Fighting alongside William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings was his staunch defender, the Champion of the Dukes of Normandy, Sir Robert Marmion. The Manor of Scrivelsby was assigned to Sir Robert, as the King's Champion, thus heralding the beginning of this hereditary title that continues to this day.
On the winding and picturesque road between Horncastle and Revesby lies the estate and park of Scrivelsby Court. Sheep and herds of red deer peacefully graze on the lands that have been associated with the King's (and Queen's) Champion for over 900 years.
Fighting alongside William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings was his staunch defender, the Champion of the Dukes of Normandy, Sir Robert Marmion. Following the successful conquest, Sir Robert became the first King's Champion who would fight for the monarch's right to rule over England against any who dared to challenge. For his service as Champion at coronations, the Manor of Scrivelsby was assigned to Sir Robert, thus heralding the beginning of this hereditary title that continues to this day.
The Marmion family retained this title and duty until the death of Philip Marmion in 1292 who had four daughters but no male heirs. This left a void until 1350 when Philip's great grand daughter, Margaret, married Sir John Dymoke who then took up residence at Scrivelsby. Despite a challenge from another descendant Sir John successfully claimed the office of Champion and later performed his duty at the coronation of Richard II in 1377. The procedure and scene in the Great Hall of Westminster must have been splendid to witness.
The first to enter were two knights on horseback bearing the Champion's spear and shield followed by the Champion in a shining full suit of armour with a plume of feathers in his helmet. He was mounted on a richly decorated white horse that he had chosen from the King's Stables. At his side, also on horseback, were his escorts, the Earl Marshal and the Lord High Constable.
Following a trumpet blast, the York Herald read out the proclamation of challenge to anyone who denied the sovereign his right to the throne. The Champion then threw down his gauntlet to challenge any dissenter to mortal combat. After the third time the proclamation was read, and the gauntlet thrown, with no challengers stepping forward, the King was presented with a gold cup full of wine. The King then drank to the Champion and passed the cup to him. The Champion finished the drink and shouted "Long Live your Majesties" before withdrawing backwards. The cup was kept by the Champion as a fee for his services.
Down the centuries the monarchy came under threat and the encumbent Dymoke Champion had to make a stance. During the War of the Roses, Thomas Dymoke supported the Lancastrians which led to his beheading by the order of Edward IV. When the Civil War erupted, Charles Dymoke naturally supported the monarchy, even leaving £2,000 on his death to the king. Regrettably, for the family, the Parliamentarians seized power resulting in Edward Dymoke being fined the vast sum of £7,000 for bearing the "lewd and malicious title of King's Champion".
Although he was reinstated at the coronation of Charles II and knighted for "his loyalty and great sufferings both in person and estate", the family fortunes had been decimated. Despite this the Dymokes retained the Scrivelsby estates finally acheiving financial stability again in the 19th century thanks to the efforts of Sir Henry Dymoke.
The full ceremony, in all its glory, was last performed in 1821 when Sir Henry Dymoke acted as Champion at the coronation of George IV. Since Richard II, in 1377, there has been a Dymoke officiating at the coronations of 25 Kings and Queens of England. The present Honourable Queens Champion, Colonel John Marmion Dymoke MBE, was present in his office at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
Magnificent suits of armour from Scrivelsby Court can be seen at the Tower of London.
Edward Harrison studied in Edinburgh, and then in London under the Hunter brothers – John Hunter (1728-1793) and William Hunter (1718-1783). He obtained his doctorate at Edinburgh in 1784, visited Paris, and subsequently practiced for thirty years in Horncastle in Lincolnshire, where he founded, among other things, a dispensary, the Medical Society of Horncastle, and the Lincolnshire Benevolent Medical Society. He also established a charitable spinal infirmary in London in 1837.
In December 1789 the citizens of Horncastle welcomed the opening of Lincolnshire's first Dispensary at No.2, St. Mary's Churchyard. This was the first of many beneficial projects instigated by the world famous botanist, Sir Joseph Banks.
