Taking in the Sights!
Visit historical buildings and interesting places
with our town trails!
Taking in the Sights!
Visit historical buildings and interesting places
with our town trails!
TOWN CHURCH TRAIL
If you fancy visiting all 5 of Stamford's churches plus additional former religious establishments of interest, here's a few ideas to get the best from your visit. All of the churches are in fairly close proximity to each other although St. Martin's is about a 15 minute walk from the town centre. It is a lovely stroll on a sunny day and while in that direction you can take in the Daniel Lambert, Harry Burton and Pick Motor Co blue plaques and the Daniel Lambert grave at St. Martin's church. Wheelchair users and scooter drivers should have no problems with the routes except that some of the buildings you visit will have external steps
so please check before you go.
Today's working churches in the town centre include:
St. George, All Saints, St. Mary, St. Martin and St. Augustine.
St. John and St. Michael are decommissioned churches and are still used by the community. The remains of St. Paul's church are in the private grounds of Stamford School and can be viewed from the public footpath. Stamford had many religious institutions including a Priory. St. Leonard's Priory is still in existence but many of the other establishments have long since disappeared. More information about their original locations in the town along with information about the individual churches can be obtained from Stamford Visitor Centre in St. John's Church.
Ideas for the order in which to visit:
1). St. Michael's 2). All Saints 3). St. John's 4). St. Mary's and over the town bridge to 5). St. Martin's 6). Back to St. Mary's and along St. Mary's Street to
6). St. George's Square and church
OR if you are parked in the Cattle Market car park, walk along past the George Hotel and right into 1). St. Martins, and the church is on your left up the hill
Return to town across the main town bridge to 2). St. Mary's, then along St. Mary's Street to 3). St. George's Square and church, past the church into St. George's Street and up towards Marks and Spencer on High Street, turn left into High Street and 4). St. Michael's church is on your left, 5). St. John's at the end of the High Street and 6). All Saint's Church in the centre of Red Lion Square/All Saint's Place.
For St. Paul's former church, now a chapel in the grounds of the School, this is located along St. Paul's Street (walk past Marks and Spencer towards Domino Pizza and the chapel is further up the street on your left). St. Augustine's Church is located on Broad Street and you can turn onto Broad Street via Star Lane, turning left just before Domino Pizza.
For St. Leonard's Priory it is best to take your car or bicycle, and directions can be obtained from the Stamford visitor centre.
It is advisable to check access to each church before your visit to avoid disappointment. Some churches can only be visited on certain days. The interior of St. Michael's is permanently occupied by its shop interiors. St. Paul's chapel has no public access. St. Leonard's Priory is external viewing only. Disabled access varies at each building.
6 ancient inns and more...
A trip Around some of Stamford's oldest hostelries!
Now... we are not suggesting you have a drink in each of these establishments as maybe you won't be fit to finish the trail!! The Inns have been chosen purely for their historic interest. We don't profess to know the quality of the ales! there is no favouritism or recommendation intended in our choice. You can visit the hostelries in any order you wish but here's a suggested trail.
1). The Tobie Norris, St. Paul's Street
Find your way to the M & S store at the upper end of High Street and passing the store on its left, make your way into one of the prettiest and most photographed streets: St. Paul's Street with its higgledy-piggledy roofs and quaint shops, this is Stamford's newly-named "Green Quarter".
The Tobie Norris is an inconspicuous medieval building a little way along on your left. It takes its name from the Norris family of bell founders associated with this address from 1604-1708. Tobie and his father before him were responsible for making the bells for several churches including St. Mary's locally and in excess of 200 other bells within Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire.
Inside you will find numerous rooms showing the house during the ages from a Victorian fire surround to ancient timbered vaulted ceilings. There are old fireplaces, beams and a little courtyard garden area.
THE LORD BURGHLEY
THE KING'S HEAD
2). The Lord Burghley, Broad Street
3). The King's Head, Maiden Lane
Walk back to the High Street turning right into Star Lane, into Broad Street, where you can visit The Lord Burghley. The building has housed an inn for many years under different names, and is a popular haunt of locals and market day visitors. The rear entrance boasts a former bread oven, part of which can be seen inside the yard and outside in the back lane. Walk further along Broad Street to a narrow passageway called Goldsmith's Lane on the opposite side of the road to The Lord Burghley. Here you can take in a medieval thoroughfare linking Broad Street to High Street which is very narrow with some overhanging buildings. Maiden Lane is opposite you at the end of the passage and The King's Head is on your right in this lane.
