Cowbit is both a village and parish about three miles south of Spalding. The River Welland forms part of the western border, with the area called Deeping Fen across the river. Crowland parish lies to the south and Weston parish to the east. The area is about 4,500 acres of flat fenland, drained by many small canals. By 1913, the parish had been reduced in size to about 1,950 acres.
In 1842, Cowbit was a small village. The South Holland Drain runs through the village on its way to the River Nene to the east. If you are planning a visit:
Take the A1073 north from Crowland or south from Spalding. Where it intersects the B1357, you are in Cowbit.
Contact Fowlers of Spalding for information on bus service, Holbeach Drove, PE12 0SD, tele: 01406 330232.
Swans were bred here in ancient times. The village had a court of "Swan Mark".
Cowbit Wash was the site of an occasional Speed Skating event in the early 1800s. The sport dates back to around 1700. The National Skating Association was set up in Cambridge in 1879.
"Fowling" was a popular hunting pasttime, but dangerous. Zelianne tells us:
*The Preston Guardian: Saturday, January 3, 1846; Issue 1740.*
A MAN SHOT IN MISTAKE FOR A WILD DUCK -- On the night of Tuesday last, a person named GOODERSON, while in his fowling skiff in Cowbit Wash, fired at what he considered to be a group of birds; but was horror-struck when he immediately afterwards discovered the object of his aim was his old comrade JACKSON, who like himself was in pursuit of birds; but faint hopes are entertained of poor JACKSON's recovery.
In Winter, the Welland oft freezes over. But it is not always safe to cross.
*The Ipswich Journal: Saturday, February 3, 1810; Issue 3987*
On Tuesday evening, the 18th inst. a melancholy accident happened on the river Welland. An aged woman of the name of HAYNES of Cowbit had been to see some of her friends in Deeping Fen, and in her way thither in the morning, had crossed the river upon the ice. Two of her friends, fearful that she might meet with some accident in re-crossing the river in the evening, kindly offered their assistance to accompany her over the water; and the party had got nearly half over, when the ice broke, and the three women were immersed in the river. Mrs HAYNES, and a young woman of the name of Ann EVERARD, a servant of Mr Parr were drowned.
*The Leeds Mercury:Saturday, February 3, 1810; Issue 2324* also had an account of this tragic accident. They add the other lady in the party "was with difficulty extricated and has since recovered."
In 1712, Thomas ANDREW endowed the Free School with land, but the school house was given by William GUY in 1800. The school land was augmented by allotments at the enclosure, in 1819, of 28 acres let out for rental income to fund the school. In 1842 it had 30 free scholars and in 1913, as a Public Elementary School, it had 104.