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Stamford
Stamford, St Mary's Hill - geograph.org.uk - 1712783.jpg
St Mary's Hill, Stamford
Stamford is located in Lincolnshire
Stamford
Stamford
Population 19,701 
OS grid reference TF0207
• London 92 mi (148 km) S
Civil parish
  • Stamford
District
  • South Kesteven
Shire county
Region
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
52°39′22″N 0°29′02″W / 52.656°N 0.484°W / 52.656; -0.484

Stamford is a town and civil parish in the South Kesteven District of Lincolnshire, England. The population at the 2011 census was 19,701 and estimated at 20,645 in 2019. The town has 17th and 18th-century stone buildings, older timber-framed buildings and five medieval parish churches. It is a frequent film location. In 2013 it was rated a top place to live in a survey by The Sunday Times. Its name has been passed on to Stamford, Connecticut, founded in 1641.

History

High Street St Martin's, Stamford - geograph.org.uk - 76286
High Street, St Martin's

The Romans built Ermine Street across what is now Burghley Park and forded the river Welland to the west of Stamford, eventually reaching Lincoln; they built a town to the north at Great Casterton on the River Gwash. In AD 61 Boudica followed the Roman 9th Legion (Legio IX Hispana) across the river. The Anglo-Saxons later chose Stamford as their main town, being on a more important river than the Gwash.

In 972 King Edgar made Stamford a borough. The Anglo-Saxons and Danes faced each other across the river. 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 Danelaw Five Burghs ("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 the woollen cloth known as Stamford cloth or haberget - which "In Henry III's reign ... was well known in Venice".

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, the latter superseding Ermine Street in importance. Notable buildings in the town include the mediaeval Browne's Hospital, several churches and the buildings of Stamford School, a public school founded in 1532.

Stamford-Castle-by-Richard-Croft
A fragment of Stamford Castle

A Norman castle was built about 1075 and apparently demolished in 1484. The site stood derelict until the late twentieth century when it was built over and now includes a bus station and a modern housing development. A small part of the curtain wall survives at the junction of Castle Dyke and Bath Row.

Stamford has been hosting an annual fair since the Middle Ages. Stamford fair is mentioned in Shakespeare's Henry IV part 2 (act 3 scene 2). The mid-Lent fair is the largest street fair in Lincolnshire and one of the largest in the country. On 7 March 1190, crusaders at the fair led a pogrom; many Jews in the town were massacred.

StamfordMuseum Bull run memorial jug
A jug commemorates Ann Blades - a Stamford bull runner in 1792

For over 600 years Stamford was the site of the Stamford Bull Run festival, held annually on 13 November, St Brice's day, until 1839. According to local tradition, the custom was started by William de Warenne, 5th Earl of Surrey, after he saw two bulls fighting in the meadow beneath his castle viewpoint. Some butchers came to part the combatants and one of the bulls ran into the town. The earl mounted his horse and rode after the animal; he 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 13 November, for ever after.

Stamford Museum was in a Victorian building in Broad Street from 1980 to 2011. In June 2011 it closed because of Lincolnshire County Council budget cuts. Some of the former exhibits have been relocated to the Discover Stamford area at the town's library.

Geography

Stamford is a town and civil parish in the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, on the River Welland in a southwesterly protrusion of Lincolnshire, between Rutland to the north and west, and Peterborough to the south. It borders Northamptonshire to the southwest. There have been mistaken claims of a quadripoint where four ceremonial counties, Rutland, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire seem to meet at a point (52°38′25″N 0°29′40″W / 52.64028°N 0.49444°W / 52.64028; -0.49444). However, the location actually consists of two tripoints around 66 ft (20 metres) apart.

In 1991, the boundary between Lincolnshire and Rutland (then Leicestershire) in the Stamford area was rearranged and now mostly follows the A1 to the railway line. The conjoined parish of Wothorpe is in the city 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.

In 1968, a specimen of the sauropod dinosaur Cetiosaurus oxoniensis was found in the Williamson Cliffe Quarry, close to nearby Great Casterton in adjacent Rutland. It is about 170 million years old, from the Aalenian or Bajocian part of the Jurassic period. It is 15 metres (49 ft) long and one of the most complete dinosaur skeletons found in the UK. In 1975, it was installed in the New Walk Museum in Leicester.

