Ufford Parish Council

History of Ufford

Ufford’s origins certainly lie in Saxon times and maybe earlier. The Roman King Street runs just east of the Parish boundary and Ermine Street is a mile or so to the west.

St Andrew’s church dates mainly from the late 13th century and the mediaeval core of the Old Rectory was reputedly used by pilgrims en route to Walsingham.

Ufford Hall dates from the 18th century and was built by the Manners family. In the latter part of the 20th century it was the home of the Kitson family until the death of the fourth Lord Airedale, the Deputy Speaker in the House of Lords, in 1996.

An earlier hall, Down Hall, long since demolished, was situated to the north of the village.

Ufford was an agricultural settlement until well into the 20th century and the current surrounding landscape was largely shaped by the Ufford Enclosure Award of 1799 which transformed the open-field system so loved by the poet John Clare from nearby Helpston.

Some Roman pottery has been found in the vicinity of The Roost at the top of Ufford hill but so far there is no evidence of a Roman villa and the Roman Roads passed Ufford by, to the east, the road we now call King Street and to the west, Ermine Street.

Saxon Ufford appears to have had 2 centres, one in the south at the top of the hill and one close to what is now Ufford Farm. Its Saxon name was Uffewurda = Uffa`s farm.

The Parish was rectangular in shape and extended from the River Welland to the top of the limestone ridge. It was unusual because it included two other Saxon villages, Bainton=Bada`s farm and Ashton=Ashtree farm.

The Saxons had an eye for country and put their villages on well drained land close to light soils which were easy to plough, grazing for their animals and woods for building and burning.

Ufford and neighbouring parishes were not mentioned in the Domesday Book, which suggests there were no taxes to be collected. Perhaps they had been wiped out by the Danes, but they all recovered. For centuries daily life for the ordinary village folk appears to have changed very little.

There was a building “explosion”in the 17th and 18th centuries associated with changes in land ownership, notably the purchase of all Torpel manor land by Sir Thomas Trollope in 1687 and the building of Ufford Hall in the 1740s. Farms, barns and cottages were built on both sides of Main Street and Ufford acquired its linear shape.

The present day Conservation Area corresponds almost exactly with the Enclosure map of the village in 1799.

Map of Ufford in 1799