Sunday, October 19, 2014

Goltho: the enclosure where marigolds grow

There's an official walk through the Limewoods and around Goltho which I found online, but which claims to be seven or over nine kilometres (depending on the route chosen).  We were mostly interested in the deserted mediaeval village which once clustered around Goltho church, which appears at the end of the official walk, and so we decided to do just the end of the walk.

Unfortunately the map is a poor one, which doesn't reflect what is found on the ground, nor do I think it is right about the distance - we walked for a good 40 minutes from the Wragby Market Place carpark, which is where you are instructed to leave your car, to reverse the end of the walk and get to Goltho church.  It would have been possible to drive to the place where the footpath takes one across the field, and cut that walk by 30 minutes.  I wouldn't say the walk from the market place to the footpath is particularly beautiful or interesting, although parking might be a problem.

So, from the Market Place, we walked down Bardney Road until we passed the Wragby maze and conifer centre, and then turned right and walked until we had passed the bend in the road.  It was a lovely autumn day.

Crossing the ploughed field using the unploughed grassy path, the wind was high but the weather was warm and sunny and it was exhiliarating, rather than cold.  We climbed a small path, crossed a bridge and then followed the track of the public right away straight across another field... not knowing that the site of a motte and bailey castle was buried in the field to the left of our pathway across to the church, which is clearly seen on Google Earth.

Goltho was founded in the Roman period, it is believed, was inhabited in the Anglo Saxon period and really flourished around the 12th century.  However, poor harvests in the 15th century led to its abandonment.  It can't have been completely abandoned then, as some of the gravestones in the churchyard date from the 19th century, but there is precious else to record the village as it used to be.

 I love the paradox of the name... Goltho sounds like the name of a village in Mordor, as Eelco remarked, but "the enclosure where marigolds grow" sounds romantic and pretty.  There were no marigolds today.

Strangely wikipedia says that the church was founded in 1530, by the Grantham family of Goltho Hall, although they say the village was deserted in the 15th century.  There is little to see nowadays, although the countryside is stunning.  Parts of the church including the roof were destroyed by fire in 2013, the most likely cause being a lightning strike. 

I think we will need to make a return journey to see the village properly and also the Limewoods nearby.  We were on our way to a celebration lunch, and the table was booked for one o'clock, and so we tried our best to take the most direct route back to Wragby.  Even so, I had to ask my sons to walk on ahead and get the car, as I knew that I was slowing the whole party down and we'd miss our booking.  We had a lovely meal at the Ivy in Wragby and then returned home via the Sunnyside Up farm shop in Tealby.

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