A History of Horncastle - from the earliest period to the present time
by James Conway Walter
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Transcribed from the 1908 W. K. Morton & Sons edition by David Price, email

[Picture: 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.



BY JAMES CONWAY WALTER, AUTHOR OF Records of Woodhall Spa and Neighbourhood, Parishes around Horncastle, The Ayscoughs, The Coitani, &c., &c.


[Picture: Market Place and Stanhope Memorial]


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, {0} 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 AEneas" (slightly modified), "quorum pars (ipse) fui," (AEneid 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.

[Picture: Signature of J. Conway Walter]



PART I—PREHISTORIC. Horncastle—its infancy 1










The Wesleyans 64

The Primitive Methodists 71

The Independents 77

The Baptist Chapel 84

The New Jerusalem Church 86










































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 42

Ancient Scythes in St. Mary's Church 48

The Old Vicarage 55

Holy Trinity Church 59

Wesleyan Chapel 65

Wesleyan Day Schools 69

Interior Congregational Chapel 79

The New Jerusalem Church 87

Rev. Thomas Lord 90

The Grammar School 93

Lord Clynton and Saye 97

Successive Head Masters of the Grammar School, from 1818 101 to 1907

The Seal of the Grammar School 105

The Market Place 109

St. Mary's Square 113

Bridge Street 117

High Street 121

The Bull Ring 123

The Canal 127

On the Canal 129

The Court House 135

The Stanhope Memorial 137

Watermill Road during the Flood, Dec 31, 1900 141

West Street during the Flood, Dec. 31, 1900 143

Conging Street during the Flood, Dec. 31, 1900 145

The Stanch 147

Old Thatched Inn in the Bull Ring 163

St. Margaret's Church, Thimbleby 171

The Manor House, West Ashby 177

All Saints' Church, West Ashby 179

St. John the Baptist's Church, High Toynton 181

St. Peter's Church, Low Toynton 187

St. Helen's Church, Mareham-le-Fen 193

Wesleyan Chapel, Mareham-le-Fen 197

St. Michael's Church, Coningsby 205



In dealing with what may be called "the dark ages" of local history, we are often compelled to be content with little more than reasonable conjecture. Still, there are generally certain surviving data, in place-names, natural features, and so forth, which enable those who can detect them, and make use of them, to piece together something like a connected outline of what we may take, with some degree of probability, as an approximation to what have been actual facts, although lacking, at the time, the chronicler to record them.

It is, however, by no means a mere exercise of the imagination, if we assume that the site of the present Horncastle was at a distant period a British settlement. {1a} Dr. Brewer says, "nearly three-fourths of our Roman towns were built on British sites," (Introduction to Beauties of England, p. 7), and in the case of Horncastle, although there is nothing British in the name of the town itself, yet that people have undoubtedly here left their traces behind them. The late Dr. Isaac Taylor {1b} says, "Rivers and mountains, as a rule, receive their names from the earliest races, towns and villages from later colonists." The ideas of those early occupants were necessarily limited. The hill which formed their stronghold against enemies, {1c} or which was the "high place" of their religious rites, {1d} and the river which was so essential to their daily existence, of these they felt the value, and therefore naturally distinguished them by name before anything else. Thus the remark of an eloquent writer is generally true, who says "our mountains and rivers still murmur the voices of races long extirpated." "There is hardly (says Dr. Taylor {2a}) throughout the whole of England a river name which is not Celtic," i.e. British.

As the Briton here looked from the hill-side, down upon the valley beneath him, two of the chief objects to catch his eye would be the streams which watered it, and which there, as they do still, united their forces. They would then also, probably, form a larger feature in the prospect than they do at the present day, for the local beds of gravel deposit would seem to indicate that these streams were formerly of considerably greater volume, watering a wider area, and probably having ramifications which formed shoals and islands. {2b} The particular names by which the Briton designated the two main streams confirm this supposition. In the one coming from the more distant wolds, he saw a stream bright and clear, meandering through the meadows which it fertilized, and this he named the "Bain," {2c} that word being Celtic for "bright" or "clear," a characteristic which still belongs to its waters, as the brewers of Horncastle assure us. In the other stream, which runs a shorter and more rapid course, he saw a more turbid current, and to it he gave the name "Waring," {2d} which is the Celtic "garw" or "gerwin," meaning "rough." Each of these names, then, we may regard as what the poet Horace calls "nomen praesente nota productum," {2e} they are as good as coin stamped in the mint of a Cunobelin, or a Caradoc, bearing his "image and superscription," and after some 17 centuries of change, they are in circulation still. So long as Horncastle is watered by the Bain and the Waring she will bear the brand of the British sway, once paramount in her valley.

These river names, however, are not the only relics of the Britons found in Horncastle. Two British urns were unearthed about 50 years ago, where is now the garden of the present vicarage, and another was found in the parish of Thornton, about a mile from the town, when the railway was being made in 1856. The latter the present writer has seen, although it is now unfortunately lost. {2f}

These Britons were a pastoral race, as Caesar, their conqueror, tells us, {2g} not cultivating much corn, but having large flocks and herds, living on the milk and flesh of their live stock, and clad in the skins of these, or of other animals taken in the chase. The well-watered pastures of the Bain valley would afford excellent grazing for their cattle, while the extensive forests {2h} of the district around would provide them with the recreations of the chase, which also helped to make them the skilled warriors which the Romans found them to be. {3} Much of these forests remained even down to comparatively recent times, and very large trees have been dug up, black with age, in fields within four or five miles of Horncastle, within very recent years, which the present writer has seen.

Such were some of the earlier inhabitants of this locality, leaving their undoubted traces behind them, but no "local habitation" with a name; for that we are first indebted to the Romans, who, after finding the Briton a foe not unworthy of his steel, ultimately subjugated him and found him not an inapt pupil in Roman arts and civilization. Of the aptitude of the Briton to learn from his conquerors we have evidence in the fact, mentioned by the Roman writer Eumenius, that when the Emperor Constantius wished to rebuild the town Augustodunum (now Antun) in Gaul, about the end of the 3rd century, he employed workmen chiefly from Britain, such was the change effected in our "rude forefathers" in 250 years.

We may sum up our remarks on the Britons by saying that in them we have ancestors of whom we have no occasion to be ashamed. They had a Christian church more than 300 years before St. Augustine visited our shores. They yet survive in the sturdy fisher folk of Brittany; in those stout miners of Cornwall, who in the famed Botallack mine have bored under the ocean bed, the name Cornwall itself being Welsh (i.e. British) for corner land; in the people who occupy the fastnesses of the Welsh mountains, as well as in the Gaels of the Scottish Highlands and the Erse of Ireland. Their very speech is blended with our own. Does the country labourer go to the Horncastle tailor to buy coat and breeches? His British forefather, though clad chiefly in skins, called his upper garment his "cotta," his nether covering his "brages," scotice "breeks." Brewer, Introduction to Beauties of England, p. 42.


The headquarters of the Roman forces in our own part of Britain were at York, where more than one Roman Emperor lived and died, but Lindum, now Lincoln, was an important station. About A.D. 71 Petillius Cerealis was appointed governor of the province by the Emperor Vespasian, he was succeeded by Julius Frontinus, both being able generals. From A.D. 78 to 85 that admirable soldier and administrator, Julius Agricola, over-ran the whole of the north as far as the Grampians, establishing forts in all directions, and doubtless during these and the immediately succeeding years, a network of such stations would be constructed in our own country, connected by those splendid highways which the Romans carried, by the forced labour of the natives, through the length and breadth of their vast empire.

Coins of nearly all the Roman Emperors have been found at Horncastle; one was brought to the present writer in the 1st year of the 20th century, bearing the superscription of the Emperor Severus, who died at York A.D., 211.


The following list of Roman and other coins found at Horncastle, has been supplied by the Rev. J. A. Penny, Vicar of Wispington, who has them in his own possession.

Consular, denarius, silver. OEs grave, or Roman as, heavy brass. Augustus, quinarius (half denarius). B.C. 27-A.D. 14. Claudius, brass, of three different sizes. A.D. 41-54. Vespasian, denarius, silver. A.D. 69-79. Domitian, brass. A.D. 81-96. Nerva, brass. A.D. 96-98. Trajan, brass, of two sizes. A.D. 98-117. Hadrian, brass. A.D. 117-138. Antoninus Pius, denarius, silver. A.D. 138-161. Faustina I., his wife, brass. Lucius Verus, brass. A.D. 161-169. Marcus Aurelius, brass. A D. 161-180. Faustina II., his wife, brass. Caracalla, denarius, silver. A.D. 211-217. Julia Saemias, mother of Emperor Heliogabalus, denarius, silver. A.D. 218-222. Gordian III., denarius, silver. A.D. 238-244. Philip I., brass. A.D. 244-249. Hostilian, denarius, silver. A.D. 249-251. Gallienus, brass. A.D. 253-268. Salomia, his wife, brass. Victorinus, brass (Emperor in West). A.D. 253-260. (10 varieties). Marius, brass (Emperor in West). A.D. 267. Claudius II. (or Gothicus), brass. A.D. 268-270. Tetricus I., brass (Emperor in Gaul). A.D. 270-273. Tetricus II., brass (Emperor in Gaul). A.D. 270-274. Probus, brass. A.D. 276-282. Diocletian, copper, a new kind of coin named a "follis." A.D. 284-305. Maximian, copper, a "follis." A.D. 286-305. Alectus, brass (Emperor in Britain). A.D. 293-296. Constantius Chlorus, brass. A.D. 305-306. Maxentius, copper, a "follis." A.D. 306-312. Constantine the Great, brass. A.D. 306-337. Crispus, brass. A.D. 326. Magnentius, brass (Emperor in Gaul and Britain). A.D. 350-353. Constantine II., brass (struck in London). A.D. 337-340. Constans, brass. A.D. 337-350. Constantius II., brass. A.D. 337-361. Valens, brass. A.D. 364-378. Gratian, brass. A.D. 375-383. Theodosius I., brass. A.D. 379-395. Arcadius, brass (Emperor in East). A.D. 395-408. Honorius, brass (Emperor in West). A.D. 395-423. Byzantine coin, bronze, date not known exactly but later than Honorius, so showing that the Romans held Horncastle against Saxon invaders.