The two original physicians employed were Edmund Laycock, who retired within a year; and Edward Harrison who was to devote 32 years to his vocation in Horncastle. During his working life, of almost 50 years, his efforts and his methods of practise became known throughout the United Kingdom and the world at large. He became the subject of adulation, ridicule and controversy which still continues to this day!
Alongside his care to the sick and infirm, he was determined to implement a Medical Reform bill through parliament to regulate the licensing of medical practitioners in every sphere of medicine. This was prompted by the vast amount of unregulated "quacks" who were doing immeasurable harm to the public. With the support of his friend, and patient, Sir Joseph Banks, his crusade was to last 12 years, before being defeated by the Royal College of Physicians in London, who feared they would lose some of their power and influence.
Despite this set back to his ambitions, he expanded his interests by caring for the insane in his private asylum at 30 West Street, Horncastle. He also nurtured the talents of young medical graduates, the most notable being E.P.Charlesworth who later diligently served for 33 years at the Lincoln Asylum. Harrison also became the highly regarded physician to the father and uncle of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, at nearby Somersby.
In 1817 his wife Margaret died, resulting in Harrison making preparations for his retirement from medicine. These plans were cancelled the following year when he wed his second wife, Charlotte Chaplin, from Tathwell Hall. Her cousin was suffering from a spinal deformity which roused the compassion and curiosity of Harrison. He developed a new method involving the massage and manipulation of individual vertebrae that he concentrated on for the rest of his life, and lead to his world wide fame, or notoriety. He cured Charlotte's cousin within a year, enabling her to return to the social activities that she had previously abandoned, due to her discomfort.
Harrison resigned from the Dispensary in 1821 to pursue and promote his new cure in London, by which time over 10,000 patients from all over the county had received treatment in this small market town.
His remaining 17 years in London were to bring even more conflict with the Royal College of Physicians, who took him to court for practising without their license. Harrison went on to cure patients with extreme deformities and restore the use of previously paralysed limbs. His attempts to promote his new method within the more conservative and staid medical community was generally met with scorn and derision.
His ambition to open a Spinal Infirmary charity for the poor was achieved in 1837, one year before his death, at the age of 78. Casts of his patient's backs, before and after his treatment, were distributed throughout the world to practitioners who admired his methods.
Harrison was buried in Horncastle not far from the Dispensary and a white marble memorial commissioned in St. Mary's church. A further memorial plaque was positioned above the entrance to the second Dispensary in North Street built in 1866. His charitable infirmary in London was to continue for at least a further 30 years after his death, during which time they treated a patient referred by Queen Victoria.
Harrison's methods formed the foundation of the modern Chiropractor.
By a somewhat convoluted sequence of events, Edward Stanhope, born in London, became a respected benefactor to Horncastle and its people.
The lordship of the Manor of Horncastle had been held by the various Bishops of Carlisle since 1229 and leased to the grandfather of Sir Joseph Banks in 1714. This was inherited by Sir Joseph and upon his death in 1820 the title passed onto his wife, thereafter the lease was inherited by the Stanhope family.
During the time that James Banks Stanhope held the lease he took the opportunity to purchase it when the see of Carlisle relinquished ownership of the title in 1856. The estates and Lordship of the Manor of Horncastle were inherited, from his cousin, by Edward Stanhope in 1885.
Edward Stanhope was educated at Harrow School and Christ Church, Oxford where he studied law. In 1874 he was elected as the conservative Member of Parliament for Mid Lincolnshire. This constituency was abolished in 1885 and Stanhope became MP for the new constituency of Horncastle. During his nineteen years in Parliament Stanhope held many important offices including Under Secretary of State for India, President of the Board of Trade, the Secretary of State for the Colonies and Secretary of State for War.
In an act of generosity, Stanhope offered the Market Place, The Wong, the Pig Market and their respective revenue in tolls to the Local Board of Health for the benefit of the people of Horncastle. At a public meeting in 1892 the people passed a resolution accepting the valuable gift that had been in private hands for nearly seven centuries. Around this time the old buildings that stood on the Market Place were demolished leaving us with the clear area we see today.
When Stanhope died of a heart attack in 1893 a memorial was erected in the Market Place leaving us with a permanent reminder of his generosity towards the town and its people.
