Richard A3 Howitt &
Sarah  Bishop
Buried at St. Andrew's Church in Folkingham
In Memoriam
Richard Howitt, age 86
Died October 25, 1859
Also Sarah, relict of the above
Died September 14, 1840, aged 67 years

Richard Howitt
Died June 25, 1839 aged 40 years
Also Alice, relict of the above
Died February 16, 1867, aged 69

Richard was Parish Clerk here for many years.
One of his third Great Granddaughters by his grave.


The story on the diary of this Lincolnshire countryman, a Parish Clerk of Folkingham from 1822 to 1859. He lived for 82 observant years in this area until he died in 1859, and wrote all his experiences of like in his diary. This was published in the parish magazine during 1895, and the present Rector of Folkingham, Rev. Frank R. Money, copied it all down and sent it in to "Life". (year not known)
The article :


I was born in 1773 at Osgodby, five miles from Folkingham, where my Father rented 43 acres of land from Sir Gilbert Heathmore, Bart. In 1789 I went to live with Mr. Elston at Edenham (7.3 mi south of Folkingham), and on his death soon after, with his son Tory of Leadon Hall, Holbeach, where I had a good deal of riding to do, after having to go to Holbeach twice a day -the servant girls were so forgetful. In 1791 I was hired to Mr. John Lee, of Hamby, and stayed three years. In 1794 I came to Folkingham Statute, and was hired the moment I got in to Mr. Richard Towns, of Lenton (3.5 mi. SE Folkingham).

Next year I married and lived with my wife's Father and Mother at Welby, working for Mr. Duffin from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., but as he would give me only is a day, I stayed but a week, and then worked for Mr. Richardson, of Folkingham, who gave me 2s 9d a day spudding thistles. In September, 1796, I settled down at Folkingham, taking Bumble Hut, a small hut built for a drayman1. I was frozen out from there, in about 8 weeks, and went to Joe Burrow's yard. Work was very scarce and it was a very sharp winter. I was in debt L5, and had not a shilling to pay it with, but the Lord brought me through.

In 1799 I remember I helped to plant Keisby Wood; and soon after to make the bridgend turnpike; also I treshed barley for Thomas Winterbury for 2s. 6d. a quarter, threshing 2 quarters a day. In 1799 I began to clean clocks and in 1804 commenced sheep washing. I always stood in the water, and it never hurt me. They used to bring the Laughton sheep to Folkingham till they got a dyke of their own. Washing six thousand a year on the average, I got 2s 6d. per hundred. They came from Aslackby, Stow, and Threekingham, and we always began on the 8th of June.

I will now give an account of the length of time I held different offices (I am writing this in 1857). I cleaned clocks 59 years, and plaited 18,622 yards of clock lines, receiving for the same L890.19.0. I cleaned watches 14 years, and put in 198 new main springs for L257.18.7. I washed sheep for 29 years--no doubt would have carried on for 10 or 15 years longer, only my wife was ill. I was clerk of the Green Man Club 48 years and catched moles for five parishes for several years. I wound the church clock up 41 years, and had to go up 50 steps every morning. I surveyed land for 30 years, and used to survey about 1,000 acres a year.

I was Deputy Overseer of the poor 10 years, Deputy Overseer of the Highways 9 years. I taught the children in the Sunday School 40 years and was Secretary to the Savings Bank 38 years. I was Parish Clerk for 2 infirm men, one 7 years, the other 1 1/2 years, without fee or reward. I was appointed Parish Clerk in 1831 and hold the office yet.

Now in all these offices I had no instructor but God. There was no school at Osgodby and I never cost my parents one shilling for learning. I take no merit to myself, God is worth of all praise. When living at Hanby Farm I used to go to church every Sunday. I was treated as one of the family, and used to read the Lessons for the day along with the Miss Lees. My spare time the servants at the Hall wanted me to spend with them. The temptation was very great, for Mr. Martin Dale, the Steward, used to play on the violin in the summer season, and they had dancing on two or three nights in a week. But I would rather be at my master's learning book.

