Lincolnshire, England, UK

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Lincolnshire is one of the original 39 traditional counties of England and is the second-largest after Yorkshire. Lincolnshire1 boasts beautiful countryside, hills and valleys, marshes and peat bogs, clay and sandstone, sandy beaches and limestone cliffs, old Roman waterways and roads, and evidence of human habitation dating back to the Stone Age.

Lincolnshire was the ideal of England at the time when the notion of Englishness began to form, the green and pleasant rolling hills; the heavy farming; the teeming villages and a mighty city, but most importantly, at the time of the Domesday Book, one third of the free men of England lived in Lincolnshire.

The population is 646,645 according to the 2001 census, making Lincolnshire one of the lowest populated counties per square mile.

Geography and Geology

Lincolnshire lies on the east coast of England, United Kingdom, bordering the coast, starting to the south of the River Humber and finishing at The Wash. With The Wolds2 (chalk hills) to the west and the North Sea to the east, the weather is inclement. There used to be a covering of clay, sandstone and white chalk where Lincolnshire now is, which formed during the Cretaceous Period. Continental movement caused the Jurassic and Cretaceous sediments to be uplifted above sea level. They can still be seen in the Lincolnshire Wolds. Somewhere in Lincolnshire is a quarry rich in ammonite fossils, the location of which is kept secret by the enterprising owner because he locates, excavates, cleans and polishes them, then sells them on eBay.

The 'gateway to The Fens' in South Lincolnshire is an area known as South Holland. This is due to its resemblence to the Netherlands, as a lot of the land has been reclaimed from the sea. The entire area was marsh and wetland, and draining of the Fens created very fertile land ideal for arable farming. There are many dykes to drain the fields and the land is very flat, a lot of which lies below sea-level. You can see spectacular sunsets and sunrises with views of the entire horizon, then at night you get wonderful views of the cosmos with hardly any light pollution.

Roman Influence in Lincolnshire

The 18 km (11 mile)-long Fosse Dyke is the oldest canal in England, constructed by the Romans in approximately 120 AD. It was mainly used to transport shorn wool to factories for spinning. Today it is a tourist attraction, for those who like to mess about on boats.

Surviving Roman roads are: Ermine Street, now the modern A15 and The Fosse Way, now the A46.

Later History

The Wash was where King John (1167 - 1216) had an unfortunate mishap in 1216, losing his luggage in the incoming tide, including the Crown Jewels. Not long after, he died in Newark, which at the time was in Lincolnshire, but due to boundary changes is now in Nottinghamshire.

Witham Valley lies between Lincoln and Boston. The valley is notable for having a greater concentration of medieval monasteries than anywhere else in the country. This is also a region of great historical bounty - archaeological finds include: a dagger with a Lincoln Imp on the hilt, Viking battle axes, Anglo-Saxon jewellery and the famous Witham Shield (dated to between 400 - 300 BC), which was found in the River Witham in 1826.

The only English Monastic order – that of the Gilbertines – was founded by a Lincolnshire priest and later saint – Saint Gilbert of Sempringham. The village of Sempringham no longer exists, but the parish church, St Andrews, still stands, alone, surrounded by fields.

When the streets were waterways, a unique three-arched bridge was built to span three streams, Triangular Bridge in Crowland still stands, a testament to 14th Century workmanship.

Here is a map of Lincolnshire in October 1643.

The Oldest Oak Tree in Britain

The Bowthorpe Oak in Bourne, Lincolnshire, is estimated to be over 1000 years old, making it Britain's oldest oak tree. Its girth is 40ft and in 1768 the centre, which has hollowed out over time, was fitted with seats and a door added. Over the years, its hollow interior has been used as a pigeon house, which was built in the crown of the tree, and a dining room for 20. Now it is a cosy home for sheep and chickens. Given how important oaks were for shipbuilding - it took about 3500 mature trees to build one man o' war - it is surprising that this one survived.

