Holbeach

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Holbeach is a fenland market town with 6,457 residents in the South Holland district of southern Lincolnshire, England. The town lies 8 miles (13 km) from Spalding; 17 miles (27 km) from Boston; 20 miles (32 km) from King’s Lynn; 23 miles (37 km) from Peterborough; and 43 miles (69 km) by road from the county town of Lincoln. It is on the junction of the A151 and A17. The main High Street is the B1515.

The Prime Meridian of the world passes through the west of Holbeach.

A number of Roman and Romano-British pottery finds have been made in and about the town.

The town’s market charter was awarded in 1252 to Thomas de Moulton, a local baron. All Saints’ Church was built in the 14th century and incorporated parts of de Moulton’s ruined castle. The associated All Saints’ Hospital, for a warden and fifteen poor persons, was founded by Sir John of Kirton, in 1351. It had ceased to exist before the suppression of chantries and hospitals. The antiquarian William Stukeley reported that his father removed the ruins from the site now occupied by the Chequers Inn.

Until the beginning of the 19th century, the sea came to within 2 miles (3.2 km) of the town and there were severe floods recorded in the 13th and 16th centuries. The land drainage programmes of the 18th and 19th centuries moved the coastline of the Wash to 9 miles (14 km) away, leaving Holbeach surrounded by more than 23,000 acres (93 km2) of reclaimed fertile agricultural land.

The Spalding and Norwich Railway, (later incorporated in the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway), opened Holbeach railway station in 1862. Like the rest of the M&GN route it closed to passengers in 1959 (before the Beeching Axe) and the line closed entirely in 1965.

The 19th century also saw the building of several small churches, including a Weslyan and a Baptist chapel.

The World War Two defences constructed at nearby Lawyers Creek comprise a number of pillboxes including the rare Ruck machine gun post.

The name “Holbeach” also applies to the entire parish of Holbeach. This is one of the largest parishes by area in England and extends from Cambridgeshire to the Wash, measuring 16 miles (26 km) north to south and about 3 to 4 miles (6.4 km) east to west. The total population of this area is almost 24,000 with around 5,000 in Holbeach town.

Along with the town of Holbeach proper, the name is found in several villages in the Lincolnshire Fens:

  • Holbeach Bank
  • Holbeach Clough
  • Holbeach Drove
  • Holbeach Fen
  • Holbeach Hurn
  • Holbeach St Johns
  • Holbeach St Marks
  • Holbeach St Matthew

This repetition of a name for a collection of close-lying villages is common in the Fens (cf. Gedney, Tydd, Walpole etc.)

Holbeach itself has the most inhabitants and services compared to the villages surrounding it which also incorporate its name.

Local pubs are the Black Bull on Fleet Street, the Chequers Hotel on High Street, the Horse & Groom on High Street, the Mansion House on High Street, the Crown Hotel on West Street and the String of Horses on Boston Road South (currently up for sale). However recently the Station Inn, the Red Lion and the exchange have closed.

The Royal Air Force maintains a bombing range, known officially as RAF Holbeach, on salt marshland at the coast of Holbeach parish, near the village of Gedney Drove End.The RAF station is situated approximately 11 miles (18 km) north west of Holbeach town centre.

Much of the economy has been based on food processing and bulb growing. The United Kingdom’s largest bulb supplier (Taylor’s Bulbs) is situated to the north of the town and flour milling continues to this day at Barrington Mill (owned by Smith’s Flour Mills).

The drainage of land around Holbeach is now the responsibility of the South Holland Internal Drainage Board, Part of the Water Management Alliance, formerly known as the King’s Lynn Consortium of Internal Drainage Boards.

Note: this page is partly based on a Wikipedia page. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Where possible, text is being updated to original, fully referenced research. ‘Our photos’ means we took the photographs. The Street View and street map visuals are courtesy of Google.

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