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Epworth, Lincolnshire

Coordinates: 53°31′30″N 0°49′12″W / 53.525°N 0.820°W / 53.525; -0.820
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Epworth Market Place. To the right of the picture is the base of the medieval market cross where John Wesley preached
Epworth is located in Lincolnshire
Location within Lincolnshire
Population3,734 (Parish)
OS grid referenceSE780039
• London150 mi (240 km) SSE
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtDN9
Dialling code01427
AmbulanceEast Midlands
UK Parliament
List of places
53°31′30″N 0°49′12″W / 53.525°N 0.820°W / 53.525; -0.820

Epworth is a town and civil parish on the Isle of Axholme, in the North Lincolnshire unitary authority of Lincolnshire, England.[1] The town lies on the A161, about halfway between Goole and Gainsborough. As the birthplace of John Wesley and Charles Wesley, it has given its name to many institutions associated with Methodism. Their father, Samuel Wesley, was the rector from 1695 to 1735.


Epworth is in the Isle of Axholme. The Isle is so called because, until it was drained by the Dutch engineer Sir Cornelius Vermuyden in 1627–1629, it was an inland island, surrounded by rivers, streams, bogs and meres.

The Domesday Book in 1086 recorded:

"Manor In Epeuerde, Ledwin had eight carucates of land to be taxed. Land to twelve ploughs. Geoffrey de Wirce has there two ploughs, and eight sokemen, with two carucates and five oxgangs of this land; and thirteen villanes and nine bordars with six ploughs, and eleven fisheries of five shillings, and sixteen acres [6.5 hectares] of meadow. Wood pasture one mile [1.5 km] long and one mile [1.5 km] broad.. Value in King Edword's time £8 now £5. Tallaged at twenty shillings.[2]

A grant of the common land to the freeholders and other tenants, made by deed in 1360 by John de Mowbray, Lord of the Manor, gave privileges and freedoms over the use of common land, reed gathering, rights over fish and fowl and such wildlife as could be taken by the commoners for food. The deed caused repercussions in the reign of King Charles I (1625-1649) when Vermuyden was granted the task of draining the Isle and he and his Dutch partners came under regular attack in their stockade at Sandtoft. The draining of the land saw the ancient rights of the commoners encroached upon: as the land dried up they lost their supply of wildfowl for food, foraging rights and employment as mere men, swanniers, and ferry operators in addition to their grazing rights. A whole way of life that had seen annual otter hunts on the Trent, not to mention abundant salmon, was lost along with many livelihoods. The resentment felt by the Isle of Axholme towards the king doubtless explains their siding with Parliament in the English Civil War (1642-1651).[3] Nevertheless, Vermuyden's work, an outstanding piece of irrigation engineering, turned thousands of acres of marsh and bog, which had been impassable except in high summer or hard frost, into the rich arable farmland that the Isle benefits from today.

The Isle of Axholme was originally the eight parishes of Althorpe, Belton, Crowle, Epworth, Haxey, Luddington, Owston and Wroot.[4]

Nathan Francis Young was born here in 1654 and is commonly referred to as a ‘founding farmer’ of the original town. He is recorded as the first to monopolise the local land between the farmers spread throughout the area. There is a plaque dedicated to him in the town centre as well as a small museum that now stands near the site of his original home.

The Old Rectory, where the Wesley family lived in the 18th century


St Andrew's parish church

The Old Rectory, a Queen Anne style building, rebuilt after the fire of 1709, has been completely restored and is now the property of the World Methodist Council. It is maintained as a museum. It is also the site of supposed paranormal events that occurred there in 1716, while the Wesley family was living in the house.[5][6]

The Church of England parish church of Saint Andrew is on a hill overlooking the town. Its architecture suggests[according to whom?] that its oldest part may have been built in the late 12th century with later additions in the 14th and 15th centuries. The Rev. Samuel Wesley, father of John and Charles Wesley, was Rector here (and is buried in the churchyard).

Wesley Memorial church

Epworth is described as the 'Home of Methodism' and there is a Methodist church in the centre of the town. This was built in 1888 (opened for worship in 1889) and continues to be a busy hub in the centre of the community. The church (along with the town as a whole) attracts hundreds of visitors from around the world each year tracing the history of the Methodist movement. There is a trail[7] around the town linking the sites which were significant for the Wesley family.


