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Spilsby, Lincolnshire

Historical Description

Spilsby, a small, neat market-town and head of a petty sessional division and county court district in Lincolnshire. It stands in a pleasant position overlooking a vast tract of marsh and fen land extending southward to the Boston Deeps, and consists chiefly of four streets diverging from a market-place. It has a terminal station on a branch of the G.N.R., and is 8 miles SW from Alford, 10 ESE from Horncastle, 17 NE from Boston, and 126 from London. The market is held every Monday for fat and lean stock, pigs, and poultry; and a fair, generally very well attended, is held on the first Monday after 12 July for horses, cattle, sheep, and pigs. A foal show is held early in September. The public buildings include a head post office, a town-hall, and corn exchange in the market-place; a market opened in 1891 at a cost of about £2000, parish rooms purchased by public subscription and opened in 1891, a sessions-house with a police station and a lock-up, and a masonic hall which is used also for public meetings and entertainments. In the marketplace are the steps and shaft of a large ancient cross, and a bronze statue of Sir John Franklin, the Arctic explorer, who was born here in 1786. The workhouse for the Spilsby union, a large building of brick erected in 1838 with capacity for 250 inmates, is in the parish of Hundleby. Area of the parish of Spilsby, 1238 acres; population, 1497. Eresby is a small hamlet situated a short distance S of the town. Eresby Hall, a seat of the Earl of Ancaster, stood here for several centuries, but was destroyed by fire in 1769. Part of a long avenue of trees, one tall column, and the moat, are the only traces of its former dignity. A farmhouse which stands near was built out of the materials of the old hall. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Lincoln; net value, £322 with residence, in the gift of the Earl of Ancaster. The church, dedicated to St James, is an interesting building, originally built of the local soft green sandstone, but which has been much patched at different times with brick, and has been several times restored and altered. The last restoration took place in 1879, when thorough repairs were effected, the chancel rebuilt, and a new S aisle formed, Ancaster stone being the material chiefly used. It now consists of chancel, double nave, N aisle, N or Willoughby chapel, and an embattled western tower with pinnacles. The church is one of quite unusual interest for the archaeologist on account of its series of monuments commemorating many of the most distinguished members of the Willoughby family, commencing with that of John, first Lord Willoughby (1348), a soldier who fought at Crecy and who founded the chantry of the Holy Trinity, and ending with that of Peregrine Bertie, eleventh Lord Willoughby, and his daughter, Lady Watson (1610). There is a Wesleyan chapel, which was erected in 1878, with two ministers' houses, at a cost of £7000. The grammar school was founded in 1550, and has an endowment of about £80 a year derived from the rent of 32 acres of land.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyLincolnshire 
Ecclesiastical parishSpilsby St. James 
Poor Law unionSpilsby 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

Findmypast, in conjunction with the Lincolnshire Archives, have the following parish records online for Spilsby:


Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Spilsby from the following:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Lincolnshire papers online:

Villages, Hamlets, &c

DistrictEast Lindsey
RegionEast Midlands
Postal districtPE23
Post TownSpilsby