The Parish & History

Burton  is an ancient village with a history going back to roman times when a an unknown roman built his villa on the limestone escarpment looking to the west across the Trent valley. It was well established in 1086 when the lands in “Burtone” were recorded in the Domesday book.  The ridge and furrow ploughing on the Lincoln edge and earthworks in the surrounding fields indicate the village was a thriving community in medieval times.  For  350 hundred years from  1600, the village was dominated by the Monson family who established their family seat in Burton and built  the Hall on the site of an old Tudor mansion.  Until 1950 it was an estate village with its life and its inhabitants tied to the fortunes of the Hall and the estates.

The Monson connection was severed in 1951 when the hall and much of the village was sold.  Since that time the attractive nature of Burton and its proximity to Lincoln have resulted in the building of several new houses, to give the intermix of new and old that is the village today.  In 1969  the village with the surrounding parkland was designated as a Conservation Area  and the conservation document  published by the  West Lindsey District Council , identifies the features and the buildings  that give Burton its character. The names of  many houses reflect both their function on the estate and the names of  the Lord Monson’s long serving estate workers - thus we have  Kennel cottage, the  China house, the Orangery, the Garden house,  Denton’s cottage and Ormsby place.

Others properties record the names of Monson family members with  Mexborough house, Debonnaire cottage, Maud house and Essex house. It was however, with sadness that the name one of the new houses was changed from the delightful, M’ladi’s Walk to Rosewalk.

In 1851 the population of the village was 187 and 202  in 1951 but today it is around 150 reflecting  smaller households and an ageing population  who can think of no better place to live than in the peace and tranquility of Burton village! It is also popular with visitors and tourists that a keen to experience the beautiful British countryside. With many cheapflights available ( ) and Humberside airport not too far away, it’s no wonder so many are keen to visit this delightful destination.  The summertime, in particular, offers some magnificent views and enjoyable examples of English country life. It remains a highly sought after location with the village set in beautiful countryside with yew hedges, parkland, trees and a dairy farm which adds to its rural character.

In 1841  Frederick Monson died aged only 32.  His marriage to Theodosia Monson  in 1832 was a disaster and the couple separated 2 years later. As the marriage was childless,  the title  and the estates  at Gatton and  Burton passed to his second cousin, William Monson who was born in Madras in 1796.  Although  the family ties were distant, linking back to the 2nd Baron,   William Monson appears to have been well prepared for  his accession to the title as the 6th Lord Monson of Burton.  He found the estate in  poor condition and heavily in debt.  Gatton Hall was unfinished,  Burton hall was in decay and the tenant farms from which his income was derived, starved of investment.  He had no personal fortune so his immediate plan was to reduce his financial commitments by letting Gatton Hall  (to Lady Warwick) and to refurbish Burton Hall as his  family residence..... in the meantime he move to Florence .... to save money! He installed David Middleton as his house steward to oversee the repairs and improvements to the hall  and to organise the estate workforce.  Middleton was the perfect choice, scrupulously honest, fair but firm with traders and villagers alike.   The tenanted farms Burton, South Carlton and Croft near Wainfleet  were administered by his Land Agent, Willliam Brown  who farmed at South Carlton.  

In 1843  Monson appointed his brother-in-law the Reverend Edmund Larken to the Burton living, worth £420 which with his income from a family inheritance, gave him an annual income the equivalent of about £100,000 today. Revd Larken and his large family took up residence in the rectory, situated within the hall grounds.  They had 8 children and could afford to keep 3 servants, a cook, a housemaid and nurserymaid.  The Larken and Monson families were connected through their respective fathers’ service in India at the turn of the century - Larken (Sen)  as a Tea Trader with the East India Company and,  Monson  serving with the Indian Army as Colonel  of the 76th Regiment of Foot.  The families were united  in marriage in 1828 when Eliza Larken (Larken’s younger sister) married William Monson.  

The Revd Larken was an evangelical Christian, a radical  intellectual, ambitious, energetic with a wide circle of contacts within the church and the Lincolnshire gentry.  However his political beliefs would put him at odds with the Establishment  and although he sought preferment to more lucrative and influential church appointments, he was to remain in Burton as Rector  for 53 years until his death in 1895.  The Burton living with only 200 inhabitants was hardly intellectually demanding so his energies were channelled into many different causes.  He was founder of the “Penitent Females’ Home”  in Lincoln which was designed “to reclaim the poor creatures who walk our streets”; he set up a cooperative mill in Lincoln, and on Sundays he would often preach 5 sermons - in Burton, at the Penitent Females Home, to the prisoners in Lincoln prison and to the Lincolnshire Militia.  He was President of the Mechanics Institute in Lincoln founded to provide education for working people, secretary to the Liberal party in the North Lincolnshire constituency, and political adviser to William Monson(jun) who was elected MP for Redhill.   He was described as a “communist” by Harvey Gem, Lord Monson’s lawyer, for articles he wrote in “The Leader ” (a radical political newspaper) and  Gemm recommended his dismissal as Rector for his views. Edmund Larken also had connections with the feminist movement  funding the publication of works by George Sand , (Baroness Dudevant) a bisexual French Avant Garde, writer, described as loud, lewd, shocking, and scandalous,  and with Matilda Hays, the translator of Sand’s works, who later had an affair with Theodosia Monson.  To complete the complex circle, Edmund Larken was chaplain to Lady Theodosia - a difficult assignment as she was described as a dilettante and an atheist.  It is unlikely that either lady visited  the Revd Larken in Burton but it would have raised a few eyebrows. Both dressed as men from the waist upwards and  smoked in public!

A devoted family man with many interests, he must  have seemed remote from his parishioners, except for one activity - his passion for the game of cricket!  In 1848, the inaugural meeting of the Burton Cricket Club was held.  Lord Monson was elected President, Revd Larken secretary, his brother  Arthur, treasurer, and committee members included the Hon William   Monson and other local dignitaries.  The annual subscription was set at £1.1s, a practice day was held on a Thursday  with lunch costing 2/6d. Larken was masterful organiser  and  through his network of contacts, obtained sponsors and subscriptions   from  the local gentry and businessmen.  A square was  prepared in a field next to the hall at a cost of  £16.18s.11d, 2 cricket balls were purchased  at a cost of 14/- and wicket keeping gloves for 12/-.  The Club went from strength to strength and in 1854, the Burton ground hosted a game between a Lincolnshire 22 and an All England XI. The Cricket Club  played on the ground for 120 years until 1970 when sadly it disbanded through lack of players. The original scorebooks for 1849 - 1860 are held in the Lincolnshire Archives and they give a fascinating  view of  the social lif in Burton in the mid C19.