[Picture: Mammoth Tooth from gravel of River Bain, south of Horncastle. Weight 2-lbs 6-oz., length 5.25-in., breadth 6.5-in., thickness 2-in.]

A Roman milestone was discovered in the Bail, at Lincoln, in 1891, {5a} inscribed with the name of Marcus Piavonius Victorinus, who commanded in Gaul and Britain, and which must have been set up during his period of office, about A D. 267. The site of this was the point of intersection of the two main streets, which would be the centre of the Roman Forum at Lindum, one of these streets leading to Horncastle; from Horncastle also there branched off, as will be hereafter noted, several main Roman roads.

As Horncastle stands on the banks of the river Bain it has been taken by Stukeley, the antiquarian, and by others following him, {5b} to have been the Roman Banovallum or "Fort on the Bain," mentioned by the Roman geographer of Ravenna; {5c} although, however, most probably correct, this is a mere conjecture. On the road between Horncastle and Lincoln we have the village of Baumber, also called Bamburgh, and this latter form of the name might well mean a "burgh," or fort, on the Bain, the river running just below the village. The two names, however, might well exist at different periods. It may be here mentioned that this form, Bamburg, is found in Harleian Charter 56, c. i, B.M., dated at Wodehalle, December, 1328.

Tacitus, the Roman historian, {5e} tells us that the Romans "wore out the bodies and hands of the Britons in opening out the forests, and paving or fortifying the roads," and we can well imagine that those skilled generals would see the advantageous position for a stronghold in the angle formed by the junction of the two rivers, and would employ the subjugated Britons of the locality in constructing, it may be, at first only a rude fort, protected on two sides by the streams and in the rear by a "vallum," or embankment, and that on the site thus secured and already a native stronghold, they would, at a later period, erect the "castrum," of which massive fragments still remain, testifying to its great strength.

These remains, indeed, in almost their whole course can be traced through present-day gardens and back premises, shewing the four sides of an irregular parallelogram. Their dimensions, roughly speaking, are on the north and south sides about 600-ft., by about 350-ft. at the eastern, and 300-ft. at the western end, their thickness being about 16-ft. The material employed was the Spilsby sandstone, obtainable within five miles, cemented by course grouting poured into the interstices between the massive blocks. These walls inclose a portion of the High Street as far eastward as the site of the present Corn Exchange, westward they include the present manor house and form the boundary of the churchyard in that direction. On the north they run at the back of the houses on that side of the Market Place, and on the south they extend from St. Mary's Square, past the Grammar School, and through sundry yards, parallel with the branch of the canal, which is the old Waring river. The masonry of these walls, as now seen, is very rude. It is supposed that, originally as built by the Romans, they had an external coating of neat structure, but this has entirely disappeared, it is still, however, to be seen in the wells, which are next to be described.

In a cellar, south of the High Street, at a baker's shop, and close to the eastern wall of the castle, is a Roman well; there is another close to the north-east angle of the castle walls, in what is called Dog-kennel Yard, and a third just within the western wall, near the present National Schools. Thus, although the two rivers were without the castle walls, the Roman garrison was well supplied with water.

The Roman roads branching from the town were (1st) the "Ramper," {6a} as it is still called, running north-west, and connecting it with the Roman station Lindum; from this, at Baumber, {6b} distant about 4 miles, a branch running northwards led to the Roman Castrum, now Caistor; (2nd) north-eastwards via West Ashby, being the highway to Louth, the Roman Luda; (3rd) eastwards, by High Toynton, Greetham, &c, to Waynflete, the Roman Vain-ona; (4th) southward, by Dalderby, Haltham, &c., to Leeds Gate, Chapel Hill, and there crossing the river Witham to Sleaford and Ancaster, the Roman Causennae, situated on the great Roman Ermin Street. This also was continued to another Roman Castrum, now Castor, near Peterborough; (5th) south-west, by Thornton, &c., to Tattershall, locally supposed to have been the Roman Durobrivae, and where traces of a Roman camp still remain.

Besides these Roman viae and Roman coins, quite an abundance of Roman pottery has from time to time been unearthed, and fragments are continually being found in gardens in the town. A collection of these, probably cinerary urns, was preserved until quite recently in the library of the Mechanics' Institute, where the writer has frequently seen them, {7a} they varied in height from 8 inches to 18 inches. Unfortunately, for lack of funds, that institution was broken up about 1890, the books were stowed away in a room at the workhouse, a valuable collection, and the urns were sold by the late Mr. Joseph Willson, who acted as sole trustee. Other Roman relics have been fragments of mortars of white clay, found on the site of the present union, one bearing the word "fecit," though the maker's name was lost. Portions also of Samian ware have been found, one stamped with a leopard and stag, another bearing part of the potter's name, ILIANI; with fragments of hand-mills, fibulae, &c. {7b} The present writer has two jars, or bottles, of buff coloured ware, of which about a dozen were dug up when the foundations of the workhouse were being laid in 1838, they are probably Samian, a friend having exactly similar vessels which she brought from Cyprus. The writer has in his possession the head of a porphyritic mallet which was found in a garden in the south of the town a few years ago, it is probably Roman; the handle, which would be of wood, had entirely disappeared; it is much "pitted" through damp and age, is 6.5 inches long and weighs 3-lb. 9-oz.

[Picture: Hammer Head, found near the Wong, length 6.625-in., width 3.875-in. weight 3.5-lb.; of porphyry from the Cheviot region, Neolithic period. The stone was probably part of a large boulder]

A discovery of further interesting Roman relics of another kind was made in 1896. The owner of a garden near Queen Street, in the south-eastern part of the town, was digging up an apple tree when he came across a fine bed of gravel. Continuing the digging, in order to find the thickness of this deposit, his spade struck against a hard substance, which proved to be a lead coffin. After this had been examined by others invited to inspect it, without any satisfactory result, the present writer was requested to conduct further investigation. The coffin was found to be 5-ft. 2-in. in length, containing the skeleton, rather shorter, of a female. A few days later a second coffin was found, lying parallel to the first, 5-ft. 7-in. in length, the bones of the skeleton within being larger and evidently those of a male. Subsequently fragments of decayed wood and long iron nails and clamps were found, showing that the leaden coffins had originally been enclosed in wooden cases. Both these coffins lay east and west. A description was sent to a well-known antiquarian, the late Mr. John Bellows of Gloucester, and he stated that if the lead had an admixture of tin they were Roman, if no tin, post-Roman. The lead was afterwards analysed by Professor Church, of Kew, and by the analytical chemist of Messrs. Kynoch & Co., of Birmingham, with the result that there was found to be a percentage of 1.65 of tin to 97.08 of lead and 1.3 of oxygen, "the metal slightly oxidised." It was thus proved that the coffins were those of Romans, their "orientation" implying that they were Christian. It should be added that three similar coffins were found in the year 1872, when the foundations were being laid of the New Jerusalem Chapel in Croft Street, within some 100 yards of the two already described; and further, as confirmatory of their being Roman, a lead coffin was also found in the churchyard of Baumber, on the restoration of the church there in 1892, this being close to the Roman road (already mentioned) between the old Roman stations Banovallum and Lindum. Lead coffins have also been found in the Roman cemeteries at Colchester, York, and at other places. {8}

As another interesting case of Roman relics found in Horncastle, I give the following:—In 1894 I exhibited, at a meeting of our Archaeological Society, some small clay pipes which had recently been dug up along with a copper coin of the Emperor Constantine, just within the western wall of the old castle, near the present Manor House. They were evidently very old and of peculiar make, being short in stem with small bowl set at an obtuse angle. They were said at the time to be Roman, but since tobacco was not introduced till the reign of Elizabeth that idea was rejected. In the year 1904, however, a large quantity of fragments of similar clay pipes were found in the ruins of the Roman fort of Aliso, near Halteren on the river Lippe, in Western Germany, some of rude structure, some decorated with figures and Roman characters. They were lying at a depth of 9 feet below the surface, and had evidently lain undisturbed since the time of the Roman occupation. From the marks upon them it was manifest that they had been used, and it is now known from the statements of the Roman historian Pliny, and the Greek Herodotus, that the use of narcotic fumes was not unknown to the Romans, as well as to other ancient nations; the material used was hemp seed and cypress grass. In the Berlin Ethnological Museum, also, vessels of clay are preserved, which are supposed to have been used for a like purpose. This discovery, then, at Horncastle is very interesting as adding to our Roman remains, and we may picture to ourselves the Roman sentinel taking his beat on the old castle walls and solacing himself, after the manner of his countrymen, with his pipe. (An account of this later discovery is given in a German scientific review for August, 1904, quoted Standard, August 12, 1904).

Of what may be called the close of this early historic period in connection with Horncastle there is little more to be said. The Roman forces withdrew from Britain about A.D. 408. The Britons harried by their northern neighbours, the Picts and Scots, applied for assistance to the Saxons, who, coming at first as friends, but led to stay by the attractions of the country, gradually over-ran the land and themselves in turn over-mastered the Britons, driving them into Wales and Cornwall. The only matter of interest in connection with Horncastle, in this struggle between Saxon and Briton, is that about the end of the 5th century the Saxon King Horsa, with his brother Hengist, who had greatly improved the fort at Horncastle, were defeated in a fight at Tetford by the Britons under their leader Raengeires, and the British King caused the walls to be nearly demolished and the place rendered defenceless. (Leland's Collectanea, vol i, pt. ii, p. 509).

[Picture: North-east corner of the Castle Wall, in Dog-kennel Yard]

The Saxons in their turn, towards the close of the 8th century, were harassed by marauding incursions of the Danes, {9} which continued, though temporarily checked by Kings Egbert and Alfred, through many years, both 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, {10} 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.


