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A History of Horncastle by James Conway Walter

Hoblers were a sort of yeomanry who


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.

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