|1841||H.O. 107 / 627|
|1861||R.G. 9 / 2391|
|1871||R.G. 10 / 3416|
|1891||R.G. 12 / 2620|
This village and parish is about 5 miles southwest of Grimsby. Waltham parish lies to the west. The parish covers 1,305 acres.
Mount Pleasant West Wood lies just north-west of the village. If you are planning a visit:
It was a gaunt old house, three stories high. The top story was unsafe because of rotting floorboards. There were two staircases front and back of the house. The main staircase was truly lovely with every spindle carved differently and people used to come from miles around to see it. The banister rail was solid oak and polished to death through our backsides sliding down it. There were five bedrooms on the second floor off a wide landing with an alcove at the end containing two of the bedrooms - one of which my sister Dot and I shared. My brother Herbert had the other one.
One Halloween night, Herbert dressed a sweeping brush up to resemble a witch, white sheet, straw for hair and a turnip for the head with a gaping mouth and a candle inside. Needless to say it scared us to death as he intended.
The house had been empty for seven years as somebody had committed suicide there and it was reputed to be haunted. No amount of scrubbing would remove a blood stain from one bedroom floor!
One night Herbert was ill and slept in Dad's room. During the night there was an awful banging coming from the direction of the cellar. Herbert asked Dad to stop the noise. Dad replied it was not him and it must be the horses in the stable. But it went on and on and Dad went onto the landing and froze to the spot. Such a dreadful atmosphere. He was unable to move. Now that happened every November.
Came a day when my brother Arthur came home on furlough and he and our sister Ivy decided to take the screws out of the cellar door and investigate. Going down the stairs they removed a loose brick and found blood stained clothes. Further down were two graves with withered wreathes on them. Apparently Quakers used to live in the hall and buried their dead near at hand.
Later an old aunt of Dad's came to live with us and I had to sleep with her to keep her warm. One night she let out an awful yell. Mum came rushing in and Aunt said "He's coming for us, Emily" presumably a ghost! I flew thinking it might get me, too.
Another night a couple of drunks tried to break in. On hearing the noise my sister Eva told me to be quiet and she went to fetch Dad. She was gone a long time and I was petrified. Then I heard Dad shout "The first to move is a dead man." He had been for his gun and was standing at the bedroom window.
Another night Dot and I were singing hymns and Dad called for us to be quiet. Of course we continued until he came upstairs and spanked our bottoms. Later Dot complained her bottom was hot and I said it was because her bottom had been smacked. Later still she said "Oh but it is hot" and jumped out of bed revealing a smouldering mattress. The dottle had fallen out of Dad's pipe causing the fire. He never smacked us again after that.
We had a big cobbled courtyard which Herbert and I had to keep weeded. The outside toilet was a double seated affair (nobody else had one like it) and it was situated in a small copse. We used our bikes to go there.
We had a three mile walk to school, there and back. It was a long walk for a five year old. One day we forgot our lunch bag and ran back for it whereupon Dad broke a bacon and egg pie placing a piece of it in each hand. With no paper to wrap it in we ate it on the way to school. Consequently we were as hungry as newts all day.
Once a year a man would come with a stallion to service the mares and he would sleep over night. But one night, it must have been November, he was scared out of his wits when a thud came from behind a chest of drawers. A cold wind hit him and he decided to go to bed to keep safe. Another night Eva was left at home to take the bread out of the oven when she saw an apparition in white go up the stairs with a lighted candle. She dropped the bread and ran to church for Mum.
At the front of the house was a plantation so we were awakened every morning by the rooks squawking. The servant's quarters consisted of two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and scullery! We had a very large living room, a best room and an old room where guns and bikes were kept.
They also salted down pigs there too. The hall was large and airy festooned with sausages and sides of bacon etc. kept there because there was a through draft (no fridges then). In our living room was a large three-dimensional coloured picture of the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus on her lap brought home from India by my brother Arthur. On the sideboard was a beautiful amber cut glass water set decorated with ears of corn. We could look at it but not touch..
There were many bible texts through out the house. One I remember in particular was of Abraham sacrificing Isaac because the uplifted knife seemed to be aimed at me the night I was taken ill with scarlet fever.
On Sunday afternoon all the children would come to tease the Billy goat. One day Herbert was being chased by the goat round the pond when he slipped and the goat fell on him. Herbert only just made it to the fence as the goat's horns crashed against it.
Mother hated the house as it was dark and gloomy and of course the atmosphere did not help. Fortunately for Mother, Grandma only lived a couple of fields away so they could see each other every day if needs be. Mother died in the house in February and Grandma died in March just a month later. We continued to live there for about three years after Mother died having a series of housekeepers till my sister Ivy became old enough to take over.
I remember one Christmas Grandma made Eva a big rag doll, black wool for hair and buttons for eyes. It was quite big. The next thing we knew Herbert had poked its eyes out with a red hot poker. Another trick of his was to have a reel of cotton in a treacle tin under our bed with the end of the cotton in his and after we had been in bed a while he would pull it and cause it to rattle and scare the death out of us.
Remember, in those days there was no television, no wireless and only a mouth organ and bows and arrows so we had to make our own amusement. At Christmas we hung our stockings up around the fireplace where apparently Santa would come. The same every year. One apple, one orange, a few nuts and a paper cap.
There is much more but this will have to do for now as I have got writers cramp. We can laugh about it now but it was no fun then.
Year Inhabitants 1801 188 1831 232 1871 208 1881 212 1891 212 1901 150 1911 134 1921 163 1931 215
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