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Lincolnshire's Location within England
Lincolnshire's Location within England
Lincolnshire's Coat of Arms

Lincolnshire's Districts

  1. Lincoln
  2. North Kesteven
  3. South Kesteven
  4. South Holland
  5. Boston
  6. East Lindsey
  7. West Lindsey
  8. North Lincolnshire (Unitary)
  9. North East Lincolnshire (Unitary)

Lincolnshire (abbreviated Lincs) is a county in the East Midlands of England. It borders onto Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Rutland, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire, the East Riding of Yorkshire and (for just 19 metres, England's shortest county boundary) Northamptonshire. Its county town is the ancient city of Lincoln.

Status Ceremonial & (smaller) Non-metropolitan county
Region East Midlands
(North Lincolnshire and
North East Lincolnshire are in
Yorkshire and the Humber)
- Total
- Admin. Council
- Admin Area
Ranked 2nd
6,959 km²
Ranked 4th
5,921 km²
Admin HQ Lincoln
ISO 3166-2 GB-LIN
ONS code 32
- Total (2004 est.)
- Density
- Admin. Council
- Admin Pop.
Ranked 19th
142 / km²
Ranked 15th
Ethnicity 98.5% White
Executive Conservative
Members of Parliament Ian Cawsey, Quentin Davies, John Hayes, Douglas Hogg, Edward Leigh, Shona McIsaac, Gillian Merron, Austin Mitchell, Elliot Morley, Mark Simmonds, Peter Tapsell



The ceremonial county of Lincolnshire (composed of the administrative county of Lincolnshire, plus the unitary authorities of North Lincolnshire and North-East Lincolnshire) is the second largest of the English counties and one that is predominantly agricultural in character. Despite its relatively large physical area, it has a comparatively small population (of less than 1 million people). The unusually low population density that arises gives the county a very different character to the much more densely populated and urbanised counties of south-east and northern England, and is, in many ways, key to understanding the nature of the county (and perhaps even its people).

Despite the widespread perception of Lincolnshire as a physically rather dull and uniform county, it is often remarked that the Lincolnshire landscape is a place of surprising contrasts that possesses a subtle beauty and quiet charm that is all of its own. Certainly its generally flat landscapes, 'big skies' and comparative emptiness make this a landscape that remains uncommon in the generally densely populated United Kingdom. Although, in terms of overall attractiveness, the county cannot be fairly compared to the more dramatic and scenic, 'tourist friendly' landscapes of nearby Yorkshire, Derbyshire or Norfolk, the Lincolnshire landscape does have much to recommend it to those prepared to get off 'the beaten track' and explore what remains a lesser known and peaceful corner of an increasingly hectic country.

For the purposed of a general geographical classification the county can be broken down into a number of sub-regions:

  • Lincolnshire Fens: a region of flat, marshy land (much of it reclaimed from the sea) that predominates in the southern and south-eastern areas of the county (most particularly around the local towns of Boston and Spalding and extending around The Wash to the county border with Norfolk.
  • Lincolnshire Wolds: a range of low hills that run broadly south-east through the central and eastern portion of the county.
  • The Industrial Humber Estuary and North-East Coast: the major population and industrial centres of northern and North-East Lincolnshire. These include the major fishing port of Grimsby and nearby Immingham (an important centre for the chemical industry) - both towns are on estuary of the River Humber, which flows into the North Sea). Also included is the nearby industrial town of Scunthorpe, a once important steel producing town, but now somewhat in post-industrial decline.

The highest point of the county is just to the north of the village of Normanby le Wold, in the Lincolnshire Wolds north-east of Market Rasen. Marked by a trig point, it is 168m/551ft high and is a Marilyn.

The Greenwich Meridian

The Greenwich Meridian runs through the county. It extends from the Humber estuary between Cleethorpes and Humberstone at 53°33'14?N, 00°00'00?W1 and passes through Louth and Boston before leaving the county south of Gedney Hill at 52°39'49?N, 00°00'00?W1.

