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St Andrews, Firsby.jpg
St Andrew's Church, Firsby
Grid reference: TF455633
Population: 278
Post town: Spilsby
Postcode: PE23
Dialling code: 01754
Local Government
Council: East Lindsey
Boston and Skegness

Firsby is a small rural linear village n Lindsey, the northern part of Lincolnshire, thirty miles east of the county town, the City of Lincoln, and four miles south-east of the nearest market town, Spilsby. It is seven miles inland of Skegness, the seaside holiday resort town. It is within the Candleshoe Wapentake of Lindsey.

The village stands by the northern side of the waterway today known as the Steeping River, which is the lower part of the River Lymn, and to the east of the Lincolnshire Wolds on a tract of flat fenland, bounded by Boston Deeps and the North Sea. Firsby was once the location of one of the busiest railway stations on the East Coast.

The 2001 census recorded a village population of 276, increasing slightly at the 2011 census to 278.


The parish church in Firsby, St Andrew's, is built of limestone ashlar. It fell into decay int heh modern period and was rebuilt in 1856 by architect George Edmund Street at a cost of £850.[1] The church is a Grade II listed building..[2]

In his History of the County of Lincolnshire written in 1834,[3] the historian Thomas Allen records that;

"Firsby's St Andrew's Church is an ancient crumbling edifice in a state of great decay. The single aisled church is thatched and in front of the porch is a bare pillar of stone that may have at one time held a sundial".

Before the Reformation the church belonged to the Abbey at Bardney and was presented to the village by the Norman Lord of the Manor Sir Gilbert de Gaunt (1048-1094). The rectory was valued in 1834 at £12 0s 7d (£12.03). The original Norman church was demolished and a new church building erected in 1856 on the same site.

Firsby Methodist Church, a Wesleyan chapel built in 1838, is on Fendyke Road.


There were once two public houses in the village although both are closed. One of the public houses had its own brewery, and the other serviced the railway and doubled as the Railway Hotel. There are other records that mention a third drinking establishment around 1852, Whyley's Beerhouse, that stood adjacent to Firsby railway station.

At the beginning of the 20th century the village had a football team, which played its fixtures on a field behind the Railway Hotel, with a clubhouse and changing rooms next to the field. A previous village hall was situated beside the main Spilsby to Wainfleet road.

Railway connections

The railway station at Firsby opened in 1848 and was a substantial structure for a country station, with three platforms each two hundred yards long, with buildings, booking offices, male, female and general waiting rooms, restaurants, toilets, baggage and goods halls, crew rooms, staff canteen and numerous railway offices. The main line tracks were crossed by a substantial passenger footbridge and most of the station was covered by an ornate cast-iron and glass canopy. The station also had signal boxes, water towers, goods sidings and engine repair sheds.

The reason for such a grandiose station in a small country village is that Firsby was a junction for the Skegness line and the Spilsby line on their short branches from the main GNR London to Cleethorpes railway. During the summer months holiday passenger traffic, from throughout the country alighting at Firsby for the connection to Skegness, was substantial with hundreds and sometimes thousands of passengers passing through the station at a weekend. Firsby was one of the busiest stations on the East Lincolnshire Railway and the station was the major employer in the area: between the station-master and his assistants, ticket office staffs, ticket inspectors, signalmen, porters, catering staffs, drivers, firemen, guards and track maintenance staff for three separate railway companies, several hundred people worked at, or from, Firsby station on a daily basis.

A common call at the station was "Over the bridge for Skegness"[4]

Between 1943 and 1958 Firsby station was kept busy as the nearest railhead staging point for RAF and later United States Air Force airmen travelling to and from the nearby RAF Spilsby airfield at Great Steeping.

The line was closed down in 1970[5] due to the Beeching cuts, and the majority of the station and the platforms were demolished. Only the most southerly section of the station building remains and is now a private residence.[5] With the old east coast main line between Firsby and Cleethorpes removed a new direct link to Skegness was installed at the junction a few hundred yards south of the old Firsby station.

The Spilsby station building has been demolished but other buildings still stand, and in recent years have been used by an agricultural suppliers as a shop and store with new sections added. Between Firsby and Spilsby most of the old track route can still be seen in aerial photographs, marked by the avenue of trees and bushes, with only 5% ploughed out into fields.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Firsby)


  1. Kelly's Directory of Lincolnshire with the port of Hull 1885, p. 393
  2. National Heritage List 1267350: Church of St Andrew (Grade II listing)
  3. Allen, Thomas: 'The history of the county of Lincoln. (1838) p. 147
  4. "Spilsby Area Village Guide", Skegness Standard, 26 October 2005. Retrieved 28 July 2011
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Firsby Station". Disused Stations. Subterranea Britannica. Retrieved 30 July 2011.