Bourne is a town in the south of Lincolnshire. Close to Peterborough (around 15 or 16 miles north), and Stamford (around 12 miles north).
Bourne originated as a group of houses, which then became a station, during Roman times (there was a road known as King Street through here, one of Roman construction feats to carry food and supplies to their armies).
Not far from Bourne is a very old oak tree known as the Bowthorpe Oak, which dates from approximately 1000AD. It has a large girth of 40ft, and, as the centre was hollowed out over the course of time, in 1768 it was fitted with a door and seats, creating a room where 20 people could eat. During the course of its life, the crown was used as a pigeon house. Now this remarkable tree is a home for sheep and chickens.
From the South
Head for the A15 from Market Deeping, then head through Langtoft, Baston then through Thurlby.
From the North
Head for the A15 from Lincoln.
From the East
Head for Spalding, then go on the A151, which should take you down a long straight looking road, when go from Pode Hole, then through a small village, Twenty.
From the West
Turn off at the at the Colsterworth roundabout (A151), go directly for Bourne. This takes you through Birkholme, Corby Glen, Grimsthorpe (going past Grimsthorpe Castle on the way through) and then Edenham. From Stamford, head for the A6121; this road takes you through Ryhall, Essendine, Carlby and Toft.
There is some history associated with the area of Bourne, as well as historical figures.
The Abbey Lawn
The town is blessed with green spaces for relaxation and sport. The ground the opened in 1911 as part of the celebration for King George V and since, there has been ample space for generations of townspeople, both young and old, to enjoy their leisure time. However, the Wellhead Gardens are the perfect place for anyone who wants a daily stroll in pleasurable surroundings, while for the more energetic, the Abbey Lawn provides facilities for a wide range of sports for both the beginnner and the veteran.
The land was once the grounds of Bourne Abbey, but anyone was allowed to use it at the discretion of the vicar. But, no record of anyone being banned existed, so the Abbey Lawn became the towns unofficial recreation ground and has been in use for at least 200 years.
The Abbey Lawn had also become one of the most attractive cricket grounds in the county. Activities date from 1803, but current records only goes back to 1920.
The tennis club, which was played on courts elsewhere in Bourne, now use the courts on the Abbey Lawn, while the Bourne Town Bowls Club, occupies an area on the far side of the site. The club origins go back to 1953 when it was previously known as the Bourne Abbey Lawn Bowling Club, but has expanded over the years and the pavilion was added in 1969, after being purchased for £30 from a local cricket club. A brick pavilion was complete in 1977, two years later, the name changed to Bourne Town Bowls Club and a total of 130 members played on a regular basis.
The most popular sport to be played there is football, and over the years, Bourne has kept a reputation for their games. The Bourne Town Football Club was founded in 1883, and nicknamed the 'The Wakes'. Their colours are claret and sky blue, with the ground capacity of 5,000. The team is backed by a supporters club and has drawn Saturday afternoon crowds to the ground over the years, with a record attendance of over 3,000 for the FA Trophy match against Chelmsford in 1970. The team also achieved many successes including the championship of the United Counties league on four occasions, in 1968-69, 1969-70, 1971-72 and 1990-91. The club had also led several players onto the Football League, such as Peter Grummit (Nottingham Forest), Shaun Cunnington (Wrexham, Grimsby and Sunderland) and David Palmer (Wrexham).
Although the date of the clubs inception is 1883, there is evidence that a town team existed some years before that and was even playing games on Tuesdays as well as Saturdays. However, a fixture list exists from the 1877-78 season showing away matches with Stamford, Sleaford, Boston, Grantham and Spalding. This was, because at the time, there was a thriving railway in Bourne, in the south Lincolnshire area.
In the winter, the Abbey Lawn is also home of the Bourne Hockey Club, formed after the first World War, and now, frequently providing members for the county team while in the far corner near the entrance on Abbey Road. An enclosed court has been established for petanque, a boules game, played in France and a sport which has gained popularity since the town became twinned with Doudeville, Normandy, in 1989.
This was one of the greatest engineering feats carried out by the Roman Empire, which ruled for 4 centuries from 43AD to 410AD. The waterway was built to carry food and supplies from East Anglia to their armies in the north. The main cargoes consisted of corn, wool for uniforms, leather for tents and shields, and salted meat.
The construction and subsequential use provided a continuous inland water transport system from Cambridge to York, and was responsible for many communities that sprang up on its banks, which have now become established towns and villages.
St Peter's Pool
St Peters Pool, or Wellhead, is known to be the historic centre of Bourne, as the feature sprang the early settlement.
The embanked pool, that is filled by seven springs, had provided an abundant supply of water to the settlers. It is possibly one of the most ancient sites of artesian water supply in the country and has figured prominently in the towns development.
However, a group of Romans who were on their way up to Lincoln, stopped by, next to the pool, which was then a source of nightlife. Today, the site is now an electricity sub station.
The pool now forms part of the memorial gardens and its this spring, or the stream that flows from it, that gave Bourne it name from the Old English word, burna, which was common in the early Anglo-Saxon period. It's found in modern form, in Scotland, as burn meaning stream or spring.
Nowadays, the pool is a valuable commodity and supplies from here are piped to other districts, even when theres a water shortage. The pool dries up for weeks at a week and becomes a morass of mud and weeds.
Many english place names have a similar derivation, with burn, borne or bourne as an ending to denote a river or stream in the area.
A castle (or settlement)
Such existence of a castle in the past is part of the local folklore although evidence that any building is rather bare. Proof of a similar building is quite sparse, and what emerges from written evidence isn't so much a castle as a settlement.
