Stow, Lincolnshire

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St.Mary's church, Stow, Lincs. - - 48135.jpg
Stow Minster, Stow in Lindsey
Grid reference: SK882819
Location: 53°19’37"N, 0°40’29"W
Population: 355  (2001)
Post town: Lincoln
Postcode: LN1
Dialling code: 01427
Local Government
Council: West Lindsey

Stow (otherwise known as Stow-in-Lindsey) is a small village in Lincolnshire, within Lindsey, the county's northern part, eleven miles north-west of the city of Lincoln and six miles south-east of Gainsborough. It had a total resident population of 355 at the 2001 census.

The village sits along the B1241 road, and is perhaps most notable for its large parish church named St Mary's or Stow Minster,[1] which is one of the oldest churches in Britain.

The parish of Stow, which extends to include other localities such as Coates-by-Stow, is today a mixture of modern brick and older stone-built housing, some of the latter being thatched. The village has a public house, the Cross Keys, a Methodist chapel, and the remains of a large minster church.


The name 'Stow' is simply Old English for "Place"; it is a commonplace name and more common as a place-name element. The full name of the village gives it a distinguishing suffix as 'Stow-in-Lindsey'.

There was another Stow in Lincolnshire. The latter village is now lost but it stood between Threekingham and Billingborough. Because it was the site of a mediæval fair, the location is now known as Stow Fair or 'Stow Green Hill'. There is also Shepeau Stow near Spalding.


Stow dates back to Roman times. It was certainly a thriving place in Anglo-Saxon times as its great church was built then, and remains a fine example of a standing Anglo-Saxon church. It is argued that this was the place named Sidnaceaster,[2] which was the seat of the Bishop of Lindsey

Around 1640 a certain George Clifford, the rector's son, moved from Stow to Amsterdam. His grandson George Clifford III became the maecenas of Carl von Linné the Swedish botanist.

Stow Minster

Main article: Stow Minster

There had been a church at Stow even before the arrival of the Danes in 870 – the year they are documented to have burnt the church down.[2] The building remained in ruins until an abbey was built in 1040, reputedly by Bishop Eadnoth II.[2]

Dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus, Stow parish church, sometimes referred to as the "Mother Church of Lincolnshire",[2] is one of the oldest parish churches in Britain and one of the largest of the surviving Anglo-Saxon churches.

Stow Minster is partly Saxon and partly Norman in date and is designated as a "Scheduled Ancient Monument". The arches in the Anglo-Saxon part are the tallest of their era in Britain.

"Elnothus Lincolniensis", almost certainly Bishop Aelfnoth of Dorchester on Thames, is recorded as the founder round about AD 975, who built the church, possibly on the site of an earlier wooden Saxon church, to serve as Minster (or mother church) for the Lincolnshire part of his large diocese. As the Lindsey diocese was the predecessor of the Diocese of Lincoln, memory of this period gave rise to the tradition that Stow is the Mother Church of Lincoln Cathedral.

A mile west of the village and lying just to the south of the Roman road known as Tillbridge Lane are the remains of the mediæval palace of the Bishops of Lincoln built in 1336. All that can be seen today are the earthworks of the moat and to the north and east of the site the earthwork remains of its associated mediæval fish-ponds.

Coates by Stow

The hamlet of Coates by Stow is two miles to the east but still within Stow parish. There is no village here just a farm with a farmyard and a church standing nearby.

The church, dedicated to St Edith, is late Norman 12th-century, but has alterations and additions up to Georgian periods, including a double bellcote. The church has a low and small nave and chancel. It contains a 15th-century rood screen, in the Early English style but restored.

There is a Jacobean family pew at the west end and the rest of the seating is just rough benches. The royal coat of arms of Charles I dating from 1635 hangs on the wall and brasses to a William Butler (d.1590) and his wife; the figures on these are small. In a niche there is a demi-figure made of alabaster of a Brian Cooke who died in 1653. There are also small pieces of stained glass. Outside, just south of the chancel, is the tomb of the Maltby family comprising an urn on a table with tapering columns as legs, with a sarcophagus underneath.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Stow, Lincolnshire)


  1. "Welcome to Stow Minster". Retrieved 15 June 2007. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Genuki. "Stow-in-Lindsey". Retrieved 15 June 2007.