Pump Hill Cottage

Peter Lawler


Pump Hill Cottage is plot number 37 on the village “1957 sale” map, shown under the History tab in the village website. It is a semi-detached cottage, which according to a 1948 rural survey (attached) had been first leased in 1880 under the Lord Heneage estate. It is therefore assumed that the cottage was built in 1880 for lease to the many workers attached to the Heneage estate.


The 1948 survey showed the house to be occupied by 2 people. These were my grandparents Sarah Ann and William F Bett (Fred). Fred Bett was thought to have been born in 1877 at The Vicarage in Hainton, which according to the 1881Census, was occupied by his widowed father John W Bett and his grandparents, John and Susanna Bett. It is thought that Pump Hill Cottage was leased at about this time, by part of this extended Bett family, including Fred. These are the origins of a house to which my mother became a part, and where my brother and I spent so many happy times during the early war years and during our holidays.

My mother’s parents were Sarah Ann Shepherd (born 1885) and William Henry Traves, a Binbrook farmer’s son, born in 1882. They married in 1909 and lived in Beelsby. Sarah Ann Traves had 2 daughters by this marriage. Nellie May Traves was born in 1910 and my mother, Ivy Olive Traves, was born on October 20th 1914. My mother did not have many memories of her father William, as he died of stomach cancer when she was young.

It is thought that Sarah Ann met and married Fred Bett after the death of her husband William about 1923, and the family moved into Pump Hill Cottage. The 2 bedroom cottages built for farm workers were unsuitable for raising large families. Ideally they suited a couple which had a son that could also work on the estate. Female offspring were able to help in house domestic duties and to some extent in the busy crop harvest periods, but on the whole they would hope to marry into a larger local family and raise a family for themselves. It was also common practice for girls who had reached school leaving age to go “into service” as a domestic help with a wealthy family. In the larger industrial towns and cities, the increasing success of the Industrial Revolution resulted in a flush of wealthy families that were able to promote the further education or better career opportunities of their children, allowing them to stay longer in what were their larger homes. The life of the poorer working class was, however, not easy, especially for those living in countryside villages that offered few opportunities for paid work.

Fred Bett had been illiterate all his life, unable to read or write, but was fortunate that his new wife could both read and write to a reasonable level. Apart from working at busy times on local farms, Fred ran a small carrier’s business with a horse and cart, always on hand when heavy goods were needed to be moved any local distance. His horse (named Peter) was stabled in one of the three outhouses attached to the outbuildings of the house that extended from the washhouse. The cottage also had a large open wooden barn that would have been used for the cart and any goods awaiting delivery.

Sarah Bett also contributed to their search for income by travelling to Louth each week to buy a variety of sweets wrapped up in 2 ounce bags, together with a range of small household necessities such as shoe laces and polish, dusters, soaps and metal polish. She would then travel on foot around the local communities and farms with a large wicker basket of her trading goods and sold them on for a small profit.

The birth of their daughter Freda Bett in 1924 would have put a further strain on the accommodation in the small cottage as well as another mouth to feed. However, within a year or so, the elder daughter (Nellie) left home at the age of 15 to take up a domestic service position with a family living in a large house in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire.

From about 1926 onwards, my mother, Ivy Traves, would have taken on some of the duties of caring for Freda while Fred and Sarah sought ways of earning additional income. The Sunday School attendance prize of a small bible awarded to my mother in 1929 (copy of certificate shown below), shows that at the age of 15 she was still in school and caring for her 5 year old step-sister Freda in South Willingham.

At some time in the 1930’s my mother left South Willingham to join her sister Nellie in the same domestic service position at the large house in Ashton-under-Lyne. It was here that she met my father, Christopher Lawler. They returned in 1936 to get married in St Martin’s church in South Willingham. Thus began the lives of my brother and myself in the history of South Willingham. My brother John was born in 1939 whilst I was born in 1941during the period when my father was fighting Rommel in North Africa, and later when he was posted to Italy to help in the defeat of Mussolini.

