Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Red telephone box - Wasps Nest

Refurbishment complete

I refer to my blog dated 11 Oct 2017 and can report the red telephone box at Wasps Nest has now been fully refurbished.

Refurbished telephone box at Wasps Nest
What a super job. It will be interesting to see how this will be used... perhaps it can be used as a source of history relating to Wasps Nest?

Why is it called Wasps Nest?

There are many theories. One story that seems to hold more credence than others was related by an old woman [Granny Clayton] who used to live down Nocton Fen. According to her, the original Wasps Nest was a building that had an outer door from every room to the yard - a bit like the cells of a wasp's nest. It was rumoured to be a haunt of highwaymen in years past, as it provided many alternative escape routes. There was even a priest's hole located in the chimney to provide a convenient hiding place.

The cottages and houses on the fen never had electricity or mains water. The estate management decided not to spend money modernising these buildings, but concentrated on modernising the tied properties in the main villages of Dunston and Nocton. Over time, the fen families were moved into the village properties, leaving many of the fen properties vacant and abandoned. These were then demolished during the 1960's.

The remaining houses near the top of the fen at Wasps Nest were saved from demolition by their comparative good state of repair.

There used to be an active Nocton Fen Social Club at Wasps Nest for the use of the many people who lived down the fen. The Wasp Nest Hall was used just like the other two village halls at Nocton and Dunston. It was finally closed in 1959 due to the reduction in population on the fen.

Nocton Fen Rd, Wasps Nest - with estate access bridge over Carr Dyke

Abbey Hill Cottages, Wasps Nest - footbridge over Carr Dyke

Nocton Park Priory

Just above Wasp Nest is an area known as Abbey Hill containing old ruins [Explorer 272 GR 07736478]. This was an old Priory for Black Canons of the Order of St Augustine - so called from the colour of their robes. There are no ruins above ground, with only the undulations and mounds in the land showing where the foundations are located.

It was Robert D'Arcy who founded the Priory in the Park at Nocton, dedicated to St Mary Magdelene for a Prior and four Canons of the Order of St Augustine. The only remains of it are some large stones, broken hillocks and uneven turf on the rising ground which overlooks Nocton Fen. Some broken pottery was found on the site a few years ago and presented to Lincoln Museum. The ashes of a Mr JH Dennis (who latterly owned the Nocton Estate) are scattered in a small fenced enclosure on the site.

There is an eight page ‘Information Sheet’ published by Lincolnshire County Council: Lincolnshire Museums. It was written and compiled by Timothy Ambrose, City and County Museum, Lincoln - July 1979. The sheet is titled ‘Nocton Park Priory’ and is referenced: Archaeology Series No. 15.

There was a searchlight battery stationed on the Abbey Hill during the 2nd World War, owing to the number of important bomber airfields located nearby. There was even a dummy airfield laid out at Partridge Farm on the fen, consisting of reflectors and lights, which were switched on to confuse enemy fighters when they were in the area.

  1. Nocton: The Last Years of an Estate Village Vol 1 - by Sheila Redshaw and Sue Morris
  2. A Lincolnshire Lad Looks Back - by Len Woodhead
  3. Historic England
  4. Lincolnshire County Council - Information Sheet Archaeology Series No.15 - Nocton Park Priory


  1. re Wasps Nest Telephone Box - some interesting ideas here!! -

  2. Hi Sue and thanks for your comment. Some great ideas there - stained glass 'colour therapy'; shower; book stall; café; remembrance booth. Amazing.


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