Lincolnshire's World Wars

The 10th Battalion, The Lincolnshire Regiment was formed when the British Army took it over from the Grimsby Chums, which was a British First World War Pals battalion of Kitchener's Army raised in and around the town of Grimsby in Lincolnshire.

Lincolnshire was known as 'Bomber County' in World War II. Coleby Grange WWII Control Tower is one of many aviation towers long-abandoned in Lincolnshire. Many of these remote buildings are reputed to be haunted by the ghosts of dead airmen.

Lincolnshire farms in The Fens and The Wolds had to be tended during the war to provide food for the country. 'Land Girls' from the Women's Land Army took over the role the farmers had left behind when they joined the Armed Forces.

The 617 Squadron of the RAF, better known as the 'Dam Busters', were formed at RAF Scampton, near Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire. Eight of the 19 Lancaster bombers that set out on 17 May, 1943, to destroy Germany's Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams, were never to return. Fifty-three crew members lost their lives and a further three were captured. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is also currently based in another wartime Lincolnshire base at RAF Coningsby.

The Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre now stands at the former RAF East Kirkby. There is a restored Lancaster Bomber, 'Just Jane', housed there.

The Great Flood of 1953

Between 31 January and 1 February 1953, an exceptionally strong storm occured over the North Sea. Sea-level rose by several metres, causing severe flooding to low-lying coastal areas, particularly eastern England, Scotland, Belgium and The Netherlands.

Lincolnshire was one of the most badly affected areas of England, with sea defences battered and broken all along the coast, and huge areas of low-lying agricultural land flooded. More than 40 of England's 300 flood deaths were in Lincolnshire. Tens of thousands of survivors of the flood were displaced. The economic impact was huge; ships had been sunk and livlihoods lost, many herds of cattle had drowned, arable land was unsuitable for crop-growing for many years after and many thousands of homes had been destroyed.

NOAA scientists voted the 1953 gale into the top 15 of the most significant meteorological events of the 20th Century.

Lord-Lieutenant of Lincolnshire

The Lord-Lieutenant of Lincolnshire is Her Majesty's representative in the County and his first duty is to uphold the dignity of the Crown. His main job is to meet and attend Her Majesty and members of the Royal Family on official visits to the County, and represent HM at civic and social engagements, presenting medals and awards, laying wreaths for instance, on her behalf.

Lincolnshire Poetry

The Lay of Havelok, written by Geoffrei Gaimar in the 12th Century in rhyming couplets in the Lincolnshire dialect, was thought to be lost but a copy of it was found in the Bodleian Library at Oxford at the beginning of the 19th Century. The Havelok story was claimed to have been based on a story by Gildas, a 6th Century Christian monk, written around 500 AD. The legend of Grim (the founder of Grimsby) and Havelok the Danish prince who became King of England and Denmark, was a popular story in England for many centuries, narrated by bards and sung by minstrels.

Other famous poems about Lincolnshire include:

Lincolnshire Ghosts

Read all about Louth's resident ghost, The Green Lady, supposedly the wealthy Spanish noblewoman Donna Leonora Oviedo, who allegedly haunts Thorpe Hall.

Haunting the Sun Inn in Saxilby is Tom Otter, who murdered his wife and was subsequently hanged near Lincoln.

In 1148 the Abbot of Thornton Abbey was Sir Thomas de Grethem. He was accused of using black magic and witchery. His punishment was to be walled up in the abbey. Workmen found his skeleton in the 1830s. He allegedly still haunts the Abbey.

Epworth had one of the most famous cases of poltergeist activity, which occurred in December 1716 at the Parsonage. All members of the Wesley family heard loud rapping noises over a period of two months, followed by the sound of glass bottles being dashed to a thousand pieces. Thereafter was the sounds of running footsteps, groans, and a door latch being lifted several times.

Watch for ghostly activity on the BBC Lincolnshire Ghost webcam.

