Bourne Archive: FNQ: Curiosities             Latest edit 7 Aug 2009.   

Interactive version ©2006 R.J.PENHEY

The Bourne Archive


Fenland Notes and Queries. This will have been originally in the quarterly Part 2, July 1889. Edited by W.H. Bernard Saunders, F.R. Hist. Soc.

Articles 1 to 237 (April 1889 to October 1891) were re-published as Volume 1, in 1891, by Geo. C. Caster, Market Place, Peterborough.

This quarterly periodical which, from the second volume (part 12) became associated with the name of W.D. Sweeting, took the form of a forum in which people sent in questions about the history, ecology and so on of the Fens

_ and the region’s environs and others replied with some sort of answer. Some ‘answers’ seem to have been spontaneous, so qualifying as ‘notes’. Editorial notes in the form [note] are those of FNQ; those in the form [note] are those of RJP.

My thanks to the trustees of the Willoughby Memorial Library for the loan of the copy from which the following was transcribed.

Bourne Charities

32 An Ancient Custom at Bourn. – The following is a cutting from the Grantham Journal of April 13th, 1889:--- In accordance with the provisions of the will of William Clay, gentleman, of Bourn, in the year 1742, who gave land, the rent of which is to be expended yearly in white bread, to be distributed among householders and commoners in Eastgate Ward, the Constable’s Half-acre and the Dike-reeves half-acre were let by auction on the Queen’s bridge on Saturday evening. Mr. F.J. Shilcock, the auctioneer, read the conditions of sale, which provided that two good loads of manure should be put on the land, that the fence be kept in proper repair, and that the bush in the centre of the field be not cut or injured in any way. The most curious part of the auction is the manner in which the bidding is regulated. Two lads are started by the auctioneer to run a certain distance for a prize. Whilst they are running the bidding is carried on, and the person who has made the highest bid by the time the lads return becomes the tenant for the ensuing year.

[See Ball’s Charities: 3rd item of the 2nd group and last item of the 1st group. The journalist seems to have read Ball’s list and confused this second item with the one preceding it in the list, William Clay’s bequest to Bourne Abbey Church. The subject is discussed more thoroughly in FNQ1049.]