James Hornsby (1835 -1910)
JAMES Hornsby was the second son of industrialist Richard Hornsby, the founder of Richard Hornsby and Sons, Grantham, one of the largest agricultural and general engineering works in the world.
At the end of his scholastic education he showed considerable inventive ability, and he passed through the various departments at the Spittlegate works.
Ultimately he became chairman of the directors when the firm was turned into a limited company, and was at its helm for half a century.
He was commissioner of the peace for the borough Grantham and was a magistrate on the Grantham Bench. He was made a County Magistrate for Kesteven in 1877, and was also a Justice of the Peace for Leicestershire.
He was a Deputy-Lieutenant for Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, High Sheriff for the latter county in the Coronation year, and for many years until his death was president of the Grantham Conservative Association.
Mr Hornsby was well known throughout the agricultural world. In 1907 he was president of the Smithfield Club, of which he was senior member, and he had served on the councils of the Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, and Royal Agricultural Societies.
He was also president of the Peterborough Horse and Hound Show, and in his last year was president of the Grantham Agricultural Association.
He was a judge at the Royal Show at Windsor. He had carried out experiments at Laxton Park to improve grassland, and carried out the first experiment for the Royal Agricultural Society in killing charlock by spraying with copper sulphate.
He was sportsman in the truest sense, being a good shot, and his younger days a keen follower of the hounds.
There were few better judges of a horse. The breeding of light horses his particular hobby, and he unsparingly his time and knowledge with the one object of improving the quality of particular class of animal
He officiated at the Royal Agricultural Society’s shows, and most important show the British Isles. His decisions always gave satisfaction, for there was little about hackneys did not know.
He died at his home, Laxton Park, Stamford. He had been in failing health for months, but despite this, his intense political enthusiasm brought him out at the last election, and on the eve the poll at Grantham, he presided over mass meeting the Empire Theatre in support of the Unionist candidate, Captain G Skeffington-Smyth, DSO.
Shortly after this his condition became more serious, and recently it was found necessary that he should undergo an operation, from which he never recovered.
Many thousands lined the route of his funeral, and two rows of workmen through which the cortege passed, the whole of the employees reverently raising their caps.