Horncastle

Church of St. Mary


This is a charming country market town near the south end of the Lincolnshire Wolds. There was a Roman settlement here and some traces of the walls exist. Which cover about 7 acres centred on the church and market place. This walled area lay between the River Bain and River Waring with a gate in the east wall and the west. Not much is known about the internal layout of buildings but outside along the Boston Road there have been quite a lot found of an open settlement which actually predates the walled enclosure and also existed alongside it. The best existing parts of the walls are in Dog Kennel Yard just to the North East of the Market Place and in the foyer of the Library in wharf Road where a long section was exposed in 1968.

A market was granted in 1230 and the town flourished through the middle ages but recession set in early in the 17th century. In the 19th century due to the opening of the Horncastle Navigation Canal in 1802 the town flourished again.

The town has been famous for its horse fair from before the 13th century but this was last held in 1948.

Church of St. Mary

The church of St Mary lies in the centre of the town and is mostly of green Spilsby sandstone. Originally Early English it has been very much altered over the years. In 1859 - 1861 there was a major restoration carried out by Ewan Christian There had been much earlier repairs in brick and the aisles were renewed in 1820 - 1821 but these were given a new set of windows in the later restoration during which the chancel was rebuilt.

The Reredos of 1870 was by C. E. Giles and made of Caen stone and polished Irish Marble. The screens to the chancel chapels are 14th century and the candle sticks on the altar are Victorian Gothic work of about 1860. There are two hatchments:- one to Jane Dymoke who died in 1743 and Dr Thomas Lodington who died in 1724.

On the west wall of the south chapel are a group of 13 scythe blades and I have heard two stories about these. Pevsner says they are traditionally connected with the battle of Winceby or the Lincolnshire uprising of 1536. Neither of these local legends have any proof

In the north west window in the north aisle the glass is by Preedy of 1875 and there are others by Clayton and Bell and others by Heaton, Butler and Bayne.

There is an incomplete brass to Lionel Dymoke dated 1519 and comprises a kneeling figure and other odd pieces. There is another piece of a brass in the floor near bye is a figure in a shroud but much defaced, this is traditionally part of the same brass. Under the tower is a hatchment type painting most probably of about 1660 we are told and is to Sir Ingram Hopton killed at the battle of Winceby in 1643.. A painted tablet with black painted columns left and right with painted cherubs on top. There are large trophies left and right which appear to be behind the tablet. There is a standing monument of a Grecian style with black drapes of polished marble to George Heald who died 1834, at the bottom there is a sarcophagus in a niche and a pair of very elongated urns carved in shallow relief on a pier each side.

 


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