History

Algarkirk is a small parish in the south eastern part of rural Lincolnshire. The parish has a population of about 400 which is scattered throughout its 2,600 acre boundary. The actual village is centered on the extreme western boundary and dominated by its magnificent Parish Church, dedicated to St. Peter & St. Paul.

The old village school was built in the mid 1850's by the last 'Squarson' (a squire cum parson) Rev. Basil Beridge, who was here for 59 years and is buried in the churchyard. The building was designed by Gilbert Scott and is now used as the village hall.

Algarkirk Parish Council first met on 14 December 1894.  The first Chairman was Joseph Eley Simpson of Church Farm, Vice Chairman was James Joseph Tunnard (farmer) and the Clerk was Thomas Hand (schoolmaster but also a land surveyor and insurance agent).  Other Councillors were Messrs J Wright, G B searson and S Bingham.  At the first meeting the traditional duties of appointing various parish officials, overseers, constables and dykereeves were carried out.

In 1896 the schoolroom was agreed as the meeting place at a hire charge of one shilling; meetings are still held in the same building to this day.

Before the eighteenth century the landscape would have been alive with stock.  Saltmarsh to the east and low-lying fen to the west were good summer grazing.  Cottagers kept one or two animals, including geese, on comman land and even during the early part of the twentieth century most people had a pigsty and a few chickens.  At one time eleven parishes had common rights in the vast acres of Holland Fen, but by the eighteenth century it was overstocked and enclosure was inevitable.  Areas were first allotted to each parish, in 1880 Algarkirk Fen became part of the new parish of Amber Hill.  A popular belief is that the fens were under water until the seventeenth century, but this was not so.  There had been settlers here since Roman times and Algarkirk certainly existed in 1086, the date of the Domesday Book.  It was called Alfgare then after a local landowner.  The "Kirk" (meaning church) in the name was added in the twelfth century, possibly there was a new church at this time.

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the fens were wealthy, especially from wool production, churches were constantly rebuilt and enlarged.  Algarkirk Church chiefly dates from the fourteenth century and must have served a sizeable congregation.  The central tower is unusual, churchgoers may be treated to the enjoyment of watching the bellringers who stand at ground level.  The Victorian restoration was restrained, chief additions being a new east window, window glass and battlements.  One of the surprises here is some fragments of medieval stained glass, repaired and restored in the vestry.  There are several unusual gravestones.  The oldest is part of a 600 year old coffin lid; the most interesting memorials are of the eighteenth century in limestone.