Stamford Buildings

In 1967, Stamford was the first designated conservation area in England, and the whole of the old town and St Martins has thus become an area of outstanding architectural and historic interest of national importance. Within this area there are over 400 buildings classed as Grade II (of special architectural or historic interest), or Grade II* (of particular importance). There are also eight ancient monuments in and around the town on either side of the Welland.

The existing street pattern has essentially stayed the same since Saxon times, with Medieval and Georgian buildings now predominating. Stamford is a town best explored on foot, – many narrow pedestrian ways have survived – and unexpected open spaces have been retained. Many of the historic buildings have been restored and repaired.

Of the 14 original churches, five Medieval ones still survive, close together in the centre of town.

All Saints’ Church, on the north side of Red Lion Square, is principally Early English, with 15th century restoration by John and William Browne, and is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. Of interest are the vaulted porch and a series of brasses to the aforementioned Browne family.

St George’s Church in St George’s Square is possibly of very early origin (11th century) but was rebuilt in 1449 by William de Bruges, first Garter King of Arms, as the chapel of the Knights of the Garter. It has several monuments of interest as well as a collection of Garter panes in the 15th century north chancel window.

At the south east corner of Red Lion Square is the Church of St John the Baptist, a complete, mid-15th century perpendicular building with splendid carved angels in the roof of the same period. Ancient glass is seen in several windows as well as brasses and carved screens on north and south sides of the chancel.

St Mary’s Church, at the top of St Mary’s Hill above the Town Hall, is the town’s ‘mother’ church with a very fine broach spire of the 14th century.

St Michael’s Church in the High Street, a disused church of 1836 on the site of a 12th century predecessor, has now been converted into three shops. St Martin’s Church across the river in High Street St Martin’s, is a stately late 15th century perpendicular building with fine glass, some of it unique, built on an older site. Monuments to the Cecil family include the fine Renaissance monument to the first Lord Burghley, William Cecil, who died in 1598.



the gorge pub in stamford

The George Hotel in Stamford 


brownes hospital in stamford

Brownes Hospital in Stamford 


On the north side of Broad Street is Browne’s Hospital, an extremely interesting 15th century building built by William Browne, a wealthy Stamford wool merchant, who was six times an Alderman and who died in 1489. The hospital was built for “ten poor men and two women” with a Warden and Chaplain. It then consisted of a common room divided into cubicles. Altered and enlarged in 1870 and later modernised in 1963-64, the hospital now has six double and five single rooms. The chapel retains a fine screen, original pews and a pre-Reformation altar slab and there is rather fine 15th century glass both here and in the Audit Room. The whole building, set so charmingly around its quiet courtyards, is full of human and architectural interest.

For further interest click here for a 3D interactive tour of Browne's Hospital.

There are eight ancient monuments in and around Stamford. Amongst these are an arch, part of a 12th century town house on St Mary’s Hill, whilst another is a 13th century bastion that is the only surviving relic of the old town wall. Outside the wall to the east is the fine Greyfriars’ gateway that was erected in 1350; also of interest is St Leonard’s Priory which was the earliest of the town’s monastic buildings. It was erected for Benedictine monks and the imposing west front still remains.

Stamford School dates from 1532 and is now part of Stamford Endowed Schools. The surviving part of the Norman and Early English St Paul’s Church remains on the site. Also worth seeing is the Brasenose Knocker, a copy of that brought by Oxford students from their Oxford College in 1333 and now returned there.

Close to the bridge on the south side of the River Welland is the George Hotel whose famous “gallows” inn sign spans the former Great North Road. This site has been catering for travellers since the days when the resident Knights of St John of Jerusalem cared for pilgrims passing through the town.

Stamford Library, on the High Street, is housed within the portico of the original market and shambles which stood beyond; it was opened as a library in 1906 by the then Stamford Borough Council. This building also offers a Heritage Centre which displays the Stamford Tapestry. This took 17 years to complete and was finished in 2000. It depicts the Town’s history, including many of the churches, buildings, industries and people. It was worked in 6 panels by over 25 embroiders and measures 20 feet long with a 20 foot drop.

Like many other country towns, Stamford once had several breweries and reminders of this trade are found in All Saints Brewery which is located in All Saints’ Street.