Edward Clinton, 1st Earl of Lincoln (1512-85).
Source: portrait dated 1584 by an unknown artist, National Portrait Gallery.
THE HOWARD & CLINTON DYNASTIES
The early modern period saw Folkingham continue to be owned by some of the country’s leading noble families. However, this period marked the moment when Folkingham ceased to be a place of aristocratic residence, ending a legacy which had existed since Saxon times. Instead it became part of an estate of an absentee lord.
William Beaumont died in 1507 without issue and Folkingham and other manorial estates were granted first to John Hussey of Sleaford and then by Henry VII to Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk (1443-1524) - he was the grandfather of both Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard and the great grandfather of Elizabeth I. This leading courtier, soldier and stateman’s seat was at Framlingham Castle in Suffolk, so Folkingham would have had little interest to him other than being an asset to his property portfolio.
When Norfolk fell from favour the manor passed to Edward Clinton (1512-1585) of Scrivelsby, near Horncastle in East Lindsey - he later became 1st Earl of Lincoln in 1572.
During the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary (1553-58), the Duke of Norfolk’s estates were restored to him and it was only in 1561 that the Clintons reacquired the manor of Folkingham in return for lands in Devon and Somerset and an annual rent.
The family was to hold the town and manor on and off until 1691 - the patronage of the parish living shows that the estate had reverted to the King in 1617 and in 1624 it was held by a John White. It is likely that the Clintons leased the estate to Charles Read, a wealthy ship merchant, in the period between 1657 and 1669. This would explain why several estate properties acquired a rental charge to support Read’s schools in Corby Glen and Tuxford (Nottinghamshire).
Former House of Correction and contemporary buildings, Market Place.
The original House of Correction (left) was erected on the east side of Market Place in 1609 in response to the Elizabethan Poor Law Act.
HOUSE OF CORRECTION
A House of Correction was built at Folkingham in 1609 to serve this region of Kesteven with male and female cells and small yards at the front and rear for exercise. The stone two-storey building, with Collyweston slate roof and attics, still survives on the north-east side of Market Place, now divided into two dwellings: nos. 32 and 34.
Given the continued responsibility of the lord of the manor in administering local justice, it is likely that the Clintons would have been involved in the construction of the House of Correction, and perhaps the other seventeenth-century stone-built dwellings stretching down to Tannery Lane. If so, the stone used may have been plundered from the castle site, owned by the Clintons.
Stocks and whipping posts were used for corporal punishment and public humiliation from the medieval through to the early modern period. The Folkingham stocks were supposedly provided by the church wardens around 1600. They made of oak and could accommodate three felons. They were originally in the Market Place, but were later moved to this position by the church wall and finally into the church itself, where they can still be seen.
It is probable that the Manor House was built by Theophilus Clinton, 4th Earl of Lincoln, for his son, Lord Edward Clinton, possibly as a wedding present celebrating Edward’s marriage to Lady Anne Holles in 1652. Theophilus Clinton (c.1600 - 21 May 1667), whose main seat was at Tattershall Castle, was a prominent Puritan and his household became a focus of Nonconformist thought in the region.
The Manor House has its principal rooms on the piano nobile, with offices, kitchen, pantries and dairy set in the lower ground floor, lit via windows at ground level. The upper two storeys contained the private bed chambers. Its plan is that of a principal rectangular range of two rooms, either side of the central chimney, with projections (porch and rear wing) to the west and east respectively. The staircase was located at the rear of the main range.
Although Folkingham might only be a minor manor house, it has a part to play in the evolution of house design from traditional Jacobean vernacular (as seen at Red Hall, Bourne, of 1605) to the new language of classicism, expressed in what is often termed, Mannerism. Indeed, Folkingham may be considered to be an Artisan Mannerist house, a style applied to houses which have classical features used in impure ways.
Plague inscription, Threekingham, 1646.
This inscribed stone was commissioned by Robert Gaton, the Schoolmaster of Threekingham, to commemorate the 1646 plague which swept through the region. Source: William Cragg, A History of Threekingham with Stow (1913)
Plagues were a common occurrence in the seventeenth century. In 1646 a particularly virulent plague swept through the Folkingham region and Robert Gaton, the Schoolmaster at Threekingham, immortalised its impact in an inscription carved into a stone of the White Horse Inn (since relocated). Gaton also produced a manuscript of suggested potions, perfumes and remedies to combat the disease which was reproduced in full in William Cragg’s A History of Threekingham with Stow (1913).
