Maltby le Marsh 12-03-2023

Sunday 12th March The Stables, Grange Farm Park, Maltby le Marsh. Ride Report by Paul Linder:

Meeting up at the Louth leisure centre for today’s eastward bound ride were Tim Newbery, John Rickett and Paul Linder with Chris Owen joining us at Grange Farm Park.

The planned venue for our coffee stop was new to us but not so the roads that we pedalled to get there. For Tim and John it was Groundhog Day having covered most of the route on Wednesday’s ride to Woody’s, this being unavoidable as we wished to stay on minor roads and away from the heavy traffic on the A157.

As the crow flies Maltby le Marsh is only 9 miles away from Louth but by meandering through Stewton, Little Carlton, Great Carlton and Withern we covered a further 4 miles to arrive at the restaurant by 11.30. Too late to order from the breakfast menu, serving ending at 10.30, but the kitchen kindly agreed to prepare bacon sandwiches and toasted tea cakes.

Maltby le Marsh is most famous, or perhaps infamous, for the legend of the knight’s duel at Earl’s Bridge. The duel took place on 26 December 1329. The 2 combatants were Baron Robert de Montalt (a descendant of the powerful de Monte Alto family) and Sir Robert de Mablethorpe (a lawyer and Chief Justice of the Kings Bench).

Their families had feuded bitterly for some 96 years over a quarrel as to who would present the next Rectors at St Mary’s and St Peter’s parish churches in Mablethorpe. The dispute would finally be settled in a duel at the bridge where the West Bank Drain now flows.

De Montalt was at the Maltby side of the bridge with De Mablethorpe the Mablethorpe side, the site of his ancestral Manor. De Montalt accused De Mablethorpe of cowardice in battle and ordered him to clear the bridge. De Mablethorpe resented the unjust rumour and refused to move. De Montalt feared that by withdrawing that he would be thought a coward. Evenly matched, they fought for hours. Contemporary records state that the earls attacked each other ‘like lions'. Both were mortally wounded and fell at the bridge.

Robert De Montalt was buried in All Saints church Maltby le Marsh whilst Robert De Mablethorpe was buried in St Mary’s church Mablethorpe.

Our return journey, not aided by a strong cross wind was again on familiar roads via Aby, South Thoresby, Muckton and Little Cawthorpe arriving back in Louth at 1.30.

Then more cycling for some but this time from the comfort of an arm chair watching the final stage of the Paris Nice race, no coffee and bacon sandwich stop for those cyclists.