One of the most attractive market towns in Lincolnshire, Alford lies at the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds. On the outskirts of Alford is a unique five-sailed windmill, which dates to 1839. It is one of only a few working windmills in the county, and visitors can buy fresh ground grains.

The thatched manor house dates to 1611 and is one of the oldest thatched manors in the country. Alford Manor is now home to a museum of local heritage, with recreated Georgian and Victorian rooms, and a wealth of local history information and historic objects.

The medieval parish church is dedicated to St Wilfrid and dates to the 14th century, probably around 1350, replacing an earlier 12th-century building. Some of the best historic features include a Jacobean pulpit, 14th-century screen, a 17th-century tomb, and fragments of 16th century stained glass.

The name 'Alford' tells you something about the history and geography of the area; the name comes from 'alder trees by the ford'. The ford is long gone, replaced by a bridge. Alford was granted a market charter in 1283, which helped assure its prosperity through the Middle Ages. The centre of the town still has a large number of historic buildings, and the area has been declared a Conservation Area to preserve its historic character.

Look for the stocks in the market square where wrongdoers were punished. One of the newer historic buildings is the Corn Exchange, built in 1856 and now used as civic offices. An older historic building - or set of buildings - is the Sir Robert Christopher Almshouses on West Street. The trust established by Sir Robert still runs the almshouses he founded in 1668.

Alford proudly proclaims that it has the shortest High Street in the UK - though the town council doesn't give a measurement!


Famous people associated with Alford include Thomas Paine, author of The Rights of Man, who lived here, as did Ann Hutchinson, one of the early Pilgrims in Massachusetts. Another American connection is Captain John Smith, of Pocahontas fame, who was born at nearby Willoughby and educated in Alford.