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Coleby All Saints church


Coleby (population approx. 600) is a small rural village in Lincolnshiremarker, Englandmarker, in the district of North Kestevenmarker on the A607 road approximately 10 km (16 miles) south of Lincolnmarker.

This attractive stone village (a documented settlement in the Domesday Book of 1086) enjoys a dramatic setting high on the Lincoln Cliffmarker escarpment with commanding views over the valley of the River Withammarker from its western side.

The most prominent building in the village is the parish church dedicated to "All Saints". The original church was built by the Anglo-Saxons, extended by the Normans and had a new spire built on top of the Saxon tower in the Middle Ages. There is a quirky lack of symmetry to the chancel, the arches on the north and south walls do not match and half of an arch has been stopped off. The pews inside the church are not original, they come from a former church at Hackthornmarker, a village about 23 km (14 miles) to the north, as do two of the windows in the north aisle. The church was also extensively restored in 1900, since then more modern concerns have affected "All Saints", it is one of the very few churches in the country to have landing lights (for the nearby RAF Waddingtonmarker airbase) on its steeple!

Close by the Church in a park of around stands Coleby Hall, a gabled house built for Sir William Lister (the father of (Thomas Lister, the regicide) and dating back to 1628. The gateway to the Hall is an imitation ruined Roman arch based upon Newport Arch in Lincoln. Standing in the grounds is a less well-known folly of a Temple to Romulus and Remus which was built in 1792.

Coleby also has two village pubs, The Bell, situated close to the church and the Tempest Arms which stands in a commanding position at the top of the road that leads up the hill from the valley below. These pubs provide popular refreshment stops for walkers on the Viking Waymarker, the 235 km (147 mile) long-distance footpath from the Humber Bridge to Oakhammarker which passes through the village.

Coleby also has a rather small village school usually consisting of below 100 pupils. Its current head teacher is Karen Espin.

RAF Coleby Grange

During the Second World War, the Ministry of Defence constructed an airfield at Coleby Grange to the east of the village on open heathland, immediately west of the A15 road. It opened in 1939 with a single grass runway as a relief landing ground for RAF Cranwellmarker. In May 1941 it was transferred to 12 Group, RAF Fighter Command and became a satellite station for RAF Digbymarker.

Once Germanmarker daylight raids stopped in 1943, RAF Digby took on a non-operational role involving radar calibration and other duties. This left Coleby Grange standing alone to combat the threat of night raids in Lincolnshire. The station closed just before the end of the war in May 1945.

1959 saw the station re-opened as a Thor IRBM launching base, it closed again in 1963. Today the airfield is in private hands and used for agriculture with only the Control Tower, which still stands although in a ruined state, as a visible sign of the station's existence.

During the time the station was operational it housed the following squadrons:



  • May 1940 - 402 Squadron.


  • 1941 - 409 Squadron RCAF.


  • 1943 - 410 Squadron RCAF and 307 (Polish) Squadron.




References

  • Bruce Barrymore Halpenny Action Stations: Wartime Military Airfields of Lincolnshire and the East Midlands v. 2 (ISBN 978-0850594843)



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