Monument record MLI23603 - Settlement of Spalding


The settlement of Spalding has its origins in the Anglo-Saxon period and survives until the present day.

Type and Period (1)

  • (Early Medieval/Dark Age to Modern - 650 AD to 2050 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

[This record holds only general information on the development of Spalding. For further information on the archaeology in Spalding, please see (PRN 23602), for medieval information, and (PRN 23604), for post-medieval information.] The name Spalding originates from Old English and means a narrow opening or slit (referring to a topographical feature). {1} Spalding, in the Wappentake of Elloe, is recorded in Domesday as a large prosperous settlement; in 1089 approximately 116 families lived there. Domesday also records a market, saltpans, a wood of alders and ten fisheries, one of which yielded 1500 eels. Four and half bovates of land in Ludford are also recorded in the Lindsey Survey as belonging to the monks of Spalding. {2} Historical sources suggest that the settlement began as a Royal Estate centre, before Domesday, perhaps in the 7th or 8th century. Spalding is referred to in a Tribal Hideage of the 7th century where a tribe called 'Spaldas' are recorded. The first written account was in a charter to the monks of Crowland by King Ethelbeard in AD 716. By the early 14th century Spalding had grown to become one of the wealthiest settlements in the Lincolnshire Fens, serving as an entrepot for such inland towns such as Stamford, Peterborough, and Bourne. {3} The importance of Spalding as a port declined as Bicker Haven gradually silted up during the 15th and 16th century. Spalding was still an important centre during the 17th and 18th century, however, due to its location at the lowest bridging point of the Welland. The river was still navigable to Stamford, and Spalding became a centre for river traffic between the fens of south Lincolnshire, and the uplands to the west. The river Westlode was also an important feature and was used to import corn from surrounding villages. This importance meant that the Welland also had to be maintained and in 1743 the river was canalised and deepened by John Grundy. The new found wealth is also apparent in some of the large houses built at this time. {4}{5} Spalding's population in 1801 was 3296, and this was to consistently rise. Fifty years later the number had more than doubled and stood at 8829. This rapid increase slowed but continued, and in 1901 the population was recorded as 9381. In 1851 Spalding is recorded as being the most flourishing market town in Elloe, and the chief seat of law. A market was held every Tuesday and it was said to be the largest market in the county for cattle, sheep and corn. There were also five annual fairs, in April, June, August, September and December and two statutes for hiring of servants held on Old May Day and Martinmass. In 1695 the merchants and traders of Spading petitioned to have the town made a free port but in 1851 it was still a member of the port of Boston. {6}{7}

Sources/Archives (7)

  •  Bibliographic Reference: Kenneth Cameron. 1998. A Dictionary of Lincolnshire Place-Names. p.114.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: C.W. Foster and T. Longley. 1924. Lincolnshire Domesday and Lindsey Survey. 11/2; 14/96-7; L 57/54.
  •  Article in Serial: SYMONDS, J.. 1988. FENLAND RESEARCH. no.5, pp.31-8.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: Nikolaus Pevsner and John Harris, with Nicholas Antram. 1989. Buildings of England: Lincolnshire (Second Edition). pp.674-9.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: William Page (ed). 1906. The Victoria County History: Lincolnshire - Volume 2. p.358.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: William White. 1856. History, Gazetteer and Directory of Lincolnshire - Second Edition. pp.839-58.



Grid reference Centred TF 2487 2244 (756m by 1474m) Estimated from sources

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Mar 21 2021 8:35PM


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