Friday, 14 June 2013

A visit to Horncastle

Hiya. After popping in at the hostel on Tuesday, I went to Horncastle to take a look at this small market town. There wasn't time to walk there and back, so driving was the easy option. I parked my car in a quiet road on the outskirts and walked the half mile into town. This building is not in use and is for sale. I think it would make a great up market hotel and eatery. Love the architecture.
While I was standing outside this building reading the plaques each side of the entrance and taking the photo, a lady stopped to chat to tell me a bit about Horncastle. When I said I was into recycling and buying second hand rather than new, she said I was in the right place for antiques, Horncastle being full of antique and collectors item shops. She told me where to look.
Just up the street was this double fronted shop, full of bricabrac.
And up an alley way to the side of it is this open air yard. I was gobsmacked, the place was stacked high with pots, glassware, brass, and all kinds of bricabrac of every description. I spoke to the man working there, he said it is owned by Clare Boam, and I was later to find out that she has the monopoly on house clearance, auctions, and antiques in the town, owning several business premises.
Some of this stuff must have been here years, it is never covered up and left out all day and night, it was in a filthy state. I had a sudden urge to get a bowl of hot soapy water and start washing up. If anyone was to undertake that mamoth task it would take weeks to sort it all out.
Ms Boam buys and sells at auctions, and clears whole houses of all their contents. I don't know how she decides how much to sell things for.
As well as all the stuff outside there are several large warehouse type buildings stuffed full of old furniture stacked to the ceiling. Linens and old books, too much to list here, you name it, they have it.
I quite liked the look of this little thatched roof pub. Batemans is the dominant brewery in these parts.
A flower and fresh fruit shop with it's wares spread out all over the pavement. When I went by later on, they were getting it all in again ready for closing. What a lot of work for a small shop.
The monument in the market place.
These cottages are in St Mary's Square, there is one for sale if you fancy it, but they are close to a busy road.
St Mary's Church is at the end of the row.
This little tea shop next to the river looks cosy.
Another interesting building.
More antiques, the town is dominated by them.
Aha, what do I spy here, Trinity Church has been transformed into Trinity Centre Antiques. Must have a look inside here. There was a young man working inside, and he filled me in on some of the history. Clare Boam bought the church and land from the council, it used to be a visitor and Tourist Information centre, but they decided to sell it because it was too cold to work in during the winter, and too expensive to heat. She was given permission for change of use because she promised not to make any alterations to the inside and the outside of the building, only to restore it and to maintain the grounds.

All the grave stones were removed and are stored around the edges at the back. Somewhere is the grave of William Marwood, who had a cobblers shop in Church Lane. His interest in capital punishment and the technical aspects of hanging led him to devise a more humane method of execution, namely The Long Drop. He performed his first execution in 1872, and went on to execute 176 people in total, up until four months before his death in 1883, when he died of a lung disease. There is a hand written and framed letter from him on display inside the entrance. Click the link to read more.
An amazing sight, a church stuffed full of antiques. I noticed that most of the items were not cheap. Clare is a canny business woman and obviously knows how to build her empire. Here is a statement from her which appeared in the Horncastle News, when she aquired the church. 
Amazing isn't it. At least the church is being put to good use, and not left to rot.
I think I could live, here, maybe not in the cold winter though.
There is a little bit of modernisation in Horncastle. This is the the bridge across the river to the Tesco car park. Along the bank is a picnic area which is swarming in ducks, which are very entertaining while you sit and eat your sandwiches.
I had time for a little walk after all this so I found a sign for the Viking Way, a long distance path that I have written about before. It follows the river Bain for a while. It was a very pleasant walk alongside the playing fields, but eventually disappeared into nothing, and I found myself wading through a weed meadow with nettles up to my knees, good job I had trousers on. I lost the path altogether, so went round the edge of a field towards a road which came out at a factory. I then headed back towards town. That was enough to fill the time, back to the hostel for dinner. I have a longer walk planned for tomorrow.
Toodle pip. 


  1. Oooh all those antiques! I would be scared of going into that yard and never being seen again!! Actually give me a packed lunch and a flask of coffee and I could quite happily spend the day in there!

    I wonder if the Antiques Roadshow has ever visited Horncastle? They'd be filming there for weeks.

    I love the little bridge and the flower shop. I have a flower shop near me and they put their stuff outside on display. Some lovely scents as you pass by!

    Thanks for posting this - so interesting!

