Page:A History of Horncastle from the Earliest Period to the Present Time.djvu/70

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1868 Robert Giles.
1872 Arthur Scrivenor.
1882 Edwin Fowler Quarrington
1900 Alfred Edgar Moore.

For some of the earlier details I am indebted to the Rev. W. O. Massingberd.

The Parish Registers of Horncastle are of some interest. They date from 1559, the year following the "Injunction" issued by Queen Elizabeth (the 3rd of its kind) ordering the regular keeping of such records; similar, earlier, though less stringent, orders having been made in 1538, 1547 and 1552. Besides the records of baptisms, marriages and burials, there are occasional notes on peculiar passing events, which we may here notice. One of these occurs in 1627, "Upon Monday, beinge the xxviijth day of January was a great Tempest of Winde, the like hath not often been in any age; like wise upon Friday the 4th of November 1636 in the night time there happened a more fearful (wind than) before.

Mr. Weir, in his History of Horncastle, quotes a note (folio 42 b of the Register): "On the vth daie of October one thousand six hundred and three, in the ffirst yere of oure Sov'aigne Lord King James was holden in Horncastell Church a solemnn fast from eight in the morning until fower a clock in the after noone by five preachers, vidz. Mr. Hollinghedge, Vicar of Horncastell, Mr. Turner of Edlington, Mr. Downes of Lusbye, Mr. Philipe of Solmonbye, Mr. Tanzey of Hagworthingha', occasioned by a generall and most feareful plague yt yere in sundrie places of this land, but especially upon the Cytie of London, p'r me Clementem Whitelock." (Parish Clerk.)

We may observe that at this time there perished in London more than 30,000 persons; but the great plague, or "black death," occurred 61 years later (1664-5), which carried off from 70,000 to 100,000 persons. Between these periods, and previously, various parishes in our neighbourhood suffered from this visitation; for instance at Roughton, which is in the soke of Horncastle, there were 43 burials, including those of the Rector and two daughters, in the year 1631-2; while in the adjoining parish of Haltham (also in the soke) although there was no increase of mortality at that date, there had been 51 deaths in the year 1584; there being a note in the register for that year, "This yeare plague in Haltham." The turn, however, for Horncastle came in the year 1631, when the register shows that between May 3 and Sep. 29, there were no less than 176 deaths; in one case 7 in a family (Cocking), 5 in a family (Halliday), in other cases 4 (Joanes), and again (Hutchinson) 4, (Fawcitts) 4, (Cheesbrooke) 4, &c. In August alone there were 86 deaths, and not a single marriage through all these months, whereas the following year there were only 25 deaths in the whole twelve months. Truly Horncastrians were, at that dread time, living with the sword of Damocles hanging over them. A note in the margin in this year is as follows, "Oct. 5th, buryalls since July 23, 144; burialls since Easter 182."

We have already given the history of the Vicar, Rev. Thos. Gibson, he is referred to in the two following notes in the Register. At the end of folio 81a (1635) we find, after the signature of himself and churchwardens, "Thomas Gibson, Clerk, Master of the free school of Newcastel uppon Tine, one of the Chapleins of the Right Reverend Father in God Barnabas, by Divine P'vidence Lo. Bpp. Carliel, presented by the said Lo. Bpp., was inducted into this Vicarage of Horncastel April xiiij, 1634." At the end of folio 85a (1639) after