. Lincolnshire spreads from the flat shores of the North Sea westward to the Midlands and north to Yorkshire , it's undulating and in places flat, especially where it joins with the Fens and the Wash in the South. But it actually has a high central chalk ridge, the Lincolnshire Edge upon which Lincoln itself perches.
. The middle is ultimate farm country. Under big skies a vast open countryside broods, with vast fields and small villages. The whole county remains rural, even feudal, for if any county can claim the title, Lincolnshire is Olde England . (Although these flat fields made ideal airfields in 1940!)
. it is an isolated county, remaining bypassed by new connections, and by most main roads; its rail lines lead to nowhere else but points in the county, it has little heavy industry and that is up in the north in such towns as Scunthorpe and the fishing port of Grimsby towards the coast from Skegness to the Humber , all sand, mud and marsh. Otherwise wool and fine cloth have been its making. The local stone, a warm golden limestone, is used extensively in old Lincoln and some Lindsey and Kesteven villages.
. A dividing line runs from the Nottinghamshire border through Lincoln and angling southeast to the western coast of the Wash. it demarcates Kesteven and Holland to the south and the larger slab of Lindsey in the north. Here are the Wolds , while at the edge the sea regularly erodes the chalk; the resulting plateau of marshy clay now provides excellent beef grazing. Holland is drained fen and the land produces good cereal and sugar beet crops. Flowers too, for the bulb fields are famous. Kesteven has hills and woods with scattered villages.
. The city of Lincoln hugs the western border and is nowhere near the centre of its county (that is probably occupied by the Wolds village of Baumber , a pleasing place on the banks of the River Bain). From its point on its ridge of the Wolds on a clear day the towers of Lincoln can be seen. You will need to make a genuine effort to visit this straggling capital city.
. Like Yorkshire's Ridings the County of Lincolnshire has three ancient Divisions known as Holland , Kesteven and Lindsey.
Origin of name: Its early Briton name was Undum, meaning a lake (ilyn) - a widening of the River Witham - and a hillfort (dun), which would have stood above the river, which often flooded. The Romans named the place Undum colonies: a colony or settlement for retired soldiers. Undum colonia was condensed to make Lincoln .
Name first recorded: 1016 as Lincolnescire.
County Motto : Perseverance vindt ("Perseverance succeeds").
LINCOLN A charming city running the full pageant of English history.
BOSTON A vast church with a tower reminiscent of others in the Low Countries , the Boston Stump can be seen for miles. There are good medieval buildings and a 18th- century guildhall. though the town is a shadow of the busy port it once was long ago. BOURNE With a considerable claim on history, Bourne sits beside the Carr Dyke, a great Roman drainage scheme, and the bulb-growing centre.
CLEETHORPES Once a sleepy fishing village, then a million visitors a year were attracted to its three miles of sand, beautiful boating lake, Marineland and Winter Gardens.
GAINSBOROUGH King Alfred married Ealswith and Canute's father, Sweyn, died at Thornock Park . The Old Hall is a fine late medieval country house.
GRANTHAM St Wulfram's Church's 281-foot spire is a landmark for many miles around this coaching inn town. Margaret Thatcher was born here.
GRIMSBY Once the greatest fishing port in England.
HOLBEACH Near the Wash , this is a place to stop and explore the famous local Fenland churches.
. Barton-on-Humber . Brigg . Broughton . Crowie . Epworth . Humberton . immingham . Mablethorpe . North Hykeham . Sleaford
Trent , Welland , Ancholrne, Witham, Brant,
Normanby-le-Wold at 584 feet.
. Regular race meetings at Lincoln , where racing dates back nearly 400 years, and cricket on the Lindum.
. Mid-May: Festivals in the Fenland bulb fields in spring draw thousands of viewers. Spalding Flower Parade and Springsfield County Fair make up Britain 's biggest and best flower festival with a stupendous flower parade.
. June: Lincolnshire Show in Scampton.
. September: Burghley Park horse trials.
. Margaret Thatcher, the longest-serving Prime Minister of the 20th century, was born at Grantham.
. John Wesley, founder of Methodism, was born at Epworth.
. The poet Alfred Lord Tennyson came from Somersby.
. Sir Isaac Newton formed the first local scientific society at Spalding and was born in Woolsthorpe.
. Daniel Lambert the heaviest man in the country died at Stamford weighing 739 pounds!
Apart from the City of Leicester a two-tier local government system provides the rest of the County of Leicestershire with its public services through the Leicestershire County Council and seven District Councils of Blaby, Charnwood, Harborough, Hinckley & Bosworth, Melton, North-West Leicestershire and Oadby & Wigston. The City of Leicester is controlled by a single unitary council over which Leicestershire County Council has no power.
I HAVE AN impression of Lincoln that I shall never forget: I was driving up from Sleaford and all I could take in was the vast flatness when suddenly there was this pimple on the horizon and on top of the pimple was
Lincoln . It was a stunning prospect from a distance. Burghley county may be flat but it is not dull, and it remains one of
the least-known parts of Britain .
