Horncastle, Lincolnshire

Horncastle, Lincolnshire

Infobox UK place
official_name= Horncastle
country= England
region= East Midlands
population= 6,090 (Parish)
os_grid_reference= TF2669
latitude= 53.208
longitude= -0.114
post_town= HORNCASTLE
postcode_area= LN
postcode_district= LN9
dial_code= 01507
shire_district= East Lindsey
shire_county= Lincolnshire
map_type= Lincolnshire

Horncastle is a market town of some 6,090 residents in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. It lies to the south of the Lincolnshire Wolds, where the River Bain meets the River Waring, and north of the West and Wildmore Fens. Horncastle was given its market charter in the 13th century. It was formerly known for its great August Horse Fair — an internationally-famous annual trading event which lasted until the early 20th century. The town is now known as a centre for the antiques trade [http://www.visitlincolnshire.com/exec/166662/15857/PROFILE=NDpVS19VS1dFQjE5NDUyMjQ6VUtfVUtXRUI5ODkzMzA6RU5HTElTSDpVUzoxMTg3Nzc5OTU5OjExODc3Nzk5ODE6Ojo=] .


s, which suggests that the River Bain was the principal route of access.

Roman Horncastle has become known as "Banovallum" (i.e. "Wall on the River Bain") – this name has been adopted by several local businesses and by the town's secondary modern school – but in fact the "actual" Roman name for the settlement is not definitely known: "Banovallum" was suggested in the 19th century through an interpretation of the Ravenna Cosmography, a 7th century list of Roman towns and road-stations [http://www.roman-britain.org/geography/ravenna.htm] ; "Banovallum" may in fact have been Caistor.

The walls of the Roman fort remain in places — one section is on display in the town's library, which is built over the top of the wall. The Saxons called the town "Hyrnecastre", whence its modern name.

Four miles from Horncastle is the village of Winceby, where, during the Battle of Winceby in 1643 – which helped to secure Lincolnshire for Parliament – Cromwell was almost killed. Local legend has it that the thirteen scythe blades which hang on the wall of the south chapel of the town's church (St. Mary's) were used as weapons at Winceby. This story is generally regarded as apocryphal, and the accepted opinion is that they probably date from the Lincolnshire Rising of 1536.

The great annual horse fair probably first took place in the 13th century. The fair used to last for a week or more every August, and in the 19th century was probably the largest event of its kind in the United Kingdom. "Horncastle for horses" made the town famous – the fair was used as a setting for George Borrow's semi-autobiographical books "Lavengro" and "The Romany Rye" – but the last fair was held in 1948.

Twin town

Horncastle is twinned with Bonnétable, a "ville de marché" (market town) in the French flagicon|France département of Sarthe with a population of 4,000 (approximately). The towns' relationship is commemorated by a "Rue Horncastle" in Bonnétable, and a "Bonnetable "("sic"; no acute accent on the e)" Road" in Horncastle.


Primary schools

*Horncastle Primary School.

econdary schools

*Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School was founded in 1571, and is among the top schools in Lincolnshire [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/education/03/school_tables/secondary_schools/html/925_5411.stm] ; it has at times been one of the top in the country. It has been known for very strong sports teams such as the region-winning tennis team in 2005 in the British Schools Tennis Championships. Also notable in regional sports in Hockey, Netball and Cricket. It is classified also as a Science College and as of recently Modern Languages too. The Design and Technology department recently built a electric powered racecar and came second in the competition.

*The Banovallum School is a non-selective community school serving Horncastle and the surrounding villages; it's a science specialist school on a joint basis with Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School. The most recent Ofsted inspection was in 2005 and judged the school to be satisfactory. The school has recently undergone a massive change, with the addition of the new Building, which caters for Cookery, Resistant Materials Technology (Woodwork, Metalwork, Etc) Art, and Music. Banovallum is known for having very talented Musicians, and Actors.


*Horncastle College – a 'lifelong learning' adult education college – runs short and residential courses in I.T., art, languages and local history.

Transport Links


Horncastle sits at the crossroads of two of Lincolnshire's major roads: the A158 runs west-east, joining the county town of Lincoln with the resort of Skegness on the Lincolnshire coast; the A153 joins Louth in the north with Sleaford and Grantham in the south. These two roads meet at the "Bull Ring" in the centre of Horncastle.