Lincolnshire Food

Lincolnshire Asparagus - Asparagus was recommended as an aphrodisiac by the herbalist Nicholas Culpeper (1616 - 1654). Apparently he prescribed it 'to be taken to stir up bodily lust'.

Samphire, a Lincolnshire delicacy, is a succulent herb growing wild on marshland. In season locals head down to the marshes of Lincolnshire to pick the plants. It can be quite a family occasion, equivalent to strawberry picking. It is boiled or steamed and served with salt and vinegar, tasting like seaweed-flavoured spinach.

The Lincolnshire Lifeboats

There are lifeboat stations at Cleethorpes, Mablethorpe and Skegness. The Skegness lifeboat is named the 'Lincolnshire Poacher', the Cleethorpes lifeboat is the 'Blue Peter VI', and the Mablethorpe lifeboat is called the 'Jane Mary'. The Cleethorpes3 lifeboat crew earned a bronze medal for gallantry in 1992, and a silver medal and three bronze medals for gallantry in 2004. The stations and boats are all manned by volunteers, and funding relies on charitable donations via the RNLI.

As usual, our volunteer RNLI lifeboatmen and women have worked hard this summer. As well as giving up their own time to rescue people in difficulty at sea, our volunteer crew members dedicate much time and energy each month to training. This ensures that they are always ready to respond as safely and effectively as possible when called upon to rescue someone in difficulty at sea.

- Andrew Ashton, RNLI Divisional Inspector.

Interesting Places in Lincolnshire


This charming village is set alongside the old Louth Navigation Canal. It is noted for having the only church in England dedicated to Saxon St Adlewold.


Saint Botolph's church, the parish church of Boston, is better known as the Boston Stump. The name refers to the tall tower, which is a landmark in the flat countryside of the Fens. Unfortunately, floodlighting at night makes it a massively light-polluting feature.

They have a party every year in Central Park, Boston. Have a look at a panoramic view of the park.

Their football team is Boston United FC.


There is an edited entry on Cleethorpes.

Lincolnshire is famed for its Neolithic Long Barrows, and many other prehistoric monuments. The round barrow in Beacon Hill cemetery in Cleethorpes makes it the burial ground with the longest span of interments.

John Hurt was raised in Cleethorpes - his father (The Rev A Hurt) was the Vicar at my local church, St Aiden's, on Grimsby Road. He baptized me in 1955. I still have the baptism certificate signed by him.

- A Researcher.

The Greenwich Meridian Line runs right through Cleethorpes (and Boston and Louth).

Grimsby Town Football Club never play at home, their home ground, Blundell Park, is in Cleethorpes.

Places to visit in Cleethorpes


Grimsby's haddock and cod is world-renowned and some locals and ex-pats swear Grimsby fish and chips is the best in the world. Grimsby Fish Market is one of the most important fish markets in Europe, renowned for the quality and diversity of its fish. Grimsby has an established relationship with Iceland, Norway and the Faroe Islands.

The 309 ft (94 m) tall Grimsby Dock Tower is a famous maritime landmark which was built in 1867 and is now Grade I listed. If you are fit enough you can climb the tower and be treated to spectacular views of the surrounding area.

The Grimsby Municipal Seal is a rarity in the United Kingdom because it features the main characters of the legend of Grim, the founder of Grimsby, and King Havelok and his Queen Goldburga, who ruled from Lincoln after Grim's death.

In Disney's version of The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, Prince Eric's manservant was called 'Grimsby'.

Places to visit in Grimsby:

Humber Bridge

The bridge crosses the River Humber from Hessle in Yorkshire on the north bank to Barton-on-Humber in Lincolnshire on the south bank. It was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen in July, 1981. Since then, over 100 million vehicles have crossed the bridge. When it was built, for 17 years it was the longest single-span suspension bridge in the world. There is a toll for crossing the bridge, in 2005 it was £2.70. In 1315, ferry tolls for crossing the River Humber were a halfpenny4 for a man on foot, 1d for a man with his horse, 2d for a cart with two horses and 1d for every additional horse.


