March 18, 2021 10.59 am This story is over 32 months old

Four Lincolnshire locations have links to slave trade, new report finds

Lincs to the past

Four Lincolnshire locations have links to the slave trade, according to a new report by Historic England.

Blankney, Burghley House, Little Ponton Hall and Woodhall Spa are all included in the report by Dr Mary Wills and Dr Madge Dresser entitled ‘The Transatlantic Slave Economy and England’s Built Environment: A Research Audit’.

The research was conducted between April and July 2020 during the nationwide closure of public buildings, caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

It looked at historical records showing individuals and businesses who claimed for compensation for loss of their enslaved workers when slavery was abolished in the British Caribbean on 1 August 1834.

The report comes after Black Lives Matter protests were held across the globe last year, including in Lincoln and Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire.

Sir John Hayes, Conservative MP for South Holland and The Deepings has hit out at the report and questioned why £15,000 was spent doing it.

He told BBC Radio Lincolnshire: “You have to ask yourself the question, why? What’s the purpose of that and why on earth spend £15,000 of tax payers money doing it?

“I first thought it should be shelved, I now think it should be shredded. It has no use whatsoever and it’s an indecent organisation that needs to be brought to order.”

The following Lincolnshire locations were mentioned in the report as having links with the slave trade:


Blankney village in North Kesteven

The Chaplin family owned Blankney for most of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Between 1820 and 1850 Charles Chaplin built the Hall, rebuilt the church and village, and laid out the park.

Members of the Chaplin family were jointly awarded compensation for plantations in Grenada with the London banker Vere Fane.

Burghley House

Burghley House is still owned by the Cecil family

Burghley House, near Stamford, was built and is still owned by the Cecil family. In 1724, Cecil Brownlow, the eighth Earl of Exeter, married Hannah Sophia, daughter and co-heir of Thomas Chambers, a London merchant who had grown rich in the West Indies.

When his son, the ninth Earl, inherited in 1754 he employed Capability Brown to modernise the garden, surrounding parkland and aspect of the house, including the construction of stables, an orangery and a Gothic garden summerhouse.

Little Ponton Hall

Little Ponton Hall Gardens near Grantham

Little Ponton Hall in Grantham is associated in the mid-19th century with Vere Fane, a London banker and partner at Praeds and Company, awarded compensation for estates in Jamaica and Grenada jointly with his brother-in-law Rev. Henry Chaplin.

He also inherited East India stocks from his father, Henry Fane. His daughter Emily married Colonel Edward Birch Reynardson and they lived at the Hall.

Woodhall Spa

The Hotchkin Course at the National Golf Centre Woodhall Spa is named after Stafford Vere Hotchkin, who gave the land in 1902.

Woodhall Spa was the seat of a branch of the Hotchkin family of Jamaican slave-owners, who also owned other estates in Rutland and Leicestershire.

The Hotchkin Course at the National Golf Centre in Woodhall Spa is named after Stafford Vere Hotchkin, who gave the land in 1902.

The research states that “recent events associated with the Black Lives Matter movement serve as a potent reminder of how this history of exploiting human life for profits permeates many aspects of English history.”

It considers how the money was made and spent, and other consequences on the built environment.

The challenge for historians, heritage bodies, and local and community researchers, has been to identify and recontextualise remnants of England’s slavery past found in its buildings, houses, streets, industrial heritage, urban fabrics and rural landscapes. However, much remains to be uncovered.