Bourne (St. Peter and St. Paul)

BOURNE (St. Peter and St. Paul), a parish, and the head of a union, in the wapentake of Aveland, parts of Kesteven, county of Lincoln, 36 miles (S.) from Lincoln, and 97 (N.) from London; containing, with the hamlets of Cawthorpe and Dyke, 3361 inhabitants. This place takes its name from a stream of remarkably pure water, issuing from a copious spring contiguous to the town, near the Castle Hill, and called the Bourn-Eau; bourn being the Saxon term for brook or torrent. Though little of its early history is known, the town is supposed, from the discovery of Roman coins and tessellated pavements, to have been anciently of some importance. When the Danes invaded England in the ninth century, Marcot, the Saxon lord of Bourne, with a few of his own vassals and a detachment from Croyland Abbey, after an obstinate engagement, defeated a party of them who had made an inroad into this part of Lincolnshire. Prior to the time of Edward the Confessor a castle was erected here, of which the trenches and mounds are still discernible: it appears to have included an area of more than eight acres. In 1138, Baldwin, a descendant of Walter Fitz-Gilbert, to whom the town was given by William Rufus, founded a priory for canons of the order of St. Augustine, the site alone of which, now called the Trenches, is visible: the revenue, at the Dissolution, was £197. 17. 5. In the seventeenth century, Bourne was twice nearly destroyed by fire.

The parish comprises about 10,000 acres. The town is intersected by the Hull, Lincoln, and London road, and consists principally of one very long street, the houses in which are in general modern and well built. A considerable trade in leather was formerly carried on, and several extensive tan-yards were at work; but this branch of industry has altogether declined. A canal has been constructed to Spalding and Boston, by which means the town is supplied with coal, timber, and other commodities. The market is on Saturday; the fairs are on April 7th, May 7th, and October 29th. The county magistrates hold a meeting every Saturday; and courts of session for the parts of Kesteven are held quarterly: the powers of the county debt-court of Bourne, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Bourne. The town-hall, erected at an expense of £2500, on the site of a former one built by William Cecil, lord treasurer in the reign of Elizabeth, is a spacious handsome edifice, under which is the market-place.

The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8; patron, the Rev. J. Dodsworth. An allotment of 232 acres of land made to the vicar in lieu of tithes, in 1768, is let on lease, producing £320 per annum. The church, though spacious, appears to be only part of a larger structure; it is very ancient, and principally Norman, but contains several portions in the early and later styles of English architecture, and has two towers of mixed character, of which the southern is considerably higher than the other, and is crowned with pinnacles. There were formerly two towers at the west front, one of which was taken down about 140 years since. The interior, which has lately been repewed, and greatly beautified and repaired, consists of a nave, north and south aisles, and chancel; on each side of the nave are some massive round pillars and arches. The western entrance is a fine specimen of the later style, and over it is a large window of good composition. Within are some interesting monuments, a finely enriched font of the later style, and a stoup under a crocketed canopy; also a slab to the memory of the Rev. W. Dodd, vicar, and Elizabeth his wife, parents of the Rev. Dr. Dodd, who was born here in 1729, and was executed at Tyburn for forgery, in June, 1777. There are places of worship for Presbyterians and Wesleyans. A grammar school for 30 children was founded in 1653, and endowed with £30 per annum and a school-house by William Trollope, Esq., who also endowed an hospital for six aged men; and William Fisher, by will, in 1627, endowed with land then let at £30 per annum, an almshouse for the same number of women: a national school, established in 1830, is endowed with £42 per annum. The poor law union of Bourne comprises 37 parishes or places, and contains a population of 19,832. There is a mineral spring in the town, formerly of great repute. William Cecil, created Baron Burleigh by Queen Elizabeth, was born here in 1521.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.