St Mary's Church, Horncastle
|Area||5.73 km2 (2.21 sq mi)|
|• Density||1,189/km2 (3,080/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|• London||115 mi (185 km) S|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Horncastle is a town and civil parish in Lincolnshire, 17 miles (27 km) east of Lincoln. Its population of 6,815 at the 2011 census was estimated to be 7,123 in 2019. A section of the ancient Roman walls remains.
Roman Horncastle has become known recently as Banovallum (i. e. Wall on the River Bain). Although this Roman name has been adopted by some local businesses and the town's secondary modern school, it is not firmly known to be original. Banovallum was merely suggested in the 19th century through an interpretation of the Ravenna Cosmography, a 7th-century list of Roman towns and road-stations, and may equally have meant Caistor.
The Roman walls remain in places. One section is on display in the town's library, which was built over the top of the wall. The Saxons called the town Hyrnecastre, from which its modern name derives.
Dating from the 13th century, well before the Reformation, the Anglican parish church is dedicated to St Mary the Virgin. It is a Grade II* listed building in the Early English style, but was extensively restored 1859–1861 by Ewan Christian.
English Civil War
Four miles out is the village of Winceby, where an 1643 Battle of Winceby which helped to gain Lincolnshire for Parliament, although its leader, Oliver Cromwell, was almost killed. Local legend has it that the 13 scythe blades hanging on the wall of the south chapel of St Mary's Church were used as weapons at Winceby, but this is mainly seen as apocryphal. The historical opinion is that they probably date from the Lincolnshire Rising of 1536. Both theories on the scythes appear in the "Church History" Lincoln website.
Horncastle was once a centre for cockfighting and bull-baiting. The Fighting Cocks remains the name of a local pub. Bull-baiting was practised in the area known as the Bull Ring. One historian finds that the practise continued until about 1810. Both these sports were banned in England and Wales under the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1835.
Market and horse fair
Horncastle gained a Crown market charter in the 13th century. It was long known for its great August horse fair, a famous trading event that continued until the mid-20th century. It ended after the Second World War, when horses had largely ceased to be used on farms. The town remains a centre of the antiques trade.
The annual horse fair was probably first held in the 13th century. It would last for a week or more every August. In the 19th century it was probably the largest such event in the United Kingdom. The slogan, "Horncastle for horses", was a sign of the town's standing in this trade. The fair was George Borrow's setting for some scenes in his semi-autobiographical books Lavengro and The Romany Rye. The last was held in 1948. Livestock markets continued for pigs and cattle, the last cattle market being held in 2000.
In 1894 the Stanhope Memorial, designed by E. Lingen Barker, was raised in the centre of the Market Place in memory of Edward Stanhope MP. It is a Grade II listed structure made of limestone, red sandstone and pink and grey streaked marble.
The Grade II listed Old Court House in Louth Road was built in 1865. There are 116 other listed edifices in the town, including the three places of worship – St Mary's (Grade II*), Holy Trinity (Grade II) and the Congregational Church (Grade II) – and several sections of the Roman walls (Grade I).
Historically, the civil parish lost population from the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries, as urbanisation and agricultural changes drew people to cities, where more work was available. However, the population since the late 20th century it has risen, to 6,815 in 2011, its highest so far. The estimated population in 2019 was still higher at 7,123.
|Population of Horncastle civil parish|
Horncastle lies 7 miles from Woodhall Spa, 10 miles from Spilsby, 18 miles from Boston, 21 miles from Lincoln, 10 miles from Wragby and 13 miles from Louth. It is near the main A158 road between Lincoln to Skegness, to the south of the Lincolnshire Wolds, where the north–south River Bain meets the River Waring from the east, and north of the West and Wildmore Fens. The south of Horncastle is called Cagthorpe. Langton Hill to the west was part of Horncastle Rural District in the Parts of Lindsey, but is now in the district of East Lindsey based in Manby, east of Louth.
North of the town, the civil parish meets West Ashby and Low Toynton, south of Milestone House on the A153 Louth Road. The boundary skirts the east of the town, crossing Low Toynton Road, following the Viking Way, then meeting the River Waring. It briefly follows north of the A158, where it meets High Toynton. Southwards on Mareham Road, it meets Mareham on the Hill, east of Stonehill Farm. South of the town and north of Telegraph House, it reaches Scrivelsby, following High Lane westwards to cross the B1183, south of Loxley Farm, then the A153, and skirts the southern edge of the sewage works next to the River Bain, where it meets Roughton (Thornton). It takes the line of the Old River Bain west of the A153 northwards over the river meadows, crossing the Horncastle Canal and Viking Way. Eastwards it crosses the B1191, south of Langton Hill, where at Lowmoor Lane it meets Langton. It follows Langton Lane northwards, with Mill House Farm (Langton Mill) to the west, towards Thimbleby. It meets the B1190, then the A158 at the B1190 junction, following Accommodation Road to the east. It skirts the north of the town, along Elmhurst Road, passing south of Elmlea Farm and straight through to Elmhirst Lakes. At the River Bain near Hemingby Lane, it reaches West Ashby.
