Status Ceremonial & (smaller) Non-metropolitan county
Region East Midlands
(North Lincolnshire and
North East Lincolnshire are in
Yorkshire and the Humber)
- Total
- Admin. council
- Admin. area
Ranked 2nd
6,959 km²
Ranked 4th
5,921 km ²
Admin HQ Lincoln
ISO 3166-2 GB-LIN
ONS code 32
- Total (2004 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
- Admin. pop.
Ranked 19th
142 / km²
Ranked 15th
Ethnicity 98.5% White

Lincolnshire County Council
Executive Conservative
Members of Parliament

Ian Cawsey, Quentin Davies, John Henry Hayes, Douglas Hogg, Edward Leigh, Shona McIsaac, Gillian Merron, Austin Mitchell, Elliot Morley, Mark Simmonds, Peter Tapsell


  1. Lincoln
  2. North Kesteven
  3. South Kesteven
  4. South Holland
  5. Boston
  6. East Lindsey
  7. West Lindsey
  8. North Lincolnshire (Unitary)
  9. North East Lincolnshire (Unitary)

Lincolnshire (abbreviated Lincs) is a county in the East Midlands of England. It borders onto Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Rutland, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire, the East Riding of Yorkshire and (for just 19 metres, England's shortest county boundary) Northamptonshire. Its county town is the ancient city of Lincoln.

The Lincolnshire flag voted for by readers of Lincolnshire Life magazine and listeners of BBC Radio Lincolnshire
The Lincolnshire flag voted for by readers of Lincolnshire Life magazine and listeners of BBC Radio Lincolnshire

The county flower of Lincolnshire is the Common Dog-violet.

The ceremonial county of Lincolnshire (composed of the non-metropolitan counties of Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire and North-East Lincolnshire) is the second largest of the English counties and one that is predominantly agricultural in character.

For the purposes of a general geographical classification the county can be broken down into a number of sub-regions including: the Lincolnshire Fens, the Lincolnshire Wolds, and the industrial Humber Estuary and North Sea coast around Grimsby and Scunthorpe.


Ceremonial county of
County Town:
Other Settlements
North Kesteven
South Kesteven
South Holland
East Lindsey
West Lindsey
North Lincolnshire
North East Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire specific articles
Diocese of Lincoln

Lincolnshire derived from the merging of the territory of the ancient Kingdom of Lindsey with that controlled by the Danelaw borough Stamford. For some time the entire county was called 'Lindsey', and it is recorded as such in the Domesday Book. Later, Lindsey was applied only the northern core, around Lincoln, and emerged as one of the three Parts of Lincolnshire, along with the Parts of Holland in the south-east and the Parts of Kesteven in the south west, which each had separate Quarter Sessions to act as their county administrations.

In 1888 when county councils were set up, Lindsey, Holland and Kesteven each received their own separate one. These survived until 1974, when Holland, Kesteven, and most of Lindsey were unified into Lincolnshire, and the northern part, with Scunthorpe and Grimsby, going to the newly formed non-metropolitan county of Humberside, along with most of the East Riding of Yorkshire.

A further local government reform in 1996 abolished Humberside, and the land south of the Humber became the unitary authorities of North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. These two areas became part of Lincolnshire for ceremonial purposes such as the Lord-Lieutenancy, but are not covered by the Lincolnshire police and are in the Yorkshire and the Humber region.

The remaining districts of Lincolnshire are Boston, East Lindsey, Lincoln, South Holland, North Kesteven, South Kesteven and West Lindsey. They are part of the East Midlands region.


This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Lincolnshire at current basic prices published (pp.240-253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added4 Agriculture1 Industry2 Services3
1995 5,719 657 1,769 3,292
2000 6,512 452 2,046 4,013
2003 8,419 518 2,518 5,383

Note 1: includes hunting and forestry

Note 2: includes energy and construction

Note 3: includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured

Note 4: Components may not sum to totals due to rounding


The county of Lincolnshire is a major agricultural producer, growing large amounts of Wheat, Barley, Sugarbeet and Oilseed rape. In South Lincolnshire, where the soil is particularly rich in nutrients, some of the most common crops include cabbage, cauliflowers and onions.

