The Horncastle History & Heritage Society




Meetings of the Society have now resumed. Please consult out meeting dates for this year's programme.

The Society's Archives, now within the Joseph Banks Centre, Horncastle, are also open for research and viewing.


Horncastle Heritage Open Days 2021

The Society is working with organisations across the town to host a series of interesting events as part of this year's Heritage Open Days festival. 

You can explore the town's recently restored Roman walls on a guided tour, visit the Horncastle's 'secret garden', venture into the old magistrate's court, or explore the lives of Victorian women in our exhition with the Joseph Banks Society.  

Events are mostly taking place over the long weekend 10th-13th September, and all free to attend. Please visit our events page for full listings or pick up a flyer with a map from the Joseph Banks Centre. 


New Exhibition - The Horncastle Railway

Following the success of our Virtual VE Day Exhibition, and with the Archives still closed because of the pandemic we launched a brand new virtual exhibition.

Its focus is the story of the Horncastle Railway as part of our plans to mark the 50th anniversary of its closure on the 5th April 1971.

Following the easing of restrictions we have organised a physical exhibition at the Joseph Banks Centre running from 29th July until 4th September. Usual opening hours 10am-4pm Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays. Admission free although all donations warmly received. For more information on the physical exhibition and events visit the Joseph Banks Centre website.

Visit the virtual exhibition here

Virtual Exhibition of Horncastle in Wartime

Horncastle in WartimeWhen the town’s VE Day anniversary celebrations had to be cancelled in May 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, we knew we couldn’t let the day go by unmarked. So our volunteers decided to collect memories, objects, and photos from the community about the town in wartime and on VE Day itself.

The virtual exhibition shares stories of how Horncastle celebrated VE Day, memories of soldiers stationed here, the air raids on the town, the home front, war in the countryside, and the long road to postwar recovery.

Thanks to memoirs donated by their families, we have also been able to uncover fascinating first hand accounts of some of Horncastle's soldiers during the conflict.

You will also find a virtual roll of honour where we are collecting information on the lives of the men named on the town's war memorial. If you have photos or further information you'd like to share, please get in touch.


Goodbye Watson's Yard, Hello Sir Joseph Banks Centre 

Unfortunately following the completion of the Feasibility Study for the purchasing the old Infant School at Watson's Yard and converting it into a community arts and heritage centre, our plans were hit by the pandemic.

Our hopes were dashed as it became obvious that there would be no funding available for new projects like this, when funding was needed just to keep the current museums and heritage centres going. The 'lockdown' also affected other Societies within the town and income for many of our community buildings was lost.

At the same time we were fortunately approached by the Sir Joseph Banks Society about working together to turn their craft shop on Bridge Street into a Natural History and Local Heritage Centre, with space for our Town Archives upstairs.

We have agreed a memorandum of understanding setting out our aims for the centre and in December 2020 we were able to move our archives to their new home. Plans continue to develop and we hope to be able to reopen the centre in time for International Museums Day on the 18th May 2021. But in the meantime, subject to Coronavirus guidelines, we hope that our volunteers will be able to return and start to help re-organise our large and growing collection about the town's history.


A Blue Plaque for Thomas Sully

Despite the pandemic much of the Society's work has continued, including erecting a new plaque in honour of the Horncastle-born artist Thomas Sully. You can find this in Dog Kennel Yard on the brick wall facing the Co-op Food Store.

follow this link to find out more, pick up a leaflet from the Co-op, or visit our Town Archives at the Joseph Banks Centre for full details of his life and artistic output. 

The Horncastle History & Heritage Society
Founded in 1966 as the Horncastle Civic Society - an independent and non-political body dedicated to safeguarding and preserving the rich heritage of our ancient market town. We act as a leading voice in the development and growth of the Town.
The Society endeavours to highlight the heritage of the Town whilst promoting places of interest and activities in Horncastle to generate local pride and community spirit allied with an expanding tourist trade.

Society Meetings

Meetings are held every  month at the Admiral Rodney Hotel, North Street, Horncastle

A speaker is generally invited to most meetings, whilst the ordinary meetings give Members an opportunity to contribute to the business of the Society.

Non-members are very welcome to attend to see if this is the kind of group they wish to get involved with.

See 'About Us' for details of the next meetings.




At The Admiral Rodney Hotel, North Street, Horncastle from 7:30pm


Working for the town

Protecting and Enhancing

Working with the Town and District Councils on planning and conservation issues, to protect Horncastle's historic environment but also trying to make it an even more pleasant and interesting place to live and work.

Informing and Learning

We love to discover more about our town. Its history going back to Roman times and before and the influences of the railways and canals on its prosperity and the effect of the huge horse fair on its social evolution. We invite you to share it all with us.


Preserving Our History  

The Society's maintains a large and growing Town Archive  full of information about the town. It has a large photograph, books, map, manuscript & DVD collection. This is now held at the Joseph Banks Centre on Bridge Street with some of our material on display in the local heritage section in the museum area.

Horncastle History on DVD available again

The DVD 'Horncastle Yesterday and Today' first produced in 2006 as a follow up to the 'Now & Then' book is again on sale at Perkins Newsagents and the Sir Joseph Banks' Centre for £9.99.
A must for anyone interested in the town's history.