Lincolnshire Integrated Voluntary Emergency Service is based at the Boston Road Industrial Estate. The Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust is based in Banovallum House. Mortons of Horncastle is a major national magazine publisher of classic motorcycles, aviation and road transport heritage titles, based in the industrial estate off the A153 (Boston Road).
Horncastle has always been a safe area for the Conservative Party, except for two years in the early 1920s, when it had Liberal Party representation. It had an eponymous parliamentary constituency for 98 years, from 1885 to 1983. It then became Gainsborough and Horncastle, and after 1997 Louth and Horncastle. Henry Haslam served as MP in the Second World War and the five years of the Churchill wartime government. The veteran politician Sir Peter Tapsell was MP for the town in 1966–1983 and 1997–2015, being Father of the House of Commons from 2010 to 2015. After a redistribution of parliamentary constituencies, Edward Leigh was MP in 1983–1997.
Horncastle Primary School stands in Bowl Alley Lane.
Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School was founded in 1571, and is among the top schools in Lincolnshire, having been at times been among the top schools in the country. Its tennis, hockey, netball and cricket teams compete regionally, and the tennis team was a regional winner in the 2005 British Schools Tennis Championships. Queen Elizabeth's is a specialist Science College and Language College. Its Design and Technology department recently entered two teams in the National 4X4 for Schools engineering competition, one of which came first nationally in its age group, while the other came second nationally overall.
The Banovallum School is a non-selective community school serving Horncastle and surrounding villages; it forms a science specialist school jointly with Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School. The most recent Ofsted inspection in 2019 judged the school to be overall Grade 2 (good). It had a building added in 2010, with facilities for cookery, woodwork, metalwork, art and music.
Horncastle College was a "lifelong-learning" adult education college that ran short and residential courses in I.T., art, languages and local history. It has been replaced by Fortuna Horncastle Business Centre.
Horncastle sits at the crossroads of two major Lincolnshire roads: the east-west A158, joining the county town of Lincoln with the resort of Skegness on the Lincolnshire coast, and the north-south A153 joining Louth with Sleaford and Grantham in the south. These meet at the Bull Ring in central Horncastle.
The A158 through Horncastle becomes busy in the summer holidays with Skegness holidaymakers. To alleviate traffic pressure in the town centre a relief road, Jubilee Way, was built in the 1970s. Minor roads run from Horncastle to Bardney, Boston (via Revesby), Fulletby and Woodhall Spa.
The Great Northern Railway's Lincoln–Boston line ran through Kirkstead, 8 miles (12.9 km) from Horncastle, and a branch line from Kirkstead (later Woodhall Junction) through Woodhall Spa to Horncastle opened on 11 August 1855. The last passenger service ran in 1954, with complete closure to goods traffic in 1971. Horncastle railway station was demolished in the 1980s and replaced by housing. The nearest railway station now is Metheringham (15 miles, 24 km) on the Peterborough to Lincoln Line. Part of the old railway is followed by the Viking Way footpath.
Horncastle Canal, based on the River Bain, was begun in 1792 and opened in 1802.
In 2004 it was suggested that the canal (originally opened in 1802) be renovated with the help of private capital and promoted as a route for pleasure craft, as has been done successfully in other areas. A local kick-start programme raised money for the project.
The town's cricket club at Coronation Walk has two men's and five youth teams.
Horncastle Hockey Club is a voluntary field-hockey body set up in November 1970 at Coronation Walk, Horncastle. In 2020 it had two men's and two women's teams and a junior section.
Horncastle and District Tennis Club has served for over 70 years. Initially on grass courts in Stanhope Road, the club moved to the current Coronation Walk location in the 1970s.
Horncastle Community Members Squash Club in Hemmingby Lane was founded in November 2006 to preserve an existing club by buying out retiring owners who had run it for 25 years.
The town has been susceptible to flooding, notably in 1920 and 1960, and with three floods between 1981 and 1984.
Folk belief associates the occurrence of floods with installations of new vicars in Horncastle's Anglican Church. The vicar changed in 1919 and 1959, both less than a year before a flood. The flooding of the early 1980s was attributed to the change of vicar in 1980, but there was no flooding after the change of vicar in 1999. The River Bain and River Waring overflowed during the 2007 United Kingdom floods.
Flooding recurred in 2012. A £15 million, 30-year-old proposed flood-defence scheme was seen as unlikely to have prevented the 2012 flood, but new flood defences are being discussed. An anti-flood pump was installed in 2013.
Real-time river levels are available from the Environment Agency:
Flood warnings for the town:
- Watermill Road, Bridge Street, St. Lawrence Street, Prospect Street and West Street areas
- Stanhope Road, Banks Road, East Street, North Street, Wharf Road and Waring Street areas
Horncastle is twinned with Bonnétable, a ville de marché (market town) in the French department of Sarthe, with a population of about 4,000. The towns' relationship is commemorated by a Rue Horncastle in Bonnétable and a Bonnetable Road in Horncastle (without the acute accent).