A recent historian {11a} has said "In the 13th century the northern counties of England were so unsettled that there was little security north of the Humber, and in 1250 the powerful Bishop of Carlisle found it necessary to buy the manor of Horncastle (his own residence in the north, Rose Castle, having been destroyed by marauders), and the Pope granted him the Parish Church (of Horncastle) for his use;" {11b} but we can carry our history back to a considerably earlier period than this. As a former Roman station, doubtless, and of even earlier origin than that, Horncastle had become a place of some importance, and so, even before the Norman conquest the manor was royal property, since Domesday Book states that King Edward the Confessor bestowed it upon his Queen, Editha. Edward died January 5, 1066, and his possessions naturally passed to his successor, the Conqueror. Its subsequent history for a few years we do not know, but in the reign of Stephen the manor was held by Adelias, or Adelidis, (Alice or Adelaide) de Cundi, daughter of William de Cheney {11c} (a name still known in the county), who was Lord of Glentham and Caenby, two parishes near Brigg. She had a castle in this town, the site of which is not now known, but it was probably a restoration in whole, or in part, of the old fortress. She took part against the King in his quarrel with the Empress Maud, and her estates were confiscated by Stephen, they were, however, subsequently restored to her on condition that she should demolish her castle.

On her death the manor reverted to the crown and was granted by Henry II. to a Fleming noble, Gerbald de Escald, who held it for one knight's fee. {12a} He was succeeded by his grandson and heir, Gerard de Rhodes, {12b} whose son, Ralph de Rhodes, sold it to Walter Mauclerk, {12c} Bishop of Carlisle, and Treasurer of the Exchequer under Henry III. In the reign of Richard II. Roger la Scrope and Margaret his wife, with Robert Tibetot and son, his wife, as descendants of Gerbald de Escald, {12d} put in a claim for the manor and obtained letters patent, by which the episcopal possessor was bound to do them homage, but this was only for a brief period, and they then disappear from the scene.

The manor remained a possession of the bishops of Carlisle until the reign of Edward VI., when, by licence of the King, it was sold by Bishop Aldrich in 1547 to Edward, Lord Clinton. {12e} In the reign of Mary he was compelled to re-convey it to the see of Carlisle. {12f} Queen Elizabeth took a lease of it under the then possessing bishop, in which she was succeeded by James I. He assigned it to Sir Edward Clinton, knt., but through neglect of enrolment this became void. {12g} In the reign of Charles II. the former charters were renewed, {12h} and the bishops of Carlisle remained lords of the manor until 1856, when it was transferred, with the patronage of some of the benefices within the soke, to the Bishop of Lincoln. Thus from the reign of Edward the Confessor to that of Charles II., a period of about 600 years, broken by brief intervals of alienation, Horncastle was connected with royalty.

The lease of the manor was held, under the bishops of Carlisle by Sir Joseph Banks and his ancestors for nearly a century, the lease of Sir Joseph himself being dated 21 March, 1803, and renewed 1 June, 1811. He died in 1820 and was succeeded by his relative the Honble. James Hamilton Stanhope and, three years later, by James Banks Stanhope, Esq., then a minor, who, at a later period (in 1885) transferred all his rights to his cousin, the late Right Honble. Edward Stanhope, whose widow became lady of the manor and at whose death, in 1907, the lordship reverted to the Honble. Richard Stanhope, son of the present Earl Stanhope. Mr. Banks Stanhope died January 18th, 1904, aged 82, having been a generous benefactor to Horncastle and the neighbourhood.

We have here given a very condensed account of the ownership of this manor from the reign of Edward the Confessor to the present time, a period of nearly 840 years. Having had access to the episcopal archives of Carlisle, so long connected with Horncastle, we are able to confirm several of the above details from documents still existing, which we now proceed to do.

It has been stated that the manor of Horncastle was conferred upon Queen Editha by her husband, Edward the Confessor. In confirmation of this we find the following: In the reign of Charles I. the Vicar of Horncastle, Thomas Gibson, presented a petition claiming tithe for certain mills called "Hall Mills," with a close adjoining called "Mill Holmes," as belonging to the glebe. The tenant, William Davidson, resisted, arguing that he had paid no tithes to the previous vicar, Robert Holingshed, that the mills were erected before the conquest and were part of the jointure of Queen Editha, as stated in Domesday Book, and were therefore part of the manor, not of the vicar's glebe. The result is not recorded, but doubtless the tenant was right. {13a} The passage here quoted from Domesday Book is the following: "In Horncastre Queen Editha had 3 carucates of land, free of gelt. This land is now 4 carucates. The King has there 2 carucates in demesne (i.e. as his manor), with 29 villeins and 12 bordars, who have (among them) 3 carucates. There are 2 mills worth 26s. yearly, and 100 acres of meadow. In King Edward's time the annual value was 20 pounds, now it is 44 pounds." {13b} These two mills and the meadow were doubtless those in dispute between the vicar and tenant in the reign of Charles I., the date of Domesday being about 1085, or 540 years earlier. They were plainly part of the royal manor and not at all connected with the glebe.

All this, however, proves that the manor of Horncastle belonged to King Edward the Confessor before the conquest, and 360 acres of it were assigned to his consort, Queen Editha. The expansion of the 3 carucates into 4, mentioned in Domesday Book, was probably (as in many other recorded cases) due to the reclamation of land hitherto waste in flood or forest.

On the death of King Edward in 1066 the royal demesnes naturally passed to his successor and kinsman, William the Conqueror, and in due course to the successive Norman kings of his line.

The connection of Horncastle with the sovereign is shown in various ways. Documents relating to the earlier kings are naturally rare, since for many years law courts were hardly yet established, the royal power being rather that of "might" than of "right." {13c} Even the sale, or devising, of property could only be legally effected by the king's licence. Among the Carlisle papers connected with Horncastle is one which shows that a matter which in modern times would be settled by the parish overseers, or more recently by the Urban Council, was to be formerly carried out only by the royal sanction. There is a Patent Roll of the 13th year of King Richard II. (pt. 1, m. 3) entitled "Concerning the paving of Horncastre," and running as follows:—"The King to the Bailiff and proved men of the vill of Horncastre, greeting. Know, that in aid of paving your said vill, of our special grace we have granted to you, that from the day of the making of these presents to the end of 3 years, you may take, for things coming to the said vill for sale, the customs underwritten." Then follows a long list of articles for sale, of which we can only specify a few here, viz.: "For every horse load of corn, 0.25d., for every dole of wine, 2d.; for every pipe of ditto, 1s.; for every hide, fresh, salt, or tanned, 0.25d.; for 100 skins of roebucks (it seems that there were wild deer in those days), hares, rabbits, foxes, or squirrels, 0.5d.; for every horse load of cloth, 0.5d.; for every cloth of worstede, called 'coverlyt,' value 40s., 1d.; for every 100 of linen web of Aylesham, 1d.; for every chief of strong cendal (silk) 1d.; for 100 mullets, salt or dry, 1d.; for every cart of fish, 1d.; for every horse load of sea fish, 0.25d.; for every salmon, 0.25d.; for every last of herrings (12 barrels), 6d.; for every horse load of honey, 1d.; for every wey of tallow (256 lbs.), 1d.; for every milstone, 0.5d.; for 1,000 turfs, 0.25d. For every other kind of merchandise not here specified, of value 5s. and over, 0.25d.; and the term of 3 years being ended, the said customs shall cease. Witness the King, at Westminster, 9 Nov., 1389."

Truly the kingly government was a paternal one to take cognizance of such petty local matters. The "coggle" pavement of Horncastle is often complained of, but at least it had the royal sanction.

A Roll of the 18th year of Edward III. (m 8), dated Westminster, 28 June, 1344, is directed "to his very dear and faithful John de Kirketon, Fitz Hugh de Cressy," (and others) assigning them "to choose and array 100 men at arms in the County of Lincoln," and (among others) "6 hoblers in the vill of Horncastre, to be at Portsmouth, to set out with the King against Philip VI., de Valesco (Valois)." This was the beginning of the campaign of Edward and his son the Black Prince, which terminated with the glorious battle of Cressy and the capture of Calais. "Hoblers" were a sort of yeomanry who, by the terms of their tenure of land were bound to keep a light "nag" for military service.

A Domestic State Paper of Queen Elizabeth (Vol. 51, No. 12, III) contains the "Certificate of the town and soke of Horncastle to the artycles of the Queen's Majesty's most Honorable Pryvye Councell," dated 27 June, 1569, shewing what "soldiers were furnished and went forth under Captaine Carsey." These were formerly the well-known local troops called "trainbands." The paper contains, further, accounts of payments for "towne common armour, jerkyns, swords, daggers, corslettes, 1 caline (piece of ordnance), conduct money (i.e. hire money), pioneers, victuals," &c. Accounts rendered by Thomas Hamerton, Arthur Patchytt, Thomas Raythbeake (all formerly well known names in the town), and others.

The head of the Carsey family was the owner of the Revesby Abbey Estate, and as such was lesse of the manor of Horncastle under the Bishop of Carlisle. They sold their property, in 1575, to Thomas Cecil, son of Lord Treasurer Burleigh.

There is another Carlisle document in connection with these trained bands among the same Domestic State Papers of Queen Elizabeth (Vol. 199, No. 7), in which the Earl of Rutland writes to Anthony Thorold, sheriff, that he has instructions "from the Lords of the Counsaile to put in strength the power of the realme for the maritime counties," and he asks him to "choose captaines for the yet untrained companies, and to supply the place of Mr. John Savile for Horncastle." N.B.—The Saviles owned Poolham Hall in Edlington. On this (State Papers, Eliz., Vol. 199, No. 72) the Earl writes to Mr. Valentine Brown that he thinks him "meete to supply the place for Horncastle," dated London, 29 March, 1586-7. Sir Valentine Brown was of Croft and East Kirkby, and Treasurer of Ireland; he married the daughter of Sir John Monson, ancestor of the present Lord Oxenbridge.

