Alford (St. Wilfred)

ALFORD (St. Wilfred), a market-town and parish, in the union of Spilsby, Wold division of the hundred of Calceworth, parts of Lindsey, county of Lincoln, 34 miles (E.) from Lincoln, and 137 (N. by E.) from London; containing 1945 inhabitants. This place, which derives its name from an old ford over a stream that twice runs through it, is a small, though ancient, town; and is described by Leland as consisting of one street of mean buildings, covered with thatch. Since that writer's time, however, it has been considerably improved, particularly during the last 20 years: it is pleasantly situated, and is one of the polling-stations for the parts of Lindsey. The market is held on Tuesday, and fairs occur on Whit-Tuesday and the 8th of November: a court leet takes place annually, and petty-sessions once in every three weeks. The parish comprises about 1000 acres of land. The living is a discharged vicarage, with the living of Rigsby annexed, valued in the king's books at £10, and in the patronage of the Bishop of Lincoln, the appropriator, with a net income of £122: the church is a large structure of stone, repaired with brick, and is embellished by a tower commanding very extensive views of the adjacent districts; it has many ancient monuments. There are places of worship for Primitive Methodists, Baptists, Independents, and Wesleyans.

The free grammar school was founded and endowed by Francis Spanning, in 1565; and its revenue has been considerably augmented by subsequent benefactions of land at Farlesthorpe, Thoresthorpe, Woodthorpe, Strubby, and Cumberworth, containing in the whole 260 acres, and yielding an annual rent of £268. 18.; together with the living of Saleby, the patronage being vested in the governors. By a charter obtained in 1576, it was made a royal foundation, to be called "The Free Grammar School of Queen Elizabeth," and the management vested in eleven governors, who are a body corporate, and have a common seal. It has two quinquennial fellowships at Magdalene College, Cambridge; and there is a scholarship of £6. 8. 6. per annum at Jesus' College, Cambridge, for students from Alford, Caistor, or Louth schools. The premises consist of a substantial brick house for the master, with two commodious rooms adjoining, and a large garden in the town. Another school, in which 130 children of both sexes are instructed, was founded by John Spendluffe, who endowed it with an estate now producing £70 per annum. Almshouses for six poor people were erected and endowed by Sir Robert Christopher, Knt., in 1668; the endowment was subsequently augmented by Lord Harborough, in 1716. A salt spring, efficacious in scurvy, jaundice, &c., was discovered in 1670. Alford confers the title of Viscount on the family of Brownlow.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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