Wrangle for visitors

Village amenities, Wrangle down the ages, bird and animal life, parish map and walks, St Mary and St Nicholas Church, Old Leake with Wrangle Methodist Church, Parish Hall, Wrangle Show

Photograph of Church End, the Angel Inn, the War Memorial and St Mary and St Nicholas Church, Wrangle

Photo by D. Turner

     Church End, the Angel Inn, the War Memorial and St Mary and St Nicholas Church

Village amenities

The Lincolnshire village of Wrangle, on the A52 mid-way between Boston and Skegness, is home to nearly 1,400 people in nearly 600 dwellings. It boasts two general stores with  post office services, a farm shop and nursery, a pub with accommodation and a weekend carvery, a quality restaurant, the medieval Church of St Mary and St Nicholas, a Methodist chapel, a parish hall (see links below), a primary school, a public sports field, and a residential home. Other shops and services include a TV and electronics repair workshop, a car tyre and metalworking shop, a second-hand store and an agricultural machinery supplier.

Bus services connect Wrangle with Skegness to the north and with Boston to the South. A national bus company provides a daily service to London. The nearest railway stations are Wainfleet (13 km, 8 miles) and Boston (15 km, 9.5 miles).

The nearest doctors are in the Old Leake Medical Centre 2 km (1.3 miles), the nearest hospitals are Pilgrim Hospital in Boston (12.5 km, 8 miles) and Skegness and District General Hospital (21 km, 13 miles )

For visitors interested in staying overnight, in addition to the pub several places offer B&B and holiday letting. There is also a Caravan and Camping Club site with five pitches.

By far the most important annual event is the Wrangle Show (see link below) in the first week of each July.

Access for the disabled
Access for wheel chairs and disability scooters has dramatically improved recently. Main Road (the A52 through the village) now has dropped kerbs at corners and raised kerbs at bus stops throughout. There is also  a continuous pavement between Wrangle and Old Leake, the next village to the south. Elsewhere, electric or manual wheelchair users have to exercise care in negotiating roads and local lanes: some have poor surfaces, some  are narrow or steeply cambered.

Wrangle down the ages

Today, Wrangle is one of eighteen parishes that, together with Boston town, form the Borough  of Boston. Since the local government reorganization of 1 April 1974, Wrangle Parish has formed  part of the Old Leake and Wrangle electoral ward.

The modern name of Wrangle reportedly comes from the Scandinavian Vrangr meaning bent or crooked—a reference to a stream long since gone. In 1089 the village appears under the name Werangle in the Domesday Book. In the 15th century it was known as Wranghill.

Historically, Wrangle was probably first settled in the iron age. It was certainly home to the 1st  century Romans who also exploited the local coastline as a source of salt. Salt production also drew the land-hungry Saxons from the 5th century onwards, and they were very likely the first to systematically enclose and drain areas of the coastal salt marsh as a means of extending their agriculture. After the Norman invasion, the Domesday Book records parts of the village as being the possession of one of William the Conqueror's generals.

While there is as yet no coherent history of Wrangle thereafter, its fortunes can be guessed at from the following. In Medieval times it was both a locally important port and market centre. In the late 13th century, Henry de Lacy, 3rd Earl of Lincoln, held a market every Saturday at his manor in Wrangle. The sheltered port, some 400 m to the West of the present church, relied on Hangel Creek and its access to the sea, then only 2.5 km (1.3 miles) away. A predecessor of the Angel pub stood on its banks. It was presumably from there that, in 1359, Wrangle furnished and sent one ship with eight men to help Edward III fight the Hundred Years war. In Elizabethan times Wrangle Manor was held by the Queen herself as part of her Richmond property. In 1676 it passed into the hands of a commoner, Thomas Woodcock. Its manorial rights were commuted in 1807.