In the mid 1940’s Freda married Henry Jobson, a local builder, at St Martin’s Church and moved into a semi detached cottage just beyond the village shop. Their son David Jobson was born in the early 1960’s. After the death of Sarah Ann Bett, Fred Bett was joined by his daughter Freda and her family at Pump Hill Cottage, which they had purchased in the 1957 village sale. David had a lifelong ambition to become a train driver. He achieved this after travelling every day to Lincoln for training. He then met his wife Carole and moved to a house in Cherry Willingham where they had a son Simon. Shortly after retiring in 2010 David passed away suddenly and sadly his mother Freda also passed away in 2011. Prior to her death Freda had re-married after the death of Henry, her husband, and moved to Winterton near Scunthorpe. She sold Pump Hill Cottage to Paul Fuller who is involved in the management of the South Willingham website.

Sarah Ann Bett and Fred Bett

Christopher Lawler Ivy Lawler Freda Jobson Henry Jobson David Jobson

Pump Hill Cottage 1973 West View.

Pump Hill Cottage 1973 West View.




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Just Who Were The First People To Settle In South Willingham?

Photograph taken in 1952 showing L-R John Lawler, David Jobson and Peter Lawler. The house shown in the background is Pump Hill Cottage

Photograph taken in 1952 showing L-R John Lawler, David Jobson and Peter Lawler. The house shown in the background is Pump Hill Cottage

This article is in memory of our cousin David who passed away in 2010 aged 63. The photograph was taken in 1952 when he was 5 and I was 11, whilst my brother was 13. The photo was taken in the rear garden of his parent’s house (Freda and Henry Jobson) that is now known as Pump Hill Cottage. We had recently seen a film by John Ford called ‘The Quiet Man’ starring John Wayne and we dressed to mimic the characters. The film was located in Ireland, involved lots of fist fighting, and the main male characters wore an Irish version of tam o’ shanters. During our regular summer breaks to South Willingham, from the industrial suburbs of Lancashire, the three of us acted out a variety of fantasy games that were so typical of this age. One place we frequently visited was the woods, which can be accessed at the end of Moors Lane, but our usual route was down Fred Bett’s field, at the side of our house, and up through two more fields to the edge of the woods. At the end of the Moors Lane access point, and in the open glade in the woods, was a sandpit that was full of sand martin nests that we reveled in watching. Opposite this sandpit was a large tall “sausage shaped” hill covered in bracken that became a battlefield for our games.

As our lives moved into the early 60’s, my brother and I became consumed by further education and our visits to South Willingham were much less frequent. Meanwhile David continued to play with his South Willingham friends and it was during the 1960’s that David was once again playing in the sandpit by the woods, when he found what appeared to be two clay beakers and he carried them carefully home. It was very apparent that the two objects were very old and that he should take them to the museum in Lincoln for assessment. This article relates to the efforts of my brother in contacting the Lincoln museum by e-mails that are reproduced here and interspersed with our own observations and comments that are our personal views.


John Lawler  to …. Collections Officer
The Collection: Art and Archaeology in Lincolnshire

Dear Sir or Madam,
I am trying to find out some information about 2 ‘Beaker’ pots that my cousin David Jobson, (now sadly deceased), found in South Willingham on the Heneage estate many years ago and which he took to the museum. I wonder if you still have them and if you might have a photograph, (we have never seen them). They were found in a sandpit near a large earth mound that we jokingly said was a burial mound from a battle. It was densely overgrown with bracken and we used to fight our own battles there. Were you able at the time to carry out any other excavations, or find any other artifacts in the area? I would be very grateful for any information you might be able to provide me with.


John Lawler


Dear Mr. Lawler,

Thank you for your email regarding the beakers from South Willingham, discovered in the 1960s by your cousin David Jobson. The complete Bronze Age handled beaker was discovered along with shards from an ordinary beaker, which was restored. I am pleased to be able to tell you that both are still in the museum collections, and are on display in The Collection museum in Lincoln. There is no one at the museum now that would have visited the site, but I have found some information from the Historic Environment Record about the original find of the two beakers, and attach it to this email. Apparently no other artifacts were found in relation to these beakers, but other Bronze Age and Neolithic finds have been discovered in the surrounding area, see excel list attached [shown below the photographs]. I have attached two photographs, one of each of the beakers. If you are ever able to visit the museum, you will be able to see them on display. I hope this information is of interest to you.

