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roman villa

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 village.

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.


Burton Hall

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 60.


The Burton Almshouses

The Burton Almshouses

The  Burton pack

The hall yard - Once the stables for Burton hall

The Hall Yard  

The catchwater drain Burton


Gatton Hall  1930

The hall was destroyed by fire in1934

Click this link for The parish history  part 2
from 1841 - 1900
Burton Hall
Parish history part i