Bourne Archive: White’s 1882: text                Latest edit 24 Sep 2010

Interactive version ©2006 R.J.PENHEY

The Description of Bourne from

History, Gazetteer and Directory of Lincoln etc.

by William White


Bourn or Bourne, is a well-built and pleasant market town, situated on the west side of the Car Dyke and the Fens, 10 miles N.E. by N. of Stamford, and 9 miles S. of Falkingham. It is in the Parts of Kesteven, Bourn union, county court district, and petty sessional division, Aveland wapentake, Bourn polling district of South Lincolnshire, and Aveland (No.2) rural deanery of Lincoln archdeaconry. Its rateable value is £20,581. Its population increased from 1664 in 1801, to 3717 in 1851, to 3850 in 1871 and to 3760 in 1881. It comprises 9352 acres of land, including the hamlets of Dyke and Cawthorpe, from 1 to 2 miles N.; and Bourn North and South Fens and Dyke Fen, extending 5 miles E. of the town, and containing more than 5000 acres of land, formerly a low swampy morass, but now enclosed, drained and cultivated. Cawthorpe has 98, and Dyke and Dyke Fen 269 inhabitants. Bourn has its name from a rivulet, or bourn, which rises from a copious spring on the west side of the parish and turns three mills in the short course to the Bourn Eau. The Car Dyke, which passes the east side of the town, is of Roman construction and was formerly navigable, but has not been used for more than100 years, and is now little more than a ditch. This canal was navigable until 1860, when the section between Spalding, Bourne and Essendine of the Stamford, Sutton Bridge, and Lynn Railway, was completed, since which the navigation has been entirely neglected. Bourne is now connected with Sleaford by a branch line, opened in January 1872. The parish was enclosed under an Act of the 6th of George III. The largest proprietors of the soil are the Marquis of Exeter, lord of the manor of Bourn with its members; and W.A. Pochin, Esq., lord of the manor of Bourn Abbots; but a great part belongs to Lord Aveland, Sir P.D.P. Duncombe, Bart, and the Ostler, Hopkinson, Bettinson, Freeman, and other families. One of the old farm houses in Austerby hamlet was the manor house of Bourn Abbots. The Court Leet and the Great Court Baron of Bourn with its members are held annually, at the Town Hall, in May; Joseph Phillips, Esq., solicitor, Stamford, is the steward. The customary court of the manor of Bourn Abbots with its members is held annually in May, at the Angel hotel; J.L. Bell, Esq., is the steward. In 1841, an Act of Parliament was obtained for the better drainage of Bourn North Pen and Dyke Fen, consisting of about 4000 acres, and the commission erected a steam engine of 30-horse power at Guthramcote, to pump the drain water from the lower to the higher levels, so as to run off into the Forty-foot drain. The Bourn South Pen, containing about 900 acres, has been formed into a drainage district by a Provisional Order of the Enclosure Commissioners, and confirmed by a Local Drainage Supplementary Act in 1871. J.L. Bell, Esq., is clerk to both trusts. In October, 1880, a portion of the bank of the river Glen gave way, and over 3000 acres of South Fen were under water for several weeks, causing many thousand pounds' damage. The market, held every Thursday, is well supplied with corn, provisions, and stock; and here are four animal fairs, held on the Thursday nearest April 7, May 6, September 30, and October 29. The Christmas Fat Stock Show was established in 1823. The town of Bourn is mostly in four streets, branching east, south, west, and north from the Market Place, and its appearance has been much improved of late years by the erection of villa residences on the North Road. The Gas Works were erected in 1840, at the cost of £2000, by a company of proprietors in £10 shares, and enlarged in 1868 at a further outlay of £100, the amount of the shares being increased to £12. There are 56 public lamps. John Leonard Bell, Esq., is secretary. A Water Works Company was established here in 1856, for the purpose of supplying the town with water by means of artesian wells. Mr.S.W.Andrews is secretary. A handsome fountain was erected in the Market Place by public subscription in 1860, in memory of John Lely Ostler, Esq.

The Corn Exchange and Public Hall, standing close to the Market Place, built in 1870, by a company of shareholders, at a cost of about £1200, is a commodious brick building, with Ancaster stone dressings, containing a large room used as a corn exchange, and as a public hall for assemblies, entertainments, &C., and also a club, billiard, and card room. John L.Bell, Esq., is secretary.

This enumeration of the parishes in Bourn Union shows their territorial extent and population in 1881:-

[ C = chapelry: H = hamlet: P = parish: T = township.  The hyperlinks on the names of places in the Bourne Union lead to 1843-4 Parliamentary Gazetteer entries for the respective places.]

