Monument record MLI91549 - Settlement of Gainsborough


The settlement of Gainsborough has its origins in the Anglo-Saxon period, and survives to the present day.

Type and Period (2)

  • (Early Medieval/Dark Age to Modern - 900 AD? to 2050 AD)
  • (Early Medieval/Dark Age to Modern - 900 AD? to 2050 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

The settlement record is split into four quarters; the pre-industrial core (PRN 55528), the northern and southern industrial quarters (PRN's 55529 AND 55530), and the riverside (PRN 55531). Please see these records for settlement/archaeological information in these areas. The name Gainsborough is of Old English origin, and refers to the ‘burh’ (fortified place) of Gaegn (a personal name). This probably refers to its site dominating the right bank of the Trent. {1} Gainsborough is first mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which records that King Swein and his forces camped there in 1013. This suggests that Gainsborough was of strategic importance at this time. {2} Domesday Book records that land at Gainsborough belonged to Geoffrey de Wirce. There was a minimum population of 12 sokemen and 4 villeins. Gainsborough is also mentioned in the Lindsey Survey of 1115-1118, when land there belonged to Nigel de Albaneio. {3} Gainsborough became a Borough in around 1200-50. It had a market and two fairs. One was held on the feast of James the Apostle (25th July) and was granted in 1242 by Henry III to John Talbot, to be held at the manor. The other was granted in 1292 by Edward I to William de Valence, to be held at the manor (the date and other details of this fair are not known as the source is damaged). {4} A market was granted in 1204, to be held on Tuesdays. The river Trent played an important role in the town's prosperity and growth. A port at Gainsborough is mentioned in documentary records from the medieval period, and from the 15th century onwards it continued to grow in importance until the boom period of the early 19th century. Official Port status and a branch customs house were granted in 1840. Shortly following this, the port began to decline due to the opening of the railway (in 1849) and the deterioration of the river channel. For more information on the port and the riverside, see PRN 55531. {5} The Lay Subsidy of 1334 records Gainsborough's wealth as £8 1s 9 1/2d, richest in its wapentake (Corringham). {6} Gainsborough was of considerable strategic importance during the Civil War. Although it initially attempted to remain neutral, it was taken by the Royalists in early 1643. It subsequently changed hands several times, being beseiged and razed in the process. Town defences consisting of ditches and 'bull workes' were constructed at the beginning of the war by the townsfolk, and the remains of these were apparently still visible at the beginning of the 19th century. The Battle of Gainsborough (see PRN 52062) was fought in July 1643. {7} By the late 17th/early 18th century, there were around 2000 people living at Gainsborough including between 30 and 40 Dissenting of whom 8 were Quaker. A school with a poor stipend of 10s per annum is also mentioned. {8} In 1801 the population was 4506 people, rising to 7564 by 1871 and rising further to 17740 by 1901. {9}{10}{11}

Sources/Archives (11)

  •  Bibliographic Reference: Kenneth Cameron. 1998. A Dictionary of Lincolnshire Place-Names. p 49.
  •  Unpublished Document: North Lincolnshire Archaeological Unit. 1989. Gainsborough Archaeological Resource Map. -.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: C.W. Foster and T. Longley. 1924. Lincolnshire Domesday and Lindsey Survey. lvii, lviii, lxxviii; 63/2; L4/1.
  •  Website: Letters, Samantha (Dr). 2003. Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs in England and Wales to 1516: Counties and Wales. Gainsborough.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: Ian Beckwith. 1988. The Book of Gainsborough. -.
  •  Article in Serial: R.E. Glasscock. 1964. 'The Lay Subsidy of 1334 for Lincolnshire' in Lincolnshire Architectural and Archaeological Society Reports and Papers. vol.10.2, p.129.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: Ian Beckwith. 1969. Gainsborough During the Great Civil War. -.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: R.E.G. Cole. 1913. Speculum Dioeceseos Lincolniensis sub Episcopis Gul: Wake et Edm: Gibson A.D.1705-1723. Part 1: Archdeaconries of Lincoln and Stow. p.159.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: William Page (ed). 1906. The Victoria County History: Lincolnshire - Volume 2. p.369.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: Ian Beckwith. 1968. The Making of Modern Gainsborough. -.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: William White. 1856. History, Gazetteer and Directory of Lincolnshire (Second Edition). pp.162-88.



Grid reference Centred SK 81363 89847 (1109m by 2676m)

Related Monuments/Buildings (4)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (0)

Record last edited

May 21 2024 10:12AM


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