Lincolnshire bagpipes? 'Scottish' instrument a piece of county's history
WHEN 19th-century farmer John Hunsley of Manton, near Gainsborough, died, the last of the English bagpipes fell silent.
Perhaps not what first comes to mind when thinking of North Lincolnshire, but the wind instrument, usually associated with Scotland, has been revealed to have strong links to the region.
Hunsley was famous for playing his bagpipes at riotous parties at which guests removed their shoes and "danced until the brick dust came through the soles of their feet".
Bagpipes were played all over England, from the 13th century onwards, but the last piper fell silent in North Lincolnshire about 150 years ago.
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Bagpipes were a common sound in North Lincolnshire for many years – and even got a mention in Shakespeare's Henry IV, when Falstaff complains that he is as melancholy as a "gib cat" or a "lugged bear ... or the drone of a Lincolnshire bagpipe".
Pipe-maker John Addison of South Somercotes was commissioned by the Heritage Trust Of Lincolnshire to make a set of Lincolnshire pipes based on carvings found in local churches.
Musician Annie Walker played the resulting pipe at a ceremony in the church in Branston in September 2002.
Mrs Walker, 40, of Welbourn, said: "There is something about bagpipes that makes you want to dance.
"Almost every county would have had their own pipes.
became lost for a while and I think we need more of the instruments made and more people playing them.
"I played John Addison's pipes. They were quite difficult to play. Lincolnshire pipes are very big and require more strength than Flemish or Leicestershire pipes."
Archaeologist Tom Lane revealed the replica bagpipe Mrs Walker played currently reside in a box under his desk at the Heritage Trust's office in Heckington.
He said: "I can't get any sound out of them at all.
"Lincolnshire bagpipes are one of the interesting aspects of the county's culture.
"We don't have any premises to put them on display at the moment, but we would be willing to send them out on loan to museums."
A 15th-century carving on a pew end in All Saints' Church, Branston, shows a bear playing a bagpipe, maybe a Lincolnshire bagpipe.
Another carved piping image appears on the Moorby Stone, part of the vestry wall of the former church in Moorby, near Horncastle. It dates from the late 15th or early 16th century.
In both examples, the instruments look strikingly similar to the gaita gallega instrument played to this day in parts of northern Spain.