Epworth’s past revealed within illuminating book

Epworth's Bob Fish with his book on the history of Epworth
Epworth's Bob Fish with his book on the history of Epworth

Scandal, riots, and the Isle men who helped to shape the world all form part of a fascinating history of Epworth, just released within the pages of a new book.

Seven years of painstaking research contributed to the just published book by Robert Fish of Epworth, who can trace his own Epworth ancestry back to 1543. He took a year to blend all facts together in one volume.

Aerial view of Epworth

Aerial view of Epworth

Historian Mr Fish, who delved in to war history to produce his previous book in time for the marking of the centenary of World War One, said: “The reason for writing is my deep seated passion for the town.

“I can trace my Epworth ancestry back to 1543 when my yeoman ancestors farmed the land and helped to create the landscape of today.

“As well as including stories that are known by many of the drainage and the Wesleys, the book reveals fascinating details of the Epworth of past centuries.

“It tells of the influence the Mowbray family had in the area; updates the poisoning scandal of 1790 when the supposed perpetrator had two stakes driven into her heart, the Epworth Corn Law deposition that brought fraud to the heart of Parliament; the 1852 riot in Epworth Market Place when ginger beer bottles flew through the air, and how the government troops brought in to bring order only served to inflame the situation.”

There are stories about the Epworth men who influenced the world too, added the author. They include one whose writings travelled with the Pilgrim Fathers and helped to shape the constitution of the USA; another who left the town to become a sheep farmer on the other side of the world and helped to foster a fledgling nation.

Another’s invention so revolutionised a major industry that it led to an English town becoming a leading industrial influence worldwide.

There are detailed references to the role Epworth played in World War Two, having the last surviving Royal Observation Post in Lincolnshire and a Cold War bunker. And the near miss of an errant Doodlebug that, had the engine cut out seconds later, would have brought death and destruction to the town.

Mr Fish added: “Woven throughout the book are tales of ghostly happenings, legends of the fenland district and superstitions of country folk living an isolated existence.

“The book ends by taking the reader on a tour of the town, revealing the many hidden or long forgotten secrets”.

With 256 pages of text and photographs tracing the town’s history from the Ice Age to the end of 2016, the History of Epworth features both black and white and colour images. It is in hard back, using acid-free paper and hand-stitched.

The ‘initial’ run is a limited edition of 100 signed books with the book available direct from Mr Fish at 7 Burnham Rd, Epworth, or by emailing robertefish@mac.com or telephoning 01427 873116.

It was 2014 when Mr Fish produced a memorial book for Epworth’s soldiers who lost their lives in World War One.

The leather-bound book featured each man who died in the Great War, and in most cases with a photograph. It is now displayed in a cabinet hand-carved by local craftsman Ian Till, in Epworth Parish Church,