Visit Caistor & The Wolds - local history

Local history

We've got a story to tell

We’ve got a pretty rich and interesting past, more than we could possibly cover on here – but hopefully, with the help of The Caistor Heritage Trust, we’ll share as much as we can.

Take a look at our ‘Things to do‘ page to discover our history for yourself – or take a look at The Arts and Heritage Centre’s interactive timeline.

 A glimpse into the past:

Visit Caistor & The Wolds - local history

The original site of Caistor was developed on a flat “headland” jutting out from the Lincolnshire Wolds and over-looking the Ancholme Valley.


The “headland” could be defended easily with its steep sides and being surrounded by wet marshy land on three sides.  The springs provided an excellent source of water throughout the year.


Evidence from the surrounding area shows the area was populated from the time of the earliest settlers. The evidence included long barrows, encampments and artifacts.

Visit Caistor & The Wolds - local history

Little evidence is available on early Roman occupation. It is believed by some that in 61AD Simon the Zealot was crucified by Catus Decianus and buried at Caistor.


By the 3rd century substantial stonewalls had been built around the site by the Romans. A cemetery was started on the site of what is now the Cooperative store.


St. Paulinus visited Caistor early 600AD and led to the legend of the Fonaby Sack.

The Anglo-Saxons occupied the site and as a symbol of power built a nave tower possibly surrounded by a ditch. There was probably a small church on what is now the Grammar School site. Unusually, the Anglo Saxons continued to use the Roman cemetery for their burials.

Visit Caistor & The Wolds - local history


In 790AD the Viking began to raid the shores of these islands. They settled in Caistor. It is at this time the present church building began making it one of the three minsters in Lindsey. The “new” cemetery was opened. By 860 it is thought there would have been a small monastery in Caistor. There was a mint producing coins between 973AD and 980AD.


Caistor was a royal manor with dependent chapels in its sokes in 1065 and in 1066 William I granted Bishop Reigius the church at Caistor. Hago, the brother of William I was made Lord of the Manor in 1080 and took Caistor men to fight the Danes in Yorkshire.


In 1143 Caistor was the most northerly fort held by King Stephen. He visited the site twice to ensure it was secure. 30 years later Caistor was recorded as a borough and prescriptive market. Ox hides and herrings were important items brought to the the market for sale.


1267 and King Henry III visited the town. Between 1315 and 1317 there was a little ice age and the crops failed causing great famine. This was followed by the bubonic plague in 1349.


Sir Edward Maddison who was born a Fonaby and buried at Caistor Church played an important part in the Lincolnshire Rising of 1536.

Visit Caistor & The Wolds - local history


King Henry VIII stayed at Fonaby. Princess Elizabeth was the last royal to be the Lord of the Manor and by 1558 Sir Francis Ayscough of South Kelsey had taken over the title Lord of the Manor. 40 years later another wave of the Black Death swept Lincolnshire and although, 30 deaths were recorded in Caistor, this was light compared to other parts of Lincolnshire.


1630 Caistor Grammar School was founded.


Visit Caistor & The Wolds - local historyOn the 11th June 1662 the Session House was built followed in 1681 by a fire that destroyed half of the town centre in less than 4 hours and made 45 families destitute.


In 1769 mobs in Caistor oppose the recruiting officials for war with France. At about the same time the Enclosures are started around Caistor. Caistor Canal Road, now called Navigation Lane was created in 1798.


Thanks to The Caistor Heritage Trust for helping us with the content on this page.

More recent history coming soon…