Ancaster is a village and civil parish in the South Kesteven District of Lincolnshire, England, on the site of a Roman town. The civil parish includes the settlements of Sudbrook by Ancaster and West Willoughby (both redirected here). (CAUTION: There is another place named Sudbrooke further north in the West Lindsey District of Lincolnshire.)
During the Romano-British period, the Romans built a roadside settlement on the site of a Corieltauvi settlement. It was traditionally thought to have been named Causennis, although that is now believed to be Saltersford near Grantham. Ancaster lies on Ermine Street, the major Roman road heading north from London. To the northwest of Ancaster is a Roman marching camp and some 4th-century Roman earthworks are still visible. Excavations have found a cemetery containing more than 250 Roman burials, including 11 stone sarcophagi. In the later years of Roman occupation, a large stone wall with accompanying ditches was erected around the town, possibly for defence against marauding Saxons.
The place-name 'Ancaster' is first attested in a twelfth-century Danelaw charter from the reign of Henry II, and in a legal document of 1196, where it appears as Anecastre. The name means 'the Roman fort of Anna'.
An excavation by television programme Time Team in 2002 revealed a cist burial bearing an inscription to the god Viridius. The dig also uncovered Iron Age to 3rd-century pottery, a 1st-century brooch, and some of the Roman town wall.
In 2005 the once widespread but now rare Tall Thrift plant was discovered in Ancaster churchyard, one of only two locations within the country where the plant is found. A preservation regime for the plant was instituted by English Nature.
The town Ancaster located in Ontario, Canada was first established in Upper Canada in 1792 and was named after Ancaster, Lincolnshire by British army officer and the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada Governor John Simcoe who was apparently inspired in the name choice by Peregrine Bertie, the 3rd Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven.
Lincolnshire is very low-lying and land had to be drained for agriculture to be successful. The larger drainage channels, many of which are parallel to each other, became boundaries between parishes. Many parishes are long and thin for this reason.
There is much fenland in Lincolnshire, particularly in the Boston and Horncastle areas. Fenlands tended to be extraparochial before the mid 1850s, and although many sections were identified with names and given the title "civil parish", little information has been found about them. Many appear to be abolished in 1906, but the parish which adopts them is not given in A Vision of Britain through Time. Note the WR category Lincolnshire Fenland Settlements which is an attempt to organize them into one list.
From 1889 until 1974 Lincolnshire was divided into three administrative counties: Parts of Holland, Parts of Kesteven and Parts of Lindsey. These formal names do not fit with modern grammatical usage, but that is what they were, nonetheless. In 1974 the northern section of Lindsey, along with the East Riding of Yorkshire, became the short-lived county of Humberside. In 1996 Humberside was abolished and the area previously in Lincolnshire was made into the two "unitary authorities" of North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. The remainder of Lincolnshire was divided into "non-metropolitan districts" or "district municipalities" in 1974. Towns, villages and parishes are all listed under Lincolnshire, but the present-day districts are also given so that places in this large county can more easily be located and linked to their wider neighbourhoods. See the WR placepage Lincolnshire, England and the smaller divisions for further explanation.