Bourne Archive: Bourne: Cox T

                                                                                       Latest edit 7 Mar 2011       

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The Bourne Archive

Thomas Cox’s Description of Bourne from a Topographical, Ecclesiastical, and Natural History of Lincolnshire (c.1716)

Title Page







PEDIGREES of all noble Families and Gentry, both Ancient

and Modern, Biographical Notices of eminent and learned Men

to whom this County has given Birth; also an Alphabetical

Table of the Towns, Villages, and Hamlets, with several

Hundreds and Deaneries in which they stand, together with

the value of the Churches in the King’s Books, collected and

composed according to the best relations extant.





In the SAVOY:

Sold by M. Nutt, in Exeter-Exchange.


This is transcribed from a copy of the book in the Willoughby Memorial Library, to the trustees of which, I offer my thanks.

This is clearly part of a larger work since the title page leaves a space for filling in the name of the county and the text begins on page 1404. Bourne’s entry is on page 1417. It reads as follows:—

Bourn, another Market-Town 1; the Market is on Saturday weekly, and the Fairs on St. Matthias’s –Day, Febr. 24 and St. Mark’s Day, April 25th. This Town is remarkable for the Inauguration of Edmund, king of the East-Angles as Mr. Cambden reports from Leland; but the Author of the Additions tell us, That both are mistaken, and that he was crowned at Buers in Suffolk 2; but however that be, we are pretty well assured, that the Manor of this Town was given by the Conqueror to Baldwin Fitz-Gilbert 3, who founded a Priory in this Town. He left only one Daughter and Heir, named Emme, who being married to Hugh de Wac, brought the Lordship into his Family, which enjoyed it many Successions. Here was a Castle built by the Wakes 4; and Leland says, that in his Time 5 there appeared great Ditches, and the Dungeon-Hill at the West End of the Priory, and that much Service of the Wakes Fee was done to it, and that every Feodary knew his Station and Place of Service.

Baldwin Lord Wake, 8 Ed. I. 6 was Lord of this Manor, and obtained of that Prince a License for a Market to be kept weekly on Saturday in this Town, and a Fair every Year upon the Eve Day and Morrow after the Feast of the Holy Trinity, and five Days following, which Grant seems to have been only for Baldwin’s Life; because we find Thomas his Grandson to have obtained a Grant for the same Fair, 2 Ed II 7. The Heirs Male of this Family failed in this Thomas; and Margaret, Countess of Kent, his Sister, and Widow of Edmund of Woodstock Earl of Kent, was found his Heir. Her Grand-Daughter Joan, called, The fair Maid of Kent, was married to Edward the Black Prince, by whom she had King Richard II. and carried this Manor, with several other Lands, to the Crown. In a Farm-yard in this Town, there rises a medicinal Spring, as strong as that at Astrop in Northamptonshire, which is pretty much drank in Summer-time.

It is situated on a Plain adjoining to the Fens, in a soft Air, (as Mr. Lacy describes it) the Market is but small, but the Town is noted for the Tanners Trade 8. It hath a small but pleasant river belonging to it, which leadeth down to Spalding. We find nothing memorable of the Villages adjoining to this Town save of:—

Grimsthorp, where Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, on a sudden raised a noble Palace to entertain King Henry VIII. In his Progress into these Parts; the Hall was hung with a Suit of Hangings, which the Duke had by his wife Mary, the French Queen, which is now in the Possession of the Duke of Ancaster 9.


1.^     The modern spelling of Bourne with its final ‘e’ did not become standardized until the 1890s. Here, the nouns are consistently given an initial capital in the modern German manner and proper nouns are all in Italic. See also, note 9.

2.^    Camden’s text is available on the Vision of Britain site. Scroll down to Lincolnshire, paragraph 10. Leyand says only that he remembers having read that St. Edmund was crowned in Burne but he did not know whether it was this Burne. See page 25 on the site.

3.^    Baldwin was the third generation of Norman lords of the manor. The 1086 lord with most property in Bourne was Odger the Breton (Morris, landlord 42). Baldwin did, however, provide the charter for the Abbey in 1138. His heir was Emma, who married Hugh Wake, as reported here.

4.^    This is in a sense true but archaeological evidence says that the work done under the Wakes was a re-build, in the late 13th century, rather than the original work. Other archaeological evidence, including the hydraulic arrangements of the completely artificial course of the river, indicate that it was done at the same time as the abbey was built, during the wars of Stephen’s reign, under Baldwin fitz Gilbert de Clare, around 1140.

5.^    He probably passed through in 1547.

6.^    The 8th. Year of the reign of Edward I — 1280. Archaeological evidence indicates that there was a major rebuild around the keep of he castle, moving part of the curtain wall outwards and revetting the motte in a cylindrical retaining wall. South Street and the plots on the south side of West Street were laid out on the former outer works at this time. In 1264, Baldwin had fallen foul of king Henry III as a result of the Second Barons’ War and between 1269 and 1272, had to pay a £400 fine in order to get his estates back (Platts p.29). This is probably how the 13th century work on the west front of Bourne Abbey came to be abandoned incomplete. He died around 1280 and his son, John took over. For John’s pedigree, see The Peerage site or Cilia Lacorte’s site (CL’s home page).

7.^    1308.

8.^    Tanning persisted in Bourne, well into the 19th century. In the 1980s, when a gas pipe was laid in St. Peter’s Road, a large amount of leather off-cuts was found in the sediment of the long-filled entrenchment which linked the outer bailey moat with the moat around the pomery (pomœrium), the outermost moat of the castle (RJP1). For the techniques of leather-making, see Muspratt’s account.

9.^    This is a puzzle. At the foot of the title page in a position normally occupied by the date of publication there is the number 1700 but here we have a reference to the Duke of Ancaster. The title did not exist until 1715 (Wikipedia: The  Cracroft Peerage) . It looks as though the whole or a large part of the country was covered by the publication and the material relevant to the separate counties was bound up for sale according to demand. The title page appears to have been printed at the outset and the Lincolnshire material composed or re-edited later. Its information is therefore later than the title page indicates.

By 1715, George of Hanover had become king of Great Britain: it would be interesting to know whether the German-style use of capitals for all nouns was intended as a compliment to him.

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