Towns and Villages

The non-metropolitan county of Lincolnshire is characterised by the absence of any major urban area. The principal settlements and their populations are: Lincoln (85,000), Boston (35,000), Grantham (34,000), Spalding (22,000) and Stamford (19,000). Many of the towns in the county continue to hold a weekly market, a centuries-old tradition reinvigorated recently by the growth of farmers' markets. Most of the urbanised area of Lincolnshire is on the Humber estuary, in the unitary authorities. Scunthorpe in North Lincolnshire, has a population of 62,000, and the Cleethorpes/Great Grimsby conurbation in North East Lincolnshire has a population of over 100,000.



Being on the economic periphery of England, Lincolnshire's transport links are less well developed than many other parts of the United Kingdom. The road network within the county is dominated by single carriageway trunk roads (A roads) and minor roads (B roads) rather than motorways or dual carriageways - the administrative county of Lincolnshire is one of the small number of UK counties without a motorway (the M180, the principal link between South Yorkshire and the North Sea coast, runs exclusively within the boundaries of North Lincolnshire). Following a north-south axis the most important route into and out of the county is the A1 (formerly the Great North Road) linking the county with London and south-east England as well as the important population centres of northern England and Scotland. The three main points where traffic enters the county from the A1 are Stamford, Grantham and Newark (A46). The volume of traffic on the A46 along with the extremely high accident rate forced the County Council to transform the road to a dual carriageway along its entire 20km (13 mile) length with this much needed upgrade being finally completed in 2004. Up until a few years ago, it was said that there was only approximately 35kms (22 miles) of dual carriageway in the whole of Lincolnshire

Partly because of its fast and flat (but deceptively undulating) roads, Lincolnshire has one of the worst road accident records of the UK counties (as measured in terms of road fatalities per head of population). In a national effort to cut the number of speed-related deaths and injuries, the county's residents became early guinea pigs in a programme to roll-out speed cameras across the country and (much to the annoyance of many of its residents) Lincolnshire now has 52 speed cameras installed on its road network.


The low population density of the county means that the number of railway stations and train services is rather low considering the county's large physical size. A large number of the county's railway stations were permanently closed following the Beeching Report of 1963. Lincoln retained its direct train service to London until the late 1980s, but it is now necessary to change trains in Newark, Nottinghamshire. However, the East Coast Main Line passes through the county and so it is still possible to catch direct trains to the capital from Grantham.

There is a local joke that Lincolnshire is the only county where most people's second car is a Massey-Ferguson (a make of tractor).


Bus services within the county are also limited in number, due to the inherent economic feasibility of serving a scattered population living across an area with low population density. Many smaller villages in the county have no regular bus service, making access to a private vehicle the only practical means of living in many parts of the county. The services that do exist almost exclusively service the large population centres (e.g. Lincoln, Grantham, Boston, Skegness) and mid-sized market towns (e.g. Horncastle, Gainsborough) and a limited number of their dormitory and commuter villages. Lincolnshire Road Car was bought out by Stagecoach in late 2005.


Lincolnshire has its own airport in the north of the county at Kirmington (a former RAF bomber airfield), between Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Lincoln. Several others are fairly easily accessible by either road or rail.

Humberside Airport (HUY)
Doncaster 'Robin Hood' Airport (DSA)
Nottingham East Midlands Airport (EMA)
Leeds-Bradford Airport (LBA)
Stansted Airport (STN)
Manchester International Airport (MAN)


Lincolnshire is served by the Foss Dyke canal, an ancient waterway of Roman origin, which connects the River Trent and the River Witham.

History of Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire, England derived from the merging of the territory of the ancient Kingdom of Lindsey with that controlled by the Danelaw borough Stamford. For some time the entire county was called 'Lindsey', and it is recorded as such in the Domesday Book. Later, Lindsey was applied only the northern core, around Lincoln, and emerged as one of the three 'Parts of Lincolnshire', along with the Parts of Holland in the south-east and Kesteven in the south west.

