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Sygone 



I^EICESTERSHIRE 



WILLIAM ANDRMWS F.RH.S. .$ 




THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2007 witii funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



littp://www.arcliive.org/details/bygoneleicestersOOandriala 



BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE 



NOTE. 

Of this book 750 copies have been printed, 
and this is 



No 



/• 




IIELVOIU I'AaTl.E. 



Bygone 
Leicestershire. 



Ki)rii:i) r,v 

WILLIAM ANDREWS, F.R.I I. S. 

AUTHOR OF 
"HYC.ONE ENGLAND," "OLD CHURCH LORE," 
"CURIOSITIES OF THE CHURCH," ETC. 



LEICESTER : 

FRANK MURRAY. 

HULL : 

WILLIAM ANDREWS & CO., THE HULL PRESS. 

London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, & Co., Limited. 

1892. 



Ls A s7 



preface. 

^ I ^HIS volume, like others of the series to 
-■■ which it belongs, attempts to deal in a 
popular, and at the same time accurate, manner 
with many of the more interesting phases of 
local history, biography, and folk-lore of 
Leicestershire. 

I am greath^ obliged to my contributors for 
their kind help. Other friends, including Mr. 
George Clinch, of the British Museum, Mr. S. 
Firth, F.R.H.S., Mr. Thomas Harrold, and Mr. 
William Kelly, f.s.a., have also assisted me 
with important suggestions and notes. To these 
gentlemen I tender my thanks. 



WiLLiAiM Andrews. 



HxLL Literary Cn'r., 
Xoremher Isf, 189:^. 



645944 



Contents. 



l»AOE 

HisToiuc Lkicestkksiiiki:. By Thomas Frost I 

John Wiclik axd Luttkkwoktii. My John T. Paj^e ... "JO 

T(£E Last Days ok a Dy.nastv : An iNTiionfcTioN to Red- 
more FiouT '.Hi 

The B.vttlk ok Boswoktii. By EdwjufI Laniploujrh ... 41 

SCE.NE.s AT H(iS\Vt)JtTII : TuE BlA'E BoAIl .Vl' LEICESTER ... .'(4 

BuAutJATE AND Ladv Jane Gbev. By John T. Page ... (>2 

Lekesteu Castle. By L W. Dickinson, r..A. 70 

Death ok C.vhdin.u, Wolsev at Lk[('Este}i AiiisEV. By I. 

W. Dickinson, i;.a. ... ... ... ... ... ... 7(J 

i>Ei.v(iiH Castle .. SH 

Robert, Earl ok Leicester : A (Jh.wter ok MEni.EVAE 

History 97 

Local Proverbs and Folk Pjirases. By T. Broadbent 

Trowsdale lOo 

Festival Customs in Leicestershire. By Henrietta Ellis 117 

WiTCHCRAKT IN Leicestershire. By J. Potter Bri.scoe, k.k.ii.s. !•_'() 

William Lilly, the Astrolo<;er. By W. H. Thompson ... loO 

(iLEANINCS KRO.M EARLY LEICESTERSHIRE WiLLS. By the 

liev. W. (!. D. Fletcher, m.a., k.s.a 140 

PUNISH.MENTS OK THE PaST U")!) 

Lacrexce Ferrers, the Mt'roerkr E vrl. By T. Broadbent 

Trowsdale ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 170 

The Last Gibbet. By Thomas Frost 193 

The Ancient Water-mills .\t LoutiHBORoiGH. By the Rev. 

W. G. D. Fletcher, m.a., k.s.a 204 

ASHBY-DE-LA-ZOUCH CaSTLE AND ITS ASSOCIATIONS ; AsHIU- 

DE-LA-Zoucii AND THE FRENCH PRISONERS. By Canon 

Denton, m.a. .. 219 

Miss Mary Lin wood : An Artist with the Needle. By 

William Andrews, f.r.h.s ... 236 

Street Cries. By F. T. Mott, k.r.g.s. 244 

Minstrej.sv in Leicester. By the Rev. Geo. S. Tyack, is. a. 234 

Index 2G2 



BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 



1bi6toric Xeicestersbire. 

By Thomas Frost. 

AMONGST the Celtic tribes who inhabited 
England in the earliest period of our 
country's history of which there are any records, 
the Coritani held a position second to none. 
They occupied the counties of Leicester, Derby, 
Nottingham, Northampton, Rutland, and Lincoln. 
At the time when the Romans were gradually 
extending their dominion over the whole of the 
country, the greater part of Leicestershire was 
covered with trackless forests, extending in an 
almost unbroken line from Charnwood Forest on 
the east to the moors of Staffordshire. The 
Romans intersected this woodland region with 
one of their great lines of communication, called 
the Fosse Way, which ran in an almost straight 
line from the site of the present town of 



2 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

Cirencester, in Gloucestershire, to a spot in the 
fertile valley of the Soar, on which they planted 
the colony and military station of Ratae, where 
now stands the chief town of the county. Ratse 
became, during the Roman occupation of the 
island, a more important town than its successor 
was for many years. Four great roads met 
there, and the civil and military institutions 
introduced by its enterprising rulers made it an 
advanced post of a stage of civilisation which, to 
the inhabitants of the surrounding country, was 
till then unknown. Evidences of its greatness in 
those days are still discernible. A fragment of 
Roman masonry still remains to attest the 
excellence of the cement used fifteen hundred 
years ago ; and the paved floor of a Roman 
house, preserved by the care of local antiquaries, 
with the Roman pottery, implements, etc., found 
at various places in the neighbourhood, bear 
witness to the extent to which the arts and the 
refinements of life which the conquerors 
introduced were carried in England under their 
rule. 

So much was Rata? a Roman settlement that, 
on the withdrawal of the imperial legions and the 
civil functionaries of the empire from England, it 



HISTORIC LEICESTERSHIRE. 3 

rapidly declined from its former prosperity and 
importance. The hordes of invaders from the 
shores of the North Sea and the Baltic, to 
whom historians have given the generic name of 
Saxons, laid the town in ruins, and spread 
themselves over the surrounding country. The 
evidences of Roman civilization almost disappeared 
before the flood of Norse barbarism, and the 
name even of the town was soon forgotten in that 
of Legecester, given to it by its new inhabitants, 
and which by a gradual process of corruption 
subsequently became Leicester. But the 
demolished houses were rebuilt, and an earthen 
mound was thrown up on the banks of the Soar 
to strengthen the defences of the new town, to 
which a castle was subsequently added. 

With the consolidation of the Saxon conquests, 
came the division of England into seven kingdoms, 
in the largest of which, Mercia, was included the 
present Leicestershire, with the other counties 
originally occupied by the Coritani, and afterwards 
forming the province of Flavia Csesariensis. 
Repton, in the adjoining county of Derby, though 
only a village, was the capital of this kingdom, 
and several of its kings were interred within the 
walls of the abbey which rose there after the 



4 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

conversion to Christianity of the races from 
whose mixture the EngHsh nation had sprung. 
Leicester became, in 679, the see of a bishop, 
which was soon afterwards, however, removed 
to the village of Dorchester, and eventually 
transferred to Lincoln, The first of these 
ecclesiastical changes was brought about by the 
occupation of Leicestershire and other northern 
parts of Mercia by the Danes. The incursions 
of the new swarms of invaders were at first 
successfully repelled by the kings of Mercia, but 
in 874 the last of those petty monarchs gave way 
before the persistent inroads of the enemy, 
abandoned a contest which seemed hopeless, and 
retired to the Continent. 

The heptarchy was at that time broken up, 
and its component parts were in course of 
incorporation in one kingdom, thereafter to be 
known as England. Four years after the Danish 
conquest of the north-eastern portion of Mercia, 
Alfred stayed the encroachments of the enemy, 
whom, however, he allowed to hold, on condition 
of acknowledging him as their sovereign, the 
districts in which they had settled. The records 
of the Danish settlements which have survived 
the mutations of time are very scanty, but the 



HISTORIC LEICESTERSHIRE. 5 

existence of a hundred place-names terminating 
in "■ by," which is undoubtedly Danish, enables 
the extent of the locations of that people in 
Leicestershire to be determined. Ashby and 
Groby may be referred to as examples. 

The position of the Danes in Mercia did not 
long remain unassailed. On the first signs of 
renewed hostility to their Saxon suzerains, 
Ethelfleda, a princess of the royal family, led a 
strong force into Leicestershire, recovered posses- 
sion of Leicester, and drove the rebellious 
Danes into Lincolnshire, where their settlements 
had always been more numerous than elsewhere. 
The defences of Leicester were restored and 
strengthened, and for a long time the town and 
the county enjoyed peace. Misfortune fell 
heavily on both, however, when England felt 
once more the bitterness of a foreign yoke. The 
chroniclers of the period have not recorded the 
circumstances which drew upon them the wrath 
of William the Conqueror. Perhaps it was 
enough that sufficient territorial spoils could not 
be found elsewhere with which to reward and 
enrich the Norman officers who escaped the 
spears and arrows of the English at Hastings. 
However this may have been, the Domesday 



6 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

survey shows that the greater jjortion of the 
lands of Leicestershire passed by confiscation into 
the hands of foreigners in his reign, and that in 
the chief town of the county not a single 
English freeholder remained. The castle was 
either rebuilt or greatly strengthened by 
William's orders, and its custody was given to 
one of his Norman followers, Hugh de Grant- 
mesnil, who, as sheriff of the county, collected the 
royal dues. 

Those old Norman earls and knights, however, 
though they owed their titles and possessions to 
the king, did not forget that it was themselves 
who had placed him in a position to distribute 
those rewards. The feudal yoke chafed them at 
times as much as it did the inferior vassals and 
serfs. ■ The son and successor of Hugh de Grant- 
mesnil gave the second William much trouble, 
and when reduced to submission sold his rights 
over Leicester to Robert de Beaumont, who, in 
1107, was created Earl of Leicester. The new 
governor founded, within his castle, a college of 
canons of the Augustinian order, and built a 
church for them, which still remains as a portion 
of the present church of St. Mary. Monasticism 
had not then made much progress in the county. 



HISTORIC LEICESTERSHIRE. 7 

but the abbeys of Osulvestoii and Launde were 
founded soon after that of Leicester, which dates 
from 1137, and several priories soon followed. 
The Cistercians had an abbey at Garendon, and 
an Augustinian nunnery was founded at Grace 
Dieu. 

The second Earl of Leicester, undeterred by the 
fate of the second Hugh de Grantniesnil, raised 
the banner of revolt against Henry II. in 1175. 
Being defeated, he was imprisoned, and his 
possessions were confiscated to the crown. His 
castles of Leicester and Groby were demolished, 
and the earldom was conferred by the King upon 
Beaumont's brother-in-law, Simon de Montfort. 
The second earl of this name, he who made so 
much English history in the reign of Henry III., 
contracted a secret marriage with that monarch's 
sister, an alliance which, however, did not prevent 
him from putting himself at the head of the 
baronial league formed to repress the tyranny 
and misgovernment of his royal brother-in-law. 
The town of Leicester, the material prosperity of 
which had received a rude shock through the 
reverses of the second Earl Beaumont, had in 
1201 recovered sufficiently to receive a charter 
from John ; but it suffered ao^ain for the action 



8 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

taken by Montfort, being besieged and taken by 
the King. The royal reverse at Lewes made t^e 
earl the virtual ruler of England, but the tide 
turned atjain at Evesham, and the earldom of 
Leicester once more chani^fed owners, beingf <jiven 
to Prince Edward, 

During the two following reigns the county 
enjoyed peace, and made considerable advances in 
civilisation. The men of the towns pursued their 
commercial and industrial occupations in quiet, 
and throve accordingly ; the farmers cleared the 
woodlands along the valley of the Soar, and 
encroached by degrees upon the limits of 
Charnwood Forest. The soil of the county being 
well adapted for sheep pasturing, Leicester 
became the centre of a considerable trade in 
wool ; and the smaller towns of the shire, 
Loughborough, Melton Mow^bray, Ashby-de-la- 
Zouch, Market Bosworth, and Lutterworth, grew 
in prosperity as they increased in population. 

The latter half of the fourteenth century was 
chiefly marked, so far as Leicestershire was 
concerned, by the foundation which was laid 
by John Wiclif for the preaching of the 
Reformation. The learning and eloquence of 
that famous student and preacher attracted the 



HISTORIC LEICESTERSHIRE. 9 

notice of the Duke of Lancaster, who held with 
that title the earldom of Leicester, and who saw 
in him a powerful instrument for raising an 
anti-clerical party, and carrying out his con- 
templated civil and ecclesiastical reforms. 
Wiclif was introduced by him to Edward III., 
who was willing to favour the reforming priest so 
long as his learning supplied arguments for 
resisting the pecuniary claims of the Pope, and 
thus enabling him to use the funds so withheld 
for his wars with Scotland and France. Wiclif 
was presented to the rectory of Lutterworth, 
where he continued his bold course of preaching, 
and undertook his great work of translating the 
Bible into Eno^lish. Filled with zeal for the 
cause of truth and righteousness, he boldly 
attacked the worldly and often immoral lives of 
the wealthy ecclesiastics, and questioned their 
right to revenues which they did not adminster 
for the good of the Church. It was a period of 
servile discontent, preluding the social upheaval 
of the following reign, and Wiclif was, in relation 
thereto, the precursor of the reforming priest, 
John Ball, and the bold Dartford workman who 
dared to teach Bichard II. his duty. Such teaching 
was in advance of the age, however, and Wiclif 



10 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

was accused of heresy, and but for the protection 
of the Duke of Lancaster, he would probably 
have been condemned to the stake. 

