Chairman's Report 2017-18


Chairman’s Report 2017/2018

The past year has again been a successful one for the Society. Our membership at the last AGM was 78 and this has now risen to 95, albeit we recognise that we will lose a few on renewal.

This must be due to the high calibre of talks that we hold, which seem to attract large attendances. In fact, our talks this year have all attracted well over 70 and sometimes even 90 people. Our thanks must go to Jean and Sally for compiling such a good programme. Particularly popular were the talk by Francis Dymoke on the Queen’s Champion, and Mike Fowler on the local Railways which led to our having to return to our previous venue at the Admiral Rodney as we couldn’t cope with the numbers at Watsons’s Yard. We also had excellent talks by Alan Maskell about the Fire Brigade and Chrissie Chapman on Kathryn Swinford. We were also brave enough to organise our own presentation using material from our archives, on Holmleigh, the town’s children’s home. All these attracted lots of visitors and usually added to our membership.

Of course, our archives were saved for posterity, by the kind offer from Horncastle Photographic Society for use of a room at their premises in Watson’s Yard, and an agreement was reached and the archives were moved there with the help of Horncastle Lions in June last year. Unfortunately, in pouring rain, and we still have to have them around for a drink to thank them for their work. The agreement was for us to also hold our meetings there, but due to health and safety concerns with the unexpectedly large numbers attending we had to change back to the Admiral Rodney. There were some cost implications form this, but if we continue to attract good numbers, then it should not be a problem, and if the numbers do drop then we can come back to this room again. This location for the archives has proved popular with visitors coming each week with enquiries or donations. We did also arrange for a sign outside to guide people to our little backwater. There are now a regular 8 volunteer helpers at the archives and we are beginning to make inroads in to the material we have received. However, we need more storage space and have recently erected a shed where the Photographic Society can store their excess materials, thus enabling us to install another storage cupboard.

Much of this material came from David Robinson who was delighted to find a home for it where he knew it would be of use to future generations. We lost David last year and he will be sadly missed by this town and the whole of Lincolnshire. His work and studies are immense and I am glad we can preserve some of it. Sadly, we also lost another long-term member a little while ago, in David Platt who was Treasurer of the Society for many years and who was instrumental in setting up much of the guidance for the original Civic Society. He will be particularly missed at AGM’s when he was very particular about the accounts, etc.

We do have some willing new members who I am sure will contribute to the success of the Society in the future. Chris Bates has undertaken much of our publicity work this year and his experience in this field is invaluable. His wife, Julie took on the duties of Minute Secretary and I am sure we are all pleased to get such informative and accurate minutes. Chrissie has done a great job as Membership Secretary and is a very welcoming face for the Society. Ruth has undertaken keeping our accounts in order and we have audited accounts are available for this meeting for the first time in many years. Some of our other members, - Vaughan, Colin, Helen, Rose, Sheila, Ian & David are helping on some of the projects and Ian, Wilma, Ashleigh, Jean, June, Michael and Vaughan regularly help at the archives.

In addition, Michael and Marilyn continue to look after the planters on West Street and the hanging baskets in the town centre. Unfortunately, Dorothy no longer feels she can manage the planters on Jubilee Way, but I am pleased to say that Ashleigh has stepped up to take care of these in the future. I am grateful for all this additional help which means we can do more for the Society and the town, and I am pleased to think that the Society will be in good younger hands in the future.

Michael has again done a stirling job on responding to the Planning applications on the Society’s behalf. Many of our comments this year have been about maintaining the rules applying to the conservation area as sometimes, ELDC appear to allow variations and do not clarify any changes in policy. You all receive a copy of the planning notes, so you can see how much work is involved.

So what have we done this year?

· We are proud to report that Francis Dymoke agreed to become Patron of the Society after his successful talk. His support for this important group in the town is appreciated.

· Setting up a new and permanent home for the town archives has been a great achievement and will provide a fantastic research facility for the town. Already we have had one person publish a book using research at our centre. It is on the old Victory Cinema and he has now provided us with a copy. We have also been able to provide answers to many people who make enquiries via our website.

