11 October 2011
When we think of the Lincolnshire coast we may well bring to mind the holiday resort of Skegness. However, there is far more to Lincolnshire’s relationship with the sea than candyfloss! Many youngsters with dreams of vast oceans and the lands that lay beyond were born in Lincolnshire. These youngsters grew up, followed their dreams, and gave us cause to remember them. So who were these distinguished fellows?
Well, the founder of the first permanent English settlement in North America, Captain John Smith—he of Pocahontas fame—was baptised in Willoughby church in 1580. Sir Joseph Banks (actually born in London in 1743, but we shall not dwell on that!), one-time High Sheriff of Lincoln and influential botanist who accompanied Captain James Cook on the HMS Bark Endeavour, split his time between London and the Revesby estate he inherited from his father in 1761. Revesby is located a few miles west of Spilsby; Spilsby is the market town where the ill-fated Artic explorer Rear Admiral Sir John Franklin was born in 1786—the Franklin memorial can be viewed in the beautiful St James’ church. To the south of Spilsby, in the village of Donington, is the medieval church of St Mary and the Holy Rood, which houses an exhibition about the village’s most distinguished son: Captain Matthew Flinders (born in 1774), the man who circumnavigated Australia.
These are Lincolnshire’s historic seafarers. The county’s churches help to preserve their memory through association, memorials and exhibitions.
Posted by Ben Stoker, Lincolnshire’s Open Churches Officer
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