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A History of Horncastle by James Conway Walter

His family acquired the Revesby Abbey estates in 1714


A

break in the continuity of the sub-tenure of the manor here occurs, but not of long duration. The family of Banks are next found holding the lease, under the said bishops; the most distinguished of them being Sir Joseph Banks, the eminent naturalist, and patron of science in almost every form; who visited Newfoundland in pursuit of his favourite study; accompanied Captain Cook in his voyage to the South Seas; visited Iceland with Dr. Solander, the pupil of Linnaeus; made large natural history and antiquarian collections; {31c} became President of the Royal Society; and was largely instrumental in forming the schemes for the drainage and inclosure of the fens; and other works of public utility. His family acquired the Revesby Abbey estates in 1714, and were closely connected with Horncastle for more than a century, as he died in 1820.

One of his ancestors, also Joseph, was M.P. for Grimsby and Totnes; another, also Joseph, had a daughter, Eleonora, who married the Honble. Henry Grenville, and was mother of the Countess Stanhope. Through this last connection, on the demise of Sir Joseph, the leased manor passed, as the nearest male relative, to Col. the Honble. James Hamilton Stanhope, who served in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo. He died three years later, in 1823, and was succeeded by the late James Banks Stanhope, Esq., then a minor, and afterwards M.P. for North Lincolnshire; who, some years ago, transferred all his manorial rights

to the Right Honble. Edward Stanhope, 2nd son of the 5th Earl Stanhope, and M.P. for the Horncastle Division. He died 22 December, 1898, and his widow, the Honble. Mrs. Stanhope of Revesby Abbey, became Lady of the Manor; this, on her decease in 1907 reverting to the family of the Earl Stanhope, of Chevening Park, Sevenoaks, Kent, in the person of his son, the Honble. Richard Stanhope, now residing at Revesby Abbey.

In 1856 the manoral rights of the Bishops of Carlisle were transferred to the See of Lincoln, and the Bishop of Lincoln is now _ex officio_ Patron of the Benefice. The head of the Stanhope family is still the chief owner of property in Horncastle; other owners being the Vicar with 92 acres, the representatives of the late Sigismund Trafford Southwell with 67 acres, representatives of the late W. B. Walter (now Majer Traves) with 58 acres; while Coningtons, Clitherows, Rev. Richard Ward, and about 100 other proprietors hold smaller portions. We have mentioned the influence of Sir Joseph Banks in the drainage and enclosure of the fens, and on the completion of that important work in Wildmore Fen, in 1813, some 600 acres were added to the soke of Horncastle, about 80 acres being assigned to the manor, while the glebe of the Vicar was increased so that it now comprises 370 acres.

We conclude this chapter with another record of the past, which should not be omitted. It is somewhat remarkable that although Horncastle has been connected with so many personages of distinction as proprietors, and for about 600 years (as already shewn) with royalty itself, as an appanage of the crown, it has only once been visited by royalty in person. History tells {32a} that "on Sep. 12, 1406, Henry IV. made a royal procession" from this town (probably coming hither from Bolingbroke Castle, his birthplace), "with a great and honourable company, to the Abbey of Bardney, where the Abbot and monks came out, in ecclesiastical state, to meet him," and he was royally entertained by them. We may perhaps assume that as his father, John of Gaunt, had a palace at Lincoln, {32b} he was on his way thither, where also his half brother, Henry Beaufort, had been Bishop, but was promoted two years before this to the See of Winchester.


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