· We have finally put up the signage on the planters at the end of West Street which look very smart. I should like to thank Vaughan for his help on this.

· We have installed the shed at Watson’s Yard which will enable us to expand our storage facilities within the schoolhouse. Thanks to Michael, Bob, Vaughan and John for their work which kept getting delayed due to the awful weather and lack of key.

· We are progressing a book based on memories of Mareham Le Fen in the 1920’s, which is actually a good indicator of village and small town life at that time. Helen is working on this.

· Sheila continues to push for the protection of the Roman Wall and we are finally making progress. She is ably assisted by Ian, and Chris is undertaking publicity and Helen is helping with fund raising. Please support this project all you can.

· Colin and I are working on the installation of a blue plaque to commemorate the life of Annie Dixon a nationally renowned portrait artist from the Victorian era. It would be good to get this installed this year as women’s work is being commemorated worldwide.

· We held an open day to show people the sort of things we had in our archives and gave people the opportunity to contribute. This was very successful and made people aware of our work.

· In October, together with the history group from the U3A, we visited Ayscoughee Hall in Spalding and the Spalding Gentlemen’s Society, both of which proved very interesting. The Gentlemen’s Society has also been helpful in offering assistance with maintaining archive documents in good condition.

· September saw us at Chattertons solicitors for our contribution to the Heritage Open Days, this year themed around justice and the law. The legal books were eagerly poured over by visitors, the horse fair film was enjoyed and the tours of the Police station were popular for which we thank PCSO Ross. Also thanks to Patrick for use of Chattertons.

· Our Christmas Do took place at the Community Centre and although not one of our best, it was interesting to hear poetry from our own local laureate, John Brown, and Marilyn did a fantastic job of making the hall and tables look festive and welcoming.

· The stalls at the Christmas Fair again produced welcome additions to our funds, and we thank you for your support on the Chocolate Tombola.

So to the future. We hope to continue to provide a varied programme. Our ‘coup’ of getting Dr Dan Ellin from the Bomber Command Centre takes place in July, and Michael Myers should also prove a good draw. A lecture about Annie Dixon in November will be for Members only as permission from the Royal Collection to show her work is only on that basis. We hope to have an official ‘unveiling’ of the blue plaque and an accompanying event. We also have plans for an evening of proper entertainment for the Christmas event this year.

The Society will be involved in the Armistice Celebrations in November and we hope to provide a display for the Friday night concert showing all the soldiers from the town who lost their lives in WW1.

I am sure I have forgotten to thank someone out there, but please do not be offended. There are a lot of people now involved in the Society and it is difficult to keep track. I know that we could not be as successful as we are without the help and support you all give.

Thanks to my husband, Graham for his patience and constant support, especially during what has been a difficult year for us.

Finally, please renew your membership as soon as possible as the new data protection laws do not allow us to have the same lea way on renewals as we have in the past, and it could make it difficult for you to continue receiving updates from us.


Chairman’s Report May 2017

I am pleased to report that the Society goes from strength to strength.  Membership has again grown this year to 78 members including many younger people which is very positive as many groups such as ours constantly report on dwindling numbers and lack of support by younger people.  Hopefully we are doing something right and with your help will continue to do so.  There was a natural loss of half a dozen members at last year’s renewal time but we have made up that loss and more.

We have been able to engage some very interesting speakers this past year and numbers in attendance at meetings has reflected the popularity of the topics.  These have included Henry Winn, Industrial Horncastle, Emily Sellwood, the East Lincolnshire Railway and most recently Smuggling on the East Coast.  Sally & Jean have taken over the booking of speakers and try and cover a range of topics that will appeal to our various membership.  I think they are doing this work admirably. A big thank you also to our speakers most of whom offer their services for free.

