Bardney is a village and civil parish in the West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. The population of the civil parish was 1,643 at the 2001 census increasing to 1,848 (including Southrey) at the 2011 census.[2] The village sits on the east bank of the River Witham and 9 miles (14 km) east of the city and county town of Lincoln.


The village sign

Nearby bridge over River Witham
Location within Lincolnshire
Population1,643 [1]
OS grid referenceTF120695
 London115 mi (185 km) S
Civil parish
  • Bardney
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townBardney
Postcode districtLN3
Dialling code01526
AmbulanceEast Midlands
UK Parliament
  • Gainsborough
Bardney lock, where old and new courses of the Witham meet.


Two Roman artefacts have been found in Bardney; a gemstone and a coin. Nearby villages show evidence of Roman settlement, particularly Potterhanworth Booths and Branston Booths.[3]

The place-name is Old English in origin, and means "island of a man called Bearda". It occurs in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, under the year 716, as "Bearddanig", and in Domesday Book as "Bardenai".[4]

Once the site of a mediaeval abbey, ruined in Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, agricultural improvement made the village prosperous in the 19th century. Improved transport, first on the River and then the arrival of several railways caused considerable expansion between the traditional centre of the village and the former riverside settlement of Bardney Ferry, where in 1894 the ferry was replaced by the present bridge.[5][6][7][8] A British Sugar factory, built in 1927, survived the closure of the railways but ceased processing on 9 February 2001.[5][9]

Bardney Abbey

Bardney Abbey was founded before 679, perhaps as double house of monks and nuns, and perhaps as a Minster. It was destroyed by the Danes circa 860. Refounded 1087 as a Priory, it became a Benedictine Abbey in 1115, and was dissolved in 1538.[5][10] Bede relates that Bardney Abbey (which he called Beardaneu)[11] was greatly loved by Osthryth, queen of Mercia, and in about 679 she sought to move the bones of her uncle, the very pious St Oswald, to there.[12] However, when the body was brought to the Abbey the monks refused to accept it, because the Abbey was in the Kingdom of Lindsey, and Oswald, when king of Northumbria, had once conquered them. The relics were locked outside, but during the night a beam of light appeared and shone from his bier reaching up into the heavens. The monks declared that it was a miracle and accepted the body, hanging the King's Purple and Gold banner over the tomb.[11] They are also said to have removed the great doors to the Abbey so that such a mistake could not occur again. So if someone said "do you come from Bardney?", it meant that you had left the door open.[13][14][15]

As well as the wondrous light, other miracles were associated with the remains of King Oswald. The bones at Bardney were washed before interment and ground into which the water was poured supposedly gained great healing powers.[16] In another tale from Bede, a boy with the Ague kept vigil by the tomb and was cured.[17] The King's heads and hands had been separately interred, for he had been dismembered in battle.[16] A fragment of the stake on which his head had been impaled was later used to cure a man in Ireland.[18]

In 909, in response to increased viking raids, Oswald's bones were translated to the new St Oswald's Priory, Gloucester.[19]

Lost villages

Near the Abbey is the site of the Deserted Medieval Village of Butyate,[20][21] which was demolished in 1959, and converted to farmland.[22]

There is another abandoned village associated with the former chapels of St Lawrence and St Andrew, north of modern Bardney.[23]


The river Witham has been used for commercial shipping since time immemorial, but was straightened and improved many times including in 1753 and 1812.[5] A straight course (new cut) was made at Bardney and the lock built in 1770 was re-built in 1865.[24]

In 1870, Bardney had a station which was a junction for the Branch Line to Louth via Wragby and the Lincolnshire Loop Line. The Louth to Bardney Line closed as well as the Loop Line in 1970 although the section north of Wragby closed prior to 1958–1969.[5] The station building survives and is a listed building.[25] The route of the old railway has been converted into a cycle-track, known as Water Rail Way, which follows the river between Lincoln and Boston. The name of the cycle track refers to the river, the railway, and a wetland bird found in the area, the water rail.

Great Western Express Festival

In 1972 the area was host to the Great Western Express Festival, a four-day pop concert (also known as the Bardney Festival). Funded by Lord Harlech and the actor Stanley Baker (amongst others) it attracted 30,000 people to the venue, held at the nearby Tupholme Abbey ruins. Amongst the artistes playing were Roxy Music and Status Quo and, for two nights running, the Rory Gallagher Band. Despite its popularity the show lost money due mainly to bad weather which blighted the event.[26][27][28][29]


The parish church of St Lawrence is part of the Bardney Group of the Deanery of Horncastle in the Diocese of Lincoln.[30][31] There is also an active Methodist chapel; the current minister is the Rev'd Gordon Davis.[32]

The modern primary school, Bardney Church of England and Methodist Primary School,[33] was opened in 1983.[5] It replaced two earlier schools merged in 1964.[5]

The village has pre-school facilities, including Bardney Mother and Toddler Group which meets at the Methodist Hall, a butcher's shop, a general store and two public houses.

A skate park is planned to be erected by April 2014.

