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Looking north along Southgate
Sleaford shown within Lincolnshire
|OS grid reference|
|– London||100 mi (160 km) S|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||East Midlands|
|UK Parliament||Sleaford and North Hykeham|
Looking north along Southgate
Sleaford shown within Lincolnshire
|OS grid reference|
|– London||100 mi (160 km) S|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||East Midlands|
|UK Parliament||Sleaford and North Hykeham|
Sleaford is a town in the North Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, England. It is situated approximately 11 miles (18 km) north-east from Grantham, 16 miles (26 km) west from Boston, and 17 miles (27 km) south from the city and county town of Lincoln. A resident population of approximately 14,500 in 6,167 households was recorded at the time of the 2001 Census.
The name Sleaford is from the Old English 'esla+forde', meaning "ford over a muddy stream" (now known as the River Slea). In 852 the name first appears as 'Slioford' whilst in the 1086 Domesday book it is recorded as "Eslaforde". The river was the main trade route for the town for many years. In 1794, the Slea was canalised; known as the Sleaford Navigation, it operated until superseded by the railways in the mid-1850s.
Until recently, Sleaford was primarily an agricultural town, supporting a cattle market[n 1] and seed companies such as Hubbard and Phillips, and Sharpes International Seeds. More recently, Sleaford is developing as a tourist and craft destination.
The modern centre of Sleaford originated as New Sleaford. Excavations in the market place in 1979 uncovered the remains of a small Anglo-Saxon settlement of eighth century date. Sleaford was one of the most important tribal centres of the Iron Age Corieltauvi and included a pre-Roman coin mint. Few Iron Age coins were found here however, and it is believed that after being poured into the pellet moulds, the coins were taken to Leicester to be stamped.
A Roman road, Mareham Lane, used to run through Old Sleaford, and southwards along the fen edge, towards Bourne. Where it passed through Old Sleaford, excavations have revealed a large stone-built domestic residence with associated farm buildings, corn-driers, ovens and field systems, as well as a number of burials. Building work in 2010 uncovered a complete 1,700-year-old human skeleton, as well as pottery, rubbish pits and property boundary ditches. Lead archaeologist Glenn Glover described the finds as 'further confirmation that Sleaford was a very large and important settlement in the Roman period'.
In 1858, just to the south of the town, a large Anglo-Roman cemetery was found, showing a mix of pagan and Christian burial practices. A large Anglo-Saxon cemetery, of some 600 burials was found during construction of the new railway station in 1882. Further to the south-west, in nearby Quarrington, a substantial Anglo-Saxon settlement was excavated during a new housing development. To the north of the town, an early Saxon settlement was investigated by APS prior to the construction of new housing and facilities at the Holdingham roundabout. Some of the artefacts can be seen displayed at the McDonald's restaurant on the site.
About 1130, Bishop Alexander of Lincoln built a castle just southwest of the town. The footings and moat can still be seen, in what is now the Castle Fields. This was the period in which the town moved westwards. The castle was demolished in the Elizabethan era, not later than 1604.
King John, who was disliked by the baronage, visited Sleaford in 1216, the day after he had lost his baggage train. He was already ill but someone spread the story that while staying overnight at Swineshead Abbey, he was poisoned by a monk with toad venom. After leaving Sleaford, the King continued his journey reaching Newark, where he died.
From 1556, the ownership of the town and its lands passed from the church to local absentee landowners.
Carre's Grammar School was established in 1604 by Robert Carre of Aswarby (later Sir Robert Carr of Old Sleaford) who went on to found Carre's Hospital in 1636 (Sleaford Hospital survives as a charitable trust, owning and operating the almshouses at the junction of Carre Street and Eastgate immediately to the south of St. Denys Church and a later set of almshouses in Northgate). The school eventually fell into decay and students were taught in the parish church (this part of St. Denys Church is now known as the Lady Chapel) until 1816, when the school was discontinued. It was rebuilt in 1834 in an Elizabethan style and classes continued. Although the school was free for classical learning, a fee of about two guineas per year was charged for other branches of education.
In 1726, William Alvey left an endowment for 20 poor boys and 20 poor girls to attend school. Alvey's Charity School was held in rented rooms until 1841. In 1785, James Harryman left the interest from £100 to provide shoes and stockings for the children of this school.
Enclosure of common lands around Sleaford began in the fourteenth century and was almost complete by 1750, however, some land in surrounding parishes, with poor soil, was not enclosed until the high grain prices of the 1800s made farming profitable.
The Sleaford Navigation was opened in 1794.
From 1829 to 1831, the street pattern of the entire town was reworked, a new Town Hall built, and better drainage laid. After the voting reforms of 1832, Sleaford became a polling place for the members of parliament for the Southern Division of Lincolnshire.