In 1888 when county councils were set up, Lindsey, Holland and Kesteven each received their own separate one. These survived until 1974, when Holland, Kesteven, and most of Lindsey were unified into Lincolnshire, and the northern part, with Scunthorpe and Grimsby, going to the newly formed non-metropolitan county of Humberside, along with most of the East Riding of Yorkshire.

A further local government reform in 1996 abolished Humberside, and the parts south of the Humber became the unitary authorities of North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. These areas became part of Lincolnshire for ceremonial purposes such as the Lord-Lieutenancy, but are not covered by the Lincolnshire police. These two authorities are in the Yorkshire and the Humber region.

The remaining districts of Lincolnshire are Boston, East Lindsey, Lincoln, South Holland, South Kesteven, North Kesteven and West Lindsey. They are part of the East Midlands region.

Pre-Roman and Roman

Lincolnshire before the Romans was a Druid nation, a subdivision of the Iceni tribe, called the Coriceni, and were driven to this part of the country by the Celtic Gauls around 300 BC. Several small barrows from this period have been discovered near Boston and Frampton.

The Romans had established permanent government in Lincolnshire by 43 AD, but the tyrannical rule of the Roman sub-prætor Ostorius Scapula so inflamed the Coriceni and their neighbours in Yorkshire, the Brigantes, that they conducted a simmering low key rebellion lasting well into 70 AD.

Eventually, the Governorship of Britain was given to the Deputy of the Prefect of Gaul and the title Vicar of Britain created. He resided at York, and the sub-district of Flavia Cæsaeriensis, which comprised Lincolnshire and parts of the Midlands created.

Once established, the Romans set about improving Lincolnshire. They cut drains such as the Car Dyke, which ran from the River Welland at the eastern end of Market Deeping for forty miles to the River Witham at Fiskerton. They also dug the navigable Fossdyke, running from the River Witham at Lincoln to the River Trent, at Torksey, and the River Westlode, which drained water from the fens into the River Welland.

They also constructed sea defences, raising a large earth bank running along the coast some thirty miles from Ingoldmells to Boston, known now as Roman Bank. There is evidence that they were assisted by the Coriceni, and by expert foreigners, possibly the Dutch. They also constructed hard standings and walkways across the fens, and inland ports such as the Brayford Pool at Lincoln.

The main Roman forts in Lincolnshire were:

  • Alkborough (Aquis)
  • Ancaster (Causennis)
  • Brant Broughton (Briga)
  • Caistor
  • Broughton (Pretorium)
  • Horncastle (Banovallum)
  • Kirton in Lindsey (Inmedio)
  • Lincoln (Lindum Colonia)
  • Ludford
  • Stow (Sidnacester)
  • Tattershall (Drurobrivis)
  • Torksey (Tiovulfingacester)
  • Wainfleet (Vainona)
  • Willoughby (Verometum)
  • Winteringham (Ad Abum)

Three roads in the future Lincolnshire were used by people following the Antonine Itinerary:

  • Ermine Street
  • Fosse Way
  • Tillbridge Lane

Other roads of Roman origin are the Salters' Way, continuing the line from the Leicestershire border across Ermine Street near Old Somerby, to the then coast at Donington. King Street including The Long Hollow road, joined Ancaster to the fen edge and Durobrivae near Peterborough. Two roads linked Lincoln to the coast across the Wolds. This was used as part of the defence system set up to protect the Saxon Shore and re-used by William the Conqueror in conjunction with Lincoln Castle. There are also scores of smaller sections of roads branching off from the three major routes which are certainly Roman as well, linking Ermine street with the Wolds and King Street with the coast. Also, Mareham Lane continued the fen-edge line of King Street northwards.

When the Romans departed in 448 AD, all these works gradually fell into ruin and disrepair.