We had a very interesting visit to Gainsborough Old Hall in October and managed, with the help of the U3A History Group to fill a 30 seater coach.  Everyone appeared to find the hall fascinating and we were grateful that we had a very well informed and humorous guide to take us around.

September saw the launch of the Society’s book ‘Horncastle’s Great War’ which was published using remaining funds from the HLF grant to the exhibition of 2014. This has proved to be a major source of income for the Society this year and is still selling steadily, although there will always be a limited market for a book on this subject.  It has been well received by the people of Horncastle and has attracted good reviews from the SLHA. The book was presented to the Library, QEGS and The Masons, thereby strengthening our ties in the town.  On that occasion the Masons again made a very generous donation to the Society and we are very grateful for their continuing support.

Our Xmas celebrations took place at the Admiral Rodney this year where we had a very good meal and a taxing quiz. We needed to relax after working on the stall on the Christmas Market.  Chocolate is definitely popular and again this event proved to be one of our best fund raising events.

The work of the Society continues alongside the entertainment provided. This is carried out by your Executive committee and this year has seen them take on more of the responsibilities from myself which has proved very helpful and gives us the chance to cover more areas.  I am very grateful to them.

Once of the more onerous jobs is formulating responses to ELDC Planning applications.  You do all receive a report on these regularly. Michael Hieatt has carried out this work excellently this year.  There has been approval for the development on Langton Hill and indications that it will start will 25 houses at a time.  This causes some concerns with regard to infrastructure and services being put in place and Michael is monitoring and commenting as necessary.  We have also expressed concerns about the lack of consistency with regard to use of UPVC in the conservation area and have sought clarification on this matter, but ELDC officers seem to indicate that decisions will be made on an ad hoc basis as they relate to the property.   We are already seeing that this attitude could cause a plethero of applications.  Michael has pointed out the Hazardous structure in the Market Place at its junction with Bridge Street and action is being taken. Although we were all relieved to see the derelict property on Cagthorpe being rebuilt, Michael noticed that the windows were not constructed as shown on the original plans and this is now being rectified.  As well as responding to numerous planning applications that affect the conservation area Michael’s work is checking and ensuring that work is done properly.  And for this we are always grateful to members who let us know when things are happening that perhaps should not be happening.  We can then pursue with ELDC.  Thank you Michael for your work.

Projects in the town have not progressed much this year. Unfortunately, Rod Sambrook left the area and his plans for Outdoor artwork has not progressed and now Gillian, who had taken it on, is also leaving for warmer climes.  The project has evolved into information boards around the town together with a revised town walk leaflet.It was hoped to get this started earlier this year, but the necessity of finding new premises for the archives rather overtook everything. Help is definitely needed.

However, I am happy to report that Sheila Jonkers has made impressive progress with the project of protecting and maintaining the Roman Wall with a view to it becoming more of a tourist attraction in the future.  I will let her tell you her exciting news.

Michael has resurrected River Care and I know that he hopes to be able to develop the leisure use of the rivers in the future, but in the meantime ensues they are kept tidy and clean.

Marilyn and Dorothy have kept the planters looking beautiful all year and added care of the hanging baskets in the Market Place to their responsibilities.  They are working with the Town Council at the moment to purchase some new planters and we hope to see these in place shortly.

A regular group of 5 work at the archive centre, sorting and organising the documents we have had donated to provide a meaningful source of material for anyone interested in the history of the town.  We are grateful for their commitment. You all know that we have had to move and the implication of this are to be discussed later on the agenda. I should like to record our thanks to David Robinson for the donation of many of his extremely valuable and informative documents about the town.

All these members work away on their own projects and just report to the Executive committee periodically.  If you have projects you wish to take on, just get permission from the Executive committee so we know if there are any financial or insurance requirements.  Or just offer to help.

The Society continues to be a member of the 3 Way meeting group which is now known as 'Horncastle Matters' and has the added involvement of St Mary’s church and SJB.  The main focus for the coming few years is on increasing visitor numbers to the town and promoting tourism.  The Society wishes to aid this as much as possible. The church has the Art & Music Festival, and Xmas events, SJB attracts visitors and we hope to help improve the town to make it more attractive. The Town Council is also working with this group with the same aim.

