Summer excursion 1900

Newark and Farndon

ON Tuesday, the 26th of June, 1900, the Thoroton Society made a Summer Excursion in the district of Newark. Excellent arrangements had been made for the trip, and the day proved to be a most enjoyable one, in spite of the fact that the early morning did not promise the fairest of weather to the sixty or seventy members and friends who joined the 8.35 train from Nottingham to Newark. Among those present were Mr. H. Ashwell, Mr. Wm. Scorer of Lincoln, Mr. T. M. Blagg, Mr. J. T. Radford, Mr. W. B. Cooke, Mr. C. Gerring, Mr. R. Whitbread, Mr. J. Warren, Mr. J. C. Warren, Mr. Chicken, Mr. B. Chicken, Mr. George Fellows, Mr. John Thorpe, Dr. Littlewood, Mr. W. Bradshaw, Mr. W. F. Fox, Dr. C. H. Duff, Rev. A. Du Boulay Hill, Mr. F. A. Wads-worth, Rev. A. H. Watts, Mr. G. H. Parr, Mr. G. Harrison, Mr. George Hore, Mr. Pickerill, Mr. Robert Mellors, Mr. James Ward, Mr. Haywood, Mr. Booth, the Rev. Canon Cator, Mr. Hancock, Mr. A. Ward, the Rev. A. J. Bennoch, Mr. W. J. Hannah, Mr. T. K. Gordon, Mr. W. B. Thorpe, Mr. G. H. Wallis, Mr. W. P. W. Phillimore, and the Rev. J. Standish.

On leaving Newark, the members stayed to inspect the "Queen's Sconce," the best example left of the earthworks constructed by the Newark garrison during the three sieges sustained by the town in the reign of Charles I. This sconce is of square formation, with a bastion built at each corner, so as to obtain an enfilade through the trenches; and its position is a very fine one, close to the river Devon, and commanding a fine stretch of country to the south of the town, towards Farndon, where General Pointz had his quarters. On the 8th May, 1646, the garrison still held their stronghold unimpaired, but on that day surrendered the town to the Scottish army by order of the King. At the close of the siege, the country people were ordered to come with shovel and pickaxe, and demolish the works of circumvallation. Of these earthworks two only are left us, viz.: the one inspected, known as the Queen's Sconce, and another known as the King's Sconce, which was thrown up near the river on the Winthorpe side, but of this only a few traces are visible.

From Newark the journey was continued to Farndon, which has been claimed by the late Archdeacon Maltby and others as the site of the Roman station, Ad Pontem. Several other sites have been suggested; notably, Mr. Dickinson in his "History and Antiquities of Southwell," has wasted much argument in trying to identify the site of Ad Pontem with the Cathedral town. The true solution of the problem seems to be that no such station ever existed; the words "ad pontem" being originally nothing more than a note in the northern itinerary attached to Margidunum (East Bridgford), and indicating merely the turn to be made towards the bridge across the Trent.* The Church of S. Peter at Farndon was erected during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and is supposed to be the third church built on the present site. It consists of chancel, nave with clerestory, a south aisle with an arcade of three bays, a western square tower containing four bells, and with an entrance porch. Portions of Saxon work, perhaps belonging to the first church, are to be found built in the north wall of the nave; the second church is represented by the columns and arches of the south aisle; while the third and present church is chiefly built in the Perpendicular style. The font is an Early English one. The date on the nave roof, which is well constructed, is 1664, and there are two stained glass windows of some merit, one on the south side of the chancel and the other in the aisle. Much interest was taken in an ancient sword, thought to be Saxon, and measuring 2ft. 4½ins. in length, which was discovered when excavating under the present church in October, 1892. This sword is now preserved in the vestry.

Continuing on the Fosse to Syerston, the visitors passed through Stoke close to the site of the famous battle fought on the 16th June, 1487, between Henry VII. and the followers of Lambert Simnel. The Rebels consisted of 2000 trained German soldiers under Martin Swartz, and an Irish force furnished by Kildare. The fierceness of the fight has still its local record in the name, "Red Gutter." The Earl of Lincoln and Martin Swartz were among the slain, and Lord Lovatt "was either drowned in the Trent, or according to legend, was hidden in an underground vault, where he was at last starved to death, through the neglect of the man whose duty it was to provide him with food."

At Syerston the members and their friends were met by the Rev. A. W. Bailey, Vicar of East Stoke and Syerston, who very kindly read the following Paper on the History of the Church and Parish.

* Vide Livett's Southwell Minster pp. 142-3.