Among the Domestic State Papers of Charles I. (Vol. 376, No. 123), is a petition from the inhabitants of Horncastle to Sir Anthony Irbie, Knt., sheriff of the county, complaining that the town was over-rated for the payment of "ship-money," and praying for a reduction of the same. The county was charged 8,000 pounds. This rate, levied to maintain the navy, created widespread dissatisfaction and eventually led to the revolution. It was included among the grievances against which public protests were made in 1641. The five judges who pronounced in its favour were imprisoned, and Hampden received a wound in a skirmish with Prince Rupert, from which he died, June 24, 1643. Petitions were also presented to Sir Edward Hussey, sheriff, 1636-7, as given in Domestic State Papers, Charles I., Vol. 345, No. 42.

[Picture: Horncastle map]

It has been already stated that in the reign of Stephen this manor was held by Adelias, or Adelidis, de Cundi. How this came about is not quite clear, whether it was inherited from her father, William de Cheney, who was probably among the Normans invited to immigrate by Edward the Confessor, since it would seem that at the time of the conquest he was already a large owner in the county, or from her husband, Robert de Cundi, a Fleming, probably named from the town and fortress of Conde on the frontier of France, situated on the Scheldt, in the department du Nord. There is, however, evidence to show that she had other possessions of considerable value apparently in her own right in Nottinghamshire and Kent, as well as Lincolnshire. {16a} She is described by the old chronicler, Geoffrey Gairmar, {16b} as a great patroness of learning and literature.

The Cheneys, or Chesneys, were apparently of foreign extraction, as implied by their appellation "de Casineto." They had considerable influence at various periods, one of them being knighted, another made a baron by Queen Elizabeth. {16c} One, Robert de Cheney, was a powerful Bishop of Lincoln (A.D. 1147-67) and built one of the finest castles in England, the ruins of which still remain in the Palace grounds at Lincoln. {16d} The Cheney pedigree is given in The Genealogist of July, 1901. They seem to have settled in Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire, as well as in Lincolnshire. Sir Thomas Cheney, K.G., was Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports in the latter part of the 16th century. The Cheneys fell into decay towards the end of the 17th century, and at the beginning of the 18th century we find them in trade at Boston. About 1750 William Garfit of Boston married Mary, daughter of Thomas Cheney, and the name, as a Christian name, still survives in that family. The Cheneys, we may add, were among the ancestors of the Willoughbys, {16e} and the parish of Cheneys, in Bucks., doubtless named after them, is now the property of the Duke of Bedford.

The granddaughter of Adelias de Cundi, Agnes, {16f} married Walter, son of Walter de Clifford of Clifford Castle, Hereford. Walter Clifford is named in the first great charter of Henry III. (A.D. 1216), along with the great nobles Walter de Lacy, William de Ferrars, Earl of Derby, William, Earl of Albemarle, and others.

William de Cheney, already mentioned as father of Adelias de Cundi, was "Lord of Caenby and Glentham," and Walter de Clifford also is mentioned in the charters of Barlings Abbey as giving to that monastery lands in Caenby and Glentham, along with the above Walter de Lacy. The great feature of the reign of Stephen was the large number of castles erected by lords who were almost more powerful than their sovereign, and Adelias built her castle at Horncastle, where she resided in great state until, on her favouring the cause of the Empress Maud, daughter of the previous king, Henry I. (whereas Stephen was only his nephew), her lands were confiscated, and, as we have already seen, only restored on condition that her castle was demolished. {17a} This restoration was, however, only for life and on her demise the manor reverted to the crown.

The manor was next granted by Henry II. to Gerbald de Escald, a Flemish noble. {17b} This is shewn by a record still preserved at Carlisle, dated 1274-5. In the reign of Edward I. an inquisition was made at Lincoln, before 12 jurors of the soke of Horncastle, among the Commissioners being John de Haltham, Anselm de Rugthon (Roughton), Thomas de Camera (i.e. Chambers) of Horncastre, the King's Justices and others, when it was declared that "the Lord Henry III., the father of King Edward who now is, once had the manor of Horncastre, and he enfeoffed Gerbald de Escald, a knight of Flanders, thereof, for his service, viz., by doing one knight's fee for the Lord the King."

Gerbald was succeeded by his grandson and heir, Gerard de Rhodes. This is shewn by a Carlisle document. {17c} A dispute arose between Hugh, son of Ralph (surname not given) and Gerard de Rhodes, concerning the manor and soke of Horncastle, the advowson of the church, &c., which were claimed by the said Hugh; but a compromise was effected, 400 marks being paid to Hugh, and Gerard de Rhodes left in undisputed possession.

It has been thought probable that this Ralph, father of Hugh, was Ranulph, Earl of Chester, who was lord of the manors of Revesby and Hareby, and had other possessions in the neighbourhood. He, it is supposed, held the manor of Horncastle, as trustee, during the minority of Gerard. Gerard was, in due course, succeeded by his son and heir, Ralph de Rhodes, in the reign of Henry III. This again is proved by a Feet of Fines, {17d} which records an "agreement made in the court of the Lord King at Westminster (3 Feb., A.D. 1224-5), between Henry del Ortiay and Sabina his wife on the one part, and the said Ralph de Rhodes on the other part," whereby the former acknowledge certain lands and appurtenances in Horncastle and its soke to be the property of the said Ralph, and he grants to them, as his tenants, certain lands; they, in acknowledgement, "rendering him therefor, by the year, one pair of gilt spurs at Easter for all service and exactions."

We have now reached another stage in the tenure of this manor and find ourselves once more at the point where the present chapter opened. Hitherto the manor had been held "in capite" (or "in chief") of the king by lay lords, or, in the two cases of Queen Editha and Adelias de Condi, by a lady; but in this reign Walter Mauclerk, the third Bishop of Carlisle, purchased the manor from Ralph de Rhodes. He was himself a powerful Norman and held the office of Treasurer of the Exchequer (a common combination of civil and ecclesiastical duties in those days), but now he and his successors were bound "to do suit and service to Ralph and his heirs." This purchase is proved by a Lincoln document called a "Plea Quo Warranto," which records a case argued before the Justices Itinerant, in the reign of Edward I., when it was stated that Ralph de Rhodes "enfeoffed Walter Mauclerk to hold the church, manor and appurtenances in Horncastre, to him and his heirs, of the gift of the said Ralph." {18a} That the Bishop, although an ecclesiastic, was bound to do service to the heirs of Ralph is shown by another document, {18b} in which John, son of Gerard de Rhodes, a descendant of Ralph, makes a grant to certain parties of "the homage and whole service of the Bishop of Carlisle, and his successors, for the manor (&c.) of Horncastre, which Gerard, son of Gerard my brother, granted to me." This is dated the 13th year of Edward I., 1285, whereas the actual sale of the manor took place in the reign of Henry III., A.D. 1230, and was confirmed by the king in the same year. {18c}

We have called this another stage in the tenure of this manor and for this reason, an ecclesiastic of high rank, with the authority of the Pope of Rome at his back, was a more powerful subject than any lay baron, and this influence soon shewed itself, for while the lay lords of the manor had been content with doing their service to the king, and exacting service from those holding under them, the Bishop of Carlisle, in the first year of his tenure, obtained from the king three charters, conferring on the town of Horncastle immunities and privileges, which had the effect of raising the town from the status of little more than a village to that of the general mart of the surrounding country. The first of these charters gave the bishop, as lord of the manor, the right of free warren throughout the soke {18d}; the second gave him licence to hold an annual fair two days before the feast of St. Barnabas (June 11), to continue eight days; the third empowered him to hang felons. An additional charter was granted in the following year empowering the bishop to hold a weekly market on Wednesday (die Mercurii), which was afterwards changed to Saturday, on which day it is still held; also to hold another fair on the eve of the Feast of St. Laurence (Aug. 10th), to continue seven days. {18e}

We here quote a few words of the original Carlisle charter, as shewing the style of such documents in those days: "Henry to all Bishops, Bailiffs, Provosts, servants, &c., health. Know that we, by the guidance of God, and for the health of our soul, and of the souls of our ancestors and descendants, have granted, and confirmed by this present charter, to God, and the church of the blessed Mary of Carlisle, and to the Venerable Father, Walter, Bishop of Carlisle," &c. It then goes on to specify, among other privileges, that the bishop shall have "all chattells of felons and fugitives, all amerciaments and fines from all men and tenants of the manor and soke; that the bishop and his successors shall be quit for ever to the king of all mercies, fines (&c.), that no constable of the king shall have power of entry, but that the whole shall pertain to the said bishop, except attachments touching pleas of the crown, and that all chattells, &c., either in the king's court, or any other, shall be the bishop's." Then follow cases in which chattells of Robert Mawe, a fugitive, were demanded by the bishop, and 24 pounds exacted from the township of Horncastle in lieu thereof; also 40s. from William, son of Drogo de Horncastre, for trespass, and other fines from Ralph Ascer, bailiff. Robert de Kirkby, &c., &c. The same document states that the bishop has a gallows (furcae) at Horncastle for hanging offenders within the soke; and, in connection with this we may observe that in the south of the town is still a point called "Hangman's Corner."

These extensive powers, however, would hardly seem (to use the words of the charter) to have been "for the good of the souls" of the bishop or his successors, since they rather had the effect of leading him to the abuse of his rights. Accordingly, in the reign of Edward III., a plea was entered at Westminster, before the King's Justices, {19a} by which John, Bishop of Carlisle, was charged with resisting the authority of the king in the matter of the patronage of the benefice of Horncastle. That benefice was usually in the gift of the bishop, but the rector, Simon de Islip, had been appointed by the king Archbishop of Canterbury and, in such circumstances, the crown by custom presents to the vacancy. The bishop resisted and proceeded to appoint his own nominee, but the judgment of the court was against him.

A somewhat similar case occurred a few years later. {19b} Thomas de Appleby, the Bishop of Carlisle, and John de Rouseby, clerk, were "summoned to answer to the Lord the King, that they permit him to appoint to the church of Horncastre, vacant, and belonging to the king's gift, by reason of the bishopric of Carlisle being recently vacant." It was argued that John de Kirkby, Bishop of Carlisle, had presented Simon de Islip to that benefice, afterwards created Archbishop of Canterbury, and that the temporalities (patronage, &c.) of the Bishopric of Carlisle therefore (for that turn) came to the king by the death of John de Kirkby, bishop. The said bishop, Thomas de Appleby, and John de Rouseby brought the case before the court, but they admitted the justice of the king's plea and judgment was given for the king.

