before the Romans was occupied by the Corieltauvi a British tribe. There have been several small pre-Roman barrows
discovered near to Boston and Frampton.
The Romans established permanent government in Lincolnshire soon
after the invasion of AD 43, but the tyrannical rule of the Roman sub-prætor Ostorius Scapula so inflamed the
Corieltauvi and their neighbours in Yorkshire, the Brigantes, that they conducted a simmering low key rebellion
lasting well into AD 70.
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
Caesariensis, which comprised Lincolnshire and parts of the Midlands was created.
Once established, the Romans set about improving Lincolnshire.
They created the Car Dyke, a series of semi-natural and artificial boundary ditches which run from the River
Welland at Market Deeping for 64 km to the River Witham at Washingborough, constructed hard standings and walkways
across the fens, and also built inland ports such as the Brayford Pool at Lincoln.
The main Roman forts in Lincolnshire were:
Brant Broughton (Briga)
Kirton in Lindsey (Inmedio)
Lincoln (Lindum Colonia)
Winteringham (Ad Abum)
The Romans built three main roads through Lincolnshire:
Ermine Street (London to York via Stamford, Lincoln and
Fosse Way (Lincoln to Exeter)
Tillbridge Lane (Lincoln to York via Marton and Littleborough)
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
When the Romans departed in the fifth century, all these works
gradually fell into ruin and disrepair.
Incoming groups of Angles settled heavily in the Midland and
East Midland areas of what is now England. The Anglian Kingdom of Lindsey was established between the
Witham and the Humber, in the northern part of the what is now Lincolnshire, by the 6th century and seems to have
maintained its independence until at least the end of the 7th century, but was absorbed into Mercia - a rising
power - in the 8th century.
In 865 a formidable Danish raiding army, led by Ivar (spelled
Hinguar or Igwar in English sources), one of the sons of Ragnar Lothbrok, landed in East Anglia and established
winter quarters there. Within a few years this force succeeded in conquering Mercia and all the other Anglo-Saxon
kingdoms except Wessex.
Scandinavian settlers followed the raiders into the swathe of
England under Danish control, which became the Danelaw. They have left a legacy of Scandinavian elements in many
Lincolnshire place-names. Lincoln became a Danish borough. In the 10th century it became the head of the new shire
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. Numerous others were built by Norman magnates, mainly in the years immediately following the Conquest
and around 1140, during the period of civil war when Stephen and Matilda were disputing the right to
rule. The First Battle of Lincoln, in 1141, was part of this.
The Witham valley between Boston and Lincoln had the highest
concentration of Abbeys and monastic foundations in the country. The principle foundations were Barlings
Abbey, Bardney Abbey, Catley Abbey, Nocton Abbey, Stainfield Abbey, Stixwould Abbey, Tupholme Abbey, Kirkstead
Abbey, Kyme Abbey . The rest of the county was not left out, there were houses at Bourne Abbey, Sempringhm
Abbey and many other places. But the clustering along the Witham was extraordinary.
Fewer Castles were built, although some of the manors were
fortified in early years. Given the size of the county it is perhaps just as surprising that there are so few
castles, as that there are so many Abbeys up the Witham. Boston, for example, appears to have had seven friaries,
and to be defended only by the town walls. There appears to have been no garrison.
Fairs at Stamford, Grantham, and Stow Fair were established, and
lasted throughout the period. Corby Glen sheep fair has been held more or less unchanged every year since
Sheep farming and the wool trade brought untold wealth to the
area. Churches of breathtaking beauty were built.
In this period the Queen's Champion was appointed, and the post is
still held by his successor, and many great estates and schools were founded. The Middle Ages were as rich and
colourful in Lincolnshire as anywhere else. Events like the accusations against the Jews or the Lincolnshire
rebellion show that life was not all a sybaritic idyll.
An important medieval book, the Luttrell Psalter forms the basis
for nearly every schoolbook illustration of the period. It lay unregarded in the church at Irnham until the early
20th century when it was saved for the nation: a public subscription in a popular newspaper raised enough to buy it
before it was sold overseas.
Grantham's St Wulfram's church has a fine example of a Chained
library still extant within the church.
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.