The history of fenland including Spalding dates back to the Bronze Age, through both Roman and Anglo Saxon times to the Dark Ages and on to the more recent 17th, 18th and 19thcenturies. This history has a common theme which is based on the transition from a natural wetland with isolated islands of lands to a flat area of fertile agriculture land.
Between Domesday and the 13th Century a gradual reclamation of the wetlands began by building banks to protect the ground from floods. During the Dark Ages this reclamation stopped, but at the start of the 17th century, following economic recovery, the draining continued. This included both the southern areas that had already had some drainage work completed, plus some of the undrained more northerly silt fens. Much of this was thanks to the 4th Earl of Bedford, who planned and organised the draining of the Fens. Drainage schemes continued, but as the soil dried out, the land began to shrink. As the level of the land dropped, water could no longer drain into the rivers many of which were by then higher than the fields. Thus began the introduction of windmills to pump water off the land and into the rivers. These were only partially effective, and it was not until the 1820’s that steam power was introduced and the Fens were effectively drained. The final part of this story was the opening of the Coronation Channel (opened in 1953), which diverted the excess water down the River Welland, finally put an end to the regular flooding that had plagued Spalding.
External pages with links to the towns and villages which make up South Holland:
Cowbit, Crowland, Donington, Gedney, Gosberton, Holbeach, Long Sutton, Moulton, Pinchbeck, Spalding, Surfleet, Sutton Bridge, Whaplode,
Access the items in this archive tagged with the names of towns and villages can be found by clicking the following links:
Cowbit, Crowland, Donington, Gedney, Gosberton, Holbeach, Long Sutton, Moulton, Pinchbeck, Spalding Surfleet, Sutton Bridge, Whaplode