We have said that although Walter Mauclerk, as Bishop of Carlisle, bought this manor from Ralph de Rhodes, he and his successors were still bound to "do suit and service" to Ralph and his heirs, and in the brief summary with which this chapter opened we named Roger le Scrope and Margaret his wife, with Robert Tibetot and Eva his wife, among those descendants of Ralph de Rhodes. We have fuller mention of them in documents which we here quote. In a Roll of the reign of Edward I., {19c} John, son of Gerard de Rhodes, says "Know all, present and future, that I, John, son of Gerard, have granted, and by this charter confirmed, to the Lord Robert Tibetot and Eva his wife (among other things) the homage and whole service of the Bishop of Carlisle, and his successors, for the manor of Horncastre, with appurtenances, &c., which Gerard, son of Gerard my brother, granted to me, &c., to have and to hold of the Lord the King . . . rendering for them annually to me and my heirs 80 pounds sterling." While in another Roll {20a} of the reign of Richard II., the king states that having inspected the above he confirms the grants, not only to the said "Robert Tybetot and his wife Eve," but also "to our very dear and faithful Roger le Scrope and Margaret his wife," recognizing them, it would seem, as descendants of the earlier grantee, Gerbald de Escald, from whom they all inherited.

Of these personages we may here say that both Tibetots and Le Scrope were of high position and influence. The name of Thebetot, or Tibetot, is found in the Battle Abbey Roll, as given by the historians Stow and Holinshed; {20b} with a slight variation of name, as Tibtofts, they were Lords of Langer, Co. Notts., and afterwards Earls of Worcester. {20c} According to the historian, Camden, John Tibtoft was Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland under Henry VI., created by him Earl of Worcester, but executed for treason. {20d} His successor, John, was Lord Deputy under Edward IV. {20e} The last of the Tibetots, Robert, died without male issue; his three daughters were under the guardianship of Richard le Scrope, who married the eldest daughter, Margaret, to his son Roger. This is the one named above in connection with Horncastle. The Tibetot property of Langer, Notts., thus passed to the Le Scropes, and continued in that family down to Emanuel, created Earl of Sunderland by Charles I., AD. 1628. {20f} Castle Combe in Wiltshire was one of their residences, {20g} but their chief seat was Bolton in Richmondshire. {20h} William le Scrope was created Earl of Wiltshire by Richard II., but beheaded when that king was dethroned and murdered, in 1399. {20i} Richard le Scrope was Archbishop of York, but condemned by Henry IV. for treason. {20j} The name Le Scrope also appears in the Battle Abbey Roll of the Conqueror. Thus in both Tibetots and Scropes Horncastle was connected with families who played a considerable part in public life.

In the reign of Edward VI. there was a temporary change in the ownership of this manor. Among the Carlisle Papers is one {20k} by which that king grants permission to Robert Aldrich, Bishop of Carlisle, to sell "to our very dear and faithful councellor, Edward Fynes, K.G., Lord Clinton and Saye, High Admiral of England, the lordship and soke of Horncastre, with all rights, appurtenances, &c., to hold to himself, his heirs and assigns for ever," and that he, the said Edward, "can give and grant to the said Robert, bishop, an annual rent of 28 pounds 6s. 8d." We have, however, in this case an illustration of the instability even of royal decrees, in that on the demise of that worthy prince, to whom the realm and Church of England owe so much, his successor, Queen Mary, in the very next year, A.D. 1553, cancelled this sale, and a document exists at Carlisle {21a} showing that she "granted a licence," probably in effect compulsory, to the same Lord Clinton and Saye, "to alienate his lordship and soke of Horncastle and to re-convey it to Robert Aldrich, Bishop of Carlisle."

His Lordship would, however, appear to have continued to hold the manor on lease under the bishop, and to have acted in a somewhat high-handed manner to his spiritual superior, probably under the influence of the change in religious sentiment between the reigns of "the bloody Mary," and her sister Elizabeth of glorious memory. For again we find a document {21b} of the reign of the latter, in which the Bishop of Carlisle complains to Sir Francis Walsingham, the Queen's Commissioner, of a "book of Horncastle," which the Earl of Lincoln (the new title of Lord Clinton and Saye) had sent to him "to be sealed," because (he says) the earl, by the words of the grant, had taken from him "lands and tithes of the yearly value of 28 pounds 6s. 8d.," the exact sum, be it observed, above specified as the rent to be paid by Lord Clinton and Saye to the bishop, Robert Aldrich. Of this, he asserts, "the see of Carlisle is seized and the earl is not in legal possession by his lease now 'in esse.'" {21c} He wages his suit "the more boldly, because of the extraordinary charges he has been at, from the lamentable scarcity in the country, the great multitude of poor people, and other charges before he came had made him a poor man, and yet he must go on with it . . . the number of them which want food to keep their lives in their bodies is so pitiful. If the Lord Warden and he did not charge themselves a great number would die of hunger, and some have done so," dated Rose Castle, 26 May, 1578.

His lordship, however, did one good turn to the town of Horncastle in founding the Grammar School, in the 13th year of the reign of Elizabeth, A.D. 1571, although (as we shall show in our chapter on the school) this was really not strictly a foundation but a re-establishment; as a grammar school is known to have existed in the town more than two centuries earlier.

We have one more record of Lord Clinton's connection with the town, from which it would appear that the Priory of Bullington, near Wragby, and Kirkstead Abbey also had property in Horncastle. A Carlisle document {21d} shows that in the reign of Edward VI. Lord Clinton and Saye received a grant of "lands, tenements and hereditaments in Horncastle, late in the tenure of Alexander Rose and his assigns, and formerly of the dissolved monastery of Bollington; also two tenements, one house, two 'lez bark houses' (Horncastle tanners would seem even then to have flourished), one house called 'le kylne howse,' one 'le garthing,' 14 terrages of land in the fields of Thornton, with appurtenances lying in Horncastle, &c., and once belonging to the monastery of Kyrkestead."

As in other places the Clinton family seem to have been succeeded by the Thymelbys, of these we have several records. An Escheator's Inquisition of the reign of Henry VIII., {22a} taken by Roger Hilton, at Horncastle, Oct. 5, 1512, shewed that "Richard Thymylby, Esquire, was seized of the manor of Parish-fee, in Horncastre, held of the Bishop of Carlisle, as of his soke of Horncastre, by fealty, and a rent of 7 pounds by the year." He was also "seized of one messuage, with appurtenances, in Horncastre, called Fool-thyng, parcel of the said manor of Parish-fee." {22b} The said Richard died 3 March, 3 Henry VIII. (A.D. 1512). This was, however, by no means the first of this family connected with Horncastle. Deriving their name from the parish of Thimbleby, in the soke of Horncastle, we find the first mention of a Thymelby in that parish in a post mortem Inquisition of the reign of Edward III., {22c} which shews that Nicholas de Thymelby then held land in Thimbleby under the Bishop of Carlisle, A.D. 1333; but nearly a century before that date a Lincoln document {22d} mentions one Ivo, son of Odo de Thymelby, as holding under the Bishop in Horncastle, in the reign of Henry III., A.D. 1248.

Further, in the reign of Edward I., as is shewn by a Harleian MS., in the British Museum, {22e} Richard de Thymelby was Dean of Horncastle; Thomas, son of the above Nicholas de Thymelby, presented to the benefice of Ruckland in 1381, John de Thymelby presented to Tetford in 1388, and John again to Somersby in 1394, {22f} and other members of the family presented at later periods. The family continued to advance in wealth and position until in the reign of Edward VI. it was found by an Inquisition {22g} that Matthew Thymelby, of Poolham (their chief residence in this neighbourhood), owned the manor of Thymbleby, that of Parish-fee in Horncastle and five others, with lands in eight other parishes, and the advowsons of Ruckland, Farforth, Somersby and Tetford. He married Anne, daughter of Sir Robert Hussey. Other influential marriages were those of John Thymelby, "Lord of Polum" (Poolham), to Isabel, {22h} daughter of Sir John Fflete, Knt. (circa 1409); William (probably) to Joan, daughter of Sir Walter Tailboys (circa 1432), {22i} a connection of the Earl of Angus; Matthew's widow marrying Sir Robert Savile, Knt. {22j}

[Picture: Plan of Horncastle, 1908—from the Ordnance Survey]

In connection with the marriage of William to Joan Tailboys we may mention that the base, all that now remains, of the churchyard cross at Tetford bears on its west side the Thimbleby arms "differenced" with those of Tailboys, the north side having the Thimbleby arms pure and simple. {24a}

Another important marriage was that of Richard Thimbleby (A.D. 1510) to Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of Godfrey Hilton of Irnham Manor near Grantham, through which alliance that property passed to the Thimblebys. It had been granted to Ralph Paganel by the Conqueror, afterwards passed to Sir Andrew Luterel, Knt., and later to Sir Geoffrey Hilton, Knt. Richard Thimbleby built Irnham Hall; he was succeeded by his son and heir, Sir John Thimbleby, who thus became the head of the family, which has in later times become almost extinct. This fine mansion, in the Tudor style of architecture, standing in a deer park of more than 250 acres, was destroyed by fire, Nov. 12, 1887, being then owned by W. Hervey Woodhouse, Esq., who bought it of Lord Clifford's son. {24b}

Turning again to the Carlisle documents we find one of the reign of Edward III., {24c} giving an agreement made in the King's Court at Westminster (20 Jan., 1353-4), "between Thomas, son of Nicholas de Thymelby, plaintiff, and Henry Colvile, knt., and Margaret his wife, deforciants," whereby, among other property, the latter acknowledge that certain "messuages, one mill, ten acres of land (i.e. arable), two pastures, and 7 pounds of rent, with appurtenances, in Horncastre, Thimilby, and Bokeland (i.e. Woodhall), are of the right of the said Thomas; and for this the said Thomas gives to the said Henry and Margaret 200 marks of silver."

