- The villages around Bourne, Lincolnshire, England -

Tongue End

Photographed in 1999

THE MOST ISOLATED fenland community in the Bourne area is undoubtedly Tongue End, a flat and featureless place with a few houses strung out along one side of the road that runs parallel to the drainage dyke known as the Counter Drain three miles south of Bourne, constructed during the 19th century to carry overflow water from the 400 acres of the Deeping Fen washes and to relieve the River Glen during periods of heavy rain.

This place was first mentioned in a document of 1781 describing the nature of the land at this point, where Baston Fen, Thurlby Fen and Bourne Norton Fen, all converge and where the Bourne Eau flows into the River Glen, and it is this geographical feature that gives this village its colourful and descriptive name because the piece of land where the two rivers meet is tongue-shaped, hence Tongue End.

Tongue End once boasted three public houses but all have closed. The Boat Inn has gone and so has the Chequers which was built in the hope of attracting business from a local railway station on the Bourne to Spalding line but the opportunity never materialised and the Counter Drain station was built a mile away instead. Finally there was the busiest of them all, the Carrington Arms, named after a local landowner, Lord Carrington of Wycombe Abbey in Buckinghamshire, one of the Adventurers who helped finance the drainage of the fens. This inn opened in 1811 and must have been one of the earliest buildings in the village, surviving as a public house until the mid-20th century but is now a private dwelling, still accessed by a concrete bridge over the Counter Drain that runs past the front of the pub and was used by wagons and then lorries to bring in regular beer supplies from the brewery.

Tongue End is currently enjoying a small revival in popularity. Council houses built in 1914 and again during the housing boom following the Second World War are all fully occupied and new residential developments are lining the road where once there were dilapidated cottages and run down public buildings. The new villagers however, do not work on the land but commute to the surrounding towns for better paid employment that brings in sufficient remuneration to make them home owners.

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