Report problems or contribute information

1 Introduction 2 Message details 3 Upload file 4 Submitted

Help and advice for Harpswell

If you have found a problem on this page then please report it on the following form. We will then do our best to fix it. If you are wanting advice then the best place to ask is on the area's specific email lists. All the information that we have is in the web pages, so please do not ask us to supply something that is not there. We are not able to offer a research service.

If you wish to report a problem, or contribute information, then do use the following form to tell us about it.

We are in the process of upgrading the site to implement a content management system.




  • The parish was in the Willingham sub-district of the Gainsborough Registration District.
  • In the 1891 re-organisation, the parish was allocated to the Marton subdistrict of the Gainsborough Registration District.
  • The North Lincolnshire Library holds a copy of the parish census returns for 1841 through 1901.
  • Check our Census Resource page for county-wide resources.
  • Below are the census Piece Numbers, where known:
 Piece Numbers
1841 H.O. 107 / 635 & 636
1861 R.G. 9 / 2410
1871 R.G. 10 / 3448
1891 R.G. 12 / 2636


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Harpswell area that are recorded in the GENUKI church database. This will also help identify other churches in nearby townships and/or parishes. You also have the option to see the location of the churches marked on a map.

Church History

  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint Chad.
  • The church partially dates back to the Norman era. The church was restored in 1890-91.
  • In the basement of the church is a large stone slab bearing the figure of a priest. It has an undated Norman French inscription to John GERE, parson of Harpperswelle.
  • The church contains a monument to William de HARRINGTON, rector here circa 1346. There is also a memorial to a W. HARRINGTON, rector, who died in 1697.
  • In the chancel is a monument to William TYRWHITT, esq., dated 1599.
  • In the churchyard is a monument to: Thomas BULCOCKE clerk, Minister of this town 38 years. Died 10 May 1633. And to: Hanvard BULCOCKE was Minister in 1634 and died 13 Oct 1669.
  • The church seats 200.
  • It's a SIGN! of the church, sometimes overgrown by ivy. Photo taken 2011.
  • Sheila FENTON has provided a photograph of the church on the Wendy PARKINSON web site.
  • Here are two photographs of Saint Chad's Church, taken by Ron COLE (who retains the copyright):

Saint Chad's Church

Saint Chad's Church

Church Records

  • Parish registers exist from 1559, but the Bishop's transcripts only go back to 1595.
  • The North Lincolnshire Library holds a copy of the parish register entries for baptisms 1559-1812, burials 1559-1812 and marriages 1559-1842.
  • The Lincolnshire FHS has published several marriage and burial indexes for the Corringham Deanery to make your search easier.
  • Check our Church Records page for county-wide resources.

Civil Registration

  • The parish was in the Willingham sub-district of the Gainsborough Registration District.
  • In the 1891 re-organisation, the parish was allocated to the Marton subdistrict of the Gainsborough Registration District.
  • Check our Civil Registration page for sources and background on Civil Registration which began in July, 1837.

Description and Travel

Harpswell is both a parish and a small village about eight miles east of Gainsborough and nine miles north of Lincoln. The parish itself is bordered on the north by Hemswell parish, to the east by Springthorpe and Heapham parishes and to the south by Glentworth parish. The parish covers about 2,150 acres.

Harpswell village sits at the intersection of two main roads. A small branch of the River Eau passes just to the west of the village. If you are planning a visit:

  • The village can be found at the intersection of the A631 trunk road east of Gainsborough and the B1398 north out of Lincoln. If coming north out of Lincoln, it is probably best to take the A15 to the A631 and turn east for one mile, but you'll miss some beautiful scenery.
  • J. THOMAS provides a peaceful scene of grazing on Geo-graph, taken in 2012.
  • Visit our touring page for more sources.
You can see pictures of Harpswell which are provided by:

Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Harpswell has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.

Land and Property

  • In 1842, there were only seven farms covering the entire parish, except for the village. The sole landowner was Sir Thomas WHICHCOTE of Aswarby. A branch of his family used to reside here.
  • In 1872, there were the same seven farms. The sole landowner was still Sir Thomas WHICHCOTE of Aswarby.
  • In 1900 and 1913, the sole landowner of the parish was Sir George WHICHCOTE, baronet.


  • There are directory entries for Harpswell Hall, but I could find no description or history.


  • See our Maps page for additional resources.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK930890 (Lat/Lon: 53.389646, -0.603045), Harpswell which are provided by:

Military History

  • Richard CROFT provides a photograph of the RAF graves in the churchyard on Geo-graph, taken in 2009.
  • Although we are not sure of the relationship to Harpswell, there's a photograph of a Culloden Memorial also, taken in 2009.
  • David HITCHBORNE provides a photograph of the Roll of Honour in the church on Geo-graph, taken in 2004. Unfortunately, the names are difficult to discerne.

Names, Geographical

  • The name Harpswell comes from the Old English Hearpe+wella or Hearpere+wella for "spring or stream of the harp or harp player". The name appears in the 1086 Domesday Book as Herpeswella. The name is recorded in some records as Harpperswell.
    A. D. Mills, "A Dictionary of English Place-Names," Oxford University Press, 1991.

Names, Personal

  • White's 1842 Directory lists the following names in the parish: Jno. BROWN, Godfrey JARVILL, Jno. OGELSBY, Richard OGELSBY, Thos. RANBY, John SMITH and Wm. WARD.
  • White's 1872 Directory lists the following names in the parish: Christopher F. HALL, George CASSWELL, John Thomas HOLMES, John OGELSBY, Richard OGELSBY, William STEVENSON, Thomas TATAM and Samuel TURNER.
  • Kelly's 1900 Directory lists the following names in the parish: Coggon BRUMBY, Frederick Wm. TATAM, Thomas TATAM, Thomas TURNER and John WRIGHT.
  • Kelly's 1913 Directory lists the following names in the parish: Coggon BRUMBY, Charles TATAM, Frederick W. TATAM, John TATAM and Thomas TURNER.

Politics and Government

  • This place was an ancient parish in Lincoln County and became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
  • The parish was in the ancient Wapentake of Aslacoe in the West Lindsey district in the parts of Lindsey.
  • The citizens of this parish have elected to forgo a formal Parish Council. Instead they hold periodic Parish Meetings to discuss civic and political issues.
  • Today's district governance is provided by the West Lindsey District Council.

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.


Year  Inhabitants
1801 59
1831 73
1851 103
1861 104
1871 134
1891 120
1911 127


  • The children of this parish attended school in Hemswell.
  • For more on researching school records, see our Schools Research page.