Glentham has a long history as a settlement with Stone Age, Iron Age and Roman artefacts having been discovered locally. The village was mentioned in the Domesday Book, being known also as Glandham or Glantham. It had a moated manor, with much of the land at that time being the property of the Bishops of Bayeux and Lincoln.
Glentham has always been a farming community, with the land in the past being mainly under the ownership of the lords of Caenby Hall and Norton Hall (the present High Street being the natural boundary between the two estates). The smaller farms were often worked by tenant farmers with local labourers living in tied cotttages.
The farming community is borne out in the modest Church originally known as St Peter and Our Lady of Pity now shortened to St Peter’s. Glentham Church is a Grade 1 listed building with much of it dating from the 13th century, although there are traces from the 12th century. Our Lady of Pity no doubt referred to the 15th-century ‘pieta’, a stone effigy of Mary holding the body of Christ sited above the porch entrance, believed to be the only one remaining in Lincolnshire and one of the very few left in the country after the Reformation.
Features of the Church are the pulpit and stained glass window dedicated to Sir Montague Cholmeley of Norton Hall who was killed in the First World War. The vestry was the mortuary chapel of the Tourneys of Caenby. Their family coat of arms is set over the porch along with the ‘pieta’. Arguably the most important reminder of the family is the statue of ‘Molly Grimes’ set under the organ loft. This statue was thought to be of Anne Tourney, removed from its original site due to decay. The name was thought to be a corruption of Malgraen, a word for the washing of holy images. On Good Friday, there was an annual custom when seven maids were given a shilling each to fetch water from a spring named Newell’s Well to wash the effigy. In 1832, the land providing the payment was sold and the tradition ceased.
The Church retains its Georgian family box pews, some of which feature brass plaques engraved with the names of the families who used to rent them. The Church still has a carved chest dating from the 14th century (these were present in most churches for keeping records). Unfortunately, the four bells cast in 1687 are no longer rung properly due to the age and decay of the frame and fittings. The mediaeval door on entry retains its original sanctuary ring. The organ was purchased in 1863 at a cost of £80.
There have been several other places of worship in Glentham in the past. The Wesleyan Chapel (built in 1820) is now a private house situated on the north side of the High Street, and the current Methodist Church, now just over the Glentham/Caenby border, was previously sited on the High Street and prior to that in Highfield Terrace.
Glentham has several buildings within the village centre of historic interest, including the 400-year-old Crown Inn. The Inn used to be the meeting place of the Lodge of Foresters from the Lodge’s inception in 1838 to its disbandment in 1897 – many of the founding family names are still in use in the Glentham area.
The butcher’s shop that stood on the High Street is now a private residence and of the two shops which also traded there, one is now the bed and breakfast, and what was originally a drapers’ shop is now the Village Store. Unfortunately, the mill which once stood at Mill House is no longer present.
Glentham School and Masters’ House on the road to Bishopbridge was built in 1877. Opening on 4th February 1878 with Mr Fisher as headmaster, the school accommodated 91 children. In 1904, it was extended to enlarge the intake to 101. The school closed in 1971 with both properties becoming private houses. ‘The Chestnuts’, continuing along the road, has had a chequered history, starting life as the new vicarage in 1862, taking over from the rectors’ previous residence ‘The Parsonage’. It was used by the Church until 1925, when it became an unlicensed guest house. In 1962, it became a licensed restaurant eventually adding a cabaret room in 1973. It has since reverted to a private residence.
The beck running through the Seggimoor area of the village was diverted at the time of the Enclosure Act in 1764 to improve drainage. The beck broke its banks in the flood of June 2007.
Bishopbridge is situated about two miles to the east of the village of Glentham. A bridge has been present from as far back as the 13th century. In the early 19th century, there was a chapel, three warehouses, a mill, a toll-bar house and a small store. Prior to the Bell Inn being built in the middle of the century, a large house served as an inn, known as the Packet Inn and later the Ancholme Inn. A packet boat owned in the village sailed from the village to Brigg weekly on a Thursday. Over the years the course of the Ancholme on which Bishopbridge stands has been rerouted for better navigation.