I try as Chairman, to keep you informed of events and talks that are going on throughout the area which you may find interesting.  I know that some of you do enjoy these, so I feel it is worthwhile forwarding the information, even though some of you may find the number of emails a nuisance.

The coming year promises to be interesting.  Hopefully, a move that will be beneficial to the Society and provide us with a proper base.  We have some really good talks coming up and another interesting visit or perhaps two.

I again thank everyone who works and contributes to the Society and to all those who support our meetings and events. Thank you. And thank you to the Society for providing me with the opportunity to attend the Garden Party at Buckingham Palace – sometimes the hard work is rewarded!


Publisher Horncastle History & Heritage Society Issue No 7                                      April 2017



Tony & Mena Baker

Vaughan McKay

Ian & Alice Marshman

Rose Williams

Jennifer Walker

Ian & Judith French

We hope you will feel welcome and that you will wish to contribute comments or ideas that could improve the Society.


To John & Gillian Mauger who are leaving us for warmer climes.  Gillian has been particularly helpful  to the Society  in her position as Town Clerk  in which she has been exemplary.  Our thanks and best wishes to them both.


The AGM is fast approaching and we need to re-assess the needs of the Society.  

On the Executive Committee, our Minute Secretary, Trevor Butterworth, would much appreciate a rest.  The work entails taking the minutes every 6 weeks and ensuring they are distributed to all Members (most by email).

For some of the other help, you would not need to be on the Executive or attend its meetings. 

We need a Marketing Officer, to improve sale of our goods and use the resources we have available at the Archives for the benefit of the Society.

A Funding Officer would be very useful to work with our Treasurer to seek out and apply for funds for various projects.

Access to members’ Computer Skills would be very much appreciated by the Chairman sometimes as some tasks can be quite challenging and discussion and advice would be useful.



                30th April Lincolnshire Voices of the Great War Exhibition – Stanhope Hall

                17th May AGM

                17th June Civic Day – display of archive material at the Community Centre

                19th July Alan Maskell, Lincolnshire Fire Service

                10th Sept Heritage Open Day -Horncastle’s Horrid History

                20th Sept Francis Dymoke, Queens’ Champion


We are delighted to inform you that a new home has been found for the Town Archives.  Thanks to a member of the public and one of our members, we contacted the Horncastle & District Photographic Society and were invited to attend the opening night of their Annual Exhibition and look around their premises. They are fortunate to own the old School House in Watson’s Yard on West Street, where they have two rooms.  They were very welcoming and, subject to ratification by the Executive Committee, we quickly came to an agreement to use their small room to house the archives.  Our committee also agreed that we should move our meetings to their premises as well, which will make a new home for the Society in a suitably historic location.  This should be a mutually beneficial arrangement. It is hoped to make the move mid May to mid June.  There is a lot of paperwork to move so any help would be appreciated.  We should like to thank everyone who worked so hard to find an alternative site and we are extremely pleased that the archive can now continue and grow .Our thanks to the SJB Centre for their support over the past 4 years.

Example of photos from the Archives (not available on website)


As the search for new premises to house the Town Archives generated such interest, we thought residents and visitors should be given the opportunity to see some of the valuable documents we now hold. Civic Day, Saturday 17th June, has been chosen as an appropriate day and the archives will be on display at the Community Centre from 10am to 4pm.  Please put this date in your diary.  As always no offer of help would be turned away.


HORNCASTLE’S HORRID HISTORY’  - work continues on this important event.  Make sure it is in your diaries and that you invite lots of friends and family along.


Book your places early for our Annual outing.  We will be visiting Spalding Gentlemen’s Society and Ayscoughfee Hall in Spalding by coach on Wednesday 25th October. This is a full day’s outing leaving about 9.30am and returning from Spalding at 4pm.  


