Louth, Lincolnshire

Louth, Lincolnshire

Louth is a market town and civil parish within the East Lindsey district of the county, and is known as the capital of the Lincolnshire Wolds.

It is situated where the ancient trackway Barton Street crosses the River Lud, as it emerges into the Middle Marsh, and dates from Saxon times. The town name derives from Hlud or Loud, referring to the fast flowing river. An Anglo-Saxon pagan cemetery on the Wold edge, a mile outside Louth at Acthorpe, contains some 400 cremation urns. With Christianity came a monastery south of the river, later destroyed by the Danes. The Greenwich Meridian crosses Eastgate and this point is marked with a plaque on the north side of the street, just east of the junction with Northgate. The town's skyline is dominated by the 15th century St James' Church, the spire of which is 295 feet tall.

During the age of the Doomsday survey the town had a flouring market, one of only seven in Lincolnshire. There were 13 watermills along the river and a population of 600 common folk. In the early 12th century the Cistercian monks founded Louth Park Abbey, a mile east of the town (sited on private land). The large cruciform church, completed by the Abbot Robert Dunham a century later, was largely built of chalk quarried from the area of the present cattle market. The prosperity of the Abbey was based on wool, with flocks of some 6,000 sheep. The grazing lands included Lambcroft Grange on the Wolds and an area nearby called Outmarsh. As the centuries passed, the town population swelled to more than two thousand and, at this time, two annual eight-day fairs were held, and King John visited. During the 16th century, the town became most noted as the origin of the Lincolnshire Rising, the forerunner of Pilgrimage of Grace.

There are many attractions to Louth, one notable one being the Tennyson Trail, where you can follow in the footsteps of one of the most famous poetic voices of the 19th century as it weaves in and around Lincolnshire's rolling landscapes. There is also the Louth Museum, built during the 20th century prior to the outbreak of World War One. It features several galleries: the Panorama Gallery, William Brown's 360 degree painting of Louth. The Ludalinks Gallery, Geology and bricks; birds and butterflies; archaeology; the Lincolnshire Rising of 1536; the Green Lady ghost story. And, lastly, the Town Gallery: an interactive floor-map of the 1920 Louth flood; costumes, carpets and bygones; printing and malting.

Modern day Louth offers a wide selection of independent retailers and two chain supermarkets. There is also the Louth Outdoor Market, held on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. There is a farmers' market on the fourth Wednesday of each month and a cattle market is held each Thursday at the Louth Livestock Centre on Newmarket. There are plenty of places to stop for food and drink and plenty of areas to walk off a substantial lunch. The town's Playhouse Cinema is on Cannon Street, and is home to Louth Film Club, which won the British Federation of Film Societies' Film Society of the Year Award in 2008. Louth Playgoers Society's Riverhead Theatre is on Victoria Road, to the east of the town.

Louth has a population of nearly sixteen thousand and local residents are known as Ludensians.