This week we visit the exclusive and expensive hamlet (NOT village!) of Burton By Lincoln where Paul forgets his left-wing credentials and "goes all gooey" over the executive homes with their sweeping driveways and manicured gardens, while Jonny grumbles about the lack of a pub and extols the virtues of astroturf.  Then, having discovered that the village has a famous resident, we discuss your sightings of celebrities in Lincoln and discover that Morrisons is apparently Celebrity Central.

We also investigate Burton's murky past with a tale of murder and injustice from Phil Gresham from It's About Lincoln, and hear about the history of the village from Jo Hughes.  All this, plus another round of A Question of Lincoln.

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The History of J3

by Joanna Hughes of the Lincolnshire Archives

The village around this gridsquare has a history which goes back at least to around the year 200 AD when an unknown Roman decided to build his villa near here, well connected to the new Lincoln to York Road, at a commutable distance to the city of Lindum Colonia and all its attractions, yet surrounded by open air, long views across the Trent Valley, good arable land and fresh water supplies from the springs that line the Lincoln Cliff. He built a house with all the usual Roman modcons like underfloor heating and plumbing, and decorated with the latest interior designs in mosaic flooring and plaster wall paintings.

Come forward through time and we see the first documentary reference to Burton in Domesday Book by the Normans (although the place name itself shows how the Danish and Vikings were in the area in the 9th century long enough to give it a name, referring to a fortified place (Burgh) by a farm (ton). Although the fortification, whatever it was, has long since gone, and the farms have changed somewhat, it’s a name which has stuck. The medieval period is represented too, with earthworks of the earlier village and the church of St Vincent (a Spanish Saint who was martyred in AD 304). Domesday mentions a church on this site in 1068, although the church registers we hold at the Lincolnshire Archives are far more recent - well - starting from 1558).

Essex House just to the right of our grid square down Manor Lane is said to be one of the oldest buildings left in the village, dating from the 1600s. There’s also some evidence to suggest that it used to be pub known as The Three Tuns. But the majority of buildings in this grid square and the rest of the village leave you in no doubt that this is an estate village, getting its present character in the 18th century when Sir John Monson was created Baron Monson of Burton in 1728. The old Tudor House which still existed at the time was converted into a family home fit for the Monsons and for 200 years the village life was inextricably linked with the Monson family and its fortunes.

A look at some of the houses in this grid square reveal how they once related to the running of the Monson estate – some still have plaques or the Monson coats of arms on them, some have names which relate to their former domestic use such as a granary, forge, coach house, kennels (don’t forget Burton was the home of the famous Burton Hunt for many years). A distinct feature of our gridsquare is the low limestone wall covered with a closely clipped yew hedge and the high red brick wall of the Hall’s kitchen garden. There used to be a circular walk from the Hall (to the south of our grid square) through the village across to the kitchen garden, a route which, according to Burton legend, one Lady Monson used to walk every day to collect fresh fruit. Until recently, this memory was preserved in the nearby property’s name of Miladi’s Walk.

The first thing that struck me about this grid square was how the road through it takes four 90 degree turns. This must be a relatively recent road as it’s probably a diversion put in place to make sure the road through the village, with all its attendant traffic of people, carts and livestock, avoided the tranquillity of the newly created Burton Hall parkland in the 18th century. It’s quite an eloquent reminder of the early relationship between the lords of the manor and their workers – living cheek-by-jowl and mutually dependent, but with social boundaries clearly drawn out on the ground and an appropriate distance maintained.

There are a couple of nineteenth century wellheads displaying the monogram of M for Monson, reminders of the abundant fresh water springs which can be found the length of the Lincoln Ridge or Cliff. 

Burton is as picturesque a place to live now, as it probably was for that Roman and his family all those centuries ago.