Holland is a flat land, part of the Great Fen, and very similar to its namesake in the Netherlands across the sea. As was that land, Lincolnshire's Holland was once barren fen and marsh but was drained by skilled engineers, most notable amongst them Cornelius Vermuyden, to produce rich farmland.
To the north and west, Holland is bordered by its fellow parts of Lincolnshire while to the east, Holland is bounded by the North Sea and the Wash, and by Norfolk (on Terrington Marsh) while Cambridgeshire lies to the south. Roughly speaking, it extends from Wainfleet to the Isle of Ely (Cambridgeshire), and on the north by the Lindsey wapentakes of Candleshoe, Bolingbroke, and Horncastle, and on the west by the Kesteven wapentakes of Ness, Aveland, and Aswardhurn. It has some 299,647 acres and a population of 152,779.
The main town of Holland is Boston. It contains three wapentakes:
This land was at one time covered by the sea. From the Roman period and throughout the Middle Ages it was a wasteland, mainly of marsh and fen with some sparse woodland, which failed as the sea waters trespassed upon it once again. King Charles I invited Vermuyden to come across from his Holland to this one and the land was eventually reclaimed and converted into good, fertile land, by means of embankments and numerous drains.
The name of Holland has been much discussed. The English place-names Society have tended to prefer the an origin in the Old English hyll land meaning "hill land", though given the complete lack of any hills here, that seems dubious. Another suggestion has been holt land, though again the lack of trees makes this seem unlikely.
Holland has a general deal of resemblance to the Holland in Europe, and which is just across the sea from here, so it may derive its name from that land, and that was always the belief in old books, just because the Holland in Europe is more famous across the world, that does not mean it was the origin of Lincolnshire's Holland; the Netherlandish Holland might even have taken its name from Lincolnshire's. Alternatively they might have a common origin meaning, as has been suggested, "Hollow Land".
Were the name ancient, it might have been introduced by Saxon settlers from the Netherlands and shared a name across the sea, but it is not found so early. When the name of Holland appeared is unknown, but it appears in the records from the Middle Ages.
|Wapentakes of Lincolnshire
Holland: Elloe • Kirton • Skirbeck • Kesteven: Aswardhurn • Aveland • Beltisloe • Boothby Graffoe • Flaxwell • Grantham Soke • Langoe • Loveden • Ness • Winnibriggs and Threo • Lindsey: West Riding: Aslacoe • Corringham • Manley • Lawress • Well • North Riding: Bradley Haverstoe • Ludborough • Walshcroft • Yarborough • South Riding: Bolingbroke • Calceworth • Candleshoe • Gartree • Hill • Horncastle • Louth Eske • Wraggoe