Hemswell is a village and civil parish in the West Lindsey District of Lincolnshire, England. It is situated just north of the A631 road on the Lincoln Cliff escarpment, 2 miles (3 km) west from Caenby Corner and 7 miles (11 km) east from Gainsborough. According to the 2001 UK census it had a population of 309.
Hemswell Grade II* listed Anglican parish church is dedicated to All Saints. Originating in the 13th century it was partially rebuilt in 1764, when a new tower was added, and in 1858, when the rest of the church was replaced. An internal Early English three-bay north arcade remains, as does a 13th-century Decorated sedilia on the south wall of the chancel. The font bears the arms of the Monson family. A further listed church, St Edmund’s on Spital-in-the-Street Road, is a converted 16th-century quarter sessions court house.
Opposite the churchyard is a 19th-century maypole of wood and wrought iron with painted red white and blue stripes. It is one of the oldest in England, and danced round each May Day during the village May Day Fete. On Church Street is the listed early 19th-century Post Office, now non-operational, and Manor Farmhouse, originally 17th-century. On Spital-in-the-Street Road is the early 17th-century Spital Almshouse, now a cottage, and its barn, previously a hospice.
RAF Hemswell was located just outside the village from 1937 until it closed in 1967. The site and buildings were subsequently redeveloped into a private trading estate which became the new (since 1974) civil parish of Lincoln Cliff.
Lincolnshire is very low-lying and land had to be drained for agriculture to be successful. The larger drainage channels, many of which are parallel to each other, became boundaries between parishes. Many parishes are long and thin for this reason.
There is much fenland in Lincolnshire, particularly in the Boston and Horncastle areas. Fenlands tended to be extraparochial before the mid 1850s, and although many sections were identified with names and given the title "civil parish", little information has been found about them. Many appear to be abolished in 1906, but the parish which adopts them is not given in A Vision of Britain through Time. Note the WR category Lincolnshire Fenland Settlements which is an attempt to organize them into one list.
From 1889 until 1974 Lincolnshire was divided into three administrative counties: Parts of Holland, Parts of Kesteven and Parts of Lindsey. These formal names do not fit with modern grammatical usage, but that is what they were, nonetheless. In 1974 the northern section of Lindsey, along with the East Riding of Yorkshire, became the short-lived county of Humberside. In 1996 Humberside was abolished and the area previously in Lincolnshire was made into the two "unitary authorities" of North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. The remainder of Lincolnshire was divided into "non-metropolitan districts" or "district municipalities" in 1974. Towns, villages and parishes are all listed under Lincolnshire, but the present-day districts are also given so that places in this large county can more easily be located and linked to their wider neighbourhoods. See the WR placepage Lincolnshire, England and the smaller divisions for further explanation.