Buildings and Architecture

Mud and stud roundhouse, Langton copyright Nev Gurnhill

What lies beneath

Within the Lincolnshire Wolds there is a varied and complex geological makeup. The solid geology is dominated by chalk deposits interspersed with clays, sandstones and limestone beds from a range of geological periods. The different glacial movements across the Lincolnshire Wolds have helped create the gentle, rolling hills that comprise much of the landscape we see today.

The rich geology is shown in the buildings across the Lincolnshire Wolds; Spilsby Sandstone, Claxby Ironstone and Tealby Limestone are all commonly used and help to shape the local character. The local brick styles reflect the Kimmeridge Clay found in the valley bottoms, with many manufactured locally.


The Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has a wealth of built heritage, much of which is still visible today in its villages and towns. There are an array of local styles, materials and designs to see.
If you would like to find out more please come along to one of our events.

Places of worship

Many of the churches in the Lincolnshire Wolds originated in the 12th century. However, some have even earlier origins and can be traced back to the later Anglo-Saxon period (10th and 11th centuries) from surviving architecture and grave markers. Many churches have been added to and extended through the medieval period in response to increasing population and changes to liturgy, some have even been reduced in size. More recently a number of churches have undergone extensive rebuilding and remodelling by Victorian restorers.

The Lincolnshire Wolds are also rich in non-conformist chapels and meeting houses, many of which are of  brick construction and often based on a standardised design.

All Saints, Tealby copyright Nev Gurnhill

Villages and hamlets

Vernacular architecture  is the term used to describe buildings using local traditions, materials and design. These buildings vary from region to region and help to create individual villages that not only make up the Lincolnshire Wolds, but all of rural England.

The availability of local building materials influenced the visible characteristics of the buildings seen in the Lincolnshire Wolds today. The majority of village buildings erected before the 19th century are of local stone but in areas where stone was not easily available timber framed buildings were erected. These are known as mud and stud and are similar structurally to timber buildings elsewhere, although the design is more local.

These houses are made of a light timber framework covered on both sides by a mix of mud, straw and water. The outside is usually lime washed white and have, traditionally, a reed or long straw thatched roof. It is unusual for these types of building to have a second storey, or even an attic.

Cottage at South Ormsby copyright Nev Gurnhill

Country houses

Within the Lincolnshire Wolds there are many fine examples of Tudor or Georgian country houses or manors. Most of the earlier buildings are of local stone, but from the 18th century onwards, as in the rest of the country, brick became fashionable and many country houses were built of brick extracted from the increasing number of local brick pits. There are a number of these modest size country homes, usually set in a purposely designed landscape. Examples include Dalby Hall and Gunby Hall.

Gunby Hall gardens copyright Nev Gurnhill

Farm buildings

The Lincolnshire Wolds has an important and distinctive set of historic farm buildings, often in the form of crew yards of brick and stone walls with pantile or slate roofing.  Many of the farmsteads date from the Victorian period of High Farming when mechanisation and crop rotation patterns led to increased pastoralisation and cultivation.  Many areas of rough grazing and warrens were totally transformed over a 70 year period in the 19th century culminating in highly productive sheep and arable farming units.  However from 1875 both cheap imports and a series of poor harvests resulted in a general decline in the profitability of farming, which continued until the revival of farming fortunes following the Second World War and the passing of the national Agricultural Act.

The Greater Lincolnshire Farmsteads Guidance is a package of information and advice available to owners and developers of historic farmsteads. Used in the preparation of applications for planning consent, it is a shared tool for the sustainable development of traditional farm buildings in the rural landscape.

Learn about Farmsteads Guidance

Farmstead Hawarby


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