Looking like a cottage from the front, this is one of the town's
smallest inns of 17th century or earlier origin. Its size is what makes it so interesting! And it has a tiny courtyard at the back to match! It borders St. Michael's churchyard and shoppers' garden with some name plaques from the original churchyard on its wall. The building was originally of timber-framed construction, being later encased in rubble with a 19th century stone frontage, and has its original wooden beams, old fireplace and bay windows, giving it a cosy feel. See if you can work out how this was once a two-room pub with central bar area!
THE GEORGE HOTEL
4). The George of Stamford
At the lower end of Maiden Lane turn right and walk along part of St. Mary's Street where you will pass one of Stamford's oldest (now closed) inns, St. Mary's Vaults. If you look to the left of the main door you can still see the original coach entrance for carriages and horses. This is now closed with a large shutter which has an eye-of- the-needle inner gate for ease of access for pedestrians. The inner yard has a spectacular view of St. Michael's church tower. Sadly this is all closed at present preventing us from seeing in, but there are good external views of this much-photographed
black and white timber-frame building.
On along St. Mary's Street, past St. Mary's church and turn left down St. Mary's Hill towards the town bridge, passing the sites of many former hostelries including The Queen Head at nos. 9-9A which, if you look up, still has a head of Queen Victoria on the stonework. On the left hand side of the road just after the Town Hall is the former site of the " Boat and Railway" Inn.
Over the town bridge and you will come to one of the most ancient coaching inns in England: The George Hotel. Thought to have been around at the time of
The Crusades, The George was the hostelry of choice for travellers coming along the Great North Road which, prior to the A1 bypass, ran through the town centre. The hotel has two coach entrances, the one fronting the main road now being covered over to form an enclosed foyer. At this entrance there are the original traveller's taverns on each side of the door and as you walk through to the rear of the property you come to the original stabling yard with cobbles. Enjoy a drink inside by a roaring fire in winter or outside in the pretty courtyard in summer. Visit the Monastery gardens and shops within the environs of the hotel, looking for history as you walk around. Some Daniel Lambert memorabilia to see too!
The Crown & Patens
5). The Crown and 6). Patens. These two establishments stand next to one another, separated only by a narrow thoroughfare known as Crown Street. The Crown Hotel, to give it its full title, is a popular market visitor venue as it stands just off from Red Lion Square between the two main market areas. It was a popular and important coaching inn within the town due to its proximity to the Great North Road. It almost certainly has its routes in medieval times due to historians' accounts of its interior and exterior features. After a fire in the 18th century, the hotel was completely remodelled, and was then rebuilt entirely in 1909 to become the building we see today. The facade very much echoes the design of the earlier building and was built using local limestone. Although much altered now on the inside, there are lots of seating areas with quirky decor to enjoy and a pretty courtyard to the rear which stands in close proximity to
All Saints Church.
Take a walk from here along Barn Hill for a truly historical experience, taking in William Stukeley's House and Barn Hill House, a site of filming for "Middlemarch".
Patens is also 18th century, this time with 3 storeys, and once had a fine Regency front according to the history books. Later, mock-tudor timbers were added to the frontage but the windows still give a good view of Red Lion Square, All Saint's Church and Barn Hill. The building has housed an inn for many years under a variety of names and now reminds local people of the original wine merchant's establishment in this building. See the name of Patens carved into the stonework in the side wall in Red Lion Street. Ensure you visit the upper floors for a fine view of the Square, the Georgian buildings, the old butter market, and the green countryside beyond.
Incidentally, Red Lion Square took its name from the Red Lion Inn which stood at No.
Riverside Walk to Town or Burghley Park
If you have parked your car in Wharf Road car park you can take advantage of a pleasant nearby riverside walk which will take you into town, to the meadows or to Burghley Park. The choice is yours! You are advised to ascertain routes through Burghley Park as there are many alternatives and it is a fairly lengthy walk to
Burghley House itself from the river at this point. Information can be obtained from the Stamford Visitor Centre.
This walk takes around 15 minutes depending on your speed and is an accessible trail for wheelchair/scooter users.
To Town via the River Welland
Leaving the Wharf Road car park at the lower end, cross the beautiful Albert Bridge.
Here, you may turn left for Burghley Park, passing one of the town's former Railway Stations, now a private residence, and crossing the main Barnack Road at the top for the entrance into Burghley. Or, back now to the Albert Bridge, turn right after the bridge, follow the lower footpath along the River Welland, past old waterside houses and the Sensory Garden, to the traffic lights where you will see the ancient George Hotel, and the gallows spanning the road (a warning to highwaymen!). At this point you may turn right and walk into the town over the town bridge taking in spectacular views of the River Welland and the town meadows. Or you can walk straight ahead on Station Road alongside the George Hotel car park and side-buildings and find the Meadows on your right. The short tarmac path takes you over the lush green landscape in full view of shops and restaurants!
MORE TOWN WALKS SOON!