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Nocton and Dunston Walks

Nocton and Dunston are separated by less than a mile. The villages lie to the east of the B1188 Lincoln Road, on the edge of the limestone dip slope. Rising gently to the west are Nocton and Dunston Heaths, sloping gently to the east, Nocton and Dunston Fens. Both parishes form part of the ancient Danelaw wapentake of Langoe (Old Norse ‘heather’). Both settlements include farmsteads on the heath towards the A15 and isolated dwellings to the east beyond the Car Dyke as far as the Witham.

Nocton Hall was built in the 1530s and was visited by Henry VIII and Catherine Howard in 1541 during the King’s ‘northern progress.’ Henry’s lascivious, but dim, fifth wife reputedly planted the great chestnut tree in the grounds at Nocton on 13th October 1541, but was arrested on a charge of ‘high treason’ less than a month later for conducting an adulterous liaison with the King’s servant, Thomas Culpeper. Catherine was executed exactly four months after planting the tree on 13th February 1542. According to legend, her last words on the block were: “I die a Queen, but would rather have died the wife of Culpeper.”

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