A History of Horncastle from the Earliest Period to the Present Time

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HISTORY OF HORNCASTLE.




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SEAL OF SIMON DE ISLIP.
Vicar of Horncastle, 1349; Archbishop of Canterbury, 1349-1366.


We are indebted for the engraving of this seal to the courtesy of Miss G. M. Bevan, author of Portraits of the Archbishops of Canterbury, published by Messrs. Mowbray & Co., London.

A


History of Horncastle,


FROM THE EARLIEST PERIOD TO THE PRESENT TIME.



ILLUSTRATED.



BY

James Conway Walter,

AUTHOR OF

Records of Woodhall Spa and Neighbourhood, Parishes around Horncastle, The Ayscoughs, The Coitani, &c., &c.




HORNCASTLE:
W. K. Morton & Sons, Ltd., Printers, High Street.
1908

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MARKET PLACE AND STANHOPE MEMORIAL.

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PREFACE.

 

THE following pages may truthfully be said to be the result of labours, extending over many years, and of researches in directions too many to tell.

Born within almost a mile of Horncastle, and only by a few months escaping being born in it, since his father, on first coming to the neighbourhood, resided for a time in Horncastle,[1] the author, from his earliest years (except for periodical absences) has been connected with the life, social or civil, of the place, probably more closely and more continuously, than any other person living, in like circumstances.

The notes on which this compilation is based were begun more than 30 years ago. While writing a volume of Records of more than 30 Parishes around Horncastle, published in 1904; and, before that, while describing about as many more, in a volume, Woodhall Spa and Neighbourhood, published in 1899, he had constantly in view the crowning of the series, by the history of the old town, round which these sixty, or more, parishes cluster; the haunt, if not quite the home, of his boyhood, and familiarized to him by a life-long connection.

For this purpose sources of information have been tapped in every possible direction; of public institutions, the official records, and title deeds, where available, have been carefully consulted; especially should be here mentioned various deeds and charters, which are quoted in Chapter II, from the archives of Carlisle Cathedral, which have not hitherto been brought before the public, but of which the author has been allowed free use, through the courtesy of the librarian. These are of special value, from the long connection of the Manor of Horncastle with the See of Carlisle.

In other cases the author has been allowed the privilege of more private testimony; for instance, his old friend, the late Mr. John Overton (of a highly respectable family, for generations connected with the town and county), has most kindly given him the use of various family MS. notes, bearing on parish and other matters. Mr. Henry Sharp has freely assisted him with most varied information, derived from long years of connection with the town, in public or private capacity. The late Mr. Henry Boulton, ancestrally connected with various parts of the county, was remarkable for a mind stored with memories of persons and things, in town and neighbourhood, which he freely communicated to the author, who saw much of him in his later years. While, last but not least, the late Mr. William Pacey, whether in his "Reminisences of Horncastle," which he contributed to the public newspapers, or in his personal conversations, which the present writer enjoyed for many years, yielded up to him treasure, collected by an indefatigable student of local lore, who entered into such work con amore.

To all these the author would now fully, and gratefully, acknowledge his indebtedness; but for them this work could not have been produced in anything like its present fulness. In some of the matters dealt with, as for instance in the accounts of the Grammar School, as well as in other portions, he may fairly say, in the language of "the pious Æneas" (slightly modified), "quorum pars (ipse) fui," (Æneid ii, 6); and in these he has drawn not a few of the details from his own recollections.

In stringing these records together, of such varied character, and on subjects so numerous, he cannot but be conscious that, in the endeavour to give all possible information, and to omit nothing of real interest, he may, on the other hand, have laid himself open to the charge of being too diffuse, or even needlessly prolix. Others not sharing his own interest in the subjects treated of, may think that he has occasionally "ridden his hobby too hard." If this should be the judgment of any of his readers, he would crave their indulgence out of consideration for the motive.

These are the days of historic "Pageants," drawn from life, and with living actors to illustrate them. We have also our "Gossoping Guides," to enable the tourist to realize more fully the meaning of the scenes which he visits. From both of these the author "has taken his cue." He had to cater for a variety of tastes; and while, for the general reader he has cast his discriptions in a colloquial, or even at times in a "gossoping," form, he believes that the old town, with its "Bull Ring," its "Maypole Hill," its "Fighting Cocks," its "Julian Bower," and other old-time memories, can still afford pabulum for the more educated student, or the special antiquary.