Best wishes

…Collections Officer

Beaker Pottery found in South Willingham and on show at The Collection in Lincoln

Beaker Pottery found in South Willingham and on show at The Collection in Lincoln

Beaker Pottery found in South Willingham and on show at The Collection in Lincoln

Beaker Pottery found in South Willingham and on show at The Collection in Lincoln


The 2 beakers found by David Jobson. The one on the left with a handle was complete, whilst the one on the right was re-constructed from the broken pieces alongside.


Bronze Age and Neolithic Finds in South Willingham Area


Lincolnshire HER Monument Report

HER Number Site Name Record Type 40554 – MLI40554

Shards of an ordinary beaker and all of a handled beaker were found in old sandpit at South Willingham

Monument Types and Dates

FINDSPOT (Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age – 3000 BC to 1501 BC)

Description and Sources

Shards of an ordinary beaker and all of a handled beaker except for its handle were found in old sandpit when the face collapsed after heavy rain. The writer K. Wood and A. Page visited the site, with the finder and further shards and the handle of the beaker were found. Apparently, the two beakers had originally been about two feet below the ground surface. There were no traces, however, of a structure, burial or other archaeological material. The ordinary beaker was restored by the Institute of Archaeology, London, and D. Clark, Peterhouse College, Cambridge, reported on the two beakers as follows: ‘the handled beaker from South Willingham displays a shape, zonal style and motif assemblage matched only in the southern British beaker assemblage (roughly Abercromby’s group A). This southern British beaker assemblage is an indigenous development apparently first becoming a coherent tradition around the fen margins of East Anglia, integrating the new feature of the intrusive northern British/Dutch beaker groups (Abercromby group C) and the residual local beaker settlers of the earlier phases (Abercromby group B). The southern British beaker assemblage first appears in the fen margin region around 1700-1600BC and expands vigorously throughout England, developing a changing motif, style and shape tradition that can usefully be divided into four successive and continuous phases – primary, developed, late and final southern beaker groups (S1, S2, S3, S4). The late and final southern beakers postdate the developing Wessex sub-culture to the south-east and consequently survive late in the eastern counties along the North Sea coast, finally integrating in the biconical urn traditions around 1450-1400BC handled beakers appear to have been an ordinary everyday part of the domestic assemblage of the southern British beaker group. However, they are unknown from the primary phase as indeed they are from the whole of the complementary northern British beaker assemblage found from Yorkshire to Scotland (N1, N2, N3, N4). About 86 handled beakers survive, the majority in sherds, all from the southern British beaker group and most densely clustered in the eastern counties – particularly Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. These handled southern British beakers (SH) fall roughly into three main classes; cylindrical/barrel-shaped, funnel-neck shape with the handle applied, and finally the biconical/collared shape. A close study of the motif assemblage, styling and shape correlations, together with association and stratigraphic evidence, agree in showing the funnel-neck type as most frequent in developed southern beaker contexts and settlements (S2) and the collared/ biconical form most commonly in late and final southern beaker assemblages (S3, S4). Significantly enough, the most wooden looking type – the cylindrical/barrel handled beakers, occur throughout the whole sequence from developed to final southern phases. Taken together with the total absence of primary southern British handled beakers one might usefully surmise that the handled beaker tradition was stimulated by and ran contemporarily with a similar series of wooden drinking mugs. The South Willingham handled beaker is clearly of the cylindrical/barrel ‘wooden’ group and shares its decorated base with at least four more vessels of this class from Bottisham, Cambridgeshire, Fordham, Sible Hedingham, Essex, and Aldro, Yorkshire, the closest parallel being the Fordham vessel. The ‘all-over’ vertical chevrons suggest a late date in the series – perhaps in a late or final southern beaker assemblage of about 1150-1400BC.