Corby Sub-District . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . .

Aslackby Sub-District. . . . . . . . .


Parish . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Careby, P

Little Bytham, P

Castle Bytham, P

.. Castle Bytham, P

.. Holywell, C

.. Aunby, H

.. Counthorpe, H

Creeton, P

Swayfield, P

Swinstead, P

Corby [Glen], P

Irnham, P














































. . . . . . . . . .


Kirkby Underwood, P

Aslackby, P

Falkingham [sic], P

Laughton, P

Horbling, P

Billingborough, P

Sempringham, P

.. Sempringham, T

.. Birthorpe, H

.. Pointon, H

Dowsby, P

Rippingale, P

Dunsby, P

































Bourn Sub-District. .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Deeping Sub-District. . . . . . . . . .


Hacconby, P

Morton, P

Edenham, P

Bourn, P

Witham-on-the-Hill, P

.. Witham-on-the-Hill, T.

.. Manthorpe, H

.. Toft & Lound, H

Carlby, P

Thurlby, P





































. . . . . . . . . .

Baston, P

Langtoft, P

Market Deeping, P

Deeping St. James, P.








Grand Total

























The Union comprises 30 parishes, extending over 90,914 acres of land, and having 19,979 inhabitants in 1871. The total average annual expenditure of the 30 parishes, &c., for the support of the poor, during the three years preceding the formation of the Union, in 1836, was £8506. In 1838, their total expenditure was only £4256; but in the year ended Lady-day, 1870, it amounted to £11,193. The Union Workhouse was built in 1836, at the cost of about £7000, and has room for 300 inmates. The Board of Guardians meet every Thursday: Thomas Lawrence, Esq., is chairman, and Major Parker and Mr. Stephen Smith, vice-chairmen: John Leonard Bell, Esq., union clerk and superintendent registrar; Mr. Hugh Hobson registrar of marriages; and Mr. Edgar and Mrs. Fanny S. Jenner are master and matron of the Workhouse. James Burwood-Watson, Esq., is medical officer of health for the Bourn Union, and Mr. Frederick Vintner is sanitary inspector. The relieving officers are Mr. W.R Hodgkin, for Bourn and Aslackby district, and Mr.W. Conington, for Deeping district. The registrars of birth and deaths are Messrs. Thomas Ball, for Bourn; H. Willerton, for Corby; Mark Mansfield, for Aslackby; and William Connington, for Deeping district. The medical officers and their districts are James Burwood-Watson, Esq., for Bourn; George Morris Adams, Esq., for Rippingale; Thomas Blasson, Esq., for Billingborough; Joseph Edward Collingood, Esq., for Corby and Castle Bytham; and William B. Deacon, Esq., for Market Deeping. The Rev. Hugh McNeill Mansfield is chaplain.

Bourn County Court District comprises all the parishes, &c., in Bourn Union, except Corby and Swafleld [sic], which are in Grantham county court district. The court is held monthly at the Town Hall. Francis Barrow, Esq., is the judge; John Leonard Bell, Esq., registrar and high bailiff; and Mr. George Henry Elvidge, assistant bailiff.

The Quarter Sessions for the Parts of Kesteven are held here on Tuesdays, alternately with Sleaford, at the Town Hall or Sessions House, a large and handsome building, with an Ionic portico, erected in 1821-2, near the site of the old one, at a cost of £2500. Petty Sessions are held here on alternate Thursdays. Here is an Association for the Prosecution of Felons, and S.W. Andrews, Esq., is clerk.

