We’ve been here since the Domesday Book...don’t wipe us off the electoral map now’

Father Paul Noble outside St Nicholas' Church, Skirbeck, which has become one of the first churches English Heritage has allowed to have stainless steel roof after laed thefts left it stripped.
Father Paul Noble outside St Nicholas' Church, Skirbeck, which has become one of the first churches English Heritage has allowed to have stainless steel roof after laed thefts left it stripped.

ONE of the oldest villages in Boston is set to be wiped off the election map if plans to shake up the borough’s ward boundaries are given the go-ahead.

Skirbeck, which, unlike Boston and many other areas was mentioned in the Domesday Book, will disappear as an electoral ward if the Boundary Commission accepts the changes, which aim to even out the number of electors in each ward.

Detractors say it will be yet another nail in the coffin of Skirbeck’s heritage as the oldest settlement, which has gradually been reduced to nothing more than a part of the town, and have called for the ward to remain.

Father Paul Noble, rector of St Nicholas’ Church in the village, said: “Unless there is some change to names, the council will effectively remove from the map the existence of a place which has a long and proud history and which does not deserve to be condemned to oblivion now.”

Under plans to alter the ward boundaries, which will see the number of wards and the number of councillors reduced, Skirbeck ward would be absorbed into neighbouring ward Fishtoft and other areas.

Current Skirbeck councillor Paul Gleeson said: “I think it will be a shame to lose Skirbeck.

“It’s older than Boston; its parish church is older than the Stump, but the change does work.

“I think it’s rather unfortunate they lost their parish council to begin with.”

Mr Noble’s letter:

“ONE consequence of the proposed changes to Boston Borough Council wards would seem, under the current proposals, to expunge completely all reference to the existence of Skirbeck.

Originally with a larger area than Boston town, which seems to have been carved out of Skirbeck, it continued as a separate parish with its own parish council until 1931 when the urban area was absorbed into Boston and the unbuilt-on fields added to Fishtoft. My older parishioners remember that Skirbeck fought long and hard against losing its independence then, but there were assurances given at the time that its historic identity would not be lost. This, the continued existence of Skirbeck ward in the town and borough for 80 years has gone some way to preserve.

I presume that it is not our councillors who have drawn new boundaries and given the wards new names, but I would hope that the councillors who are in office might act out of honour to pledges made by their predecessors in office, so that the new ward system would retain an acknowledgement of that area of Boston which was the oldest settlement, unlike Boston itself mentioned in the Domesday Book, and which for 900 years as well, gave its name to the Wapentake, the old local government unit that comprised most of the modern Boston Borough Council area.

Unless there is some change to names, the council will effectively remove from the map the existence of a place which has a long and proud history and which does not deserve to be condemned to oblivion now.”