History of Waltham

A brief history of Waltham

There was a Saxon settlement where Waltham village stands today.  The name Waltham probably comes from the Saxon ‘Walt’ meaning woodland and ‘ham’ meaning settlement.

Waltham is listed in the Domesday Book which was commissioned by King William I.  The landowner then was Count Alan, and the listing shows a Church and two salt pans.

Cenotaph

We are fortunate to have had sight of the original minute book, starting in June 1919 when discussion started about having a war memorial in Waltham.

A committee of 14 people was formed with the first item asking for suggestions as to what form the memorial should take. Ideas ranged from a mounted gun on a large stone base to a stone memorial with a cross and inscriptions. If we look at the cenotaph today we can see that the latter suggestion was adopted.

The next entries show that the location was then considered, with the corner of Brigsley Road and Cheapside decided upon. Some people believe that the cenotaph was moved after it was built to accommodate the road, but it was actually the road that was rerouted around the memorial!

Next in the minute book was how to raise the money for the project. Letters to ‘gentlemen of the village’ were sent out and 6 collecting books issued so ‘that the village might be canvassed house to house’. A meeting for the villagers was called in September 1919 for fund raising to be discussed.

There is then a gap in the minute book of about a year, when it is assumed the memorial was being built.

A year later the minutes show that discussion turned to the inscription and that it should honour the men who ‘died and to the self-sacrificing efforts of those who fought in the Great War’.

The date the memorial was to be unveiled was to be November 11th 1920, with the Rev Horn to lead a service ‘assisted by ministers of other denominations’. Ex-service men from Waltham were to be invited to the ceremony, with the minutes showing that G Heneage was to be invited to unveil the memorial. Lt Col Wilson and Major Torr are named as possible substitutes. It’s also noted that the local police superintendent was to be asked to provide ‘a constable to regulate traffic’, which is not dissimilar to each Remembrance Service held nearly 100 years later.

At a meeting in November 1921 the minute book shows the deeds and all associated books were to be handed over to Waltham Parish Council. The memorial committee was then disbanded, with the final page showing the balance sheet. The total expenditure being £358.7.9

To bring us up to date, each year the Parish Council organise a service to be held on Remembrance Sunday, with the assistance of The Royal British Legion and the local churches. A parade takes place starting at the British Legion on Barnoldby Road, to the Cenotaph where the first service is held. The parade then goes to All Saints’ Church for a second service, and afterwards returns to the British Legion. This is a well-attended village event, which as the records testifies started for nearly 100 years ago.

Airfield

In the 1930’s Waltham had a small commercial airfield which was later expanded by the then Grimsby Borough Council. By 1940 it was in the control of the R.A.F. Nissan huts appeared round the village with 142 Squadron housed in Ings Lane. Their first operation was on November 30th when 9 Wellington Mk 4 took off for Germany. By this time the airfield was called R.A.F. Grimsby.

100 Squadron came to Waltham in Dec 1942 with 16 Lancaster Bombers following shortly afterwards. They took part in many night time bombing raids, often joining hundreds of other planes, for raids as much as 6 hours away.

In 1945 as World War 2 was coming to an end and with the airfield deteriorating the R.A.F. moved out, leaving a quieter village behind.

Windmill

The Windmill and site are run by The Waltham Windmill Trust (a charitable trust), with the Waltham Windmill Preservation Society raising funds for maintenance of the Windmill.

The present Windmill was built in the 1880s, but there has been a windmill on the site since 1666. It was built from local brick and coated in tar, and has 6 sails which is unusual in the U.K. These drive the grinding stones to produce the flour, which is still milled today. The flour is used today by a local bakery to make loaves which are available to buy at the windmill on Saturday mornings during the spring and summer months.

Not only is the Windmill itself a tourist attraction, but the site is home to a miniature railway, a museum (holding among other things R.A.F. memorabilia), a restaurant, cafes plus an old fashioned sweet shop.

Many events are held throughout the year. Car boot sales, firework display, family fun days, to name but a few.


Village Green

The village green is located on the High Street in Waltham between Fairway and Kirkgate.  This was formally the site of the Old Rectory.  The building and its land was purchased by Lindsey County Council in 1958 for £2,260.  The Rectory was then demolished and the land levelled.  This would have been a very sad moment for the congregation as many church activities and village fetes were held in these grounds.

In 1964 Waltham Parish Council went into discussions with the Rural District Council to decide the future of this site.  An agreement was made to keep the old rectory and its land as an open space and a plan for the area was devised.

The County Council then produced different plans for a village library and clinic on part of the open space and the Parish Council were most upset, as they wished to preserve the open space and the design of the building was not in keeping with the surroundings.  Further discussions took place however, Lindsey County Council informed the Parish that the plans were too advanced to change and if there were not accepted this would mean no library.  The Parish Council grudgingly accepted the building as designed.

After this Waltham Parish Council wanted to ensure that the open space of the village green was protected and sought approval from the village to buy the remaining land from the Rural District Council.  In November of 1966 the village purchased the now Village green for £1,300.

Work took place in landscaping the area and the Rural District Council installed a car park with entrance off Kirkgate and the public conveniences were built in York stone in 1970.   In 2006 the Local Authority announced that they would be closing these toilets and were then taken over by the Parish Council. Work took place to upgrade the toilets and provide and extension to the building to include a Parish Office.