|Middle Rasen Parish Council - Middle Rasen, the people, history and place in Lincolnshire|
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Middle Rasen is situated in the district of West Lindsey in the county of Lincolnshire, about 16 miles north east of Lincoln in the lea of the Lincolnshire Wolds. Although the village is mainly contained to the north of the A631, sitting astride the river Rase, the Parish is much larger covering 3622 acres. The middle settlement between East Rasen, now known as Market Rasen, and West Rasen, it was the most important village of the three in the latter part of the Middle Ages. Indeed much of the northern area of Market Rasen town is in Middle Rasen Parish.
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.
Middle Rasen Parish Council
In 1999 it took over responsibility for the maintenance of the old St Paul's churchyard on Low Church Road. Now known as God's Acre, with new planting and the addition of bird and bat boxes, it has been transformed into a sanctuary for wildlife.
As commemoration of the millennium, the Parish Council installed a clock in the St Peter and Paul's church. A later addition was the striking mechanism which utilised one of the old bells.
In 2005 three decorative village signs were erected as gateways to the village.
Repairs have been made to the bridges over the river Rase on Church Street and North Street.
New playground equipment was installed at the village playing field in 2002.
The reduction of the speed limit on the A631 from 40mph to 30 mph which the Parish Council has worked hard to achieve will come into force on 17 th August 2006. It is hoped that the addition of crossing facilities on the Gainsborough Road will follow. The council is still in negotiations with Lincolnshire County Council Highways Department.
Additional land was purchased in 2006 to be used as an extension of the burial ground at St Peter and Paul's church. A new iron fence and gate has been erected along the western boundary. Future plans include a commemoration plaque and tree planting.
New notice boards are to be acquired for erection at the eastern end of the parish on Caistor Road and Walesby Road.
A restoration project for the bridge on Low Church Road is planned for next year.
Middle Rasen Parish Council is working towards Quality Status.
With the assistance of the community, the council is looking to produce a Parish Plan.
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