It is likely that the Parish as we would recognise it today existed in the early medieval period as St. Andrew’s Church dates to the 12th century and evidence of ‘Rig and Furrow’ (the medieval method of strip farming) can be seen on Burton Hills. It is however, very likely that a stettlement of sorts has existed since prehistoric times due to it proximity to the river trent. A ferry crossing on the River Trent operated from medieval times and a port existed at least as early as roman times. The word Stather is of Danish origin and means ‘Landing Stage’. In the reign of Edward II, the Earl of Lancaster obtained a charter for a weekly market and two annual fairs at Burton. These fairs continued to be held into the 19th century. A map dated 1907 shows a moated enclosure to the north of Church Farm and it is possible that a medieval manor house was located on this site.
During the 18th and 19th centuries the Sheffield family of Normanby Hall owned much of the land and buildings in the area. At the time of the enclosure of Burton, between 1803-1806, Sir John Sheffield was awarded 350 acres, although a further 28 people were also awarded land. During the 19th century Burton became a busy ferry crossing and centre for boat building. In Kelly’s Directory at the end of the century, Burton was described as “a small place at the riverside…. principally inhabited by shipwrights.
The economy of the Parish up until recent times has been based on agriculture. In the 18th, 19th and early 20th century boat building and brick making employed many locals. Although a healthy agricultural environment is maintained, it has more recently become a dormitory settlement for larger urban centres such as Scunthorpe and more recently, Hull.
Churches and Normanby Hall
Burton-upon-Stather Anglican parish church is Grade 1 listed and dedicated to St Andrew. It was initially built in 1160, and had a tower added in 1230. The church was restored and altered in 1865, and restored again in 1889, though many earlier features remain. There are monuments saved and removed from Owston and re-sited within the church, brought by the Sheffield family when they moved to Normanby from there. An effigy of a knight with sword originates from Boston, and a cannon ball from the Battle of Solebay, along with many monuments of the Sheffield family. We have the Sheffield family to thank for one of the other main features in the Parish, Normanby Hall. This is a splendid Regency Mansion designed for the Sheffield family by Sir Robert Smirke and built between 1825 and 1830. The Hall and its park is now open to the public and on display are examples of fine furniture and also costume galleries. There is also a Farming Museum that shows the history of farming and rural crafts during the late 19th and 20th century and an award winning Victorian kitchen garden.
World War II
During WWII the area to the north of the village known as ‘Burton Hills’ was taken over by the military and was used for top secret testing of amphibious tanks known as duplex drive tanks and other weapons and devices. They buiIt a large slipway into the river Trent about 1/4mile north of the Stather and DD Valentine and Sherman tanks could often be seen ‘swimming’ up and down the river. Evidence suggests that Major General Percy Hobart and Nikolas Straussler visited the site at the time and many believe that Bouncing Bomb inventor, Barnes Wallis also spent time here (though there is no written evidence as yet to prove this). Many of the soldiers stationed here met and married local girls and one sergeant is said to have remarked that they were losing more soldiers to the local girls that they were the war!