Landmarks

Burghley House and park
Burghley House

Stamford was the first conservation area to be designated in England and Wales under the Civic Amenities Act 1967. Since then the whole of the old town and St Martin's has been made an outstanding area of architectural or historic interest that is of national importance. The town has over 600 listed buildings, more than half of the total for the County of Lincolnshire.

The Industrial Revolution largely left Stamford untouched. Much of the town centre was built in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in Jacobean or Georgian style. Stamford is characterised by streets of timber-framed and stone buildings (using the local limestone that Lincoln Cathedral is built from), and little shops tucked down back alleys. A significant number of the old coaching inns survive, their large doorways being a feature of the town. The main shopping area was pedestrianised in the 1980s.

Near Stamford (actually in the historic Soke of Peterborough) 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 St Martin's 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 outdoor theatre productions by the Stamford Shakespeare Company.

Tobie Norris had a famous bell foundry in the town in the 17th century; his name is now better known as a popular pub on St Paul's Street.

Transport

Stamfordapproach
Stamford railway station before being extensively refurbished by Network Rail and Central Trains; Robert Humm's bookshop has now moved into the town

Road

Lying on the main north–south Ermine Street, the Great North Road, and the A1) from London to York and Edinburgh, Stamford hosted several Parliaments in the Middle Ages. The George Hotel, Bull and Swan, Crown and London Inn were well-known coaching inns. The town coped with heavy north–south traffic through its narrow streets until 1960, when a bypass was built to the west of the town. 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 plans to upgrade the bypass to motorway standard, but these have been shelved. The Carpenter's Lodge roundabout south of the town has been replaced by a grade-separated junction. The old A16, now the A1175 (Uffington Road) to Market Deeping, meets the northern end of the A43 (Kettering Road) in the south of the town.

On foot

All Saints' Street - geograph.org.uk - 616571
All Saints' Street

Footbridges cross the Welland at the Meadows, some 200 metres upstream of the Town Bridge, and at the Albert Bridge 250 metres downstream.

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 Roman Ermine Street and then the River Nene. The Macmillan Way heads through the town, finishing at Boston. Torpel Way follows the railway line, entering Peterborough at Bretton.

Rail

The town is served by Stamford railway station, previously Stamford Town to distinguish it from the now closed Stamford East station in Water Street. The station building is a stone structure in Mock Tudor style, influenced by nearby Burghley House and designed by Sancton Wood.

The station has direct services to Leicester, Birmingham and Stansted Airport (via Cambridge) on the Birmingham to Peterborough Line. CrossCountry operates most services as part of their Birmingham–Stansted Airport route. Trains to and from Peterborough pass through a short tunnel beneath St Martin's High Street.

Buses

The town bus station occupies part of the old castle site in St Peter's Hill. The main routes are to Peterborough via Helpston or Wansford and to Oakham, Grantham, Uppingham and Bourne. There are less frequent services to Peterborough by other routes. Delaine Buses services terminate at its depot in North Street. Other active operators include CentreBus, Blands and Peterborough Council.

On Sundays and Bank Holidays from 16 May 2010, there have been five journeys to Peterborough operated by Peterborough City Council on routes via Wittering/Wansford, Duddington/Wansford, Burghley House/Barnack/Helpston and Uffington/Barnack/Helpston. There is a National Express coach service between London and Nottingham each day, including Sundays. Route maps and timetables appear on Lincolnshire County Council's website.

River Welland - geograph.org.uk - 160240
River Welland

Waterways

Commercial shipping was carried along a canal from Market Deeping to warehouses in Wharf Road until the 1850s. This is no longer possible, due to abandonment of the canal and 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.

