Lincolnshire, England


Lincolnshire or Lincoln, a maritime county on the E of England. It is bounded on the N and NE by the Humber, which separates it from Yorkshire, on the E by the German Ocean, on the SE for about 8 miles by Norfolk, on the S by Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, on the SW by Rutland, on the W by Leicestershire and Notts, and on the NW by Yorkshire. Its outline in a general view is oblong, with a great curve along the NE, an indentation by the Wash on the SE, and a considerable curve on the SW. Its length, from N to S, is 73 miles; its greatest breadth is 48 miles; its average breadth is about 37 miles; its circuit is about 260 miles; its area, according to the latest returns furnished by the Ordnance Survey Department, is 1,693,547 statute acres; and its population (1801) 208,625, (1821) 283,058, (1841) 362,602, (1861) 412,246, (1881) 469,919, (1891) 472,878. About two-fifths of the surface are fens, and the rest is a diversity of swell and knoll and hill, with intersecting dale and vale. The fens occupy the Isle of Axholme in the NW, the Vale of Ancholme in the N, a broad belt outward to the coast in the NE, and most of the country S and SE of Lincoln city; they are supposed to have, at a comparatively recent geological period, been covered by the sea; they are all level, and they were, within the human epoch and till reclaimed by art, all in a state of marsh. The Isle of Axholme began to be reclaimed in the time of Edward I.; the fen of Deeping, in the S, appears to have been partly improved even before the Roman Conquest; vast tracts were reclaimed, with great enterprise and great rapidity, immediately after the era of modern general georgical improvement; only a few pendicles now remain in a wild condition, and from the combined results of embanking, draining, and skilful management, the quondam marshy wastes now exhibit expanses of fertility inferior to no other tracts in England. The drainage ducts consist of ditches ramifying into what are called dykes, and the latter are large fosses like canals, are very numerous, many of them very long, and some of them navigable by barges. The other parts of the county are chiefly wolds, but include what formerly were called heaths, and they at one time were very generally bleak and waste, but like the fens, though in a different way, have been so reclaimed as to exhibit now an aspect of luxuriance. The aggregate appearance of the county, notwithstanding the prevalence of level grounds, is very pleasing. The level tracts themselves, indeed, are pleasing chiefly from the ornature of culture; but the other tracts have such inequality of surface, or such diversity of hill and dale, interspersed with wood and lawn, as constitutes the beautiful or even the picturesque in natural scenery; and very numerous spots throughout these tracts, or sometimes long reaches of hill-shoulder or of tableau, command very extensive and charming views. The coast-line, including that of the Humber, is about 110 miles in length, and excepting at Cleeness, near Grimsby, where there are high bold cliffs, it is all low and flat. The foreshore, or space between high and low water, is sometimes not less than 2 miles; and it includes many banks, called chain-huts, which consist of roots, trunks, and branches of trees, intermixed with frondage of aquatic plants, and are alternately covered and left bare by the tide. The sea, in some parts of the coast, has made encroachments on the land, and in other parts has retired. Vast tracts, even from the time of the Roman occupation, have been redeemed from the sea by embankments.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5
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Archives and Libraries

Lincolnshire Archives
St. Rumbold Street
Search Room Tel: (01522) 525158
Other Services Tel: (01522) 526204
Fax: (01522) 530047

Church Records

The complete set of Phillimore Lincolnshire Parish Registers - Marriages series is available online.

Findmypast, in conjunction with the Lincolnshire Archives, have made the Lincolnshire Parish Registers, 1538-1911 available to browse online.

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

List of Registration Districts in Lincolnshire from 1837 to 1974.

Directories & Gazetteers

The Historical Directories web site have a number of directories relating to Lincolnshire online, including:
Kelly's, Pigot, Slater, etc.


Old map of Lincolnshire circa 1895 (Gazetteer of England and Wales)

Old map of Lincolnshire circa 1848 (Samuel Lewis)

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Lincolnshire papers online:

Parishes and places

The towns and parishes have now been moved to a separate page.


The population of Lincolnshire in 1801 was 208,625; in 1811, 237,634; in 1821, 283,058; in 1831, 317,465; in 1841, 362,682; in 1851, 407,222; in 1861, 412,246; in 1871, 436,599; in 1881, 469,919; in 1891, 473,912; and in 1901, 500,022; males, 245,773; females, 254,249. The entire population in 1911 was 563,960, viz,:- males, 281,279; females, 282,681.