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Coordinates: 52°39′20″N 0°29′01″W / 52.6556°N 0.4837°W / 52.6556; -0.4837

Stamford (Lincs).jpg
Stamford south bound from Town Bridge towards St Martin's church.
Stamford is located in Lincolnshire

 Stamford shown within Lincolnshire
Population 19,525 
OS grid reference TF025075
District South Kesteven
Shire county Lincolnshire
Region East Midlands
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town STAMFORD
Postcode district PE9
Dialling code 01780
Police Lincolnshire
Fire Lincolnshire
Ambulance East Midlands
EU Parliament East Midlands
UK Parliament Grantham and Stamford
List of places: UK • England • Lincolnshire

Stamford is an ancient town located approximately 100 miles to the north of London, just off the A1, which was the old Great North Road leading to York and Edinburgh.



It is a town and civil parish within the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, England. It is situated on the River Welland, in a south-westerly protrusion of Lincolnshire, between Rutland to the north and west, and Peterborough to the south. It borders Northamptonshire to the south-west at the only point in England where four ceremonial counties meet. Stamford was declared a conservation area in 1967 and has over 600 listed buildings, more than half of the total for the County of Lincolnshire. In April 1991, the boundary between Lincolnshire and Rutland (then Leicestershire) in the Stamford area was re-arranged[1] and now mostly follows the A1 to the railway line. Wothorpe is in the borough of Peterborough. Barnack Road is the Lincolnshire/Peterborough boundary where it borders St. Martin's Without.



The river downstream of the town bridge, and some of the meadows fall within the drainage area of the Welland and Deepings Internal Drainage Board.[2]


There is a small Museum in Broad Street.


In June 1968, a specimen of the Cetiosaurus oxoniensis sauropod dinosaur was found by Bill Boddington in the Williamson Cliffe quarry, close to Great Casterton. It was calculated to be around 170 million years old, from the Aalenian or Bajocian part of the Jurassic era.[3] It is one of the most complete dinosaur skeletons found in the UK, being fifteen metres long, and is now in the New Walk Museum in Leicester, being on display since 1975. It is known as the Rutland Dinosaur. The Jurassic Way runs from Banbury to Stamford. The Hereward Way runs through the town from Rutland to the Peddars Way in Norfolk, along the former Ermine Street and then the River Nene. The Macmillan Way heads through the town, finishing at Boston and there is also the Torpel Way from the town to Peterborough, which follows the railway line, entering Peterborough at Bretton.


The town originally grew as a Danish settlement at the lowest point that the Welland could be crossed by ford or bridge. Stamford was the only one of the five Danelaw boroughs not to become a county town. Initially a pottery centre, producing Stamford Ware, by the Middle Ages it had become famous for its production of wool and woollen cloth (known as Stamford cloth). There is an example of this cloth, also called Haberget, in Stamford Museum. Stamford was a walled town but only a very small portion of the walls now remain. Stamford became an inland port on the Great North Road (also part of the Roman road Ermine Street - it passes nearby the town - where it forded the River Welland). Notable buildings in the town include the mediaeval Browne's Hospital, churches and the buildings of Stamford School, a public school founded in 1532.[citation needed]

Stamford Castle ruins
with modern housing development visible on right
by Richard Croft


A Norman castle was built about 1075 by and apparently demolished in 1484.[4] The site stood derelict until the late 20th century when it was built over in and now includes a bus station and a modern housing development.

The historian David Roffe has made a study of many aspects of the Danelaw, and his web site includes an extensive and scholarly history of Stamford Castle.[5]

A small part of the curtain wall survives at the junction of Castle Dyke and Bath Row. From the doorway within it Hustings were held until around 1971, the candidates speaking from a position above the crowd.

The bull run

For almost 700 years Stamford was host to a renowned bull-running festival on November 13 annually, until it was abandoned in 1837 after a controversial but successful campaign by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.[6] Stamford residents defended their ancient custom as a "traditional, manly, English sport; inspiring courage, agility, and presence of mind under danger." Its defenders argued that it was less cruel and dangerous than fox hunting, and one local newspaper asked "Who or what is this London Society that, usurping the place of constituted authorities, presumes to interfere with our ancient amusement?"[7]

According to local tradition, the origin of the custom dated from the time of King John when, one day, William, Earl of Warren, standing on the battlements of the castle, saw two bulls fighting in the meadow beneath. Some butchers came to part the combatants and one of the bulls ran into the town, causing a great uproar. The earl, mounting his horse, rode after the animal, and enjoyed the sport so much, that he gave the meadow in which the fight began, to the butchers of Stamford, on condition that they should provide a bull, to be run in the town every 13th of November, for ever after. The town of Stamford acquired common rights in the meadow specified, a grassy flood plain next to the Welland, which until the last century was known as Bull-meadow, and today just as The Meadows - still a popular place of summer relaxation for day trippers. In 1839, on one of the last bull runs, it was forced off the Welland bridge into the water.

