road and the pub. A couple of swans were sleeping on the bank while mallards and coots fell out with each other in the water. The benches were filled with people throwing bread to them, encouraging more disputes. It is a lovely scene but a quick look around and you can imagine what used to happen here. This was part of the busy Grantham Canal. Heavy mooring bollards line the banks where large barges docked obviously in quite large numbers. Nearby is the Canal Warehouse, a Grade II listed building. This stretch of the canal (from the Trent to the Leicestershire border) was authorised for construction in 1793. Lord Middleton of Wollaton Hall employed James Green as surveyor of the project ... The Duke of Rutland at Belvoir sponsored the rest. James Green was not the first choice as surveyor: at the time William Jessop was the Number 1 canal builder and he actually accepted the job but fell ill so took on the role of supervising the whole thing while Green did the work. Together they created the first English canal entirely dependent on reservoirs for its water supply. It was obviously a lucrative project for all concerned: although the building costs went well over budget the debts had all been paid off by 1805 and shareholders began to see a return on their investments. James Green had a beautiful large house built for himself (Lenton Abbey House) in the middle of what is now the Nottingham University Park.
|View of St Lukes|
To get inside we had to pass through this wonderful 14th century oak door. The iron work is just beautiful and the door itself shows damage dating back to the days of the English Civil Wars.
Inside is an alms box dated 1685: some of the pews obviously belong to the same period as the poppy head carvings are being worn away by generations of use. This old table is supported by bits from an old four poster bed ...
.... but you hardly notice these objects because your attention is immediately drawn to the brightly coloured East window. It dates back to 1839 but bits of the glass are actually from the original medieval windows This window was commissioned by William Mandell, B.D., vice-president of Queens' College, Cambridge. Queen's College hold the advowson for the church (they have the right to nominate a suitable candidate for a vacant church living for this parish)so, as you would expect, a number of incumbants were Cambridge men.
|Arms of the Queen's College Cambridge|
|Arms of King George II|
As you walk down the aisle you feel the need to walk round this very imposing brass. but it is rather a tight squeeze. This is the Babington Brass ... a memorial to Ralph Babington, a rector of the church. It is the finest example of a brass in the East Midlands and just makes you want to grab a sheet of paper and get rubbing!
Closer to the altar is the cover of a one-thousand year old Saxon coffin. It has been described as "one of the finest things of its kind in the land" (Arthur Mee Nottinghamshire).
|Saxon coffin cover|
William Vaux was another renowned Catholic. His second wife was Mary Tresham whose grandfather Thomas Tresham was a leading figure in Henry VIII's court. Unfortunately her young nephew Francis Tresham was not so popular with the royals ... he was fined £3,000 (around half a million pounds in today's money) for his involvement in the Essex Plot against Queen Elizabeth I then, even more disasterously, he ganged up with Guy Fawkes! Historians believe it was Francis Tresham who sent the warning letter to his relative that lead to the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot. Luckily for him Francis died before he could be brought to trial - they chopped his head off his dead body and branded him a traitor anyway.
|...... & Albert|
|Chair carvings .... Queen Victoria|
|Village road sign|
One historical detail I discovered since our visit concerns a child who was born in Hickling in July 1865. He was orphaned at just 3 months of age and adopted by an American family then taken to Farmington in Michigan. His name was Fred M Warner. He grew up to be an American politician and serve as the 26th Governor of Michigan from 1905 to 1911.
We found the old methodist chapel ... which is now a house ....
|Old methodist chapel|
... and the old school .... which is now the Village Hall ...
Then we decided to wander back towards the pub. This was not our first visit to The Plough ... a cosy atmosphere, good real ale and they serve local produce on the food menu so what is not to like? Nothing! We will be back .... I fancy a walk along that towpath someday soon. Who knows we might find hidden treasure. In 1771 a farmer was ploughing a field near by when he unearthed an urn containing 200 silver coins and medals buried there in Roman times. Must remember to bring the metal detector next time!
Map of Hickling: click here.