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Walkers gravitate to Grantham son Isaac Newton

Walkers in the shadow of the Isaac Newton statue
Walkers in the shadow of the Isaac Newton statue

Hidden history of Grantham was uncovered during a Newton’s Grantham walk as part of the South Lincs Walking Festival on Sunday.

The walk, one of 11 organised by South Kesteven District Council in support of the festival, started at the King’s School and traced a route around the old town that Newton would have known.

Walkers went to the ancient Market Cross, from where the young and forgetful Newton in his reluctant farming days allegedly let his horse and cart go home without him, and on past the building where he lodged with the influential apothecary William Clarke (now occupied by Pizza Express).

They also heard of the direct descendancy of the Newton family who founded estate agency Newton Fallowell, which can claim 15 generations of direct descendants from Isaac’s great great uncle William Newton.

Little known is the fact that the 12-foot statue on St Peter’s Green unveiled by a high level gathering in 1858 was forged by London foundry Robinson and Cottam from captured Chinese canons from the Crimea War. Its £1,630 cost was part paid by a £100 donation from the Queen.

Local historians Ruth Crook and John Manterfield, of Grantham Civic Society, lent their expertise as a historical basis for the walk.

Ruth welcomed walkers at the rear of the King’s School, which Newton joined as a 12-year-old from his Woolsthorpe home – four years after most boys of that era started school.

A crude sundial scored into the wall is believed to be his work, an exact replica of one to be found in St John the Baptist Church in Colsterworth, where he was baptised and his mother Hannah is buried.

John, whose U3A group compiled a new book for SKDC’s Gravity Fields Festival from previously unpublished Hall Book civic records covering Newton’s time at King’s, led walkers round the town with historical insights into its pubs and buildings.

South Lincs Walking Festival is run by Heritage Lincolnshire and runs until October 31, with more than 70 free guided walks across South and North Kesteven, Boston and South Holland.

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