Traditions point to the inclusion of this place under the rule of the Lunar race of Hastinapur, and several places are associated with episodes in the Mahabharata. Many villages contain ancient mounds in which fragments of sculpture have been found, Balmiar-Barkhar and Khairlgarh being the most remarkable. A stone horse was found near Khairabad and bears the inscription of Samudra Gupta, dated in the 4thcentury. Samudra Gupta, King of Magadha performed Ashvamedha yajna in which a horse is left to freely roam in the entire nation, so as to display the power of king and to underline the importance of his conquest. The stone replica of the horse, is now in the Lucknow Museum.
See also: Awadh § Under_the_Mughals
The northern part of Lakhimpur Kheri was held by Rajputs in the 10thcentury. Muslim rule spread slowly to this remote and inhospitable tract. In the 14th century several forts were constructed along the northern frontier, to prevent the incursions of attacks from Nepal.
During the Mughal Empire in the 17th century, under the rule of Akbar the district formed part of the Sarkar of Khairabad in the Subah of Oudh. The later history of 17th century under the Nawabs of Awadh, is of the rise and decline of individual ruling families.
In the year 1801, when Rohilkhand was ceded to the British, part of this district was included in the cession, but after the Anglo–Nepalese War of 1814-1816 it was restored to Oudh. On the annexation of Oudh in 1856 the west of the present area was formed into a district called Mohammadi and the east into Mallanpur, which also included part of Sitapur. In the Indian Rebellion of 1857 Mohammadi became one of the chief centres of Indian independence movement in northern Oudh. The refugees from Shahjahanpur reached Mohammadi on 2 June 1857, and two days later Mohammadi was abandoned, most of the British party were shot down on the way to Sitapur, and the survivors died or were murdered later in Lucknow. The British officials in Mallanpur, with a few who had fled from Sitapur, escaped to Nepal, where later on most of them died. Till October 1858, British officials did not make any other attempt to regain control of the district. By the end of 1858 British officials regained the control and the headquarters of the single district then formed were moved to Lakhlmpur shortly afterwards.