Another document of the same reign, {24d} of date 1360-1, states that Gilbert de Wilton, Bishop of Carlisle, "gives 60s. for the King's licence to remit to Thomas son of Nicholas de Thymelby, and John his younger brother, the service of being Reeve (i.e. Bailiff) of the Bishop, and other services, which are due from him to the said Bishop for lands and tenements held of the said Bishop in Horncastre," and elsewhere. Another document, {24e} dated a few years later, shews an agreement made at Westminster, between Thomas Thymelby and his brother John, on the one part, and Frederick de Semerton and Amice his wife, deforciants, concerning four tofts, certain land, and 7 pounds of rent, with appurtenances, in Horncastre and contiguous parts, by which "the said Frederick and Amice acknowledge these (properties) to be of the right of the said Thomas and his brother," and for this Thomas pays them 100 marks of silver. Two other Carlisle documents of considerably later date refer to members of this same family of Thymelby, but are chiefly of value as introducing to us a new name among Horncastle owners of land.

A Chancery Inquisition {24f} taken at Horncastle, 24 Sept., 1612, shews that "John Kent, of Langton, was seized in his manor of Horncastell, with the appurtenances, called Parish-fee, and certain messuages, cottages, land and meadows in Horncastell (and elsewhere), lately purchased of Robert Savile and Richard Thymelby," and "held under the Bishop of Carlisle by fealty," . . . that "the said John Kent died 19 Sept., 1611, and that William Kent, his son, is next heir."

We have already seen that, about 60 years before, the widow of Matthew Thymelby had married Sir Robert Savile; he belonged to an old and influential family now represented by Lord Savile of Rufford Abbey, Notts., and the Earl of Mexborough, Methley Park, Yorkshire. By the aforesaid marriage the bulk of the Thymelby property passed to the Saviles, and like the Thymelbys they had their chief residence, in this neighbourhood, at Poolham Hall, owning among many other possessions the aforesaid sub-manor of Parish-fee in Horncastle, which, as we have seen, was sold by their joint action to John Kent of Langton. We have already had mention of a John Savile who was apparently captain of the "trained band" connected with Horncastle in the reign of Elizabeth, A.D. 1586 (see p. 14); Gervase Holles mentions this John Savile as joint lord of Somersby with Andrew Gedney, and lord of Tetford in the same reign. (Collectanea, vol. iii, p. 770).

From another document {25a} it would seem that, some 10 or 11 years later, Richard Thymelby and Robert Savile were involved in a more than questionable transaction with regard to the property thus transferred. Among the Carlisle papers is a Petition in Chancery, of which we here give the text, slightly abridged, as it is remarkable, and fittingly brings to a close our notices of the Thymelbys in connection with Horncastle.

To the Right Honble. Sir Francis Bacon, Knt., Lord Chancellor of England. Complainant sheweth, on the oath of your petitioner, Evan Reignolds, of St. Catherine's, Co. Middlesex, gent., and Joan his wife, that, whereas Richard Thymelby, some time of Poleham, Co. Lincoln, Esq., deceased, was seized of the manors of Poleham, Thimbleby, Horsington, Stixwold, Buckland, Horncastle, Edlington (&c.), and tenements in Langton, Blankney, Baumber, and in one pasture inclosed for 1000 sheep, called Heirick (High-Rig, in Woodhall, near Poolham) pasture, &c., whereof Robert Savile was seized for life, conveyed the same to his father-in-law Robert Savile . . . the said Richard Thymelby, going up to London, negotiated to sell the property to one Richard Gardiner, and for 2,300 pounds engaged, at his desire, to convey all to John Wooton, the 2,300 pounds was paid to Richard Thymelby and bargain settled July 15, 6 Elizabeth (A.D. 1564). {25b} A dispute arose in the following year between Richard Thymelby and Robert Savile, which was submitted to arbitrators (Feb. 15, 7 Elizabeth), who ordered Richard Thymelby to pay Robert Savile 1,500 pounds, and Robert Savile should then convey all to Richard Thymelby. The 1,500 pounds was paid and afterwards the two "confederated to defraud the said Richard Gardiner and conveyed the said manors to John Kent." The judgment of the court is not given, but neither of the defendants, surely, cut a very creditable figure, and Richard Thymelby, suitably, we must admit, passes from the scene.

Of the Saviles we may here give a few more particulars. Gervase Holles, the antiquary, mentions in his Collectanea (vol. iii, p. 770) John Savile, Esq., as Lord of the Manor of Tetford, in this neighbourhood, in the reign of Elizabeth, and as joint Lord of Somersby with Andrew Gedney, Esq. (of the latter and his wife there is a very fine sepulchral monument in the church of the adjoining parish of Bag Enderby). The most distinguished literary member of the family was Sir Henry Savile, a learned mathematician, Fellow and Warden of Merton College, Oxford, and Provost of Eton; a munificent patron of learning, founding Professorships of Astronomy and Geography at his University; he wrote a Treatise on Roman Warfare, but his great work was a translation of the writings of St. Chrysostom, a monument of industry and learning; he was knighted by James I., and his bust is carved in stone in the quadrangle of the Bodleian Library at Oxford, among those of other benefactors. Charles I. conferred the Earldom of Sussex on Thomas, Lord Savile of Pontefract. Several members of the family were Seneschals, or Stewards, of Wakefield. George was created Marquis of Halifax, another was Baron of the Exchequer. The name is given in the Conqueror's Roll of Battle Abbey (A.D. 1066), Hollinshed's version, as Sent Ville, in Stow's version as Sant Vile, while a Chancery Inquisition (of 18 Henry VII., No. 46, Architectural Society's Journal, 1895, p. 17) gives it as Say-vile, and on the analogy of Nevill, formerly de Nova-villa, we may perhaps assume that the original form was de Sancta-villa (or "of the Holy City"); which may well have been adopted by one who had made a pilgrimage to Canterbury, Rome, or Jerusalem itself.

I should, however, add that a member of the family, Miss Elizabeth J. Savile, who has herself dug to the roots of the genealogical tree, gives a different version of their origin. According to her they are descended from the Dukes de Savelli, who again trace their lineage from the still more ancient Sabella in Italy. When John Savile, 2nd son of Sir John Savile, travelled in Italy in the time of James I., the then Duke de Savelli received him as a kinsman. Of this family were the Popes Honorius III. and Honorius IV. A MS. Visitation in the British Museum says "It is conceived, that this family came into England with Geoffrey Plantagenet, rather than with the Conqueror, because there are two towns of this name on the frontiers of Anjou, both of which were annexed to the crown of England when the said Geoffrey married Maud, sole daughter and heir of Henry I." This is said to have been taken from the Savile pedigree in the keeping of Henry Savile of Bowlings, Esq., living in 1665. The Saviles of Methley trace their descent, in the male line, from this Sir John Savile of Savile Hall. One branch, the Saviles of Thornhill, are now represented in the female line by the Duke of Devonshire, and the Savile Foljambes, one of whom is the present Lord Hawkesbury. The Saviles of Copley, now extinct, are represented by the Duke of Norfolk, and a younger branch by the Earls of Mexborough. The opinion that they came from Anjou is generally accepted, the authorities being Yorkshire Pedigrees, British Museum Visitations, Gregorovius, uno frio, Panvinio, and other chroniclers.

We now proceed to notice the other persons, of more or less repute, who were at various periods owners in Horncastle. In the 3rd year of King John we find Gerard de Camville paying fees for land in Horncastle by his deputy, Hugo Fitz Richard, to the amount of 836 pounds, which was a large sum in those days. {26a} He was sheriff of the county, A.D. 1190, along with Hugo. {26b} The name, however, is more known for the celebrated defence of Lincoln Castle by Nicholaia de Camville against the besieging forces of King Stephen in 1191, and again in her old age against Henry III., assisted by Louis, Dauphin of France. An ancestor of William de Camville is named in the Battle Abbey Roll, among those Normans who came over with the Conqueror.

William de Lizures and Eudo de Bavent are also named as paying similar fees, though to smaller amounts. The de Lizures were a powerful Yorkshire family, who inter-married with the De Lacys of Pontefract Castle and inherited some of their large estates. {27a} Among these, one was the neighbouring manor of Kirkby-on-Bain, which would seem to have passed to the Lady Albreda Lizures; {27b} they probably derived their name from the town of Lisieux, near Harfleur in Normandy. We soon lose sight of this family in England, and they seem to have migrated northward and to have acquired lands in Scotland. The name De Lizures is common in Scottish Cartularies, for instance in the Cartulary of Kelso, p. 257 (Notes & Queries, series 2, vol. xii, p. 435). In 1317 William and Gregory de Lizures were Lords of Gorton, and held lands near Roslyn Castle, Edinburgh (Genealogie of the Saint Claires of Roslyn, by Father Augustin Hay, re-published Edinburgh, 1835), [Notes & Queries, 3rd series, vol. i, p. 173].

The De Bavents were also a distinguished family, their connection with Horncastle survives in the name of a field in the south of the parish, on the Rye farm, which is called "Bavent's Close." A few particulars of this family may not be without interest. The earliest named are Richard de Bavent in 1160, {27c} and Eudo de Bavent in 1161, {27d} as holding the manor of Mareham-le-Fen, in the extreme south of the Horncastle soke, under Henry II., "by service of falconry." {27e} Eudo (about 1200) gave "to God, the Cathedral, and Chapter of Lincoln," his lands in the north fen of Bilsby. {27f} The family seem to have gradually increased their possessions in this neighbourhood. In 1290, under Edward I., we find Jollan de Bavent holding lands in Billesby and Winceby, as well as Mareham. {27g} In 1319, under Edward II., Robert de Bavent holds his land in Billesby of the King by the service of supplying "3 falcons for the royal use," {27h} and, under Edward III., certain trustees of Peter de Bavent, by his will, transfer the manor of Mareham to the convent of Revesby, to provide a monk who shall daily throughout the year say masses "for the souls of the said Peter and Catherine, his wife, for ever." {27i} Truly "L' homme propose, et Dieu dispose," for from this time forward we hear little of the Bavents. They may "call their lands after their own names," "Bavent's Close" survives, but of the whilom owner we can only say, in the words of Coleridge:

The knight's bones are dust, And his good sword rust, His soul is with The saints, we trust.