The last known person to have witnessed the final bull running was a life-long Stamford resident, James Fuller Scholes, of Petoria Cottage, Foundry Road, who spoke of it in a newspaper interview before his 94th birthday on 25 August 1928, shortly before his death. He was quoted as saying: "I am the only Stamford man living who can remember the bull-running in the streets of the town. I can remember my mother showing me the bull and the horses and men and dogs who chased it. She kept the St Peter's Street - the building that was formerly the Chequers Inn at that time and she showed me the bull-running sport from a bedroom window. I was only four years old then, but I can clearly remember it all. The end of St Peter's Street (where it was joined by Rutland Terrace) was blocked by two farm wagons, and I saw the bull come to the end of the street and return again. My mother told me not to put my head out of the window - apparently because she was afraid I should drop into the street."[8]

Seventeenth century historians described how the bull was chased and tormented for the day before being driven to the Bull-meadow and slaughtered. "Its flesh [was] sold at a low rate to the people, who finished the day's amusement with a supper of bull-beef."[9]


During 1333-4, a group of students and tutors from Merton and Brasenose Colleges, dissatisfied with conditions at their university, left Oxford to eventually establish a rival collegeat Stamford. Oxford and Cambridge universities petitioned the King, and Edward III ordered the closure of the college and the return of the students to Oxford. Oxford MA students were obliged to swear the following: You shall also swear that you will not read lectures, or hear them read, at Stamford, as in a University study, or college general[citation needed]. The site, and limited remains, of the former 'Brazenose College, Stamford' where the 14th century Oxford secessionists lived and studied, forms part of the Stamford School premises[citation needed].

Historic houses

Also lying near Stamford (actually in the historic Soke of Peterborough and the parish of Barnack) is Burghley House, an Elizabethan mansion, vast and ornate, built by the First Minister of Elizabeth I, Sir William Cecil, later Lord Burghley. The house is the ancestral seat of the Marquess of Exeter. The tomb of William Cecil is in Saint Martins Church in Stamford. The parkland of the Burghley Estate adjoins the town of Stamford on two sides. Also inside the district of Peterborough is the village of Wothorpe.

Another historic country house near Stamford is Tolethorpe Hall, now host to theatre productions by the Stamford Shakespeare Company.[10]


All Saints Church with the wooden war memorial, and Red Lion Square to the right.

Stamford is known for its many churches.

  • All Saints' Church, Stamford All Saint's in 39 Red Lion Square, with its wooden war memorial
  • Christ Church, Green Lane
  • Stamford and District Community Church, Queen Eleanor Technical College, off Green Lane
  • Stamford Free Church (Baptist), Kesteven Road
  • St George's[11] in St George's Square,
  • St John the Baptist,
  • St Mary's Church, Stamford on St Mary's Street
  • St. Mary and St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church,
  • St Martin's Church, Stamford on the High Street St Martins.
  • St Michael the Greater, at the bottom of Ironmonger Street, is now a parade of shops.
  • St. Paul's Church, St. Paul's Street. Now a chapel for Stamford School
  • Strict Baptist Chapel, North Street
  • Salvation Army, East Street
  • Trinity Methodist, Barn Hill
  • United Reformed Church, Star Lane

Architectural style

The industrial revolution largely left Stamford untouched. Much of town centre was built in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in Georgian or Jacobean style. Stamford is characterized by street after street of timber-framed and stone buildings (using the local limestone that Lincoln Cathedral is built from), little shops tucked down back alleys. The main shopping area was pedestrianized in the 1980s.


The town has five state primary schools - Bluecoat, St Augustine's (RC), St George's, St Gilbert's and Malcolm Sargent.

Secondary education

The situation in Stamford is anomalous.

Stamford is remotely placed within Lincolnshire, with villages in Rutland, Leicstershire, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire within its catchment.

The county council maintain five junior schools, but only one non-selective secondary school - the Queen Eleanor Technology College[12]. The place of grammar schools has long been served by 'the assisted places scheme' that provides state funding to send children to one of the two independent schools in the town. This was politically contentious and the national scheme was formally abolished by the 1997 Labour government. Since the building of new grammar schools is illegal, the Stamford arrangements remained in place as an increasingly protracted transitional arrangement[13]. Finally, in 2008, the council decided no new places could be funded, but no alternative has yet been decided. The arrangement will finally end in 2012. The rest of South Kesteven, apart from Market Deeping, has the selective system.

Many secondary pupils travel to nearby Casterton Business and Enterprise College or further afield to other schools such as The Deepings School or Bourne Grammar School. There is one state secondary school Queen Eleanor Technology College. This was formed in the late 1980s after the dissolution of the town's two comprehensive schools - Fane and Exeter.