The influence of Wiclif in Leicestershire was 
very great, and the town of Leicester, as well 
as Lutterworth, became a centre of the new 
doctrine, as it was called, though it was as old as 
the gospel. He continued to preach until his 
death in 1384, but fiv^e years later Archbishop 
Courtenay visited Leicester, to enquire into the 
prevalent religious and social heterodoxy, the 
holders of which were induced to acknowledge 
that they had been in error. Sixty years 
afterwards, in conformity with a decree of the 
Council of Constance, the bones of the reforming 
rector of Lutterworth were exhumed and burned, 
and the ashes cast into a brook, which, as Fuller 
says, carried them into the Avon, the Avon into- 
the Severn, and the Severn into the ocean, 
whereby they were borne, and with them the 
principles for which Wiclif had contended, to 
all parts of the world. 

On the usurpation of Henry IV., Leicester 
became, through the influence of his father, the 
Duke of Lancaster, the seat of the Parliament 
when it was deemed inexpedient, on political 



HISTORIC LEICESTERSHIRE. 11 

grounds, for the session to be held in Westminster. 
In 1414, 1426, and 1450 Parliament sat in the 
Hall of the Grey Friars, at Leicester. In the 
first of those years, London was disturbed by 
an abortive rising of the disciples of Wiclif, 
against whom repressive enactments were passed 
by the Parliament at Leicester. In 1426, 
London was disturbed by the quarrel of the 
uncles of the young king, Henry VI., the Duke 
of Gloucester and the Duke of Bedford, and 
Parliament was, in consequence, summoned to 
meet in the serenoi- atmosphere of Leicester. 
The assembly was not more peaceful, however, 
than it would probably have been if it had been 
held in Westminster. Its members met in arms, 
and a prelude was afforded of the sanguinary 
strife that was soon to desolate the land. 

After the death of the Duke of Lancaster, the 
Castle of Leicester was suffered to fall into decay. 
Notwithstanding the great influence he had, as 
Earl of Leicester, exercised in the town and 
county, the sympathies of the people were more 
with the legitimate claimant of the throne than 
with the Lancastrian faction. Sir William 
Hastings, who was one of the most important 
nicignates of the county, was a staunch supporter 



12 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

of Edward IV., who, in 1461, created him Baron 
Hastings of Ashby, where he built a castle. 
Another family of this county which rose into 
importance at this troublous period was the 
Greys of Bradgate, to whom passed the estates 
of the Ferrers family of Groby. Sir John Grey 
fell in the battle of St. Albans, and his widow 
became, in 1465, the wife of Edward IV. The 
quarrel which arose out of this marriage between 
Edward and the powerful Earl of Warwick 
forced the former to leave the country, but he 
returned the following year,* landing at Raven- 
spurn, and marching thence to Leicester, where 
he was joined by Lord Hastings with four 
thousand Leicestershire men, who fought shortly 
afterwards in the sanguinary conflict at Barnet. 
Edward being again seated on the throne as the 
result of that victory, Thomas Grey, the queen's 
son, was created Marquis of Dorset ; but on 
Edward's death, the Duke of Gloucester accused 
the Greys of conspiring to seize the crown for 
themselves, and the Marquis fled to the 
Continent. The arrest and execution of Lord 
Hastings, which quickly followed, constitute a 
well known incident in the history of the short 
rei«rn of Edward V. 



HISTORIC LEICESTERSHIRE. \:\ 

On the 19tli August, 1484, Richard III. rode 
irjto Leicester from Nottingham, having learned 
that the Earl of Richmond had reached Lichfield 
on his way from Wales to London, and designing 
to intercept him on the march. He slept at an 
inn called the Blue Boar, on a bedstead which he 
brought with him, and in which, as was discovered 
a century afterwards, the sum of three hundred 
pounds — a very large sum in those days — was 
concealed in a false bottom. Two days later he 
marched out of Leicester with his army, and 
advanced to meet his foe, who was approaching 
Market Bosworth. On the 21st the two armies 
met on Redmore Plains, a mile south of that 
town, where the issue was decided by the 
desertion of Lord Stanley, with three thousand 
men, to Henry Tudor. Rendered desperate by 
his situation, and hoping to turn the tide in his 
favour by one well-directed stroke, Richard 
urged his charger into the thick of the fight, cut 
down Sir William Brandon, who bore Richmond's 
standard, unhorsed Sir John Cheney, and was 
within a few yards of the earl, when Lord 
Stanley's cavalry interposed, and, overpowered 
by numbers, covered with wounds, but fighting 
to the last, he fell. His corpse was thrown 



14 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

across a horse and thus ignoininiously was borne 
to Leicester, where it was buried, with scant 
ceremony, in the church of the Grey Friars. A 
spring on the field of Bosworth, from which 
Richard is said to have drank before going into 
battle, was afterwards enclosed by rough 
masonry, in a conical form, with an opening for 
access, and was known for centuries afterwards as 
" Richard's Well." 

Less than fifty years afterwards, Leicester 
received a visitor of a different character, whose 
death preluded one of the greatest changes which 
the religious and social condition of England has 
ever experienced. On the 26th of November, 
1530, that magnificent ecclesiastic. Cardinal 
Wolsey, having been arrested at Cawood, in 
Yorkshire, on an accusation of treason, and taken 
seriously ill on the road to London, was brought 
to Leicester, and lodged in the old Abbey. 
Three days afterwards he died, and was buried in 
the Lady Chapel, unlamented in death as he had 
been feared in life, and leaving the lesson of his 
career '' to point a moral or adorn a tale." 

Under the sovereigns of the Tudor dynasty 
the county enjoyed peace and prosperity. The 
changes brought about by the dissolution of the 



HISTORIC LEICESTERSHIRE. M 

monastic houses appear to have been Httle felt. 
The chief landowners profited by the secularisation 
of the monastic properties, and probably the 
trading and industrial classes of the towns did 
not regret the transfer. Henry VII. restored 
to the Marquis of Dorset the estates forfeited by 
the Greys in the preceding reign, and the second 
marquis held an important military command 
under Henry VIII. His son married a 
daughter of the Duke of Suffolk, a niece of that 
monarch, and succeeded to her father's title in 
1551. The Hastings family also experienced the 
returning sunshine of royal favour, and resumed 
their place at Ashby-de-la-Zouch. In 1529 
George Hastings was created Earl of Hunt- 
ingdon, and the possessor of that title in the 
reign of Elizabeth served that imperious lady 
well in maintaining order in the Midland 
counties. Another family that rose to great 
territorial influence in this period was that of 
Manners, the head of which was created Earl of 
Rutland in 1525, and restored in great 
magnificence the ruined castle of Belvoir, which 
now ranks among the stateliest of the great 
mansions of England. 

The Greys never recovered the position they 



16 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

had held in the country in the reign of Edward 
IV. The ambition of the Duke of Suffolk, fed 
and encouraged by his connection with Royalty, led 
him to his ruin. In conjunction with the Earl of 
Northumberland, he succeeded in prevailing upon 
Edward VI. to exclude his sisters from the 
succession to the throne, and to nominate Lady 
Jane Grey as his successor. The scheme did not 
succeed. Suffolk's unfortunate dauofhter was 
indeed proclaimed queen, but she reigned only 
nine days, and eventually suffered death for her 
father's unscrupulous ambition. The duke shortly 
afterwards followed her to the scaffold, and little 
pity was felt for him by the nation, though a thrill 
of horror had been felt at the cruel fate of his 
youthful and amiable daughter. 

The prosperity enjoyed by Leicestershire 
under the Tudor sovereigns was interrupted by 
the civil war of the seventeenth century. The 
county was almost unanimously on the side of 
the Parliament, and in 1645 Leicester was 
besieged and captured by the Roj^alists, 
commanded by Charles himself, and given up to 
pillage. A long time elapsed before the town 
recovered its former prosperity, while the rural 
districts suffered from the ravages and exactions 



HISTORIC LEICESTERSHIRE. 17 

of the troops that in turn marched across the 

country. The Castle of Ashby was ruined, and 

the Earls of Huntingdon did not restore it, but 

transferred their residence to Donington, a village 

in the same portion of the county. 

With the more peaceful days which came in 

the last quarter of the century, and those of the 

two centuries that followed, Leicestershire 

recovered its prosperity, and has since retained it. 

The long and fine white fleeces of the Leicestershire 

breed of sheep was so admirably adapted for the 

manufacture of the finer descriptions of woollen 

goods, that Leicester had been, even as early as 

the first quarter of the thirteenth century, the 

centre of the woollen trade of the midland 

counties. In those early days woollen yarn was 

woven only into cloth, and stockings were made 

by cutting the parts out of the cloth and stitching 

them together, just as cloth gloves are now made. 

Even so late as the sixteenth century, knitted 

stockings were worn only by the upper classes. 

The liking for them spread, however, and the 

process of knitting by hand soon became too slow 

for the production of a supply commensurate 

with the demand. Towards the end of the 

sixteenth century, William Lee, a clergyman 

c 



18 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

in the neighbouring county of Nottingham, 
invented the stocking-frame, by the use of which 
hosiery could be manufactured much more 
rapidly. According to the popular tradition, the 
reverend inventor found his courtship of his 
future wife hindered by the excessive industry of 
the young lady, whose attention was always 
absorbed by her knitting. The lover, being a man 
of some ingenuity and mechanical skill, used both 
for the construction of a machine which might 
be worked without requiring such exclusive 
attention. 

The stocking-frame did not, however, come 
into general use until long after the inventor and 
his generation had passed away. It was not until 
the middle of the seventeenth century that it 
became established, but from that time down to 
the present, Leicestershire has been the chief 
seat of the hosiery trade of England. As the 
stocking-frame could be worked by hand, the 
manufacture of hosiery was an industry that 
could be carried on at home, and it spread, 
therefore, over the whole of the county, and was 
not confined, like the later cotton industries, to the 
towns. Merchants bought the wool from the 
farmers, and the middlemen supplied the raw 



HISTORIC LEICESTERSHIRE. 19 

material and furnished the machines on hire. 
There was no tendency, therefore, of the rural 
population to migrate into the towns, and 
manufacturing life thus became blended with 
rural pursuits, the two being carried on and 
flourishing side by side. It was long before the 
application of steam to the hosiery manufacture 
disturbed these conditions. But the time came 
at length when steam-driven machinery began to 
encroach upon manual labour, and by degrees the 
factory system, as we see it in operation to-day, 
superseded the cottage industry of former times. 



3obn Miclif anb Xutterwortb. 

By John T. Page. 

IT has been truly said that there is no name 
more dear to EngUshmen of every shade of 
opinion than that of John WieUf. The fearless- 
ness of the man in the cause of truth, and the 
boldness with which he faced his persecutors, as 
well as the zeal and indomitable perseverance with 
which he carried out, amid the turmoil of his life, 
his grand work of translating the Bible into 
English, are qualities which cannot fail to excite 
admiration. 

Though the issues of the battle fought by 
Wiclif on behalf of religious freedom are world- 
wide, yet it is a matter of profound interest to 
concentrate attention on the spot where the 
brave soldier not only bore the burden and heat 
of the strife, but also eventually laid down his 
life. 

The birthplace of the "Morning Star of the 
Reformation " has formed a subject of controversy 
for many years. 



JOHN WICLIF AND LUTTERWORTH. 21 

There is no doubt as to his Yorkshire extraction, 
nor that he came of a very ancient and good 
family. The villages of Wycliffe and Hipswell 
both lay claim to his nativity, but the exact 
locality is matter of conjecture. 

About the year 1335, young Wiclif appeared 
at Oxford, and was duly entered as a student, 
some say at Balliol, but others claim him for 
Queen's or Merton Colleges. Here he inde- 
fatigably studied logic and philosophy, and 
thoroughly mastered the civil, the canon, and 
the common law. In Latin, too, he became as 
proficient as in his mother-tongue. 

In 1361, he received the appointment of 
Master of Balliol College, and a few years later 
that of Warden of Canterbury Hall. His degree 
of Doctor of Divinity enabled him to teach 
theology. And thus his sphere of usefulness 
constantly widened in the University. 

It is a somewhat curious fact that Wiclif s first 
claim to national attention was in consequence of 
a pamphlet which he issued in 1366 against the 
political supremacy of the Pope. It has been 
inferred that he was at this time a member of 
Parliament, but such a supposition may be 
dismissed, owing to the fact that his name does 



22 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

not occur in the list of " Magistri " summoned to 
any Parliament of the period. 

In 1374, negotiations took place at Bruges 
between special commissioners sent from England 
and representatives of the Papal Court. These 
mainly related to the practice of "reserving" 
benefices in England, which was considered by 
patrons as an encroachment on their rights. 
Wiclif was sent to this conference as a Royal 
Commissioner, with the Bishop of Bangor and 
others, but no very satisfactory conclusion ajDpears 
to have been arrived at. 

About this time Wiclif was appointed to the 
rectory of Lutterworth, and three years later, in 
1377, came the crisis of his life. The frequency" 
and sharpness of his attacks against the 
pretensions and abuses of the Papacy had raised 
for him a bitter enemy in the person of Courtenay, 
Bishop of London. Before this prelate he was 
presently ordered to appear in St. Paul's 
Cathedral, on a charge of heresy. He obeyed 
the injunction, but came supported by two 
powerful friends, John of Gaunt, Duke of 
Lancaster, and the Earl Percy. The interview 
between Wiclif and the Bishop speedily changed 
into a stormy altercation between the nobles and 



JOHN WICLIF AND LUTTERWORTH. 



23 



the ecclesiastics, and the Court broke up in 
confusion. 

In the following year (1378) the Pope ordered 
Archbishop Sudbury to summon Wiclif to 
Lambeth, to answer charges of heresy and 
revolutionary views about property in general and 




JOHN WICLIF. 

From Bale's " Centuries of British Writers" (lolS). 



Church property in particular. This time the 
people openly sympathised with him, and 
eventually a Koyal message from the Queen- 
Mother quashed the proceedings. 

As many as five bulls now arrived from Rome, 
addressed severally to the King, the Parliament, 



24 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

the University of Oxford, the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, and the Bishop of London. They 
demanded that Wiehf should cease from preaching, 
under a threat of excommunication, and also 
ordered his arrest and condemnation as a heretic. 
With rival Popes in the field, however, the 
Reformer was for the time comparatively safe. 

