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A History of Horncastle by James Conway Walter

Who was patron of High Toynton


east window is filled with modern coloured glass, the subjects being the Transfiguration, the Crucifixion, and the Ascension. On the sill of the east window are placed, over the communion table, two handsomely carved old oak candlesticks, presented by the Rev. C. P. Terrot. On the north wall of the nave there is a small oval brass tablet, which was found in 1888, face downwards in the vestry floor. It bears the following inscription: "Here lyeth the body of Edward Rolleston, Esquir, who departed this life the 23rd of July, in the thirtey-fourth year of his age; interr'd underneath this place the 4th of August, A.D. 1687." As 12 days elapsed between death and burial it is probable that he died abroad. The manor and whole parish, except the glebe, still belongs to the Rolleston family; the benefice being in the patronage of the Earl of Ancaster.

In the floor of the chancel are two memorial slabs, one of the Rev. R. Spranger, D.C.L., late Rector of Low Toynton and Creeton, who enlarged the rectory house, and was a munificent benefactor to the neighbourhood. Among other good deeds he built the bridge over the river Waring, on the road from Low Toynton to Horncastle. {186} He was a member of a family of some distinction; had a residence in London, as well as his rectory here; he was popularly said to drive the handsomest pair of horses in London; and there exists a portrait in oil of an ancestor, Chancellor Spranger, in one of the great galleries

in Florence. Dr. Spranger was an intimate friend of J. Keble, the author of _The Christian Year_, and his son the Rev. Robert J. Spranger, Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, spent the greater part of his life in Mr. Keble's parish, Hursley, Hants, as a voluntary assistant in his clerical work.

The companion slab marks the last resting place of another rector, the Rev. J. Hutchinson, who died in 1788. His history is singular. Although well educated, he enlisted as a private in the army for foreign service; a commission however was subsequently obtained for him by his friends. He presently became attached to a lady who refused to marry a soldier. He then determined to take holy orders. Chance threw him in the way of a party of gentlemen at Manchester, one of them being the agent of Lord Willoughby. The latter stated that he had it in power, at that moment, to bestow a benefice, and that he would give it to anyone who could solve for him a particular problem. Mr. Hutchinson succeeded in doing this, and was eventually appointed Rector of Low Toynton. He held it, however, only 18 months, dying at an early age. Whether he married the lady is not stated.

In the List of Institutions to Benefices, preserved at Lincoln, it is recorded that in 1562 Michael West, Clerk, was appointed Rector of Nether Toynton and Vicar of Upper Toynton, by Richard Bertie, Esq., ancestor of the Earl of Ancaster. This must have been by some private arrangement with the Bishop of Carlisle, who was patron of High Toynton; the Berties (as the Willoughbies are now) being only patrons of Low Toynton. From Liber Regis we learn that the Earl of Lindsey appointed to the benefice in 1692, the Duke of Ancaster in 1778, Sir Peter Burrell and Lady Willoughby d' Eresby in 1783.

The register dates from 1585. Under date 1717, Feb. 2nd, occurs the following entry: "Robert Willy, of Upper Toynton, did penance in the parish church of Lower Toynton, for the heinous and great sin of adultery." A note in the baptismal register states that on July 18th, 1818, Bishop George (Tomline) confirmed at Horncastle 683 candidates, among them being five from Low Toynton. Confirmations were not held so frequently then as they now are. In this parish Mr. Thomas Gibson, Vicar of Horncastle, when turned out of his preferment by the Puritans, lived for some "two years but poorly, teaching a few pupils."

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