Monument record MLI91550 - Pre-Industrial Core of Gainsborough


This area comprises the core of the town around the Market Place, Lord Street, Silver Street and nearby streets. The town did not expand greatly beyond this core until the mid 19th century.

Type and Period (8)

  • (Early Medieval/Dark Age to Post Medieval - 900 AD? to 1840 AD)
  • (Medieval - 1100 AD to 1199 AD)
  • (Medieval - 1100 AD to 1499 AD)
  • ? (Medieval - 1100 AD to 1499 AD)
  • (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1500 AD? to 1899 AD)
  • (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1500 AD? to 1699 AD?)
  • (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1500 AD? to 1699 AD?)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

This is the record for the pre-industrial core of the medieval and post-medieval settlement of Gainsborough. The core is defined by the northern extent of the churchyard to the north, the rear of Silver Street to the south, the river to the west and part of North Street to the east, encompassing the market place, Old Hall area and the church. For further information on the town of Gainsborough see also the records for the general settlement (PRN 55527), and the northern and southern industrial quarter records (PRN's 55529 and 55530 respectively) and the Riverside quarter (PRN 55531). The long, narrow building plots that line several streets in this area are typical of plots with medieval origins. 19th century maps show that the growth of the town beyond this core area did not occur until at least the mid-19th century, after which industrial and population growth prompted the expansion of the town to the south, east and north, with the river being a key factor in the town's prosperity and growth. The rising population of the 18th-early 19th century were typically housed in yards - infilled back garden areas behind existing buildings. None of these now survives. The standing building that are present in this area are of 18th-19th century origin (many are listed - see individual records), or recent. With the exception of the Old Hall and the tower of All Saints church, there are no medieval survivals although some more recent buildings may retain traces of older ones within their fabric. The remains of the last standing medieval building, the late 15th or early 16th century timber-framed Old Lamb Inn, located in the east corner of Market Place, behind a bakers shop, were demolished in 1968. {1}{2}{3} There is documentary and place name evidence for the existence of Gainsborough in the early medieval period (see PRN 55527), but there is (so far) a lack of archaeological evidence for settlement during this period. The location of any Anglo-Saxon or Danish settlement is not known, although it is suggested that it would have been in the heart of the medieval settlement area. {4} Archaeological evaluation on land adjacent to Gainsborough Guildhall identified evidence for medieval activity (PRN 55528a - SK 8137 8990). The sequence of archaeological deposits comprised a series of levelling/occupation horizons and walls, interspersed with refuse pits - typical activity in an area situated to the rear of street-frontage properties. The dating of the pottery recovered from these features suggests that this activity took place in the medieval period (11th to 15th century) and continued until building construction during the post-medieval period. Consequently, the medieval deposits were heavily truncated, particularly as a result of cellar construction. Important in situ archaeological deposits are expected to survive only as a series of 'islands'. However, it is likely that there are further medieval archaeological deposits in the area, both towards the street front and perhaps to the south of the cellars. {5}{6} Brick lined vaults were uncovered during demolition in Silver Street (their exact location was not given). 18th century wine bottles were seen on shelves in the vaults. {7} A single large sherd of medieval pottery was found at Parnell Street during the digging of an electricty trench (SK 8137 8997). {8}{9} Various brick features of 18th century or possibly earlier date were observed during watching briefs along a pipeline route, in the streets around the Old Hall (PRN 55528b - SK 8131 8997). These may represent buildings or boundaries pre-dating those shown on 19th century maps, some of which may be related to the Old Hall (see PRN 54153). {10} Several features of tentative medieval or early post-medieval date were encountered during a watching brief at 51-53 North Street (PRN 55528c - SK 8152 9011). The earliest feature encountered was a potentially medieval sandstone wall foundation. A single medieval sherd was found within its fabric, and it was overlain by a succession of made ground deposits containing mid-late medieval pottery and a single late medieval floor brick. A third phase of activity, presumably taking place in the post-medieval period although largely undated, consisted of several pits and a brick wall foundation. The wall was possibly associated with an ancillary structure or may have been a garden wall. One of the pits was clay-lined and therefore may have been used to hold water, possibly as storage for live fish. Its fill contained building rubble and sherds of early post-medieval glass. Late medieval pottery was also retrieved from another pit. These features are all probably associated with back yard activity. {11}{12} A rescue excavation and scheme of monitoring and recording was undertaken in May and June 2010, at the junction of Silver Street and Bridge Street (PRN 55528d - SK 8141 8976). Structural features including a stone wall, a brick wall, formerly part of a cellar, a brick chute and partition wall and a brick floor or surface were revealed, along with 16th to 17th century pottery sherds. {13}{14}

Sources/Archives (14)

  •  Bibliographic Reference: Beckwith, Ian. 1968. The Making of Modern Gainsborough. -.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: Beckwith, Ian. 1988. The Book of Gainsborough. -.
  •  Website: Landmark Information Group. 2007->. Old Maps. Gainsborough.
  •  Unpublished Document: North Lincolnshire Archaeological Unit. 1989. Gainsborough Archaeological Resource Map. -.
  •  Report: Pre-Construct Archaeology. 2003. Gainsborough Guildhall, Gainsborough; Archaeological Trial Excavation Report. GHGA03.
  •  Archive: Pre-Construct Archaeology. 2003. Gainsborough Guildhall, Gainsborough; Archaeological Trial Excavation Report. LCNCC 2003.224.
  •  Correspondence: PARISH FILE. GAINSBOROUGH. -.
  •  Index: Lincolnshire County Council. Sites and Monuments Record Card Index. SK 88 NW: T.
  •  Index: MAY, J. (ED.). 1966. EAST MIDLANDS ARCHAEOLOGICAL BULLETIN. no.9, p.21.
  •  Report: Lindsey Archaeological Services. 1992. Gainsborough Watermains Relay Gladstone St, Morley St, Cobden St, Bright St & Lord St: Archaeological Watching Brief. -.
  •  Report: Pre-Construct Archaeology (Lincoln). 2007. Land at 51-53 North Street, Gainsborough. PCA site code: GNOS07.
  •  Archive: Pre-Construct Archaeology (Lincoln). 2007. Land at 51-53 North Street, Gainsborough. LCNCC 2007.166.
  •  Report: Pre-Construct Archaeological Services Ltd. 2011. Land at the Junction of Bridge Street and Silver Street, Gainsborough. PCAS site code: BSGH10.
  •  Archive: Pre-Construct Archaeological Services Ltd. 2011. Land at the Junction of Bridge Street and Silver Street, Gainsborough. LCNCC 2011.50.



Grid reference Centred SK 81427 89927 (470m by 454m)

Related Monuments/Buildings (6)

Related Events/Activities (5)

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Mar 21 2021 8:35PM


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