Folkingham shown within Lincolnshire
|OS grid reference|
|– London||95 mi (153 km) S|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||East Midlands|
|UK Parliament||Grantham and Stamford|
Folkingham // is a village and civil parish at the northern edge of the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, England. It lies on the A15 road 11 miles (18 km) north of Bourne. The civil parish and ecclesiastical parish have the same boundaries. The 2001 Census recorded a population of 729.
The village has several historic buildings, such as the House of Correction and The Greyhound. The area around the castle site became a designated conservation area in 1968.
Passing through the village are several footpaths; walking providing one of a number of activities that attract visitors.
Today the local economy is still mainly agriculture-based.
Every five or six years Folkingham suffers from flooding, caused by water gathering on the old RAF base swelling the river flowing through the village. The floods usually start at Millennium Green, then spread onto the A15 and into Billingborough Road.
The village owes its origin to the meeting place of traders, farmers, huntsmen, robbers and pedlars. The name "Folkingham" (or "Falkingham", as the village was previously written) derives from the Domesday entry "Folchingeham", and is said[by whom?] to derive from the word Folch or Falx, meaning a sickle. Another spelling, also based on Domesday is "Fulchingeham", which has been interpreted as "the Ham of Fulca's people".
A castle was built in the 12th century by Gilbert de Gant, Earl of Lincoln and enlarged by Henry Beaumont in the 14th century. He was given a licence to crenelate it in 1312. The last documentary record of occupation of this castle dates from 1372. John Leland described it as a ruin in 1535, in which state it survived until the Civil war. The site was later used as the village house of correction.
In the late 18th century Folkingham market place was used for stacking timber. Around it was a horse pond, a market cross and a small town hall. The market place was divided by chains into areas for sheep, cattle, horses and poultry, and for the sale of farm produce and other wares. In 1788 the third Richard Wynne, then lord of the manor, was in financial difficulties and sold-off the estate to Sir Gilbert Heathcote whose great-grandfather, the first baronet, was a member of Parliament, lord mayor of London and governor of the Bank of England. When Sir Gilbert acquired the estate he wanted to transform Folkingham into a small market town. His changes included clearing the market place and having it equipped to cater for the stage coaches using the main London to Lincoln road which passed through.
The Falkingham Gas Light Company was founded in 1863. The installation almost certainly used a Water gas or combined Water Gas/Producer gas system to produce gas from coal. No large-scale plant was installed in the village.
In 1940 RAF Folkingham, to the south-west of the village, began use as a Second World War airfield. It provided for troop carrier and airborne units and acted as a decoy airfield. During the 1950s and 1960s it was occupied by Bomber Command as a ballistic missile base.  It is no longer in service.
The Greyhound dates back to 1650. The now Grade II* listed building came to prominence during the 18th century when Folkingham became a key staging post on the Lincoln to London stagecoach route. Sir Gilbert Heathcote restructured the village during the 18th century, investing a large amount of money in rebuilding the Greyhound and creating its present red brick frontage. It became one of the main stopping posts for coachmen travelling between Lincoln and London. Up to 2003 it was known as the Greyhound Inn, and was then, for a short time, an antiques showroom. After 2003 it was put up for sale and auctioned unsuccessfully several times, until recently when it was bought by property developers who turned it into luxury flats.
In April 2005 fire broke out in one of the wings. Damage, which was restricted to three rooms on the top floor, was repaired during the conversion into flats. It was initially not known how the fire started and who was responsible, but most[according to whom?] put the blame on intruders.
The House of Correction
In the early 19th century Folkingham was part of Quarter Sessions, the higher court that dispensed justice for the area, which explains why a House of Correction, or minor prison, was built. It was constructed on the site of Folkingham Castle. The surviving Grade II* listed buildings consist of the original 19th-century governor's house and gateway, dating from 1808 and 1825. It was closed in 1878 but was taken over in about 1980 by the Landmark Trust, an organisation that converts unusual and neglected British buildings into holiday accommodation with modern amenities. They transformed the Gateway into a holiday home.
The Church of England parish church of Saint Andrew originates from the late 12th century and was largely completed by the late 15th, with restorations carried out in 1825, 1858 and 1860. It has early Decorated Gothic arcades and a mainly Early English chancel, with a Norman pier where there was an opening into a chantry chapel. On the south side of the church are the remains of stocks and a whipping-post. The church is a Grade I listed building.
The church is a prominent feature of the village, but is inconspicuous from the Market Place. In 2006 it was damaged when gale force winds blew down two of the four pinnacles, one of which fell onto the roof causing damaging costing more than £100,000 to repair.
The water tower
Although it is outside Folkingham parish, the water tower is a local landmark. Completed in 1982 next to the A15 on a hill, it is 70 feet high and has a capacity of 54,000 gallons of water to boost supplies to the area in times of shortage. Before its erection an iron water tower close to the A151 dating from 1939 was used.
Businesses and amenities
Folkingham has a corner store-cum-delicatessen in the Market Place, and a traditional tea shop. A property that was previously The Whipping Post public house, so-called because a pillory once stood outside, is now a premises for the making and selling of Handmade Chocolates, and is known as 'Hansens Chocolate House' which has gained a massive following on a local and national basis. Also in the Market Place is the post office, sited in The Old School – in response to its potential closure a local petition was raised. In West Street, off the Market Place, is the 18th century New Inn public house. A local bus transport company provides public transport to and between Grantham, Boston and Spalding. A converted Grade II listed barn and stables provides guesthouse facilities.
Recent years have seen a decline for local businesses. The Reading Room, a restaurant since the 1990s, closed in 2002; the premises is now a residential home. A public house, The Greyhound, closed in 2003, and another, The Five Bells, has been converted into a care home. Folkingham’s petrol station dated back to the 1940s and was a family business until its closure in 2003. It originally stood opposite The Old School and later relocated to other premises within the Market Place; its location is now occupied by three modern homes.
- Census 2001
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- Gas company
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- "House of Correction", The Landmark Trust. Retrieved 31 July 2011
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- "The Church of England in the Sleaford Area of Lincolnshire". Lafford Deanery. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
- Morrish, Amy (5 October 2007). "Save village post office". The Bourne Local. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
- Media related to Folkingham at Wikimedia Commons
- "Folkingham (also Falkingham)", Genuki.org.uk. Retrieved 31 July 2011
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- Folkingham Castle, everingham.com. Retrieved 31 July 2011
- "The Parliamentary Gazetteer’s Summary of Folkingham, 1843", The Bourne Archive. Retrieved 31 July 2011
- "Britain turns out the supercar", Pathe News: BRM car tested at Folkingham aerodrome. Retrieved 31 July 2011
- Folkingham village video. Retrieved 18 Dec 2010