The Ancient Woodland of Bourne Woods, although much reduced, is still extant and originally formed part of the ancient Forest of Kesteven and is now managed by the Forestry Commission.
The earliest documentary reference to Brunna, meaning stream, is from a document of 960, and the town appeared in the Domesday Book as Brune.
Bourne Abbey, (charter 1138), formerly held and maintained land in Bourne and other parishes. In later times this was known as the manor of 'Bourne Abbots'. Whether the canons knew that name is less clear. The estate was given by the Abbey's founder, Baldwin fitz Gilbert de Clare, son of Gilbert fitz Richard, and later benefactors. The abbey was established under the Arrouaisian order. Its fundamental rule was that of Augustine and as time went on, it came to be regarded as Augustinian. The Ormulum, an important Middle English Biblical gloss, was probably written in the abbey in around 1175.
Bourne Castle was built on land that is now the Wellhead Gardens in South Street.
Bourne was an important junction on the Victorian railway system, but all such connections were severed after the Second World War . The business stimulus it brought caused major development of the town, and many of the buildings around the medieval street plan were rebuilt, or at least refaced. Improved communications allowed a bottled water industry to develop, and to provide coal deliveries for the town's gas works.
The then local authority, Bourne Urban District Council, was very active in the interests of the town, taking over the gas works and the local watercress beds at times of financial difficulty and running them as commercial activities. Large numbers of good quality council houses were built by them in the early 20th century.
Bourne sent many men to both of the 20th century's world wars, as did any other town in Britain, but was otherwise only lightly affected. During the Second World War a German bomber crashed onto the Butcher's Arms public house in Eastgate, after being shot down. Nine people were killed, including the bomber's crew. In a separate incident a number of bombs were dropped on the Hereward Camp approved school, a row of wooden huts adjacent to the woods that may have been mistaken for a military camp. Charles Richard Sharpe was injured in the second incident, but he was no stranger to fighting the Germans, having been awarded the Victoria Cross in the first conflict of the century.