Banner 5
Banner 4
Banner 3
Banner 2
Banner 1

A Story from Lincolnshire

I was sent this story by Barry Congreve.  Here it is in his own (slightly edited) words:

“Hi Bruce Smith:

 

“I am responding to your appeal that appeared in the Lincolnshire Free Press. I am a retired farmer & have lived & worked all my life in South Lincolnshire, as have five generations before me.  

"I remember as a boy spending many hours listening to my father – he was one of 17 children – and his brothers telling tales about farming & times past.  One tale I shall always remember concerns a drover by the name of Waltham:

 

“There was a farm to be sold by auction in the parish of Fleet Hargate.  On the day of the sale the room was full of prospective bidders, plus the just-interested and the just-plain-nosy – in other words, all the locals and a few outsiders.  After the preliminaries the bidding got under way, until a man tried to make a bid who didn’t look as if he could afford to buy the beer he was drinking, let alone a farm.  He was unshaven, wore dirty clothes and carried a smell that told you he was a drover who had lived & slept with the herd for weeks on end.

"The auctioneer stopped the sale and said he could not accept any more bids from [the drover] till he was assured that the man could cover the bids he was making.  He pointed out that the successful bidder was obliged to pay 10% of the bid price immediately at the end of the sale and the rest on completion of formalities.  

"The old drover didn’t bat an eyelid but took off his right boot, extracted a wad of notes, and proceeded to count out 10% of his bid.  ‘Well, Mr Auctioneer’, he said, holding up the remainder of the wad, ‘I shall continue to bid until I have used up this wad, then I shall take off my left boot.’

 

“Needless to say, Mr Waltham bought the farm. 

 

“While I was still in business farming I did meet a Mr Don Waltham, who farmed at Fleet.  I always believed he was the descendant of the old drover, but I never asked him if it was a fact.  I thought it might, just might, spoil a good tale.”

 

Thanks, Barry.  Great story.