There is a monument in Immingham commemorating the Pilgrim Fathers who sailed from Immingham Creek in 1609.


There is an edited entry on Lincoln, Lincolnshire.

Lincoln has been the principal town of Lincolnshire since the 11th Century.

The Collection is a new museum in the centre of the city. It houses artifacts from the Medieval, Viking, Saxon and Roman eras; and the Iron, the Bronze and the Stone Ages.

Lincoln has the largest inland harbour in England.

The Steep Hill with all the cobbles was where the song 'Consider Yourself' was filmed for the film of the musical Oliver.

Lincoln Cathedral was the subject of some contraversy in 2005. The magnificent building was booked by the makers of the film The Da Vinci Code who wanted to film scenes which they weren't allowed to film inside Westminster Abbey. The film, starring Tom Hanks has been boycotted by some religious people due to its heretical content.


Just outside Louth is the Cadwell Park motorbike racing circuit.

Market Rasen

Market Rasen is home to Lincolnshire's only racecourse. Not just a racecourse, this is also a wedding, conference and banqueting venue.

Rand Farm Park

Rand Farm Park lies between Lincoln and Wragby, off the A158. It's a great day out for the whole family, you can feed the animals, there's an indoor and outdoor playground, a go-cart track, a picnic area and a gift shop which sells their home-grown produce.


There is an edited entry on Scunthorpe. Due to the unfortunate swearword contained within the town's name, a certain search engine had Scunthorpe renamed.


There is an edited entry on 'bracing' Skegness, Lincolnshire


Spalding flower parade is an annual event with fantastic designs made from the flower-heads5. Local growers show off their crops in The Great Pumpkin Patch of Lincolnshire.


The much-hated (by the locals) new county 'Humberside' which was introduced on 1 April, 1974, never became accepted even with the passage of time. Locals continued to use 'Lincolnshire' in their own addresses, completely ignoring the correct 'Humberside'. The Post Office insisted that 'counties don't matter' (in addressing mail), so long as you use the postcode. They are still miffed about the whole fiasco though, as they continue to frank posted mail with 'Humberside'.

Famous People from Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire folk are known as Yellowbellies although no two stories as to the origin of the term are the same; nowadays it's just used as a term of endearment.

  • Henry Andrews (1744 - 1820) was born in the village of Frieston, near Grantham. He established a reputation as an accomplished mathematician and astronomer. For 43 years he worked as 'Compiler of the tables detailing the movement of the planets' for Old Moore's Almanac - and that was just in his spare time. His day job was Calculator to the Board of Longitude6. He had also set up a boarding school which taught trigonometry and navigation as extra subjects, as well as running a shop which sold books, stationery, barometers, thermometers, and philosophical and mathematical instruments. He was a well-respected professional and valued advisor to the Rev Nevil Maskelyne, the Astronomer Royal. Andrews predicted the annular solar eclipse in 1792:

  • To the north of Scotland it will be a very great eclipse; but nowhere total on account of the apparent diameter of the sun. The spectators will be entertained with a beautiful annulus, or ring of light encompassing the opaque body of the Moon on every side. This eclipse begins with the rising sun in the back settlements of Carolina and Virginia, from whence it traverses Hudson's Bay, north-easterly towards the coast of Greenland, Iceland and Lapland, and the northern coast of Great Tartary where this phenomenon will end and quit the earth with the setting sun.
  • Anne Askew (1521 - 46) was accused of heresy, tortured on the rack in the Tower of London and burned at the stake. She is mentioned in the Book of Martyrs by John Foxe (see below).

  • Explorer and botanist Sir Joseph Banks (1743 - 1820) was born in the village of Revesby. He is probably best remembered for sailing around the world with Captain James Cook in the 'Endeavour'. The voyage was timed so that they could see the 1769 Venus transit (predicted by Jeremiah Horrocks) from the South Pacific. Banks was a Privy Councillor, Recorder of Boston and was elected President of the Royal Society in 1778, a title previously held by fellow Lincolnshireman Sir Isaac Newton (see below).

