April 18, 2022 4.30 pm This story is over 25 months old

Lincolnshire’s most famous faces – from a Prime Minister to Elton John’s songwriter

Can you think of any others?

By Local Democracy Reporter

Lincolnshire has seen some truly iconic names born here over the years, from a Prime Minister to actors, a Poet Laureate and even one of the world’s most famous scientists.

Lincolnshire is the second biggest county in England, behind Yorkshire, and so it is safe to assume that it’s seen its fair share of famous faces emerge from the shires.

Whether it’s one of the most quoted people in the history of humanity, the first female Prime Minister or the man who wrote the lyrics to Elton John’s songs – there’s no shortage of big names to come from Lincolnshire.

These are ten of the most famous people to be born in Lincolnshire, with a brief look at what makes them such a recognisable name.

Margaret Thatcher

The statue of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that will be placed in Grantham, her birth town.

Perhaps the most obvious one to start with, Margaret Thatcher became the first ever female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom when she was elected into Downing Street in 1979, staying in office until 1990.

However, it was in the humble Lincolnshire town of Grantham where she began her life, living above the grocery shop her dad owned in her early years of life.

Baroness Thatcher is set to be recognised in her home town with a statue, which was controversially approved by South Kesteven District Council in February 2019 – despite consistent calls for it to be scrapped given her divisive nature.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Alfred Lord Tennyson was born in Lincolnshire.

Alfred Tennyson is one of the most esteemed and respected poets ever seen in the United Kingdom, serving as Poet Laureate for much of Queen Victoria’s reign in the 19th century.

He was born in Somersby near Spilsby in 1809, and rests in Westminster Abbey, as well as having a statue by Lincoln Cathedral.

His achievements in the realms of literature span across a number of years, and Lord Tennyson is the ninth most frequently quoted writer in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, behind the likes of Pope Alexander and William Shakespeare.

Sheridan Smith

Sheridan Smith has captured imaginations on stage and TV screens for two decades. | Photo: IMDB

Sheridan Smith’s career trajectory has seen her go from sitcom cameo roles to centre stage award winner, and it’s hard to believe that it all began for her right here in our region.

The 40-year-old was born in Epworth in North Lincolnshire, studying at John Leggott College in Scunthorpe before starring on stage and screen for the last 20 years.

Smith has featured in shows such as The Royle Family, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Gavin & Stacey and Benidorm, while also releasing a top 10 charting album as a singer, and becoming a Laurence Olivier award winning theatre actress.

Jonathan Van-Tam

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam is a big Boston United fan. | Photo: John Aron for Boston Borough Council

Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have been forgiven for not knowing that the country’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer was a man from Boston, but before long Jonathan Van-Tam was Lincolnshire’s leading light.

The Lincolnite‘s Person of the Year for 2020, JVT’s straight to the point delivery of COVID-19 news at the daily briefings in Downing Street made him the voice of reason during the public health crisis, relying on his football metaphors to better understand the complexities of a global pandemic.

He has recently stepped down from his role of Deputy Chief Medical Officer, taking on a new job as the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Faculty of Medicine and Health Services at the University of Nottingham.

Bernie Taupin

Sleaford-born songwriter Bernie Taupin was awarded with a CBE for his exceptional services to music. | Photo: Bernie Taupin Instagram page

Widely regarded as one of the truly great songwriters of all time, Bernie Taupin struck a long time partnership with legendary singer Elton John – creating some of the most instantly recognisable hits in music history.

Bernie, now 71, was born at a farmhouse near Sleaford and went on to work for a local Lincolnshire newspaper, but it was his answering of a talent advertisement in 1967 that would be the making of his career.

He and Elton John joined forces that year, and are responsible for smash hit records such as Your Song, Rocket Man, Tiny Dancer, Candle in the Wind and Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting – which happens to be about fistfights at Taupin’s local pub, The Aston Arms in Market Rasen.

Jennifer Saunders

Jennifer Saunders on the set of Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. | Photo: IMDB / David Appleby

One half of the iconic comedy duo with Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders is one of the most successful people to emerge from our county of Lincolnshire.

The 63-year-old was born in Sleaford in 1958 but spent little time in the county due to her father being in the RAF. It was at drama school in London when she met Dawn French in the late 70s, sparking a combination that would have audiences and families laughing for years.

She has won multiple BAFTAs for her work on Absolutely Fabulous, as well as playing the Fairy Godmother on animated modern classic Shrek 2 and successfully running the famous sketch show French and Saunders for 20 years.

Jim Broadbent

Photo: Steve Smailes

Jim Broadbent receiving his honorary doctorate from Bishop Grosseteste University. | Photo: Steve Smailes

Golden Globe winner, Oscar winner, BAFTA winner, Emmy nominated, not to mention the fact he has featured in the likes of Harry Potter, Game of Thrones and Only Fools and Horses – it’s hard to imagine a career as glittering as that of Jim Broadbent.

His roots and legacy in Lincolnshire are evident for all to see. Born in Holton cum Beckering, Broadbent has gone on to make a name for himself beyond most people’s wildest imaginations.

More than 50 Hollywood films have included Jim Broadbent, including Iris, which saw him win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2001, and Moulin Rouge, for which he won a BAFTA in the same year.

Isaac Newton

The mural depicts Sir Isaac Newton looking through a prism and seeing the visible colours of the spectrum. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

It’s hard to find someone of more academic importance than Sir Isaac Newton, recognised as one of the most influential scientists and mathematicians in history.

Sir Isaac was born in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, a small hamlet in South Kesteven, Lincolnshire in 1642, and his work would go on to be the hallmark of some of the greatest scientific innovation we’ve ever seen.

He established classical mechanics, contributed to optics, and most recognisably, formulated the laws of motion and gravitation, before Einstein’s theory of relatively came along.

Robert Webb

Robert Webb was born in Boston in the 70s. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Star and co-creator of Peep Show alongside the other half of his comedy duo David Mitchell, Robert Webb has had an enviable career in television and comedy, featuring in cult classic shows and regularly appearing as a comedy panelist.

Webb, 49, was born in Boston in 1972, and he spoke to The Lincolnite in 2019 about his local roots in our county and how he turned a difficult childhood into a successful career.

As one half of Mitchell and Webb, Robert has become best known for his depiction of Jeremy Usborne on Channel 4 sitcom Peep Show, as well as the sketch comedy show That Mitchell and Webb Look.

Guy Martin

Guy Martin talking with the last surviving Dambuster George “Johnny” Johnson. | Photo: North One TV

A man with a need for speed, Guy Martin is a former motorcycle racer turned daredevil television presenter, setting world speed records on a variety of modified vehicles.

Guy was born in Grimsby and amassed a total of 17 podiums at Isle of Man TT events before retiring in 2017. He broke his back twice in racing accidents, but that never stopped him pursuing his adrenaline rushes.

Everything about Guy links back to his county’s roots, even to his name. He was given the name in tribute to Guy Gibson of the 617 Squadron, and he is the holder of four Guinness World Records.