The railways arrived from 1857. Sleaford was eventually the junction of six major roads and five railway branch-lines, making it a regional centre. The railways caused the decline of the Sleaford Navigation, which closed in 1878. The Hubbard seed firm was founded in Sleaford in 1882 and then grew to become a major national business.
The Bass Maltings complex opened fully in 1905, replacing all the small malthouses in the area. The complex struggled to remain open during the Second World War, but survived and continued operating until 1960. Sir Nikolaus Pevsner considered the huge brewing malthouses to be Lincolnshire's most important industrial architecture, stating in his book Buildings of England; "For sheer impressiveness, little in English architecture can equal the scale of this building. A massive four-storey square tower is in the centre of a line of eight detached pavilions. The total frontage is nearly 1,000 feet."
During the First World War, from 1916 naval airships operated from nearby Cranwell, then known as HMS Daedalus, and a now defunct field, RFC Leadenham provided England's main defence against Zeppelin raids. RAF College Cranwell became the world's first military air academy in 1920.
During the Second World War, the many RAF airfields north of Sleaford played a role in the Battle of Britain, in the debilitating of the Axis war machine and RAF and USAAF airfields all around took part in the Allied invasion of Europe. (For example, see RAF Folkingham). However the area's wartime aviation history is more often associated with bombing, the name "Bomber County" being attributed to Lincolnshire.
In the 1940s, plastic surgery was pioneered at No.4 RAF Hospital, Rauceby, on the western outskirts of Sleaford. The Burns Unit was situated in Orchard House — one of the last remaining parts of Rauceby Mental Hospital (formerly the Kesteven Lunatic Asylum) to remain in NHS use as offices for Lincolnshire South West PCT following the Mental Health Hospital's closure in 1998. The whole site (which is now being redeveloped principally by David Wilson Homes for private housing) and its immediate environs including Rauceby railway station, has recently been renamed as Greylees, a suburb of the Market Town of Sleaford.
The town is also home to Sharpes International Seeds, whose history can be traced from their merger with Zeneca Seeds in 1996, which formed Advanta Seeds, right back to 1560.
Since 2000, the town and its buildings have undergone significant expansion and improvement; with the building of numerous new private housing estates on the periphery, a new infant school, and refurbishment of town centre buildings with a £15-million SRB 'Sleaford Pride' grant.
In April 2005, the Channel 4 magazine Location, Location, Location named Sleaford as one of the Top 10 'house price hotspots' in England, forecasting a strong surge above spring 2005 prices before the end of 2005.
In June 2009, planning permission was granted for a Tesco Extra store to be built on the former Advanta Seeds site. The grant of permission was conditional upon a new access road being provided, the proposed route of which crossed Boston Road Recreational Ground, requiring the removal of 47 rare, mature trees. Once the new store has opened, Tesco's current Northgate site is expected to be converted into four retail units.
The two main local football teams — the Legionnaires and Sleaford Town F.C. – played for many years on Boston Road Recreation Ground. The wooden pavilion finally gave way to rot and decay in 2004, and their new stadium opened, located a little further down Boston Road just outside the town's curtilage in March 2007.
Sleaford Museum Trust keeps its collections in storage due to lack of suitable premises but has established a "virtual museum".
The United Reformed Church (previously the Congregational Church) in Southgate had its frontage redeveloped in 2007 to provide community rooms, called "The Source", with assistance from WREN and Lincolnshire County Council's 'Multi Use Centres' initiative. In 2008 Sleaford United Reformed and Community churches joined to become The Riverside Church.
Following Sleaford Fairtrade Group's launch in May 2009, Sleaford was declared by the Fairtrade Foundation to be a Fairtrade Town in June 2010. The Mayor, Councillor Jack Collings, was presented with the Certificate on 3 July 2010. Fairtrade Town status was renewed in October 2011 for a period of 2 years by the Fairtrade Foundation.
The parish church of St. Denys forms the eastern side of the town's market place. The building, which has the oldest stone broach spire in England, mostly dates from 1180 although sections were rebuilt following an electrical storm in 1884. The altar rail (originally from Lincoln Cathedral) is by Sir Christopher Wren. [n 2] The church is also known for its stained glass, traceried windows and carved gargoyle heads, the buildings Grade I listing notes "particularly good mid Cl4 tracery and ornament".
Cogglesford Mill (sited on the banks of the River Slea) dates from the 17th century. It is Lincolnshire's last working water mill and is possibly the last working Sheriff's Mill in England (making it of national importance). It is probably on the site of an earlier Mercian estate mill. The adjacent house where the mill worker would have lived is now a restaurant.