Aside from the main towns of Lincoln , Boston , Grimsby , Grantham, Louth, Stamford and Scunthorpe , this is a county of very small places. Most Lincolnshire settlements are tiny, and neatly grouped around a church and a manor house. The county is dominated by the county town, the noble city of Lincoln itself, standing on and around its surprisingly high and commanding hill. This is crowned with one of the country's finest and least- known cathedrals. Lincoln is an unselfconscious and antique place that sharp-eyed diarist John Evelyn called a 'confused town, long, uneven, steep and rugged', and so it remains. Built on the income from wool and cloth ( Lincoln Green was a famous colour), the cathedral with its three towers is to be seen from all over the city. The third largest in the country, it is constructed of local limestone and Purbeck marble. It took more than 80 years to build and apart from some Norman work is mostly in a satisfyingly grand Early English style. It is a truly magnificent building, its famous arcaded west front and exterior balanced and harmonious. Old Lincoln clustered on its hill has many fine buildings and the visitor can spend hours exploring the houses ranked around the Minster Yard, or Close. There are ancient archways too, one a Roman gateway which is still used, the Newport Arch, and the medieval Stonebow, while High Bridge is set on a Norman foundation arch over the river and still carries half-timbered houses along one side; a once common practice, this is now a rare survival.
South of Lincoln is Cranwell with its RAF college, and Grantham, which has pleasing old inns from its days as a coaching stop on the Great North Road . On its Castlegate a 14th-century house and garden open on the river and Sedgwick Meadows, both belonging to the National Trust. Near here, set in a fine park, is a spectacular brick Restoration house, Belton, with plasterwork ceilings and wood carving within. Ancaster provided much of Lincoln 's stone. On the very southern edge of the county keeping Peterborough at bay is Market Deeping, which along with the other Deepings gets its name from being in the flood plain of the Welland . Grey and gold stone Stamford , with its coaching inn, the George, is one of the county's loveliest towns. It is a remarkable mixture of pleasing architecture from bow-windowed shops to Queen Anne mansions. It is often used for TV films, notably BBC's Middlemarch in 1995.
To the east in flat fen lands are Dutch influenced places, often with typical brick gabled houses. Tattersall Castle is a landmark in two senses - it can be seen for miles and is an early example of a brick-built fortified house. Spalding, in Lincolnshire 's ancient division called Holland , has the River Welland like a Dutch tree-lined canal running through it, and it also has the spring beauty of a coat of many colours as millions of bulbs blossom. The other product is the more prosaic sugar beet. Local clay means extensive use of brick, as at Tattersall where there is a moated castle, church, school and almshouses. Head north and you come to Donington, a farming centre with a cobbled market and houses with pantiled roofs. The church is a landmark, but it has to give preference to the one at Boston . The Wolds are chalk hills cut with valleys and wooded with beeches. Notable Wold villages are Old Bolingbroke, Tealby and Wold Newton . Nearby Lincoln 's seaside coast is dotted with old-fashioned seaside resorts from Cleethorpes and Mablethorpe to Skegness. Grimsby and nearby Immingham are busy ports. The former is famous for its fish, some of which is smoked here. One of the House founded in 1575 by Sir William Cecil. biggest fish merchants in Grimsby was Russell Grant, a great guy (with a great name) whom I had the pleasure of meeting on a BBC programme.
Lincolnshire sausages are also famous, and so is the local pork and beef. Many of its potatoes go to crisp factories.
Lincoln is very ancient, going back to pre-Roman times when it was a Celtic settlement. Later, on the top of the same hill, the Romans built their city and called it Lindum Colonia. Since its founding, the city has seen many historic events including numerous visits from medieval monarchs. Appropriately, the town retains many buildings from that epoch. It was also a Saxon city in the Kingdom of Mercia and had a line of its own kings from Anglo-Saxon times.. On a street climbing the hill is The Jew's House (home of Aaron the Jew, a money-lender whose loans to Henry 11 accounted for half the king's income). You will also find the Guildhall, Pottergate with its red-brick facades, a museum, an art gallery and the City Library with mementos of Tennyson. There are also large parks and an arboretum.
Viking days are recalled with place names - the ending by is Danish for a village and thorpe was a farm. You can walk along the towpath of the Fossdyke Navigation Canal , which was first excavated by the Romans. There is a Roman camp at Ancaster. Bits of the Roman wall exist around Lincoln and in the Eastgate Hotel's garden the foundation of the east gate is exposed. At Kesteven's chief town, Sleaford, there is an Iron Age village.
The Pilgrim Fathers made their first departure to Holland in 1609 from Humber Bank. In Boston they are remembered in Fydell House; sailing from Southampton in 1630 they gave the great New England city its name. The museum in Lincoln 's Broadgate is part of the Greyfriars monastery, and contains many prehistoric and Roman antiquities.