Page:A History of Horncastle from the Earliest Period to the Present Time.djvu/29

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nations eventually settling side by side, until both alike in the 11th century became subject to their Norman conquerors. The traces of these peoples are still apparent in Horncastle and its soke, since of its 13 parish names, three, High Toynton, Low Toynton and Roughton have the Saxon suffix "ton"; three, Mareham-on-the-Hill, Mareham-le-Fen and Haltham terminate in the Saxon "ham," and six, Thimbleby, West Ashby, Wood Enderby, Moorby, Wilksby and Coningsby have the Danish suffix "by." The name of the town itself is Saxon, Horn-castle, or more anciently Hyrne-ceastre, i.e. the castle in the corner,[1] or angle, formed by the junction of the two rivers; that junction was, within comparatively modern times, not where it is now, but some 200 yards eastward, on the other side of the field called "The Holms," where there is still a muddy ditch.

So far our account of the town has been based mainly upon etymological evidence, derived from river and place names, with a few scanty and scattered records. As we arrive at the Norman period we shall have to deal with more direct documentary testimony, which may well form another chapter.

  1. The prefix "Horn" is also found in Holbeach Hurn, an angular headland on the south coast of Lincolnshire. In the monkish Latin of old title deeds, we also find the patronymic Hurne, Hearne, &c., represented by its equivalent "de angulo," i.e. "of the corner."