Ancaster, Lincolnshire

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St.Martin's church, Ancaster, Lincs. - - 81148.jpg
St Martin's Church, Ancaster
Ancaster is located in Lincolnshire
Location within Lincolnshire
Population1,317 (2001)[1]
OS grid referenceSK983438
• London100 mi (160 km) S
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townGrantham
Postcode districtNG32
Dialling code01400
AmbulanceEast Midlands
EU ParliamentEast Midlands
UK Parliament
List of places
52°58′N 0°32′W / 52.97°N 00.54°W / 52.97; -00.54Coordinates: 52°58′N 0°32′W / 52.97°N 00.54°W / 52.97; -00.54

Ancaster is a village and civil parish in the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, England, on the site of a Roman town. The population of the civil parish was 1,317 at the 2001 census increasing to 1,647 at the 2011 census.[2] The civil parish includes the settlements of Sudbrook and West Willoughby.[3]


Ancaster was a Roman town at the junction of Ermine Street[4][5] and King Street.[6]

During the Romano-British period, the Romans built a roadside settlement on the site of a Corieltauvi settlement. It was traditionally thought to have been named Causennis, although that is now believed to be Saltersford near Grantham. Ancaster lies on Ermine Street, the major Roman road heading north from London. To the northwest of Ancaster is a Roman marching camp and some 4th-century Roman earthworks are still visible.[7] Excavations have found a cemetery containing more than 250 Roman burials, including 11 stone sarcophagi.[citation needed] In the later years of Roman occupation, a large stone wall with accompanying ditches was erected around the town, possibly for defence against marauding Saxons.

The place-name 'Ancaster' is first attested in a twelfth-century Danelaw charter from the reign of Henry II, and in a legal document of 1196, where it appears as Anecastre. The name means 'the Roman fort of Anna'.[8]

An excavation by television programme Time Team in 2002 revealed a cist burial bearing an inscription to the god Viridius. The dig also uncovered Iron Age to 3rd-century pottery, a 1st-century brooch, and some of the Roman town wall.[9]

Ancaster Hall at the University of Nottingham was named after the parish, and the now extinct title of the Earl of Ancaster.[citation needed]

In 2005 the once widespread but now rare tall thrift plant was discovered in Ancaster churchyard, one of only two locations within the country where the plant is found. A preservation regime for the plant was instituted by English Nature.[10]

The town Ancaster located in Ontario, Canada, was first established in Upper Canada in 1792 and was named after Ancaster, Lincolnshire, by British army officer and the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada John Simcoe who was apparently inspired in the name choice by Peregrine Bertie, the 3rd Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven.[11]


Ancaster is situated midway between Sleaford and Grantham on the A153 road at its junction with the B6403 (Ermine Street). North of the village, the B6403 (High Dike) is the dividing line between South and North Kesteven. Towards Sleaford is Wilsford and to the west is Sudbrook.

The civil parish boundaries are different: the civil parish also covers the settlements of Sudbrook and West Willoughby.[12]


Ancaster has a C.E. primary school,[13] a butcher and grocery shop, a small railway station on the Nottingham–Skegness line and a post office and petrol station. There had been two public houses on Ermine Street but only the Railway Inn remains whereas the Ermine Way has now been closed. There is also a sports and social club associated with the playing field, which hosts Ancaster Cricket club. West of the village on Willoughby Moor is a holiday park. There are also two nearby nature reserves, each an SSSI, where the tall thrift plant is found, it being unique to this area of the UK.[10]


The village's Grade I listed Anglican parish church is dedicated to St Martin,[14][15] one of many churches on Roman sites which are dedicated to the Roman soldier who converted to Christianity and later became Bishop of Tours and a saint. St Martin's church stands slightly elevated on the Roman road Ermine Street, and on the probable site of a Roman temple. It is first documented in 1200 when Bishop Hugh's body rested overnight at the church while on the way to Lincoln.[citation needed] The church has decorated Norman arches and an Early English font. The corbels are decorated with medieval figurative imagery: a drinking nun, an old woman, and a farmer with medieval head-dress. There is also a Green Man 'mouth-puller' in the vestry, and the remains of a Sheela na gig on the north side of the tower. On the wooden ceiling there are carvings of figures. Two Roman relief sculptures were found in the East Wall of the church in the 1960s.[citation needed]

The ecclesiastical parish is linked with Wilsford, and is part of the Loveden Deanery of the Diocese of Lincoln.[16]


  1. ^ "2001 census". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  2. ^ "Civil parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Civil Parish details".
  4. ^ Margary, Ivan D (1973). Roman roads in Britain. pp. 224–30.
  5. ^ Historic England. "Ermine Street in Lincolnshire (1031813)". PastScape. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  6. ^ Historic England. "King Street (1035135)". PastScape. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  7. ^ Historic England. "Roman remains (325933)". PastScape. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  8. ^ Eilert Ekwall,The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names, p.9.
  9. ^ "Romano-British cemetery site, west of Ancaster", HeritageGateway, English Heritage. Retrieved 13 January 2013
  10. ^ a b "Anger over wild flower graveyard", BBC News, 3 August 2005
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Ancaster Parish Council"., Retrieved 28 June 2013
  13. ^ Ancaster CE Primary School. Retrieved 28 June 2013
  14. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Martin (1062422)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  15. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Martin (325927)". PastScape. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  16. ^ "Ancaster/Wilsford Group P C C". Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Diocese of Lincoln. Retrieved 28 June 2013

External links[edit]

Media related to Ancaster, Lincolnshire at Wikimedia Commons