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St.Andrew's church - geograph.org.uk - 283845.jpg
St Andrew's Church, Horbling
Grid reference: TF118352
Location: 52°54’12"N, 0°20’17"W
Population: 397  (2001)
Post town: Sleaford
Postcode: NG34
Dialling code: 01529
Local Government
Council: South Kesteven
Grantham and Stamford

Horbling is a village in Kesteven, the south-western part of Lincolnshire. It is on the B1177, seven miles south-east of Sleaford, fourteen miles north-east of Grantham and just half a mile north of Billingborough.

The village population recorded in the 2001 census was 397, in 162 households.


Horbling is the site of a probable Romano-British settlement, centred around the present Fen Drove and Fen Farm, on Horbling Fen to the east, where has been found earthwork evidence of rectilinear enclosures, and watercourses.[1] Large quantities of Roman Samian ware and roof tiles have also been discovered.[2] Cox noted that on the right hand side of road from Billingborough to Horbling is a tumulus, probably of pre-historic origin.[3]

In the Domesday Book account, the village is written as "Horbelinge". It consisted of 9 villeins, 8 freemen and one smallholder, land for 4 plough teams, a 20-acre meadow and a church. Before the Norman Conquest, Thorkill the Dane was lord of the manor, in 1086 lordship was held by Walter D'Aincourt.[4]

A hamlet, Horbling, Bridge End (previously also Holland Brigg), stands a mile and a half to the east, is the site of the small Gilbertine priory of St Saviour, founded in 1199 by Godwin the Rich of Lincoln.[5][6] The canons at Bridgend Priory were charged with the upkeep of Holland Bridge causeway (de ponte Aslaci), a Roman road running from the Midlands to The Wash.[3] Cox also noted: "It had a slender endowment and was probably never occupied by more than 2 or 3 canons". A parcel of land and messuage at the head of the causeway near the priory was given by Robert Jokem of Horbling to St Saviour's, to support the work of the canons.[7] The causeway stretched between Horbling and Donington and was, until the 18th century, the only sound road between Kesteven and Holland.[8] In 1816, Marrat recorded that Bridge End "consists of a few farm houses, and a tolerably good Inn." The priory had been taken down 45 years previously (c.1770), and its materials used for a large farmhouse virtually on the same site. Two miles to the east of the Bridge End was built a chapel where prayers were said for the safety of travellers.[7]

The Mediæval Stow Fair was held a mile and half to the west of the village (today at the junction of Mareham Lane and Stow Lane in Threekingham), from 1233, and lasted until 1954. The fair, traditionally held on 23 June, was probably dedicated to St Ætheldreda (Æthelthryth).

In 1885 Kelly's Directory noted that the village was on the Bourne and Sleaford branch of the Great Northern Railway, and that the principal dwellings were supplied by the Billingborough and Horbling Gas Company. Agricultural production in a parish of 2,620 acre was chiefly wheat, barley, beans and oats. Its population in 1881 was 501. The lord of the manor was a George Shaw, and chief landowners were Edward Nathaniel Conant, George Shaw and Captain Henry Smith JP. A school for boys and girls was originally established by Edward Brown of Horbling (d.1692) with endowments provided by income from his lands at Wigtoft. A new National School schoolhouse was erected in 1865 for the free education of 11 boys and 9 girls.[9]

Billingborough and Horbling Station

Up to 1905 the village had a windmill, Horbling Windmill.[10]

Between 1939 and 1948 an area on the south side of Sandygate Lane was used to accommodate a prisoner of war camp. As Camp 80, it held German prisoners who were used as local labourers. Housing now occupies the camp site.[11]

Billingborough and Horbling railway station closed in 1964, after ceasing to be a passenger carrier over 30 years previously. It was built in 1872 under the authority of an Act of Parliament of 1865. After closure the line to the north of the station was used to store the Royal Train.[12] The remains of the line just to the west of the village has become a nature reserve for small wildlife under the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.[13]

Parish church

The parish church, St Andrew's, of cruciform construction in Norman, Early English Gothic and later styles. It comprises a chancel, clerestoried nave, aisles, transepts and embattled tower with pinnacles and 5 bells. It is a Grade I listed building.[14]

The chancel contains a piscina and sedilia, and Norman arcading in the west front. The tower, owing to bad foundations was successively rebuilt or repaired in transitional, Early English and early Decorated Gothic periods. The north aisle and transept are late Decorative, as is the font. The south aisle and transept, and clerestory, are Perpendicular Gothic. Stained glass in the west window was added in 1854 as testimonial to Benjamin Smith (1776-1857),[9] local solicitor and promoter of charities,[15] who paid for the 1852 restoration of church.

