TALK OF THE TOWN STAMFORD Stamford Pretty as a

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					    TALK OF THE TOWN: STAMFORD




Stamford
  – Pretty as a Postcard
                        The River Welland

                                                    tamford is one of the most historic   trade flourished through the excellent


                                            S       towns in Lincolnshire, with the
                                                    records dating back over one thou-
                                                    sand years. First entries make ref-
                                            erence to the ninth and tenth centuries,
                                            whereby it became one of five boroughs of
                                                                                          communication links. Stamford rapidly
                                                                                          became a prosperous and thriving set-
                                                                                          tlement and by the thirteenth century
                                                                                          had achieved a top ten status in size
                                                                                          within the whole of England.
                                            Danelaw able to exert control.                   Throughout the subsequent years,
                                               One of the principle early break-          Stamford gained a castle, fourteen
                                            throughs for the town was that it was         churches, two monastic institutions
                                            pioneering in its pottery. After the          and four friaries. It became an estab-
                                            departure of the Roman settlements it         lished meeting place for academics and
                                            became one of the first towns to pro-         parliamentary figures of the time.
                                            duce wheel-thrown pottery that had            Buildings from this period of time still
                                            been glazed. However, it soon became a        stand in the town, such as St Leonard’s
                                            different industry that placed Stamford       Priory; the early thirteenth century
                                            firmly on the map – that of wool and          tower of St Mary’s Church and most
                                            textile. Haberget – a particular type of      notably the fourteenth century gateway
                                            woven cloth became a signature for the        to the Grey Friary.
                                            town. Due to the location of Stamford,           By the fifteenth century the historic
                                            this fabric proved a huge success as          town took a downward turn, mainly due


                                             Where to Stay
                                             G The George of Stamford, 71 St Martin’s, Stamford PE9 2LB
                                             Tel: 01780 750750 www.georgehotelofstamford.com
                                             G Garden House Hotel, St Martin’s, Stamford, Lincolnshire PE9 2LP
                                             Tel: 01780 763359 www.gardenhousehotel.com
                                             G The Crown Hotel, All Saints Place, Stamford, Lincolnshire PE9 2AG
                                             Tel: 01780 763136 www.thecrownhotelstamford.co.uk
                                             G Lady Anne’s Hotel, St Martin’s Without, St Martin’s, Stamford, Lincolnshire PE9 2LJ
                                             Tel: 01780 481184




                                            The Remains of the Castle




Words: Josie Thurston
Photographs: John Smith
TALK OF THE TOWN: STAMFORD


               to the shift of the wool trade to East         building, Burghley House remains as
 High Street   Anglia. It was left to the rich merchants of   his lasting memorial. Today, the Cecil
               the day to turn the fortune around and         family have been largely responsible for
               families of note, such as the Browne fam-      maintaining the character of the town,
               ily helped to rebuild many of the churches     preserving the architecture during the
               that stand today. It is William Browne         subsequent years as the town’s landlord.
               that founded an almshouse, which is a             The civil war surprisingly had little
               fine example of medieval architecture.         impact on the town and it emerged, follow-
                  Although Stamford was financially in        ing the restoration of 1660 as a prosperous
               a state of decline, it was still a town that   settlement due to the improvement of the
               was in the limelight during the follow-        Great North Road and the now navigable
               ing century due to William Cecil, a local      river ensuring travelling through the town
               gentleman who became secretary of              was much easier. The passing trade also
               state to Queen Elizabeth I. The Tudor          found Stamford to be a timely stopover to



                                                                                           St Peter’s Hill
                              TALK OF THE TOWN: STAMFORD


                                                                                              the North and inns such as The George
                                                                            Lord Burghley’s   became a thriving business.
                                                                                  Hospital       It was during this period that many of
                                                                                              the fine buildings for which Stamford is
                                                                                              renowned for were built. As wealthy pro-
                                                                                              fessionals were attracted to the town,
                                                                                              quality housing was being constructed,
                                                                                              leading to the Georgian grandeur that
                                                                                              dominates the centre of the town. The
                                                                                              fascinating streets that were a product
                                                                                              of the era have formed scenes in films
                                                                                              today, such as the highly acclaimed
                                                                                              ‘Middlemarch.’
                                                                                                 During the nineteenth century, the
                                                                                              introduction of the railways changed the
                                                                                              fortune of the town again as the line by-
                                                                                              passed Stamford in favour of other
                                                                                              emerging settlements. The resulting
                                                                                              slowdown in the coaching traffic brought
                                                                                              an abrupt end to the flourishing trade
                                                                                              and industrialisation in other areas lured
                                                                                              residents away. However, agriculture did
                                                                                              prosper and today Stamford has become
                                                                                              an attractive market town with around
                                                                                              eighteen thousand residents. It has




