- The villages around Bourne, Lincolnshire, England -
TWO HAMLETS south west of Bourne share a history. Toft was referred to as Toftlund in the Domesday Book of 1086, meaning "the plot of land by the grove" and a short climb up from the banks of the River Glen will take you to Lound which may have been the senior of these two places within the Witham-on-the-Hill parish of the middle ages. In the late 12th century, its parochial chapel was surrendered to Bridlington Priory in Yorkshire, who replaced it with a manorial chapel and in 1411 there is mention of it in Bishop Repingdon's Register when it was granted a licence to celebrate mass for a year.
Toft however was probably the larger of the two and in mediaeval times it had a manorial chapel built by Robert, son of Hugh of Tattershall, in the 12th century although 100 years later, the Register of Bishop Oliver Sutton calls it a church. When William Stukeley, the distinguished Lincolnshire antiquarian, visited the site in September 1735, he found the building but it was then being used as a blacksmith's shop.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Witham Estate was in the hands of the Harrington family and by 1603, it was owned by William Harrington but he had financial problems, exacerbated by debts handed down from past generations, and in 1625 he sold most of the estate to Robert Johnson for £2,500 and this included the villages of Toft and Lound.
The two hamlets may have seemed quite small by today's standards but in the census of 1851 they had a population of 231 between them and White's 1856 Directory lists a butcher and publican at the Butcher's Arms public house as well as a baker, two shoemakers, a joiner and a plough maker among the trades followed. By 1921, the population had slumped to 125 and only the public house remained as a business occupation.
Today, Toft is noted for its golf for it is now home to one of the best 18-hole courses in South Lincolnshire. It has been suggested locally that there ought to be warning signs for motorists at this point saying "Beware of Golfers" because the links are on one side of the road while the nineteenth hole, practice greens and car park, are on the other and players crossing between the two are regularly encountered. The neatly clipped green sward of the course dotted with trees can be seen adorning the hillside while on the opposite side of the road is the Toft House Hotel (pictured above) that also doubles as the clubhouse where golfers meet to eat and drink after their round. This large stone building with blue slates and tall chimneys, overlooks the centre of the village and was converted from a farmhouse in 1979, having been in possession of the same family for the previous 60 years.
The old beams have been maintained and the refurbishment was carried out using much of the original, attractively textured Ancaster stone, thus ensuring that the building blended in with others in the village. The golf course across the road became operational in the spring of 1988 and is the perfect example of urban leisure combining with rural charm because the appearance of such a large slice of orderly green in this secluded part of the Lincolnshire countryside has certainly enhanced the landscape.
Return to HOME PAGE MAIN INDEX