Folkingham, "a small but ancient and well-built market town, is pleasantly situated on the Lincoln and London road, on the southern acclivity of a picturesque valley, 3 miles W. of Billingborough Railway station, on the Bourn and Sleaford branch of the Great Northern system, 9 miles N. of Bourn and S. of Sleaford, and 12 miles E. by S. of Grantham." WHITE's "History, Gazetteer and Directory of Lincolnshire, 1872"
The House of Correction (Gaol) was originally built in 1808 for all of the Kesteven district. It was redesigned and rebuilt on the site of Folkingham Castle (see History) in 1825 and extended in 1849 and 1858. The surviving part is the former gate and governor's house. The Gaol could accommodate 70 prisoners in solitary cells until closure in 1877. Now the property is in the Landmark Trust who maintain it for holiday lets.
It was in this village that Quarter Sessions were held, thus the need for the prison.
In 1841, census records tell us that the Gaol held 49 prisoners. Mr. Matthew Edis MAILE was the gaoler then.
Ian PATERSON has a photograph of the House of Correction on Geo-graph, taken in February, 2008.
This village and parish is bisected by the A15 trunk road as it travels north from Bourne to Sleaford. The parish lies just about midway between the two, some 26 miles southeast of Lincoln. Laughton parish lies to the south and Wolcot parish to the north. A small stream runs past the northeast side of the village, enventually joining the South Forty Foot Drain on the other side of Billingborough. The parish covers slightly more than 1,861 acres.
Folkingham is a large village with an attractive square, dominated by the Greyhound Inn, a tall three-storey building from the 17th century. It offered hotel accommodations, meals and liquid refreshments, but closed several years ago and is falling into decline (JB). The town was a popular stop for coaches in the 19th Century.
There are several natural spings in the parish, one of which is highly chalybeate.
Folkingham was probably already a small hamlet when the Romans came and built the Roman Road that runs a few miles west of the village. It is part of the old Kingdom of Lindsey that existed in King Arthur's time, although considered part of Kesteven now. The village is best known after the battle of Hastings in 1066 when William the Conqueror gave vast estates in the counties of Lincoln and York to (Baron) Gilbert de Gant (or Gaunt), his nephew and a General in the Norman army, in return for service rendered. Folkingham was the seat of his estate. Gilbert's son Walter married Maud, daughter of Stephen, Earl of Richmond.
Henry de Beaumont built a castle at Folkingham, but little remains of this medieval moated castle, although the earthworks can still be traced. Beaumont was created a Baron in 1309. The earthen banks to either side are part of the old castle bailey which occupied the site until the mid 16th century. The castle prison is now known as the House of Correction.
A Savings Bank was established in 1818.
The Falkingham Gas Light Company was erected in 1863.
The Greyhound Inn dates back to 1650 and was popular with travellers because it was just off the main Roman Road, Ermine Street (now the A15). At last report (2008), it was being converted into flats.
Richard CROFT has a photograph of the Greyhound Inn on Geo-graph, taken in July, 2006.
These are the names associated with the Greyhound Inn in various directories:
The RAF opened a dummy airfield here early in World War II (the date is not recorded).
The airfield was equiped with dummy planes and lots of activity in order to lure Luftwaffe pilots away from the real airfield at Grantham (RAF Spitalgate). It even had landing lights to draw attention at night.
The RAF closed the field after the war, using it for a Regimental depot for a while.
The runways were used in the 1950s by BRM racing motors to test their cars.
The field was re-opened in 1959 as a Thor missile base.
The site closed as a missile base in late 1963 and fell into decay and disuse.
For an aerial view, click on Airfields of Britain, the Conservation Trust which keeps an eye on such things.
Locals usually pronounce the name as "Fockingham" or "Fokkinham". John Bland tells us in 2004 that he hears it as "Fok-ing-hum".
The parish name is often spelled "Falkingham" in old records.
In the 1086 Domesday Book, the village name is rendered as Folchingeham, from the Old English Folca+inga+ham meaning "Homestead of a man called Folc(a)". [A. D. Mills, "A Dictionary of English Place-Names," Oxford University Press, 1991]