Keelby is referred to in the Domesday Book as Chelebi, a Viking name meaning ridge valley.  A small Cistercian nunnery was established around 1170 at Nun Cotham, the remains of which are to be found on the outskirts of the present village and cared for by English Heritage. 

The largest and oldest building in the village is St Bartholomew’s Church, most of which is about 800 years old with parts dating back to possibly the 12th / 13th century.  Close to the Church is another ancient building, a rare survival of a mediaeval hall built in chalk around the mid 14th century or possibly earlier and now part of a private dwelling. 

When the first census was taken in 1801 there were 313 people in Keelby living in 58 houses.  By 1851 the population had risen to 859, settling to 650 by 1939.  The majority of people at this time were employed on the land, in service or as trades’ people. 

Until World War II, Keelby was largely a self-sufficient village that also served the needs of smaller nearby villages.  Since 1945 the village has seen many changes.  The population has risen to over 2000, with the largest growth seen in the 1970s and 80s when several modern estates were built. 

Post war – because of changes in agricultural practice, the development of Immingham as a major port and the establishment of the Humber Bank factories – Keelby has become much more of a dormitory village with people travelling out to work, shop and socialise.  However, when compared with many other villages, it is still well served by shops, trades people and community organisations. 

The village has always had a fairly mobile population; even in 1881 less than half the population had actually been born in the village, although many came from nearby villages.  Another large source of immigration was, as now, from Yorkshire.  Today there are people from all parts of Britain and beyond who have made Keelby their home.

Source:  Keelby Parish Plan 2008 “Towards the Future”.