- The villages around Bourne, Lincolnshire, England -


Photographed in 1999

THE VILLAGE OF Carlby is four miles south west of Bourne, just off the A6121, but a detour is worthwhile because the village is isolated and surprisingly picturesque with a mix of attractive properties both ancient and modern, not least the old inn, now a private residence, which still boasts the inn sign support but no sign.

St Stephen's Church is predominantly Early English and has a tower with a slender broach spire that is 700 years old. It is situated in a quiet corner of the village that gives it an air of secluded calm which must be beneficial because a previous incumbent, Thomas Toller Hurst, who is remembered by a tablet in the chancel, ministered here for 53 years until he died in 1844. The interior is spacious with some remains of 17th century woodwork and fragments of a mediaeval Doom above the chancel arch.

The churchyard is well kept with a variety of interesting tombstones including one finely carved and enriched with a cross and a memorial tablet that reminds us of the feeble grasp we all have on life because it announces that Oliver Smith "died suddenly in his chair" on May 21, 1872, aged 54 years: "In the midst of life we are in death."

A new village sign was erected on the village green in 2001 at a cost of 3,200 to mark the millennium. It was worked in oak by the Northamptonshire woodcarver Norrie Dinning and depicts familiar local features including the church, horses and a plough and the Mallard steam locomotive that set a world steam record on the nearby main east coast railway line in the summer of 1938. A brass plate on the supporting post is inscribed: "Presented to the village by Carlby Parish Council to commemorate the millennium September 14, 2001."

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