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20 LINCOLNSHIRE LIFE   •   February 2008
Did you know?
Stamford was used as a filming loca-
tion for the following film and televi-
sion programmes:
G Middlemarch (1994)
G Pride and Prejudice (2004)
G The Da Vinci Code (2006)
G The Golden Bowl (2000)

Famous Stamfordians include:
G Torben Betts – playwright
G Sarah Cawood
G The Cecil Family
G Malcolm Christie – professional
  footballer
G Rae Earl Johnson – author and
  broadcaster
G Colin Dexter
G John George Haigh
G Sir Malcolm Sargent
G Sir Michael Tippett                     High Street




                                                        February 2008 • LINCOLNSHIRE LIFE 21
TALK OF THE TOWN: STAMFORD


       attracted tourism as well as a mix of        workshops and browse a selection of
       industries that have led the town to         stalls and displays in the Ballroom. The
       become a desirable place to live or visit.   workshops are open to anyone over six-
         Shopping in Stamford is largely            teen. There is also a poetry workshop
       located within the centre of the town,       hosted by the aforementioned Pat
       and the town has been remarkably pre-        Borthwick which has limited places
       served – adding to its picturesque sta-      available.
       tus. There are many boutiques and              Following on from this session is a
       shops, all within walking distance,
       located around the marketplace and
       nearby streets.

          Stamford Book Festival
                                                     What’s On
       The Stamford Arts Centre will be play-           St Leonard’s Gallery
       ing host to the Stamford Book Festival        Daniel Lambert – an Exalted and
       this February and is set to be a celebra-     Convivial Mind
       tion of the written word in all its forms.    This exhibit is part of the national
          The launch night (Friday 1st Febru-        ‘Rethinking Disability Representation’
       ary) presents the opportunity to meet         and runs until 30th September 2008.
       local authors Taff Lovesey (The Shim-
       mering Gate and Spider Gem) and John             Catmose Gallery
       Nowell (author of books on aerial             Touching You Touching Art:
       themes – most recently ‘A Day Above           BlindArt Collection
       Lincolnshire’) and many others. There         Catmose Gallery is showing this fresh
                                                     and unique concept where TOUCH is
       is also the opportunity to hear prize-        how the art is explored – a short drive
       winning and 2006 Lincolnshire Poet            from Stamford. Running until Febru-
       Laureate, Pat Borthwick (pictured left).      ary 23rd 2008.
       On the night there will be readings and
       book signings and a question and                 Friday is Market day!
       answer session.                               Visit the thriving market in the heart of
          Saturday February 2nd offers the           the town
       chance to join a selection of writer’s
unique option to have a private consul-                             Stamford Arts Centre. Journalist, writer
tation about your poems with Pat. If                                and broadcaster, Will Self is one of the
you are interested in this twenty minute                            country’s most respected contemporary
slot you are advised to bring two copies                            authors. In an evening featuring read-
of the poetry that you would like to dis-                           ings, stories and a wealth of anecdotes
cuss (no more than three poems each).                               drawn from his colourful career, he will
Pat will be able to point out the                                   also be signing copies of his latest book
strengths and/or weaknesses and possi-                              ‘Psychogeography.’
ble publishing opportunities.                                         Tuesday 5th February sees a mix of
   Sunday February 3rd is dedicated to a                            Yorkshire words and European music
more family feel, with a session dedi-                              with the combination of poet, broad-
cated to ‘Potted Potter.’ This slot is an                           caster and comedian Ian McMillan (pic-
unauthorised Harry Experience dedi-                                 tured bottom left) appearing with com-
cated to a family audience. Dan and Jeff                            poser and accordionist Luke Carver
host the session which lasts sixty min-                             Goss of Szapora and a folk orchestra.
utes and endeavours to tell the whole                               This session has been created for all
series of books in that time and play a                             ages and covers tales of milkmen, heat-
game of Quidditch involving the audi-                               waves and even the late great Ronnie
ence. This was a sell-out at the Edin-                              Barker.
burgh Festival and in London on its                                   Ghosts are the ghoulish theme for
first national tour. It proves to be a                              Thursday 7th February, when Robert
highly entertaining performance well                                Lloyd Parry performs two ghost stories by
worth attending.                                                    M R James. Over a century after they were
   Monday February 4th brings the leg-                              written they are brought back to life in an
endary Will Self (pictured right) to                                amusing but terrifying way! Suitable for