Following last year’s visit to the early stages of the construction of the Horncastle Flood Relief Reservoir a party of about a dozen members made a further visit to the site on 17th March 2017 to see the works nearing completion. The visit was arranged through the Environment Agency with the co-operation of the VBA Joint Venture who are the contractor for the project. After a quick presentation on the scheme and kitting out in safety boots, etc.,  the party were given a health & safety induction before being ready to be escorted onto the site. It was a bitterly cold morning and people were glad of any extra layers!  

Although there is still looks to be quite a lot of work to be done to complete the scheme, the half mile long embankment is already formed to full height and the scheme has been brought into operation, significantly reducing the risk of flood damage to properties in Horncastle. At the time of the visit work was under way on the casting of "grasscrete” protection in-situ on the downstream face of the emergency overflow section of the embankment, the formation of the permanent crest and the landscaping of the upstream face and the borrow areas. 

Looking upstream through the tunnel that carries the River Bain beneath the embankment, the sliding gate of the float operated "Hydroslide” control valve could clearly be seen.  This valve which forms the heart of the scheme: under normal conditions, flow down the River Bain passes through the tunnel beneath the embankment unrestricted . When the flow increases in flood conditions and water levels begin to rise, the control valve restricts the flow and the water builds up in the reservoir behind the embankment. When the flows subside, the level in the reservoir gradually falls until it is empty again, ready to catch the excess water from the next flood.

When the embankment has been grassed and the landscaping is completed the site will blend in with the surrounding fields. The borrow area (just upstream of the embankment), that was a source of material for the embankment, will be formed into a permanent wetland - a sanctuary for wild life.    


Members should be aware that one of our members, Michael Hieatt, resurrected ‘Rivercare’ last year and has instigated regular clean up sessions of the river areas in the town.  The rivers are an important part of our town and probably the reason the town is sited where it is.  It is hoped to develop this important resource to feature more in our campaign to encourage visitors to the town.  In the meantime, keeping them clean is just as important.  The posters advertising the ‘cleanup’ session are usually sent to members, so please let Michael know if you are interested.

GUESS THE LOCATION? (not available on website) 

Previous location – Corner of Prospect Street



Publisher Horncastle History & Heritage Society                                                        Issue No 6                                                                                        January 2017                                                


Chris & Julie Bates

Colin Gascoyne

Roger Hammond

Nicola Marshall

Heather Slater

Mel & Chris Walker

We hope you will enjoy your association with the Society.  Any comments or ideas are always welcome.



Mary Silverton – Chairman, Archives & Website

Trevor Butterworth – Secretary & distribution

Ruth Addison - Treasurer

Chrissie Chapman – Membership Secretary

Michael Hieatt – Planning officer

Bob Wayne – Publicity

Jean Forgham - Speakers

Marilyn Hieatt – Event & meeting organiser

Ann Clark – Event assistant



 The U3A History Group joined us one more for this visit in October, and I know that they thoroughly enjoyed it. We all found what has been preserved at the Hall quite astonishing and our guide informed us of its many illustrious visitors over the years. Particularly impressive is the kitchen with its enormous fireplace. Our guide was excellent and made the tour fun as well as interesting and her account of how many everyday sayings came into being were astounding.  Bob Wayne even managed to include a reference to ‘tights’ in our Christmas quiz.

View of the Great Hall (pictures not available on line)


15th March         Richard D’Arcy, Smuggling on the Lincolnshire Coast

30th April            Lincolnshire Voices of the Great War Exhibition – Stanhope Hall

17th May             AGM

19th July              Alan Maskell, Lincolnshire Fire Service



The Society’s Executive decided to award Honorary membership to Colin Gascoyne in November 2016. Colin was co-author of the Society’s book ‘ Horncastle’s Great War’ and has donated all his part of the profits to the Society.




