Lincolnshire Wolds
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in UK

Lincolnshire Yellow Belly

Here are a few of the most common stories explaining the meaning of 'Lincolnshire Yellow Belly".

Royal North Lincolnshire Militia

The building on Burton Road, Lincoln that is now home to the Museum of Lincolnshire Life was once the barracks of the Royal North Lincolnshire Militia. The officers of this regiment would wear bright yellow waistcoats on the battlefield. This made it easier for their men to spot them and also earned them the name Lincolnshire Yellowbellies.

Newts and frogs

There is, apparently, a breed of newt common to the fens that has a bright yellow underside. Some have said that frogs that had the yellow bellies and were rather partial to the damp conditions of the undrained fens.


During summer the farmers would often work without their shirts on (the saucy devils). As they tended the fields they would be bent over, and get a lovely suntan on their back. Their fronts however would be in the shadows the whole time and so would stay white. The reflection of the corn is said to have given a yellow hue to their bellies.

Mail Coach

The mail coach that ran from Lincoln to London had a yellow undercarriage. Upon it's arrival in London it is said that the locals would call out "Here comes the Lincolnshire yellowbelly".


The traditional breed of sheep in the county is the Lincoln Longwool. As the name suggests, it's fleece was, well, long. These sheep would often graze in the fields of mustard that were once a common sight around Lincolnshire. As their shaggy coat dragged along the ground it would pick up pollen from the mustard flowers and give them, you've guessed it, a yellow belly.