Monument record MLI80766 - The Settlement of Louth


The settlement of Louth has its origins in the Saxon period, and survives to the present day.

Type and Period (1)

  • (Early Medieval/Dark Age to Modern - 850 AD to 2050 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

[This record holds only general information on the development of Louth. For further information on the archaeology in Louth, please see PRN 44506 for medieval information and PRN 43134 for post-medieval information.] The settlement of Louth takes its name from the River Lud, the development of the -d to -th being due to Scandinavian influence. The name of Louth is first documented in c.1100 but obviously dates from much earlier. {1} Louth is recorded in the Domesday survey, and was at that time known as Ludes. It was a large, prosperous settlement with a market and 13 mills. It is also recorded in the Lindsey Survey. {2} By the time of the Domesday Survey in 1086, Louth was a prosperous trading community. Wine and wool were the chief trading commodities. The craftsmen of the town organised themselves into religious Guilds. There were seven known in Louth, two of which became very wealthy and influential and held much land in the town. Even though the street pattern in Louth has altered little since the Middle Ages, and documentary sources provide background to our understanding of the town, the full extent of the settlement is unknown. The extent in about 1500 appears to be bounded by Broadbank/St Mary's Lane to the north, Breakneck Lane/Gospelgate/Kidgate to the south, and Church Street to the east. {3} The 1377 poll tax returns record a population of 680. {4} In the early 18th century 400 families are recorded in Louth, including four Roman Catholic, one Quaker and one Anabaptist family. {5} In 1801 the population of Louth was 4258, peaking in 1881 at 10827 but it had fallen slightly by 1901 to 9619. {6} Outbreaks of plague are recorded in the register of St James parish church. The earliest in 1515, 1538 and a smaller outbreak in 1543 isolated in Cistern Gate. Plague struck again in 1587 and killed 516 people. In 1631 between July and August, 500 died and it was said that the town was almost abandoned and that the shops and markets were deserted. {7} It has been suggested that the increasing importance of Louth in the late medieval period appears to have contributed to the decline of Caistor. There are three recorded fairs in Louth and one market, the market is important as it is mentioned in the Domesday book. Two of the markets lasted for eight days and the other for one day. {8} A landmark in Louth's modern development was the opening of the canal in 1770. This led to the building of new roads and an expansion of the town eastwards into the area known as Riverhead. An inland port was established here, with warehousing and other related trades developing around the canal basin. Louth had its greatest period of expansion between about 1820 and 1850 with the access to and from the east coast ports via the canal being an important factor in its growing prosperity. Louth's development as an industrial town of importance continued into the 1870s. {9}{10}{11}

Sources/Archives (11)

  •  Bibliographic Reference: Kenneth Cameron. 1998. A Dictionary of Lincolnshire Place-Names. p.82.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: C.W. Foster and T. Longley. 1924. Lincolnshire Domesday and Lindsey Survey. 7/56, 69/4; L18/11.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: Naomi Field. 1978. Louth: The Hidden Town. -.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: Graham Platts. 1985. Land and People in Medieval Lincolnshire. p.306.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: R.E.G. Cole. 1913. Speculum Dioeceseos Lincolniensis sub Episcopis Gul: Wake et Edm: Gibson A.D.1705-1723. Part 1: Archdeaconries of Lincoln and Stow. p.84.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: William Page (ed). 1906. The Victoria County History: Lincolnshire - Volume 2. p.372.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: Burton, Humphrey W.. The Story of Louth Parish Church (St James). pp.20-21.
  •  Website: Letters, Samantha (Dr). 2003. Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs in England and Wales to 1516: Counties and Wales. -.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: William White. 1856. History, Gazetteer and Directory of Lincolnshire - Second Edition. pp.242, 244.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: Neil R. Wright. 1982. Lincolnshire Towns and Industry 1700-1914. p.61.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: Ian Beckwith. 1976. The Louth Riverhead. -.



Grid reference Centred TF 333 876 (1965m by 986m)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Mar 21 2021 8:35PM


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