- Tattershall Village -
The village of Tattershall stands, it can fairly be said, at the geographical heart of Lincolnshire. An ancient place studded with historical fragments, it is dominated today by the 15th century brick tower of the castle built by Ralph, Lord Cromwell, Lord High Treasurer of England and for many years the power behind the English throne.
Preserved and cared for now by the National Trust, the surviving keep was once just part of a bigger complex of towers, halls and outbuildings – all constructs by Lord Cromwell. But the castle didn’t last long: Ralph’s namesake Oliver Cromwell began the process of destruction, and by the end of the of the 17th century it was owned by a family who had no desire to live in it. The 20th century almost brought about its absolute demise; for the salvation of one of England’s medieval treasures Tattershall has to thank the Marquess Curzon of Kedleston.
Between 1912 and 1914 Curzon spent a personal fortune of almost Ł60,000 on securing and restoring Tattershall Castle, and in a final act of munificence he bequeathed it to the nation when he died. His generosity, and the lasting impression he made on Tattershall, echoed the good work done in the village five centuries earlier by Ralph, Lord Cromwell, whose legacy lives on.
The village of Tattershall was not to be merely Cromwell’s showy and impressive home; it was to be rebuilt as a seat of learning and an important place of worship. The Collegiate Church of the Holy Trinity, one of Lincolnshire’s greatest perpendicular churches, was founded alongside Cromwell’s college, only a forlorn fragment of which survives today. And in the shadow of the church stands a row of almshouses – the Bede Cottages – Which Cromwell rebuilt in 1440 under licence from Henry VI. The cottages have been much renovated since – the last time in 1967 – and must be a delightful place in which to live today.