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Help and advice for Spilsby

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.

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Archives and Libraries

Local Library:

  • Spilsby Library
  • 2 West End Villas
  • Spilsby, Lincs, PE23 5ED
  • Tele: 01 522 782 010, Fax: 01775 768931
  • Opening Hours 10.00 - 16.00 Mon and Fri
  • Saturday 10:00 - 13.00
  • Closed Tues, Thursday and Sunday

The Library: holds the baptismal and burial records for parts of the Bolingbroke Deanery for the period of 1754-1812.


  • A cemetery of one acre was formed in 1883 on Boston Road.


  • The the parish was in the Spilsby sub-district of the Spilsby 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 / 644
1851 H.O. 107 / 2109 & 2110
1861 R.G. 9 / 2375
1871 R.G. 10 / 3391 thru 3392B
1891 R.G. 12 / 2603


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Spilsby 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

  • At Eresby there was a chapel, and in 1349 Sir John WILLOUGHBY made it collegiate for a master and twelve priests.
  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint James.
  • The church is built of green sandstone.
  • The earliest parts of the church date to the early 14th century.
  • The church seats about 750.
  • The Anglican parish churchyard was closed to most burials in 1884.
  • Here is a photo of St. James, taken by (and copyright of) Wendy PARKINSON.

Spilsby parish church

  • Here is a photo of St. James Church, taken by Ron COLE (who retains the copyright):

St. James Church

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1562.
  • We have the beginning of a parish register extract in a pop-up text file. Your additions and corrections are welcomed.
  • The LFHS has published several marriage and burial indexes for the Bolingbroke Deanery to make your search easier.
  • The Wesleyan, Primitive and Independent Methodists each had large chapels in the town. The Independent Methodists built a new chapel in 1866 and used the old one as a Sunday School. The Wesleyans built a new chapel at the Market Place in 1878. For information and assistance in researching these chapels, see our non-conformist religions page.
  • Check our Church Records page for county-wide resources.

Civil Registration

  • The parish was in the Spilsby sub-district of the Spilsby Registration District.
  • Check our Civil Registration page for sources and background on Civil Registration starting in July 1837.

Description and Travel

131 miles north of London, Spilsby parish sits between Skegness on the coast and Horncastle in the Wold hills, and is about ten miles southwest of Alford. Partney parish is to the north and Toynton St. Peter parish to the south. The parish covered about 2,340 acres in 1842.

The town of Spilsby was described in White's 1842 Directory as "a small, but thriving and well-built market town... pleasantly seated on an eminence, which overlooks an extensive tract of marshes and fens". Eresby is a small hamlet just south of town. If you are planning a visit:

  • By automobile, take the A16 south out of Alford or north out of Boston. The road passes through the center of Spilsby. Otherwise, you can take the A158 eastward out of Horncastle and turn south onto the B1195 arterial and follow that into Spilsby.
  • See our touring page for visitor services.
You can see pictures of Spilsby which are provided by:

Historical Geography

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


  • A House of Corrections was built here in 1824-26 and occupied about two acres. It was enlarged in 1869 to accomodate 85 cells. It was taken down in 1876, except for a portion used as sessions house and police lockup.
  • Gasworks were constructed in 1853, bringing lights to the town.
  • The railway came to Spilsby in 1868 with the Spilsby and Firsby branch of the East Lincolnshire Railway Company.
  • A pavillion was erected in1892.

Land and Property

  • In 1842, Lord Willoughby de Eresby was owner of nearly all the land in the parish.
  • In 1872 and 1882, Baroness Willoughby de Eresby was owner of nearly all the land in the parish and was lady of the manor.


  • Eresby Hall was the seat of the de Eresby family for centuries. It stood about a mile south of the town, but was destroyed by fire in 1769.
  • The manor of Eresby, or Spilsby, was given by William the Conqueror, to Walter de BEKE (or BEC), a baron. In the 1300's, the manor passed to Robert Willoughby de ERESBY by marriage. In 1580, the manor passed to Richard BERTIE by marriage.


