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A History of Horncastle by James Conway Walter

Wood was made the spindle of the spinster


This was the house now occupied by Dr. H. A. Howes, 30, West Street; and the writer may add, that, within his own memory, while the house was occupied by a later tenant, Mr. Jason Alison, a poor lunatic, probably a survival of Dr. Harrison's asylum, was kept chained to the kitchen fireplace. Such treatment would now be impossible, but parallel cases are on record in the neighbourhood.

{122} Dr. E. Jenner made his first experiment in 1796, announced his success in 1798, and the practice became general in 1799.

{124} Mr. Macarthur was the most indefatigable and efficient dispenser up to that time; the Governors more than once passing a vote of thanks for his services, raising his salary, or presenting him with a cheque.

{127} Weir, in his _History of Horncastle_, says that lime, manure, and road material were charged half rates. This was in 1828.

{128} We refer to an admirable Paper, read before the Society of Arts, London, by Mr. Buckley, C.S.I., Feb. 15th, 1906.

{129a} See a very interesting volume, _Our Waterways_, by Urquhart A. Forbes and W. H. R. Ashford. Murray, London, 1906.

{133} Garnier's _Annals of British Peasantry_, 1895.

{134a} As an instance of this the Horncastle Union comprises 69 parishes.

justify;">{134b} These books were inspected by the present writer a few years ago, although now (1906) supposed to be lost. In the account of Thimbleby, given in the appendix to this volume, instances are given of various forms of relief to paupers, in coals, shoes, petticoats, &c., but always on condition that they attended the church services regularly, otherwise such relief was forfeited.

{134c} In some parts of the country "black bread," made of oatmeal, was in use, among the humbler classes, as late as in 1850.

{134d} This had been forestalled as early as in the reign of Edward I.; a Pipe Roll dated 12 Edward I. (A.D. 1284) shows that a payment of 60 shillings was made for a common oven, rented of the Bishop of Carlisle, as Lord of the Manor. _Lincs. Notes & Queries_, vol. iv, p. 237.

{134e} The older ones among us will remember that in the days of our grandmothers the spinning wheel was usually to be seen in the boudoir, or drawing room. A common shrub of our hedgerows and copses is the spindle tree (euonymus europeus), so named because of its compact, yet light, wood was made the spindle of the spinster. An old MS., kept by Sarah Cleveland, shows how not only the poor but ladies of all ranks, like the Homeric Penelope and her maidens, practised spinning; the younger with a view to providing a marriage portion for themselves; whence, until marriage, they were called "spinsters," a term still in use. [Berenden Letters of William Ward and his family, of Berenden, Kent, 1758-1821, edited by C. F. Hardy. Dent & Co., 1901.] It may be here mentioned that the ancient building in Boston named Shodfriars' Hall, was formerly a spinning school. In the Parish Register of Wispington, in this neighbourhood, not only is the female mentioned as "spinster," but the male is called "weaver," and in the adjoining parish of Woodhall there is a "weavers' close," part of which is named "tailors' garth," in the same connection, and the present parish clerk's grandmother, a Mrs. Oldfield, had herself a hand loom; and in the parish of Minting weaving is known to have been carried on extensively, an informant telling the present writer that his grandmother had a hand loom, see _Records of Woodhall Spa_, &c., under Minting, by the author. In Horncastle a weaver, named Keeling, formerly occupied the premises now the bookseller's shop of Mr. Hugh Wilson; another lived in the house, 3, North Street, now occupied by Mr. G. Walkley.

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