Welton le Wold is located in a beautiful historic valley in the Lincolnshire Wolds. Remains including handaxes dating back to the Lower Palaeolithic period have been recovered from a gravel pit near the village. These artefacts are from the early Stone Age which is believed to have lasted from between about 2.7 million years ago to 200,000 years ago.
A number of later prehistoric monuments have also been identified close by, including an Early Bronze Age bowl barrow, suggesting that the ritual significance of the area lasted from the later 4th into the 2nd millennium BC. The locality was extensively occupied during the later Iron Age and the Romano-British period, evidenced by aerial photography and the recovery of artefacts like 3rd century pottery and a substantial number of Roman coins from the 3rd and 4th centuries.
The origins of Welton le Wold as we see it today probably lie in the later Anglo-Saxon period. This is suggested by the Old English name Welletune, as recorded in the Domesday Book (1086). Entries in the Domesday Book refer to 28 freemen and 29 villagers, though the total population might have been around 200. Landowners at the time included King William I (William the Conqueror) and the Bishop of Durham.
An extensive area of earthworks survives in the village, forming the remains of the medieval settlement. Excavation has revealed evidence of buildings occupied between c1050 and 1350. The oldest components of St Martin’s Church (the font and tower) also date from the 14th century. Other elements, including the west door and battlements, were added slightly later and the majority of the church was rebuilt in 1849.
The layout of Welton le Wold has hardly changed in recent centuries though the population has declined over time: the 1851 census records a population of 368 and today about a hundred people live here.
(text adapted from Welton le Wold: an historical walk through the life of a rural Lincolnshire Village, Welton le Wold History Group, August 2010 and Archaeological Watching Brief Report: Binbrook Road, Welton le Wold, Construct Archaeology, July 2000. Axe image from The Collection, Lincoln. 1721 Map reproduced with permission from the North Yorkshire County Record Office, document ref ZPT/26/17).