From 1378 to 1381, Wiclif was busily at work, 
preaching in London, at Oxford, and at 
Lutterworth, and writing tracts and theological 
treatises in abundance both in English and Latin. 

The Reformer now took a further step, and 
ngt only denounced the Papal supremacy, but 
also protested against the doctrine of the mass as 
being the central evil of the whole system. It 
was evident that strong measures must be 
resorted to by the authorities to stop the 
progress of the Reformer ! 

An appeal to canon law at Oxford resulted in 
a declaration of heresy, and Wiclif was virtually 
silenced and banished from the University. His 
old patron, John of Gaunt, offered him friendly 
advice, and under his protection he was allowed 
to retire to Lutterworth. Here he continued to 
carry on his work of writing and translating, and 
of educating his company of " poor priests." 



JOHN WICLIF AND LUTTERWORTH. 25 

"Yearning for some potent engine, like the 
printing-press, to diffuse the words of life as he 
transcribed them, he trained his hero band of 
Lollards, whose diligent and faithful pens made 
duplicates and copies of the priceless manuscript, 
and who read and taught its truths by the light 
they gathered from their master." 

The energy of this "old man eloquent" was 
amazing. Not only did he expound the word, 
but his prolific pen produced a continuous 
stream of tracts and treatises, some of which 
have been published of late years, but many still 
lie hidden in the libraries of continental cities. 
All this time, too, his English Bible was being 
rapidly copied and eagerly read, and he lived to 
achieve the undying honour of having produced 
the first complete translation of God's Word into 
English, or indeed into any modern language. 
"Not only was Wiclif 'the Morning Star of the 
Reformation,' but he was the intellectual and 
spiritual luminary of the times in which he 
lived." 

But the hour was now at hand when the great 
Beformer should enter into rest. While engaged 
in the services of his church, on the 13th of 
December, 1384, he was seized with a paralytic 



26 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

fit, and on the last day of the year he died in the 
quiet rectory house at Lutterworth. 

He was buried in the church he had loved and 
served so well, and for some time his body 
remained undisturbed within the sacred precincts. 
It was more than thirty years after his death 
that the malice of his enemies woke up to fresh 
effort. The Council of Constance then declared 
him to have been a heretic, and not only ordered 
his books to be burnt, but was maligrnant enouofh 
to add " that his body and bones, if they can be 
distinguished from those of the faithful, shall be 
disinterred, or dug out of the ground, and cast at 
a distance from the sepulchre of the church." 

This occurred in 1415. It was not until 1428 
that sufficient courao^e could be summoned to 
carry out the impotent decree. Archbishop 
Chicheley then came to Lutterworth to preside 
at so holy a function, and with many willing 
hands to help, the grave of John Wiclif was 
speedily rifled of its hallowed relics. 

Tradition says that his bones were ultimately 
carried to a spot south of the town, just where a 
bridge now crosses the little river Swift, and that 
there they were publicly burned. However this 
may be, we know that his ashes were cast into 



28 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

the little stream, and " thus," as quaint old Fuller 
puts it, " this brook hath conveyed his ashes into 
Avon, Avon into Severn, Severn into the narrow 
seas, they into the main ocean. And thus the 
ashes of Wiclif are the emblem of his doctrine, 
which now is dispersed all the world over." 

This holocaust of John Wiclif was but the 
sowing of the seed of the Reformation, which in 
time grew up and ripened and brought forth fruit 
an hundredfold. 

There is not much in the modern town of 
Lutterworth whereby the imagination can be 
assisted in its journey backward across the ages 
to the time when Wiclif resided there. A few old 
houses with projecting gables still remain to 
impart a glamour of antiquity to the street 
leading to the church, but beyond these there is 
very little of interest outside the church itself. 
The ravages of time have dealt leniently 
with the sacred edifice, and judicious restorations 
have preserved many mementos of the time when 
Wiclif s voice sounded within its walls. 

The structure consists of a chancel, clere- 
storied nave with five bays, north and south 
aisles, a south porch, and a lofty tower, surmounted 
by crocketed pinnacles, at the west end. The 



JOHN WICLIF AND LUTTERWORTH. 29 

tower is comparatively modern, but the greater 
part of the body of the church is undoubtedly 
Fourteenth Century work. In the chancel are a 
priest's door, aumbry, and piscina ; at the east end 
of the south aisle is another piscina ; while in the 
north pier of the chancel arch a hagioscope still 
remains. 

The name of Wiclif is held in remembrance by 
an alto-relievo monument of white marble, the 
work of the late Sir Richard Westmacott, r.a. 
It is well placed at the east end of the north 
aisle wall, near the spot where he is supposed to 
have been buried. Various figures, students, 
priests, and others are represented in an attitude 
of deep attention around the grand figure of the 
Reformer, who, with hand uplifted, is in the act of 
addressing them. The monument bears the 
following inscription : — 

SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF 

JOHN WICLIF 

THE EARLIEST CHAMPION OP ECCLESIASTICAL REFORMATION IN 
ENGLAND | HE WAS BORN IN YORKSHIRE IN THE YEAR 1324, | IN 
THE YEAR 1375 HE WAS PRESENTED TO THE RECTORY OF 
LUTTERWORTH : | WHERE HE DIED ON THE 31ST OF DECEMBER 
1384. I AT OXFORD HE ACQUIRED NOT ONLY THE RENOWN OF A 
CONSUMMATE SCHOOLMAN, | BUT THE FAR MORE GLORIOUS TITLE 
OF EVANGELIC DOCTOR. | HIS WHOLE LIFE WAS ONE IMPETUOUS 
STRUGGLE AGAINST THE CORRUPTIONS I AND ENCROACHMENTS OF 



30 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

THE PAPAL COURT, | AND THE IMPOSTURES OP ITS DEVOTED 
AUXILIARIES, THE MENDICANT FRATERNITIES. | HIS LABOURS IN 
THE CAUSE OP THE SCRIPTURAL TRUTH WERE CROWNED BY ONE 
IMMORTAL ACHIEVEMENT, | HIS TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE INTO 
THE ENGLISH TONGUE. | THIS MIGHTY WORK DREW ON HIM, 
INDEED, THE BITTER HATRED | OF ALL WHO WERE MAKING 
MERCHANDIZE OF THE POPULAR CREDULITY AND IGNORANCE : | 
BUT HE FOUND AN ABUNDANT REWARD IN THE BLESSINGS OF HIS 
COUNTRYMEN, OF EVERY RANK AND AGE, | TO WHOM HE 
UNFOLDED THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE. | HIS MORTAL REMAINS 
WERE INTERRED NEAR THIS SPOT : BUT THEY WERE NOT ALLOAVED 
TO REST IN PEACE. | AFTER THE LAPSE OF MANY YEARS, HIS 
BONES WERE DRAGGED FROM THE GRAVE AND CONSIGNED TO THE 
FLAMES I AND HIS ASHES WERE CAST INTO THE ADJOINING STREAM. 

The pulpit is, in many respects, the same from 
which Wiclif used to preach, and is therefore one 
of the chief objects of interest in the church. 
It is hexagonal in shape, and is constructed of 
thick oak boards, elaborately carved. No trouble 
has been spared to preserve this choice relic of 
bygone days. 

Inside the communion rails stands Wiclifs 
chair, so called because he is said to have been 
carried in it thence to his home, on that last 
memorable occasion when he was stricken with the 
hand of death while participating in public worship. 

Another Wiclif relic is his dining-table, which 
stands at the west end of the church. On it rests 
a case of books containing two volumes of 



JOHN WICLIF AND LUTTERWORTH. 31 

Wiclifs Bible, and an old edition, also in two 
volumes, of Foxe's " Book of Martyrs," dated 
1632. To the latter, part of an iron chain is still 
affixed. 

In the vestry on the north side of the chancel, 
may be seen a fine oil painting of the Reformer, 
and there is also preserved here, in a glass case, 
part of a cope or vestment which once belonged 
to him. On the top of the case stand two candle- 
sticks, which may or may not have belonged to 
the church in the time of Rector Wiclif 

When the church was last restored, in 1867-0, 
under the direction of the late Sir Gilbert Scott, 
some particularly fine frescoes were brought to 
light. The principal one is over the chancel arch, 
and represents the General Resurrection. 
Christ is seated in the centre, on a rainbow, 
supported by two angels on either side. 
Beneath His feet is the earth, with graves 
opening, and figures representing all grades of life 
— from the crowned king in flowing robes to the 
nudest skeleton — rising from their tombs. Fire 
is seen to be bursting from some of the coffins, 
which are gradually exuding their inmates. The 
effect is intensified by the ground being strewn 
with ghastly bones and grinning skulls. 



32 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

The other fresco is over the north doorway, 
and consists of three Hfe-size figures, said to 
represent Kichard II., his wife, Anne of 
Bohemia, and John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. 
Richard stands on the left, fully equipped for 
sport, with hawk on hand. The Duke is in the 
act of speaking to the central figure, the Queen, the 
subject-matter of the conversation being, as 
visitors are informed, the request that the Queen 
will use her influence to induce the King to 
allow Wiclif to remain Rector of Lutterworth. 

The scrupulous care with which this church 
has been restored, and the evident pride that is 
taken in preserving the memorials which are to 
be found there of Wiclif and his times, are both 
matters for sincere congratulation. 

May it be long ere those Vandals who ruthlessly 
destroy relics of ancient days find a coign of 
vantage in Lutterworth Church ! Time does 
its work quite fast enough, without the aid of 
modern innovation, but united they hurl down 
stone after stone, and beam after beam, until 
a new world rises all around, and men in time 
forget the spots made sacred by their fathers' 
dust, and urge their toil where formerly God's 
word was preached. 



^be %a0t 2)ap6 of a B^nast^: an 
3ntrot)UCtion to IRebmore ifigbt 

" O Redmore ! then it seemed thy name was not in vain, 
When with a thousand's blood the earth was covered red." 

— Polyolhion. 

IT is not necessary to relate that crimson 
chapter of history over which is inscribed 
the name of Richard, Duke of Gloucester ; suffice 
it that he consummated his crimes by the 
usurpation by the crown of England, and by the 
bloody removal of his nephews, Edward V. and 
the Duke of York. 

The ambitious nobleman who thus raised himself 
to the throne by the ruin of his brother's house, 
was eminently qualified to rule a numerous and 
bold people. Shakespeare has fixed him before 
us in a few nervous words : — 

" Thy prime of manhood, daring, bold, and venturous, 
Thy age confirmed, proud, subtle, sly, and bloody ! " 

Nevertheless had Richard inherited the crown, 
without the necessity of an unnatural usurpation, 
he would have passed as a wise ruler and a popular 



34 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

monarch. Despite his crimes, he had a con- 
siderable following, and possessed a strong hold 
upon the affections of the citizens of York. 

His wisdom in council, and his skill and courage 
in the field had been sufficiently tested. Sir 
Thomas More's description of him, as being " ill- 
featured of limb, crook-backed, his left shoulder 
being much higher than his right, and hard- 
favoured of visage ! " is contradicted by the 
evidence of the Countess of Desmond, who had 
been Richard's partner at a ball, and regarded 
him as second only to his brother Edward, who 
was eminent for his manly beauty. Certainly his 
portrait gives the impression that he was a prince 
of handsome features, expressing mental powers 
of no common order : but the face and the acts 
of Richard conve}" the impression that his age 
largely exceeded the thirty-two years and odd 
months that made up the sum of his life when 
Stanley's trumpets ushered in its last moments 
on Redmore heath. 

The reign so infamously commenced, had few 
ofleams of sunshine to lio^hten its tumultuous 
days. A magnificent pageant was enacted at 
York, when Prince Edward was invested with the 
insignia of the Principality of Wales ; but this 



THE LAST DAYS OF A DYNASTY. 35 

was quickly followed by the language of sedition, 
the secret defection of the nobility, and the open 
pretensions of a new claimant of the throne. The 
tragedies of the field were common to the time, 
but the murder of the boy-princes — the helpless 
children of their late and most popular monarch 
— deeply stirred the hearts of the people. A 
gentleman named CoUingbourne gave expression, 
in the following epigram, of the popular hatred of 
the king, and contempt of his favourites, Ratcliff, 
Catesby, and Lord Lovel : — 

" The cat, the rat, and Love], our dog, 
Rule all England under a hog." 

Richard had the too-witty CoUingbourne 
executed, but the rhyme lived. 

Death carried off the frail Prince Edward and 
his unhappy mother, the death of the latter being 
imputed to Richard, who had designed to have 
espoused his niece, Elizabeth of York, the sister of 
the murdered princes, but was diverted from this 
unnatural intention by the representations of his 
advisers. In this position, he declared the Earl of 
Lincoln — a descendant of the princely merchants 
of Hull, the de la Poles — the heir-presumptive to 
the throne. This was probably a stroke of policy, 
in so far that it served to bar the pretentions of 



36 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

the Earl of Richmond, but inasmuch as the Earl 
could command no party sufficiently strong to 
trouble the king, he was not likely to contest the 
claims of Richmond in the event of Richard being 
overthrown. 

Henry Tudor, the Earl of Richmond referred 
to, was descended from the illegitimate issue of 
John of Gaunt and Catherine Swynford, and 
although he might claim some little popular 
respect as the grandson of Owen Tudor and the 
widow of the national hero, Henry V., it is 
extremely improbable that he would ever have 
approached the throne had not the crimes of the 
House of York opened a pathway for him. 

The first attempt against Richard was headed 
by the Duke of Buckingham, who was also, on 
his mother's side, descended from the Beauforts, 
and had been one of the most zealous partisans of 
the Duke of Gloucester. The restoration of 
Edward V. to the throne was the declared object 
of the movement, and was met by the King's 
announcement that Edward and his brother had 
died in the Tower. Upon this evil news reaching 
them, the conspirators brought forward the Earl 
of Richmond, and to strengthen his more than 
dubious claims, exacted an undertaking from him 



THE LAST DAYS OF A DYNASTY. 37 

that he would espouse the Princess EHzabeth, 
and thus unite the long conflicting claims of the 
houses of York and Lancaster. 

