augustine, and was also to be used as the parish church.  Augustinian houses built their monastic building to the north of the church, and they also provided the parish priest.  This is possibly why the abbey church was not demolished when Henry Vlll ordered the dissolution of the monasteries.  Because of covid restrictions, Ike wasn’t able to go inside the church, but he had a good look round the outside. 

Ike walked along Abbey Road, and found this beautiful Georgian building – Bourne Baptist Church.

Just past the Baptist Church, on the opposite side of the road, Ike found the Abbey Gardens.  This area has a cricket pitch as well as lots of other sports facilities.

Ike saw the Town Hall of Bourne – another Georgian building.  This was built after 1821, on land that was given to the town by the Marquis of Exeter.  There used to be court hearings here, but not any longer. 

Ike saw this stone on a modern building, and wondered about it. The original Corn Exchange dated to 1870, and was designed as a public hall and corn exchange.  The new building, built on the site of the old post office, is the South Kesteven Access Point, where people can access the services of both South Kesteven District Council, and Lincolnshire County Council.  The public library is also housed in the building.

This is a Grade ll listed building, now called the Angel hotel, and dates from the 18th century, when it was known as the Naggs Head, and is possibly the oldest surviving hotel in the town.  Due to covid, Ike was unable to go inside and have a cup of coffee – which, after his long walk round Bourne, he would rather have enjoyed!!  It is now run as a B&B.

This is Ike having a little rest as he explores Bourne – behind him is the junction of North, South and West streets and Abbey Road.  It is where the market used to take place, until it was relocated to the rear of the Corn Exchange in recent years.

Ike was really impressed by a new community garden next to Wellhead Gardens.  It belongs to a charity called Don’t Lose Hope, which is based in Bourne.  The charity offers professional counselling to locals, offering them therapeutic and emotional support. This garden is somewhere people using the services of the charity can go and sit.  Ike would have loved to explore the Man Shed!