Some people have been quite sure that it stood here since Saxon times, although the theory has never been proven, while during the Civil War of 1642-51, Oliver Cromwell placed the artillery of his army on the site of the castle or fired it from the rising ground to the west. People opposed to these theories have been sceptical about the existence of a castle in Bourne at any point in the history of the town, but nothing in the area points to the remains of a castle, apart from a few mounds in the grassy surface.
During the 1960s, engineers from the electricity board dug a trench and found some mediaeval pottery which archaeologists and historians later dated to around the 13th Century. However, this didn't prove or disprove the existence of the castle or settlement.
Whatever was found would be turned into a tourist attraction and educational resource, but never happened, due to the refusal of the town council, who also refused further excavation on the site.
The existence of a castle is deeply embedded in the perception of the pubic who love heroes and legends, even if their origins are in doubt.
But in a 1970 publication by J D Birkbeck, author of A History of Bourne:
"Until fresh information about the origins of Bourne Castle is forthcoming, many questions will have to remain unanswered."
Hereward the Wake
Hereward the Wake, an 11th century anti-Norman freedom fighter, was born and grew up in the fenland area to the east of Bourne. His birth is shrouded in mystery and more precise details are not known.
Stories of Hereward are similar to those told about Robin Hood.
The writer Charles Kingsley vividly describes the fenland east of Bourne in his novel, Hereward, the Last of the English.
Raymond Mays (1899-1980)
Raymond Mays, who lived in Bourne, was a well known motor racer in the last century, achieving his status on and off road, he developed the first all-British motor car model, BRM (British Racing Motors), which won the international championships in 1962.
In 1978, he was awarded the CBE for services to motor racing.
Theres some more information about Raymond Mays on the Bourne website.
There are other sites that have information on British Racing Motors and Raymond Mays:
British Motor Manufacturers 1894-1960, BRM - This tells the about British Racing Motors and Raymond Mays.
Formula One World - Teams - BRM - This shows the statistics of BRM cars in Formula 1 1951-77 (engines, drivers, laps etc.)
Bourne has a shopping centre, with several high street shops you'll know, but also has an odd proliferation of hairdressers.
The Well Head park is a pleasant area to take a stroll and also contains a memorial dedicated to people who fought in the two World Wars. Additonally, there is a stream that passes through as well as benches alongside.
Also, Bourne Woods, a nearby woodland area, is a nice place to take walks, go bike riding or indulge in other outdoor activities.
There is an outdoor swimming pool beyond the cricket green. This pool has been around for over 80 years and is open from May to September.
During the 19th century, people began having fast access to other parts of Britain. The railway line was then joined with the Great Northern line at Essendine (completed 1860), it was simple engineering as it only required 6 1/2 miles of line with no tunnels or demanding gradients.
The line to Spalding opened in 1866, providing the connection to Melton Mowbray and as far as Kings Lynn and Cromer on the east coast.
Six years later, in 1872, a line to Sleaford was opened, giving access to northern parts of the county, and from 1894, between Bourne and a nearby village Little Bytham. The route became an important line serving Bourne and carrying passengers and freight.
In just over 30 years, Bourne had become a railway centre of importance. However, this boom wasn't to continue. The final passenger train left on February 28th 1959 and freight facilities for sugar beet ended 6 years later.
Robert Manning Technology College
Formerly known as Robert Manning School, this is perhaps one of the best places for education in the local area, with over 1,000 students including 6th form and a decent pass rate for exams over the years.
Robert Manning is best known for establishing the kind of text and wording we have today (since around the 13th century). Nowadays, his name is used in the name of the college, Robert Manning Technology College.
Other centres of education in Bourne are Bourne Abbey Primary School, Westfield Primary School and Bourne Grammar School.
Unfortunately, Bourne lacks a cinema, the nearest one being in Peterborough. There is, however, a nightclub called Lesters, near The Nags Head pub. The town is soon to be redeveloped, as well as a relief road on the south west side, to reduce the amount of heavy amount of traffic that goes in the town centre.
In Bourne, there are many pubs in and around the area:
- The Nags Head
- Angel Hotel
- Burghley Arms
- The Golden Lion
- The Red Lion
- The Royal Oak
- The Masons Arms
- The Anchor Inn
- The Marquis of Granby
Places to eat
Bourne has plenty of places to eat, whether you're having a take-away or eating inside. There are plenty of fish and chip shops, as well as Chinese, Cantonese or Italian restaurants.
Some of the restaurants include:
- Dees Fish Bar
- Georges Fish Bar
- Super Carlos Pizza and Kebab (Italian)
- Zorba 2
- Ciro Restaurant (Italian)
- Golden Palace (Far Eastern)
- Jade Garden (Far Eastern)
- Yang Xian (Chinese)
- Montaz (Indian)
- The Caper
- Kalispera (Greek)
In a way of sport, there are perhaps, some things to mention:
- Cricket - There is a cricket green where the towns cricket team play against other local teams from the area. People can watch the action, as they play.
- Motor racing - Bourne has a proud motor racing heritage, especially due to Raymond Mays, who lived here. (See 'History' section)
- Bowls - There is a Bowls team, who play on the Abbey Lawn. (See 'Abbey Lawns' in the History section)
- Football - Bourne Town Football team play here.
- Swimming - swimschool, private session, family swimming
- Gym - exercise bikes, treadmills, rowing, cross-trainers, weights
Bourne Leisure Centre
As well as exercising outdoors, Bourne Leisure Centre, which is joined onto the college, offers a range of facilities including:
Also on the site, is basketball/tennis court, as well as a youth centre.
You can find out more by visiting The Bourne website.
Also, Bourne can be found on Wikipedia.