Horncastle is a very ancient town dating back to well before the Roman invasion.  There has been much evidence of a pre Roman settlement found within the town over the years. During the Roman occupation the town was known as Banovallum although there is a dispute over the name from some quarters.  There is still a lot of the old Roman wall surviving around the town.  One notable section is to be found within the local library, follow the LINK to view a few photos and more information about this period in our history, or for a more in depth history of Horncastle please follow this LINK.. Also if you follow this LINK you will find photographs of many of the local monuments and unusual landmarks that can be found whilst looking around the town.

Horncastle in Viking times became the Capital of a Viking Wapen Soke (District), although very little as ever been found from this period around the town.

The photograph shows us a picture of Banovallum house which is now the headquarters for the Lincolnshire Nature Trust.  The house is situated down manor house road in the town.

At one time Horncastle used to hold a annual horse fair during the month of August, during the 19th century it was one of the largest in Europe if not the world.  A lot of the horses which charged in the charge of the light brigade originated from Horncastle.  With the coming of the railways the fair began to diminish in size and importance until after the 2nd world war when it was held for the final time.

Around the turn of the twentieth century Horncastle had in excess of 50 pubs and ale houses, the equivalent of one drinking house for every 100 residents.  Most of the ale houses just opened for the period of the horse fair.  Today there are just ten pubs left, one of them the ship is pictured below.  There is a story to be told about nearly every past and present pub in the town, one of the most notorious was the Fleece which was next to the Red Lion.  It was renowned as a whore house from world war 2 back.


Horncastle as had several famous people live in or been associated with the town over the years including Sir Joseph Banks, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and William Marwood.  The latter was the public executioner for eleven years from 1872 until his death in 1883.  Marwood devised the long drop, through a split trap door, where the body weight and length of rope would dislocate the vertebrae and cause instant death, rather than choking.  One of the alleyways off Wharf Road was the place he practised his grisly trade.  He was deeply religious and strongly believed in his humane method.  His fee was 20 a day, and he travelled to prisons all over the country.  He lived on Foundry street in town and and before he died on the 4th of September 1883 he had despatched over 350 men and women.  He is buried in the local Holy Trinity churchyard off Spilsby Road.  



A famous English civil war battle was held nearby just outside the village of Winceby, artefacts are to be found in the local St Mary's church from the battle.  Also there are some scythes which are thought to belong to the time of the Lincolnshire rising within the church.  The Lincolnshire rising was basically a rebellion over the disillusion of the monasteries by Henry the 8th.  It was mainly residents from Horncastle and Louth which took part in it.  Several people ended up been executed at Lincoln.



Horncastle as Two rivers the river Bain and the river Waring flowing through it as well as a canal which was dug by navies in the 19th century, most of these workers were Irish and houses were built for them to live in while the work was been done.  The street names of these houses are Paradise way and Paradise place, they are just off Foundry street and still survive today.  After a days digging it certainly must have felt like paradise. The town is at the bottom of a glacier formed valley and the rivers have flooded numerous times, most recently in 1920, 1960 and 1982.  The photograph is the river Bain running high in water early in 2001, the view is upstream towards the old watermill, to the left is the local coop with its nature reserve where people regularly feed the local duck population.



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