Sources: (1) Article in serial: Whitwell, J.B 1966. Lincolnshire History and Archaeology Volume 1 Number 1 pages 34 to 35 (2) Index SMR File. South Willingham. TF28SW:G,1964, Whitwell, J.B. (3) Artefact: 1964. City and County Museum Collection 1964. LCNCC 1964.38 and 38a. National Grid Reference: TF 2013 8439  map sheet TF28SW. Administrative Areas: Civil Parish South Willingham, East Lindsey, Lincolnshire. Other Statuses and Cross-References: Sites and Monument Record – 40554, Active Site Number – 40554 Active. Associated Finds: FLI2881 Beaker (2) (Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age – 3000 BC to 1501 BC). Protected Status: SHINE.


OS map showing several tumulus in the area

OS map showing several tumulus in the area

The map is marked in red as “beakers found here” and shows in red several tumulus (burial chambers) and numbers, presumably references to other finds in the South Willingham area. To the left of the red triangle marking “beakers found here” is a T-junction roadway, which I believe is the end section of Moors Lane that leads out to the Willingham/Hainton Road just above the Parish Hall. I think the horizontal road below the woods, with a farm entrance off it is Donnington Road. We would normally go to the woods across the fields above the farm shown above and enter them into area 84. There was a pathway through the woods to the left that followed the adjoining field fence and this led into the narrower strip of woods that ended close to the Moors lane junction and the red triangle. The sausage shaped contour line between the woods and the red triangle is the mound that we played on with our battle games. My brother and I have long debated the possibility of this sausage shaped mound being a burial chamber (barrow). The image below has been extracted from Google Maps and clearly shows the sausage shaped hill and the outline of the sandpit (in the upper LH corner).

A Google Earth map showing the sandpit and mound where the Beaker Pottery was found

A Google Earth map showing the sandpit and mound where the Beaker Pottery was found

The historic and environment record of the pottery examination shows that the motif Decoration, and their size and shape, classifies them as being made by members of one of the Beaker tribes that were roaming around Europe in the 1150-1400 BC period. The absence of other finds or archaeological features in the area suggest that the Beaker person or people who were the owners of the pottery were probably there for a specific reason. They perhaps hid the beakers in the sand pit with a view to return at a later date. Suspicion must fall on the sausage shaped hill seen in the photo, that this perhaps is a burial mound of some type. In further e-mail inquiries about the hill, my brother received the following information.

On 2 November 2011 12:28, the Senior Historic Environment Record Officer wrote:

Dear Mr Lawler,

[I have been asked]… whether we have any information on the mound in South Willingham parish, which you asked her about. I have had a look in our files and have found the following information. This mound is an interesting feature in the landscape and has been referred to by walkers over many years. It is mentioned in the book “Rambles in Lincolnshire” by Bernard Reeves published in 1936, a guide book by the London and North Eastern Railway.

The book contains a number of rambles between railway stations. In this book it is described as a huge earth mound. It has been suggested that it is man-made and is a Neolithic long barrow but recent research on long barrows has established that it is very unlikely to be a long barrow. Rather it is now thought to be a natural hill. It is similar to several other such geological features found in the general area of the Lymn valley. The top has a hard protective capping of younger rock that has preserved the hill shape and below this capping the main slope of the hill is formed of softer stone. If it is a natural hill there is, of course, no reason why prehistoric peoples could not have used it and even adapted it for their own purposes. It has been a prominent ridge for many generations and will have been climbed and played upon by children through the ages just as you did yourself.
I hope this information is of interest to you.