The south transept holds memorials to the Brown family. In the north transept is a mid-14th-century monument with effigies of knight and lady, with the arms of De La Maine.[9] Above these effigies is a lunette containing a relief of Christ's resurrection, flanked by two figures.[3][16] Pevsner also notes two 1706 patens by John Cory, a 1713 flagon by Humphrey Payne, an 1840 alms dish attributable to John Crouch, and a brass plate designed by Pugin, who also perhaps designed the brass to Benjamin Wilkinson (d.1848).[16] Marrat, in 1816, recorded: "The inside [of] the church is not in good repair, here are some very indifferent stalls, and scarcely any pews".[7]

About the village

Spring well, Horbling

A spring well rises 150 |yards north of the church on Spring Lane: Pevsner describes it as "a deep open cistern feeds water to three adjacent troughs".[16] The well, paid for by the Constables of Horbling, dates from 1711. It has an added 1981 inscription commemorating the marriage of the Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer. The structure is Grade II* listed.[17]

Horbling Hall on the High Street was built in 1860, and it is today a Grade II listed house.[18] Pevsner', describing the village as mostly Georgian, mentions that the Hall was tudorized in 1880.[16]

The Plough Inn is the village public house, a Grade II listed early 19th-century building on Springwell Lane,[19] with its listed stables.[20]

The Old Vicarage is a red-brick house on Church Lane, built in about c.1870, and which is a Grade II listed building.[21] It also has a Grade II listed carriagehouse and tack room.[22]

Further notable buildings include farmhouses, cottages, houses and minor structures.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Horbling)


  1. National Monuments Record: No. 350870 – Horbling: Roman earthwork and findspot
  2. National Monuments Record: No. 350862 – Horbling: Roman artefact scatter; villa
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Cox, J. Charles (1916) Lincolnshire pp. 168, 169, 170; Methuen & Co. Ltd.
  4. Horbling in the Domesday Book
  5. A History of the County of Lincoln - Volume 2 pp 198-199: Houses of the Gilbertine order: The priory of St Saviour, Bridgend in Horbling (Victoria County History)
  6. National Monuments Record: No. 350845 – Bridge End Priory or Holland Bridge Priory
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Marrat, W. (1816); The History of Lincolnshire, Topographical, Historical, and Descriptive; p. 146-153; reprinted BiblioBazaar, LLC (2010) ISBN 1142219933
  8. Wright, Neil R. (1982); Lincolnshire Towns and Industry 1700-1914; p. 22. History of Lincolnshire Committee for the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology. ISBN 0902668102
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Kelly's Directory of Lincolnshire with the port of Hull 1885, pp. 483, 484
  10. Site of former Horbling Windmill, Horbling: Lincs to the Past
  11. National Monuments Record: No. 1472902 – Prisoner of War Camp 80
  12. National Monuments Record: No. 498482 – Billingborough and Horbling Station
  13. Horbling Line reserve: Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust
  14. National Heritage List 1165999: Church of St Andrew (Grade I listing)
  15. Schmidt, Albert J.; "The Smiths of Horbling: Country Attorneys"; Huntington Library Quarterly Vol. 54, No. 2 (Spring, 1991), pp. 143-176; University of California Press
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Nikolaus Pevsner: The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire, 1964; 1989 Penguin Books ISBN 978-0-300-09620-0
  17. National Heritage List 1309087: Well (Grade II* listing)
  18. National Heritage List 1062720: Horbling Hall (Grade II listing)
  19. National Heritage List 1166043: The Plough Inn, Springwell Lane (Grade II listing)
  20. National Heritage List 1062722: Stables at the Plough Inn (Grade II listing)
  21. National Heritage List 1062717: The Old Vicarage, Horbling (Grade II listing)
  22. National Heritage List 1360136: Stables at the Plough Inn, Horbling (Grade II listing)
  • Hodgkinson, Brian, "The Holland Causeway and Bridge End Priory: Piety, People and Communications in the Lincolnshire Fenland", Lincolnshire History and Archaeology, vol. 50 (2018)