    Linda xx

  2. My head would turn all around looking at all the antique treasures, but honestly, some kind of order is needed. It would take quite a while to see it all properly.
    I loved all the photos of the old buildings and the town.
    You always run into nice people who are willing to help and share information.

  3. From Danneke
    What a wonderful place, all the "junk" and "antiques ", I would be in my glory searching for things I collect and I have made a note to have a visit there or nearby when I am back mobile, I could perhaps do Horncastle and then on to Skegness for a day or two cos after the op and I am back driving I want to have some time away from home. Keeping my fingers x for good weather for you Ilona while you tramp the by ways etc. The YHA reminds me of the one we all stayed in at Ironbridge for one of our LTC get togethers, basic accomodations and all mucking in is a good way to make new chums.

  4. Hi, loved this post and found it very interesting. Can just picture you wading through the meadow. I had a similar experience with my dog this morning, except l was wearing shorts and got wet muddy and cold. Hope your weekend is a good one, Pam in Norway

  5. I went to school in Horncastle 40 years ago and have really enjoyed your photographs, they brought back so many memories of my family. Would you object if I copied the ones of the Bullring ( the semi circular building) and the Market Cross? In the 19th century Horncastle was famous for its horse fair - and for having more pubs within its boundaries than any other town in England:-)

    1. Hi terriersintiaras, Thank you for asking if you can use my photo's, yes you have my permission. I read about the Horsefairs, we have similar ones in nearby Brigg in North Lincolnshire. I wonder if the 'most pubs' record still stands, with people not being able to afford to go out any more.

  6. Hi, Ilona/Nellie (!) ... fascinating sights and history you are sharing. I always look forward to seeing where you've been and what you've been up to. Thanks again for sharing...

    Sharon in Alabama (USA)

  7. Hi I would have been all day in that junk shop rummaging around. Probably have spent a fortune! Enjoying your photos - hope the bloomin weather keeps good for you. Debbie

  8. I can't help feeling sorry about all those things being left out in all weathers. So many perfectly useful things (but not upscale enough for the indoor sale site, apparently) going to rust and rot :(
    Does look like an interesting town for one of your "bimbles" though, Ilona! Thank you as always for sharing your photographs and taking us along with you.

    1. Hi Quinn, I felt sorry for them as well, I wanted to rescue them. Wash them, polish them, find them a better life elsewhere.

  9. What an interesting place. My local town is something of an antiques capital - we have so many antiques places here and a heck of a lot of charity shops too, but I've never seen anything quite like all that crocker etc left out in all weathers.

  10. I was at the very same place two weeks ago. I thought that the dirty crockery was quite expensive. They wanted at least a pound for a tea plate. I was looking for some for my daughter's 21st party part but not at that price.

  11. Wow what a lovely village, and a tonne of Antique shops. A most excellent day out I reckon.

  12. Hi, I saw you in the town, down near the ducks and car parks by the river. I think you've captured the town well in the photos. The antiques in the yard get changed over pretty rgeularly, new stock every Thursday. There's a town festival Sun JUNE 30 that should be fun if you can make it.
    Best Wishes.

    1. Well I'll be blowed, I was spotted. Yes, I spent a few minutes watching the ducklings, so cute. And I spent 85p in Tesco. Pity you didn't come and say hello, though you might have not known it was me, if you hadn't read about my red hair. Thanks for the info about the festival.

  13. Hi Ilona, Horncastle looks like an interesting place to
    visit. Its good to see all those antiques and the less
    valuable bric a brac being saved and given the
    opertunity of being re used. Especially some of the
    architectual features like leaded windows that get
    thrown out and replaced with bland upvc. I think
    Horncastle has been on Bargain Hunt.

  14. I've lived in Horncastle all my life and can honestly say it is a wonderful place to live. It's a good environment to bring children up in. One of the jobs I had a few years back was to clean all the antiques in the Antiques Centre the big white one you photographed, it was one of the scariest yet rewarding jobs I have done as I got to look closely at everything (including the price tag). The Antiques Roadshow has never come to town but Bargain Hunt have made several visits over the years. Thank you for saying such wonderful things about my home town.

  15. A kindred spirit! We love thrifting too, but not in antique shops, auctions, or flea markets as they charge a pretty penny for their "antiques (used goods)." Our pocketbook likes our junking at thrift shops and garage sales better, however, I was drooling at all the goodies you photographed! I collect Mary Engelbreit, love crafts of all kinds, and my husband enjoys books, genealogy, and steampunk. We also enjoy watching "Antique's Roadshow" and "Roadside Revelation" (outsider art) on our local station. I bet both would have a field day in this place!


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