Market Rasen is a small market town situated to the west of the Wolds. It was originally called East Rasen.

The town was administered by a Local Board, 1878-1894 and an Urban District Council, 1894-1974. Unlike most market towns, Market Rasen did not form the centre of a poor law union, but was instead included in the Caistor Union.

The road between Caenby Corner and Louth was turnpiked in 1765 and the railway running north from Lincoln arrived in 1848. The population increased significantly from 793 in 1801 to 2,815 in 1871, but then declined until the 1930s. Since then the population has steadily increased to around 3,000.

The growing nineteenth century population was served by banks and inns in the market square, gas and water supplies, two corn exchanges, a police station and a magistrates court. Prominent buildings today include the parish church of St Thomas, De Aston School (opened 1863), the Methodist Chapel and the Roman Catholic Church. The Racecourse remains a major attraction.