There is a story that the remains of Folkingham Castle were destroyed in the Civil War, this being recorded by Crosby in his Complete Pocket Gazetteer of England and Wales Or Traveller’s Companion of 1807. Historical evidence shows that what remained of Folkingham Castle played no role in the English Civil War - it was probably in too poor a condition to be of any meaningful strategic value.
Edward King and his influential attack on the Lincolnshire Committee, began in Folkingham at the quarter sessions in October 1646. King (c.1606-1681) was a Presbyterian lawyer and politician who supported the Parliamentary cause. One of the consequences of King’s actions was a virtual tax-strike in Lincolnshire, which produced a protest from the Lincolnshire Committee to the parliamentary commissioners about King’s ‘false calmunies and malicious slaunders’ in which he represented them ‘instead of Patriottes [as] Oppresssors of our Country’.
UNDER THE CLINTONS
POST REFORMATION TOWN
Folkingham, in common with all settlements in England, experienced a series of profound changes during the sixteenth century. It witnessed the end of the medieval world and the birth of a new age under a new ruling dynasty, where a fledgling Protestant church was ascendant and where secular ambition was championed and rewarded.
In Folkingham, the great medieval dynasties, which had used the town as their caput and dominated its affairs, were extinguished. In their place came absentee aristocratic owners, for whom Folkingham was just one of their many estates. As a result, the castle fell into ruin and was plundered for stone for domestic building projects. Sempringham Priory, which had been associated with the town and its barons since the twelfth century, became a victim of the dissolution in 1538, falling under the ownership of Edward Clinton.
Sempringham was chosen by the Clintons as the site for their principal residence in the region, a decision related, no doubt, to convenient source of building materials which could be salvaged from the Priory. It was only in the seventeenth century that the town began to find its feet again and experience a new wave of building, most notably the subsidiary Manor House of the Clintons and The Greyhound Inn at the top of the Market Place. But Folkingham would have to wait until the end of the eighteenth century before any attempt was made to truly revive its fortunes.
ST ANDREW’S CHURCH & THE REFORMATION
The dramatic effects of the Reformation and the subsequent purge of Catholic imagery in English churches is revealed in an inventory of lost treasures conducted at St Andrew’s Church in Folkingham in 1566. This listed contents which had either been destroyed, or sold off, for having a Catholic, or idolatrous, function. Another victim of Protestant zeal was the destruction of medieval stained glass, which was usually replaced by clear glass - only three medieval glass roundels now survive reset in a north aisle window.
One item to survive this culling was an old wooden chest, divided into two sections, which still survives in the nave of the church. One half was for the collection of Peter’s Pence.
There is little surviving evidence of further changes to the church in the seventeenth century. The tenor, or largest, bell in the tower is now the oldest survivor and was cast by Tobie Norris of St Paul’s Street, Stamford, in 1676.
Free-standing Town Hall, Market Place, Rochford, Essex.
This timber-framed structure, with an open arcade on the ground floor, gives an impression of what Folkingham’s Sessions Hall may have looked like.
SESSIONS HOUSE (TOWN HALL)
Creasey (1825) states that Folkingham had a free-standing Town Hall and Butchery which stood outside the Green Man public house. This would place it in the area of the Market Place now occupied by the main car park. Marrat (1816) calls the building the ‘sessions house’, which seems much more plausible for we know that quarter sessions took place in the town. It would have had a close relationship with the nearby House of Correction, as those sentenced would often end up there.
The building was orientated at right angles to The Greyhound, with its gable facing down the hill, as can be observed from a map of 1765. It is probable that this free-standing structure would have followed the common plan of an open arcaded market area on the ground floor, incorporating the butchery, with a room above used for the court and other functions. The building was demolished during Heathcote improvements in the late eighteenth century, along with the adjacent market cross, which stood just to the north.
Folkingham had a four-sailed wooden post mill for grinding corn which was situated just below the crest of the valley ridge to the south of the town - its site is marked on the Ordinance Survey map of 1886. The weight of the mill was distributed on to the four quarterbars, which rest on brick piers at its base. The ladder which offered access from the rear can still be seen. The Folkingham mill was demolished sometime between 1924 and 1930 by which time it was in poor condition. The mill cottage (wrongly attributed as a toll bar house) still stands by the main road, but is currently in an at-risk state. Another mill appears to have been built on top of a tumulus in the field west of the church. Creasey (1825) states ‘on one ... there appears to have been a mill erected at no distant period, several traces of which being distinctly visible’.