The Saxons and the Danes

The Britons, left to there own devices by the Romans, quickly fell into anarchy, but external attacks by the Picts and Scots forced the Britons to organise into military dictatorships, and cooperate to repel the threat. However, the size of the military threat was such that they were forced to hire Saxon Mercenaries to help then, and no sooner had the Picts and Scots been defeated and repelled, then the Saxons turned on the Britons, who were by now led by Vortigern and the legendary King Arthur.

Arthur almost succeeded in ejecting the Saxons, but died in 520 AD and the Britons, now lacking a strong leader, were swept back again by the Saxons, who by now consisted of two tribes, the Jutes, and the Angles, from which the term Anglo-Saxon derives. This was no easy conquest — it took 111 years from the death of Arthur to the establishment of the Saxon Heptarchy, as the seven kingdoms of Kent, East Anglia, Essex, Sussex, Wessex, Northumbria and Mercia were known.

Mercia was the largest, comprising Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire and parts of some other counties; Lincoln was its capital city. There is a modern aphorism: "Lincoln was, London is and York shall be / the greatest city of the three". The Druid culture of the Britons that the Romans were quite happy to let alone was now crushed and the pagan sun and moon worship of the Saxons prevailed. This alarmed the then-Pope, Gregory I, and in 590 AD he sent Augustine, a roman monk, and in 628 AD, Paulinus, to England to convert the heathens. Paulinus did so, baptising hundreds of Saxons and Britons in the River Trent near Torksey.

The Kingdom of Mercia existed for about 300 years.

The lasting legacy of this period was the division by Alfred the Great of the County into areas of land using Feudal measurement.

In 768, the Danes, lead by Hinguar and Hubba, lead an invasion force and landed at Humberstone, near Grimsby. They burnt, looted, raped and pillaged their way across Lincolnshire, destroying the Abbeys at Crowland and Bardney, and murdering the monks.

The Norman Conquest

The Anglo-Saxon nobility of Lincolnshire was destroyed by William the Conqueror, and the lands divided amongst his followers. He constructed Lincoln Castle, and another at Tattershall, and imposed a curfew on the populace.

The English Civil War

During the war, Lincolnshire was part of the Eastern Association, the Parliamentarian alliance. On its western border lay the Royalist strongholds, of Newark on Trent and Belvoir Castle. Lincolnshire was therefore raided and defended by the respective parties. For a time, Crowland, in the south of the county was fortified for the king.

Lincolnshire was important to the Parliamentarians as it provided access between the great arsenal of Hull and the south and the Eastern Association's heartland in the east of England. It also offered a potential starting line for an advance across the English midlands, cutting the north of England off from the west.

World War Two


Lincolnshire was a largely unvisited, peaceful agricultural backwater until World War Two when a large number of Royal Air Force bases were built around the county, expanding the large number already present. By 1945 the number of RAF bases exceeded 46. The very first airfields were built for the Royal Flying Corps. The first Royal Flying Corps of theses bases was built at Skegness, on the Lincolnshire coast in 1912. Amongst other famous RAF bases in the county that were constructed were RAF Cranwell, the Officer Training College, RAF Swinderby, the main Recruit Training Camp, and RAF Scampton, the home base of 633 Squadron.

Lincolnshire still has the strongest claim to being the 'home' of RAF Bomber Command, playing host to many squadrons, including the Lancaster bombers of the famous 617 'Dambusters' squadron who were based at RAF Scampton. There were two Bomber Groups based in the county - No. 1 in the north and No. 5 Group in the centre and south. The Battle of Britain memorial flight is still led by a Lancaster named 'The City of Lincoln'.

Most of the airfields were closed after the war and, although most have been built over, disused airfields, abandoned control towers and crumbling concrete bunkers and airfield buildings remain a physical feature of the county in a number of places. Many people in Lincolnshire have learned to drive a car on the disused concrete airstrips of the county.

