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Crowland’s Albion Street and Workhouse

There is a street in Crowland that has had many names over time – Independence Lane, Poor’s Lane, Poor House Row, Poor House Lane, Town House Lane, The Lane, and finally Albion Street. It is not known exactly when the houses on this street were built, but the many different designs of the houses show that they were made by different builders.

Map of Albion Street in Crowland in 1904


In order to erect a house in the street, a person would have had to get permission from the Feoffees. Only once permission was given could a house be built, which may be why there are so many different house designs.

Albion Street was named after Albion House, which was on the corner of Albion Street and West Street. It is now part of the Co-op building.

William Bothwell bequeathed the land here to Crowland, and he also left behind a house for the parish to use as an almshouse. This would have been the Workhouse, but its location is unclear. The majority of the locals think the Workhouse was in Poor House Lane – a logical assumption, from the name of the lane – but Poor House Lane was called by that name because of the type of housing being built upon it, and because the inhabitants had to ask for the Feoffee’s permission to build.

At Crowland in South Lincolnshire, there is a street of cottages which at one time belonged (and many of them still belong) to no one but the actual holder of the key. Many years ago, a charitable disposed person named Bothway left certain lands in trust for the poor of Crowland and as soon as the labourer had sufficient money to build a house he applied for permission, which was granted by the Feoffees. That house was his because he built it and that he held the keys that admitted him into it. After his death, if he left a widow in possession, the house was hers. If the owner died without relatives, the person who was fortunate enough to step in and take possession was the owner. The tenants in many instances have now taken advantage of the laws of enfranchisement, by which, for a small sum, they are enabled to take out a deed which shows the property to be their own freehold. There are today, it is stated, still some houses with no title deeds, and the people living in them have only the ‘Keyhold Tenure’.”
– Nottingham Evening Post, 1912.

An advert in the Stamford Mercury, a notice from July 1830, mentioned a building that was on the site of the public toilets in West Street. This could have been the Workhouse.

The first written record of a Workhouse in Crowland came from 1733. It may be that Crowland had more than one Workhouse. If anyone out there has more information about Crowland’s Workhouse, please comment below!

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