Photograph of wrangle church window                          Photo by Pemser

The power of the church had meanwhile waxed and waned. The list of vicars of St Nicholas (later St Mary and St Nicholas) starts in 1342, the register in 1653. Controlled by Waltham Abbey until the latter's dissolution in 1540, the church passed under the reformation to the Diocese of Lincoln where it remains today. Many stained glass windows were demolished by the Puritans in the civil war. One was saved from Cromwell's men thanks to its timely burial in the then vicarage garden.

Today the Church of St Mary and St Nicholas is Wrangle's oldest building, with architecture from from Early English Gothic onwards. Reasons to visit include an Elizabethan/Jacobean pulpit, a tower with six bells and a magnificent 14th century east window. The second oldest is the nearby Old Vicarage, a Queen Anne period house, now a private home.

Wrangle's natural history (see link below for more detail) can be traced back to the iron age (600-100 BC) when a settlement on the site of Wrangle for its salt making. In Roman times, Wrangle was probably a small island in the then much larger Wash. Sea enclosure and land reclamation, initially to the West connecting the island to the mainland, and from Saxon times onwards out into The Wash led to today's village centre some 5 km (3.5 miles) inland from the sea. Coastal ecologists today distinguish four eras of enclosure for agricultural reclamation —in Saxon times, from medieval time up to 1700, from 1800 to 1900 and post-1950. There is also a significant area of 'non-reclaimed' saltmarsh and mudflats that are increasingly recognized as important intertidal habitats for bird life and invertebrate animals, also for the plant life that provides food for large numbers of wintering birds (see below).

Economic activity changed accordingly—from salt manufacture (up to the middle of the 17th century) to a prosperous wool trade and farming on reclaimed land, from fishing and thriving port services to a market centre, and from mixed farming to specialized production and distribution of vegetables, and most recently to organic farming.

Photograph of a waterbird                             Photo by RSBP

Bird and animal life

The breeding birds most likely to be seen in The Wash salt marshes and adjacent farmland are colonial gulls (mostly the black-headed gull), terns, skylarks, redshanks, reed bunting (also lapland bunting) and meadow pipit (also rock pipit). The main wintering birds are the dark-bellied brent goose, shelduck, pintail, pink-footed goose, goldeneye, mallard, oystercatcher, grey plover, knot, dunlin, bar-tailed godwit, curlew, redshank, turnstone, sanderling. Twite that breed in the southern Pennines also winter on the West coast of The Wash. The main predatory birds are owls, (barn and short-eared), kestrels, sparrow hawks and the occasional buzzard. Among the game birds, the most likely to break cover from the cabbage and potato fields are pheasants.  Also visible, especially at dusk, are various bats.

Other than rabbit, animal life is harder find. An early morning walk along the outer embankment may be rewarded with glimpse of a vixen and her cubs. The dykes are home to water rats, their grass banks to voles and field mice.

Parish map and walks

To experience something of Wrangle's natural history, try one of two Wrangle walks that explore the village of Wrangle, the surrounding countryside and The Wash coast. The walks (see the adjacent maps) are among the series of 37 walks prepared by the Lincolnshire County Council's Access Development Team.

Walk 1 explores the land between the village and the coast, much of it reclaimed over the centuries from the sea with the aid of sea banks. These are also part of an complex system of sea defences who importance will increase in the context of global warming. The land-side grade 1 agricultural land, some of the most fertile in the country is used to grow vegetables, mainly brassicas.  The 5½-km (3½- mile) or 1½-km (1mile)  circular walk starts at the coastal end of Sea Lane and takes between 30 min. and 1¾ hrs to complete. It is mostly level walking and may be muddy and uneven in places.

Walk 2 on the north-western side of the A52 used a permissive path to explore farmland where wildlife is actively encouraged and thrives. The farmer has won several awards for his conservation work. The 5½-km (3½- mile) or 1½-km (1mile) circular walk starts at the crossroads of Broadgate and Gold Fen Dyke Bank.

For more details on both walks see the Lincolnshire Walks link below.