HOLBEACH

Holbeach is a fenland market town 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.

The Prime Meridian of the world passes through the west of Holbeach and is marked with a millstone at Wignals Gate.

Holbeach Mosaic

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 the porch, which was built around 1700, possibly 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 which is now occupied by the Chequers Inn.

Until the beginning of the 17th 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 that followed 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. In 1615, nominees of the Earl of Argyll were entitled to the land which was reclaimed from the sea in Wigtoft, Moulton, Whaplode, Holbeach and Tydd St Mary. The Earl paid for the work, but differences of opinion stalled the project after 1634. Further enclosure of marshes were recorded in 1660, in Gedney, Whaplode, Holbeach and Moulton. The work included the building of an embankment, and resulted in 9,798 acres (39.65 km2) being added to Holbeach parish. A second embankment was built under the provisions of the South Holland Embankment Act (1793) and added another 2,059 acres (8.33 km2). Following unsuccessful attempts in the 1830s, the rest of Holbeach Marsh was enclosed in 1840. The project was directed by Mr. Millington, and the total area added to the parish by all these enclosures was 12,390 acres (50.1 km2).

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 Wesleyan chapel, built on Chapel Street in 1808, and a Baptist chapel, which was built on Albert Street in 1845 using red brick and colourwashed render.

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

All Saints Church, Holbeach

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