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A History of Horncastle by James Conway Walter

An old parish book of Thimbleby


Some 200 yards east of the church and on the south side of the main road is a large field, the property of Mr. Henry N. Coates of Langton, which is known as "The Butts." It has some fine trees, apparently the remains of an extensive avenue, which have been more numerous even within living memory. It has been sometimes called "The Park Close," but the title "The Butts" is interesting, as probably indicating that it was formerly the site on which (in the words of a rhymer, it may be said):

England's archers of old, Village wights true and bold, Unerring in hand and in eye, Learned skill in their craft With yew-bow and shaft, Wand to splinter, or pierce the bull's-eye.

And while the youth gay, Rough rivals, essay To rive and riddle each butt, Sage sires stand by, And coy maidens cry, To welcome the winning shot.

Full many such scene Has been witnessed, I ween, In that whilome time-honoured spot, 'Neath the wide-spreading shade Of the green wood glade Which is still named the "Thimbleby Butt."

In this "Butts" field rises a spring, which is the source of a small runnel, called "Daubeny's Beck." This bearing westward, for some distance forms the boundary between the parishes of Thimbleby and Langton, then flowing through Woodhall falls into the "Monk's Beck," at Poolham. The name "Daubeny" is doubtless a corruption of D' Albini. The D' Albinis held the Barony, and built the castle of Belvoir, and had other large possessions in this county and elsewhere; the name is not uncommon as a field name, &c. There is a field in Langton called "Daubeny's (_i.e._ D' Albini's) Walk."

In the grounds of Mr. W. A. Crowder, further to the east, near the Lincoln "Ramper," as the highway is locally called, there was found, a few years ago, a so-called "Roman" tomb, somewhat rudely constructed of blocks of Spilsby sandstone. Within it was a human skeleton, with bones of a dog, a sword, and the head of a spear. In connection with this, we may also mention, that in the Rectory grounds there is an ancient well, of great depth, lined also with Spilsby sandstone, and said to be Roman; which in the immediate proximity of the Cornucastrum, or Roman fort of Banovallum, would not seem to be at all improbable.

An old parish book of Thimbleby, recently shown to the writer, proves the care which was taken by the parish officials, before the present poor law system was established, to secure the comfort and maintenance of poorer parishioners.

At a parish meeting, Nov. 1st, 1819, Thomas Kemp, Churchwarden, in the chair, it was ordered that John Sharp's daughter was to have a gown and pettycoat, worsted for two pairs of stockings, and one blue apron. Four boys were to have two smocks each, and eight old people a strike of coals each per week. At another meeting Margaret Day was to have worsted for two pairs of socks for her two boys, herself to spin it; and one pair of shoes for her daughter. Robert Kemp, and his son Richard, in order to find them work were to be paid 2s. per day, to "gether" stones for the parish.


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