- The villages around Bourne, Lincolnshire, England -
THE GRAND BATTLEMENTED tower of St Andrew's Church at Rippingale, five miles north of Bourne, stands on the edge of the fen, a distinctive landmark from the 15th century with its tall pinnacles and built in the Perpendicular style. The church itself is a century older and is chiefly Decorated in style with a spacious nave of six bays and large traceried windows and contains an exceptional display of mediaeval monuments and effigies which speak of the importance of this village in the Middle Ages.
There is also a church chest of some age and dated 1785, the numbers picked out in bright studs on the front. The chests of the 18th century were plainer than the elegant examples of the earlier century which are now known as Jacobean, although smoothly finished designs such as this were extremely popular, almost always dated and sometimes also bearing the initials of the churchwardens.
The churchyard at Rippingale had a rare example of a weeping ash (Fraxinus excelsior 'Pendula') that had been there for more than a century. It is not a common sight in Britain but it can be found in some gardens, parks and churchyards and is identified by its long vigorous shoots that grow straight down to the ground from a head of twisting branches, once seen, never forgotten. This example, in the shadow of St Andrew's Church and next to the war memorial, can be seen in many a family album because it has been a favourite spot for newly weds to be photographed after tying the knot but it died and became unsafe during the summer of 2002 and has since been felled.
Rippingale railway station was built in 1871 and opened for goods traffic on the line between Bourne and Sleaford in October of that year while passenger trains started running the following January. The services closed completely almost a century later and the Victorian building through which generations of travellers had passed has since been turned into a private house but many of the artefacts of the steam age can still be seen in the vicinity.
The solid red brick building which stands in Fen Road almost a mile outside the village has being sympathetically restored and extended but has retained its original appearance and the platform is intact although the rails and sleepers have been removed but the old British Railways sign still hangs on the wall. Passenger services ended on 22nd September 1930 which was quite an event at the time because ninety-nine stations and seventeen lines closed nation-wide on that day. The line and the station however remained open for goods and special passenger trains, the last of which was in 1951 when local people were picked up here for a visit to the Festival of Britain in London. Potatoes, grain and sugar beet were carried along the track in the ensuing years until the final closure came on 15th June 1964. The old goods shed and other outbuildings have also been renovated by the owner, railway enthusiast John Scholes.