GAINSBOROUGH, a market town in the W. Lindsey or Gainsborough parliamentary division of Lincolnshire, England; on the right (E.) bank of the Trent. Pop. of urban district (1901) 17,660. It is served by the Lincoln-Doncaster joint line of the Great Northern and Great Eastern railways, by which it is 16 m. N.W. of Lincoln, and by the Great Central railway. The parish church of All Saints is classic of the 18th century, excepting the Perpendicular tower. The two other parish churches are modern. The Old Hall, of the 15th century, enlarged in the 16th, is a picturesque building, forming three sides of a quadrangle, partially timber-framed, but having a beautiful oriel window and other parts of stone. There is also a Tudor tower of brick. A literary and scientific institute occupy part of the building. Gainsborough possesses a grammar school (founded in 1589 by a charter of Queen Elizabeth) and other schools, town-hall, county court-house, Albert Hall and Church of England Institute. There is a large carrying trade by water on the Trent and neighbouring canals. Shipbuilding and ironfounding are carried on, and there are manufactures of linseed cake, and agricultural and other machinery.
Gainsborough (Gegnesburh) was probably inhabited by the Saxons on account of the fishing in the Trent. The Saxon Chronicle states that in 1013 the Danish king Sweyn landed here and subjugated the inhabitants. Gainsborough, though not a chartered borough, was probably one by prescription, for mention is made of burghal tenure in 1280. The privilege of the return of writs was conferred on the lord of the manor, Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke, in 1323, and confirmed to Ralph de Percy in 1383. Mention is made in 1204 of a Wednesday market, but there is no extant grant before 1258, when Henry III. granted a Tuesday market to William de Valence, earl of Pembroke, who also obtained from Edward I. in 1291 licence for an annual fair on All Saints' Day, and the seven preceding and eight following days. In 1243 Henry III. granted to John Talbot licence for a yearly fair on the eve, day and morrow of St James the Apostle. Queen Elizabeth in 1592 granted to Thomas Lord Burgh two fairs, to begin on Easter Monday and on the 9th of October, each lasting three days. Charles I. in 1635-1636 extended the duration of each to nine days. The Tuesday market is still held, and the fair days are Tuesday and Wednesday in Easter-week, and the Tuesday and Wednesday after the 20th of October.
See Adam Stark, History and Antiquities of Gainsburgh (London, 1843).
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