Willoughby is both a village and a parish which lie about 3 and a half miles south of Alford and eight miles northwest of Spilsby. It is a large parish of approx. 5,027 acres, with Farlesthorpe and Cumberworth parishes to the north, Hogsthorpe parish to the east and Orby and Welton le Marsh to the south.
Willoughby village is bisected by the B1196 secondary road. The hamlet of Sloothby at TF 4970 is also part of Willoughby parish. Other hamlets which existed in Willoughby are Bonthorpe, Habertoft, Hasthorpe, Mawthorpe, and Sandfield.
The name Willoughby derives from a combination of Old English and Old Scandinavian Wilig+by, or "farmstead by the willow trees". It appeared in the 1086 Domesday Book as Wilgeby. A. D. MILLS, "A Dictionary of English Place-Names," Oxford University Press, 1991.
Robert SUTTON of Willoughby was sheriff of Lincolnshire in 1507.
Famous people of Willoughby include Captain John SMITH, who campaigned in a battle in Hungary against the Turks. He later went on to New England (which he named), where he wrote a local history, as well as one of Virginia, where he founded Jamestown. It is he who was captured by indians and almost killed, saved by the intervention of Pocahontas, the daughter of a tribal chief. He died in 1631.
In the 19th Century, Baroness Willoughby de ERESBY was owner of the greater part of the parish.
Schooling started here in 1727 with a bequest by the Rev. Anthony BARNES. A schoolhouse was built in 1848. In 1871 it had about 40 students. A Church School existed at Sloothby in 1872, attended by about 30 children.
See our Schools page for more information on researching school records.