Stamford, Lincolnshire

Stamford, Lincolnshire

Stamford is a town and civil parish on the River Welland in the South Kesteven district of the county. It is 92 miles (148 km) north of London by road, and on the east side of the A1 road to York and Edinburgh. It has a resident population of more than twenty one thousand and the town is best known for its medieval core of 17th–18th century stone buildings, older timber framed buildings and five medieval parish churches.

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. Therefore there is much interest in its vibrant local history. In June 1968, a specimen of the sauropod dinosaur Cetiosaurus oxoniensis was found by Bill Boddington in the Williamson Cliffe Quarry, close to Great Casterton. It was calculated to be around 170 million years old, from the Aalenian or Bajocian part of the Jurassic period.

The Romans built Ermine Street across what is now Burghley House and through the middle of the town, where it forded the Welland, eventually reaching Lincoln. During the late 10th century King Edgar made Stamford a borough. The town originally grew as a Danish settlement at the lowest point that the Welland could be crossed. A Norman castle was built during the late 11th century and apparently demolished during the 15th century. The site stood derelict until the 20th century when it was built over and now includes a bus station and a modern housing development.

There is substantial presence of professional law and accountancy firms. There is a large number of hotels, licensed premises and many restaurants, tea rooms and cafés. The licensed premises reflect the history and geography of the town with The Lord Burghley, The William Cecil, St Mary's Vaults Inn, The Danish Invader and The Scotgate, (and previously The Daniel Lambert) together with the Easton on the Hill. The modern day town centre is home to many independent retailers and draws people from a wide area. There are numerous gift shops, homewares, men's and women's outfitters, shoe shops and florists, as well as hair salons, beauty therapists, and eateries. There is also representation from national supermarkets and major retail chain stores.

Many visitors find themselves in Red Lion Square, Stamford's ancient market place and pretty much the centre of town. The building running along the south side of the square is thought to be a late medieval wool hall. A further dip in history can be located at The All Saints Brewery, a Victorian establishment, much of which still stands, offering a variety of tours, including tasting tours, run during the week and at weekends. There are a vast number of medieval churches to visit including St Mary's Church, the "Mother Church" as it is sometimes called, impressively noticeable for its large broach spire. The earliest parts of the church date from the late 12th century.

The town has much to offer with the Stamford Arts Centre, providing you with the opportunity to experience and participate in a wide selection of art forms from theatre, music and film to sculpture, dance and drawing. There is also Barn Hill, one of Stamford's most attractive and well-preserved streets. This picturesque cobbled stoned street provided key locations for the BBC TV series Middlemarch and the film The Golden Bowl.

Stamford is a town rich in history, which is plainly evident upon arrival, but also with its focus firmly in the modern age.