In ancient times the River Waveney flowed to the sea through Oulton Broad and Lake Lothing, reaching the sea at Lowestoft, meaning that together with the mouth of the River Yare Lothingland is historically an island, and was indeed known as the Island of Lothingland. When the Waveney deviated its course on its current sharp turn to the north this was no longer the case. In 1833 the Norwich and Lowestoft Navigation opened for sea-borne vessels to pass through Oulton Broad and Lake Lothing, the area once effectively again became an island.
Historically it formed a half-hundred, which was incorporated into Mutford to form Mutford and Lothingland. A Lothingland Rural District (excluding Lowestoft) of East Suffolk existed until 1974 - this is now split between the borough of Great Yarmouth in Norfolk and Waveney.
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