  • George Bass (1771 - 1803) - explorer and ship's surgeon who sailed on the 'Reliance' to the east coast of Australia. He discovered the Bass Strait, the body of water separating Australia from the island of Tasmania.

  • Mathematician George Boole (1815 - 64) was Dean of Science at Queen's College, Cork. Regarded as his most important work: An Investigation Into the Laws of Thought, on Which are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities, was the paper which details the relationship between algebra and logic (published in 1854). Much of today's computer technology is based on this study. In 1857 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society, and the Teaching Window in Lincoln Cathedral is dedicated to his memory.

  • Oscar7 and BAFTA-winning actor Jim Broadbent was born on 24 May, 1949 in Lincoln. His is the voice of 'Vroomfondel' in the BBC radio series version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

  • Stamford-born David George Brownlow Cecil, 6th Marquess of Exeter - previously David (Lord) Burghley, won the 400m hurdles at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. Burghley inspired the character of Lord Andrew Lindsay in the film Chariots of Fire but it was Burghley who raced around the Great Court at Trinity College in the time it took the college clock to chime 12 times8, and he refused to endorse the film.

  • Sir Thomas Boor Crosby (1830 – 1916), born in Gosberton, was a doctor and Lord Mayor of London in 1911. When the 'Titanic' sank in 1912, Crosby set up the Titanic Trust which raised funds for the survivors and relatives of the casualties.

  • The author of the best-selling Inspector Morse novels, Colin Dexter was born in Stamford in 1930.

  • Victor Emery (1933 - 2002) was an expert on superconductors and superfluidity.

  • Matthew Flinders (1774 - 1814) was inspired to become an explorer after reading the book Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. He was good friends with George Bass (see above); they met when they both sailed to Australia on the 'Reliance'. Flinders was to first man to circumnavigate Australia (1802 - 03), it was he who suggested the name and it was adopted in 1824. He completed a book on his travels A Voyage to Terra Australis just before his death aged just 39 years. Flinders Island is named after him.

  • The market town of Louth boasts a son who was born on Earth but who works in outer space. Dr9smiley - spaceMichael Foale CBE (born 1957) was the first British person to perform an EVA (spacewalk). He has commanded the International Space Station and currently holds the record for most time spent in space for a US citizen (Foale has dual UK/USA nationality).

  • John Foxe (1516 - 1587) - Author and Reformist. His 16th Century Book of Martyrs (its full title was Actes and Monuments of these Latter and Perillous Days, touching Matters of the Church) was, after The Bible, the second most widely-read book in the English language when it was produced.

  • Lady Eleanor Glanville (1654 - 1709) was an entomologist who specialized in butterflies. Some of her collection are still on display at the Natural History Museum. The Glanville Fritillary butterly is named after her.

  • Sir Thomas Little Heath (1861 - 1940) was born in Barnetby le Wold. He was an author and historian, translating ancient Greek mathematic and astonomy books into English. His translated works included: On the Sizes and Distances of the Sun and Moon; History of Greek Mathematics and Apollonius of Perga. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society, president of the Mathematical Association and a Fellow of the British Academy.

  • King Henry IV was born at Bolingbroke Castle in 1366.

  • Hereward the Wake, 11th Century leader, anti-Norman dissident, freedom-fighter, hero and eventual outlaw, was born in Bourne, Lincolnshire. Stories about him were very similar to later legends about Robin Hood.

  • Lord John Hussey (1466 - 1537) incurred the wrath of King Henry VIII and was beheaded for High Treason in 1537. His house in Boston, 'Hussey Tower', still stands.

  • Anne Hutchinson (1591 - 1643), from Alford, a 17th Century pioneer of women's rights, became an influential and popular figure in America by assisting women with childbirth and greatly reducing infant mortality rates. She has a statue situated outside the New State House in Boston, Massachusetts.