Mechanisation around the turn of the 20th Century greatly diminished the number of workers required to manage the county's relatively large farms, and the proportion of workers in the agricultural sector dropped substantially during this period. Several major engineering companies developed in Lincoln and Grantham to support those changes, perhaps most famously Fosters of Lincoln, who built the first tank, and Richard Hornsby & Sons of Grantham.

Today, immigrant workers from Portugal and Eastern Europe comprise a large component of the seasonal agricultural workforce, particularly in the south of the county where more labour intensive crops such as small vegetables and cut flowers are typically grown. Many of these migrant workers are from the southern and eastern states of the European Union and are thus working legally in the United Kingdom. This seasonal influx of migrant labour occasionally causes tension between the migrant workforce and local people, in a county which is still relatively unaccustomed to the large scale immigration experienced by other parts of the United Kingdom.

Services and Retail

According to an IGGI study in 2000, the town centres were ranked thus (including N Lincs and NE Lincs):-

  • Lincoln
  • Grantham
  • Grimsby
  • Boston and Scunthorpe (equal)
  • Spalding
  • Stamford
  • Skegness
  • Louth
  • Sleaford
  • Gainsborough
  • Brigg
  • Cleethorpes
  • Bourne
  • Horncastle and Mablethorpe (equal)

Public services


Lincolnshire is one of the few counties within the UK that still uses the Eleven plus to decide who may attend grammar school. Despite the bias towards selection, there are many comprehensive schools in Lincolnshire with excellent records.


Being on the economic periphery of England, Lincolnshire's transport links are less well developed than many other parts of the United Kingdom. The road network within the county is dominated by single carriageway trunk roads (A roads) and minor roads (B roads) rather than motorways or dual carriageways — the administrative county of Lincolnshire is one of the small number of UK counties without a motorway and up until a few years ago, it was said that there was only approximately thirty-five kilometres (twenty-two miles) of dual carriageway in the whole of Lincolnshire.

The low population density of the county means that the number of railway stations and train services is low considering the county's large physical size. A large number of the county's railway stations were permanently closed following the Beeching Report of 1963. Lincoln retained its direct train service to London until the late 1980s and the East Coast Main Line freight route still passes through Lincoln, but it is now necessary for passengers to change trains in Newark, Nottinghamshire. However, the East Coast Main Line passes through the county and so it is still possible to catch direct trains to the capital from Grantham.

There is a local joke that Lincolnshire is the only county where most people's second car is a Massey Ferguson (a make of tractor).

Since April 1994, Lincolnshire has had an Air Ambulance service which was extended to also cover Nottinghamshire in 1997. The air ambulance is stationed at RAF Waddington near Lincoln and can reach emergencies in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire within 19 minutes.

Health care

The United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust is one of the largest trusts in the country, employing almost 7000 staff and with an annual budget of over £250 million.

Lincolnshire shares the problems of elsewhere in the country when it comes to finding an NHS dentist, with waiting lists of three months not uncommon.

Some of the larger hospitals in the county include:

  • Boston Pilgrim Hospital
  • Grantham and District Hospital
  • Lincoln County Hospital
  • Skegness and District General Hospital


Lincolnshire is relatively unusual in the composition of its population, being one of the least ethnically diverse counties of the United Kingdom (98.5 percent of the population describe themselves as "white"). Over recent years inward migration by people from ethnic minority communities has increased (particularly to population centres such as Lincoln) but the absolute number of non-white Lincolnshire residents remains very low.

Recently, the county has also witnessed a growing trend towards an in-migration of retired persons from other parts of the United Kingdom, particularly those from the southern counties of England attracted by the generally lower property prices and generally slower and more relaxed pace of life. Skegness was recent voted the most popular place in Britain to retire to, with Spalding and Mablethorpe also recommended, by a recent study. The relatively high proportion of elderly and retired people is reflected in many of the services, activities, and events.

Those born in Lincolnshire are sometimes given the nickname of Yellowbellies (often spelt "Yeller Bellies", to reflect the pronunciation of the phrase by the typical Lincolnshire farmer). The precise origin of the term is unknown and there are many theories.

