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Articles and links about the history of people and places in and around Navenby

The summary history of Navenby from the current entry in Wikipedia. You can edit this encyclopedia if you have something to add.

Historical statistics for local population, land use, maps etc. from the Vision of Britain website.

An interesting guide to St. Peter's Church

Geophysics map of a local field
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Navenby lies 10 miles south of the city of Lincoln which was one of the first established roman Colonia in Britain. The word 'Lincoln' derives from the roman name for the city - Lindum Colonia which means the 'colony by the lake'. The 'lake' is Brayford Pool in Lincoln from which the Romans dug the very first canal in Britain to join it to the Trent river and thus allow navigation along the river Witham from Boston on the coast all the way inland via the Trent. The old Roman road called Ermine Street runs beside the village and much of it is still in use today. Just a half day's march from the colonia, Navenby would have been a convenient stop and possibly a useful outpost for the colonia.
Evidence from surveys and excavations shows a relatively large concentration of roman buildings and artefacts such as coins and pottery found alongside the road in Navenby. The image at the left is taken from geophysics surveys and indicates the typical, close-packed structures of possible shops and houses at the side of the road.
When the roman occupation ended in the fifth century, the centre of population moved west towards the edge of the ridge - possibly because the spring line at the edge was readily available without roman engineering expertise to pipe water or dig wells at the eastern site. Because of this move many roman sites have never been built over and therefore are accessible for investigation.
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There is a strong group of local archaeology enthusiasts in the village and from time to time we celebrate our roman past with a 'Roman Day' event. In 2008 we invited a group of skilled re-enactors who were pleased to march along Ermine Street towards Lincoln looking much as roman troops might have appeared 2,000 years ago. You can see more pictures of Roman Day and also our Viking Day heritage event on the Gallery Page.
An archaeological 'Dig' painted by Graham Lewinton
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Several excavations have taken place in Navenby and in 2009, Graham Lewinton, a local artist, painted this composite of local volunteers busily digging, sorting, mapping and discussing one of the sites along Ermine Street.
The Open Space is one area of land at the corner of Chapel Lane and High Dyke that is preserved for public access. The land was surveyed prior to housing development and so many interesting finds were discovered - some dating to pre-roman times - that the area was set aside as preserved space. There is some evidence that Navenby had a large, circular 'Henge' structure at this site some 140 metres in diameter and there are many other interesting sites yet to be fully investigated.

Further information on local archaeology projects can be found at the Navenby Archaeology Group website.


Mrs Smith's Cottage Museum
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Mrs Smith was born in Navenby in 1892 and died here in 1995 at the age of 102. For 73 of those years she lived in a small, brick cottage which she bought in 1922 for £75. Electricity was installed in 1937 and a single indoor, cold water tap and small toilet were only put in in the 1970's. Other than these simple amenities, she was little interested in modern fittings and fixtures. She still used the old black range for cooking and heating and did her washing in the old wash-house with a dolly tub and mangle.
When she died, a group of local volunteers were determined to preserve the cottage and the examples of her simple way of life. The cottage was purchased and is now owned by North Kesteven District Council and protected as a small museum.
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The volunteers operate the cottage and staff the museum which is open from spring to autumn.
It is a unique and simple building with walls only a single brick thick, tiled on a dirt floor and with ladders to the bedrooms.

In 2012 a severe fault discovered in one the roof beams meant that the building was unsafe for public entry and the museum was closed until the funds for repairs could be raised. In 2016 the Heritage Lottery Fund approved a major grant to restore the Cottage and it is hoped the museum will re-open in 2018 or early 2019.

You can read more about the Cottage and Mrs Smith at the Cottage Website


Witch Bottle
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Several references to the Witch Bottle discovered in Navenby in 2003.
The story from the BBC
The official find report (Link updated)

And here is a similar find from Reigate with a little more background on the history of witch bottles.
Another Witch Bottle find
The story of Horace Southern Dawson who is buried in St. Peter's churchyard - how the tragedy of 911 helped to uncover a piece of local history. An article written and submitted by Jack Blyth.




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