Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Horncastle is a market town of some 5,000 residents in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. It lies to the south of the Lincolnshire Wolds AONB, where the River Bain meets the River Waring, and north of the West and Wildmore Fens. Horncastle was given its market charter in the 13th century. It was formerly known for its great August Horse Fair - an internationally-famous annual trading event which lasted until the early 20th century.
The Romans built a fort at Horncastle: Roman Horncastle has become known as Banovallum (i.e. "Wall on the [River] Bain") - this name has been adopted by several local businesses and by the town's Secondary Modern school - but in fact Banovallum was a 19th-century invention, the actual Roman name for the settlement having been lost. The walls of the Roman fort remain in places - one section is on display in the town's library, which is built over the top of the wall. The Saxons called the town Hyrnecastre, from whence comes its modern name.
4 miles from Horncastle is the village of Winceby , where, during the Battle of Winceby in 1643 - which helped to secure Lincolnshire for Parliament - Cromwell was almost killed. Local legend has it that the thirteen scythe blades which hang on the wall of the south chapel of the town's church (St. Mary's) were used as weapons at Winceby. This story is generally regarded as apocryphal, and the accepted opinion is that they probably date from the Lincolnshire Rising of 1536.
Horncastle is twinned with Bonnétable , a ville de marché (market town) in the French département of Sarthe with a population of 4,000 (approximately). The towns' relationship is commemorated by a Rue Horncastle in Bonnétable, and a Bonnetable (sic) Road in Horncastle.
The town is famous locally for its many floods, notably in 1920 and 1960 - with 3 floods between 1981 and 1984. Folklore among Horncastle's more elderly and religious citizens will tell you how closely these floods coincide with the changing of Horncastle's vicar. The vicar changed in 1919 and 1959, both less than a year before a flood. The flooding of the early 1980s has been all attributed to the change of vicar in 1980; it must be said however there was no flooding in Horncastle following the latest change in 1999.
Horncastle is a small community, and is hardly bothered by "big issues". Indeed, a damaged window can make headline news in the town's local newspaper, the Horncastle News. The most contentious local issue of recent years has concerned the development of the town's wong.
Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School was founded in 1571, and is among the top schools in Lincolnshire; it has at times been one of the top in the country. The headmaster, T.J. Peacock, is a tall man, and in his earlier position as deputy headmaster of King Edward VII School Lytham, enjoyed the nickname "Shaft" on account of his height.
- Sir Joseph Banks, botanist to Captain James Cook;
- Peter "Biff" Byford , lead singer of heavy metal band Saxon;
- William Marwood, public hangman;
- Samuel Roberts , 19th-century mathematician and Fellow of the Royal Society;
- Alfred Lord Tennyson, the Poet Laureate, was born 6 miles from Horncastle in the Wolds village of Somersby ;
- Rob Webb, television sitcom actor.
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