History

From: J ROSE Sent: Wednesday, November 8, 2017 6:01 PM To: Mike Spencer Subject: Village Venture Brattleby

This section is dedicated to memories of residents. There are many contributions made by past and present residents about people and dwellings in the village. If you want to contribute or make comments, please use the feedback option or contact the authors directly if their contact details are provided. We will make every effort to put you in touch, should you wish so.

The order of the document is that first there is a section with contributions around memories in general and then those that concerned with a particular dwelling, person/family or event.

There are also more general document relating to the planning history of the village.

A Life?

Mike Spencer

When the Police were asked by Social Services to break into the bungalow of a 68 year old Brattleby man in October 2015, little did the officer realise, he'd stepped over his body laid in the gloom of the rubbish filled room. Although he'd not been seen for several days, no one was worried, as this was how he chose to live. He'd lived the life of a recluse since his mother died some years earlier and refused all help by neighbours, even the Vicar's plea was politely turned down. Like many recluses', he was a 'hoarder', his small bungalow 'stacked to the gunnel's' with all manner of things, including 2000 unopened Air fix kits and hundreds upon hundreds of CD's, DVD's and tapes.

Although he was my next door neighbour, I'd not set foot in his bungalow since his mother died. He knew my number and I told him to ring – day or night – if he needed assistance, but he never did. He would sometimes speak, but would never engage in conversation and couldn't wait to return to the house and close the door.

He'd lived in the village since his teen age years in the early 1960's, most residents wouldn't recognise him let alone have ever spoken to him. He had a small car, but hardly ever used it, preferring to go to town on the bus. One of my enduring memories of him was seeing him step off the bus one hot summers day, dressed in a pair of 'long' shorts, a shirt covered with huge six inch vivid yellow sun flowers and a pair of 'Jesus' sandals, long socks and a base ball cap, looking for all the world like an 'extra' from 'Hawaii Five O'!

Not the best choice of dress for a man hoping to blend into the background, or better still, be totally invisi- ble!

I picked him up from hospital several times following a session of Radiation (or Chemotherapy) treatment and this was the only time I had any sort of a meaningful conversation with him, simply because, in the confines of the car, he didn't have to face me or look me in the eye.

He said little about his illness, preferring to talk about his latest gadget or CD.

One morning, some weeks later, he announced - through a gap in the fence - he'd been given only a few months, but still he refused help. It was at this stage Social Services became involved, which was a bless- ing, as now, at least he appeared to be accepting he needed some form of assistance.

The day he was found, I was in Yorkshire where I received a call from my wife to say, the police had had to break in. He'd been laid in there for several days. The thought of him dying alone and possibly in pain and distress, still haunts me to this day. Why would he not accept help?

I know for certain, a couple of other village residents also did their best for him too, as far as he would per- mit.

I was contacted by West Lindsey who'd become involved - as he had no known relatives - and was asked to meet them at the property. We discovered he'd not slept in a bed for several years, but in an easy chair in the kitchen. I'll not go into the details of the state of the place, only to say, when the House Clearance peo- ple were engaged, the guy said it was the worst one he'd seen in twenty years.

The search for any form of Will continued for several days, but none was found. We did, however, find his mother Maud's ashes in an urn on the kitchen mantelpiece.

A week or so later, a few villagers – and two the representatives from West Lindsey - attended his funeral, after which, his ashes were taken to the Funeral Directors premises in Boultham Park Road, from where I retrieved them a week or so later and brought them back to his beloved Brattleby. 

.I was asked by the vicar if I would dig a hole suitable for mother and son, in the small area in St Cuthbert's church yard reserved for cremations. The following day, a short service of remembrance was conducted, attended by a few residents.

However, this was not as we thought, the end of the story.

Several weeks later I was contacted by a firm of 'Heir Hunters' from London and asked if I had any idea if he had any known relatives and could they call and interview me? The hour long session conducted in our kitchen seemed a little pointless, as I'd already told them on the phone, I knew of no living relation.

I was informed some weeks later, the company had found a distant - previously totally unknown - relation on his fathers side, who would more than likely inherit his entire estate of roughly £140,000.

Considering the amount they stood to inherit, one would have thought they would have been happy to pay the cost of a head stone. I was initially advised they would, but nothing ever came of it.

I do sometimes begin to lose faith in people, a few hundred pounds is a small price to pay out of a 'gift' of £140,000! I hope they can sleep at night?

Today, two years later, there's no evidence either Derrick, or his mother Maud ever existed, let alone lived in the village for over 50 years, other than the piece of wood I placed on the grave day after the funeral, with the word 'Derrick' written on it in black marker pen.

In Brattleby we like to think we take care of our own, so we're going to hold a Coffee Morning at “Manor Ley” School Lane on Saturday December 9th 10am – 1pm in an attempt to raise £400 for a Headstone for Derrick and Maud to replace the 'stick and marker pen.'
Make a note in your diary, more details next month.

Should any reader wish to make a donation, please contact the author.

Mikey.spencer@btinternet.com

Manor Ley, School Lane Brattleby LN1 2SQ 

Response(s) to the article (firstly published in the Village Venture November 2017)

A Life

by Chris Scott

I found the article written by Mike Spencer about Derrick’s life and death very moving. It’s a sad indictment of modern life that people like Derrick can live in a small community like Brattleby and go unrecognised. Having spent 40 years of a nursing career in mental health this story neither shocks nor surprises me as Derrick’s story is all too common I’m afraid. Recluses (frequently with underlying mental health issues) living and dying in isolation is a sad fact of life but at least some made an effort to reach out to him and one hopes that he knew at some level he could ask for help if he felt so inclined. 