Another family of distinction connected with Horncastle was that of the Angevines. Among the Carlisle documents is one {27j} shewing that a trial was held at Horncastle (A.D. 1489-90), in which Sir Robert Dymoke, Knt., and William Angevin, Esq., recovered possession of 400 acres of land, with tofts and appurtenances, in Horncastle and its soke, from John Hodgisson and his wife, John Cracroft, Gervase Clifton (of Clifton) and others. This family probably acquired their name thus: William the Conqueror brought to England from Normandy a body of troops called the "Angevine auxiliaries" (from the province of Anjou), and their descendants were granted lands in various parts of the kingdom. One family especially seems to have adopted this name, which was variously spelt as Angevine, Aungelyne, Aungeby, &c.; they settled in various parts of this county at an early period, and Horncastle being a royal manor they naturally were located in this neighbourhood. We find traces of them at Whaplode in the south, Saltfleetby in the north, and Theddlethorpe midway, in the 12th and 14th centuries. {28a} Among Lincoln records is the will of Robert Angevin, Gent., {28b} of Langton by Horncastle, dated 25 April, 1545, in which he requests to be buried in the Church of St. Margaret (then a much larger edifice than the present); he leaves to his son land in Hameringham, and to his widow, for life, and his four daughters, lands in Burnsall, Hebden, Conyseat and Norton, in the County of York. His brother, John Angevin, resided at West Ashby, then a hamlet of Horncastle. William Angevin, Gent., of Theddlethorpe {28c} is named in the official list of Lincolnshire freeholders made in 1561, and the name also appears in the Visitation of 1562, but all traces of the family disappear before the time of the commonwealth.

The same Carlisle document {28d} mentions Thomas Fitz-William as concerned in the said dispute, as being a Horncastle proprietor; while, further, another Carlisle document of the time of Henry VIII., shows that Thomas Fitz-William, Esq., was seized of one capital messuage, 6 other messuages, 4 tofts and 100 acres of land in Horncastle, held of the Prior of Carlisle, and John Fitz-William was his heir. {28e} The Fitz-Williams again were a very ancient and distinguished family, the name is found in the Battle Abbey Roll of William the Conqueror. The family claim descent from Sir William Fitz-Goderic, cousin of King Edward the Confessor. His son, Sir William Fitz-William, has been said (as the name might imply) to have been really a natural son of William the Conqueror himself, {28f} but the more generally accepted version is that Fitz-Goderic was his father. Sir William Fitz-William accompanied the Duke of Normandy to England as Marshal of his army, and for his bravery at the battle of Hastings the Conqueror gave him a scarf from his own arm. A descendant, in the reign of Elizabeth, was thrice Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; he was also Governor of Fotheringhay Castle when the unfortunate Queen Mary of Scotland was imprisoned there, and before she was beheaded she gave him a portrait of herself, which is still preserved at Milton House, near Peterborough, one of the seats of the Earls Fitz-William, who now represent the family, Baron of Milton being their second title. A Patent of Edward IV. (A.D. 1461) {28g} shows that Richard Fitz-William had the privilege granted to him by that King of "free warren" at Ulceby, near Alford.

An Inquisition in the reign of Henry VII. {29a} (A.D. 1502) shows that Thomas Fitz-William held the manors of Mavis Enderby, Maidenwell and Mablethorpe. The list of magistrates for the county in the reign of Henry VIII. {29b} contains the name of George Fitz-William along with Lionel Dymoke, Lord Willoughby, and others; while an Inquisition held five years later {29c} shews that Thomas Fitz-William held the aforementioned manor of Ulceby, by the "service of 1 falcon annually to the King." Sir William Fitz-William in the same reign {29d} was Lord High Admiral. John Fitz-William is named in the Herald's list of county gentry in the 16th century as residing at Skidbrook, a hamlet of Saltfleet Haven, {29e} and William Fitz-William, Esq., supplied "one lance and two light horse" when the Spanish Armada was expected to invade England, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. {29f} William Fitz-William of Mablethorpe {29g} married, in 1536, Elizabeth daughter of Sir Robert Tyrwhitt, of Kettlethorpe, a member of a very old Lincolnshire family, still owning property in this neighbourhood; and in 1644 Sir William Wentworth, {29h} a scion of a younger branch, married Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of Thomas Savile, of Wakefield, whose family we have already mentioned as connected with Horncastle.

In 1620 the head of the Fitz-William family was created an Irish Peer; in 1742 the 3rd Baron was made Baron Milton in the peerage of Great Britain; and, 4 years later, Earl Fitz-William. In 1782, on the death of his uncle, the last Marquis of Rockingham, the Earl of that day succeeded to the Yorkshire and Northamptonshire estates of the Wentworths, and in 1807 they took the name of Wentworth as an affix. In the early part of the 19th century the name became again connected with Horncastle, when Earl Fitz-William, grandfather of the present Earl, hunted the local pack of foxhounds, which were kept in Horncastle, in what is still called Dog-kennel Yard, at the back of St. Lawrence Street. An old friend, formerly practicing as a Doctor in Horncastle, but lately deceased, has told the writer that he remembered seeing the Earl's hounds breaking cover from Whitehall Wood, in the parish of Martin.

There is one more Carlisle document deserving of quotation as it is of a peculiar nature. A Patent Roll of the reign of Elizabeth, {29i} A.D. 1577, records that a "pardon" was granted to "Sir Thomas Cecil, Knt., for acquiring the manor of Langton (by Horncastle) with appurtenances, and 30 messuages, 20 cottages, 40 tofts, 4 dove-cotes, 40 gardens, 30 orchards, 1,400 acres of (cultivated) land, 100 acres of wood, 100 acres of furze and heath, 200 acres of marsh, 40s. of rent, and common pasture, with appurtenances, in Horncastle, Thimbleby, Martin, Thornton and Woodhall, from Philip Tylney, Esq., by fine levied without licence." This was a somewhat extensive acquisition. We have already recorded a more than questionable transaction in the transfer of land by Richard Thymelby and Robert Savile, A.D. 1564, and this transaction of Sir Thomas Cecil, 13 years later, seems also to have been in some way irregular, since it needed the royal "pardon."

There is nothing to show who this Philip Tylney was, who acted on this occasion as vendor, but Sir Thomas Cecil was the son of the great Lord Treasurer Burghley, who was Secretary of State under Edward VI., and for 40 years guided the Councils of Queen Elizabeth. Sir Thomas himself was a high official under Elizabeth and King James I.; he was knighted in 1575, received the Order of the Garter in 1601; under James I. he was made Privy Councillor, and having succeeded his father as Baron Burghley, was created by James Earl of Exeter. His brother Sir Robert also held high office and was made in 1603 Baron Cecil, in 1604 Viscount Cranbourne, in 1605 Earl of Salisbury. Thomas Cecil died Feb. 7, 1622, aged 80, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. He married 1st Dorothy, daughter of John Nevil, Lord Latimer, and 2nd, Frances, daughter of Lord Chandos. He was, doubtless, a man of large ideas and great ambition, his royal mistress was herself Lady of the manor of Horncastle, and Horncastle having thus been brought under his notice, he may have been too grasping in compassing his purposes. The Revesby Charters {30a} show that he purchased that estate in 1575.

We may add that the Cecils were descended from an ancient family located in Wales soon after the Norman Conquest, and acquired large possessions in the reign of King Rufus; the 14th in descent was David Cecil of Stamford, Sergeant at Arms to King Henry VIII., he was grandfather to the 1st Lord Burghley. {30b} The present representatives of this old family are the Marquis of Exeter of Burghley House, Stamford, and the Marquis of Salisbury of Hatfield House, Herts.

We have now reached the end of a somewhat lengthy series of owners formerly connected with Horncastle, its manor, and its soke, bringing us down to the early part of the 17th century, and we think that few towns, of its size, could show such a record of distinguished names. The information available as to more recent periods is more meagre. The Bishops of Carlisle continued to hold the manor down to the year 1856, and various parties held leases of it under them, they themselves residing here from time to time, {30c} until the episcopal palace was demolished in 1770, when the present Manor House was erected on its site.

We have already stated that Queen Elizabeth leased the manor from the Bishop of Carlisle of that date, she was succeeded in the lease by King James I., who transferred it to Sir Henry Clinton, but owing to a legal error in that transaction, it proved void. One of the said Bishops in the next reign was Dr. Robert Snowden, whose family were located in this neighbourhood, his son being Vicar of Horncastle. Abigail Snowden married Edward, son of Sir Edward Dymoke, Knt., in 1654, and Jane Snowden married Charles Dymoke, Esq., of Scrivelsby Court; the former belonged to the, so called, Tetford branch of the Dymokes, who have of late years also succeeded to the Scrivelsby property. Bishop Robert Snowden granted a lease of the Horncastle manor to his kinsman, Rutland Snowden, and his assignees for three lives; but this would appear to have been afterwards cancelled, owing to the "delinquency" of the first grantee. {31a} The name of this Rutland Snowden appears in the list of Lincolnshire Gentry who were entitled to bear arms, at the Herald's Visitation of 1634. {31b}

A break in the continuity of the sub-tenure of the manor here occurs, but not of long duration. The family of Banks are next found holding the lease, under the said bishops; the most distinguished of them being Sir Joseph Banks, the eminent naturalist, and patron of science in almost every form; who visited Newfoundland in pursuit of his favourite study; accompanied Captain Cook in his voyage to the South Seas; visited Iceland with Dr. Solander, the pupil of Linnaeus; made large natural history and antiquarian collections; {31c} became President of the Royal Society; and was largely instrumental in forming the schemes for the drainage and inclosure of the fens; and other works of public utility. His family acquired the Revesby Abbey estates in 1714, and were closely connected with Horncastle for more than a century, as he died in 1820.