Yours sincerely
…Senior Historic Environment Record Officer

This response perhaps errs on the side of disbelief but my brother and I prefer to stick to our childhood memories. Given the large amount of Tumuli in the area, the unusual geological content and the specific shape of the mound, together with the lack of other isolated natural hillocks, it suggests that the Environmental authorities do not want to give any hint of what may be reality, in the hope that this will deter any un-authorised random excavations by illegal treasure seekers. Information about Early Bronze Age Britain, in approximately 2,300 BC to 1,200 BC, and the Beaker people, provides an insight into the people who, it seems were some of the first people to live in South Willingham. It is believed that the beginning of the Bronze Age in Britain was brought about by the arrival of a new immigrant culture from central Europe. These tribes are known as the Beaker People, being identified by their unique pottery and are an important link between the evolution of the Stone Age people and the more technically able people who developed the use of the metal industries. It has been shown that many members of the Beaker tribes took part in the construction of Stonehenge. It was these Beaker People who were responsible for the proliferation in the landscape of round Barrows in which many examples of their domestic pottery, tools and weapons have been found including pottery jars, brooches and buckles made from gold, bronze daggers, cups, necklaces, and personal adornments made from various stones and precious materials. The placing of grave goods, including human bones (incomplete skeletons), seems to confirm they maintained a belief in the afterlife and, as burial sites are also grouped around henges and stone circles, there was also present a complex system of belief/religion. Stone monuments existed long before the arrival of these people but it was during the Bronze Age that they reached their zenith. The relationship between the 2 beakers and the sausage shaped earth mound needs a closer examination. It is unlikely that the 2 beakers were lost or left behind and forgotten by two visitors to the area. If they were visiting the mound, what was the significance of their visit and that of the mound? The sausage shaped configuration might suggest that it was an early barrow and that the beakers were intended to be placed inside the barrow, probably amongst other grave goods. The fact that the mound points in a NE by SW alignment, rather than a “Christian” E by W alignment is probably irrelevant, given that Christ had not been born. However the Beaker tribe people did have a strong belief in the afterlife and the placing of valued items and even parts of skeletons as gifts to a revered god into barrow mounds is well documented. My brother and I believe that the beakers are associated with the features of the mound as described above and that the Lincolnshire Council’s response is intended to avoid the interests of amateur archaeologists and metal detector aficionados from damaging the site. What we do however know is that Beaker people were roaming the land around South Willingham, in an area where evidence of ancient tribes is abundant. So what would have attracted them to South Willingham. Well we must instantly forget about the peaceful village that we all know so well, it just did not exist 2,500 years ago. My own vision would be a wooded valley with a river or stream that flowed down the area now occupied by Station Road. The rising land on both sides of Station Road suggests that the Station Road levels would have been river banks which attracted water flows from around the area down to the Railway Bridge by the old station. The area would have been well wooded and the soil richly fertilised in this area. Hence it would have supported a lot of wildlife including, deer, boar and even wolves. It was therefore a richly stocked wildlife supermarket that would have encouraged people to settle. With this vision in mind perhaps you can conjure up your own vision of who most probably wandered through that area of land that is now your own garden.

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The South Willingham Minute Book

This book, which is a record of village events, is now 90 years old, and was started on Mon August 28th 1922. The following is just a few of the entries which perhaps gives a flavour of village life

On August 28th 1922 a public meeting was held , the purpose of which was to make arrangements for the management of the Hall and “its proper carrying on”.

The Rev. Arthur Temperley was elected chairman of the meeting and he proposed the following resolution –
“That this meeting of the parishioners of South Willingham desires to express their sincere sorrow at the death of the late Lord Heneage, and their sympathy with Lady Heneage and the family and also to record their deep gratitude to his Lordship for his generous gift of the Parish hall.”

The following people were appointed to carry out the above mentioned objects.

Messrs W G Pickering, , G L Johnson, H Pickering, A Rogers, F Firth, C Hunt, E Ingray, A White, M Plumtree and G Freeborough.
Miss P Temperley, Miss Johnson, Mrs Tharratt, Mrs Rogers, Mrs H Pickering, Mrs Greaves, Mrs Plumtree and Miss E Pickering.

Four Trustees of the buildings, namely Lord Heneage, Mr E Harrison, Mr G Houghton and Rev. Temperley being ex-officio members of the committee.

Resolutions passed –

1) That the committee is charged with the duty of drawing up rules for the management of the Hall and have powers to act generally.
2) That the committee have powers to add to their number.
3) That the committee hold office until the end of June 1923.
(Signed Arthur Temperley)

The very first meeting of the general committee was held on August 30th 1922 at which the treasurer was requested to insure the buildings against fire with the Royal Insurance Company without delay.
Also a sub committee was appointed to draw up the rules for the Constitution of the Institute and to arrange for the purchase of the necessary furniture.

