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Stamford

Stamford. Small town on the Lincolnshire border, at a strategic point where the Great North Road crosses the river Welland. It originated with a Danish fortress, flourished commercially, and in the 13th cent. hosted one of the great international trading fairs of England. It declined in the late Middle Ages, and the Cecils (who lived nearby at Burghley House) stifled its development until 1872 to retain control of the properties electing MPs: Lord Exeter forced the main railway line to go through Peterborough instead. The town remains a gem, full of 17th–19th-cent. stone houses, and ‘we may perhaps be grateful to the Cecils for the feudal obstinacy which kept their town from growing … There are too many Peterboroughs, and not enough Stamfords, in modern England’ ( W. G. Hoskins).

David M. Palliser

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Stamford (town, England)

Stamford, town (1991 pop. 18,127), in the Parts of Kesteven, Lincolnshire, E central England, on the Welland River. It is a market town. Products include diesel engines, electrical equipment, bricks, and tiles. Stamford is the supposed site of a defeat of the Picts and Scots by the Saxons in 449 and was one of the Five Boroughs of the Danes. The town is recognized for its architecture. Notable are part of an ancient Benedictine priory; a gate of Brasenose College (founded by a group from Oxford in 1333, when Stamford was famous as a seat of learning); several almshouses; and many 17th- and 18th-century buildings of Lincolnshire limestone. Nearby is Burghley House (16th cent.), home of the statesman William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, whose family was prominent in Stamford's history.

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