  • See our Maps page for additional resources.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference TF401661 (Lat/Lon: 53.173555, 0.094670), Spilsby which are provided by:

Military History

  • The Seventh Spilsby Rifle Volunteer Corps was formed here in 1860. It contained about 100 members. In 1872, J. W. PRESTON was Captain, Geo. WALKER Lieutenant, Robert MacKINDER ensign and Sergeant Thomas WARD drill master.
  • In 1881, F Company of the First Lincolnshire Rifle Volunteers was here, complete with Drill Hall. Captain George WALKER was Commandant, Robert MacKINDLE was lieutenant, John Wiley PRESTON, Junior, was second lieutenant, sergeant William ROLFE was the drill master.
  • In 1889, F Company of the First Volunteer Battalion was here, complete with Drill Hall. Major G. WALKER was Commandant, G. B. WALKER and W. HOFF were lieutenants, Francis John WALKER was acting surgeon and the Rev. Pownoll KENDALL the acting chaplain.
  • In 1899, a Drill Hall was erected in Halton Road, built of red brick. It contained housing for sergeant-instructors.
  • In 1912, C Company of the 5th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, was here. Captain H. S. SCORER was Commandant, Col. Francis John WALKER was medical officer and the drill instructor was Wallace COWLING, colour sergeant.
  • RAF Spilsby opened on 20 Sept. 1943. It was a satellite airfield to RAF East Kirkby. It was upgraded from satellite status only a month later.
  • Immediately after the war, RAF Spilsby became an Armament Practice School.
  • In December, 1946, the airfield was placed in a "care and maintenance" status. That lasted until June of 1955.
  • In 1955 the US Air Force took over the field, but used it primarily for ground forces.
  • The US Air Force left in March, 1958 and the station was closed. The runways were torn up in the 1970s and the aggregate from them used in constructing the Humber Bridge. Some of the buildings were still standing in 2005.
  • There is a Memorial to the units staioned at RAF Spilsby just outside Great Steeping village.

Military Records

For photographs of the Spilsby War Memorials and the list of names on them, see the Roll of Honour site.

Names, Personal

  • Sir John FRANKLIN, Knight, K.C.H. was born at Spilsby in 1786. He entered the navy in 1800 and fought at Trafalgar, went on an expedition to the North Pole in 1818 and again in 1819. Knighted in 1829, he perished with his whole crew in 1845 or the next year - lost in an effort to find the Northwest Passage in Canada. In 1861, a statue was erected in his honour in the Market Place.

Politics and Government

  • The parish was in the East division of the ancient Bolingbroke Wapentake in the East Lindsey district in the parts of Lindsey.
  • The parish was also in the Bolingbroke Soke.
  • Kelly's 1913 Directory of Lincolnshire places the parish in the South Lindsey divison of the county.
  • You can contact the Spilsby Town Council regarding civic or political issues, but they are NOT staffed to do family history searches for you.
  • For today's district governance, see the East Lindsey District Council.

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Spilsby petty session hearings held at the Court House every other Monday.
  • The parish had 22 acres set aside as Poor's Land, holding several tenements and the Red Lion Public House. Revenue from the property (£76 and 5 shillings in 1842) was distributed half-yearly amoung the poor who were not receiving other aid from the poor rates (see Poor Law Union, below).
  • As a result of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act, the parish became part of the Spilsby Poor Law Union.


Year  Inhabitants
1801 932
1811 963
1821 1,234
1831 1,384
1841 1,434
1851 1,461
1861 1,467
1871 1,624
1881 1,423
1891 1,497
1911 1,464


  • A Free Grammar School was supported at Spilsby prior to 1600 (reputedly founded by Edward VI), but it did not have a home until 1611, when the lord of the manor granted an acre of land with the buildings which were converted into the school. From 1741 to 1842, it held 42 children, 30 boys and 12 girls.
  • A small National School was built here in 1839 and the girls were transfered here and their number increased to 15. They were taught reading, writing and needlework.
  • For more on researching school records, see our Schools Research page.