MIDDLE RASEN A SHORT HISTORY

Early history records a Roman settlement on Osgodby Top Road, to the north of the Parish. For governance the parish of Middle Rasen was in the ancient Walshcroft wapentake, a political unit similar to a Hundred in Anglo Saxon England. The wapentake is a collection of parishes and is a term used in former Danelaw region of England. It derives from words meaning “show your weapon”, that is all in favour would raise their swords/axes to show agreement.

In Henry I's time, the 14 th century, a certain William Paynell was lord of the manor in Middle Rasen and he built and endowed St Paul's church. Having also built Drax Priory in Yorkshire, he gave St Paul's church to that Priory. St Peters church was built by the monks of Tupholme Abbey around the turn of the 12 th century. By the 19 th century both churches were in a state of disrepair and in 1860 St Peters was thoroughly restored using some parts of St Pauls in restoration.

According to the book 'Like a Rasen Fiddler' by Mary Shipley, “In 1539, Middle Rasen was able to supply forty nine able men for the wars - archers or billmen. With two churches and two vicars, many farms, outlying cottages, two water mills and a pottery, it was an important place.”

During the reign of Henry VIII churches in the main Lincolnshire towns were extremely rich and possessed very valuable treasures which they thought to be under threat of confiscation by the king. This resulted in the Lincolnshire Uprising in November 1536, when there was general unrest and people marched from Horncastle, Louth, Caistor and other large towns to try to resolve the matter. On their way to Lincoln, marchers camped on Hambleton Hill.

In 1720, John Wilkinson, who owned property in the parish, stated in his will that the interest from one hundred pounds and the remainder of his personal estate shall “cause to be taught with reading and writing sixteen poor children… eight to be chosen out of the parish of Rasen Drax and eight out of Rasen Tupholme…“ This resulted in the setting up of the first schooling in the village. The school, originally known as the ‘Middle Rasen John Wilkinson's Charity School' was built in 1874 to hold 120 children. In 1911 the average attendance was 79. The Charity still supports the school.

In the 19 th century there were Wesleyan, Primitive and Reformed Wesleyan Methodist chapels in the parish. The Primitive Methodist church (1838-1956) was opposite the Nags Head pub on Gainsborough Road. The other two were on Church Street . The present site of the Methodist chapel on Mill Lane was purchased from the Brown Cow pub and the building was erected in 1911 at a cost of £1350. Forty thousand bricks from another village chapel were used in its construction.

Middle Rasen mill on Mill Lane was built circa 1827 and was a working mill until the 1920‘s. Losing its sails by 1931 it was then engine driven. When the last miller died in 1932 it became disused and was later dismantled.

In the early 1900's a villager remembers that “church and chapel were well attended. There were two butchers shops, four general stores, a post office, two cobblers, one bootmakers shop, a tailors shop, one windmill, one watermill and about nineteen thatched cottages.”

More recent memories recall a Canadian bomber, struck by lightening, that crashed in a field behind the church during the Second World War, resulting in the death of its crew.

Article from Community Spirit

MIDDLE RASEN's TWO MILLS

THE WIND MILL

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The Mill in Middle Rasen was built in 1820 and was a working windmill until 1932, when the sails failed. It was run by petrol motor for some time after that but eventually fell into disrepair and became derelict. When we bought the property the mill was little more than the brick shell.

We have rebuilt the cap on traditional lines with the help of a local millwright, Tom Davies. The structure comprises 20 oak struts which sit on a 4" oak wall-plate, which in turn is bolted to a 6" circular steel ring-beam. The struts are first covered with half-inch pine attached horizontally. This is next covered with vertical half-inch planks of western red cedar, a very light and pliable timber which is also quite weather resistant. Here is where we depart from tradition, because a working mill cap originally would have been painted. Since the cap would have rotated so that the overlap of the boards always faced away from the wind the joints between the cedar boards would have been fairly protected from the ingress of rain. In any case, building standards in those days were not as exacting as now. We need a finish which will be reliably weather-proof but provide an appearance which will as closely resemble the original as possible, and for these reasons we have opted for a white fibre glass (or G.R.P.) covering.

Richard Harries

 

THE WATER MILL

There has been a mill here since 1597 and maybe many years longer. There used to be many mills on the Rase but now there are only three remaining, Tealby, Market Rasen and here. The Middle Rasen one being the only one with its original workings mainly in place, the other two having been converted to domestic use. We moved into the property in 1970 when we found the mill to be in a very dilapidated state, with a sagging roof, its gable collapsing and the floor was powder. I had the gable ends repaired and the roof re-instated. The flooring was replaced with oak floorboards rescued from the demolition of Grimsby Hospital (a labour of love on my part). So it is now restored for years to come. The water-course from the river Rase to the mill was put back and the mill pond re-formed. Since coming here I have seen the West Rasen Mill allowed to fall down and the final disappearance of Peck Mill in Market Rasen. The Middle Rasen Mill was last worked in the early 1960's by Fred Cottingham, but has not been used as a mill all the time. In the mid 1700's James Harrison, carpenter, moved in to the mill. He was the brother of John Harrison who formulated the way of calculating Longitude. They left Barton-on-Humber to go to London to try and win the prize offered for this, and James, for whatever reason also decided to come to the mill to carry on his trade of carpentry. In fact he made all the pews for Aylesbury Church near Grimsby at the Mill. James had also previous to going to London with his brother, been the carpenter who made his brothers design for Grandfather clocks, entirely made of wood, even the cogs! Three years ago, the wheel arch was badly damaged during the earthquake, with the keystones dropping, and a nasty split in the wall. Metal tie bars were inserted to support the area and brickwork replaced. The fact is that the three storey building has no foundations which amazed the man who re-formed the Mill Pond, using a drag line, and found the whole base was just shifting sand. They certainly knew how to build in those days. Having re-constructed the Mill and waterway, I hope the Mill will still be extant in another hundred years.

Dr L.G. Parry

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