On the 14th October, 1483, Henry VII. was 
proclaimed at Exeter, and Buckingham raised his 
standard at Brecknock ; the disaffected also 
appearing in arms in Wiltshire, Kent, and Berks. 
Richmond sailed from St. Malo, with forty 
vessels, to support his friends, but was sorely 
buffeted by adverse winds, and compelled to put 
back. The attempt failed without the forces 
cominof into collision. The Severn was swollen 
by heavy rains, the bridges destroyed, and 
Buckingham's advance arrested. Weary of 
inactivity, and doubtful of success, the insurgents 
lost heart, and dispersed. Buckingham, confiding 
in the devotion of a servant, Ralph Bannister, 
was betrayed into the king's hands, and carried to 
Salisbury. Richard, disregarding the duke's 
urgent request for an audience, commanded that 
his head should be immediately struck off in the 
market place. 

The victory was an easy one, but the king's 
position was dubious. His favourites could 
command no following ; and lords and commons 
were equally disaffected, for his majesty had 



38 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

resorted to the unpopular expedient of raising 
supplies by forced loans from his reluctant 
subjects. The Duke of Norfolk was perhaps the 
only powerful noble who was faithful to Richard. 

The Earl of Richmond landed at Milford 
Haven on the 6th August, 1485, six days after 
his embarkation at Harfleur. He brouo^ht with 
him 2000 soldiers, meanly equipped mercenaries, 
furnished by the King of France. The defence of 
Wales had been committed to Sir Rice ap 
Thomas and Sir Walter Herbert, but the former 
made no attempt to force an engagement, and the 
latter went over to Richmond with many of his 
friends and followers. The Earl's army was a 
mere handful when it entered Shrewsbury, but 
the young Earl, with his guardian. Sir Gilbert 
Talbot, welcomed the adventurer, and reinforced 
the army with 2000 of his retainers. 

Royal proclamations had been issued, exposing 
the fictitious claims of Richmond, and exhorting 
" all true and good Englishmen " to oppose him 
in arms. Fixing his headquarters at Nottingham, 
on the 24th of July, the king impatiently awaited 
news of the landing of his enemy, yet a week 
elapsed ere tidings of that important event 
reached him. On learning that the Welsh had 



THE LAST DAYS OF A DYNASTY. 39 

not opposed, but had afforded some assistance to 
the Tudor, he resolved to march against the 
invader and force a battle, without loss of time. 

A few years before huge armies had quickly- 
gathered on the unfurling of the standards of 
York and' Lancaster ; the highways had been 
thronged by the vassals of the great nobles, and 
by tumultuary masses of half-disciplined Welsh 
infantry. On battlefield and scaffold had 
perished the flower of the barons, and Henry 
Tudor had no hold upon the enthusiasm of the 
people ; the general detestation in which Richard 
was held furnished his only weapon. If 
Richmond's forces increased slowly, few men 
came willingly to the king's aid ; and many of 
those who marched behind the standard of the 
unworthy son of Duke Richard were prepared, 
on the first opportunity, to go over to the little 
Tudor princeling. Warwick and Edward were 
at rest ; no Margaret, no Prince Edward, aroused 
the loyal ardour of the poor remnant of the 
Lancastrian party. The doomed king alone 
moved in heroic guise to the field of Bosworth. 

Richard was too conscious of his unpopularity, 
and of the disaffection of his barons ; but, before 
all others, the suspicion of his guilty spirit rested 



40 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

upon the two brothers, Lord and Sir WilHam 
Stanley ; and while these captains raised troops 
for his support, he retained Lord Strange, the 
elder Stanley's son, as a hostage for the father's 
loyalty. 

Such was the position of Richard in the August 
of 1485, with an enemy before him, weak in 
numbers, inferior in military capacity, but 
strengthened by the knowledge that treachery 
was paralysing the energies of the usurper, and 
that he was reofarded with abhorrence and hatred 
by the great mass of his subjects. 



Zbc Battle of Bosvoortb, 

By' Edward Lamplough. 

KING Richard having so happily prevailed 
over Buckingham's revolt, was afterwards 
called upon to defend himself against the Earl of 
Richmond in person, that nobleman having 
landed at Milford Haven on the 6th of August, 
1485, and pushed on for Shrewsbury, with the 
determination of at once bringing his claims to 
the arbitration of the sword. 

The royal forces concentrated at Nottingham, 
and on the 16th of August the King marshalled 
his army in the market place, with great pomp 
and parade. Regally attired, and mounted upon 
a white war-horse, Richard appeared in the midst 
of his troops, escorted by his body-guard, that 
displayed his cognizance, the famous silver 
boar. The soldiers marched five abreast, with 
ensigns and banners displayed. On the 17th he 
issued out of Notting^ham, and entered Leicester 
the same day, after a fatiguing march of twenty- 
five miles. That night Richard lodged in the 
Blue Boar, and on the following day marched 



42 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

through the Westgate, over Bow Bridge, 
expecting to strike Richmond's advance on the 
WatHng Street Road. His enemy not appearing, 
the King encamped at the village of Earl 
Shilton, his officers betaking themselves to the 
church for shelter. On the 19th of August he 
took up a position at Stapleton, entrenched his 
camp, planted his artillery, and impatiently 
awaited the approach of the enemy. 

On the 20th instant Richmond reached Tam worth 
at the head of 6000 men. Deserters from 
Richard's army began to drop in, but the chief 
hope of the adventurer was in the treason of the 
brothers Stanley. Thus Smollitt, " In the 
neighbourhood of Tamworth he dropped behind 
his army, and in a fit of musing lost his way ; so 
that he was obliged to lie all night at a village, 
without daring to ask the road, for fear of being 
suspected, and falling into the hands of his 
enemies. Next morning he made shift to rejoin 
his army at Tamworth, where, finding his friends 
had been greatly alarmed at his absence, he told 
them he had gone to confer with some particular 
noblemen, who did not choose to appear as yet in 
his behalf That same day he privately visited 
the Lord Stanley at Atherstone." 



THE BATTLE OF BOS WORTH. 43 

On the morning of the 21st, the movement 
commenced in both armies, now almost within 
striking distance. Richmond encamped his 
forces at Atherstone, and Richard, declining to 
engage on the plea that it was the Sabbath day, 
was satisfied to maintain his camp near Bosworth, 
where the position may be "yet distinctly traced ; 
though the ancient barren wild, without a hedge 
or tree, gleams and glows beneath the summer's 
sun with the products of cultivation." Nine- 
teenth century changes are, however, numerous ; 
a railway passes over the scene of the sanguinary 
struggle, and a canal has also been cut through 
the same historic soil. The most severe struggle 
is supposed to have occurred on the Ambian 
Hill, and during the heat of the engagement 
tradition states that the King quenched his 
thirst from a stream that has its source in one of 
the slopes of the hill, and the place yet bears the 
name of " Richard's Well." "Richard's camp 
was the most extensive, and, with the breastwork 
around it, covered eighteen acres. Henry's 
covered seven." 

The King's mind was troubled as he reposed 
amid his host on that last night of his life. 
Conscience may have troubled his bosom, the 



44 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

distrust of impending treachery certainly did, 
and the desertions from his army were too 
numerous to pass unobserved. His sleep was 
grievously troubled by evil dreams, wherein he 
lay at the mercy of devils, who sorely haled and 
pulled his limbs. When the morning dawned, his 
pallid face bore evidence of his internal suffering, 
but Cicily of York bore no coward sons, and 
casting off the influences of superstition and 
conscience, he arra37^ed himself in a splendid suit 
of mail — the panopoly in which he had stormed 
the Lancastrian entrenchments at Tewkesbury — 
and gallantly mounted, with a golden crown 
encircling his helmet, he dressed his lines as the 
battle formation was made. The light of earlier 
years had passed, the soldier was oppressed by 
the crimes and apprehensions of the King, and 
Richard moved not to his last field with the 
fire and daring of the past. Leaving his tents 
standing, he marched out of his camp. His 
army was disposed in two lines. The first was 
commanded by Richard Howard, Duke of 
Norfolk, who was seconded by his son Thomas, 
Earl of Surrey. Richard marched with the second 
line ; and Henry, Earl of Northumberland, moved 
on the right flank with a powerful body of infantry. 



THE BATTLE OF BOSWORTII. 



46 



An adventurous knight, Sir Simon Digby, 
having penetrated Richard's Hnes during the 
night, noted the preparations for an early 
advance, and carried the news to Kichmond. It 
was the early dawn of the 22nd of August, and 
as the trumpets sounded, the warriors arose, and 




RICHARD I 



assumed arms. Preparations commenced at four 
o'clock, but the warriors did not close until ten. 
Necessarily much time Was consumed in buckling 
and bolting of harness where so many of the 
combatants were heavily mailed men-at-arms. 

The mixed force that constituted the Tudor 
army was only 7000 strong. The 2000 foreigners 



46 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

and the vassals of the Talbots probably formed 
the most perfectly accoutred and disciplined 
portion of Richmond's forces. The remaining 
3000 men was composed of the deserters and 
adventurers who had come in under Griffith, Ap 
Thomas, Morgan, Hungerford, Bouchier, Byron, 
Digby, Hardwick, and other disaffected 
gentlemen. 

Richard's camp flag exhibited a dun cow 
emblazoned on a yellow ground, but Sir William 
Brandon carried his private banner, of green and 
white silk, on which was depicted the famous red 
dragon of the ancient British monarchs. The 
disposition of his small army necessitated an 
extended, and therefore weak, line, to hold the 
more numerous enemy in check. The risk of 
being outflanked was thus guarded against, but 
the danger of the centre being penetrated was 
increased. John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, 
commanded the centre ; Sir Gilbert Talbot led 
the right wing, and Sir John Savage the left. 
Henry, seconded by his uncle, Jasper Tudor, 
commanded the second line. The field was open, 
and unfavourable to his inferior army. Had the 
two Stanleys, who hovered between the armies 
charged him, his army must at once have been 



THE BATTLE OF BOS WORT If. • 47 

destroyed ; for Lord Stanley's division consisted 
of 5000 men, that of his brother of 3000. 

The formation of the two armies was nearly 
the same : the archers were in the van, supported 
by the bill-men and ghisarmiers ; the cavalry 
constituted the wings. The foot wore leather 
jacks and short doublets, with long hose. Their 
head armour consisted of pot-helmets and iron 
scull-caps. 

Traitors were in the royal army, and few there 
had any heart in the usurper's cause. On the 
lodging of that honest veteran, the Duke of 
Norfolk, had been attached the following rude 
rhyme — doubtless the warning of an anxious 
friend : — 

"Jockey of Norfolk, be not too bold. 
For Dickon thy master is bought and sold." 

Now that the armies were drawn out, the 
Stanleys took post on either side of the dividing 
space between them, thus holding the flanks of 
either army at their mercy. Richard's commands 
to the Stanleys to join his army were imperative 
and urgent, and were seconded by the threat that 
the young Lord Strange should be immediately 
executed if the royal orders were not instantly 
obeyed. Lord Stanley's reply to his majesty's 



48 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

messenger is thus reported " Should the King 
stain his honour with my son's blood, tell him I 
. have more. I shall come at my convenience." 

On receiving Stanley's defiance, Richard called 
for the headsman to perform his gruesome office, 
but was dissuaded from the act of vengeance by 
the representations of his advisers, who affected 
to believe that the Stanleys might possibly be 
awaiting the course of events, and would support 
the victors when the tide of battle turned. 
Eight thousand men, combined with the seven 
thousand of Richmond, would have solved the 
problem at once ; or, by joining Richard, would 
have affected the ruin of the Earl's army ; yet 
Richard affected to credit the representations of 
his counsellors, and Lord Strange was relegated 
to the custody of his guards. Smollitt narrowly 
censures Richard for not detaching troops to 
keep the Stanleys in check, but the king was too 
good a general to divide his 12,000 men to 
confront the 7000 of Richmond, the 5000 of 
Lord Stanley, and the 3000 of Sir William. • 

Fearing the worst for his son, Lord Stanley 
despatched an urgent message to Richmond to 
commence the advance. The dun cow was 
carried forward, trumpets sounded the charge, and 



THE BATTLE OF BOS WORTH. 49 

the two armies coming within bow-shot, a cloud 
of arrows was poured from and carried death 
into either van. As the centres closed with 
clash of bill and ghisarma, Oxford drew his 
slender lines into closer formation, and his 
warriors fought with the dogged resolution of 
men standing on the brink of ruin. Norfolk 
marked Oxford's actions, and extended his left 
with the intention of falling upon his adversary's 
right flank, but at this critical moment Lord 
Stanley reinforced Oxford with the whole of his 
division, and held Norfolk in check. This 
disheartening act of treachery did not, however, 
paralyse the energies of the royal army ; no panic 
ensued, and, although distrust and apprehension 
pervaded the ranks, a severe engagement was 
maintained at close quarters for nearly two hours. 
The Duke of Northumberland regarded the con- 
flict with apathy, and made no attempt to support 
Norfolk ; nevertheless many brave men fought 
hardily for the king ; and Sir Richard Ratcliffe 
and Sir Robert Brackenbury defeated the 
scaffold of its due, and fell gallantly under 
shield. 

