Page:A History of Horncastle from the Earliest Period to the Present Time.djvu/228

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The register dates from 1562. In recent years the incumbency of Claxby Pluckacre, where the church had gone to ruins, has been annexed to the rectory of Wilksby, the joint value of the two being about £300 a year. They are held by the Rev. P. O. Ashby, Chaplain of Revesby.


These are modern accretions to the Soke of Horncastle, made in the early years of the 19th century. They are distant southward from Horncastle about 13 miles; situated in a tract of land called Wildmore Fen, lying about midway between Coningsby to the north, and Boston to the south. At various periods inundated by the sea, this continued, to the end of the 18th century, more or less a region of morass; available in the summer for grazing, but generally during the winter under water; when all cattle had to be removed for safety to the lands under cultivation at the homesteads of the farmers; and if by chance the farmer was behindhand in removing them, and the floods became frozen, it was a common thing for his cattle, while slipping about on the ice, to be split up, or, as it was locally termed, "screeved," and so become helpless, and fit only for slaughter.[1]

An Act of Parliament was passed in 1787 or 1788, and commissioners were appointed, for the drainage of this and adjoining similar tracts; but little was done until 1800, when the able engineer, Mr. John Rennie, submitted his plans for the drainage to the commissioners. His first report, dated April 7th, 1800, estimated the cost of draining Wildmore Fen alone at £29,702; the total outlay, for that and adjoining fens, being put at nearly £215,000. By 1812 these operations were completed; and in that year an Act was passed making these lands parochial, and assigning the two portions above named to the Soke of Horncastle.


Langriville, so called because it is near Langrick (or Long Creek) on the Witham, has an area of 2,514 acres, including Langrick Ferry; rateable value £3,300. The population is entirely engaged in agriculture. The nearest railway station is at Langrick, in the parish.

It consists of the southern portion of Wildmore Fen, which at the enclosure was allotted to the Earl of Stamford and Warrington, in lieu of his manorial rights over Armtree and Wildmore; with other lands sold by the Drainage Commissioners, early in the 19th century. The Earl's estates afterwards passed, by purchase, to the late J. Fretwell Bramley and others. The present Lord of the Manor is Lord Malcolm, of Poltallock; and he, the Rector of Coningsby, the executors of Lady Ingram Watkin, J. Linton, Esq., of Stirtcoe, Buckden, Herts., Harrison Hayter, Esq., W. Goodenough Hayter, Esq., Mr. Jonathan Fox, of Boston, E. Harrison, Esq., and Mr. William Pepper are the largest land owners.

A small brick church was erected in 1831, consisting of nave, chancel and

  1. The writer of these notes in his youth used to visit a farmer, living in the fen, whose father was among the first to erect his farmstead in that locality. He had first to solidify the site of his dwelling by importing soil by boat; and, when that was effected, to import by boat all the materials for the buildings; the construction of roads followed; and thus in course of time a waste of morass became one of the most fertile tracts in the country.