Who was he, the roman officer or administrator who rode out from the important Lindum
Colonia along the escarpment to the north and took a liking to a site where he chose
to build his villa? The site was ideal with a spring that has never known to run
dry and high above the flood plain of the river which often flooded. It was probably
around 200AD when he built his villa, a highly desirable residence with the latest
tessellated paving, under floor hot air heating and superb views to the west over
the Fossdyke canal, dug by the Roman engineers in 120AD linking Lindum with the Trent.
200 years later the villa was abandoned and the forces of nature obliterated the
site until it was rediscovered in 1966 with the building of the Waterhouse in the
Over the next 800 years the land was claimed first by the Anglo Saxons and then by
the Danes who fixed their winter quarters at Torksey in 873. Many of the names of
the springline villages derive their origins from the Danelaw with Burh ( a fortified
place) and tun (a farm) forming Burhtun which at the time of the Domesday book,
had become Burtone. While Burhtun is derived from Old English, the Domesday book
records that Sortebrand ( a Scandinavian name) farmed land in Burton and other landowners
included Bishop Remigius the builder of the first Lincoln cathedral. It is likely
that the parish boundaries that are bounded by Ermine street to the east and the
Fossdyke to the west were much the same as they are today.
With the impact of the Norman invasion, the names of William of Paris and Peter de
Valognes appear as lawmen and owners of land in the parish who were succeeded in
the 14th century by the Sutton family who established their family seat in Burton.
The very first entry in the Burton parish register reads “ 1558 James Sutton, gent,
was buried on the 12th day of the month of February. Another family established
in Burton were the Randes, it is believed they lived in a large house on the site
of the current Manor House. On the North wall of the church nave is a fine alabaster
monument to Christopher Randes who died in 1639.
In 1507, the Monson family established the family seat at South Carlton and in 1607
Sir Thomas Monson who had acquired most of the land in Burton, established his residence
in Burton. The fortunes of the Monson family ebbed and flowed with the political
climate and under Cromwell, the Burton estates were sequestrated by the Commonwealth.
However his son, Sir John Monson, still had funds in 1651 to provide a covenant of
£20 towards the maintenance of 10 Bedeswomen in Burton. The almshouses remain a
listed feature of the village.
In 1728, his grandson John, was created Baron Monson of Burton by George II.
Hunting was a popular sport and the first record of the Burton Hunt appears in 1672
with a map showing “Parte of Lincolnshire showing the boundaries for hunting ye
foxe with our hounds in the year of grace 1672” The Hunt kennels were established
in Burton and the pack continued to be based in the village until 1848 when the
kennels were closed and transferred to Reepham. The Kennel cottages, shown on the
tithe map dated 1772, are now private houses. The Burton Hunt had some extraordinary
characters as Masters including Lord Henry Bentinct of Welbeck Hall, who hunted
6 days a week and for a time hacked daily from his family seat near Mansfield, a
round trip of 60 miles. The Hunt still meets during the season under its Master,
Mr John Lockwood. The hunt kennels are now at Riseholme.
History of the Burton hunt part 1 - (pdf file)
History of the Burton hunt part 2 - (pdf)
The first three Lord Monsons were successive Masters of the Burton Hunt and in 1766
John Monson, the second baron (1726-1774) employed James Paine to enlarge the existing
hall to make it the family’s principle residence and to “accommodate more comfortably
the hunt breakfasts”. Paine added an imposing south facing front to the old hall
with a total of 68 rooms and 167 windows. Completed around 1770, Paine designed
other buildings including a stable block, china house, game larder, ice house, laundry
and store rooms. The hall was set within parkland with the approach along the
Coach Road from Ermine Street. A walled garden was constructed to provide exotic
fruit and vegetables for the family and to entertain their many guests. Most villagers
were employed by the estate as gardeners, game keepers, grooms and labourers paid
out of the income from the 20,000 acre Lincolnshire estates. Others were employed
as servants and housemaids whose live-in wages were no more than £10 a year. The
weekly wage for a labourer was around 10/- a week (more at harvest time) and
the rent for a tied cottage 30/- a year. Most cottagers kept a pig which was killed
and salted for meat in winter and some a cow for milk.
Unlike many estates there was no home farm,but the land was let to tenant farmers
including John Evens, whose family would continue to farm the land in Burton for
170 years. Between 1770 and 1800 it was a time of great change in agriculture with
the enclosure of the great heath stretching northwards along the Lincoln edge to
Kirton and beyond. It resulted in the field system with neat hedges which can be
seen today, allowing the land to be converted into profitable arable farms. Farm
rents increased from 2/- an acre for the old heath land to 10/- an acre for an enclosed
field. Crops included turnips which were fed to sheep and cattle in winter, barley,
wheat and oats which were grown in rotation.
Flooding remained a problem on the low lying fields between the Lincoln edge and
the Fossdyke, and in 1795 the river Trent broke its banks, flooding Lincoln and the
land almost to the edge of the villages of Burton and the Carltons. The flood level
of 5.8m above MSL remains the datum for the building of all new properties within
the parish. As result of the 1795 floods, an Act of Parliament was passed for
the embanking and draining of land in Lincoln, Burton and other parishes. The Burton
Catchwater drain was excavated, channelling water from the Carlton and Burton parishes
under the Fossdyke at Bishops Bridge. The water was then pumped into the Skellingthorpe
drain and from there it flowed into the Witham at Sincil bank. The catchwater drain
still plays a major part in flood alleviation measures for the area, taking excess
water from the Till and Fossdyke before it reaches Lincoln.
When John George Monson the 4th Lord, died in 1809 aged only 21, the title and
the Burton estates were inherited by his son, Frederick, who was just 9 months old.
His mother, The dowager Lady Monson,then married the Earl of Warwick and from the
age of 10, the 5th Lord was brought up in Warwick Castle. He was a very delicate
child and the Lincolnshire climate was considered unsuitable for him. Therefore in
1830, the Trustees sold 12,000 acres of the Lincolnshire estates to fund the purchase
of Gatton Hall in Surrey as a more suitable residence for the 5th lord when he
came of age. He spent a great deal of money on the house especially on a magnificent
marble hall replicating the Corsini Chapel in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in
Rome which he visited on a Grand Tour of Europe. In consequence rent from the remaining
Lincolnshire land was invested in Gatton, and Burton Hall, the village and the
tenanted farms were neglected. In 1841 the parish records show that Burton hall
was occupied by just 2 old retainers, Thomas Turnbull aged 65 and his wife Mary aged