My friend who lives on the east coast was so touched by Mikes story she has pledged her sponsorship money for “dry October” towards the headstone. I too with others will be there on the 9th December at the coffee morning doing our bit to raise the rest of the money needed to give Derrick and his mum the recognition they so deserve. 

I do feel very strongly that communities should look after their elderly and vulnerable and sometimes that involves being persistent and not always taking no for an answer. I appreciate we all live busy lives but who knows one day we too may find ourselves in Derricks position, lonely and alone.  

Thank you Mike for raising awareness and opening up your home for the fund raising event but most of all for caring enough to come up with the idea of getting a headstone which will forever mark the resting place of Derrick and his mum.

Derek

by Roy Thornhill 

I believe most of us think it is a good idea to commemorate both Derek and his mother with a memorial.

Ernest Derek Franklin may not have been easily understood, he was different, as most of us are in many ways. All I will say is that fate dealt Derek a very poor hand losing both his mother and his sister leaving him sadly to cope with his serious illness alone.

Imagine a son reunited with his loving mother and imagine what she, his mother, would like to see as a fitting tribute to her son.

I trust we all bear this in mind when we hear or read of any account of his life.

by Janet Rose

Dear Mike, I read your moving description of the very sad circumstances in which Derrick passed away and the subsequent events which followed. I am in complete agreement regarding a proper head stone for both him and his mother. Even if people who cared when he was alive were unable to help because of his reluctance to accept any,it is important to mark his life in Brattleby with the head stone in St Cuthberts. I hope the coffee morning will be a success and will try to attend but I will make a donation anyway.  Thank you for bringing this to our attention, it shows how important neighbourliness is in our villages,Kind regards,Janet.

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Brattleby in 928 -1086

In 928 to be exact - to 1086, a man called Colswain – or Kolsveinn - was lord of the Manor of Brattleby and tenant in chief of Lincolnshire. He was one of only two Englishmen holding estates of Baronial dimensions at the time of the Doomsday Survey, with some 50 other Lincolnshire Manors under his control. So, with so many different places he could have lived, why did he choose Brattleby?
Colswain had a daughter called Muriel - born in 1105 at Brattleby – she eventually married Robert De La Haye and as far as can be ascertained, continued to live in Brattleby.
To save confusion for the reader, the story of the family moves on. Their daughter, Lady Nicholaa Del La Haye was born in 1169. Nicholaa proved to be one of the great women of her time, becoming Castellan of Lincoln castle, Sheriff of Lincolnshire and a valued friend of King John.
History says - “In May 1217 she doggedly led the defence of Lincoln Castle during the battle of Lincoln, she possessed extensive estates in Lincolnshire, centred on Brattleby.”
In the 13th century the barony of Brattleby eventually passed to Nicholaa’s granddaughter, Idonea de Camville (married name) again born in Brattleby – in 1209. 
Just where in the village this important family lived is anyone’s guess. I suspect the most likely place would be where the current Brattleby Hall now stands?
So at some point, our village must have been a very important place, the question remains unresolved as to why this would be.

The Great War 

2014 will be a significant year, it being 100 years since the start of the First World War. Many ‘older’ residents – myself included - will have parents or grandparants who were involved – in one form or another - in what became known as, ‘The Great War’.

One Brattleby resident, William Simons, who lived in a ‘two up and two down’ Brattleby cottage with his parents, 4 brothers and 3 sisters, wrote - with pencil on lined paper - the following letter from the trenches in France...

Dear Sisters,

Just a line hoping to find you quite well as it leaves me at present. You will think I have forgotten you but it is such a job to get paper where we are now. You will know I am not with the battalion and my proper address is B Company 1st Lincolns attached to 175 Tunnelling Company BEF France.

I have not got the parcel you sent I may do yet as it would go to the battalion and it might have got lost but I have got your other letters alright we are having a good time here and having some beautiful weather. I think the news is better and I don’t think it will be long before its all over. I wish I was back at the old job again now it would be a change. I like this job better than the other and get on with it well I must now conclude hoping to hear from you again soon. With best love to you all your loving brother William.

William wrote this letter on 14th of August 1918. He was killed 2 months later. Whether he eventually received his parcel or not, we’ll never know. 

William’s tragic death – like a number of other Brattleby residents during the war – is celebrated for ‘all time’ on the pillars of the Memorial Gates to St Cuthbert’s church on the main road.

His parents out lived him by 40 years, both dying within half an hour of each, on the 27th of November 1947 - in different hospitals. They were laid to rest in Brattleby Churchyard . Those haunting words by John Maxwell Evans,

“When you go home tell them of us and say, for their tomorrow we gave our today”

seem even more poignant considering William never did make it back to his beloved Brattleby spending almost 100 years buried somewhere in a field in France. 

As the village has a number of listed war casualties, it’s the intention of Brattleby Parish Council to commemorate the Centenary of the 1st World War during the current year. If any resident would like to be involved, please contact the author. 

For our readers ‘abroad’, there are photographs of the War Memorial below.

Mike Spencer