Towns and villages

The non-metropolitan county of Lincolnshire is characterised by the absence of any major urban area. The principal settlements and their populations are: Lincoln (85,000), Boston (35,000), Grantham (34,000), Spalding (22,000), Stamford (19,000) and The Deepings (15,000). Many of the towns in the county continue to hold a weekly market, a centuries-old tradition reinvigorated recently by the growth of farmers' markets. Most of the urbanised area of Lincolnshire is on the Humber estuary, in the unitary authorities. Scunthorpe in North Lincolnshire, has a population of 62,000, and the Cleethorpes/Great Grimsby conurbation in North East Lincolnshire has a population of over 100,000.


Lincolnshire is a rural area where the pace of life is generally slower than much of the United Kingdom. Sunday is still largely a day of rest, with generally only shops in Lincoln, larger market towns, and resorts and industrial towns of the North Sea coast remaining open. Some towns and villages in the county still observe half-day closing on Thursdays. Most Lincolnshire towns and villages have pubs, local halls and local chapels and churches all of which host a variety of social activities for residents. Fishing (because of the extensive river and drainage system in the fens) and shooting are popular activities.


The accent and dialect words of Lincolnshire are poorly known beyond the county, especially compared to more familiar accents, e.g. Scouse or Cockney. The effects of modern media, education, and in-migration to the county have substantially diluted the traditional accent, and many dialect words have been lost over recent years. However, the accent certainly exists, and a native 'Yeller Belly' will still easily pick out a Lincolnshire speaker, possibly even being able to distinguish where in the county the speaker is from. The northern residents of Lindsey tend towards the Yorkshire dialect, with the accent of the south-east of the county (Holland and the Fens) being more similar to that of East Anglia.

In common with most other Northern and Midlands dialects in England, "flat" a is preferred, i.e. [baθ] over [bɑθ], and also in words like water, pronounced watter (though such a pronunciation is rarely heard in 2005). Similarly, [ʌ] is usually replaced by [ʊ]. Features rather more confined to Lincolnshire include:

  • Elaboration of standard English [eɪ] or [iː] into a complex triphthong approximating, and often transcribed -air- or -yair-. For example: "mate" [m(j)ɛːɚt]; "beast" [b(j)ɛːɚst]; "tates" (potatoes) [t(j)ɛːɚts].
  • An equivalent elaboration of standard English [əʊ] - commonly [oː] in Northern England - into -ooa-. For example "boat" [bʊːɚt].
  • Insertion of an extra schwa into the standard English diphthong [aʊ]. For example, the town of Louth is pronounced [lawəθ] by its inhabitants.
  • Vocabulary: "duck" as a term of endearment or informal address, "mardy" meaning upset or angry, "while" as a substitute for standard English "until", and the inimitable salutation "now then!?" (hello), sometimes written nairn to reflect pronunciation, but often drawn out into a sing-song nyEEEAaairn-myeeeaaairt!!! in the mouth of the more rural and traditional speaker.

Lincolnshire has its own dialect 'champion', a farmer from the village of Minting called Farmer Wink (real name Robert Carlton), who has produced videos about rural life, narrated in his broad Lincolnshire accent, and who has a regular slot on BBC Radio Lincolnshire.


Lincolnshire has a number of interesting local dishes:

  • stuffed chine - this is roasted and sliced belly of pork, stuffed with a strong sage, or parsley stuffing (other ingredients are normally kept secret). Served cold, it's considered by many in the county to be an acquired taste
  • haslet - a type of pork loaf, also flavoured with sage
  • Lincolnshire pork sausages - most butchers in Lincolnshire have their own secret recipe for these and a competition is held each year to judge the best sausages in the county
  • Batemans ales - a beer brewed in Wainfleet and served in many pubs in the county and further afield


Every year the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society stages the Lincolnshire Agricultural Show on the last whole week of June at its showground at Grange de Lings, a few miles north of Lincoln on the A15. First held in 1869, it is one of the largest agricultural shows in the country, and is attended by around 100,000 people over its two day opening. The site is in regular use throughout the year for a wide range of other events.

Each year RAF Waddington is the home to the Waddington International Air Show. The two day event attracts around 100,000 people and usually takes place during the last weekend of June.


The unofficial anthem of the county is the traditional folksong, 'The Lincolnshire Poacher', which dates from around 1776. A version of the song was the theme to BBC Radio Lincolnshire for many years.

In August 2005, BBC Radio Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire Life magazine launched a vote for an unofficial flag to represent the county. Six competing designs were voted upon by locals. The winning submission was unveiled in October 2005

Places of interest

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