Grandmas Gleanings from Newton's Woolsthorpe

Recollections from a Lincolnshire Hamlet By Margaret Anne Winn Published in 1994 Copyright M. A. Winn 1994

This is a collection of stories and facts, recording the childhood of the Robinson children and their way of life growing up in Woolsthorpe in the early 1900's.

Chapter 10 Pastimes

Pleasures were simple a walk down the Grantham Road on Sunday evening after Chapel or a wander to Skillington, sometimes to be chased back up the hill towards home by the youngsters of Blue Town as it was known. There was also great rivalry between the children of Woolsthorpe and Colsterworth each thinking the others should not play on their patch. The Robinson children attended Top Chapel Sunday School in the morning and the Church one in the afternoon and, as they got older, Chapel for the Evening Service. One reason being that Lizzie was Church and Fred was Chapel but also Fred liked his Sunday afternoon nap if they had not gone out and he was woken up by the children there was a great tut-tutting and they had to be quiet.

The girls always looked forward to Chapel Anniversary when somehow each of them got a new dress, usually by Lizzie's handiwork. They had to sit up on the platform and sing and everyone had to learn a piece of poetry to recite. Christmas was always a time of great excitement, when they all hung their stockings up in a row on the mantle shelf. Things they were an apple, an orange, nuts or maybe a rag doll, or a book for the boys. For these things they thought themselves very fortunate, some families could not afford even the simplest presents. My Mother recalled some children never even having a piece of fruit to eat. Whenever one of the Robinson children was eating an apple in the school playground they would be surrounded by other children all chorusing, Give us the core, give us the core!! The girls always celebrated May day by going May Garlanding. These were made with flowers intertwined around a hoop and set in moss.

The garland was covered by a sheet and at each door they showed their garland for a few pennies, which would be carefully shared out when they got home. The girls often walked as far as Stainby and Gunby. The children learned to plait the Maypole at school and performed their dancing usually for the Parish Church Feast Week celebrations. Oak apple day was celebrated by wearing a sprig of oak leaves, otherwise the boys stung you with a bunch of nettles. It was to commemorate the Royal Charles hiding in an oak tree when fleeing the country. Empire Day sometimes earned the children a holiday from school so they used to chant, Empire day, Empire Day, if we don't get a holiday we'll all run away. I wonder if it always worked? The family always stood to observe the silence in honour of the dead in the Great War. Once just as the silence had started a knocking and crying came from the door leading to the stairs. Len just a small boy had woken up and was frightened by the stillness of the house so was calling, Opey door Mammy, opey door Mammy.

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