Epworth is served by buses provided by Isle Coaches, Stagecoach Buses and First South Yorkshire which give the town services to towns such as Doncaster, Scunthorpe and Haxey.[8] The town was served by a station on the Axholme Joint Railway which ran from Goole to Lincoln via a connecting spur to the Doncaster to Lincoln Line. The station closed to passengers in 1933 and the line closing to freight and excursion services in 1956. The site has been redeveloped and is now occupied by a farm store. Another station was opened on the Doncaster to Lincoln Line in the town of Haxey. However, this station closed in 1964 lasting longer than the previous station of the same name. The nearest mainline station is now in the nearby town of Crowle.


Television signals are received from either the Emley Moor or Belmont TV transmitters. The town is served by both BBC Radio Humberside and BBC Radio Sheffield. Other radio stations are Greatest Hits Radio Yorkshire, Viking FM, Lincs FM and TMCR 95.3, a community based radio station which broadcast from its studios in Thorne.[9] Local newspaper is served by the Doncaster Free Press (formerly The Epworth Bells).[10]


Epworth Show Logo

Epworth Show[edit]

The Epworth Show has been held for over 60 years, and takes place on the August Bank Holiday Monday.

The show was first held before the Second World War on Battle Green, later moving to Scawcett Lane. Today it is held at Wroot Road – the site has been enlarged and extra facilities added – where a number of other community events are held.[citation needed]

Originally the show catered only for the local area. Over the years it has grown, and whilst still having an agricultural aspect – with cattle, sheep, goats, shire horses and vintage tractors – it provides entertainment and activities including show jumping, mountain & moorland ponies, trade stands, vintage vehicles, a beer tent, children's entertainment and a dog show.[citation needed]

Epworth Show has links with the three Epworth churches which come together for a prior Sunday evening service, and on show day share an information tent.

The Show is run by the Epworth and District Agricultural Society, a charitable organisation. Its committee comprises community and honorary members, and patrons. Other activities run by the society between May and September include four horse & pony events, and an August Bank Holiday weekend Beer Festival with live bands.[citation needed]

Festival of the Plough[edit]

Epworth has hosted the Epworth Festival of the Plough agricultural fair for a number of years.

Notable people[edit]

Beside John and Charles Wesley, other notable people associated with Epworth are:



  1. ^ OS Explorer Map 280: Isle of Axholme, Scunthorpe and Gainsborough: (1:25,000) : ISBN 0 319 46432 6
  2. ^ "Epworth | Domesday Book". Archived from the original on 5 December 2014. Retrieved 27 November 2014. Domesday Online - Epworth
  3. ^ see James Boyce Imperial Mud: The Fight for the Fens, Icon Books, 2020
  4. ^ "Epworth Equestrian in the Isle of Axholme | Local Riding". www.localriding.com. Archived from the original on 1 June 2023. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  5. ^ Crain 2009, p. 109
  6. ^ Hall, Trevor H (1965). New Light on Old Ghosts. Gerald Duckworth. pp. 14–25. ISBN 0715602314.
  7. ^ Trail. Epworth Directory. Archived 23 September 2017 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Epworth". Bustimes.org. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  9. ^ "TMCR 95.3". Retrieved 5 November 2023.
  10. ^ "The Epworth Bells". British Papers. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2023.
  11. ^ John de Mowbray, 4th Baron Mowbray, 3rd par.; as seen July 15, 2013, 9.55pm CET-Summer.
  12. ^ Ball, F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921 London John Murray 1926
  13. ^ [1] [permanent dead link]
  14. ^ Alexander, Don (2007). What made the Steel city. ISBN 1901587681[page needed]
  15. ^ "Sheridan Smith. Musical talent through the generations...", S & N Genealogy Supplies
  16. ^ "Charles Wesley". Epworth Old Rectory. Retrieved 29 June 2024.
  17. ^ "John Wesley". Epworth Old Rectory. 12 September 2019. Retrieved 4 February 2024.


  • Crain, Mary Beth (2009). Haunted Christmas: Yuletide Ghosts and Other Spooky Holiday Happenings. Globe Pequot. ISBN 978-0762752751.

External links[edit]