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(just off the Corn market)
Marshchapel, about ten miles north of Louth, was once part of the
parish of Fulstow. As the sea receded and more people found a living
at the east end of the parish, a chapel was built. The first written
evidence of this was in 1387, when the rector of Fulstow was directed
to find a vicar for 'The Chapel in the Marsh'.
The western boundary separating the two parishes was drawn on an old
watercourse, which is now roughly the route of the old Louth
Navigation Canal. The southern boundary follows a pre-Roman track
known as The Salters Way.
Salt was the chief industry from pre-Roman times until the 16th
century, evidence of which abounds on the eastern side of the ancient
sea bank, shown as undulations in the fields. North Lane goes up and
down like a huge switch-back. The sea bank is now the main road, known
as Sea Dyke Way, and the northern boundary follows one of the many
watercourses of the marsh drainage system. The retreating foreshore of
the Humber estuary marks the eastern boundary.
The land is light silt in the east, running to heavy clay in the west,
mostly now under the plough. There is still evidence of medieval strip
farming in the grass fields near the church; it was enclosed in 1841.
The Perpendicular church, early 15th century, dedicated to St Mary, is
a very handsome one, and has been called 'The Cathedral of the Marsh'.
It has three bells. The treble bell, recast in 1919, bears the names
of the eight men of the parish who died in the First World War. The
largest bell, called 'John', is dated 1584 and the other, 1689. The
church was built all in one piece and has some fine carved bench ends
and a rood screen, possibly a relic from Louth Abbey.
The Old Hall at Marshchapel was built in 1720, during the reign of
George I, on land which belonged to Sir Joseph Banks, explorer and
naturalist, who accompanied Captain Cook to Australia. The original
house was gable-ended, but wings were added in 1780 and 1820. High
ceilings were fashionable c1820, which explains the irregular windows
in the west wing.
The first owners were the Loft family. William Loft was an MP for
Grimsby, and Loft Street was renamed Victoria Street at the Golden
Jubilee. Another William Loft sunk one of the first artesian wells in
the district in 1794, lined with beautiful hand-fashioned copper
tubing; it still exists. Mary Loft, who died in the late 1700s, had 19
children, all of whom died during infancy - the sad row of little
graves can be seen in Marshchapel churchyard.
The Victorian Methodist chapel standing on the main street was
recently restored with grant aid and now also serves as a community
centre. Inside is a plaque commemorating an earlier chapel of 1795.
The village hall was built in 1958. This replaced an old Army Nissen
hut from the war years, when the whole village was used as an army
camp prior to the Normandy landings. The two largest houses of the
village were commandeered, Campo as an RAF hospital and Clyde House as
Army Officers' quarters.
A windmill stands on the east of the main road. It was originally a
post mill, erected by Charles Ryland before 1595 on a site gifted to
him by the Monarch. The mill served the neighbouring villages and
remained working until 1837, when it was replaced by the present mill,
erected by George Bull Bros of Hull, to the order of the Addiscombe
family of Grimsby. The present mill was a round tower of three floors,
built of red brick; it had four sailed patents, single shuttered and
turned by hand with chains. There were three pairs of stones and the
mill ground some 120 quarters of corn per week. It ceased working
after being damaged by a great storm on 6th January 1922- the
machinery was removed and sold for scrap by the then owner, Mr Wray.
The present owners, Robert ( Bob-the-miller) and Muriel Bealey, replaced the doors and windows
and made the tower waterproof.
The school was first built halfway between Marshchapel and Northcotes
in 1838, serving both parishes. In 1870, when Northcotes got its own
school, the building was removed, the bricks, tiles and windows were
carted to Marshchapel and rebuilt on its present site, following to a
great extent the original design. Over the years the building has been
re-roofed, re-windowed and modernised, but in general still keeps its
As villages go, there are very good services - a general store (
which is also the post office), a butcher's, fish shop and garage. Two
other important places are the Greyhound and the White Horse Inn.
They both serve
meals. A great deal of charity work centres on and around the pubs.
The village information above is taken from the The Lincolnshire
Village Book, written by members of Lincolnshire Federation of
Women's Institutes and published by Countryside Books. Text has been