Marian Woolerton - How we used to live
Oral history collected when Miss Marian Woolerton visited Woolsthorpe Manor on 19th November 2001: Marian Woolerton was born in the hamlet of Woolsthorpe, September 1903, in the Wagggoners Cottage. She came to live in the Manor as a little girl and grew up here when her parents took over running the Manor farm after her grandparents stopped farming. She remembered sleeping in the small panelled portion in the room now known as the Hall Chamber, whilst her parents slept in the main room. Marian sat in the back kitchen and tried to remember how it was a working kitchen during her childhood. The hooks on the beams in the kitchen were used for hanging hams and bacon joints after the pig was killed. This was usually done in November so that everything was ready for Christmas. Other joints of pig were kept in the small room without windows upstairs. The Colsterworth slaughterhouse was down by School Lane by the river, but the animals from the Manor were mostly sent to Grantham for slaughter. Guns were also kept on other hooks hanging from the kitchen ceiling. Lighting was by oil lamps or candles.
A large lamp hung from the kitchen ceiling. The paraffin was bought from Mrs. Burton's shop (now 47 Newton Way) Electricity came to the village about 1948. A black lead range was in the fireplace with, to the left, an open shelf where the candlesticks were kept, in front of the bread oven. They were black or brass and used to take upstairs each night. On the shelf over the bread oven the carriage lamps were kept. To the left of the grate was a built-in cupboard. She remembered a cowl/chimney cover over the range at sometime - possibly in her grandparents' day. A tap on the range gave hot water. In front of the range was a steel fender with poker, tongs and shovel. Under the small window on North side of the kitchen was the sink and pump. Drinking water was kept in a pippin - an earthenware vessel - covered with a wooden top, in the cupboard to the right of fireplace - now called the pantry.
There was a large refectory table along the north wall of the kitchen, with shelves along the wall, holding pottery. A settle curved from here in front of the fire. Boots were stored underneath. There was a small scrubbed table in front of the settle where the maids ate. To the right, there was a large scrubbed table where food was prepared and the family ate. Grandfather's chair was to the right of the fireplace, in front of the built-in cupboard. The window seat was similar to today. In the pantry crockery and food were kept, and later, electricity meters. It was not walk-in then, but had shelves etc. The leven tub was next to the back door. Brown sacks of flour were kept underneath. The milk separator stood on the wooden marks in the tiled floor. The floor was always red quarry tiles. Marian's mother taught her how to scrub the floor properly before she left home. They had their own mark for butter pats - it was holly and berries. The kitchen door was a solid wooden one which was painted. The present windows are post 1940's. Outside was the panchion rack where the milking pans etc. were washed and stored to drain. Volunteers' Room - this was the wash house with copper and fireplace.
The fire under the copper would be lit by the maid about 4 a.m. on wash day. Behind here the coal was kept and there were two hen roosts. The saddle house had a fireplace and all the harnesses etc. were kept here. In another outhouse they kept the pig buckets. (Once one of the maids threw away some wine which had fermented - she put it in the pig bucket and the pigs became intoxicated). Horses were always named: Blossom and Dolly Flower and Star Daisy An old pony called Bob lived in the paddock at the Waggoners Cottage. There was always a race with the Colsterworth Farm to get the Harvest in first. When the last wagon was unloaded the men stopped at the bottom of the yard and shouted 'Harvest Home' very loudly, hoping they were first and the Colsterworth farm heard them! Workers at the Manor Billy Thompson from Canister Hall, Colsterworth (1890) Mary Weller (maid) Lizzie Atter Harvest Suppers with entertainment were held for some elderly people in the village at the Manor - Mrs. Spicer and her daughter Ada, Mr. & Mrs. Herbert, the Shields family.
They were also taken pigs fry when the pig was killed - that was Marian's job as a little girl. Carol singers came to the front gate. Grandmother and Grandfather farmed until about 1914 and Marian's father died 25th June 1923 aged 57 years. She remembers some old village place names in Woolsthorpe. Lammas Clos near last house in village on Skillington Road (Top Cottage) now Redland Cottage - where Mrs. Edmondson then lived. Stone pit clos. The lime kiln, opposite Lammas Clos. Watson's Mill and Thompson's Mill on Merry Cock Hill. 7 acre and 9 acre fields belonging to the Manor - somewhere up near the cattle arch on Skillington Road. Rippin's farm now Axholme Lodge. Saddlers Cottage near there Sam Dexter and very large family lived near there too. Mrs. Rippin - a cousin of her Grandfather - was called Aunt Tet and kept a parrot. Symmonds Stan Harrison Special days for special jobs Monday Wash Day Tuesday Ironing Day Wednesday Upstairs cleaning Day Thursday Butter churning day Friday Downstairs Cleaning Day and Pay Day for farm workers.
At some point in time she recalls them getting 4.19s 6d, but can't remember when. Four chairs were set in the kitchen for the workers and they were given a glass of beer. This was bought at Fletcher's in Grantham. They always had a Christmas tree in the Manor kitchen which was then planted in what is now the bottom car park. Binder equipment, plus canvas and string was kept in the Hayloft. Access was from an outside staircase. She remembered the partition beside the fire in the Hall as a store area. The fireplace was blocked up with another fireplace in front. She was surprised at the arched window. This was uncovered and the Ingle Nook restored when the Caves lived in the Manor. The chimney was blocked up later. This room was known as the dining room and had lino in it - brown covered with stars Wooden panelling formed a tiled passage at the back of this room - where the cellar door is. The parlour was called the far room.