Kettlethorpe, a modest little group of buildings deep in the English countryside, has housed many lives woven of great events and private joys and griefs. It was the home of Katherine Swynford, perhaps the most romantic figure of medieval times, but before and after her of knights and farmers, soldiers and lawyers, maids and maidservants, whose footsteps echo through the house’s history.
In telling the story of Kettlethorpe, this story touches on some of the greatest events in our history, from the Danish invasion and the Norman Conquest to the Battle of Lincoln Fair, the Pilgrimage of Grace and the Civil War. These were events that took place on Kettlethorpe’s doorstep.
It passes through the great days of the Georgian country house to the fate of a converted ruin, a farmhouse and dower house for a hunting widow, keeping the estate going until close to the outbreak of the Second World War. A war in which, once more, Lincolnshire – “Bomber County” – would play such an important part.
What’s more, this is a story not about the great or whom grand houses were built, but about what Cromwell called “the middling sort” – a little up in some generations, down in others, but with lives always within the compass of our imagination.
Baroness Sarah Hogg was the first woman ever to chair a FTSE 100 company, and is the former head of the No.10 Policy Unit. Sarah Hogg started her career at The Economist; wrote for The Times, the Sunday Times and the Daily Telegraph. She helped to start The Independent and was one of the first presenters of Channel 4 News. She now lives in Lincolnshire and is a member of the House of Lords and also of Historic Houses.