King Richard beheld the critical state of the 

field with the keen eye of an experienced soldier, 

E 



50 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

and rightly judging that he himself must make 
the decisive movement, advanced to the front, 
where, it is stated, a scout pointed out to him the 
position occupied by the Earl of Richmond, in 
the rear of an eminence, attended by a few 
knights and men-at-arms, amongst whom was 
the bearer of the dragon-banner. Fired by the 
prospect of surprising his hated adversary, 
Richard ascended the slope, and, on Richmond 
being pointed out to him, exclaimed, " I see the 
man ; let all who are true knights follow me." 
Casting aside his lance, he unsheathed his sword, 
and spurred furiously upon the group. Richmond, 
moved to unusual heat, triumphed over his 
habitual timidity, and pressed forward to meet 
his ferocious assailant. But Sir William Brandon 
and the tall and stalwart Sir John Cheney 
spurred between the closing rivals. One blow of 
Richard's sword smote the standard-bearer to 
the ground, a dying man ; a second blow hurled 
the stout Cheney from his war-steed, and the 
desperate warrior was thus hewing a bloody 
pathway towards Richmond, when Sir William 
Stanley burst in with all his lances and 
surrounded Richard, who, pierced by many 
weapons, and fighting fiercely to the last, with 



THE BATTLE OF BOS WORTH. 



51 



his armour broken and dinted, and the crown 
smitten from his helmet, breathed out his fierce 
spirit in the midst of his enemies, some fifteen 
minutes after he spurred up the hill. 




BOSWOBTH FIELD. 



The Duke of Norfolk had also fallen, and on 
the death of Richard being made known, his 
army broke and dispersed, leaving about 1000 of 
its number on Redmore Plain. Richmond's 



52 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

army lost only 100 men ; but this statement is 
difficult to believe, as the two armies were closely 
engaged for upwards of two hours, and apparently 
the vanquished were not pursued with great 
severity. On the scene of Richard's death- 
struggle, his crown was found, under a hawthorn 
bush, where it had rolled during the melee, and 
Lord Stanley, carrying the ensanguined trophy to 
Richmond, placed it upon his head, and hailed 
him King — first of the Tudor line. 

'* At the foot of the Ambrian Hill the last of 
the Plantagenet kings lay naked in the noontide 
sun amid a heap of slain." 

The soldiers, elated by a victory that defection 
and treachery alone had made possible, took up 
Stanley's cry with enthusiasm, and from that 
moment Richmond was secure in the crown of 
England. 

No great severity was exercised towards 
Richard's adherents, but Catesby and two others 
suffered on the scaffold. 

Thus, after thirty years of sanguinary internecine 
strife, the famous War of the Roses came to a 
conclusion by the ruin of the houses of York and 
Lancaster, for it would be absurd to affect to 
regard the Earl of Richmond as possessing any 



THE BATTLE OF BOS WORTH. 53 

legal claim to the honours of the house of 
Lancaster, and althoug-h he bestowed his hand 
upon the Princess Elizabeth, King Edward's 
daughter, it was simply the absorption of the last 
poor claim of the house of York in the securing 
of the Tudor line. True, there was the young 
Earl of Warwick, but the Battle of Bosworth 
Field opened the gates of the Tower for that 
unfortunate nobleman, and the Tudor steel was 
ready to cut short his claim on the first suspicion 
of danger. 



Scenes at Boswortb : ^be KBlue Boar at 
Xeicester. 

SOME incidents of tragic or romantic interest 
associated with the Battle of Bosworth 
Field, or the fortunes of the two rivals, King 
Richard and the Earl of Richmond, may with 
propriety follow the account of the battle given 
in the immediately preceding pages of " Bygone 
Leicestershire." 

The vicissitudes to which the ambition of 
Richard, Duke of York, committed his family 
when he advanced his claim to the throne, is 
strikingly illustrated by the fact that when his 
mangled and decapitated corpse was carried to 
Fotheringhay for interment, there met by his 
grave-side his child, young Richard, and 
Margaret of Beaufort, Countess of Richmond, 
the mother of Harry of Richmond. Not only 
as the mother of Richard's successful rival was 
the Countess fated to affect the fortunes 
of the noble child, but also as the wife of Thomas, 
Lord Stanley. No doubt her influence prevailed 



SCENES AT BOS WORTH. 55 

over the Stanleys, to the ruin of Richard and the 
exaltation of her son. Sir William Stanley, who 
saved Richmond from King Richard's sword on 
Bosworth field, was afterwards condemned on a 
charge of treason, and confessed his guilt, when 
he was sentenced to death. His treason was not 
supposed to be of the deepest dye, but he was 
very wealthy. The king allowed him to perish 
on the scaffold, and then entered into the 
possession of his wealth. 

King Richard's proclamation against the 
Tudors is an extremely interesting document, and 
deals trenchantly with Richmond's claims. Com- 
mines, although not correctly informed in all his 
historic details, graphically describes the fall of 
Richard in a few words : — 

"This King Richard himself reigned not long, for 
God on a sudden raised him up an enemy, without 
power, without money, without right (according 
to my information) and without any reputation, 
but what his person and deportment contracted ; 
for he had suffered much, had been in distress all 
the days of his life, and particularly as prisoner in 
Bretagne, to Duke Francis, from the eighteenth 
year of his age, who treated him as kindly as the 
necessity of his imprisonment would permit. 



56 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

The King of France having suppHed him with 
some money and about 3000 Normans, the 
loosest and most profligate persons in all that 
country, he passed into Wales, where his father- 
in-law, the Lord Stanley, joined him with 26,000 
men, at the least ; and in three or four days time, 
he met the bloody King Richard, fought him, 
slew him on the field of battle, crowned himself 
King of England, and reigns at this present 
time." 

The mind of the doomed king was evidently 
overcast, by the apprehension of his defeat and 
ruin ; but his pallid aspect, and his troubled 
slumbers, were not necessarily the consequences 
of a fjnawinor remorse, or the stins^ino^s of an 
awakened conscience ; but maybe referred, with 
equal probability, to his impotent rage when he 
found himself drawn into a conflict with an enemy 
whose pretensions, military experience, and 
courage, he despised ; but into whose hands he 
might fall by the treachery which undermined his 
strength, and against which neither his ferocious 
courage nor his cunning could avail him. Of all 
his nobles, probably the veteran Duke of Norfolk 
alone was faithful to his master. 

Kichard's natural ferocity showed itself at 



SCENES AT BOS WORTH. 



57 



intervals, and it was with difficulty that he was 
dissuaded from the execution of his hostage, Lord 
Strange. It is recorded that while on his rounds 
on the morning of the battle, he came upon a 
sentinel sleeping at his post, and that he buried 




rUK BLUE b.)Ait Al- l.ElCtSTER. 



his dagger in the poor fellow's heart, with the 
bitter sarcasm, ' ' I found him asleep, and I left 
him as I found him." 

A few hours later, and the tyrant weltered in 
his own blood, betrayed and undone by the bitter 



68 nYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

fruit of his own crimes — for the treachery of his 
nobles was tiie revolt against the usurper and the 
assassin, not against the king or the house of York. 
Thus Praed's " Red Fisherman :" 

" From the bowels of the earth, 
Strange and varied sounds had birth ; 
Now the battle's bursting peal, 
Neigh of steed, and clang of steel ; 
Now an old man's hollow groan 
Echoed from the dungeon stone ; 
Now the weak and wailing cry 
Of a stripling's agony ! 
Cold by this was the midnight air ; 
But the abbot's blood ran colder. 
When he saw a gasping knight lie there, 
With a gash beneath his clotted hair, 
And a hump upon his shoulder. 
And the loyal churchman strove in vain 
To mutter a Pater Noster ; 
For he who writhed in mortal pain 
Was camped that night on Bosworth Plain — 
The cruel Duke of Gloucester." 

Better, perhaps not braver, men fell that day. 
A romantic incident of the battle may be briefly 
mentioned. Two close friends, Sir John Byron 
and Sir Gervase Clifton, k.b., were engaged on 
opposite sides, and* were under a solemn obligation 
to each other that he who was on the victor's 
side should intercede for the other, or for his 



SCEJVUS AT BOS WORTH. 69 

family, if life was lost in the battle. In the first 
charge Clifton was borne out of saddle, and felled 
by his adversary, whereon Byron rushed, with 
extended shield, to aid his friend, and offer him 
quarter. Clifton was, however, mortally wounded, 
and with his last breath reminded his friend of 
their engagement, and expressed the opinion that 
the victory would fall to his party, that of 
Richmond. 

After the battle, and the Tudor's solemn 
thanks to heaven, the victors entered Leicester 
in triumph, Blanche Sangleir, pursuivant-at-arms, 
having the body of the slain king in his charge. 

The corpse was entirely naked, ghastly with 
many wounds, and stained with the blood and 
mire of Redmore, through which it had been 
dragged. It had been insultingly cast across the 
back of a horse, and was carried with the head 
and heels dangling opposite each other, a sorry 
spectacle indeed. The corpse of the father had 
been treated with indignity ; that of the son was 
not more fortunate. It was publicly exposed 
during two days, and insulted with barbarous 
indecency by the people, but ultimately received 
burial in the Abbey Church, where King Henry 
bestowed upon it the honour of a tomb of 



60 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

variegated marble. When the Abbey fell into 
decay, after the reformation, the tomb was 
hidden by debris, briars, and thorns, and on 
being discovered, was rifled for the acquisition of 
the stone coffin, which long served as a drinking- 
trough for the White Horse Inn, in the Gallow- 
tree Gate of Leicester, but was broken up in the 
time of George I. and used for steps for a cellar. 

The old Blue Boar Inn at Leicester was long 
regarded with interest, not only on account of its 
antiquity and characteristic style, but on account 
of its containing King Richard's camp bedstead, 
a heavy piece of wooden furniture, which had 
been used as a treasure-chest by its late possessor, 
for it was fashioned to contain a considerable sum 
of money, and was well furnished when Richard 
entered Leicester. When Henry's troops 
plundered the town, they no doubt gave due 
attention to the Blue Boar, but missed the King's 
hoard, which was afterwards discovered by and 
enriched the owner of the house, who throve on 
the usurper's gold and attained to the distinguished 
position of Mayor of Leicester. Years passed, and 
the ex-Mayor died, leaving his widow in affluent 
circumstances. The unfortunate woman retained 
in her service an old servant who was privy to 



SCENES AT BOS WORTH. 61 

the discovery and appropriation of the money, 
and by this woman the old lady was murdered, 
when the whole transaction came to light. In 
1830, the story of this historic bedstead was thus 
recorded, " About half a century since, the relic 
was purchased by a furniture broker in Leicester, 
who slept in it for many years, and showed it to 
the curious ; it continues in as good condition, 
apparently, as when used by King Richard, being 
formed of oak, and having a high polish. The 
daughter of the broker having married one 
Babington of Rothley, near Leicester, the 
bedstead was removed to Babington's house, 
where it is still preserved." 



16ra^oatc an^ Xat)^ 3ane 6rep. 

By John T. Pack. 

" How sweet 'neath thy far-spreading trees to lie, 
Lulled by the murmur of thy haunted stream ; 
In gentle peace and calm tranquility, 

O'er all thy storied past to dream and dream ! " 

IN most of our English counties, and particu- 
larly in the Midlands, there exist historic 
shrines to which ever and anon student-pilgrims 
make their way with the object of musing 
on the characters and lives of those whose 
memories are there perpetuated. These pilgrim- 
ages are fraught with much pleasure and profit, 
and many a useful lesson has been learnt through 
visits paid to scenes where noble men and women, 
whose names have become household words, 
worked and dwelt. 

This is notably the case with Bradgate, or 
Broad Gate as it was called, when, long years 
ago, that beautiful and accomplished prodigy of 
amiability^ Lady Jane Grey, was born there. 

Bradgate Park lies about six miles north of 
Leicester, and originally formed part of Charn- 



BRADGATE AND LADY JANE GREY. 63 

wood Forest. It is one of those select spots, still 
left in England, which can boast that never in its 
history has a ploughshare been known to pass 
over its surface. Far back in the distant 
prehistoric ages, the researches of science tell 
us, the country for miles around was the 
scene of continued volcanic eruptions, which 
accounts for the immense quantity of granite 
crags scattered over the face of the ground. 
Besides, therefore, affording study for the 
historian, the geologist has here a rare field in 
which to labour. The huge boulders have 
seemingly been thrown about haphazard by 
mighty giants at play, and in some places bald 
patches of sunken rocks are visible, which at 
present the grass refuses to hide. From this it 
will be easily seen that the surface of the ground, 
by the strange peculiarity of its wild beauty, 
cannot fail to command the interest of even the 
most casual observer. 

The walk from Leicester to Bradofate is a treat 
to all pedestrians, so varied and attractive are the 
surroundings. Just beyond the town, on the 
right, stand the ruins of the venerable and 
once imposing Leicester Abbey, rendered for 
ever sacred as the spot where the great spirit of 



64 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

Cardinal Wolsey departed from him. A little 
more than three miles brings us to the village of 
Groby, considered somewhat noted as being the 
earliest villaofe settlement on the borders of the 
Forest. Seated by Groby Pool, the gaze 
wanders in a most cool and refreshing manner 
across its eighty acres of water. The sides are all 
strewn with boulders, which form rude but com- 
fortable seats for travellers, where the road skirts 
the Pool. 

About a couple of miles further on, rendered 
short and easy by the delightful verdure which 
fringes the road, and Bradgate Park is reached. 
In the month of June nothing could be more 
enchanting than to be allowed to ramble at will 
in its valleys, amongst the luxuriant fern, and 
beneath the impenetrable foliage. 

A somewhat shallow, but in rainy seasons 
turbulent and dashing, trout stream meanders its 
way across the Park, and empties itself eventually 
in Groby Pool. Within sight of this stream, and 
in one of the prettiest parts of the demesne, stand 
the ruins of the house whose halls once echoed to 
the footsteps of " the nine days' Queen." It is of 
course around this spot that the principal interest 
centres. There is not much left, however, to 



BRADGATE AND LADY JANE GREY. 65 

gaze upon, the highest portions being the remains 
of two towers, one square and the other an 
irregular polygon in shape, and a gable 
end surmounted by a chimney. A low wall 
connects these remnants of the once noble 
mansion, and on entering the enclosure a few 
of the rooms may be with ease mentally 
re-constructed. The Rev. J. Curtis gives, in his 
valuable " Topographical History of the County of 
Leicester," the following description of the place : 

" The south side of the house consisted of the 
kitchen and servant's apartments. On the north 
side was the great hall, of which the remains, 
now overgrown with luxuriant ivy, are still to be 
seen. To the east of the hall a long range of 
buildings extended towards the north, enclosing 
the court on the east, and the hall and other 
offices on the south. The foundations of the 
buildings on the east, which seem to have been 
occupied as the private apartments of the family, 
are still visible ; and on the south-east corner are 
the remains of an octagonal tower. 

