Documents From Village History

Col Elwood & Mareham-le-fen

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Many gentlemen who occupy public positions and give time, talent and expense without any thought of fee or reward, but with the sole aim and object of doing good to the county at large.
One of these gentlemen, who has done volumes of work for the county is Col A. Ellwood, VD, of Mareham-le-Fen, a village which lies six miles from Horncastle and is noted for the longevity of its residents.
We found the colonel who runs the Manor House Farm of nearly 700 acres, busy over his harvest.
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Col Ellwood was born at Mareham-le-Fen in the house in which he now resides.
His parents had the Manor House Farm, while his mother, before her marriage, lived there.
He received a village school education and at the age of 14 commenced to assist his father in farming.
When the first Poor Law Board was instituted at Horncastle in 1834, Col Ellwoods father was elected representative for Mareham-le-Fen and he retained the ratepayers confidence right up to 1880 when he retired in favour of his son.
From 1880 up to the present time (1912) Col Ellwood has represented the village.
During the whole of the time from 1834 to 1912 there has been only one election (in the 1840s) for the seat.
Thus for 78 years father and son have represented Mareham-le-Fen on the Horncastle Board of Guardians.
For 10 years the colonel was a member of Lindsey County Council and though he resided some 30 miles from Lincoln he was a most regular attender, he resigned a few years ago.

He has been a member of the Horncastle RDC since its formation and has served on all the principal Committees. On the death of Sir Henry Hawley Bart, he was elected chairman of the Mareham-le-Fen Parish Council he has been a member since its formation, thus having the honour to be a member of the County Council, the Rural Council
and the Parish Council at one and the same time.
He is also a member of the Fourth District Interior Drainage Commissioners, the Witham Drainage Commissioners and the Witham Outfall Board.
The colonel is a keen Conservative and has been Chairman of the Mareham-le-Fen and District Conservative Association for some considerable time, while we must not forget to mention that for some time he was a member of the Territorial County Association. He is the Income Tax Commissioner for Gartree.

For nearly half a century he served in the Volunteers, passing his examinations and gaining the VD (Volunteer Decoration) in 1895, being among the first contingent to receive the decoration.
Col Ellwoods father was one of the first to join the Horncastle Volunteers in 1859. It must be understood that over 100 years ago there existed a kind of Volunteer movementin the town, commanded by Col Ellwoods grandfather.
Col Ellwood joined the ranks on June 7th, 1865, at a time when annual encampments were not held.
The Companies had to go to drill at various centres and Col Ellwood well remembers driving with his father, who was then a sergeant, from Mareham to Louth, a distance of 18 miles, for battalion drill. Similar drills were held at Spilsby and Alford. In the year 1869 the first camp was held at Thornton A b b e y, the officer commanding being Col Amcotts, of Hackthorn Hall.
For the first 10 years the camps resembled a picnic more than anything else, says the Colonel, and the road from Thornton Abbey station to the Castle was simply a pleasure fair, all the fun of which was indulged in to the full.
The drills, too, were different in every way to what they are at the present day, while discipline was not a very strong point.
The Battalion at that time was drawn from the whole of Lindsey and included a very large percentage of professional men, tradesmen, etc.
The Horncastle Company was under the command of the late Major Armstrong when Col Ellwood joined.
The distinction of supplying the Battalion Band fell to the Horncastle Company and their uniform, especially the headgear, was a very brilliant affair.
After serving over seven years as a private, Col Ellwood was promoted to corporal in 1873, to sergeant in1875, a lieutenant in 1878 and in 1887 he was made captain of the Horncastle Company in succession to Major Armstrong, who retired.
In 1890 he was made Honorary Major of the Battalion taking over the command in 1891.
In 1894 he was made full major from which time he was on the staff of the Battalion, attaining the rank of Honorary Colonel in 1901.
He retired from the command of the 1st Vol Batt Lincs Reg in 1904 but was granted the rank of Honorary Colonel
to the Battalion, which afterwards became the 4th Battalion.
Later he was made Honorary Colonel of the 5th Battalion and this year he retired from that position.
After the first camp at Thornton Abbey the Battalion went to Belton Park then back to Thornton Abbey and afterwards to Woodhall Spa, Bridlington, We e l s b y, Ya r m o u t h ,Aldershot, Farnborough, Salisbury Plain, Grantham, etc. The camps were usually of one week duration.In 1868 the Battalion attended a review of the Midland Counties at Belton Park.
The weather was exceedingly hot causing the men to suffer greatly, not only from the temperature,but from the scarcity of water.
Many fell out of the ranks exhausted, whilst one or two men actually died.
The next important review took place at Wi n d s o r, in 1883, when the Battalion, under Major Amcotts, turned out at full strength.
The men detrained at Ascot and marched to Windsor Castle, where they were reviewed by Queen Victoria.
Later, in Jubilee year, 1887, the Battalion, some 700 strong, under Col Preston, attended the big review at Aldershot, which was reviewed by Queen Victoria.
Up to 1900 the Battalion was drawn from the whole of L i n d s e y, but in that year it was divided up into 1sts and 3rds,maintaining, as usual, a strength of about 1,000 men.
In his prime Col Ellwood was a marksman of note,being able to hold his own with any rifleman in the country. When he joined in 1865, the men were equipped with the Enfield rifle, which was of the muzzle-loading type— powder, ball, and cap having to be separately placed.
Between 100 and 500 yards this rifle was very reliable but beyond that distance one could not depend on a certain bullseye.
This rifle was followed by the Snider, which was a breech-loader and a decided improvement being reliable up to 600 yards.
Then came the Martini-Henry which was a splendid weapon, firing a smaller bullet and being accurate up to a long distance. Then came the Lee-Metford which was the rifle in use when he retired in 1904.
As a marksman Col Ellwood earned many laurels both at Bisley and Wimbledon.
For many years he shot with the Battalion team known as the Lincolnshire Twenty, and for 10 years acted as its captain.
In 1876 and 1877 he was second for the Aveland Vase shoot but in 1878 he won the Vase and the bronze medal of the National Rifle Association, the highest and most coveted prize in connection with the meeting of the Lincolnshire Rifle Association.
He won the same trophy again in 1890 and 1895.
He still retains a deep interest in the Territorial movement, his two sons being lieutenants in the G (Horncastle)Company of the 4th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment.