Holbeach is a fenland
The Fens
The Fens, also known as the , are a naturally marshy region in eastern England. Most of the fens were drained several centuries ago, resulting in a flat, damp, low-lying agricultural region....

 market town
Market town
Market town or market right is a legal term, originating in the medieval period, for a European settlement that has the right to host markets, distinguishing it from a village and city...

 with 6,457 residents in the South Holland district of southern Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire is a county in the east of England. It borders Norfolk to the south east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south west, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to the west, South Yorkshire to the north west, and the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north. It also borders...

, England. The town lies 8 miles (12.9 km) from Spalding
Spalding, Lincolnshire
Spalding is a market town with a population of 30,000 on the River Welland in the South Holland district of Lincolnshire, England. Little London is a hamlet directly south of Spalding on the B1172 road....

; 17 miles (27.4 km) from Boston
Boston, Lincolnshire
Boston is a town and small port in Lincolnshire, on the east coast of England. It is the largest town of the wider Borough of Boston local government district and had a total population of 55,750 at the 2001 census...

; 20 miles (32.2 km) from King's Lynn
King's Lynn
King's Lynn is a sea port and market town in the ceremonial county of Norfolk in the East of England. It is situated north of London and west of Norwich. The population of the town is 42,800....

; 23 miles (37 km) from Peterborough
Peterborough is a cathedral city and unitary authority area in the East of England, with an estimated population of in June 2007. For ceremonial purposes it is in the county of Cambridgeshire. Situated north of London, the city stands on the River Nene which flows into the North Sea...

; and a 43 miles (69.2 km) by road from the county town
County town
A county town is a county's administrative centre in the United Kingdom or Ireland. County towns are usually the location of administrative or judicial functions, or established over time as the de facto main town of a county. The concept of a county town eventually became detached from its...

 of Lincoln. It is on the junction of the A151
A151 road
The A151 road is relatively minor part of the British road system. It lies entirely in the county of Lincolnshire, England. Its western end lies at coordinates otherwise, 1...

 and A17. The main High Street is the B1515.

The Prime Meridian
Prime Meridian
The Prime Meridian is the meridian at which the longitude is defined to be 0°.The Prime Meridian and its opposite the 180th meridian , which the International Date Line generally follows, form a great circle that divides the Earth into the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.An international...

 of the world passes through the west of Holbeach.


A number of Roman and Romano-British
Romano-British culture describes the culture that arose in Britain under the Roman Empire following the Roman conquest of AD 43 and the creation of the province of Britannia. It arose as a fusion of the imported Roman culture with that of the indigenous Britons, a people of Celtic language and...

 pottery finds have been made in and about the town.

The town's market
A market is one of many varieties of systems, institutions, procedures, social relations and infrastructures whereby parties engage in exchange. While parties may exchange goods and services by barter, most markets rely on sellers offering their goods or services in exchange for money from buyers...

A charter is the grant of authority or rights, stating that the granter formally recognizes the prerogative of the recipient to exercise the rights specified...

 was awarded in 1252 to Thomas de Moulton, a local baron
Baron is a title of nobility. The word baron comes from Old French baron, itself from Old High German and Latin baro meaning " man, warrior"; it merged with cognate Old English beorn meaning "nobleman"...

. All Saints'
All Saints
All Saints' Day , often shortened to All Saints, is a solemnity celebrated on 1 November by parts of Western Christianity, and on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern Christianity, in honour of all the saints, known and unknown...

 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
Dissolution of the Monasteries
The Dissolution of the Monasteries, sometimes referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland; appropriated their...

. The antiquarian William Stukeley
William Stukeley
William Stukeley FRS, FRCP, FSA was an English antiquarian who pioneered the archaeological investigation of the prehistoric monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury, work for which he has been remembered as "probably... the most important of the early forerunners of the discipline of archaeology"...

 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
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 came to within 2 miles (3.2 km) of the town and there were severe flood
A flood is an overflow of an expanse of water that submerges land. The EU Floods directive defines a flood as a temporary covering by water of land not normally covered by water...

s recorded in the 13th and 16th centuries. The land drainage
Drainage is the natural or artificial removal of surface and sub-surface water from an area. Many agricultural soils need drainage to improve production or to manage water supplies.-Early history:...

 programmes of the 18th and 19th centuries moved the coastline of the Wash
The Wash
The Wash is the square-mouthed bay and estuary on the northwest margin of East Anglia on the east coast of England, where Norfolk meets Lincolnshire. It is among the largest estuaries in the United Kingdom...

 to 9 miles (14.5 km) away, leaving Holbeach surrounded by more than 23000 acres (93.1 km²) of reclaimed
Land reclamation
Land reclamation, usually known as reclamation, is the process to create new land from sea or riverbeds. The land reclaimed is known as reclamation ground or landfill.- Habitation :...

 fertile agricultural land.

The Spalding and Norwich Railway, (later incorporated in the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway
Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway
The Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway, was a joint railway owned by the Midland Railway and the Great Northern Railway in eastern England, affectionately known as the 'Muddle and Get Nowhere' to generations of passengers, enthusiasts, and other users.The main line ran from Peterborough to...

), opened Holbeach railway station
Holbeach railway station
Holbeach railway station was a station in Holbeach, Lincolnshire. It closed in 1959.The station buildings survive including station, up and down platform and the large goods shed...

 in 1862. Like the rest of the M&GN route it closed to passengers in 1959 (before the Beeching Axe
Beeching Axe
The Beeching Axe or the Beeching Cuts are informal names for the British Government's attempt in the 1960s to reduce the cost of running British Railways, the nationalised railway system in the United Kingdom. The name is that of the main author of The Reshaping of British Railways, Dr Richard...

) 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
British anti-invasion preparations of World War II
British anti-invasion preparations of the Second World War entailed a large-scale division of military and civilian mobilisation in response to the threat of invasion by German armed forces in 1940 and 1941. The British army needed to recover from the defeat of the British Expeditionary Force in...

 constructed at nearby Lawyers Creek comprise a number of pillboxes
British hardened field defences of World War II
British hardened field defences of World War II were small fortified structures constructed as a part of British anti-invasion preparations. They were popularly known as pillboxes by reference to their shape.-Design and development:...

 including the rare Ruck machine gun post
Ruck machine gun post
The Ruck machine gun post or Ruck pillbox is a type of hardened field fortification built in Britain during the invasion crisis of 1940–1941. It was designed by James Ruck and was made from prefabricated concrete sections and paving slabs, sandbags and rammed earth...


Multiple Holbeaches

The name "Holbeach" also applies to the entire parish
Civil parish
In England, a civil parish is a territorial designation and, where they are found, the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties...

 of Holbeach. This is one of the largest parishes by area in England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 and extends from Cambridgeshire
Cambridgeshire is a county in England, bordering Lincolnshire to the north, Norfolk to the northeast, Suffolk to the east, Essex and Hertfordshire to the south, and Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire to the west...

 to the Wash
The Wash
The Wash is the square-mouthed bay and estuary on the northwest margin of East Anglia on the east coast of England, where Norfolk meets Lincolnshire. It is among the largest estuaries in the United Kingdom...

, measuring 16 miles (25.7 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 village
A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet with the population ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand , Though often located in rural areas, the term urban village is also applied to certain urban neighbourhoods, such as the West Village in Manhattan, New...

s in the Lincolnshire Fens:
  • Holbeach Bank
  • Holbeach Clough
  • Holbeach Drove
    Holbeach Drove
    Holbeach Drove is a village in South Lincolnshire, England. It is situated at the junction of the B1166 and the B1168. The village church is dedicated to St Polycarp. There is one local public house, the 'Golden Ball', and a shop-cum-petrol station....

  • Holbeach Fen
    Holbeach Fen
    Holbeach Fen is a fenland settlement and area in the South Holland district of southern Lincolnshire, England. It lies south from Holbeach and north-west from Sutton St James....

  • Holbeach Hurn
    Holbeach Hurn
    Holbeach Hurn is a fenland hamlet in the civil parish of Holbeach in the South Holland district of southern Lincolnshire, England. It lies north-east from Holbeach and north from the A17....

  • Holbeach St Johns
  • Holbeach St Marks
    Holbeach St Marks
    Holbeach St Marks is a fenland village in the South Holland district of southern Lincolnshire, England. It lies north from Holbeach and from The Wash....

  • Holbeach St Matthew
    Holbeach St Matthew
    Holbeach St Matthew is a fenland hamlet in the South Holland district of southern Lincolnshire, England. It lies north-east from Holbeach and from The Wash....

This repetition of a name for a collection of close-lying villages is common in the Fens (cf.
cf., an abbreviation for the Latin word confer , literally meaning "bring together", is used to refer to other material or ideas which may provide similar or different information or arguments. It is mainly used in scholarly contexts, such as in academic or legal texts...

Gedney, Lincolnshire
Gedney is a village and civil parish in the South Holland district of Lincolnshire, England. It lies just to the south off the A17 Boston to King's Lynn road, east from Holbeach and north-east from Long Sutton...

, Tydd, Walpole etc.)

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

Primary schools

There are two primary schools in Holbeach - Holbeach Primary School and William Stukeley Church of England Primary School
William Stukeley Church of England Primary School
William Stukeley Church of England Primary School is one of two primary schools located in the Lincolnshire market town of Holbeach. It gained its name from local antiquarian William Stukeley who was born in the town in 1687...


Secondary school

The local secondary school
Secondary school
Secondary school is a term used to describe an educational institution where the final stage of schooling, known as secondary education and usually compulsory up to a specified age, takes place...

 is the George Farmer Technology & Language College http://www.georgefarmer.lincs.sch.uk/ on Park Road.


Holbeach is home to a campus
A campus is traditionally the land on which a college or university and related institutional buildings are situated. Usually a campus includes libraries, lecture halls, residence halls and park-like settings...

 of the University of Lincoln
University of Lincoln
The University of Lincoln is an English university founded in 1992, with origins tracing back to the foundation and association with the Hull School of Art 1861....

, redeveloped in 2004 on the Park Road site of the former Holbeach Agricultural Centre and now known as Holbeach Technology Park
Holbeach Technology Park
Holbeach Technology Park is the food science campus of the University of Lincoln, situated on Park Road at Holbeach in the south of the county of Lincolnshire. It is a part of the University's Riseholme College.-History:...

. The campus is dedicated to the study of food manufacturing technology
Food science
Food science is a study concerned with all technical aspects of foods, beginning with harvesting or slaughtering, and ending with its cooking and consumption, an ideology commonly referred to as "from field to fork"...



Local pubs are the Black Bull on Fleet
Fleet, Lincolnshire
Fleet is a village and civil parish in the South Holland district of Lincolnshire, England. It lies on Delph Bank, south-east from Holbeach.Fleet Grade I listed Anglican church, dating from the late 12th century, is dedicated to St Mary Magdalene. The 120 foot high church tower with spire is...

 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.

Royal Air Force

The Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 maintains a bombing range, known officially as RAF Holbeach
RAF Holbeach
RAF Holbeach is a Royal Air Force bombing range situated between Boston and Kings Lynn in Gedney Drove End on The Wash, in Lincolnshire, eastern England. Most of the range, including the control tower and four observation towers are in Gedney, but it does overlap with Holbeach to the west...

, on salt marsh
Salt marsh
A salt marsh is an environment in the upper coastal intertidal zone between land and salt water or brackish water, it is dominated by dense stands of halophytic plants such as herbs, grasses, or low shrubs. These plants are terrestrial in origin and are essential to the stability of the salt marsh...

land at the coast of Holbeach parish, near the village of Gedney Drove End. The RAF station
RAF station
A Royal Air Force station is a permanent Royal Air Force operations location. Many RAF stations are aerodromes, or airbases, being the home to one or more flying squadrons. Other RAF stations are training units, administrative units, headquarters , or carry out ground-based operational tasks...

 is situated approximately 11 miles (17.7 km) north west of Holbeach town centre
Town centre
The town centre is the term used to refer to the commercial or geographical centre or core area of a town.Town centres are traditionally associated with shopping or retail. They are also the centre of communications with major public transport hubs such as train or bus stations...



The local football
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

 club is Holbeach United
Holbeach United F.C.
Holbeach United F.C. is an English football club based in Holbeach, Lincolnshire. The club are currently members of the United Counties League Premier Division and play at Carters Park.-History:...

, founded in 1929. They play in the United Counties League of the English football league system
English football league system
The English football league system, also known as the football pyramid, is a series of interconnected leagues for association football clubs in England, with six teams from Wales also competing...

 and are known as "the Tigers", in reference to the "Fen Tigers", 18th century locals who adopted guerrilla tactics
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 in an attempt to stop the destruction of their way of life through the draining of the Fens.

Motorcycle speedway
Motorcycle speedway, usually referred to as speedway, is a motorcycle sport involving four and sometimes up to six riders competing over four anti-clockwise laps of an oval circuit. Speedway motorcycles use only one gear and have no brakes and racing takes place on a flat oval track usually...

 racing took place at nearby Bell End. Details of the events are sketchy and some reports suggest the venue had grass surfaced straights and dirt surfaced bends. The venue is known to have operated in the immediate post-war era.

Local economy

Much of the economy has been based on food processing and bulb
A bulb is a short stem with fleshy leaves or leaf bases. The leaves often function as food storage organs during dormancy.A bulb's leaf bases, known as scales, generally do not support leaves, but contain food reserves to enable the plant to survive adverse conditions. At the center of the bulb is...

 growing. The United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

'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
Internal Drainage Board
An internal drainage board is a type of operating authority which is established in areas of special drainage need in England and Wales with permissive powers to undertake work to secure clean water drainage and water level management within drainage districts...

, Part of the Water Management Alliance, formerly known as the King’s Lynn Consortium of Internal Drainage Boards.


The town is served by the local South Holland
South Holland, Lincolnshire
South Holland is a local government district of Lincolnshire. The district council is based in Spalding.It was formed on 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, as a merger of the Spalding urban district with East Elloe Rural District and Spalding Rural District...

 radio station Tulip Radio
Tulip Radio
Tulip Radio is the local community radio station covering the area of Spalding, Lincolnshire in England. The name is linked to Spalding's heavy involvement with the horticulture industry, and Tulips are one flower the town is famous for...

 from nearby Spalding
Spalding, Lincolnshire
Spalding is a market town with a population of 30,000 on the River Welland in the South Holland district of Lincolnshire, England. Little London is a hamlet directly south of Spalding on the B1172 road....


Notable people

  • Norman Angell
    Norman Angell
    Sir Ralph Norman Angell was an English lecturer, journalist, author, and Member of Parliament for the Labour Party.Angell was one of the principal founders of the Union of Democratic Control...

    , Nobel Peace Prize
    Nobel Peace Prize
    The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

     winner, 1933
  • Boz Burrell
    Boz Burrell
    Raymond "Boz" Burrell was an English musician. Originally a vocalist, Burrell is best known for his bass playing and work with the rock bands King Crimson and Bad Company.-Career:...

    , bass guitar
    Bass guitar
    The bass guitar is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb , or by using a pick....

    ist, King Crimson
    King Crimson
    King Crimson are a rock band founded in London, England in 1969. Often categorised as a foundational progressive rock group, the band have incorporated diverse influences and instrumentation during their history...

     and Bad Company
    Bad Company
    Bad Company were an English rock supergroup founded in 1973, consisting of two former Free band members — singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke — as well as Mott the Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs and King Crimson bassist Boz Burrell. Peter Grant, who, in years prior, was a key component of...

  • Geoff Capes
    Geoff Capes
    Geoffrey Lewis Capes is a former athlete, strongman and professional Highland Games competitor...

    , shotputter and former World's Strongest Man
    World's Strongest Man
    The World's Strongest Man is a well recognised event in strength athletics and has been described by a number of highly respected authorities in the sport as the premier event in strongman. Organized by TWI, an IMG Media company, it is broadcast around the end of December each year...

  • Cyril Lowe
    Cyril Lowe
    Cyril Nelson "Kit" Lowe MC DFC was an English rugby union footballer who held England's international try scoring record for over sixty years, First World War flying ace credited with nine victories, and supposedly the inspiration for W. E. Johns' character "Biggles".- Early life :Lowe was born in...

     MC, DFC, rugby union
    Rugby union
    Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

     international, First World War flying ace, and supposedly the inspiration for W. E. Johns' character "Biggles
    "Biggles" , a pilot and adventurer, is the title character and main hero of the Biggles series of youth-oriented adventure books written by W. E. Johns....

  • Walter Plowright
    Walter Plowright
    Walter Plowright, CMG, FRS, FRCVS was an English veterinary scientist who devoted his career to the eradication of the cattle plague rinderpest....

    , veterinary scientist who devoted his career to the eradication of the cattle plague rinderpest
    Rinderpest was an infectious viral disease of cattle, domestic buffalo, and some other species of even-toed ungulates, including buffaloes, large antelopes and deer, giraffes, wildebeests and warthogs. After a global eradication campaign, the last confirmed case of rinderpest was diagnosed in 2001...

  • Christine Russell
    Christine Russell
    Christine Margaret Russell is a British Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament for the City of Chester from 1997 to 2010. She lost her seat to the Conservative Stephen Mosley at the 2010 General Election.-Early life:She is a Lincolnshire farmer's daughter from South Holland...

     (née Carr), Labour MP for Chester
  • Stuart Storey
    Stuart Storey
    Stuart Storey is a British sports commentator and former 110m hurdler.-Early life:He grew up in Holbeach, later helping to coach fellow Holbeachian Geoff Capes at Holbeach Athletics Club. He was educated at Spalding Grammar School...

    , BBC sports commentator
  • William Stukeley
    William Stukeley
    William Stukeley FRS, FRCP, FSA was an English antiquarian who pioneered the archaeological investigation of the prehistoric monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury, work for which he has been remembered as "probably... the most important of the early forerunners of the discipline of archaeology"...

     (1687–1765), antiquarian
    An antiquarian or antiquary is an aficionado or student of antiquities or things of the past. More specifically, the term is used for those who study history with particular attention to ancient objects of art or science, archaeological and historic sites, or historic archives and manuscripts...

     who pioneered the archaeological investigation of Stonehenge
    Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about west of Amesbury and north of Salisbury. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of a circular setting of large standing stones set within earthworks...

     and Avebury
    Avebury is a Neolithic henge monument containing three stone circles which is located around the village of Avebury in Wiltshire, south west England. Unique amongst megalithic monuments, Avebury contains the largest stone circle in Europe, and is one of the best known prehistoric sites in Britain...

    , was born in the town
  • Tommy Clay, sports writer, coach and administrator, founder of Holbeach Athletics Club, awarded the BEM
    British Empire Medal
    The Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Meritorious Service, usually known as the British Empire Medal , is a British medal awarded for meritorious civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown...

    for services to sport. (His picture appears, top right, in the Holbeach Mosaic).

External links

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