Like the composer of a Pageant play, his endeavour has been rather to clothe the scenes, which he conjures up, with the flesh and blood of quickened reality, than in the bare skin and bones of a dry-as-dust's rigid skeleton. How far he has succeeded in this he leaves to others to decide; for himself he can honestly say, that it has not been from lack of care, enquiry, or labour, if he has fallen short of the ideal aimed at.

Signature of James Conway Walter
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CONTENTS.
CHAPTER I. page
Part I—Prehistoric. Horncastle—its infancy 1
Part II—The Dimly Historic Period 3
CHAPTER II.
Records of the Manor, &c., from the Norman Conquest 11
CHAPTER III.
St. Mary's Church 33
CHAPTER IV.
The Church of Holy Trinity 57
CHAPTER V.
Nonconformist Places of Worship.
The Wesleyans 64
The Primitive Methodists 71
The Independents 77
The Baptist Chapel 84
The New Jerusalem Church 86
CHAPTER VI.
Educational Institutions—The Grammar School 91
CHAPTER VII.
Watson's Free School 108
The Lancasterian and the Bell Schools 111
The Science and Art School 112
CHAPTER VIII.
The Dispensary 119
CHAPTER IX.
The Canal 126
The Railway 130
CHAPTER X.
Workhouse or Union 133
The Court House 135
The Stanhope Memorial 136
The Clerical Club 137
The Mechanics' Institute 139
The Corn Exchange 140
The Whelpton Almshouses 142
The Drill Hall 145
CHAPTER XI.
Horncastle Worthies, &c. 151
Oddities 160
Publichouses 161
APPENDIX.
page page
Thimbleby 165 Mareham-le-Fen 192
West Ashby 176 Moorby 198
High Toynton 180 Wood Enderby 201
Mareham-on-the-Hill 183 Coningsby 203
Low Toynton 185 Wilksby 207
Roughton 188 Langriville 209
Haltham 190 Thornton-le-Fen 210
INDEX.



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ILLUSTRATIONS.

    PAGE
Mammoth Tooth
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
5
Hammer Head
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
7
North-east corner of the Castle Wall
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
9
Plan of Horncastle, 1819
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
15
Plan of Horncastle, 1908
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
23
St. Mary's Church
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
35
Brass of Sir Lionel Dymoke in St. Mary's Church
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43
Ancient Scythes in St. Mary's Church
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
49
The Old Vicarage
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
55
Holy Trinity Church
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59
Wesleyan Chapel
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65
Wesleyan Day Schools
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69
Interior Congregational Chapel
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79
The New Jerusalem Church
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87
Rev. Thomas Lord
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
90
The Grammar School
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
93
Lord Clynton and Saye
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97
Successive Head Masters of the Grammar School, from 1818 to 1907
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
101
The Seal of the Grammar School
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105
The Market Place
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109
St. Mary's Square
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113
Bridge Street
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117
High Street
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121
The Bull Ring
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
123
The Canal
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127
On the Canal
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129
The Court House
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135
The Stanhope Memorial
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137
Watermill Road during the Flood, Dec. 31, 1900
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141
West Street during the Flood, Dec. 31, 1900
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143
Conging Street during the Flood, Dec. 31, 1900
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145
The Stanch
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147
Old Thatched Inn in the Bull Ring
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163
St. Margaret's Church, Thimbleby
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171
The Manor House, West Ashby
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177
All Saints' Church, West Ashby
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179
St. John the Baptist's Church, High Toynton
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181
St. Peter's Church, Low Toynton
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187
St. Helen's Church, Mareham-le-Fen
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193
Wesleyan Chapel, Mareham-le-Fen
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197
St. Michael's Church, Coningsby
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205



A History of Horncastle decoration page xii.png


  1. His father, for about 12 months, occupied the house in North Street, of late years known as the "Red House," distinguished, it is said, as being the only house in the town having a front door of mahogany.