Most of you will have received the report by Sheila Jonkers on the progress on carrying out a survey of the Roman Wall at the Community Centre with a view to finding the best way of preserving it for the future. (the report is on the website)

One of our Members has generously contributed to this fund as he loves to see old things preserved.  If anyone else feels the same, please feel free.  As the Society has agreed to make up the difference on the 20% community contribution needed, it is hoped that the survey should take place soon, preferably before vegetation starts to grow again. Please see photo above of part of the Roman Wall seldom seen off Dog Kennel Lane.(Sorry, couldn’t turn it around)


TOWN TRAILthe  changes to the Town Trail leaflet are being progressed .  We hope to extend the walk and update the information.  It is a nice easy walk around the town which tells much of the basic history and is very useful for visitors to the town.


Gillian Mauger, Michael Hieatt and Mary Silverton are working on a project to erect about ten Information Boards around the town to work with the Town Trail leaflet.  This project is supported by the ‘Horncastle Matters Group’ and is aimed at promoting tourism in the town . The boards will provide information about the history of the town and its famous forefathers. It will also show pictures of buildings which have disappeared but were important to the town. The boards will enable visitors to the town to explore the town and its heritage even when the Tourist Information Centre is closed.  If you feel you could help on this project, please let me know as we would welcome additional skills.



The event takes place on Sunday 10th September this year and Chrissie Chapman is leading a group organising the Society’s contribution.  We think it will be very exciting and interesting.  We have arranged to have tours of the old Victorian Police cells at the Police Station and will also have displays in Chatterton’s offices themed on: Crime at the Horse Fair; legal documents connected to the town; punishment over the centuries and possibly  Marwood if this item does not clash with other organisations. 

The title of the event is HORNCASTLE’S HORRID HISTORY’  which we hope will entice people in.



This group is an extension of the original ‘Three Way meeting’ Group, which comprised the HHH Society, the Town Council and the Federation for Trade Commerce & Industry.  It was decided to widen its membership last year so that more organisations in the town are working together, rather than each pursuing separate but similar goals.  St Mary’s Church and the Sir Joseph Banks Society became members and the name changed.  The main aim of the group for the time being is to promote tourism to the town, as it is felt this is the main way the Town will thrive. The group is currently trying to get Brown Tourism signs for the town and also the Information Boards.



Sales of this Society book have gone very well and  have contributed to the Society’s funds.  It received a very good review from the SLHA and is still on sale at Perkins or through the website at £16.50.  Thank you for your support.

The DVD ‘Horncastle Yesterday & Today’ is available at £9.99.



Most of you will be aware that in mid January, the Society was given six months’ notice to quit the archive room at the Sir Joseph Banks Centre, due to the room being needed to house the Lincolnshire Herbarium, a project of National importance.

This news is quite devastating to the group of Members who have been working since 2013 to provide a wonderful historical record of this town and its people.  The documents there provide an excellent research facility for anyone wanting information about Horncastle.  It is essential that we find somewhere else in the town to house these records or they will have to go to Lincoln, or worse still to someone’s cellar, to perhaps be lost forever.

Some of these documents are UNIQUE and as such PRICELESS.

                A full record of the Horse Fair with complete

                documentation for each year from 1802.

                Records of Horncastle College from inception to Closure including programmes of courses          offered.

                Probably one of the best records of a childrens’ home of the period 1930 to 1960.

                Complete military information on all the soldiers from Horncastle who died in WW1.

                Famous people from Horncastle and also well- known Local residents

                List of businesses and pubs in the town from the 17th century.

                Maps from all periods of the town’s development

                Hundreds of photos and many DVD’s

                History of the town.

I am looking for about four people to assist me in seeking alternative premises.  I need someone with Meida experience, someone who is willing to look at possible funds, and people who will pursue and research alternative locations.  Contact 523091



( Photos not shown in website format)

Previous location – The Wong










Society Newsletters

This page provides a quick update for members who have not been able to get to meetings.

Newsletters and Updates are issued as and when.

Each year the Chairman will provide a list of achievements of the Society.

Previous reports are available in the News Archives section.