One of his ancestors, also Joseph, was M.P. for Grimsby and Totnes; another, also Joseph, had a daughter, Eleonora, who married the Honble. Henry Grenville, and was mother of the Countess Stanhope. Through this last connection, on the demise of Sir Joseph, the leased manor passed, as the nearest male relative, to Col. the Honble. James Hamilton Stanhope, who served in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo. He died three years later, in 1823, and was succeeded by the late James Banks Stanhope, Esq., then a minor, and afterwards M.P. for North Lincolnshire; who, some years ago, transferred all his manorial rights to the Right Honble. Edward Stanhope, 2nd son of the 5th Earl Stanhope, and M.P. for the Horncastle Division. He died 22 December, 1898, and his widow, the Honble. Mrs. Stanhope of Revesby Abbey, became Lady of the Manor; this, on her decease in 1907 reverting to the family of the Earl Stanhope, of Chevening Park, Sevenoaks, Kent, in the person of his son, the Honble. Richard Stanhope, now residing at Revesby Abbey.

In 1856 the manoral rights of the Bishops of Carlisle were transferred to the See of Lincoln, and the Bishop of Lincoln is now ex officio Patron of the Benefice. The head of the Stanhope family is still the chief owner of property in Horncastle; other owners being the Vicar with 92 acres, the representatives of the late Sigismund Trafford Southwell with 67 acres, representatives of the late W. B. Walter (now Majer Traves) with 58 acres; while Coningtons, Clitherows, Rev. Richard Ward, and about 100 other proprietors hold smaller portions. We have mentioned the influence of Sir Joseph Banks in the drainage and enclosure of the fens, and on the completion of that important work in Wildmore Fen, in 1813, some 600 acres were added to the soke of Horncastle, about 80 acres being assigned to the manor, while the glebe of the Vicar was increased so that it now comprises 370 acres.

We conclude this chapter with another record of the past, which should not be omitted. It is somewhat remarkable that although Horncastle has been connected with so many personages of distinction as proprietors, and for about 600 years (as already shewn) with royalty itself, as an appanage of the crown, it has only once been visited by royalty in person. History tells {32a} that "on Sep. 12, 1406, Henry IV. made a royal procession" from this town (probably coming hither from Bolingbroke Castle, his birthplace), "with a great and honourable company, to the Abbey of Bardney, where the Abbot and monks came out, in ecclesiastical state, to meet him," and he was royally entertained by them. We may perhaps assume that as his father, John of Gaunt, had a palace at Lincoln, {32b} he was on his way thither, where also his half brother, Henry Beaufort, had been Bishop, but was promoted two years before this to the See of Winchester.

The nearest approach to another royal visit was that of the Protector, Oliver Cromwell, which however was of a private character. Although historians do not generally relate it, it is locally understood that, after the Battle of Winceby, on Oct. 11, 1643, Cromwell personally came to Horncastle to see that proper honours were paid, by the churchwarden, Mr. Hamerton, to the body of Sir Ingram Hopton, slain on that eventful day in single combat with Cromwell himself, who pronounced him to be "a brave gentleman," he having, indeed, first unhorsed Cromwell. This visit would seem to be further proved by the fact that a man, named John Barber, died in Horncastle, aged 95, A.D. 1855 (or 1856), whose grandfather remembered Cromwell, on that occasion, sleeping in the house now called Cromwell House, in West Street (or rather an older house on the same site); while in the parish register of West Barkwith there is an entry of the burial of Nicholas Vickers, in 1719, with the additional note that he "guided Cromwell over Market Rasen Moor," in his journey northward after the battle. He may well, therefore, have taken Horncastle on his way.


Having, so far, dealt with the more or less conjectural, prehistoric period of Horncastle's existence in Chapter I, and with the Manor and its ownership in Chapter II, we now proceed to give an account of the town's institutions, its buildings, and so forth. Among these the Parish Church, naturally, claims precedence.


This is probably not the original parish church. There is no mention of a church in Domesday Book, and although this is not quite conclusive evidence, it is likely that no church existed at that date (circa 1085 A.D.); but in Testa de Nevill (temp. Richard I.) we find "Ecclesia de Horncastre," named with those of (West) Ashby, High Toynton, Mareham (-on-the-Hill), and (Wood) Enderby, as being in the gift of the King; {33a} while at an Inquisition post mortem, taken at Horncastle, 8 Richard II., No. 99, {33b} the Jurors say that "the Lord King Edward (I.), son of King Henry (III.), gave to Gilbert, Prior of the alien Priory of Wyllesforth, and his successors, 2 messuages, and 6 oxgangs (90 acres) of land, and the site of the Chapel of St. Laurence, with the appurtenances, in Horncastre," on condition that they find a fit chaplain to celebrate mass in the said chapel three days in every week "for the souls of the progenitors of the said King, and his successors, for ever." This chapel probably stood near the street running northwards from the Market Place, now called St. Lawrence Street, though, a few years ago, it was commonly called "Pudding Lane." It is said to have formerly been a main street and at the head of it stood the Market Cross. Bodies have at various times been found interred near this street, indicating the vicinity of a place of worship, and, when a block of houses were removed in 1892, by the Right Honble. E. Stanhope, Lord of the Manor, to enlarge the Market Place, several fragments of Norman pillars were found, which, doubtless, once belonged to the Norman Chapel of St. Lawrence. {34}

The date of St. Mary's Church, as indicated by the oldest part of it, the lower portion of the tower, is early in the 13th century. "It is a good example of a town church of the second class (as said the late Precentor Venables, who was a good judge) in no way, indeed, rivalling such churches as those of Boston, Louth, Spalding or Grantham; nay even many a Lincolnshire village has a finer edifice, but the general effect, after various improvements, is, to say the least, pleasing, and it has its interesting features. The plan of the church (he says) is normal; it consists of nave, with north and south aisles; chancel, with south aisle and north chantry, the modern vestry being eastward of this; a plain low tower, crowned with wooden spirelet and covered with lead. Taking these in detail: the tower has two lancet windows in the lower part of the west wall, above these a small debased window, and again, above this, a two-light window of the Decorated style, similar windows on the north and south sides, and at the top an embattled Perpendicular parapet. The tower opens on the nave with a lofty arch, having pilaster buttresses, which terminate above the uppermost of two strings; the base is raised above the nave by three steps, the font being on a projection of the first step. This lower portion of the tower is the oldest part of the church, dating from the Early English period. The chamber where the bells are hung is, by the modern arrangement, above this lower compartment, and is approached by a winding staircase built on the outside of the southern wall, a slight disfigurement."

There are six bells, with the following inscriptions:—

(1) Lectum fuge. Discute somnum. G. S. T. W. H. Penn, Fusor, 1717.

(2) In templo venerare Deum. H. Penn nos fudit. Cornucastri.

(3) Supplicem Deus audit. Daniel Hedderley cast me. 1727.

(4) Tho. Osborn fecit. Downham, Norfolk. 1801. Tho. Bryan and D. Brown, Churchwardens.

(5) Dum spiras, spera. H. Penn, Fusor, 1717. Tho. et Sam. Hamerton Aeditivi.

(6) Exeat e busto. Auspice Christo. Tho. Loddington, LL.D., Vicar H P. 1717.

Near the south Priest's door, in the chancel, a bell, about 1 ft. in height, stands on the floor, unused; this was the bell of a former clock in the tower. The "Pancake Bell" is rung on Shrove Tuesday, at 10 a.m.; the Curfew at 8 p.m., from Oct. 11 to April 6, except Saturdays, at 7 p.m., and omitting from St. Thomas's Day to Plough Monday. The "Grammar School Bell" used to be rung daily, Sundays excepted, at 7 a.m., but of late years this has been discontinued, the Governors refusing to pay for it.

The fabric of the nave is of the Decorated style, though modern in date, with Perpendicular clerestory, having five three-light windows, on the north and south sides. The arcades are of four bays, with chamfered equilateral arches, springing from shafted piers; the capitals of the two central ones being ornamented with foliage of a decorated character; the others being plain. Each aisle has three three-light windows, of decorated style, in the side wall, and a fourth at the west end; these are modern, the north aisle having been re-built in 1820 and the south aisle in 1821. There are north and south porches.

The chancel arch is modern, the carving of its caps being very delicate. On the north side the outline of the doorway, formerly leading to the rood loft, is still visible, and below, on the west side of the chancel wall, is a well-carved statue bracket of floriated character, which was transferred from the chancel, and on the south side a still older one, much plainer.

[Picture: St. Mary's Church]

The east window of the chancel is said to be an enlarged copy of the east window of the neighbouring Haltham Church. It has five lights, with flamboyant tracery above, and is filled with rich coloured glass, by Heaton, Butler & Bayne; the subjects being, on the north side, above "The Annunciation," below "The Nativity;" 2nd light, above "The Adoration," below "The Flight into Egypt;" central light, above "The Crucifixion," below "The Entombment;" next light, on south, above "Women at the Sepulchre;" below "Feed my Lambs;" southernmost light, above "The Ascension," below "Pentecost." In the upper tracery are "Censing Angels" and "Instruments of the Passion." This window cost about 280 pounds and is dedicated to the memory of the late Vicar, Prebendary W. H. Milner, who was largely instrumental in the restoration of the church, in 1861, and died Oct. 3, 1868. In that restoration the architect was the late Mr. Ewan Christian, and the contractors for the work Messrs. Lea & Ashton of Retford. The cost of the restoration of the chancel was defrayed by J. Banks Stanhope, Esq., as Lord of the Manor and Lay Rector, the rest being done by subscriptions amounting to about 4,000 pounds.

The present organ was originally designed by Mr. John Tunstall, and built by Messrs. Gray & Davidson, of London, at a cost of about 400 pounds. As re-constructed by Mr. Nicholson, of Lincoln, it contains 3 manuals, a fine pedal organ with 45 stops, and more than 2,500 pipes. It cost more than 2,000 pounds, 1,350 pounds of which was contributed by the late Henry James Fielding, Esq., of Handel House, Horncastle. At a later date a trumpet was added, costing 120 pounds, the result being probably as fine an instrument as any in the county. For many years the organist was Mr. William Wakelin, whose musical talent was universally acknowledged; on his unfortunate sudden death, on March 1st, 1908, he was succeeded by Mr. Hughes, recently Assistant Organist of Ely Cathedral.

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