The A158 through Horncastle becomes particularly busy during the summer holidays, as holidaymakers travel to and from Skegness. To alleviate the pressure on the town centre caused by this traffic, a relief road, "Jubilee Way", was constructed in the 1970s. Minor roads run out of Horncastle to Bardney, Boston (via Revesby), Fulletby and Woodhall Spa.

Horncastle is home to a 'hub' for the "InterConnect" rural bus service. Regular buses run to Lincoln, Skegness, and across the Wolds. The Viking Way long-distance footpath also runs through Horncastle.


The Great Northern Railway's Lincoln-Boston line ran through Woodhall Spa, 8 miles from Horncastle, and a branch line from Woodhall to Horncastle opened in 1858. The last passenger service ran in 1954, and Horncastle's railway station was demolished in the 1980s. The site is now a housing estate.


In 2004, it was suggested [http://www.horncastletoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=825&ArticleID=893049] that the Horncastle Canal (originally opened in 1802) be renovated and promoted as a route for pleasure craft, but the waterway remains as yet unrestored.


Horncastle Town FC play in the Lincolnshire Football League [http://full-time.thefa.com/gen/DisplayTeam.do?id=4064210] ; their ground is on The Wong. The team is sponsored by Paul Riddel Skip Hire Ltd.

The town has a cricket club which is made up of 2 men's teams, and 5 youth squads. All of the teams are sponsored by the Lincolnshire Pallet Group.

The town is also home to a hockey club currently made up of two men's teams and a ladies team. The Men's 1st XI won the NE14HOCKEY East Men's League Division 5NW title in 2008.


The town is famous locally for its many floods, notably in 1920 and 1960 – with 3 floods between 1981 and 1984. Folklore among Horncastle's more elderly and religious citizens will tell you how closely these floods coincide with the changing of Horncastle's vicar. The vicar changed in 1919 and 1959, both less than a year before a flood. The flooding of the early 1980s has been all attributed to the change of vicar in 1980; it must be said however there was no flooding in Horncastle following the latest change in 1999. However both the River Bain and River Waring burst their banks during the 2007 United Kingdom floods.

On 7 October 1960 Horncastle entered the UK Weather Records with the "Highest 180-min total" rainfall at 178 mm. As of July 2006 this record remains.


Since 2003, Horncastle has been the centre of multiple apparent sightings of an alien big cat (ABC), suspected of being an escaped leopard or panther. The mystery cat has been christened the "Lindsey Leopard" or "Beast of the Wolds" by the local press. [http://www.horncastletoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=825&ArticleID=675660]

Notable residents

*Sir Joseph Banks, botanist to Captain James Cook
*Peter "Biff" Byford, lead singer of heavy metal band Saxon
*Henry Simpson Lunn, religious leader and founder of one-half of the Lunn Poly chain of travel agents (now part of Thomson Holidays)
*William Marwood, public hangman
*Ben Pridmore, memory champion, attended school in Horncastle
*Samuel Roberts, 19th century mathematician and Fellow of the Royal Society
*Thomas Sully, portrait painter
*Alfred Lord Tennyson, the Poet Laureate, was born 6 miles from Horncastle in the Wolds village of Somersby. Tennyson apparently disliked the town, saying: "Of all horrors, a little country town seems to me to be the greatest."
*Rob Webb, television sitcom actor (lived in Woodhall Spa but attended school in Horncastle)
*Charlie, commonly known as Fat Charlie/The Leader. A man who is usually seen seated on one of the many benches around horncastle, usually the one closest to the chip shop, in the market square. He is widely known among the residents of Horncastle. He is widely known as an alcoholic. He also publically urinates, and excretes.

External links

* [http://www.booksellerworld.com/horncastle.htm Horncastle]
* [http://www.horncastlecivic.org.uk/ Horncastle Civic Society]
* [http://www.horncastletoday.co.uk/ Horncastle Today - local news and sport website]
* [http://www.horncastlediscovered.com/ Horncastle Discovered]
* [http://www.citynoise.org/hood/horncastle@uk Horncastle Photoblog]
* [http://www.horncastle.ca/ Horncastle Family Name & Genealogy]

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