Epworth (St. Andrew)
EPWORTH (St. Andrew), a market-town and parish, in the union of Thorne, W. division of the wapentake of Manley, parts of Lindsey, county of Lincoln, 28¾ miles (N. W. by N.) from Lincoln, and 157¾ (N. by W.) from London; containing 1843 inhabitants. This place, which is the principal town in the Isle of Axholme, a district comprising the north-west portion of the county, was anciently the residence of the Howard family, who had a castellated mansion here, of which nothing now remains except the site, where within the last 70 years have been dug up some of the cannon belonging to the fortifications. The town is of considerable size, but irregularly built: the chief trade is the dressing of flax and hemp, of which great quantities are grown in the neighbourhood; and the manufacture of sacking and canvas is carried on to a large extent. The market is on Tuesday; the fairs are on the first Thursday after May 1st, and September 29th, for cattle, hemp, and flax. The parish consists of 5498a. 1r. 16p., of which nearly one-half was originally forest land, and, though now inclosed, is greatly inferior in its soil to the rest of the parish, comprising about 2000 acres of rich pasture, and nearly 1000 of good arable land. The surface is partly hilly and partly level; and previously to the introduction of a more efficient method of draining, the low lands were subject to frequent inundation.
The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £28. 16. 8., and in the patronage of the Crown, with a net income of £925: the tithes were commuted for land and a corn-rent at the inclosure. The church, an ancient structure, is situated on an eminence commanding an extensive view. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Primitive Methodists, and Methodists of the Old and New Connexion. The poor-lands, arising from various gifts, produce £37 per annum, which are distributed, chiefly in clothing, among the poor; and the church-lands consist of 43 acres, yielding £88. A Carthusian monastery was founded here in the reign of Richard II., by Thomas Mowbray, Earl of Nottingham, and earl marshal of England, the revenue of which at the Dissolution was £290. 11. 7.; the remains have been converted into a private mansion. John and Charles Wesley, the celebrated founders of the Arminian Methodists, and sons of the Rev. S. Wesley, who was for 59 years rector of the parish, were born here, the former in June 1703, and the latter in December 1708. Mrs. Mehetebel Wright, their sister, who was author of several poetical works; Mr. Alexander Kilham, founder of the Kilhamites; and William Peck, author of an Account of the Isle of Axholme, were also natives.