Sir Joseph Banks British explorer and naturalist who, as long-time president of the Royal Society, London, became known for his promotion of science.
Joseph Banks studied at Oxford from 1760 to 1763, during which time he inherited a considerable fortune. After graduating, he travelled to Newfoundland and Labrador in 1766, collecting plant and other specimens.
In 1768 he led the Royal Society delegation on a voyage around the world with Captain James Cook, during which time they landed in New Zealand, at Poverty Bay, in 1769. While there, Banks described a great number of plants found in the area and wrote detailed descriptions of the Maori people who lived there.
His scientific account of the voyage and its discoveries sparked considerable interest in Europe, encouraging European settlement near the Pacific islands.
Although the achievements of Banks are widely acknowledged, both nationally and internationally, his affection for, and contributions to his home town of Horncastle is less well appreciated.
Through his endeavours the foundations were laid that would lead to the improved health, well being and prosperity to the people and businesses in and around Horncastle.
Sir Joseph Banks was the driving force behind:-
Affectionately known by locals as "Cousin Joe", Banks dedicated much of his valuable time to the welfare and prosperity of the Horncastle townsfolk.
Until recently, the only trace of Banks in Horncastle is his Town House in the High Street adorned with a commemorative Blue Plaque.
But now, mainly due to the vision and determination of Paul Scott and Jean Burton, the Sir Joseph Banks Society and Sir Joseph Banks Centre are being established and opened here in his home town.
William Marwood (1820–1883), a cobbler, of Church Lane, Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England at the age of 54 persuaded the governor of Lincoln prison to allow him to conduct an execution.
The efficient way in which he conducted the hanging of William Frederick Harry (or Horry) without a hitch on 1 April 1872 assisted him in being appointed hangman by the Sheriffs of London and Middlesex, for which he was paid a retainer of £20 a year plus £10 per execution.
Marwood developed the "long drop" technique of hanging, which ensured that the prisoners' neck was broken instantly at the end of the drop, resulting in the prisoner dying of asphyxia while unconscious. This was undoubtedly kinder than the slow death by strangulation caused by the "short drop" method, which was particularly distressing to prison governors and staff who were required to witness executions at a close distance following the abolition of public executions in 1868.
In his nine years as a hangman, Marwood executed 178 people, including:
In Marwood's time there was a popular rhyme which went:
If Pa killed Ma
Who'd kill Pa?
This is a letter written by William Marwood on Saturday 10th April 1875
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William Marwood's Executions
Compiled by Robert Pendell
William Marwood was an Executioner from 1872, becoming the official Crown Executioner in 1874 through to his death in September 1883. His main occupation was as a cobbler, his shop and home he shared with his wife Ellen still exist in Horncastle today.
Although poorly educated he devised a more humane method of execution resulting in a quick end, in contrast to his predecessor William Calcraft, who lacked his compassion and strong religious beliefs. He enjoyed his fame, or notoriety, and was no doubt delighted to receive an invitation from Madame Tussauds to attend sittings, enabling them to reproduce his likeness for their Chamber of Horrors.
What follows is a list of all the people he executed, ages, dates and prison locations, illustrating the extent of his travels and to remind us of the personal tragedies he confronted on a regular basis. Every individual who faced Marwood in their last seconds undoubtedly had a tale to tell. What were their upbringings like, what hardships did they face, what were their needs and aspirations? When we take into account the comparatively unsophisticated policing methods of the day, we can perhaps pose the question, were some of his "victims" innocent?
Whatever the circumstances, the law dictated that they should be hanged by the neck until dead, resulting in letters being written by Prison Governers requesting the services of William Marwood, Executioner, Church Lane, Horncastle, Lincolnshire.
Note: The exact total is 178, far less than the often quoted figure of 350 to 400.
-- 1872 --
-- 1873 --
-- 1874 --
-- 1875 --
-- 1876 --
-- 1877 --
-- 1878 --
-- 1879 --
-- 1880 --
-- 1881 --
-- 1882 --
-- 1883 --
William Marwood died in September 1883.