Crowle, Lincolnshire

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Market Hall - - 236052.jpg
Market Hall in Crowle
Crowle is located in Lincolnshire
 Crowle shown within Lincolnshire
Population 4,090 (2001 Census)
OS grid reference SE772128
   – London 150 mi (240 km)  SSE
Civil parish Crowle
Unitary authority North Lincolnshire
Ceremonial county Lincolnshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Scunthorpe
Postcode district DN17
Police Humberside
Fire Humberside
Ambulance East Midlands
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
List of places

Coordinates: 53°36′26″N 0°49′56″W / 53.607350°N 0.832108°W / 53.607350; -0.832108

Crowle is a small town and civil parish on the Isle of Axholme in North Lincolnshire, England. It lies on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal and has a railway station. The town includes its suburb of Windsor.

Notable buildings in the town include the parish church, in which can be seen the Crowle Stone runic cross shaft, and the Gothic revival market hall.


Crowle was one of the last largest pieces of dry land on the north of the Isle of Axholme when the area emerged from Glacial Lake Humber after the last Ice Age. The present settlement developed between Mill Hill, 18 metres (59 ft) above sea level, and the River Don. The Don flowed into the River Trent just north of Crowle and developed as a busy route for shipping, including international trade.[citation needed]

The archaeological evidence is sparse but increasing. Late Neolithic / Early Bronze Age flints have been found, as has Roman and Romano-British pottery. Pieces of amphora suggest either a higher status building or that Crowle was a trading centre.[citation needed]

The top of Mill Hill was used for arable farming from at least Roman times onwards. Field walking conducted between 2002 and 2004 on the east side of Mill Hill suggests that the arable farming was conducted down towards the 5 m contour. Below this point, the land was too damp and used for pasture. Below about 4 m, very little pottery was found. The land was too difficult to work until the invention of the tractor. The town had thirty-one fisheries recorded in the Domesday Book of the late 11th century.[1] The Domesday Book recorded: "Manor in Crule, Alwin had one oxgang less than six carucates to be taxed. Land to as many ploughs. Inland at Hubaldstorp. Now a certain Abbot of St. Germains in Selby has there under Geoffrey, one plough in the desmesne, and fifteen villanes and nineteen bordars, having seven ploughs, and thirty-one fisheries of thirty-one shillings. Thirty acres of meadow. There is a church, and wood and pasture one mile long and one mile broad. Value in King Edwards time £12, now £8. Tallaged at 40s." At the Conquest 1066, Crowle was the most populous and valuable manor in the Isle of Axholme. The Lord Paramount Geoffrey de Wirce, kept a demesne (Area of land) in his own hands. A carucate, approximately 240 acres, is the amount of land that can be worked by a plough team in a year. There are eight oxen in a plough team, hence the oxgang 30 acres.

Crowle's St Oswald church has elements of Saxon-Norman design. The town apparently was developing in the 11th century. Over the next 300 years, it grew to have a three-day fair. Later it acquired one formerly held at nearby Garthorpe. It seems to have benefited from the growth in trade,[according to whom?] and did not suffer too much from having a Viking army parked up-river at Adlingfleet during the winter of 1070. They left Adlingfleet as wasteland. The surrounding marshland seems to have dried a little during the warm period around 1000AD.[citation needed]

The town declined in the late Middle Ages. Historians believe this could be for a number of reasons. The end of the warm climatic period resulted in an expansion of the marshland, with die-back of many trees on the wetter land. Two villages to the north, Haldenby and Waterton, were totally deserted in this period. Possibly the Black Death affected the town but what was probably more important was the switch of trade patterns; the fair declined and the growth of Hull may have pulled trade from Crowle as it did to Beverley. Silting of the river Don began to interfere with trade and shipping but was not corrected.[citation needed]

In the 1620s the Dutch engineer Vermuyden was hired by regional authorities to drain the land, turning a productive marsh-based peasant economy into a less productive arable system. It was not until the late 18th century that the land was drained properly.[citation needed]

Crowle, together with the whole of the north Isle of Axholme, thrived in the 19th century. Effective drainage, the steam pump, and warping the land (controlled flooding to deposit silt and nutrients) to increase fertility, resulted in better crops and a massive growth in population. Census records suggest some migration from outside the region, including an Irish population.[citation needed]

After 1870 the town went into a sharp decline, as foreign competition in the meat and corn markets was coupled with bad harvests and animal diseases. The population fell from about 3500 to 2500 in 1890.[citation needed]

Since the late 20th century, the town has had major expansion, with residential developments on Mill Hill, Wharf Road, Field Side and Godnow Road. Several infill redevelopments of old farm buildings in the older part of the town have occurred.[citation needed]

The Axholme Academy (formerly North Axholme School) is the main secondary school serving the town. The White Hart is the oldest public house in the Isle of Axholme.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Stonehouse, William Brocklehurst (1836); History of the Isle of Axholme, p.400. Reprint (2012), ISBN 1130922685

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