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A description of the Parts of Kesteven from Whites directory of 1872

Kesteven, one of the three great divisions of Lincolnshire, comprises the south-western part of the county, extending southward from the city of Lincoln to Stamford and Market Deeping, a distance of more than 40 miles; and varying from 24 to less than 15 miles in breadth.    It is bounded on the south by Rutland and Northamptonshire, on the west by Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire; on the north by Lincoln,Fossdyke and the Witham; and on the east by the latter river, and the fens of the Parts of Holland.   Its western side is traversed from north to south by the Cliff range of Heath Hills, sometimes called the Cliff Row, on each side of which are picturesque and fertile valleys and plains, watered by the Witham, the Brant, and many smaller streams;  but on its eastern side is a broad extent of fens, nearly all well drained, enclosed and cultivated, and traversed by that ancient navigable drain, called the Car-Dyke, which extends northwards from west Deeping to the Witham near Fiskerton, and is conneceted with other navigable drains from Boston, Spalding &c.   This division possesses also good railway communication, by means of numerous branches of the Great Northern system. the great north road crosses Kesteven between Stamfod and Newark; and from the latter place the Roman road called the Fosseway, is extended to Lincoln.   The Roman Ermine Street traverses it from north to south, alongthe range of Cliff hills.  The Parts of Kesteven and the Parts of Holland formed the South Parliamentary Division of Lincolnshire till the passing of "The Representation of the People Act 1867" when the county was divided into three instead of two divisions, as already noticed.  The Clerk of the Peace for Kesteven has his office at Sleaford, and the Quarter Sessions are held there and at Bourn; but the boroughs of Grantham and Stamford have seperate Quarter Sessions, and are the two largest towns in this division. It has 64 acting magistrates, and contains upwards of 100,000 souls, and about 460,000  acres of land, divided into the nine Wapentakes od Aswardhurn, Aveland, Beltisloe, Boothby-Graffoe, Flaxwell, Langoe, Loveden, Winnibriggs-and-Threo and Ness;  exclusive of the borough and soke of Grantham, and the borough of Stamford.   Kesteven had its name from Ceotefne-Wood, a great forest which in ancient times occupied its southern wapentakes, and extended over a large portion of Deeping and other fens, where the trunks and roots of large trees have often benn dug up, in spots where no trees have grown for several centuries.   This forest and chase was disafforested by Henry 111 in 1230, by letters patent, which were confirmed by Edward 111 in 1346m when the forest is said to have extended from Swaton to Market Deeping, a distance of eighteen miles; but a great part of it must have been deep morasses, more celebrated for aquatic than field sports.  The men of kesteven are said to have given 250 marks for this royal charter of disafforestation; and since then they have paid immense sums for the drainage and improvement of the fens, the increased fertility of which has amply repaid them for all the labour and cost expended on them;  as also has Lincoln Heath, once a dreary waste extending ten miles south of the city.  The western side of this large division is picturesquely diversified with hill and dale, and wood and water, and contains many handsome seats, especially aboutGrimsthorpe, denton and Belton;  and the soil varies from fine arable to rich grazing land.    AroundSleaford is a large tract of fertile pasture land, sufficieltly dry for sheep, and well calculated for fattening large cattle.   Ecclesiastically, Kesteven is in the Diocese and Archdeaconry of Lincoln, and in the Deaneries of Aswardhurn-with-Lafford,  Boothby-Graffo, Grantham, Langoe, Loveden, Ness , and Stamford