On September 27th 1922 it was proposed that the first caretaker, Mrs Fred Bett, was appointed at a payment of 6d per hour. Also that Miss Temperley be requested to buy two 100 candle power lamps – one wall lamp and one outside lamp. Also six sets of crockery.

Over the ensuing months and years regular committee meetings were held. The first garden fete is recorded as being held on June 30th 1923, although this seemed to depend on whether “the Horncastle Brass Band can be engaged for that date”.  It was also decided to hold an afternoon whist drive (the first of many) with Mr Gourley and Mr Tharratt undertaking to manage same.

In Oct 1923 the accounts for the year were presented, which included a balance of £170.7.6d plus £74.18.8d which was raised during the year making a total of £245.6.2d. After various payments were made the sum of £9.7.6d was left to begin the new session. It was stated that the cost of the Hall, along with the out-buildings was £224.12.9d.
A “fine” portrait of the late Lord Heneage was presented to the institute by Mr Wilkinson of Hainton, the chairman being requested to make a “suitable carved frame” for the portrait: he consented to “do his best”. It was decided that it should be hung in the hall.

March 1924 saw the gift of a billiard table, kindly donated by Lady Heneage for use in the hall. A letter of thanks to Lady Heneage was sent from Rev. Temperley. The charge per game would be 2d and the time allowed half an hour.

May 24th saw the years accounts being presented which was considered very satisfactory, a sum of £12 to be paid to the guarantors. It was unanimously decided to hold a garden fete in the Rectory grounds by kind permission of Rev Temperley on June 21st.

September 1924 saw the first mention of Mr Greenwood,  blacksmith, , when he proposed that three shillings be the charge for the session and two pence per evening for new members.

May 1925 saw the accounts being presented for the past session. This showed a balance of £17.4.8d which was considered very satisfactory. Mr J Hunt to be asked to carry out the painting of the hall exterior.

The garden fete was obviously a success as at the July 24th meeting the first business discussed was what should be done with the surplus money from the fete – it was decided, after some discussion, that it should be kept for the church.

On September 22nd a meeting of a newly formed Committee was held , the first business being the election of the officers and caretaker for the coming year. Mrs Bett was appointed caretaker “at the same salary as last year – £8“. At the next meeting a whist drive was decided on for Oct 13th at a charge of one shilling and three pence including refreshments. Also, a fancy dress dance should take place during Christmas week. Charges for letting the parish hall to outside parties was discussed, it being decided to charge ten shillings for a whist drive, fifteen shillings for whist drive and dance and 15 shillings for dance only.  Another whist drive to be held Dec 21st, price one shilling including refreshments.

It seems from a meeting held April 20th 1926 the question of whether to keep the hall open during the summer months was raised, as “there seemed many difficulties in the way”.  Decision was made to close during summer months.

What were called “long night dances” were proposed  – these taking place between 8pm to one in the morning.  And in fact on Dec 31st 1926 the dance was from 8 until 2 in the morning! On this occasion Mr Robinson was given permission to purchase a new drum for the jazz set. In between there were whist drives, lectures, etc.  So there was no lack of entertainment.

A sad event was recorded at the meeting of February 21st 1927. It was the news of the death of Canon A Temperley, the secretary being requested by the committee to write a letter of sympathy to Miss Temperley and that a wreath be purchased and sent.

The next major happening was when, on the evening of Oct 30th 1939 it was decided “not to open the Parish Hall on account of war conditions”. The next meeting would not take place until November 8th 1943.



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Coronation 1911 taken from Rasen Mail


  _________________________________________________________    People in the photograph below. – Albert and Audrey Hildred.  Nellie Pickwell. Betty Sylvester. Mrs Proctor. Mrs Dick Wright. Alice Bray. Hilda Addison. Albert Webster. Flo Vickers. John Vickers. Dick Bee. Jill Lacey. John Bolland. Fred Lancaster. Margaret Bolland. May Lancaster.  Harry Winning. Hilda Blackburn, Arthur East. Bill Bett. 

Celebrating the” 1980 Best Kept Village award”





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