" The ruins . . . exhibit no signs of archi- 
tectural grandeur ; the house having been a large 
but low building in the form of a square, and 

turret ted at each corner." 

p 



66 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

Such was the quiet and secluded country 
mansion of the Marquis of Dorset, in which 
Lady Jane Grey first saw the hght in October, 
1537. From her mother she inherited royal 
blood, being born into the world a grand-daughter 
of Mary Tudor, sister of the then reigning 
monarch, Henry the Eighth. 

Her father was a lavish patron of the 
schoolmen of the day, and very early in his 
daughter's life entrusted her education to John 
Aylmer, who succeeded in producing from the 
willing materials placed at his disposal, one of the 
most singularly clever girls of that age. Day 
after day she pored lovingly over her books, and 
delighted to do this when walking in the leafy 
solitude of the Park. 

" Musing with Plato, though the horn was blown 
And every ear and every heart was won, 
And all in green array were chasing down the sun." 

Her time was spent in constant study at 
Bradgate until she was sixteen years of age, 
when it was arranged that she should marry Lord 
Guilford Dudley, son of the intriguing and 
ambitious Duke of Northumberland. The rest 
of her history is short indeed. Stirring events, of 
which she formed the centre, clustered thickly 



BRADGATE AND LADY JANE GREY. 67 

around her, and on the death of Edward the 
Sixth, in accordance with a clause in his will, she 
was proclaimed Queen. Her nine days' reign is 
one of the saddest episodes of English History. 
The end speedily arrived, and it is hard to have 
to admit that the execution of such a beautiful 
and accomplished lady became absolutely 
necessary to the safety of Queen Mary. " Though 
Queen Mary of her own disposition was inclined 
finally to pardon her, yet necessity of state was such 
as she must be put to death." The sad story of her 
reign and death has formed the subject of poem 
and prose almost as frequently as any known 
event, but nowhere is it more graphically told 
than in Ainsworth's " Tower of London." 

Standing before the old ruins of the once 
noble mansion of the Grey family, a tinge of 
sadness is imparted as we ponder over the 
blighted life of one who, but for the foolish 
ambition of her unscrupulous relatives, promised 
long to remain an ornament to the literature and 
learning of her native land. Her character and 
attainments are very aptly summed up by Fuller, 
as follows: — "She had the innocency of child- 
hood, the beauty of youth, the solidity of middle, 
the gravity of old age, and all at eighteen ; the 



68 HYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

birth of a princess, the learning of a clerk, the 
life of a saint, and the death of a malefactor for 
her parents' offences." 

From the time of Lady Jane's death the 
fortunes of the Grey family steadily declined, 
until King James the First again renewed them 
by creating Henry Grey first Baron of Groby. 
The family has ever since remained in possession 
of the estates at Bradgate, the grandson and 
successor of the first Baron ultimately receiving 
the additional title of Earl of Stamford. 

The old mansion continued to stand until the 
commencement of the present century, when, 
according to Throsby's account, it was burnt • to 
the ground by the then Countess of Stamford. 
Writing to her sister in London, in answer to a 
question as to how she liked the place, she 
replied " that the house was tolerable, that the 
country was a forest, and the inhabitants all 
brutes." Being advised, in a thoroughly sym- 
pathetic manner, to "set fire to the house and 
run away by the light of it," she is reported to 
have done so, and traces of the conflagration may 
still be found in various parts of the ruins. 

Although it is a temptation to linger lono- 
amid these picturesque and broken walls, yet there 



BRA DG ATE AND LADY JANE GREY. 69 

are other attractions at Bradgate by no means to 
be ignored. In the chapel, hard by, may be seen 
a fine monument to the founder of the present 
Hneage, Henry, Lord Grey of Groby, who died 
on the 26th of July, 1614. This magnificent 
tomb, with its recumbent effigies is, however, 
the only relief to the monotony of the interior of 
this now disused structure. Wandering at length 
adown the steep and rocky slopes into the deep 
sequestered dales, many a gnarled and knotted oak 
is seen, beneath the shade of whose once wide 
spreading branches Lad}'^ Jane and her friend 
Roger Ascham may w^ell have walked. Robert 
Hall thought of this when he visited the place, and 
very pertinently observed to a friend who bore him 
company : "What a delightful place to study Plato 
in ! ... a little more than four such lives as 
mine, and Lady Jane was walking here, with Plato 
in her hand, and Roger Ascham by her side." 

The murmuring trout stream, the fish ponds, 
the broken and fantastic fraofments of rock, and 
uprising from the scene " Old John " Hill, with 
its tower and mimic ruin, all combine, and help 
to make Bradgate one of the most enjoyable 
hunting grounds for the study of " Bygone 
Leicestershire." 



Xeiceeter (Lastle. 

By I. W, Dickinson, b.a. 

THE name Leicester is from the Anglo-Saxon 
Legecester, the Castle on the Leir, as the 
stream was known in British times which now is 
called the Soar, and Leir is identical with Lear, 
the unfortunate king whose tragic story in 
Shakespeare's hands forms the highest embodi- 
ment of the gloomy North Teuton genius. 
Indeed, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, the 
castle and town were founded by that monarch 
on the site of the Roman station Ratae, at the 
crossing of the two great roads the Foss Way 
from the mouth of the Ax in Devonshire to 
Lincoln, and the Via Devana which ran from 
Chester (Deva) to Colchester ( Camalodunum). 
It is another tribute to the faultless intuition of 
those wonderful road-makers, that one main 
factor in the phenomenal growth of Leicester in 
our own days is its central position at the 
crossing of three important railways. Of this 
Roman station relics have been found in 



LEICESTER CASTLE. 71 

pavements, urns, and coins, and northward from 
the Castle runs the "Jewry Wall," over seventy- 
feet in length, and in places twenty feet high, 
composed in part of Roman bricks. The 
"Jewry" in mediaeval times was that quarter in 
a town where alone the Jews were allowed to 
dwell ; the old Jewry in London is a familiar 
example. After 300 years indecisive oscillation 
in the struggle for supremacy between West Saxon 
and Dane, now Northumbria ruling Wessex, now 
Wessex forcing Northumbria to own her sway, 
the balance of power came to rest at Watling 
Street ; by the treaty of Wedmore, England to 
the north-east of that line being declared Danish, 
to the south-west Saxon, and between these two 
essentially antagonistic elements was formed the 
strong Danish confederacy of the Five Boroughs 
— Derby, Lincoln, Leicester, Stamford, and 
Nottingham — to guard the marches. But the 
North was doomed to bow beneath the house of 
Cerdic, and within forty years the noble " Lady 
of Mercia," departing from the strategy all but 
universal with the Saxons, of open fight, and 
resorting to castle-building, closed round the Five 
Boroughs. 

They fell in 917, and with them all North- 



72 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

umbria. Twenty years later came Brunanburgh, 
"the last mad rush of the Sabine bull on the 
Colline gate," 937, and henceforward England 
south of the Cheviots was to be one and indivisible. 
After the Conquest, William, the great castle- 
builder, strengthened and enlarged Leicester, which 
must have been a novel proceeding, since in the vast 
majority of cases he had to build his castles ah 
ijiitio, to the consternation of the English, who 
never took kindly to fighting behind walls, and 
still prefer the " cold steel," as many a splendid 
charge in our own day testifies. On the 
Conqueror's death the Castle of Leicester was 
seized by the Greutmaisnells, and held by them for 
Robert of Normandy ; in consequence, it was 
taken by the Red King and reduced to ashes. 

The Beaumont family next obtained the "Castle 
and honour of Leicester " in the person of Robert, 
first Earl of Leicester, who rebuilt the Castle. 
Robert, the second Earl, was a warm partisan of 
Henry I. in his contests against his brother 
Robert and the discontented baronagfe. This 
Robert founded the abbey of St. Mary de Pratis, 
outside the town. The third Robert lived during 
the stormy times of Stephen, the worst governed 
period in all our histor}^, when each baron 



LEICESTER CASTLE. 73 

entrenchedhimself inhis castle, which he turned into 
a, centre of lawlessness and cruelty past credence. 

Henry II. put down these nests of robbery 
with a strong hand, at the outset of his reign, 
and among the castles demolished by this king is 
numbered that of Leicester. The town walls 
were thrown down at the same time, and never 
fully rebuilt. The fourth Earl, also Robert, died 
childless ; his sister and co-heir, Amicia 
Beaumont, married Simon de Montfort, who 
thereby acquired the Earldom and Castle. The 
son of this marriage was the more famous Simon 
de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, " Earl Simon the 
Righteous," the pure patriot whose name will 
ever be enshrined in the hearts of all true 
Englishmen. When King and Pope had 
conspired to fleece the flock they had sworn 
to cherish, and exaction after exaction had 
reduced the English to despair, Earl Simon stood 
in the forefront of the strife, and initiated the 
government of the country by Parliament, which 
since his day has been the unquestioned maxim 
of our constitution, and the model upon which all 
the civilized governments of the world are formed 
more or less closely. 

The story of his death at Evesham — August 



74 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

4th, 1265 — is as pathetic as any in our annals. 
On that fatal August morning, his son was but 
nine miles away at Alcester, and as the light 
broke he at first mistook the soldiers of Prince 
Edward with which the heights in front of him 
were filled for those of his son. As he saw 
them coming on in the " wise order " they 
had learnt from him, he knew that his fate 
had come ; he killed his war-horse before his 
troops as a sign that there was no hope. 
For three hours his terrible sword kept a 
clear path about him, and with the cry of "It is 
God's grace," he fell at last, " fighting like a lion 
for the liberties of England." He was attainted, 
and the Castle and Earldom granted to Edmund, 
Duke of Lancaster, second son of Henry III., 
and the Castle has since gone with the Lancaster 
property, and still forms part of the " Duchy of 
Lancaster," which, in accordance with an act 
passed by Edward IV., is still "held separately 
from all other hereditaments," the revenues being 
wholly exempted from control of Parliament. 

The Dukes of Lancaster restored the Castle of 
Leicester, and must have done so on a magnificent 
scale, as under them it was frequently the scene 
of ostentatious pageants. 



LEICESTER CASTLE. 75 

Thus John of Gaunt entertained his 
unfortunate nephew, Richard II. and his Queen, 
with his usual magnificence in 1390. When the 
House of Lancaster obtained possession of the 
throne, Leicester Castle, as belonging to the royal 
demesne, became of importance, and Henry V., 
the second monarch of that dynasty, twice 
summoned parliament to meet at Leicester. In 
1414 it was held in the hall of the Greyfriars, 
the King staying in the Castle, and in 1425-6 
Parliament met within the threat hall of the 
Castle itself A third time did Parliament 
assemble at Leicester, in 1450. With the fall of 
the cause of Lancaster at the field of Towton, 
Leicester Castle passed into the hands of Edward 
IV., together with fully one-fifth of England, the 
possessions of attainted Lancastrians, and since 
then has remained the private property of the 
reigning sovereign. 

It was dismantled by Charles I., and most of 
the materials sold in 1645. At the present time 
this ancient and royal Castle is represented by a 
" modernised assize hall," and a round mound of 
earthwork, known as the Castle Hill, thirty feet 
high and a hundred feet across. 



Death of CarMnal Molee^ at Xciccstcr 

By I. W. Dickinson, b.a. 

THE Abbey of S. Mary de Pratis, at Leicester, 
was founded by Robert Beaumont, second 
Earl Leicester, in 1143, for the Canons Regular of 
S. Augustine, from their habit, a long cassock with 
white rochet covered by a black cloak, often called 
the Black Canons. The monastery was richly en- 
dowed and enjoyed many privileges in various 
manors, such as the right of cutting fuel, and 
particularly from the De Quinceys, a claim of a 
tenth of the hay sold in Ade and Wyffeley, and 
the right shoulder of all deer killed in the Park 
of Acle. 

The founder became a regular canon in his 
own foundation, in expiation of the miseries he 
had brought on the " goodly town of Leycestre," 
during the stormy reign of Stephen. 

From 1143 to 1530 the long centuries rolled 
by, over the pleasant meadows on the Soar, to 
which the monastery owed its name, and each 



DEATH OF CARDINAL WOLSEY. 11 

midnight the black-robed procession passed from 
dormitory to church for Matins, chanting the 
Nocturnae ; each sunrise was greeted with Lauds ; 
each sunset heard the solemn Vespers; each day 
closed at Compline in asking protection through the 
night. Year by year the fraters cut their hay 
and piled their firewood, and claimed their dues : 
" Amicia Beaumont giveth two bucks annually ; " 
" a buck annually out of Charnwood Forest ; " the 
right shoulders of the Acle deer were duly 
consumed in the refectory ; the poor were each 
day relieved at the great gate ; brothers died and 
were laid to rest 'neath the chancel steps, new 
faces filled up the gaps, new gossip and chatter 
went on in the long Fratry ; human lives were lived 
worthily or otherwise in that old monastery, of 
whom history makes no mention, and already the 
shadow of doom had fallen on the lichen-covered 
walls when on that memorable Saturday night, 
November 26th, 1530, it being dark, ''the abbot 
with all his convent, with divers torches light," 
met at the doorway England's last Cardinal 
Archbishop, and across his face too the shadow of 
death was thrown. " Father Abbot, I am come 
to lay my bones among you," said the dying 
Wolsey, and the mule passed through the 



78 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

gateway, across the courtyard with its workshops 
and tool houses, to the steps of the Hospitium, or 
guest chamber, where the Cardinal ahghted, " then 
master Knyghton took him by the arm, and led 
him up the stairs, who told me afterwards he 
never felt so heavy a burthen in all his life. And 
as soon as he was in his chamber he went 
incontinent to his bed very sick." 

