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Help and advice for Owston

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  • A cemetery of 1.5 acres was formed in 1881 and land purchased in 1883. It was under the control of the parish council.


  • Owston was the heart of the Owston sub-district in the Gainsborough Registration District.
  • Check our Census Resource page for county-wide resources.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1841 H.O. 107 / 641
1861 R.G. 9 / 2405
1871 R.G. 10 / 3439
1891 R.G. 12 / 2631


  • St Martin, Church Street, Owston Ferry, Church of England

  • High Street, Owston Ferry, Methodist (Primitive)
  • Centenary, High Street, Owston Ferry, Methodist (Wesleyan)

You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Owston 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 Martin.
  • The church building partly dates from the end of the 12th century.
  • The church was rebuilt in 1844.
  • The church seats 600.
  • There is a photograph of St. Martin's Church on the Wendy PARKINSON Church Photos web site.
  • Richard CROFT has a photograph of St. Martin's Church on Geo-graph, taken in 2005.
  • Here is a photo of St. Martin's Church taken by Ron COLE (who retains the copyright):

St. Martin's Church

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1603 as a collection of loose pages. The registers are continuous from 1709 on.
  • The churchwarden account books have survived from 1660 to 1684.
  • Check the Isle of Axholme Deanery to see which LFHS marriage indexes exist.
  • The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel was built in 1837. For information and assistance in researching this chapel, see our non-conformist religions page.
  • Check our Church Records page for county-wide resources.

Civil Registration

  • The parish was in the Owston sub-district in the Gainsborough Registration District.
  • Check our Civil Registration page for sources and background on Civil Registration which began in July, 1837.

Description and Travel

Owston is a parish, a township and a large village on the west bank of the Trent River about 8 miles north of Gainsborough. The parish covers some 5,350 acres and includes the township of West Butterwick-with-Kelfied.

If you are planning a visit:

You can see pictures of Owston which are provided by:

Historical Geography

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


  • The MOWBRAY family had a fortified tower here, called Kinafare Castle, which commanded the passage of the River Trent. No traces remain of this tower.
  • See the history of Owston provided by the Isle of Axholme FHS.
  • Owston Ferry Smithy Heritage Centre & Village Museum has photos and old farm and boating tools, a working smithy, old relics that locals have found in their lofts. They've got copies of the Indexes for the Parish for visitors to consult. [Sheila Wilson]
  • Gas Works were built in the village in 1864.


  • See our Maps page for additional resources.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SE809003 (Lat/Lon: 53.493185, -0.782041), Owston which are provided by:

Military History

  • Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of the War Memorial at Owston Ferry on Geo-graph, taken in 2011.

Military Records

For a photograph of the Owston Ferry War Memorial and the list of names on it, see the Roll of Honour site.

Names, Geographical

  • This place was anciently called Kinaird Ferry.
  • The name Owston is from the Old Scandinavian austr+tun, meaning "east farmstead." In the 1086 Domesday Book it is rendered as Austhun.
    [A. D. Mills, "A Dictionary of English Place-Names," Oxford University Press, 1991]

Politics and Government

  • The parish was in the ancient Manley Wapentake in the West Lindsey district in the parts of Lindsey.
  • In 1841, West Butterwick parish was formed from the northeast portion of Owston parish.
  • In the 1972 government redistricting, Owston became part of the Boothferry District, which is now in the County of Humberside (formerly Lindsey, Lincolnshire).
  • District governance is currently provided by the North Lincolnshire Council.

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

  • The Common Land was enclosed here in 1803.
  • As a result of the 1843 Poor Law Amendment Act, the parish became part of the Gainsborough Poor Law Union.
  • Bastardy cases were heard in the Epworth petty session courts.
  • Miss Frances SAUNDERS had almshouses built in 1860 for six poor women.
  • Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of the almshouses on Geo-graph, taken in 2011.


Year  Inhabitants
1801 917
1831 1,409
1851 2,613
1861 2,520
1871 1,527
1881 1,322
1891 1,294
1901 1,204
1911 1,159


  • The village of Owston had a Public Elementary School that was built for 230 children.
  • The hamlet of Gunthorpe had a Public Elementary School that was built in 1910 for 40 children.
  • See our Schools page for more information on researching school records.