Arts and entertainment

Corn Exchange - geograph.org.uk - 616749
Corn Exchange

Stamford and nearby villages have their own substantial entertainment sector, as well as being able to access what is on offer in Peterborough, Leicester and other nearby cities. The local sector includes:

Organisations

  • Stamford Shoestring Theatre Company (the resident company at Stamford Arts Centre)
  • Stamford Pantomime Players
  • Stamford Brass (Stamford's Brass Band)
  • Stamford Senior Youth Theatre
High Street, Stamford - geograph.org.uk - 942736
Ironmonger Street in 1991

Venues

  • Stamford Arts Centre
  • Tolethorpe Hall
  • The Corn Exchange

Festivals and events

The George at Stamford - geograph.org.uk - 616081
The George Hotel - an iconic Stamford inn
  • Burghley Horse Trials annually in early September
  • Stamford Blues Festival
  • Stamford Riverside Festival
  • Stamford Mid Lent Fair

Economy

Tourism is important to Stamford's economy, as are professional law and accountancy firms. Health, education and other public-service employers also feature, notably a hospital, a large medical general practice, schools (some independent) and a further education college. Hospitality is provided by several hotels, licensed premises, restaurants, tea rooms and cafés.

The licensed premises reflect the history of the town. The George Hotel, Lord Burghley, William Cecil, Danish Invader and Jolly Brewer are among nearly 30 premises serving real ale. Surrounding villages and Rutland Water provide other venues and employment opportunities, as do several annual events at Burghley House.

Retail

The town centre's major retail and service sector has many independent boutique stores and draws shoppers from a wide area. Several streets are traffic-free. Outlets include gift shops, eateries, men's and women's outfitters, shoe shops, florists, hairdressers, beauty therapists and acupuncture and health-care services. Harrison Dunn, Dawson of Stamford, the George Hotel and The Crown Arts Centre are other popular places. Stamford has several hotels, coffee shops and restaurants. Its branch of the national jeweller F. Hinds can trace its history back to the clockmaker Joseph Hinds, who worked in Stamford in the first half of the 19th century. In the summer months, Stamford Meadows attract visitors.

National supermarkets Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons are represented. There are two retail parks a little way from the centre. One has Homebase DIY, Curry's electrical, Carpetright floor covering and McDonald's fast-food, the other Sainsbury's, Argos, Lidl, and Halfords car spares and bicycle shop. The town has three builders' merchants and several other specialist trade outlets and skilled trades such as roofers, builders, tilers etc. There are two car showrooms and a number of car-related businesses. Local services include convenience stores, post offices, newsagents and take-aways.

Harrier GR3 at RAF Wittering 2007
RAF Wittering is nearby to the south

Engineering

South of the town is RAF Wittering, a main employer which was until 2011 the home of the Harrier. The base opened in 1916 as RFC Stamford. It closed in 1919, but reopened in 1924 under its present name.

The engineering company, largely closed since June 2018, is Cummins Generator Technologies (formerly Newage Lyon, then Newage International), a maker of electrical generators in Barnack Road. C & G Concrete (now part of Breedon Aggregates) is in Uffington Road.

The Pick Motor Company was founded in Stamford in about 1898. A number of smaller firms — welders, printers and so forth — feature in collections of industrial units or more traditional premises in older, mixed-use parts of the town. Blackstone & Co was a farm implement and diesel engine manufacturing company.

Stamford lies amidst some of England's richest farmland and close to the famous "double-cropping" land of parts of the fens. Agriculture still provides a small, but steady number of jobs in farming, agricultural machinery, distribution and ancillary services.

Publishing and broadcasting

The Stamford Mercury claimed to have been published since 1695 as "Britain's oldest newspaper", but in fact it was founded in 1710 as the Stamford Post. However, it is the oldest provincial continuous newspaper title, as The Stamford Mercury has been in print since 1712.

Local radio provision was shared between Peterborough's Heart East (102.7 – Heart Peterborough closed in July 2010) and Greatest Hits Radio Stamford and Rutland (formerly Rutland Radio) (a 97.4 transmitter on Little Casterton Road) from Oakham. Since March 2021, Rutland and Stamford Sound has been providing a locally based service via the internet. Other stations include BBC Radio Cambridgeshire (95.7 from Peterborough), BBC Radio Northampton (103.6 from Corby) and BBC Radio Lincolnshire (94.9). NOW Digital broadcasts from an East Casterton transmitter covering the town and Spalding, which provides the Peterborough 12D multiplex (BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and Heart East). Stamford has a lower-power television relay transmitter, due to it being in a valley, which takes its transmission from Waltham, not Belmont.

