South Holland Historical

South Holland is located in the southern part of the county of Lincolnshire. The entire district covers a geographical area of 74,238 hectares with Spalding at its administrative heart and surrounding by the towns of Holbeach, Long Sutton, Sutton Bridge and Crowland.Spalding Town Sign The history of fenland including Spalding dates back to the Bronze Age, through both Roman and Anglo Saxon times to the Dark Ages and on to the more recent 17th, 18th and 19thcenturies. This history has a common theme which is based on the transition from a natural wetland with isolated islands of lands to a flat area of fertile agriculture land. Between Domesday and the 13th Century a gradual reclamation of the wetlands began by building banks to protect the ground from floods. During the Dark Ages this reclamation stopped, but at the start of the 17th century, following economic recovery, the draining continued. This included both the southern areas that had already had some drainage work completed, plus some of the undrained more northerly silt fens. Much of this was thanks to the 4th Earl of Bedford, who planned and organised the draining of the Fens. Drainage schemes continued, but as the soil dried out, the land began to shrink. As the level of the land dropped, water could no longer drain into the rivers many of which were by then higher than the fields. Thus began the introduction of windmills to pump water off the land and into the rivers. These were only partially effective, and it was not until the 1820’s that steam power was introduced and the Fens were effectively drained. The final part of this story was the opening of the Coronation Channel (opened in 1953), which diverted the excess water down the River Welland, finally put an end to the regular flooding that had plagued Spalding.

0716-01-01 00:00:00

First written record of Spalding

The first written record concerning Spalding was a charter issued in 716 A.D. by King Athelbald to the monks of Crowland Abbey.

0827-08-20 01:32:52


EGBERT 827 – 839 Egbert (Ecgherht) was the first monarch to establish a stable and extensive rule over all of Anglo-Saxon England. After returning from exile at the court of Charlemagne in 802, he regained his kingdom of Wessex. Following his conquest of Mercia in 827, he controlled all of England south of the Humber. After further victories in Northumberland and North Wales, he is recognised by the title Bretwalda (Anglo-Saxon, “ruler of the British”). A year before he died aged almost 70, he defeated a combined force of Danes and Cornish at Hingston Down in Cornwall. He is buried at Winchester in Hampshire.

0839-08-20 01:32:52


King of Wessex, son of Egbert and father of Alfred the Great. In 851 Aethelwulf defeated a Danish army at the battle of Oakley while his eldest son Aethelstan fought and defeated a Viking fleet off the coast of Kent, in what is believed to be “the first naval battle in recorded English history”. A highly religious man, Athelwulf travelled to Rome with his son Alfred to see the Pope in 855.

0852-06-01 00:00:00

Old Fen Dyke

Old Fen Dyke mentioned in Land Book of Peterborough Abbey. Anglo Saxon Chronicles.

0858-08-20 01:32:52


The second son of Aethelwulf, Æthelbald was born around 834. He was crowned at Kingston-upon-Thames in southwest London, after forcing his father to abdicate upon his return from pilgrimage to Rome. Following his father’s death in 858, he married his widowed stepmother Judith, but under pressure from the church the marriage was annulled after only a year. He is buried at Sherbourne Abbey in Dorset.

0860-08-20 00:00:00


Became king following the death of his brother Æthelbald. Like his brother and his father, Aethelbert (pictured to the right) was crowned at Kingston-upon-Thames. Shortly after his succession a Danish army landed and sacked Winchester before being defeated by the Saxons. In 865 the Viking Great Heathen Army landed in East Anglia and swept across England. He is buried at Sherborne Abbey.

0865-08-20 00:00:00


AETHELRED I 866 – 871 Aethelred succeeded his brother Aethelbert. His reign was one long struggle with the Danes who had occupied York in 866, establishing the Viking kingdom of Yorvik. When the Danish Army moved south Wessex itself was threatened, and so together with his brother Alfred, they fought several battles with the Vikings at Reading, Ashdown and Basing. Aethelred suffered serious injuries during the next major battle at Meretun in Hampshire; he died of his wounds shortly after at Witchampton in Dorset, where he was buried.

0871-08-20 00:00:00

Alfred the Great

ALFRED THE GREAT 871 – 899 – son of AETHELWULF Born at Wantage in Berkshire around 849, Alfred was well educated and is said to have visited Rome on two occasions. He had proven himself to be a strong leader in many battles, and as a wise ruler managed to secure five uneasy years of peace with the Danes, before they attacked Wessex again in 877. Alfred was forced to retreat to a small island in the Somerset Levels and it was from here that he masterminded his comeback, perhaps ‘burning the cakes‘ as a consequence. With major victories at Edington, Rochester and London, Alfred established Saxon Christian rule over first Wessex, and then on to most of England. To secure his hard won boundaries Alfred founded a permanent army and an embryonic Royal Navy. To secure his place in history, he began the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles.

0899-08-20 00:00:00

Edward (The Elder)

EDWARD (The Elder) 899 – 924 Succeeded his father Alfred the Great. Edward retook southeast England and the Midlands from the Danes. Following the death of his sister Aethelflaed of Mercia, Edward unites the kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia. In 923, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles record that the Scottish King Constantine II recognises Edward as “father and lord”. The following year, Edward is killed in a battle against the Welsh near Chester. His body is returned to Winchester for burial.

0924-08-20 00:00:00


ATHELSTAN 924 – 939 Son of Edward the Elder, Athelstan extended the boundaries of his kingdom at the Battle of Brunanburh in 937. In what is said to be one of the bloodiest battles ever fought on British soil, Athelstan defeated a combined army of Scots, Celts, Danes and Vikings, claiming the title of King of all Britain. The battle saw for the first time individual Anglo-Saxon kingdoms being brought together to create a single and unified England. Athelstan is buried in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

South Holland Historical

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