Medieval castle tower to be opened up to the public for the first time
THE last-standing remains of a medieval castle in Lincolnshire will be opened up to the public for the first time.
The South Kyme Tower once formed one of the four corners of a castle, which was built on a Saxon site.
It is believed that the 14th century castle was once visited by Robin Hood and was built by a knight whose signature is on the Magna Carta.
The tower stands on private land and for years has been closed.
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But now, the landowner has agreed to open it up to the public, starting with the village's May Day Festival on May 1.
The festival is free to attend and, to mark the opening of the tower, will feature a range of medieval activities.
The committee chairman for South Kyme's May Day Festival, Ashley Johnson, hoped this year's festival would be the first of many.
He said: "The tower itself is extremely well-preserved but hasn't been open to the public en masse in living memory.
"We'll be opening up the basement and the first floor to the public but at this time we don't have the funds to take people to the top.
"The tower will be centre stage in several events and activities we have going on and the day will have quite a medieval theme to it.
"Ultimately, this is the first time we've done something for May Day on this scale. We've always held barbecues in the past and had village activities, but it's exciting to do things on such a level."
The May Day Festival will also feature Maypole dancing, a scarecrow competition and representation from the Sleaford Navigation Trust – who will be arriving by narrow boat up the Kyme Eau river.
Lydia Rusling, the principal development officer for Lincolnshire County Council, told the Echo the opening of the South Kyme tower would be a great boost to Lincolnshire's heritage.
She said: "Lincolnshire's rich heritage has always drawn visitors to the county, with monuments like Lincoln Castle and Lincoln Cathedral attracting people from across the globe.
"I'm sure the opening of South Kyme Tower will prove a valuable addition. What's more, this will complement the refurbishment work nearby at Bottom Lock and the new slipway and bridge in Sleaford that's been carried out by the Lincolnshire Waterways Partnership.
"That the tower is being opened during one of our many local festivals, which are another important way of bringing in tourists, is fantastic news."