Gainsborough in 1838
GAINSBOROUGH, an ancient market-town and parish situated on the eastern bank of the Trent, in the county of Lincoln, 149 miles N. by W. from London. Gainsborough is noted as being the place where the Danes anchored at the period when the surrounding country was devastated by their sanguinary tyrant Sweyne, and where he was stabbed by an unknown hand when on the point of re-embarking. It is also the birth-place of Simon Patrick, the learned and pious bishop of Ely, who died in 1707. The town is well paved and lighted, and consists principally of one street running parallel to the river, which is here crossed by a fine stone bridge of three elliptical arches. The town-hall, wherein the sessions were formerly held, is a substantial brick building, beneath which is the gaol. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Lincoln, and in the patronage of the bishop of that see, with an annual net income of £529.
Gainsborough is advantageously situated both for foreign and inland trade. By means of the Trent, which falls into the Humber about 20 miles below the town, vessels of 200 tons are enabled to come up to the wharfs, and by the Readley, Chesterfield, and other canals a communication is kept up with the interior of the country. The market-day is Tuesday, and the fairs for cattle, &c. are held on Easter-Tuesday and the 20th of October. In 1831 the entire parish, including the hamlets of Morton, East Stockwith, and Walkerith, contained 7,535 inhabitants. There is a charity school at which the children of the poor are taught reading, writing, and the elements of arithmetic.