February 6, 2005
Leaving Tattershall behind us, we pass through the RAF village of Conninsby and remind ourselves of the wonderful red-faced, single-handed clock face on St Michael’s church. Built in the mid-1600s, it’s a remarkable timepiece.
A short drive down the road, passing signs for New York and Boston, we reach the market town of Horncastle, which in the 19th century held the largest horse fair in the world, and traders from everywhere converged on the town to wheel ’n’ deal. It’s hard to imagine, as the market place is extremely small and probably only holds six to eight stalls. Just off the market square is 13th-century St Mary’s Church, built out of local sandstone—it’s well worth popping in, and I’d recommend you check out the Civil War memorabilia that’s housed there. At the back of the church and beyond the community centre, you’ll find remnants of the walls of Banovallum, the original Roman town.
Horncastle also holds a grizzly history because it was here that William Marwood, England’s last public hangman, lived and worked (he was a cobbler by trade). It is said that he used to display his ropes in the shop window!
If you’re in to antiques you are in the right place as Horncastle has an international reputation for its antiques shops. The antiques centre, just off the square, is used by a large number of dealers, and the "shop" is made up of different stalls, selling all that you can imagine from the antique and collectors world (be prepared to negotiate to get the best price). Just opposite is the less ordered environment of A. Hare’s in the 1865 streamside warehouse. But if you really want to search for your bargains, try the Old Lincoln Co-Op Society building on the Mablethorpe Road. This is rammed with bric-a-brac, but you’ll need to be careful about how you pick your way around this cluttered shop. You will need plenty of time!
Horncastle has some interesting houses and pubs. Check out the thatched "Kings Head", "The Fighting Cock", and the "Black Bull", an old coaching inn.
From journal Lincolnshire ain't all flat!