Stamford School and Stamford High School are long established independent schools with approximately 1,500 pupils combined. Stamford School (boys) was founded in 1532, with the High School (girls) founded in 1877. The schools have taught co-educational classes in the 6th form since 2000. Also part of the Stamford Endowed Schools is Stamford Junior School a co-educational school for children form ages two to eleven.

Further education

New College Stamford offers a wide variety of vocational and academic higher education courses including BA degrees in Art & Design awarded by the University of Lincoln.


Stamford railway station prior to being extensively refurbished by Network Rail and Central Trains.


Lying as it does on the main north-south route (Ermine Street and the A1) from London, several Parliaments were held in Stamford in the Middle Ages. The George, the Bull and Swan, the Crown and the London Inn were well-known coaching inns. The town had to manage with Britain's north-south traffic through its narrow roads until 1960, when the bypass was built to the west of the town, only a few months after the M1 opened. The old route is now the B1081. There is only one road bridge over the Welland (excluding the A1): a local bottleneck.

Until 1996, there were firm plans for the bypass to be upgraded to motorway standard; though these have been shelved. The Carpenter's Lodge roundabout south of the town has been replaced with a grade-separated junction.[14] The A16 (Uffington Road), which heads to Market Deeping, meets the north end of the A43 (Wothorpe Road) in the south of the town.

Foot bridges cross the Welland at the Meadows, some 500 yards upstream of the Town Bridge, and with the Albert Bridge a similar distance downstream.


Closure of Stamford East railway station in 1957 saw services to Essendine and Bourne handled at the town station, until the Stamford & Essendine line closed in 1959. The surviving railway station, hidden away between Wothorpe Road and the Welland, remains open and has direct services to Leicester, Birmingham and Stansted Airport (via Cambridge) on the Birmingham to Peterborough Line. It passes next to the Girls' School.


The town has a fine bus station on part of the old Castle site in St Peter's Hill. The main bus routes are two routes to Peterborough, via Helpston or via Wansford, and to Oakham, Grantham, Uppingham and Bourne. There are also less frequent services to Peterborough by other routes. Delaine services terminate at their old depot in North Street. Other operators active include Kimes, Blands and Peterborough Council.

On Sundays, the only service is to Peterborough via Wansford. There is also a National Express coach service between London and Nottingham each day including Sundays.


Although commercial shipping traffic brought cargoes to warehouses in Wharf Road until the 1850s, this traffic is no longer possible because of the shallowness of the river above Crowland. There is a lock at the Sluice in Deeping St. James but it is not in use. The river was not conventionally navigable upstream of the Town Bridge.

Local economy

River Welland banks and Town Bridge

The Stamford Mercury claims to have been published since 1695 and to be "Britain's oldest newspaper".[15] The Newcastle Journal and London Gazette also claim this honour.

Local radio provision is shared between Peterborough's Heart FM (102.7) and the smaller Rutland Radio (the 97.4 transmitter is on Little Casterton Road) from Oakham. Then there are the BBC's Radio Cambridgeshire (95.7 from Peterborough), Radio Northampton (103.6 from Corby) and Radio Lincolnshire (94.9). NOW Digital broadcasts from the East Casterton transmitter covering the town and Spalding, which provides the Peterborough 12D multiplex (BBC Radio Cambridgeshire & Hereward FM).

South of the town is RAF Wittering, a main employer, and the Home of the Harrier. The airbase originally opened in 1916 as RFC Stamford, which closed then re-opened in 1924 under its present title. The engineering company Cummins Generator Technologies (formerly Newage International), a maker of electrical generators, is based on Barnack Road. National jeweller F. Hinds can trace their history back to the clockmaker Joseph Hinds, who worked in Stamford in the first half of the nineteenth century and they also have a branch in the town. Nearby to the west, along the A6121, is the Hanson Cement (former Castle Cement, and known as Ketco prior to that) works at Ketton where they have cement-manufacturing kilns which uses limestone quarried on site. This is a subsidiary of HeidelbergCement. Local high profile publishers are Key Publishing (aviation) and the Bourne Publishing Group (pets).

Filming location

Television shows


Politics and governance

Stamford is part of the Parliamentary constituency of Grantham and Stamford. The incumbent Member of Parliament, Mr Quentin Davies [1] is a member of the Labour Party, although he was elected to Parliament as a Conservative candidate, having first been elected for that party in 1987. He crossed the floor of the House of Commons to join the governing party on 26 June 2007. He went on to become a junior Defence Minister.

Stamford has a local town council in addition to the South Kesteven District Council. On the county and district councils, Stamford is mostly represented by Liberal Democrat councillors. The Lib Dem candidate for the forthcoming general election is a Stamford councillor.

Notable Stamfordians

Football Teams based in Stamford

Rugby Teams based in Stamford

Netball Teams based in Stamford

  • Blackstones ladies netball team

Festivals and events

See also


External links


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