Sleaford's Bull & Dog public house, formerly the Black Bull, dates from 1689 (according to a datestone set in its front wall) and is said[by whom?] to have the oldest surviving bull-baiting pub sign in England.
Old Place, once the manor of the ancient parish of Old Sleaford is situated off Boston Road. Originally "bilded of stone and timbre" it was the home of Lord Hussey who was tried by Henry VIII for treason and executed at Lincoln Castle for his part in the Lincolnshire Pilgrimage of Grace. It then passed to the Carre family. After being reportedly destroyed by fire during the English Civil War it was rebuilt and ultimately passed into the hands of the Marquis of Bristol, through marriage. The grand three storey building that stands today was largely rebuilt in 1822 with a Victorian Gothic extension added c.1885. After a period of dilapidation in the latter twentieth century, the house is now restored and split into townhouses.
Other town landmarks include the Handley Monument, the semi-derelict Bass Maltings, the ruins of Sleaford Castle, and the Picturedrome (once a cinema (upstairs) and a pool hall (downstairs), later a nightclub and currently unoccupied).
In 2011 agreement was reached to convert the Bass Maltings site into shops, offices and more than 220 apartments and houses.
There are several privately run nurseries for pre-school age children in Sleaford, including New Life Pre-School, Redcroft Day Nursery, Woodside Children's Nursery, Happy Day Nursery and Sleaford Day Nursery. Today there are four primary schools; Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Primary School (RC), the William Alvey Church of England School, St Botolph's Church of England Primary School and Church Lane Primary School & Nursery.
In 1726 William Alvey bequeathed land to fund the teaching of children in Sleaford. In 1851, new buildings were constructed to house the school and the master. By 1856, it was being "conducted on the National System" and was named "Alvey's Endowed School". New buildings for the infants' school were constructed in 1888. The buildings have since been expanded and the school became an Academy in 2012. St Botolph's School is a Church of England Primary School, which opened at its current site in 2002. Church Lane School is housed in buildings constructed in 2002; in 2013, it housed roughly 201 children. Our Lady of Good Counsel school was constructed for a capacity of 120 pupils and in 2011 had 155 pupils on roll.
The town has three secondary schools. Carre's Grammar School (male selective secondary school), Kesteven and Sleaford High School Selective Academy (female selective secondary school) and St George's Academy, formerly St. George's College of Technology (mixed secondary school).
Carre's Grammar school was founded in 1604 by a bequest of Robert Carre of Aswarby. It went into a period of decline in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century; however, a group of trustees purchased land in 1826 and secured funding in 1830 for the construction of new buildings and the school reopened in 1835. Intermittent expansion to the buildings followed in twentieth century and the school became grant-maintained in 1991; it received Specialist Sports College status in 2003 and an additional Science specialist status in 2009. Carre's became an Academy in 2011 and was judged to be at "good" standard by OfSted in 2013, at which time it had 817 pupils, including the co-education Sixth Form.
In 1902, Sleaford and Kesteven High School for Girls was established and was managed by a board of nine directors, and was run as a limited company. It was taken over by the Higher Education Committee of the Kesteven County Council in 1918. Having received specialist arts school status in 2003, it became an Academy in 2011 and was judged to be at "good" standard at its OfSted inspection in 2013, at which time there were 825 pupils on roll, including those in the co-educational Sixth Form.
By 1907, the increase in Sleaford's population led the County and District Councils to decide that the town needed a new school; Kesteven Council School opened in 1908, housed in a purpose-built school on Church Lane. New buildings at Westholme were constructed in 1957 and the Church Lane site was closed in 1984, with extensions being made to the Westholme site; the school, then named Sleaford Secondary Modern, was renamed St George's at this time. In the 1990s and 2000s, additions were made to the buildings and the school received specialist technology college status in 1994. In 2010, the school became an Academy and merged with Coteland's Community School in Ruskington and Aveland High School in Billingborough. The Aveland closed and Coteland's became a satellite school, its buildings being demolished and new ones erected, while those at the Sleaford site were updated considerably, opening in 2012. The school had 2247 pupils on roll in 2012, across both sites and including the Sixth Form; when assessed by OfSted in that year, was judged to be at "good" standard.
The three secondary schools each run Sixth Forms. From 1983, they operated a joint co-educational Joint Sixth Form consortium, allowing students from the schools to pick subjects at any of the Sixth Forms in the consortium. In 2010 the High School withdrew, but St George's and Carre's continued to operate the Joint Sixth Form. At the beginning of the academic year 2010/2011, there were 776 pupils in the Joint Sixth Form.
