- The villages around Bourne, Lincolnshire, England -

Market Deeping

Photographed in 2009

THE STONE BRIDGE that carries the A15 over the River Welland at Market Deeping was opened in July 1842 and the firm that built it was made bankrupt by the contract. The total cost was 8,000 but this also included the purchase of several houses in the vicinity that were removed in order to widen the approaches to the bridge and the first vehicle to cross was the Lincoln Royal Mail stage coach. There had been a middle row of houses in the market place, now used as a car park, but these had just been demolished and some of the bricks were used for the far wall of the bridge where they can still be seen.

There had been a wooden bridge at this point since the 16th century and is mentioned in the survey of 1563 as either the Wheat Bridge or the Blind Bridge and there is a further mention in parish documents when repair work was carried out in the years 1585-87. By 1998, modern traffic flows through Market Deeping were so great and the subsequent road conditions so dangerous that Lincolnshire County Council opened a new by-pass to relieve the congestion at a cost of 8 million.

The market for which this place was famous had already started to decline by 1885 and then in the late 20th century, it was finally moved off the streets to a nearby pedestrian precinct. Three annual fairs were also once held here but they are also no more. These had been held for cattle on the second Wednesday after May Day and on October 10th, along with one "chiefly for wood" on the last Wednesday in July. It was most probably the loss of these fairs that led to the town's decline in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a process that has in recent years been dramatically reversed because today, Market Deeping flourishes. The rest of this town's name, together with the other Deepings, serves as a reminder of a place in the deep meadows liable to flooding by the River Welland from time immemorial.  

Photographed in 2004

The church is mainly 15th century but much of it is earlier and a blocked arch in the north wall of the chancel is probably Saxon. The porch is 13th century work and shelters a modern door enriched with the original ironwork of slender leaf pattern. In two richly canopied niches by the altar are modern figures of St Hugh of Lincoln and St Guthlac, patron saint of this church, who came to Crowland more than twelve centuries ago to plant Christianity here. Ten charming medallions in two of the chancel windows tell the story of his life. Several other non-conformist places of worship have been lost to the town, the Independent Chapel built in the High Street in 1812, the Wesleyan Chapel of 1866, a building that was formerly a warehouse, and the Primitive Methodist Chapel of 1876.

St Guthlac's has a peal of eight bells, the original six being augmented by a further two that were installed at a cost of 20,000 with the help of a grant from the Lottery Millennium Fund and were first heard at harvest festival on 9th September 1998. The original bells had been re-hung some years before when the old oak frame had fallen into disrepair. These bells are rung regularly, twice on Sundays and on Thursday evenings for practice sessions by one of the most advanced band of ringers in South Lincolnshire.

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