Bishop Norton

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Bishop Norton
Bishop Norton Church - - 67923.jpg
St Peter's Church, Bishop Norton
Grid reference: SK983925
Location: 53°25’14"N, 0°31’15"W
Population: 308  (2011)
Post town: Market Rasen
Postcode: LN8
Dialling code: 01673
Local Government
Council: West Lindsey

Bishop Norton is a village in Lindsey, the northern part of Lincolnshire. The village is approximately eight miles north-west from the market town of Market Rasen, and is close to the A15 road. According to the 2001 it had a population of 233, including Atterby and increasing to 308 at the 2011 census.

The name of Bishop Norton derives from the fact that it was the most northerly of the twelve manors belonging to the Bishop based upon his chief manor at Stow. The bishop in question since the Norman Conquest was the Bishop of Lincoln, but Bishop Norton and the twelve manors date from much earlier during the periods when the sees of Lichfield, Leicester, Lindsey (Sidnacester) or Dorchester (on-Thames) respectively governed the ecclesiastical life of the area.[1]

The name of Bishop Norton appears variously in the record as Nortune, Nortun, Bishop's Norton, and Norton Episcopi.

History and manors

Bishop Norton is a very ancient ecclesiastical parish. The parish is bounded in the east by the old course of the river Ancholme, in the west by the line of the Roman road known as Ermine Street. It is bounded in the north by the parish of Snitterby, the south by Glentham. Across the Ancholme are Osgodby and Owersby parishes. Across the Roman road, to the west, is Hemswell Cliff civil parish.

Historically this parish has included three manors. The oldest of these was the manor of the bishop, which possibly dates back to the eighth century, and almost certainly to the ninth. This was administered as part of the larger estate based on Stow, one of twelve manors until the see of Lincoln was established after the Norman Conquest. After that date, the main manor was retained by the bishop including most of the lands pertaining to it, but a new manor was established at some time after for the benefit of the Prebend of Bishop Norton. This second manor held the advowson of the Church and claimed the petty tithes from the whole parish.[2] This Prebendary manor supported the Prebend of Bishop Norton who was one of the senior clerics who formed the Chapter for the cathedral church at Lincoln.

The third manor was one which seems to have been established quite late: the manor of Crossholme seems to date from that century. It was based upon the now extinct village or hamlet of Crossholme which was sited between Bishop Norton and nearby Glentham. The centre of the site is estimated to have been at SK 99279 91810. Various evidence for the settlement have been found including various artefacts, cropmarks and historical record. The manor existed into the twentieth century, records at least up to 1924. The site had now been levelled by ploughing out by 1964.[3][4] The Lords of the Manor in the fourteenth century were recorded in various Feet of Fines as holding property in Lincoln as part of the manor.[5] The name of Crossholme now only exists as a farm name at the eastern end of Bishop Norton village.

In addition to the manors, the settlements within the modern day civil parish include, Bishop Norton, the hamlet of Atterby, and that part of Spital-in-the-Street which lies north of Mellows Beck and east of the centre of Ermine Street (A15). Additionally there are good number of more isolated farmsteads within the parish, generally to the east of the village towards the river Ancholme on both Atterby and Snitterby Carrs and Low Place.

According to information provided by the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies in Canterbury,[6] the parish registers for Bishop Norton were commenced in 1587. It also records that the parish was a peculiar in respect of the Ecclesiastical Courts in which wills were proven. The Peculiar Court for the Prebendal of Bishop Norton had jurisdiction over Bishop Norton, Atterby and all of Spital-in-the-Street. Excepting the other Prebendal Manors of Corringham, Stow, Caistor and Louth who each had their own peculiar courts, generally, the old Lindsey parishes west of the River Ancholme were under the jurisdiction of the Archdeaconry Court of Stow and those to the east came under the Consistory Court of Lincoln. Bishop Norton's immediate neighbour to the south, Glentham, was one of several parishes forming another peculiar, the Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln. The fact that the Prebendary of Bishop Norton, from the creation of the separate manor until the church commissioners took charge of the property associated with it in January 1868,[7] held the advowson of the church. This along with the Peculiar Court gives good reason why the Vicar at St Peter's in Bishop Norton was also responsible for the Chapel at Spital-in-the-Street, despite it not being within the parish.


The parish church of St Peter's is a relatively modern construction, possibly from about 1737, but with earlier artefacts within the fabric, such as the Twelfth century Tympanum inserted within an internal wall.[8]

It is unclear whether an earlier church stood on the site of the current one, but it is certain that a church did exist here from the earliest days of the bishop's manor. A mediæval boundary ditch that may, or may not, have belonged to an earlier church dated to between 1066 and 1500 was discovered in substrate deposits on the site. During building work in 1895 various artefacts were unearthed from various historic periods including the Middle Saxon period and also an even older boundary ditch. Middle Saxon finds from the ninth and tenth century have been found here and in other places immediately adjacent to the church grounds. This included a ninth century shard from a Maxey ware strainer from the ninth century which was discovered in the garden of 3 Archer Street in 2004.[9]

The current church is a Grade II* listed building.[10]

About the village

In addition there are within the village three buildings with Grade II listings; Archer House,[11] The Bakehouse and the Old School.[12]

Norton Place

Norton Place is a Grade I listed building.[13] It was built in 1776 for John Harrison MP by the architect John Carr of York, on the edge of plantations in former parkland which was laid out in the 1770s. The main front of the house has a stone south facade of seven bays and has two storeys, the three centre bays more widely spaced beneath a pediment. The entrance is a Doric porch with Venetian window above, and above that in the pediment is a circular light garlanded with foliage and tied up with a bow. The side fronts have deep canted bays, a favourite Carr device, topped with urns. The drawing room has a delicate oval-pattern plaster ceiling with inset Wedgwood plaques depicting antique heads. The stables make a courtyard to the rear. There were some alterations to house in the 1830s by Lewis Vulliamy for Sir Montagu Cholmeley, who was the grandson of John Harrison.[14]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Bishop Norton)


  1. The History of the Bishopric of Lincoln, Adam Stark, 1852
  2. An Act for dividing and inclosing certain open fields, lands and grounds, in the township and parish of Bishop Norton in the county of Lincoln, 1771
  3. Lincolnshire HER 50836 and 50838
  4. Bishop Norton Enclosure Act, 1771
  5. Lincolnshire Feet of Fines, 1305 - 1315
  6. Genealogical Aid No 21a, a map showing the parishes within the Parts of Lindsey
  7. London Gazette, January 31 1868, pp469-470
  8. Lincolnshire Historic Environment Record (HER) 50848
  9. Lincolnshire HER 53911
  10. National Heritage List 1064181: Church of St Peter (Grade II* listing)
  11. National Heritage List 1064179: Archer House (Grade II listing)
  12. National Heritage List 1359426: The Old Schoolhouse (Grade II listing)
  13. National Heritage List 1359423: Norton Place (Grade I listing)
  14. Heritage Gateway