Local publishers include Key Publishing (aviation) and the Bourne Publishing Group (pets). Old Glory, a specialist magazine for steam power and traction engines, was published in Stamford.

Sport

Football teams

  • Blackstones F.C.
  • Stamford A.F.C.
  • Stamford Belvedere F.C.

There are a number of junior teams in each age group and also school teams.

Rugby teams

  • Stamford College Old Boys R.F.C.
  • Stamford College Rugby Team
  • Stamford Rugby Club
Tolethorpe Hall near Stamford - geograph.org.uk - 214605
Tolethorpe Hall in nearby Little Casterton

Cricket teams

  • Burghley Park Cricket Club
  • Stamford Town Cricket Club

Education

Stamford has five state primary schools: Bluecoat, St Augustine's (RC), St George's, St Gilbert's and Malcolm Sargent, and the independent Stamford Junior School, a co-educational school for children aged two to eleven.

The one state secondary school is Stamford Welland Academy (formerly Stamford Queen Eleanor School), formed in the late 1980s from the town's two comprehensive schools: Fane and Exeter. It became an academy in 2011. In April 2013, a group of parents announced an intention to establish a Free School in the town, but failed to receive government backing. Instead, the multi-academy trust that submitted the bid was invited to take over the running of the existing school.

Stamford School and Stamford High School are long-established independent schools with about 1,500 pupils between them. Stamford School for boys was founded in 1532, the High School for girls in 1877. They have run co-educational classes in the sixth form since 2000. Together with Stamford Junior School, they form the Stamford Endowed Schools.

Most of Lincolnshire still has grammar schools. In Stamford, their place was long filled by a form of the Assisted Places Scheme, providing state funding to send children to one of two independent schools in the town that were formerly direct-grant grammars. The national scheme was abolished by the 1997 Labour government. The Stamford arrangements remained in place as a protracted transitional arrangement. In 2008, the council decided no new places could be funded and the arrangement ended in 2012. The rest of South Kesteven, apart from Market Deeping, has the selective system.

Other secondary pupils travel to Casterton College or further afield to The Deepings School or Bourne Grammar School.

New College Stamford offers post-16 further education: work-based, vocational and academic; and higher education courses including BA degrees in art and design awarded by the University of Lincoln and teaching-related courses awarded by Bishop Grosseteste University. The college also offers a range of informal adult learning.

Notable residents

In alphabetical order by section. References appear on each person's page.

Arts and broadcasting

  • Michael Asher (born 1953), FRSL, Stamford-born award-winning author and explorer, attended Stamford School in 1964–1971.
  • Torben Betts (born 1968), Stamford-born playwright, attended Stamford School in 1979–1986.
  • Colin Dexter (1930–2017), author, creator of Inspector Morse
  • Rae Earl (born 1971), author and broadcaster
  • Lady Angela Forbes (1876–1950), novelist and First World War forces sweetheart
  • Andrew Lycett (born 1948), biographer
  • James Mayhew (born 1964), writer and illustrator of children's books
  • Wilfrid Wood (1888–1976), artist

Business

  • John Drakard (c. 1775–1854), newspaper proprietor
  • Arthur Kitson (1859–1937), managing director of Kitson Empire Lighting Company and monetary theorist

Performance

  • Sarah Cawood (born 1972), television presenter
  • James Bradshaw (born 1976) stage and television actor
  • Tom Davis, actor and comedian
  • Tom Ford, broadcaster and presenter 5th Gear
  • David Jackson (born 1947), progressive rock saxophonist, flautist and composer
  • Nicola Roberts (born 1985), singer, best known as a member of Girls Aloud
  • George Robinson (born 1997), actor
  • Sir Malcolm Sargent (1895–1967), conductor
  • Sir Michael Tippett (1905–1998), composer

Scholarship

  • Harry Burton (1879–1940), Egyptologist and archaeological photographer
  • Robert of Ketton (с. 1110 – с. 1160), medieval theologian, was the first European translator of the Quran.

Sports

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