Warboys Local History Society Report of meeting 4th July. 2022 ”Armchair Walk of the Village”.

Joan Cole presented her ‘walk’ around the village with a powerpoint presentation with commentary. She began with the origins of the Warboys and how the manor was given to Ramsey Abbey in 924AD. The Church, originally Blessed Mary the Virgin, became Mary Magdalene was mentioned in the Domesday book. Around 1km south west of the church on the old airfield is an extinct volcano. Opposite the church is the Moat House (originally the rectory) with the garden designed by Joseph Paxton. The house is said to be haunted and the tale of Uncle Ned who bet he could stay in the haunted room was told. Uncle Ned did not last the night despite surrounding himself with rat traps to ward off the spirits. The manor house, next to the church was originally built around 1250 and upgraded by Sir John Leman from 1622. It was here that the infamous Witches of Warboys event took place with the trial in 1593. The cottage where the ‘witches’ lived has now been knocked down and the site is now the Ouse Motors garage. At one time there were some 30 pubs/beer houses in Warboys, but only two are left. Opposite the garage is the Pelican Inn where during WW2 the RAF personnel from the airfield enjoyed the beer. Adjacent to the Pelican is the Clock Tower built for Queen Victoria’s Jubilee at a cost of £230. Just down Ramsey Road was the Duke of Wellington Pub with landlord Frederick Hyde whose son was Horace, Joan’s inspiration for history. Next to the pub was Feekins Stores the only shop open on Sundays.. Just across the road was the cinema, now a small appliance warehouse. Down the High Street was the Red Lion pub where on feast week there was a whelk stall and a competition to see who could
eat the most. The last one eaten led to choking and the expelled whelk was gobbled up by a cockerel which promptly died. The whelk was retrieved and displayed in the pub. Next to the Red Lion was the fire station which attended fires, but those who needed the engine had to provide the horse to tow it to the fire. The great fire of 1835 began at Gifford’s farm adjacent to Popes Lane. It spread across the road setting the row of cottages in George Lane on fire and up to Ramsey road and the Pelican where it was stopped. There was great loss with up to, surprisingly, 70% covered by insurance. Many men helped with the fire and drank the whole of a recent brew of around 100 gallons beer to slake their thirst. The Fyson family were brewers and breeders of shire horses and were responsible for the VC Cockerel which was auctioned and reauctioned many times in many different places to raise over £14.000 for the Red Cross. The White Hart pub was a brewery and a sawmill and suffered a fire in 1996. The Methodist Church was originally a wooden one built in 1898. In 1938 it was replaced with one from Great Raveley moved brick by brick to the current site.
An interesting evening made enjoyable by the digressions of tales of local characters.
Brian Lake
The next meeting 7.30 on 8th August – Tudor Fashion , six into one goes.

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