Cold War History

RAF Waddington and RAF Scampton formed two of the main bases for the V Bomber Force, flying Vulcans, during the Cold War, while Thor missiles were stationed on former wartime air stations at for example, RAF Folkingham.



The county of Lincolnshire is a major agricultural producer, growing large amounts of Wheat, Barley, Sugarbeet and Oilseed rape. In South Lincolnshire, where the soil is particularly rich in nutrients, some of the most common crops include cabbage, cauliflowers and onions.

Mechanisation around the turn of the 20th Century greatly diminished the number of workers required to manage the county's relatively large farms, and the proportion of workers in the agricultural sector dropped substantially during this period.

Today, immigrant workers from Southern and Eastern Europe comprise a large component of the seasonal agricultural workforce, particularly in the south of the county where more labour intensive crops such as small vegetables and cut flowers are typically grown. Many of these migrant workers are from the southern and eastern states of the European Union and are thus working legally in the United Kingdom. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that a substantial amount of casual illegal labour from countries beyond the EU is also employed within the county's agricultural workforce. This seasonal influx of migrant labour occasionally causes tension between the migrant workforce and local people, in a county which is still relatively unaccustomed to the large scale immigration experienced by other parts of the United Kingdom.

Services and Retail

According to an IGGI study in 2000 (source), the town centres were ranked thus:-

Public services


Lincolnshire is one of the few counties within the UK that still uses the Eleven plus to decide who may attend grammar school. Despite the bias towards selection, there are many comprehensive schools in Lincolnshire with excellent records.

Notable schools in the county include the following:

  • Skegness Grammar School - notable as the first school in Great Britain to apply for and receive, 'grant-maintained' status.
  • King Edward VI Grammar School, Louth also uses the Eleven plus to select pupils. The school recently celebrated it's 450th Charter Day in 2001 to mark the day, on September 21st 1551, when King Edward VI signed the charter to maintin the school's existence following the dissolution of the religious guilds and the monastery in the town. Former pupils of 'KEVIGS' include Captain John Smith founder of Virginia, Sir John Franklin and Alfred Lord Tennyson.
  • Boston Grammar School is another ancient educational institution, having been founded by charter of William and Mary in 1555. It was used as the model for Boston Latin School which was the first school of the new colony in what became the United States of America. Boston Grammar School's current library, built in 1567, is believed to be the oldest academic building in continuous use in England.

Despite the bias towards selection, there are many comprehensive schools in Lincolnshire with excellent records. The Priory (formerly the Lincoln School of Science and Technology) is well regarded and achieves results comparable with the selective schools. William Farr School at Welton recently topped the national list for 'A level' results and was described in a recent OFSTED report as "outstanding".

Health care

The United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust is one of the largest trusts in the country, employing almost 7000 staff and with an annual budget of over £250 million.

Lincolnshire shares the problems of elsewhere in the country when it comes to finding an NHS dentist, with waiting lists of three months not uncommon.

Some of the larger hospitals in the county include:

  • Boston Pilgrim Hospital
  • Grantham and District Hospital
  • Lincoln County Hospital
  • Skegness and District General Hospital


Lincolnshire is relatively unusual in the composition of its population, being one of the least ethnically diverse counties of the United Kingdom (98.5 percent of the population describe themselves as "white"). Over recent years inward migration by people from ethnic minority communities has increased (particularly to population centres such as Lincoln) but the absolute number of non-white Lincolnshire residents remains very low.

Recently, the county has also witnessed a growing trend towards an in-migration of retired persons from other parts of the United Kingdom, particularly those from the southern counties of England attracted by the generally lower property prices and generally slower and more relaxed pace of life. Skegness was recent voted the most popular place in Britain to retire to, with Spalding and Mablethorpe also recommended, by a recent study. The relatively high proportion of elderly and retired people is reflected in many of the services, activities, and events.

