"Gainsborough is a market town in the parish of its name, wapentake of Coringham and parts of Lindsey - 150 miles N by W from London, 18 NW by N from Lincoln, 25 SSW from Hull, and 39 NE from Nottingham; pleasantly situate on the eastern bank of the River Trent, about thirty miles from its junction with the Humber. The Chesterfield canal falls into the Trent at Keadby, a few miles below Gainsborough. This town appears to have been founded by a tribe of Saxons, soon after their first invasion of Britain." "Lincolnshire Directory," Pigot & Co., 1841
The LFHS has published a marriage index for All Saints, 1754 - 1812, which is a reprint of the booklet on microfiche.
The Lincolnshire FHS has a Loan Library service which has the parish registers on microfiche for All Saints' marriages from 1837 to 1857.
The Congregational Chapel here was founded in 1602 and the present church built in 1897 to seat 600.
In 1866, the Roman Catholics had a small place of worship in Cross Street, dedicated to St. Thomas of Canterbury. It is a read brick building with seating for 150.
In 1842, there were five non-Anglican chapels and meeting houses in the township of Gainsborough. The Wesleyan Methodists built one in 1804, the Primitive Methodists in 1838. Other chapels included the Independents, Baptists and the Society of Friends. Morton township had an Independent chapel built in 1796 and a Wesleyan one in 1840. East Stockwith township boasted a Wesleyan and a Primitive methodist chapel, both built around 1839. A Wesleyan chapel was built in Walkerwith township in 1834. For information and assistance in researching these chapels, see our non-conformist religions page.
Gainsborough (sometimes found as Gainsburgh) is a parish and a market town 145 miles north of London and 18 miles north-west of Lincoln, on the eastern bank of the River Trent. The parish includes the townships of Gainsborough, Morton, East Stockwith and Walkerwith, and covered 7,870 acres in 1841. The hamlet of Thonock, to the north, is considered part of Gainsborough although it was a seperate civil parish for 80 years.
The township of Gainsborough covers about 3,530 acres and includes the hamlet of Thonock. Changes in civil boundaries reduced this to about 2,450 acres by 1913. If you are planning a visit:
In Saxon times, Gainsborough was sometimes part of the Kingdom of Northumbria, and at other times included in Mercia.
In 868, Alfred the Great celebrated his marriage with Ealswitha here.
In 1013, Sweyne, King of Denmark, brought his ships up the Trent and landed his forces in the town. Sweyne is believed to be buried near Gainsborough's Castle Hills.
Gainsborough was a small village when recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book, without even a church.
From the defeat of the Danes a few years later, until the Civil War, Gainsborough maintains a low historic profile.
During the 16th century, the TOPPCLIFF family depopulated the hamlet of Somerby and turned it over to sheep. Their manor house there survived into the 1920s and was torn down then. Somerby is now a lost village of ancient Lincolnshire.
In June, 1643, during the Civil War, Lord Willoughby of Parham, a zealous Parliamentarian, took Gainsborough and made a prisoner of the local governor. The town changed hands several times in this conflict.
Gainsborough received its market charter from Charles II.
In 1787, parliament approved the building of a bridge across the Trent to Nottingham. The stone bridge, with three arches, was completed in 1791.
In 1815, the Ostrich Inn opened on Bridge Street. It was owned by James HOLE & Co Ltd. From 1882 to 1900 Mrs Eliza CROSBY was the Landlady and from 1913 to 1933 Tom SMITH was the Landlord.
In 1820, Gainsborough had increased river portage to the point that a Branch Custom House from the port of Hull was established in town. In 1841, Gainsborough was designated independent of Hull and given its own privilege of bonding. On 6 January 1841, the Port of Gainsborough was opened to foreign goods. Ships drawing up to 12 feet could navigate up the river Trent to Gainsborough. The primary cargo in the early 1800's was corn.
The first gas street lights were installed here in 1826.
In 1832, Cholera swept the town, killing 41 people out of the 223 stricken. All died between June 5th and August 2nd.
In 1842, Marshalls of Gainsborough founded, bringing new lines of farm machinery.
In 1848, the Gainsborough Railway Station was opened.
A hiring fair for servants, the "Michaelmas Statute", was held annually on November 5th. This was in addition to the traditional "May Day Statute" for hiring servants, held on May 14th.
After the Norman Conquest, the Manor of Gainsborough was given to Geoffry de WIRCE, from whom it passed eventually to Nigel de ALBINI, whose son assumed the surname of MOWBRAY. After passing through a number of families, in 1599, Lord BURGH sold the manor to William HICKMAN of London. His son was created a baronet by Charles I.
Thonock Hall was the seat of the HICKMAN family, two miles northeast of the town. In 1842, it was owned by H. B. HICKMAN, lord of the manor.
The John Coupland Memorial Hospital was built on Ropery Road (near Morton parish) in 1912-1913. It was the gift of George COUPLAND of Hemswell, Lincolnshire.
The hospital had 36 beds. Hospitals were not required to archive patient records and most would be covered under "closure" regulations for privacy, however the Archives may have photographs of the hospital and financial records.
In 1900, F Company of the 1st Volunteer Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, was quartered here. Captian T. KELSEY, commanding; Capt. H. D. MARSHALL, Surgeon-Lieut.; M.R.C.S.Eng.-Sergeant W. McGOWAN was the drill instructor.
In 1913, H Company of the 5th Territorial Force Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, was quartered here.
The name derives from the Old English Gegn+burh, meaning "stronghold of a man named Gegn". It appears as Gainesburg in the 1086 Domesday Book. [A. D. Mills, "A Dictionary of English Place-Names," Oxford University Press, 1991].
The hamlet of Thonock is often pronounced as "Thunick".
The General Charity School was founded in 1784, but the school wasn't built until 1813. In 1842 it taught about 200 boys reading, writing and arithmetic, while 80 girls were trained in knitting and sewing. The (James) WHARTON and MOTT charities provided funding for this school and much poor relief. Luke Manuel MARTIN, in 1807, left £250 for the benefit of the Charity Schools. By 1872, the Charity Schools were converted to the National School system. They were on Trinity and Church streets.
An Infant School was built on Beekly Lane.
The Wesleyans had a Day and Sunday School on Hickman Street.
A county council school was built on Ropery Road in 1906 to hold 800 children. Average attendance in 1913 was 600.
A county council school was built on Lea Road in 1906 to hold 900 children. It is now called the Lea Road Primary School and still stands.
All Saints School on Ackland Street was a girls' school, with the first structure built in 1844.
Gainsborough Grammar School was originally a boys' grammar school, with the girls' high school next door. It was founded by Queen Elizabeth in 1589, and although nominally free, it had no endowment for students, so a fee was charged. All records and accounts of the early years of the school were lost, probably during the Civil War in the reign of Charles I. The original school fell into decay until 1795. Around 1975, the two schools combined and became a mixed school (in 1983) which is now called Queen Elizabeth's High School. The High school for girls started about 80 years ago with the first 50 girls.
See our Schools page for more information on researching school records.