The Baptist chapel in Eastgate could seat 200 and was erected in 1881. A Wesleyan chapel was erected in Northgate in 1848. Southgate had a Congregational chapel built in 1868. The Primitive Methodists built a chapel in 1841 in Westgate. For information and assistance in researching these chapels, see our non-conformist religions page.
Sleaford is a principal town which covers portions of at least two parishes. The British would call it a conurbation, like Scunthorpe or several other towns in the county. Americans would more likely call it a place that had exceeded the original town limits, like San Francisco or New York. The two parishes that make up most of the town are Old Sleaford and New Sleaford. For many centuries, Old Sleaford was the more agrarian parish, while New Sleaford florished with construction and growth. Old Sleaford lies to the south and east of the Slea River and New Sleaford is on the northern and western banks of the river. The parish includes the hamlet of Holdingham.
The town is a crossroad place, 115 miles north of London and almost equi-distant between Newark in Nottinghamshire and Boston in Lincolnshire, with the Lincolnshire towns of Grantham 14 miles to the south-west and Bourne way off to the south, and the city of Lincoln 18 miles to the north. If you are planning a visit:
A Roman Road used to run through the town from Tattershall to Ancaster. You will find the A153 trunk road an easier route by automobile. The A17 passes just north and the A15 just west of the town.
Records indicate that Old and New Sleaford were separate parishes at the time of William the Conqueror. But some sources refer to Old Sleaford as simply a hamlet in the parish of Quarrington.
You might want to find a copy of "Mid-Victorian Sleaford, 1851-1871," edited by Charles Ellis and printed in 1981, ISBN 08-6111-1028, 196 pages, paperback. I do not know if many names appear in the book.
Sleaford was a market town and had a market day every Monday and a fair five times a year. It was a popular location because it sat at the juntion of six roads and five railway branches.
About 1130, Bishop Alexander built a castle in a field just south-west of the town. (Sources vary as to where the castle was built.) In Queen Elizabeth's reign, it was pulled down.
In 1792, the first banking house was established in Sleaford (Peacock, Handley & Company.
A theater was built in town in 1824.
From 1829 through 1831, the whole town had its streets repaved and widened, walls reflagstoned and portions of town drained properly. The major streets are called Gates, after the cardinal points, and intersect at right angles.
In 1830, a new Town Hall (or Sessions House) was erected in the Market Place.
The town was lighted with gas on 1 October, 1839.
In 1845, a County Police Station and lock-up were erected in the Eastgate area of town.
In 1857, the Corn Exchange was built on the Market Place. The Butter market occupied the basement.
In 1857-58, when a railway line was being built south of the town, a large Anglo-Roman cemetery was discovered. Nigel THOMAS has a photograph of the railway station on Geo-graph, taken in 2000.
The Great Northern Railway line provided direct transport to Boston and the East Coast. The Great Eastern railway served the town as well.
For the steam-powered railway buff, Ben BROOKSBANK has a photograph of a 1948 A1 Pacific locomotive on Geo-graph, taken in September, 1954.
In 1879, the Sleaford Water Compnay started pumping water from a spring to a resevoir on a hill about a mile from the town.
Read about the Sleaford May Fair in 1882. The Fair is still celebrated, albeit on a smaller scale.
An Urban District Council was formed under the "Local Government Act" of 1894, with 12 members to manage the town's future.
Richard CROFT has a photograph of the now closed Marquis of Granby public house on Geo-graph, taken in February, 2009. The pub. dates from the 1700s and is now a Grade II structure with English Heritage
In 1882: E Company of the Second Lincolnshire Rifle Volunteer Corps, numbering a little over 60 men, had a drill-shed in Southgate. Captain H. INGOLDBY, commanding; H. A. PEAKE, lieutenant; and Sergeant M. CLEARY, drill-instructor.
Captain H. INGOLDBY we believe is Henry INGOLDBY, bank manager at Saving's Bank in 1881. He was 58, born Boston, married to Mary (also born Boston). H. A. PEAKE we believe is Henry Arthur PEAKE, secretary to the Water Company. He was 25, single, born New Sleaford. We have not found Sergeant M. CLEARY yet.
In 1900: E Company of the Volunteer Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, had an armoury and orderly room at West Banks. Captain Rowland Sydney GOWARD, commanding; Robert Mancrieffe EARL, lieutenant; and Arthur C. HOWARD, second lieutenant.
Sleaford adopted the HMS Sheldrake in 1942. She was built in 1936 as a Kingfisher Class Patrol Boat. A model of the ship was presented to the Town Council. In 1946 she was sold to the Palu Steam Navigation Company for commercial use.