Roman coins have been found here, and a tesselated [sic] pavement was discovered about the year 1776, on the Park Farm. In Edward the Confessor's time, the Castle of Brunn or Bourn, was the seat of Leofric. It was afterwards held by Hereward, on whose death, without issue, it was given by William Rufus to Walter Fitz Gilbert, but from the reign of Henry II. till that of Edward III., the manor was held by the Lords Wake, of Wilsford, who are said to have occupied Bourn Castle, of which no traces are now extant overground, though tradition says it was not destroyed till the time of Oliver Cromwell. It stood on the site now occupied by the workhouse, and of its foundations, and those of the drawbridge, were discovered during excavations made in 1865. [This appears to refer to the excavation of 1860 or to a re-opening of the trench.] An Abbey was founded here by Baldwin FitzGilbert or FitzGiselbert, about 1138, for Augustinian Monks. It was dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, and was valued at £167 14s. 6d. per annum at the Dissolution, when it was granted to Richard Cotton, Esq. It stood near the church, and the farm house in Bourn Park, formerly occupied by the Pochins, stands on the site of some of its walls, and appears to have been part of the original building. Sir Thomas Trollope, Bart., left his estate here to his nephew, the late George Pochin, Esq., by whom the abbey house was erected in 1764. The town suffered severely from two fires, in 1605 and 1637, the whole of Manor Street being burnt down in the former, and the greater part of Eastgate in the latter year. The eminent statesman, William Cecil, Lord Burleigh and Marquis of Exeter, [sic] was born at Bourn in 1520, and was buried at Stamford, under a magnificent monument m 1598. He was owner of a great part of the parish, now held by his descendant, the present Marquis of Exeter, of Burleigh, in Northamptonshire. The Rev. Dr. William Dodd was also a native of Bourn, where he was born in 1729. His father was vicar of the parish, and brought him up to the church, which he lived to honour by his erudition, and to disgrace by his dissipation. Having committed forgery on Lord Chesterfield, for the sum of £4200, he was hanged at Tyburn, June 27, 1777.

Bourn Church, formerly in the appropriation of the Abbey, and having once the same patron saints (St. Peter and St Paul), is a large and handsome fabric, having once two square towers at the west end, but now only one, in which the six bells are hung. The edifice was repaired and re-pewed in 1840 by subscription and the profits of a bazaar. The chancel was restored and the nave much improved in 1855. The north aisle was rebuilt on an enlarged plan, and the tower restored in 1870, at a cost of £1200, raised by private efforts and the Sunday offertory; and a new organ was at the same time purchased for £300, and placed in the chancel. The fabric comprises the lofty chancel, a nave with aisles, and a chapel on the south side. A new reredos of excellent design and workmanship was erected in 1867 by the late vicar (Joseph Dodsworth incumbent 1842-77), at whose expense a beautiful east window of stained glass, representing the Crucifixion and the four evangelists was inserted in 1863, in memory of his two sons. The church contains two other fine stained glass windows, illustrating the Resurrection and Ascension, presented by Edward Hardwicke and Henry Dove, Esqs. The western front displays some fine specimens of architecture, as old as the reign of Edward III. (There is also a vestige of a twelfth century doorway in the bottom stage of the tower. The west doorway is fifteenth century and the windows above, nineteenth.) The vicarage, which was valued in K.B. (Kings Book) at £8, and now at £600 per annum, is in the gift of the Executors of J.L. Ostler, Esq., and incumbency of the Rev. George Eyre Massey, B.A. (1877-81), surrogate, who resides at the Vicarage House (now known as ‘The Cedars’), which was erected in 1878 out of the materials of the old Abbey House (built ca.1770). The Wesleyans erected a large and handsome chapel here (then Star Lane, now Abbey Road) in 1841, at a cost of £1000, in lieu of their old chapel, now used as a Sunday school. The Baptist chapel is a spacious edifice (in West Street), built in 1835, at the cost of £1700, in lieu of an old chapel now converted into a school. Here (Eastgate) is also an independent chapel, erected in 1847. Bourn Cemetery, on the Thurlby Road, comprises four acres; and about half of it and one of its two chapels, were consecrated by the Bishop, in March 1856, since which, all the other burial grounds in the parish have been closed. The cost of the cemetery was about £2000. John L.Bell, Esq., is clerk to the Board. The Free Grammar School and Almshouses, adjoining the churchyard, were founded in 1636 by William Trollope, Esq., who bequeathed a yearly rent-charge of £70 out of the lands called Saint Lombarde, in Weston, in trust to pay £30 yearly to the schoolmaster, £30 to six poor and aged men occupying the almshouses, and to expend the remainder in repairing the buildings, and in finding clothing or fuel for the almspeople. Lord Kesteven and the Vicar of Bourn are the trustees. The Rev. Henry Robert Canham, B.A., curate of Dowsby, is master of the school, and teaches Latin gratuitously, but charges for all other branches of learning. Robert Harrington, in 1655, bequeathed to the minister, churchwardens, and parishioners of Bourn, a yearly rent-charge of £20 out of the Holme and Dobbin Woods, in Witham-on-the Hill, for weekly distributions of bread among the poor; and all his lands and tenements in Leytonstone, in Essex; The yearly rents thereof to be distributed among the poor of Bourn, at the discretion of the trustees, who for some years were unable to obtain possession of the charity property, which comprises several cottages, houses, and other buildings, and 31A. 1R. 6P. of land, the whole producing a yearly income of about £530 per annum; but as there is a debt upon the estate, the trustees only receive about £420 per annum. They distribute yearly £126, in quarterly payments of £1. lOs. each to 21 poor persons not receiving parochial relief; £84 among 12 widows and 6 poor men; £63 in half-yearly payments of 5s. each to the deserving poor; and £105 in coals and clothing at Christmas. They also pay a yearly salary of £42 to the master of the National School (North Street), which was built by subscription in 1829. Here is also an infant school (Willoughby Road), built in 1856, on land given by the late J.L. Ostler, Esq., who built a school at Dyke in 1854. The town has a Mechanics' Institution, with a good library. In 1853 Catherine Digby bequeathed the dividends of £500 three per cent consoles, to be paid yearly to the organist of the parish church. At the enclosure two allotments in the North and South Fens, comprising 4A. 3R. 25P. (acres, roods and perches), were awarded to the poor of Bourn, and they are divided into 31 gardens, let to poor men at low rents. pursuant to the enclosure award (made in 1770 as a result of the Bourne Enclosure Act of 1766), any of the parishioners, renting less than £8 a year, are allowed to graze cattle in the parish lanes and roads, at the discretion of the vestry. By the award on the enclosure of the North Fen, in 1770, 1A. IR. 19P. of land (Whitebread Meadow, on the east side of Meadow Drove, towards Dyke) was allotted to the poor householders and commoners of the Eastgate Ward, in Bourn parish, in lieu of two pieces of land given to them by an unknown donor. It is let for £7 per annum, which is mostly distributed in bread. The Hereward Lodge of Freemasons (No.1232) is held at the Angel Hotel on the third Thursday in every month. The Odd Fellows and Foresters have each a lodge in the town; and there is a Savings Bank, with deposits amounting to £15,265 13s. 4d.; and also a self- aiding Medical Club, established in 1840, and now having about 3000 members (men, women, and children) residing within ten miles of Bourn, who for small annual payments are provided with medical and surgical assistance when needed. Mr. Leslie F. Evans is the secretary. The Charity for the Relief of married Lying-in Women was instituted in 1825, and subscribers of 8s. per annum are entitled to recommend two poor women for its benefits. Mrs. Benstead is the matron. Here is a Provident Association, established in 1837, and registered in 1851. A Fire Brigade, organised in 1850, is managed by a committee, consisting of the churchwardens and overseers for the time being, together with the local insurance agents. Mr. Thomas Todd is the engineer. The Bourn Agricultural Society was instituted for the encouragement of industry, skill, and good conduct amongst farm labourers and servants. J.L. Bell, Esq., hon. secretary.