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                                                                                                                       February 2008 • LINCOLNSHIRE LIFE 23
                                    TALK OF THE TOWN: STAMFORD


                                                           an audience aged thirteen and over it is         pork pies
                                                           sure to send a chill down your spine.         •  Lincolnshire sausages
                                                              Sunday 10th February has a softer          •  Rutland sausages
                                                           approach as the festival returns to a         •  Sausage rolls, pasties, meat pies
                                                           younger audience as ‘Tea with Dr Jane’        •  Fruit and sweet mince pies, crumbles,
                                                           tells the story of the Lion, the Witch           quiches and egg custards
                                                           and the Wardrobe. This session is fol-        • Own cooked hams, roast meats and
                                                           lowed by tea and cakes in the gallery.           haslet
                                                              Also as part of the Stamford Book Fes-     • Ready meals – lasagne, cottage pies
                                                           tival you will find a guided tour around         and scotch eggs
                                                           Stamford on Saturday 2nd February and            As well as the five shops in Stamford,
                                                           various films to watch suitable for a wide    Oakham, Uppingham and Grantham, Nel-
                                                           audience. As we go to press, tickets for      sons also have refrigerated mobile shops
                                                           some events are limited but there are         that deliver to villages within a fifteen mile
                                                           opportunities to be placed on a waiting       radius of Stamford. This is a service that is
                                                           list should they be sold out. Call the box    much appreciated by residents and has
                                                           office on 01780 763203 or visit               proved to be extremely popular.
                                                           www.stamfordartscentre.com where you             The meat that Nelsons use is bought
                                                           will find all the timings and costs.          directly from nearby farms or through the
                                                                                                         local market. The farms have all been
                                                              Pie in the Sky                             accredited with the ‘farm assured’ label,
                                                           Nelsons the Butchers has been a part of       guaranteeing the highest standards of
                                                           the Stamford streetscape for many years.      animal husbandry. They regularly buy the
                                                           The original shop in Red Lion Square in       champion prize-winning beef and lamb at
                                                           Stamford has been a pork butchers since       the local Christmas Prizestock shows.
                                                           1826. Harold Nelson acquired the busi-        Nelsons have themselves won a string of
                                                           ness in 1924 winning over fifty Gold          awards for their fine produce, including
                                                           medals for his Melton Mowbray pork pies       their pork pies, sausage rolls and pasties.
                                                           made in the cellar below the shop. On his        Nelsons have been in the news recently
                                                           retirement in 1952 he sold the business to    as they were chosen to make festive pork
                                                           Frank Gilman who ensured the continued        pies for both the Queen and Prince
                                                           production of the famous Melton Mow-          Charles. This grand honour was not taken
                                                           bray pork pies and Lincolnshire sausages.     lightly and the task of producing two
                                                             In 1959, a purpose-built Pie Factory        –pound pies for the Queen was carefully
                                                           was built at Alma Place to satisfy the        undertaken. Most pies are produced in
                                                           increase in demand. These premises now        tins but the pies produced for the Royal
                                                           have an E C Licence and continue to pro-      household were formed round a tradi-
                                                           duce a wide range of high quality meat        tional wooden mould – a procedure car-
                                                           products under the direction of Frank’s       ried out for centuries.
                                                           nephew, Guy Gilman.                              Food producers in the East Midlands
                                                             The range of products that are pro-         have been campaigning for the Melton
                                                           duced by the firm has grown significantly     Mowbray pork pie to get the same legal
                                                           over the years to include:                    protection as given to Champagne and
                                                           • Hand-raised Melton Mowbray                  Parma Ham.



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24 LINCOLNSHIRE LIFE       •   February 2008

				
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