The National Centre for Craft & Design includes galleries and studio space. It is situated in the former Hubbard's Seed Warehouse on the Sleaford Navigation wharf.
Sleaford hosts a range of sporting clubs. The football club is Sleaford Town F.C., which dates from 1920, when a group of enthusiasts from the Sleaford YMCA branch played a friendly match against Ruskington; in 1923, the team formally entered the Ruskington League as the Sleaford Red Triangle FC. In 1927, it became the Sleaford Amatuers FC and in the following decades won several local trophies, culminating in the club won the Lincoln Amatuer Cup in 1952. In 1966, the club moved to the Boston Road Recreation Ground, where facilities for the club were poor. Two years later, the name changed to Sleaford Town FC. Throughout the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, the club won 15 cups or titles under the management of Brian Rowland (retired 2009). In 2004, the club moved into the United Counties League, which necessitated the move away from the Recreation Ground; purpose-built facilities were completed at Eslaforde Park in 2007 and were owned by Sleaford Sports Association.
Additionally, the town's rugby, golf, cricket and bowls clubs have dedicated facilities. The clubhouse for Sleaford Rugby FC opened in 1999 and is situated off the A153. Sleaford Golf Club was founded in 1905 and had roughly 100 members the following year, which increased to 193 in 1911. The clubhouse was renovated in 1992 and the original golf course has been altered. In 2014, the club roughly 600 members. The town has a Cricket Club, with grounds at London Road; the earliest record of the club dates to 1803. The town is also home to a bowls club, called Bristol Bowls Club (after the Marquesses of Bristol, who owned land in the area). Finally, an all-discipline gymnastics club was founded in 1996 and is based on Westgate, close to the town centre.
The town is situated south of the intersection of the A17 and A15 roads at the Holdingham roundabout. The town was bypassed by a 3 miles (4.8 km) long dual carriageway section of the busy A17 on 27 March 1975 (opened by Joseph Godber, the local MP). The section from the Holdingham roundabout to the A153 Anwick road had been opened earlier on 14 November 1973 by Dennis Monk, the chief engineer of the project. To this day the Sleaford bypass (with the exception of the A1) remains the only major stretch of dual carriageway that is located in Southern Lincolnshire and as a result it is a hotspot for overtaking and speeding.[according to whom?] Perhaps because it is one of the very few places in the area where it is possible to safely overtake the numerous slow moving trucks, tractors and caravans that have been congesting the roads for miles.[according to whom?] It was bypassed by the less busy A15 on 16 September 1993 (opened by Douglas Hogg MP).
The three-platform railway station provides a junction served by local trains using the Peterborough to Lincoln Line on which trains continue to Doncaster (historically part of the Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Railway), and the busier Grantham to Skegness Line on which trains continue to Nottingham. From Nottingham, there are connections to Cardiff via Birmingham, Liverpool, Leicester, Derby and Worksop. Sleaford is the only Lincolnshire town to be served by lines running both North-South and East-West.
Grantham station — and its express East Coast Main Line rail link to London – is about twenty-five minutes away from Sleaford by road, or around twenty-five to thirty minutes by rail. Travel by train to London King's Cross from Sleaford usually takes just under two hours (including connections).
There are plans to make the River Slea navigable again by boats, from the River Witham up to Sleaford. It is currently navigable only by canoes and similar lightweight one-person craft. Most of the Slea has footpaths running alongside it, and these complement the area's many public footpaths and cycle-paths.
There are several new cycle-paths around the town, including the Sleaford Cycle Trail, but Sleaford is not yet connected to the National Cycle Network. In July 2005, plans were made to connect the town with the existing NCN National Route 15 which (at that time) ended just north of Grantham and extend Route 15 through Sleaford to meet the NCN National Route 1 at the River Witham.
Sleaford holds a market in the town on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. Until 1202, it had been held on Sunday but in that year it was transferred to Thursday and at a later date from Thursday to Monday. Since 1912, an annual charity raft race has taken place on the River Slea. In recent years, this has been coupled with the Water Festival local music event.
As with the rest of the British Isles, Sleaford experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. The nearest Met Office weather station for which online records are available is Cranwell, about 3.3 miles (5.3 km) miles north-west of the town centre.
|Climate data for Cranwell 1961-1990 62m asl (Weather station 3.5 miles (6 km) to the NW of Sleaford)|
|Average high °C (°F)||5.8|
|Average low °C (°F)||0.3|
|Precipitation mm (inches)||48|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||58.4||69.5||109.2||140.1||195.1||193.9||184.6||175.3||141.7||108.3||70.6||54.3||1,501|
|Source: Met Office|
|This article's list of residents may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability or notability policies. (June 2012)|
Sleaford is twinned with:
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Sleaford.|