The Bourn Temperance Café and Working Men's Institute was formed in February 1880, and Mr. Geo. Hy. Elvidge is honorary secretary. The foundation stone of a new building was laid on August 16, 1881, in South Street by the Hon. Miss H.D. Willoughby. The total expense will be about £900, raised partly in shares and partly by loan. A Subscription Reading Room and Library is held at Mr. J.F. Morris's, West Street. The Savings Bank, established in 1840, has deposits amounting to £17,000, belonging to about 600 depositors. Mr. J.L. Bell is the actuary. The School Board was formed in 1874, and now consists of Mr. S.W. Andrews (chairman), Mr.William R. Wherry, and Messrs. T.W. Mays, Chas. Glover, and J.B. Roberts. A School with master's residence was erected in Star Lane in 1877, at a cost of about £5000, and another, also with teacher's residence, was built in North Fen, in 1877, at a cost of about £1000. The Bourn Bowling Green has been formed near West Street by a company with a capital of £100. Mr. John Jones is honorary secretary.

The Post, Money Order, and Telegraph Office and Savings Bank, a handsome building, erected in 1880, is in Market Place, and Mr. James Thomas Pearce is postmaster. Letters via Peterborough. There is a Wall Letter Box in Eastgate, which is cleared at 7.15, week days only.

Letters for Tongue End should be addressed via Spalding.


[Chapelry ^: the district attached to a chapel; a division of a large or populous parish having its own parochial or district chapel.     Hamlet ^: a group of houses or small village in the country; especially a village without a church, included in the parish belonging to another village or town.     Parish ^: …a subdivision of a county: applied to it primarily in its ecclesiastical aspect, but also as an area recognized for various purposes of civil administration and local government.  Originally a township or cluster of townships having its own church, and ministered to by its own priest, parson, or parish clergyman,      Township ^: each of the local divisions of, or districts comprised in, a large original parish, each containing a village or small town usually having its own church (formerly a chapel of the mother church of the original parish, whence such divisions were also known ecclesiastically as chapelries).]

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