Alford is a small market town located near the eastern edge of the Wolds, some six miles inland from the sea. The earliest market charter was granted by Edward I to William de Welle in 1283.

The population of the town was 1,040 in 1801, and grew to a peak of 2,894 in 1881. The population had fallen to 2,139 by 1961, but had grown to an estimated 2,980 by the mid 1990s.

An Urban District Council was formed in 1896 to administer the town, replacing the authority of the manor, but was abolished at local government reorganisation in 1974. A gas works company was set up in 1874 to provide gas to the town.

Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School was founded in 1565, although the present buildings date from 1881. Other prominent buildings include the Church of St Wilfrid (medieval in origin but restored and extended in 1867), the sixteenth century Manor House, and the last surviving of four windmills.

A Turnpike road, connecting Alford with Louth and Boston, was set up under an Act of Parliament of 1765. The East Lincolnshire Railway between Boston and Grimsby, opened in 1848, passed through Alford and greatly improved communications. A tramway ran between Alford and Sutton le Marsh (Sutton on Sea) from 1884 to 1889, but could not compete with the railway loop-line to the coast, completed in stages between 1877 and 1888. The railway was closed in 1970.

The area to the South of the town was enclosed in 1840.