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Bracebridge Asylum

Description and Travel

This parish was formed in August, 1897 from Bracebridge parish to the south. The parish only covers about 395 acres, far smaller than in earlier times. In 1881, the parish covered about 1,500 acres.

The village of Bracebridge Heath is the largest village in the parish, lying about a half mile from the River Witham. If you are planning a visit:

Bracebridge Asylum

  • Bracebridge Asylum was also called "Bracebridge Heath Asylum," but its formal name was the long and cumbersome: "Lindsey and Holland Counties and Lincoln and Grimsby District Lunatic Asylum."
  • The Asylum has also operated under the name: "Lincolnshire County Pauper Lunatic Asylum."
  • The Asylum was built in 1852 on a slight rise in Bracebridge parish, on the high road to Sleaford. Originally built to house 250 inmates, it was enlarged in 1859, 1866, 1881 and 1902. The asylum grounds covered 120 acres.
  • The Asylum grounds were cultivated by the inmates to provide vegetables.
  • The Asylum's sewage was disposed of by irrigation over 10 acres of land about a half mile from the asylum.
  • The Asylum had a cemetery of one and half acres on the grounds, with its own mortuary chapel.
  • In some records, the inmates are referred to as "visitors".
  • The Lincolnshire Archives has some asylum records. There are admission registers from 1852 (with gaps) and lots of other records including case papers. There is a hundred year closure period.
  • You might find the Case Study of Ann BRYAN informative.
  • You might also review the abbreviated case notes of Sarah Ann CARROTT.
  • See our Poor Law Asylums page for more information on how the asylum was used.
  • Not far from the asylum was the "Lincoln and Lincolnshire Penitent Females' Home," built in 1848. It only held about 25 "inmates" at a time.
  • The asylum was also known as St. John's.


  • The parish was in the Home ("Lincoln Home") sub-district of the Lincoln Registration District.
  • Check our Census Resource page for county-wide resources.
  • We have two files from the 1901 census. The first is a web-page format list of all asylum residents from the 1901 Asylum Census. It is about 255KB in size.
  • We have the same list from the 1901 Asylum Census in Microsoft Excel 2000 format. It is about 995KB in size.

Church History

  • A chapel of Saint John was built for the staff and inmates in 1869 and could seat 450.
  • Here are two photos of the chapel, taken by Ron COLE (who retains the copyright):
Bracebridge Heath St. John chapel
Bracebridge Heath St. John chapel

Politics and Government

  • For governance, the parish was in the ancient Graffoe (or Boothby Graffoe) Wapentake in the Central Lindsey division of the county, parts of Lindsey.
  • In ancient times, the parish was a Liberty of Lincoln.
  • Boundary realignments sometimes placed the parish in the West Lindsey division of the county.
  • The parish became part of the Branston Rural District Council in March, 1898.


These figures are for the Asylum inmates and staff only.

  Year  Staff  Inmates
1870 ? 582
1901 ? 760
1911 129 907
1912 ? 950

Staff and officers

  • 1871: George Knollis JARVIS, chairman; A. L. MELVILLE, treasurer; Robert TOYNBEE of Lincoln, clerk; Edward PALMER, medical superintendent; J. W. MARSH, assistant medical officer; George KIRKUP, clerk and steward; Rev. Charles Christopher ELLISON, chaplain; Chester FRANK, engineer; Robert RUNACRES, head male attendant; Mrs. Sophia PECK, head female attendant; Miss Eliza SOLLITT, housekeeper.
  • 1881: George KIRKUP, clerk and steward; Edward PALMER, superintendent and physician; J. W. MARSH, assistant medical officer; Rev. Charles Christopher ELLISON, chaplain; Robert RUNACRES, male attendant; Mrs. Sophia PEEK, female attendant; Miss Eliza SOLLITT, housekeeper.
  • 1900: Lieut.-Col. Frances Ingram CONWAY-GORDON, Chairman; A. H. L. MELVILLE, treasurer; W. T. PAGE, jun., of Lincoln, clerk to board; George Parsons TORNEY, medical superintendent; Thomas Leonard JOHNSTON, assistant medical officer; Martha Jane GILMORE-COX, junior assistant medical officer; Charles Christopher ELLISON, chaplain; Edward B. GEORGE, clerk; John W. HARRISON, house steward; Miss Alice FRANTZ, housekeeper; John PANTON, head male attendant; Miss A. L. ROBERTS, head nurse.
  • 1913: Henry D. SIMPSON, Chairman; A. H. L. MELVILLE, treasurer; H. E. PAGE of Lincoln, clerk to board; Thomas Leonard JOHNSTON, medical superintendent; James Morgan BARKLEY, senior assistant medical officer; Miss Jessie Sophia Beatrix HUNER, junior assistant medical officer, Rev. Ernest Stafford SMITH, chaplain; Edward B. GEORGE, clerk; Joseph W. HARRISON, house steward; John PANTON, head male attendant; Miss A. L. ROBERTS, matron.
  • Sarah LILLY reports that in the 1911 census, her great grandfather, Albert LILLY, was listed as being the laundryhand at Bracebridge Asylum.