Those born in Lincolnshire are sometimes given the slighly comic nickname of Yellowbellies (often spelt "Yeller Bellies", to reflect the pronunciation of the phrase by the typical Lincolnshire farmer). The term is thought to refer to the flat and open landscape in the south - if a farmer wanted to hunt he would have to lie on his belly to avoid being spotted by his prey.


Lincolnshire is a rural area where the pace of life is generally slower than much of the United Kingdom. Sunday is still largely a day of rest, with generally only shops in Lincoln, larger market towns, and resorts and industrial towns of the North Sea coast remaining open. Some towns and villages in the county still observe half-day closing on Thursdays. Lincolnshire has a large cehlidh dancing fan base and it is not unusual for the many village and town halls to hold dances. Fishing (because of the extensive river and dyke system in the fens) is very popular.


The accent and dialect words of Lincolnshire are poorly known beyond the county, especially compared to more familiar accents, e.g. Scouse or Cockney. The effects of modern media, education, and in-migration to the county have substantially diluted the traditional accent, and many dialect words have been lost over recent years. However, the accent certainly exists, and a native 'Yeller Belly' will still easily pick out a Lincolnshire speaker, possibly even being able distinguish where in the county the speaker is from. The northern residents of Lindsey tending towards the Yorkshire dialect, with the accent of the south-east of the county (Holland and the Fens) being more similar to that of East Anglia.

In common with most other Northern and Midlands dialects in England, "flat" a is preferred, and also in words like water, pronounced watter (though such a pronunciation is rarely heard in 2005).

Lincolnshire has its own dialect 'champion', a farmer from the village of Minting called Farmer Wink (real name Robert Carlton), who has produced videos about rural life, narrated in his broad Lincolnshire accent, and who has a regular slot on BBC Radio Lincolnshire.


Lincolnshire has a number of interesting local dishes:

  • stuffed chine - this is roasted and sliced belly of pork, stuffed with a strong sage, or parsley stuffing (other ingredients are normally kept secret). Served cold, it's considered by many in the county to be an acquired taste
  • haslet - a type of pork loaf, also flavoured with sage
  • Lincolnshire pork sausages - most butchers in Lincolnshire have their own secret recipe for these and a competition is held each year to judge the best sausages in the county
  • Batemans ales - a beer brewed in Wainfleet and served in many pubs in the county and further afield


Every year the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society stages the Lincolnshire Agricultural Show on the last whole week of June at its showground at Grange de Lings. First held in 1869, it is one of the largest agricultural shows in the country, and is attended by around 100,000 people over its two day opening.

Since World War II, RAF Waddington has been home to the Waddington International Air Show, which usually takes place on the last weekend in June. The two day event attracts around 100,000 people each year.


The unofficial anthem of the county is the traditional folksong, 'The Lincolnshire Poacher', which dates from around 1776. A version of the song was the theme to BBC Radio Lincolnshire for many years.

In August 2005, BBC Radio Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire Life magazine launched a vote for an unofficial flag to represent the county. Six competing designs were voted upon by locals. The winning submission was unveiled in October 2005 see here.

Places of Interest

  • Alford Manor House
  • Alford Windmill
  • Alkborough Turf Maze
  • Ayscoughfee Hall
  • Belmont Transmitter (tallest construction in the European Union)
  • Belton House
  • Bolingbroke Castle
  • Boston Stump
  • Branston Hall
  • Cogglesford Watermill
  • Crowland Abbey
  • Doddington Hall
  • Dunston Pillar
  • East Lighthouse, Sutton Bridge
  • Gainsthorpe
  • Grimsthorpe Castle
  • Harlaxton Manor
  • Heckington Windmill
  • Lincoln Castle
  • Lincoln Cathedral
  • Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre
  • Natureland Seal Sanctuary
  • Normanby Hall
    Gibraltar Point
  • River Ancholme
  • Tattershall Castle
  • The Collection
  • The Wash




This article is about the English administrative county. For the Illinois village, see Lincolnshire, Illinois; for the Kentucky city, see Lincolnshire, Kentucky.

The above article in gray is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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