- Rev. William Blaxton (also William Blackstone) (1595 – 26 May 1675) was an early English settler in New England and the first European settler of modern-day Boston and Rhode Island.
- Sir Joseph Banks (1743–1820) was botanist to Captain James Cook.
- Alec Brader ( ) (born 1942) professional footballer, schoolteacher and youth athletics coach
- Peter "Biff" Byford (born 1951) is lead singer of heavy metal band Saxon.
- Annie Dixon (1817–1901), miniature portrait painter
- Sir Lionel Dymoke (died 1519)
- Robert Merrick Fowler (1778–1860), a Royal Navy officer, served with Matthew Flinders and at the Battle of Pulo Aura (1804).
- Tim Garbutt, DJ/producer and one half of the dance music act Utah Saints
- Connie Lewcock (1894–1980), suffragette
- Henry Simpson Lunn (1859–1939), religious leader and co-founder of Lunn Poly travel agents
- William Marwood (1818–1883), public hangman
- Erasmus Middleton (1739–1805), clergyman, author and editor
- Ben Pridmore (living), memory champion, attended school in Horncastle.
- Samuel Roberts (1827–1913), mathematician and Fellow of the Royal Society
- Thomas Sully (1783–1872), portrait painter
- Emily Tennyson, Lady Tennyson (1813–1896)
- Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892), Poet Laureate, was born six miles from Horncastle in the village of Somersby. Tennyson opined, "Of all horrors, a little country town seems to me to be the greatest."
- Arthur Thistlewood (1774–1820), radical and Cato Street conspirator, was baptised in Horncastle on 4 December 1774.
- Robert Webb (born 1972), actor and comedian, lived in Woodhall Spa, but went to school in Horncastle.
- Harold A. Wilson (1885–1932), 1908 Olympic athlete, was the first to run an under four-minute 1500 metres.
- City Population. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
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- "Horncastle". Open Domesday. Anna Powell-Smith/University of Hull. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
- Historic England. "St Marys Church, Horncastle (Grade II) (1168259)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
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- Records of Woodhall Spa and Neighbourhood. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
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- British Listed Buildings.
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- "Vision of Britain". Retrieved 23 October 2011.
- "Geograph:: Approaching Horncastle from the South © Tony Atkin cc-by-sa/2.0". www.geograph.org.uk.
- "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 19 August 2015.
- "Government record for primary school". Archived from the original on 9 May 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
- "Government record for Grammar school". Archived from the original on 9 May 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
- "The Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Horncastle", BBC News
- "Government record for Secondary school". Archived from the original on 9 May 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
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- "Special school web site".
- "Government record for Secondary school". Archived from the original on 9 May 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
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- "Fortuna Horncastle Business Centre". Retrieved 2 April 2020.
- The Viking Way: Official Guidebook to the 147 Mile Long Distance Footpath Through Lincolnshire and Rutland. Lincolnshire Books. 1997. ISBN 1-872375-25-1.
- Historic England. "Horncastle Station (499040)". Research records (formerly PastScape). Retrieved 15 March 2013.
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- Historic England. "Horncastle Canal (892922)". Research records (formerly PastScape). Retrieved 19 August 2010.
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- http://www.cromwellstudios.co.uk, Cromwell Studios Web Services-Website Design. "Horncastle Squash Club | About.php". squash.cromwellstudios.co.uk. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
- David N Robinson. "Horncastle and the Problem of Floods". The Old Chapel, Church Close, Boston, Lincolnshire PE21 6NP: Visitor UK Ltd. Retrieved 22 February 2013.CS1 maint: location (link)
- "Visiting Horncastle". Lincolnshire Tourist Guide Ltd. Archived from the original on 25 April 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2013. Mentions both the rainfall record and the folklore link of floods with installations of Vicars.
- "Floods make national news". Horncastle News. 12 August 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "Lincolnshire clean-up operation after flash floods". News Lincolnshire. BBC. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "£15m defence scheme will not stop town homes flooding". Horncastle News. 14 July 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "Major boost to Horncastle flood defences". Horncastle News. 3 March 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "Extremes: UK rainfall records for short durations". Met Office. Archived from the original on 3 April 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2013. Highest 180-minute total 178 mm 7 October 1960 Horncastle (Lincolnshire)
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- 1944-, Anderson, Robert Charles. The great migration begins: immigrants to New England, 1620–1633. New England Historic Genealogical Society. Boston. ISBN 088082042X. OCLC 33083117.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- Elliott, Ray (July 2001). St Mary's Horncastle – a church tour. The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of St Mary's, Horncastle.
- Brown, Anthony (2000). Ill-starred captains: Flinders and Baudin. Crawford House Pub. p. 489. ISBN 978-1-86333-192-0.
- "Spa DJ hit the charts with Utah Saints, Horncastle News
- Malcolm Chase, "Thistlewood, Arthur (baptised 1774, died 1820)" (Oxford, UK: OUP, 2004) Retrieved 2 December 2016. Pay-walled.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Horncastle .|