Poor broken man ! All day his mule had been 
stirring the dead leaves on the journey through 
the November light ; when those same leaves 
were in bud last Easter " upon Palm Sunday he 
bare his palm, and went in procession with the 
monks " (at Peterboro') " setting forth the divine 
service right honourably. And upon Maunday 
Thursday he made his Maunday there in Our 
Lady's Chapel, having fifty-nine poor men, whose 
feet he washed and kissed," — being fifty-nine 
years old, and now the dead leaves are rustled 
against the casement ; some eight more Maundays 
shall come and Maunday Thursday and Cardinal- 
Archbishops, and Compline in England shall be 
of the past. 

Next day, Sunday, the monks' droning comes 
faintly across the cloister as they chant high 
mass, and memories of splendour, and court life, 



DEATH OF CARDINAL WOLSEY. 



79 



and the busy world he has seen for the last time 
mino-le with the sound in the sick man's fancies. 
'* Upon Monday, in the morning, as I stood by 
his bedside, about eight of the clock, the windows 
being close shut, and having waxlights burning 
upon the cupboards, I beheld him, as me seemed. 




CARDINAL WOLSEY. 



drawing fast towards death. He, perceiving my 
shadow upon the wall by the bedside, asked who 
was there. 

" ' Sir,' quoth I, * I am here.' * How do you?' 
quoth he to me. ' Very well, sir,' quoth I, * if I 
might see your grace well.' ' What is it of the 
clock ? ' said he to me. ' Sir,' said I, ' it is past 



80 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

eight of the morning.' 'Eight of the clock?' 
quoth he, * that cannot be,' rehearsing divers times 
* eight of the clock ! eight of the clock ! Nay, nay,' 
quoth he at last * it cannot be eight of the clock, 
for by eight of the clock you shall lose your 
master ; for my time draweth near that I must 
leave this world !' With that, one doctor Palmes, 
a worshipful gentleman, being his chaplain and 
ghostly father, standing by, bade me secretly 
demand of him if he would be shriven, and to be 
in readiness towards God whatsoever should 
chance. At whose desire, I asked him that 
question. ' What have you to do to ask me any 
such question ? ' quoth he, and began to be very 
angry with me for my presumption, until at last 
master doctor took my part, and talked with him 
in Latin and so pacified him." 

In the course of the afternoon a messenger 
comes post haste from the king to inquire into 
some '* fifteen hundred pounds," missing somehow, 
and so the worthy lieutenant of the Tower, 
Master Knyghton, must visit the sick man and 
make demand of the money. " Oh, good Lord," 
exclaimed the dying Wolsey " how much doth it 
grieve me that the king should think in me any 
deceit, wherein I should deceive him of any one 



DEATH OF CARDINAL WOLSEY. 



81 



penny that I have. Rather than I would, 
Master Knyghton, embezzle or deceive him of 
one penny I would it were molten and put into 
my mouth,' which words he spake twice or thrice 
very vehemently. 




RUINS OF LEICESTKR ABBEV. 



" * As for this money that you demand of me, I 

assure you it was none of mine, for I borrowed it 

of divers of my friends to bury me, and to bestow 

among my servants, who have taken great pains 

about me, like true and faithful servants.' " And 

G 



82 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

ere this business of the money was fully settled 
the abbot sends for Mr. Knyghton to his supper. 

*' Howbeit, my lord waxed very sick, most 
likely to die that night, and often swooned, and 
as methought drew on fast to his end, until it 
was four of the clock of the morning, at which 
time I spake to him and asked him how he did. 
' Well,' quoth he, ' if I had any meat, I pray you 
give me some.' ' Sir, there is none ready,' said I. 
' I wis,' quoth he, ' you be the more to blame ; for 
you should always have meat for me in a readiness, 
to eat when my stomach serveth me ; therefore I 
pray you get some ; for I intend this day to 
make me strong to the intent that I may occupy 
myself in confession and make me ready to God.'" 
The faithful Cavendish sees that it is but the last 
flicker of the dying candle in its socket, and calls 
up the confessor and lieutenant. 

Master Knyghton, we notice, does not relish 
being called up at four this cold November 
morning, after supper with the abbot, but after a 
httle grumbling, goes like the worthy gentleman 
he is to see the Cardinal. Wolsey tastes the 
chicken cullace, and then remembering it is St. 
Andrew's Eve puts it from him and will eat no 
more. 



DEATH OF CARDINAL WOLSEY. 83 

He then confessed the space of an hour. And 
confession ended, his last words are spoken to 
Knyghton, th§ Heutenant. ""^If I had served 
God as dihgently as I have done the king, he 
would not have given me over in my grey hairs. 
I pray you have me most humbly commended 
unto his royal majesty, and beseech him in my 
behalf to call to his princely remembrance all 
matters proceeding between him and me from the 
beginning of the world. . . . He is a prince 
of royal courage, and hath a princely heart ; and 
rather than he will miss or want any part of his 
will or pleasure he will endanger one half of his 
realm. 

" ' For I assure you, I have often kneeled before 
him the space sometimes of three hours to 
persuade him from his will and appetite : but 
I could never persuade him therefrom. 

" 'Therefore, Master Knyghton, I warn you, if it 
chance you hereafter to be one of his Privy 
Council, as for your wisdom you are very meet, 
be assured and advised what you put into his 
head, for you shall never put it out again. . . . 

" ' Master Knyghton, farewell. I can no more 
say ; but I wish, ere I die, all things to have good 
success. My time draweth on fast. I may not 



84 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

tarry with you,' and even with these words he 
began to draw his speech at length, and his 
tongue to fail — his eyes being presently set in 
his head, whose sight failed him. 

" Then began we to put him in remembrance of 
Christ's .passion, and caused the yeoman of the 
guard to stand by secretly to see him die, and to 
be witness of his words at his departure ; and 
incontinent the clock struck eight, and then gave 
he up the ghost." * 

The abbot, hastily summoned, hurried up with 
his viaticum and anointed the body, let us hope 
before the breath was fully gone. 

The abbot. Cavendish, and Sir William 
Knyghton, held a consultation and decided that 
the Mayor and Corporation of Leicester should 
be summoned to view the body, and thus prevent 
false rumours getting abroad. Accordingly he 
was placed in a wooden coffin in the chamber 
where he died, and over his breast the insignia that 
had been so dear to him in life, mitre, crosier, ring, 
and pall, and till five in the afternoon any who 
listed might see him ** open and bare-faced." 

At that hour he was taken in solemn 
procession down into the church, and " divers 

* Oavandiah. 



DEATH OF CARDINAL WOLSEY. 85 

poor men " with torches in their hands watched 
all night, while the Canons sang "dirge and other 
devout orisons." By four in the morning the 
whole abbey was astir ; solemn mass was sung by 
the abbot ; then the corpse was buried in the 
midst of the Lady Chapel, and by six that dark 
November morning he was alone at last — alone 
with his God. November 29th, 1530. 

Thus died one of the greatest of all Englishmen. 
He stood on the dividing ridge of the ages. 
Behind him stretched a past that we of the 
present can never fully realize ; all things were 
looked at from a standpoint whence they will 
never again be viewed ; and before him an 
unknown land he could never have dreamed of 
already loomed in sight — the Europe of to-day. 



36cl\>oir Castle. 

PLACED upon the summit of a steep hill, 
five miles westward from the red-roofed 
town of Grantham, and so near the borders of 
Lincolnshire that the topographers of former 
times as often located it in that county as in 
Leicestershire, the noble seat of the patrician 
family of Manners commands an extensive view 
over the comparatively level country around. 

Camden says : — " In the west part of 
Kesteven, on the edge of Lincolnshire and 
Leicestershire, there stands Belvoir Castle, so 
called (whatever was its ancient name) from the 
fine prospect on a steep hill, which seems the 
work of art." But Nichols, who is regarded as 
a better authority on topographical matters 
relating to Leicestershire, states that " the castle 
is at present in every respect considered as being 
within this county, with all the lands of the 
extra-parochial part of Belvoir thereto belonging 
(including the site of the Priory), consisting in 
the whole of 600 acres of wood, meadow, and 



BELVOIR CASTLE. 87 

pasture land, upon which are now no buildings 
but the castle, with its offices, and the inn." It 
may be remarked here that whatever weight may 
attach to Camden's statement respecting the 
name Belvoir, it is ignored locally, the name by 
which the place is known in the surrounding 
district being pronounced Bever. 

Though its history is not so rich in incident as 
that of many a baronial stronghold now in ruins, 
it nevertheless dates from as remote a period as 
the hoariest of them. It is said to have been 
founded by one Robert de Todeni, who bore the 
standard of Duke William of Normandy at the 
Battle of Hastings, and was rewarded for his 
services by the Conqueror with large possessions in 
the counties of Leicester and Lincoln. Of the 
structure erected by this fortunate Norman there 
is probably now remaining only the foundations. 
He was succeeded in its possession by a son 
whom the old chroniclers call William de Albini, 
and who distinguished himself on the side of 
Henry I. in the warfare carried on in Normandy 
between that monarch and his brother Robert. 
It may be conjectured that he proved loyal to 
Henry's daughter, the Empress Maud, when so 
many of the nobles ranged themselves against 



88 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

her, for Stephen gave a grant of the castle and 
lordship of Belvoir to Ranulph de Gernon, Earl 
of Chester. This grant was confirmed by Henry 
II., but the property subsequently reverted to the 
Albini family. 

William de Albini, the third of that name, was 
one of the bold men who signed the undertaking to 
maintain the Great Charter, the signing of which 
by John is the subject of one of the pictures 
mentioned by Brayley as in the Belvoir 
collection a century ago. The subsequent 
troubles of that reiofn afforded the Kino^ an 
opportunity to seize the Castle, which, however, 
with the estates, or a considerable portion of 
them, afterwards passed into the possession of 
Robert de Bos, Baron Hamlake, on his marriage 
with the heiress of the Albinis. The new 
possessors were, for several generations, more 
fortunate than their predecessors, Sir William 
de Bos, the third in succession from Bobert, 
holding the office of Lord High Treasurer in, 
1402. His second son, Thomas, who succeeded 
John de Bos, on the latter dying without issue, 
was knighted for his deeds of valour during the 
French campaigns of Henr}- V. ; but the next 
owner of Belvoir found his lines cast in evil times. 



BELVOIR CASTLE. 89 

and adhering to the fortunes of the usurping 
House of Lancaster during the Civil War of the 
following reign, was attainted of treason, his 
estates being divided among the partisans of 
Edward IV. The castle and lordship of 
Belvoir fell to Lord Hastings, but on that noble- 
man attempting to take possession he was 
repelled by the friends of De Kos, and found 
it necessary to employ a considerable force to 
assert his claim. In the conflict that ensued the 
castle suffered so severely that Leland says " the 
timber of the roofs uncovered rotted away, and 
the soil between the walls^ at last grew full of 
elders." 

The attainder was taken off' in 1472, on the 
petition of Sir Henry Kos, and eleven years later 
his successor, then become Lord Kos, obtained 
the restitution of the estates. Dying without 
issue, his sisters succeeded as co-heiresses, and 
the eldest, Eleanor, marrying Kobert Manners, 
of Ethale, in Northumberland, conveyed her 
share of the property to that family, in whose pos- 
session it has since remained. Their son, George 
Manners, received the honour of knighthood, 
and his successor. Sir Thomas Manners, was 
created by Henry VIII., Earl of Kutland, and 



90 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

took an active part in the putting down of the 
disturbances which followed the suppression of 
the monastic houses. 

The priory of Belvoir having been suppressed, 
he removed the monuments of the families of 
Albini and Ros to Bottesford Church, and also 
thoroughly restored the castle, which was after- 
wards greatly extended by Henry, the second 
earl. 

Leland, writing of the castle at this time, 
says : — " It is a strange sight to see how many 
steps of stone the way goeth up from the village 
to the castle. In the castle be two fair gates ; 
and the dungeon is a fair round tower, now 
turned to pleasure, as a place to walk in, and to 
see all the country about, and railed about the 
round (wall), and a garden (plot) in the middle. 
There is also a well of great depth in the castle, 
and the spring thereof is very good." The steps 
of which the old topographer writes still exist, 
and are cut in the red sandstone of which the hill 
on which the castle stands is composed. 

Henry, the second Earl of Rutland, made 
considerable additions to the castle, so that it 
vied even at that time with the most palatial of 
the mansions of the nobles of the land. When 



BELVOIR CASTLE. 91 

Queen Mary engaged in the unfortunate war 
with France, which resulted in the loss of the 
last of the English possessions in that country, 
the Earl was appointed captain-general of the 
land forces and commander of the fleet. Francis, 
the sixth earl, held several important offices of 
state. He was twice married, and by his second 
wife had two sons, who, according to the 
inscription on their monument in Bottesford 
Church, were murdered by Joan Flower and her 
two daughters, who were servants at the castle, 
and, having been dismissed, made use of 
" enchantments, spells, and charms " to obtain 
revenge for their grievance. Henry, the Earl's 
eldest son, died soon after their dismissal, but no 
suspicion of witchcraft arose until five years after, 
when the three women, who were supposed to 
have entered into a formal contract with the 
devil, were accused of "murdering Henry, Lord 
Ros, by witchcraft, and torturing the Lord 
Francis, his brother, and Lady Catherine, his 
sister." After several examinations before Lord 
Willoughby d'Eresby and other magistrates, they 
were committed to Lincoln gaol. Joan died at 
Ancaster, on her way thither, wishing the bread- 
and-butter she ate might choke her if she was 



92 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

guilty. The two daughters were tried and 
convicted, having — and this is the strangest part 
of the story — confessed their guilt, and were 
executed at Lincoln. This horrible judicial 
tragedy was enacted in 1618. 

