Norton Disney lies idyllically alongside the River Witham in Lincolnshire and has a lovely little church to compliment it.
It further benefits from being richly endowed in monuments - it’s a good one this please do give it a quick look
There’s a rule of thumb when it comes to churches, any that are open are devoid of effigies - all those with a knight effigy or interesting monument are locked !
However, here was an exception, not only that but exceptional as well.
The church which serves the small village is dedicated to St Peter and once belonged to Sempringham Priory. The tower is Early English in style and circa 15th century with a fine array of gargoyles, grotesques and imps.
There’s been plenty of restoration covering several periods but all nicely done. Inside there are 13th and 14th century remnants including arcade bays.
The most obvious features inside are the monuments though some having a direct connection to the village - namely that of the Disney family.
The Disney family were Norman and originated from Isigny near Bayeaux and lived in Lincolnshire from the 13th century onwards - well onwards until King James II lopped the head off William Disney for his part in the Monmouth Rebellion.
That’s not it for history either - before all this the Romans were there !
According to Arthur Mee a despondent farmer annoyed at only being able to cultivate weeds in a patch of field decided to dig it out - he found a wall that was 6 feet deep and two Roman pavements ! The Roman villa is an L-shaped building built 1st century AD it was also defended by a ditch, resplendent with bath house and two mosaics extant.
Roman finds have continued to show including 3 burials, pottery and roof tile as well as a large quantity of coins !
There’s trace of prehistoric settlement, a medieval moated manor, ridge and furrow, Bronze Age and a Neolithic stone axe - just about everything - it’s a fantastic area
The Domesday Book of 1086 lists the village as Nortune, Disney being added after d’Isigny family, no mills etc mentioned and the books names only Countess Judith.
RAF Swinderby, opened late 1930s, was later renamed RAF Norton Disney and brief initial research suggests it was involved in supplying other RAF bases.
I shall return to the military history in another post as I need to revisit and record what remains of the RAF base.
As you can see Norton Disney has a history which stretches from flint tools to mustard gas with everything in between.
I’d like to encourage others to add anything they know or come across so we can put more historical flesh on the fascinating villages bones.
If you know anything or have any experience then please do leave a comment - thank you
All the best