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A History of Horncastle by James Conway Walter

Sir Charles Dymoke presenting in 1682

Among the rectors of this parish have been two poets, one the laureate of his day (1718), the Rev. Laurence Eusden, who died 1730. The other, John Dyer, was born 1700, appointed to the benefice in 1752, by Sir John Heathcote, was the author of _Grongar Hill_, _The Fleece_, and _The Ruins of Rome_; he was honoured with a sonnet by Wordsworth.

A congregation of Baptists was formed here under the Commonwealth, with an endowment for a minister. The society still exists, their present chapel being erected in 1862; they have also a day school, built by Mr. John Overy in 1845. The Wesleyans have a chapel, built in 1825, and others at Hawthorn Hill, Haven Bank, Moorside, and Meer Booth. The Primitive Methodists have a chapel, built in 1854, and others at Reedham Corner and Scrub Hill.

Of the early history of this parish we have scattered notices in various documents. In _Domesday Book_ we find that Sortibrand, son of Ulf the Saxon, who was one of the lagmen of Lincoln, held a Berewick in Coningsby. Land here is mentioned among the Conqueror's possessions. The powerful favourite of the Conqueror, Robert Despenser, laid claim to a fishery and lands in Coningsby; and the juryman of the wapentake of Horncastle decided that his claim was good, because Achi, his Saxon predecessor, had held the same in the time of Edward the Confessor. From the same source we find that two other powerful Normans held land here, _viz._ Hugo d' Abrincis, surnamed "Lupus," or "The Wolf," from his fierce character; and Drogo de Bruere, who had the Conqueror's niece to wife.

As with other parishes in this soke, we find from a Feet of Fines, 9 Henry III., No. 52, that Ralph de Rhodes then held lands here. Subsequently the Marmyons, Dymokes, and Taillebois, all connected in the blazonry of the former memorial windows (as before mentioned), held property in the parish. {206a} By a Chancery Inquisition post mortem, taken 31st May, 10 Henry VII., No. 72 (A.D. 1495), it was found that Robert Taillebois, Knt., with John Gygour, Warden of the college of Tateshale, was seized of the manor; while, further, in a Feet of Fines, 19 Henry VII. (1503), John Mordaunt is acknowledged by Sir Edward Poynings, Sir Thomas Fynes, and others, to be the owner of lands in Coningsby, and elsewhere in the soke. He held at least four other manors, and lands in many other parishes. Also a Feet of Fines, 21 Henry VII. (1505), it was agreed before Humphrey Coningsby, Sergeant at Law, Sir Giles Daubeney, and others, that the Bishop of Winchester held certain property here.

The Dymokes were patrons of the benefice; Sir Charles Dymoke presenting in 1682, after which the patronage passed to the Heathcote family (Liber Regis and Ecton's Thesaurus). But an earlier connection with the Dymokes is shewn by a tombstone commemorative of "Anna, daughter of Thomas Dymoke, and his wife Margaret, que obijt . . . Ao Dni 1462."

In connection with the Humphrey Coningsby, named above, we have already mentioned that a castellated residence in this parish belonged to a family of that name. This Humphrey was Judge of the King's Bench, and bought Hampton Court, co. Hereford, of Sir Thomas Cornwall, about 1510; where was preserved a painting of the old mansion at Coningsby. {206b} Thomas Coningsby was knighted by Elizabeth in 1591. Sir Fitz-William Coningsby was Sheriff of the county, 1627; and for his loyalty to Charles I. his estates were confiscated by the Puritans. His son was rewarded with a peerage by Charles II.; and saved the life of King William at the battle of the Boyne; but his two sons dying early, and he having no further issue, the title became extinct.

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