Tuesday 17 June 2014

Verlaine in Lincolnshire


The entire Wikipedia entry for the tiny village of Stickney in Lincolnshire reads thus:

Stickney is a linear village and civil parish in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. It is situated on the A16 road, 8 miles (13 km) north of Boston and 10 miles (16 km) south-east from Horncastle, and at the centre of the Lincolnshire Fens. The parish church is dedicated to Saint Luke. Local amenities include the Rising Sun public house and a miniature railway. William Lovell CE Secondary Modern School and Stickney Primary School are on Main Road. Stickney is in the middle of the main bus route between Spilsby and Boston, which runs down the A16. Stickney was home to the famous Priscilla Biggadike who was accused of murdering her husband later executed and then was found innocent.

For some reason the village's most famous resident  - more famous even than Priscilla Biggadike - isn't mentioned. Paul Verlaine lived and worked here in 1875, teaching French, Latin and drawing at William Lovell's school. He had spent eighteen months in prison for shooting and wounding his lover Rimbaud and, when released in January that year, considered becoming a Trappist monk before deciding (the next best thing?) to become a school master in England. He came to London, registered with an employment agency and was soon heading north to this remote and, on the face of it, inhospitable backwater.

More on this to follow . . .


  1. It would be nice if Verlaine really was in Stickney in 1975 - there is already a very Operation Yewtree aura about the people and the place names involved.

    Long time reader, first time caller here.

    1. Thanks Tom - I've amended the date by a century and hope the slip hasn't caused alarm and needless suffering.