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A History of Horncastle by James Conway Walter

Concerning the church of Askeby


Leche, with a great company, went to Bolingbroke, to take the Bishop's Chancellor, Dr. John Rayne, who was lying there, sick; he was brought on horseback to Horncastle amid cries of "kill him! kill him!" He begged Philip Trotter to save him, who said he would do what he could; the Chancellor gave him xxs., but he in effect did the reverse of helping him. On reaching the outskirts of the town, "many parsons and vicars among" the rebels cried "kill him!" whereat William Hutchinson and William Balderstone, of Horncastle, "pulled him viantly of his horse, kneling upon him, and with their staves slew him." The Vicar of Thornton gave xvs. to the rebels. The Vicar of Horncastle, at that time John Haveringham, seems to have avoided being mixed up with this movement, as many of his brethren were. The whole affair barely lasted a week, and it does not appear that the church plate suffered. The King issued a proclamation from Richmond, 2 December following, that he pardoned all except the wretches in ward at Lincoln, T. Kendal the Vicar of Louth, and William Leche of Horncastle.

For a final notice of old records connected with the church, we may mention a matter of less importance, but one which we can hardly realise, in these days of religious liberty, when everyone is "a law unto himself" in matters of faith, and even largely in practice. The parish book of the adjoining Thimbleby, which is in the soke of Horncastle, shews that, as late as the year

1820, the parish officials ordered all paupers, in receipt of parish relief, to attend the church services, on pain of forfeiting the aid granted; and cases are named where the payment was stopped until the offender had given satisfaction. The State Papers Domestic of 1634 show that, at Horncastle, there was a like strictness. Luke Burton of this town was fined 1s. for being "absent from divine service," and again a like sum as "absent from prayers." Even "a stranger, a tobacco man," was fined 1s. for the same offence; and 3s. 4d. for "tippling in time of divine service." John Berry, butcher, was fined 1s. "for swearing." Simon Lawrence, for selling ale contrary to law, was fined 20s.; the same "for permitting tippling, 20s.;" while for "selling ale without a licence," William Grantham and Margaret Wells were "punished upon their bodies." (State Papers Domestic, vol. 272, No. 23, Chas. I.)

[Picture: Ancient Scythes in St. Mary's Church]


We here give a list of these as compiled by Canon J. Clare Hudson, in his 1st volume of the _Horncastle Parish Register Book_, 1892.


1236-7 Geoffrey de Leueknor by the Bishop of Carlisle (admitted on condition it be found the same church with the churches of [Wood] Enderby, and [High] Toynton and another, which Osbert the last rector held, be one benefice).

1239-40 (Delegates of the Pope in a dispute between G. parson of the church of Horncastre and Francis, parson of the church of [West] Askeby, concerning the church of Askeby, decide that G[eoffrey] and his successors, are to hold the church of Askeby, and pay to Francis annually for life 27 marks sterling, and the bishop confirms this ordinance)

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