• The parish was in the Swineshead sub-district of the Boston Registration District.
  • We have a handful of 1861 census surnames in a text file. Your additions are welcome.
  • Kathryn Lake HOGAN provides this partial surname list from the 1871 census: BURDEN, TEPPER, MORLEY, WOODS, STOWE, DOWSE, HORREY, THORPE, PATCHETT, BLACKBAND, ENDERBY.
  • Jill ATKINSON has provided a handful of 1871 census surnames in a text file. Your additions are welcome.
  • Similarly, we have a handful of 1891 census surnames in a text file. Your additions are welcome.
  • Check our Census Resource page for county-wide resources.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1841 H.O. 107 / 611
1851 H.O. 107 / 2099
1861 R.G. 9 / 2339
1871 R.G. 10 / 3345
1891 R.G. 12 / 2576

Church History

  • In 1134, Robert de GRESLEY founded a Cistercian abbey here, about a miles east of the town.
  • It is said that King John sought shelter here in 1216 after losing his baggage and equipment in the Wash, before dying three days later at Newark.
  • The abbey was closed in 1536 at the first Dissolution of the Monasteries.
  • Reputedly, a monk at the abbey tried to poison King John when he stopped there on his way to Sleaford.
  • A house was built from stones taken from the Abbey in 1607. That house is now a Grade II listed building with British Heritage.
  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint Mary.
  • The church was built circa 1300.
  • The church chancel was rebuilt in 1848.
  • The church seats 700.
  • The church is a Grade I listed building with British Heritage.
  • A photograph of St. Mary's church is at the Wendy PARKINSON English Church Photographs site.
  • Richard CROFT provides his photograph of St. Mary's Church on Geo-org, taken in 2008.
  • A Chapel of Ease was built in 1826 at Chapel Hill, about 8 miles north of the town.
  • The Chapel of Ease was dedicated to the Holy Trinity.
  • The Diocese of Lincoln declared the chapel at Chapel Hill redundant in March, 1995, and the property was sold for residential use in October, 1996.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1639 for baptisms and burials and from 1640 for marriages.
  • We have a partial parish register extract for you to search. You may add your own findings by contacting the site coordinator.
  • If you search the I.G.I., try using batch number C032292, which covers 1575 - 1812.
  • The Lincolnshire FHS has published several marriage indexes and a burial index for the Holland West Deanery to make your search easier.
  • The village had Baptist, Wesleyan and Free Methodist chapels. For more on researching these chapels, see our Non-Conformist Church Records page.
  • Check our Church Records page for county-wide resources.

Civil Registration

  • King John, who lost his baggage trying to cross the Wash, took refuge here from the 12th thru the 17th of October, 1216.
  • The parish was in the Swineshead sub-district of the Boston Registration District.
  • Check our Civil Registration page for sources and background on Civil Registration which began in July, 1837.

Description & Travel

Swineshead is both a village and parish about 5 miles west of Boston. The parish is just over 100 miles north of London. It is bounded on the south by Bicker parish. The parish covers about 7,100 acres of flat fenland, drained by many small canals. The parish contains the hamlets of Baythorpe, Holt Hill and Crossgates.

The village lies along the old Sleaford and Holbeach Road and on the south side of the Hammond Beck. This was an important market town until the middle of the seventeenth century. If you are planning a visit:

  • See our Touring page for additional resources.
  • Tourists will enjoy visiting one of England's windmills (Photograph compliments of and copyright by: Linda (Vesey) SOKALOFSKY).:


  • Rodney BURTON has a photograph of the North End Mill at Geo-graph, along with a note that the mill worked until the 1930s.
  • Richard CROFT provides his photograph of the Village Sign on Geo-org, taken in March, 2010.
You can see pictures of Swineshead which are provided by:




Historical Geography

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



  • King John, who lost his baggage trying to cross the Wash, took refuge here from the 12th thru the 17th of October, 1216.
  • The village held two annual fairs; on the second Thursday in June, and on October 2nd. The latter fair was chiefly for the sale of cheese and onions.
  • Tides from the Great Wash used to come up to the village.
  • Richard CROFT provides his photograph of the 18th Century Wheatsheaf Hotel on Geo-org, taken in September, 2008.


  • The present manor house was built out of the abbey ruins around 1640 by one of the LOCTON family.
  • In 1840, Richard CALTHROP held the manor property for his family.


  • See our Maps page for additional resources.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference TF237402 (Lat/Lon: 52.944938, -0.160524), Swineshead which are provided by:


Military History

A monument to the 50 men of the parish who died in World War I was erected in 1921.

Richard CROFT has a photograph of the War Memorial at Geo-graph, taken in September, 2008.

John EMERSON, who retains the copyright, provides these photographs of the war memorial at Swineshead:







Military Records

For a list of the names on the Memorials, see the Memorial Names provided by John EMERSON.


Names, Geographical

  • John BLAND tells us (2004) that the locals pronounce the name as "Swoines-ed".

Politics & 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 Kirton Wapentake in the Boston Borough and parts of Holland.
  • For today's district governance, visit the local Boston Borough Council.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • By a will drafted in 1711 and a codicil added in 1718, Thomas COWLEY of the Wilkes, bequeathed his lands and tenements in Swineshead for the education of poor children. In 1825 the Cowley school rooms were built
  • Local charities, left by Henry PRIDGEN and others, amounted to nearly £500 yearly for the poor.
  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Kirton and Skirbeck petty session hearings.
  • As a result of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act, this parish became part of the Boston Poor Law Union.


Year Inhabitants
1801 1,544
1831 1,994
1841 2,079
1871 1,721
1881 1,626
1891 1,748
1901 1,752
1911 1,899


  • There is an Endowed School, founded in the year 1720 by Thomas COWLEY of Donington.
  • A School Board was formed in the parish in November, 1879.
  • The Infants' School was built in 1881 for 100 children.
  • See our Schools page for more information on researching school records.