Bardney Gala, held every year on August Bank Holiday Sunday, is a traditional Gala. The event consists of crafts, trade and community stands, funfair rides, bar and BBQ, sports, children's races, car boot sales, classic vehicles, and an Exemption Dog Show.[34]


Originally part of the Wraggoe Wapentake, and of the Lincoln poor law union in the Parts of Lindsey, the parish is now part of West Lindsey District, and Lincolnshire County Council.

The civil parish has become part of a group that consists of Bardney, Apley and Stainfield parishes. The villages of Southrey and Kingthorpe are also included.[35]

The 2011 electoral arrangements are:

Sister city

  • (fr) – Bazouges-sur-le-Loir

Geography and ecology

Bardney lies between 7 and 17 metres above sea level,[44] on the edge of the present-day Lincolnshire Fens, but its name indicates that before the fens were drained for agriculture (from the 17th century onwards) it was surrounded with wet fenland. Nowadays the Lincolnshire Fens are mostly unflooded, very flat and very productive arable farmland. Wildlife observed on the fens near Bardney includes barn owl, red fox and hemlock.

Bardney is surrounded by ancient woodlands composed primarily of lime trees, known collectively as Bardney Limewoods. Lime forests are rare in the United Kingdom, where oak is generally the dominant climatic climax species. The flora of the woodlands is indicative of ancient woodland, including Allium ursinum, Hyacinthoides non-scripta and Circaea lutetiana, as well as several species of wild orchids. Wildlife in the limewoods includes deer, Eurasian jay, European hornet and purple hairstreak butterfly.

In 2017 a white-billed diver was observed on the River Witham at Bardney.[45] This is an Arctic species which seldom visits the United Kingdom.

See also


  1. Lincolnshire Research Observatory / Office for National Statistics, "Statistics about Bardney, West Lindsey."
  2. "Civil parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  3. Archi UK
  4. Ekwall, E. (1960). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names (4 ed.). Oxford University Press.
  5. "Village history with timeline". Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  6. "Summary of railway history". Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  7. Ludlam, A.J.; Herbert, W.B. (March 1987). Louth to Bardney Branch. Locomotion Papers. Oakwood Press. ISBN 978-0-85361-348-0.
  8. Ludlam, A.J. (July 1995). Lincolnshire loop line of the GNR. Locomotion Papers. Oakwood Press. ISBN 978-0-85361-464-7.
  9. "History of the sugar factory". Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  10. Historic England. "Bardney Abbey (351575)". Research records (formerly PastScape). Retrieved 10 April 2010. This gives the foundation date as before 697, but according to Bede St Oswald's bones were moved there in about 679.
  11. Bede. "iii.11" . Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum. (as Leo Sherley-Price (trans.) (2008). The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Penguin Classics. Penguin. p. 160.)
  12. Catholic Encyclopedia: St Oswald
  13. "Lincolnshire Heritage web page about the legend". Retrieved 12 September 2009.
  14. "Parish web site mentioning the legend". Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  15. "Local Authority history site, including the legend". Retrieved 12 February 2011.
  16. Bede iii.11
  17. Bede iii.12
  18. Bede iii.13
  19. Heighway, Carolyn (2001). "Gloucester and the new minster of St Oswald". In Higham, N. J.; Hill, D. H. (eds.). Edward the Elder 899-924. Routledge. p. 108.
  20. Historic England. "DMV at Butyate (351591)". Research records (formerly PastScape). Retrieved 10 April 2010.
  21. Beresford, Maurice; Hurst, John G, eds. (1971). Deserted medieval villages : studies. Woking: Lutterworth Press. p. 193. ISBN 9780718813734.
  22. Lincs to the Past
  23. Historic England. "DMV north of Bardney (892932)". Research records (formerly PastScape). Retrieved 10 April 2010.
  24. "History of Bardney Lock".
  25. Historic England. "the Railway station (506745)". Research records (formerly PastScape). Retrieved 10 April 2010.
  26. Neville, Richard "Stanley Baker's Barbed Wire Circus" Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, International Times Archive pp. 26–27, 19 June 1972; retrieved 24 June 2001
  27. Neville, Richard "Stanley Baker's Barbed Wire Circus" Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, International Times Archive pp. 28–29, 19 June 1972; retrieved 24 June 2001
  28. Neville, Richard "Stanley Baker's Barbed Wire Circus" Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, International Times Archive pp. 30–31, 19 June 1972; retrieved 24 June 2001
  29. "Bardney Village History". Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  30. "Ecclesiastical parish details". Archived from the original on 4 August 2012.
  31. "Church details".
  32. "Methodist chapel web site".
  33. "School web site". Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  34. "Gala web site". Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  35. "Civil parish group web site". Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  36. Ian Fleetwood,
  37. Bardney and Cherry Willingham ward councillor: Ian Fleetwood,
  38. Edward Leigh MP,
  39. Derek Clark MEP,
  40. Roger Helmer MEP,
  41. Glenis Willmott MEP Archived 11 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine,
  42. Emma McClarkin MEP,
  43. Bill Newton Dunn MEP,
  44. Topographic Map
  45. "White-billed Diver at Bardney, Lincs – 25th Jan". 26 January 2017.

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