I was in my 18th year when I went to Hanby (4.5 mi. west of Folkingham) and did not know addition, but my master had some old sum books which he lent me and I thought I was better employed at them. I should mention that for the last three years I had been labouring hard at the fiquring begun in my youth. I have gone through all the rules in arithmetic. I have bought several books upon questions and answers, and Nisbet on Land Surveying. I have been through fellowship, double and single rule of three, all vulgar and decimal fractions, the cube root, and also all kinds of measurements, such as cones and polygons.

I have given account of all the offices I have held. But there is one office yet--I mean the office of praising God for success in all my undertakings. At Hanby, I was very attentive to the Word of God, as well as to my learning. I used the Psalms almost every day and was very much concerned about my soul. When we came from church I used to go in some private place and meditate on what I had heard. If a thought came into my mind that was not pleasing God I used to go into one of the plantations and fall on my knees and say a few words to God and then all was right again.

In 1789 the Greyhound was rebuilt. At this time the old Sessions Hall was standing in the Market Place at the end of a passage leading to the West of Folkingham. The Market Cross used to stand a little to the North of the Market Hall. In front of the Greyhound is a well. It was open in 1798 but it is now covered in. The prison used to be the second house from the Sleaford road, a stone house covered with slates. (Now Mr. Collinsons and Mr. Amos's). The prison yard used to front the Market Place. About 1808 the new prison was built on Castle Hill. In 1825 it was enlarged and the entrance built (It was disused in 1878).
In 1794 about October 5th,
Sir Gilbert Heathcote, 4th Baronet2, came of age. There was a beast roasted whole. I was at it, but I never tasted any food or drink that was in the town.

In 1835, April 11, "Great Tom,"3 of Lincoln, went through Folkingham drawn by 8 horses after being recast in London by Mears, the caster of some of the Folkingham Bells. Weight 5 tons 8cwt., size 21 feet 3 1/2 inches around; the skirts 6 feet 10 1/2 inches.

I will see what improvements we have made here in Folkingham in the last 36 years (writing in 1857). I will begin with the traffic on the road. We used to have two mails, the London and the Yarborough, and two stage coaches. Mr. Baily at the Greyhound Inn used to keep two postboys, two horsekeepers and boots. I have often known five or six pairs of horses out in a day, and the coaches often laden. I have known two noblemen's families to sleep at the Inn on the same night. All lost

Now I will at the fairs and see at May Fair and Martinmas Fair the Market was so full of trade that the coaches had some trouble to pass for tradespeople. All lost

Now I will look at the Session and Magistrates' Meetings. We had two quarter sessions, and magistrates' meeting once a forthnight. All lost.

This is all lost in less than 36 years, for some of these have left us these 10 years, some 20 years (but when the population was taken in 182I, I took it, and Folkingham, enjoyed all that is lost). Now it is not the faultof the inhabitants for they would like to enjoy the former privileges of their fore-fathers.

Now I must inform you of what we have got. We have got a Union which cost this parish L300 a year, but when we had the poor at home they were maintained for L90 a year. I know that for I paid the money 10 years myself when I was deputy overseers ... end of article!!!

1. Drayman: A Man who delivers items in a dray - a low, heavy cart without sides, used for haulage.
2. Sir Gilbert Heathcote, 4th Baronet (6 October 1773 – 26 March 1851), was a British Member of Parliament. Heathcote was the son of Sir Gilbert Heathcote, 3rd Baronet and Elizabeth Hudson, daughter of Robert Hudson. He succeeded as fourth Baronet on his father's death in 1785. In 1796 he was elected to the House of Commons for Lincolnshire, a seat he held until 1806, and then represented Rutland from 1812 to 1841.


The Great Tom episode is an important chapter in the saga of British bellfounding. Great Tom was originally cast in 1610, during the reign of James I, by Henry Oldfield, the Nottingham founder, and at the time and for many years afterwards remained the largest bell in the country. Even after the casting of the heavier Great Tom of Oxford, Lincoln's Tom was still generally acknowledged as being much the superior bell. The fact that during Christmas 1827 Tom was found to have cracked, with the loss of those sombre resonant tones from whence he got his name was a national tragedy which might be likened to the failure of Big Ben today.

(Bill Hibbert's recording of Great Tom striking five o'clock)

The Cathedral Church of Lincoln
In the northern, or St. Mary's tower was placed the original "Great Tom of Lincoln.