The Lost Village of Grimston

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The Lost Village of Grimston' page

Grimston is said to have been located on the site of the present Notts village of Wellow - The Maypole Village

A Literary Perspective

The noted children's author, Helen Cresswell - herself a long-time resident of Nottinghamshire - uses the legend of the lost village of Grimston as the basis for her book "The Secret World of Polly Flint"

In the book Polly goes to stay with her aunt in the present-day village of Wellow in Notts and is told the story of the village which previously occupied the site.

Briefly, the legend is that a village called Grimston(e) previously stood on the site of Wellow, but, one night, was swallowed up beneath the ground.  If you put your ear to the ground on the village green on Christmas Day (or any Sunday), close to Wellow's famous permanent maypole, you can hear the bells of Grimston church ringing out, and the sounds of former residents beneath the ground.


"Polly supposed that the church bells of Grimstone away down below would ring at the same time as those of the church above.  It seemed likely.... She had already decided where to put her ear to the ground.  The best place of all would be the maypole, she was sure of that, because that was where the magic seemed to gather.... She dropped to her knees.  She could see every blade of grass distinct and separate and the smell was strong and green. 

"Above her the church bells tumbled in the tower.  But was there an answer from below, were bells ringing far away down and centuries ago?  she strained to catch that peal, because she was certain of it, and certain too, that she was meant to hear.  Now her ear was right to the ground and her heart lurched.  She heard them!  Faint and sweet she heard those other bells in that other place ringing out from who knew what wild acres lost in time and

Looking out at the village maypole from her bedroom window when she first arrives in Wellow, Polly Flint exclaims "There's a whole other world out there, I know there is.  Side by side with this, there's a secret world, and I'm going to find it, I am".



Helen Cresswell takes this local legend and develops it into a captivating story involving Time Gypsies who slip 'the net of time' to re-visit the temporal world and dance around Wellow's maypole each year; 'The Catcher' who they fear is determined to capture them (in his actual net) to prevent them returning to their village beneath the earth; and a 'Time Tunnel' across the lake in Rufford Park through which the Grimstone residents slip back and forth

 between their world and ours.

The book is an excellent read for anyone interested in the Legends and Customs of Nottinghamshire



This page was added by Website Administrator on 16/03/2018.
Comments about this page

Infact Grimston village site is well known, around a kilometer from Wellow near Grimston Hill. Some authors speculate that the population of Grimston was displaced to Wellow by the abbot of Rufford as part of the development of monastic lands.

see Pastscape monument no. 320338

By L Michalek
On 19/03/2018

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.