  • Jean Ingelow (1820 - 97), poet and novelist, was born in Boston.

  • Tony Jacklin OBE, golfer, was born on 7 July, 1944 in Scunthorpe. Jacklin became a national hero in 1970, when he was the first British player to win the US Open for over 70 years. In 1985 he captained the team that brought the Ryder Cup back to Europe for the first time in 28 years. Two years later he led the Europeans to a historical victory, beating the Americans on their own turf.

  • Peter John King was born in Boston in 1956. He is a poet, philosopher and author of One Hundred Philosophers: The Life and Work of the World's Greatest Thinkers.

  • Percy Roycroft Lowe (1870 - 1948), ornithologist, was born in Stamford. He was Curator of Birds at the Natural History Museum.

  • Boston United FC's most famous supporter is John Motson, (born 1945) the 'voice of football' is the BBC's senior football commentator on Match of the Day.

  • Sir Isaac Newton (1643 - 1727), one of history's greatest scientists, was born in Woolsthorpe, near Grantham. Newton was a physicist, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and alchemist. He was elected Lucasian Professor of Mathematics10 in 1669. He invented a reflecting telescope which bears his name, the Newtonian telescope; and, due to his not wanting to be disturbed by his cat while working in his dark room, the cat flap. Newton's laws of motion and gravity provided a basis for predicting the motion of celestial bodies. He held the post of President of the Royal Society from 1703 until his death. Some researchers now believe that Newton displayed autistic traits comparable to Asperger's Syndrome.

  • Frank Pick (1878 - 1941) - the man who helped build the London Underground public transport system, was born in Spalding.

  • Horncastle-born Samuel Roberts (1827 - 1913) was a Fellow of the Royal Society, and Treasurer and later President of the London Mathematical Society.

  • The mathematician Charlotte Angas Scott (1858 - 1931) was born in Lincoln.

  • Willoughby-born Captain John Smith (1580 - 1631) was a soldier, sailor - and the sweetheart of Pocahontas (1595 - 1617), the Native American princess.

  • Holbeach near Boston, in Lincolnshire, was the birthplace of antiquarian William Stukeley (1687 - 1765), who was later ordained and became The Reverend Dr William Stukeley. He was the first person to recognise the alignment of Stonehenge on the solstices. He also suggested that Robin Hood was the historical Robert of Loxley.

  • Bernie Taupin, who was born and raised in Lincolnshire, wrote a song called 'Grimsby' that was featured on Sir Elton John's 1974 album Caribou. Taupin has been Elton John's main writing partner on and off for many years (a partnership often considered to be almost as important as Lennon/McCartney) and which has produced some of the most well-known songs in British pop music history.

  • Haydn Taylor (1897 - 1962) - English Channel swimmer, he was also the first man to swim the River Humber.

  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809 - 1892), born in Somersby near Horncastle, is still regarded as one of the greatest British poets. He was Poet Laureate to Queen Victoria (who stated that she found great comfort in his poetry after the death of her beloved husband Prince Albert), from 1850 until his death, and he is interred in Poets Corner at Westminster Abbey. There is a Tennyson Research Centre at Lincoln Central Library and a statue of Tennyson at Lincoln Cathedral.

  • Margaret Thatcher, Conservative MP and the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born in Grantham in 1925. She is also the only Prime Minister of the 20th Century to have served three consecutive terms.

Interesting stuff

1In England the term 'shire' originated in the Anglo-Saxon communities of the 5th Century. The word 'shire' meant a sheared off portion of land.2The Wolds are 47 miles long and 6 miles wide.3A Blue Peter station.4Old English Money5They are the 'waste' of the crop, as only the bulbs are marketed.6The Board of Longitude was set up to encourage the development of marine chronometers.7He won Best Supporting Actor for his role in the 2001 film Iris.8The film incorrectly grants this feat to the character Harold Abrahams.9Doctorate in laboratory astrophysics.10Holder of the post since 1979 is Professor Stephen Hawking.

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