Under the seventh earl, Belvoir Castle received 
the honour of a visit from Charles I. His 
successor sided with the Parliament, however, 
and the castle, in consequence, sustained several 
attacks from the forces of the Crown, with the 
result that it received considerable damage, and 
the estate was so wasted that the Earl, being 
" put to great straights for the maintenance of 
his family," petitioned the House of Lords for 
relief; and, as Lord Campden had been the 
principal instrument in the damage that he had 
sustained. Parliament ordered that £1500 a year 
should be paid out of that nobleman's estate until 
the Earl of Rutland had received £5000 by way 
of compensation. During this troublous period 
the castle was held alternately by the Parlia- 
mentarians and the Royalists. In 1643, a 
hundred and forty men of Belvoir were defeated 
by Colonel Wayte, who took forty-six of them 
prisoners and captured sixty horses ; and in the 
following year the same officer attacked and 



BELVOIR CASTLE. 93 

defeated another party. In this year Charles 
slept two nights at Belvoir. 

In 1703, John, the ninth Earl, was created 
Duke of Rutland and Marquis of Granby, the 
second title being, in accordance with custom, 
assumed by his eldest son. Notwithstanding this 
high advancement, he preferred the quiet and 
retirement of the country to the splendour and 
gaieties of the Court, and resided almost entirely 
at Belvoir, never visiting London for many years 
before his death. His grandson was "the great 
Marquis of Granby," whose head appeared on so 
many inn sign-boards, and who, during the 
Jacobite troubles, raised a regiment of cavalry, 
became lieutenant-general, and eminently dis- 
tinguished himself during the campaign in 
Germany. With more peaceful times came more 
encouragement to improve the castle and 
demesne than the earlier possessors of Belvoir 
had had, and the third duke, who died in 1779, 
was able to do much in that direction. A more 
complete restoration was carried out in 1807, 
under the direction of Wyatt, one of the most 
eminent architects of that period, and Belvoir 
Castle became, and has since continued to be, one 
of the leading show places of the kingdom. The 



94 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

pictures with which its later owners had adorned 
the walls formed one of the finest collections in 
England, and still divide the admiration of 
visitors with the treasures it contains in the form 
of armour and tapestry. Besides a good 
collection of family portraits by Lely, Reynolds, 
and artists of lesser renown, the principal apart- 
ments are adorned with some of the finest works 
of Guido, Carlo Dolci, Claude, Poussin, Salvator 
Rosa, Murillo, Rubens, Teniers, Holbein, 
Vandyck, Kneller, Gainsborough, West, and 
Stothard. 

Belvoir Castle has by some writers been said 
to resemble the royal residence at Windsor, but, 
whatever comparison may be instituted in other 
respects, the situation, upon the summit of a 
steep elevation, is more commanding. As altered 
and newly arranged by Wyatt, it consists of 
a quadrangular court, with towers and terraces, 
upon which latter its owner threatened, in the 
early days of the volunteer movement, to plant 
cannon for the protection of the castle, in the 
event of working men being enrolled in the force 
which is now regarded as an important and 
necessary addition to the military resources of the 
kingdom. 



BELVOIR CASTLE. 95 

By an accidental fire in 1816, a large portion of 
the older part of the castle was destroyed, but the 
large sum of £60,000 was subsequently expended 
in repairs. The view from the terraces is very 
extensive, comprehending the whole vale of 
Bel voir and the adjacent country as far as 
Lincoln, including twenty-two manors of which 
the Duke of Rutland is the lord. 

Concerning the princely hospitality which has 
been practiced at Belvoir, Timbs gives, ''from a 
published account," the following particulars, 
which are said to apply to the period between 
December, 1839, and April, 1840 : — Wine con- 
sumed, 200 dozens ; ale, 70 hogsheads ; wax-lights, 
2,330 ; sperm oil, 630 gallons. Dined at His 
Grace's table, 1,997 persons; in the steward's 
room, 2,421 ; in the servants' hall, nursery, and 
kitchen department, including comers and goers, 
11,312. Of bread there was consumed 8,333 loaves ; 
and meat 22,963 lbs., exclusive of poultry, game, 
and fish. The value of the meat, poultry, and 
provisions, except stores, consumed during this 
period, is stated at £1,323 7s. llfd. — a very close 
calculation, and one which does credit to the 
book-keeping of those concerned. The quantity of 
game killed during the season over all the duke's 



96 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

manors is said to have comprised 1,733 hares, 947 
rabbits, 987 pheasants, 2,101 partridges, 776 
grouse, 23 black game, 108 woodcocks, 138 snipes, 
28 wild ducks, and 6 teal. 

George IV., then regent of the kingdom during 
the mental incapacity of his father, visited the 
castle in 1814, on which occasion the ancient 
ceremony of presenting the Sovereign with the 
key of the Staunton Tower was observed. 

The custom has come down from the time of the 
Conquest, when the castle was successfully 
defended by Sir Mauger Staunton against a 
Norman force, on which account the Conqueror, 
when firmly seated on the throne, allowed him, in 
acknowledgment of his bravery, to retain posses- 
sion of the lordship of Staunton. This lordship 
is situated five miles from Belvoir, and seven 
from Newark, and is said to have been held by 
the Staunton family for more than thirteen 
centuries. The ceremony referred to was per- 
formed in 1814 by the Rev. Dr. Stanton, who 
presented the key upon a velvet cushion ; and 
was repeated by the same gentleman in 1843, 
when the Queen and the Prince Consort visited 
the castle. 



IRobert, ]Earl of Xciceeter: a Chapter of 
flDcbi^val 1bi6tor^. 

WHEN the sons of Henry II., instigated 
by Queen Eleanor, first appeared in 
open rebellion against the royal authority, a.d. 
1172, with the intention of partitioning the 
government of England and its continental 
provinces, among the first who assumed arms 
against the powerful and magnanimous monarch 
was that fiery son of Kobert Bossu, Robert, Earl 
of Leicester, known by his surname of Blanch- 
mains, or the white-hands. 

The energy and military ability of the King 
secured a signal success to his arms in the 
opening days of the struggle. His Braban9ons 
fought a pitched battle with the insurgents, 
routed them, and invested the Castle of Dol, in 
which the principal barons had thrown themselves 
after their defeat. The stronghold was speedily 
compelled to surrender, and a conference was 
opened for the adjustment of the quarrel between 

Henry and his rebellious sons and feudatories. 

H 



98 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

The perfidious Louis of France exerted himself 
to retard the conclusion of peace, and was 
furthered by the Earl of Leicester, who brought 
a large sura of money, raised on his English 
estates, to enable the princes to continue the 
struggle. This arch-traitor had recently renewed 
his allegiance to the King, but his insolence 
rendered an amicable adjustment of the dispute 
impossible. Not stopping at invective and insult, 
he threatened King Henry, with his hand upon 
Jiis sword. Those around restrained him from 
drawing his weapon, but so fierce was the storm 
of passion thus excited that the conference broke 
up in the utmost confusion. 

There was a fierce encounter between the 
chivalry of the two armies on the following day, 
when William de Mandeville conquered Ingelram, 
Castelan of Trie, and brought him prisoner to 
King Henry. 

To further harass his liege, the Earl of 
Leicester prepared to carry the war into England, 
the borders of which were threatened by the 
Scots, whose barbarous hordes, easily incited to 
war, were accustomed to indulge their love of 
massacre and plunder when the throes of civil 
war convulsed England, and afforded them an 



ROBERT, EARL OF LEICESTER. 99 

eaajT^ entrance into the kingdom. Blanchmains 
accordingly raised a powerful army of Flemings, 
and embarked for England, which he reached 
without opposition, and marched his forces to 
Framlingham Castle, where Hugh Bigot was in 
arms against the King. After receiving supplies 
and munitions of war, Leicester laid close leaguer 
to Ranulph de Broc's Castle of Hakeneck, which 
he speedily reduced, in the absence of any military 
force adequate to maintain the royal authority in 
that part of the island, the justiciary, Richard 
de Lucy, and the constable, Humphrey de 
Bohun, having conducted a military expedition 
into the Lothian. 

Leicester's invasion was so formidable that the 
royalists at once concluded a truce with the King 
of Scotland, and marched into England. 

Lucy and Bohun formed their camp at St. 
Edmunds, and being reinforced by the Earls of 
Cornwall, Gloucester, and Arundel, succeeded in 
intercepting the Flemings as they marched upon 
Leicester. The Earl, thus brought to bay, took 
up a strong position at Fornham, near the Church 
of St. Genevieve, where the marshy ground was 
calculated to retard the movements of his adver- 
saries. 



100 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

Then Humphrey de Bohun and the loyal 
Earls issued out of St. Edmunds, leading a 
numerous army, which included 300 knights, 
marching under the standard of the constable. 
Uniting loyalty and religion on that memorable 
day, the army fought beneath the banner of St. 
Edmund, King and Martyr. 

The first onset decided the conflict. One fiery 
charge against Leicester's position broke the 
rebel ranks, and covered the field with a broken 
and fugitive army, on which the sword of 
vengeance descended with such unsparing rigour, 
that 10,000 Flemings were destroyed. Those who 
received quarter were even more unfortunate, 
being manacled and cast into dungeons, where 
they were permitted to perish of starvation, an 
act of detestable cruelty, not to be too severely 
reprobated. 

Chief of the prisoners were the perjured Earl, 
his Countess, and Hugh des Chateaux. These 
were, with many others, carried to Normandy, 
and Henry condemned them to close imprison- 
ment in the fortress of Falaise. 

The cause of the rebel Earl was vigorously 
maintained during his incarceration, and the King 
of Scotland ordered his brother David to march a 



ROBERT, EARL OF LEICESTER. 101 

division of his army to the defence of Leicester, 
where the Earl's constable, Anketill Mallory, 
maintained himself. The Scots were, however, 
forestalled by the justiciary and the Earl of 
Cornwall, who marched against and invested the 
town. 

When the Norman garrison perceived the 
army of Richard de Lucy moving against the 
town, with the royal banner displayed, they 
retired into the Castle, to insure its safety, 
leaving the burghers of Leicester to make the 
best defence they could, albeit the quarrel was 
none of their making. Doubtless they had no 
alternative but to put on a bold attitude, there- 
fore they manned the walls, and strove to 
keep at bay the fierce enemy that came 
on with spear and pike, and drift of deadly ar^ows, 
while, sheltered by the skill of the archers, many 
of the infantry toiled with pick and spade to 
undermine the walls. Success attended their 
efforts, and on burning the props that supported 
the undermined Walls, great breaches were made, 
the huge fragments of which long remained in 
evidence of the tenacity of the mortar used in 
their construction. 

Unable to keep the foe at bay, the doomed 



102 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

burghers struggled long and gallantly with the 
fierce soldiers that poured upon them through wide 
breach and over rampart ; but the storm ended in 
a scene of dreadful confusion and bloodshed. 
Blind, furious, indiscriminate was the massacre, 
but the wretched survivors at length purchased a 
safe retreat through one of the gates, and fled 
from their ruined homes, impoverished and 
bereaved, to find refuge on the church lands at 
Bury St. Edmunds and St. Albans. The stormers 
sacked the town, and burnt many houses to the 
ground. The church of St. Michael was over- 
thrown, and the whole parish reduced to a mass of 
ruins : for many years this section of Leicester 
remained uninhabited, the streets being trans- 
formed into grassy lanes, and a later generation 
of btirghers planted orchards on the sites of the 
houses. 

Doubtless Anketill Mallory and his garrison 
endured the deepest bitterness of mortification 
and impatient wrath, as they witnessed the surge 
of battle sweep over the town, and the smoke and 
flame of burning houses spread around ; but they 
were powerless to succour or avenge the Earl's 
vassals. Richard de Lucy made no attempt to 
reduce the castle ; doubtless other and pressing 



ROBERT, EARL OF LEICESTER. 103 

service demanded his arms, and forbad the tedium 
of a long and dubious siege. 

The castellan sought compensation for the 
strokes of misfortune by inflicting useless injury 
upon the burghers of Northampton, a.d. 1174. 
He marched against, and engaged them in a 
conflict that entailed severe loss of life, and the 
captivity of two hundred burghers. Leicester's 
adherents made a similar attack upon Nottingham, 
being commanded by Robert, Earl of Ferrers. 
The town was stormed and sacked, and many of 
the burgesses carried ofl". 

Henry arrived in England a.d, 1174, and 
brought with him his prisoners, the Earl and 
Countess of Leicester. His presence conduced to 
a speedy, but not permanent, settlement of the 
trouble. While tilting in Alnwick meadows, the 
King of Scotland was snatched from the front of 
his army by Ranulph de Glanville, and carried 
on the spur to Richmond Castle. 

Leaguer was laid to Leicester Castle, and 
Henry is said to have held out to Anketill 
Mallory, as the alternative to its surrender, the 
threat of starving Robert Blanchmains and his 
countess to death. 

Mallory had served his master with zeal and 



104 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

devotion, and had perhaps passed the bounds of 
prudence ; he wisely bent to the storm, made his 
submission, and surrendered into the King's 
hands the castles of Leicester, Mountsorrel, and 
Groby. The two last mentioned fortresses were 
afterwards dismantled. 

In the treaty concluded between Henry and 
his sons, Leicester was excepted, as being among 
those who had made a prior and separate 
composition with the king. The Earl was justly 
deprived of the power to injure his monarch, 
although his lands were restored at the council of 
Northampton, in 1177. The castles were restored 
to him on the accession of Richard Coeur de Lion. 

Leicester remained in a ruinous state for 
upward of twenty-five years, when a gradual 
change commenced. Houses were rebuilt ; a new 
population began to form itself; but many years 
elapsed before the town regained its ancient 
prosperity. 



Xocal proverbs aub jfolk pbra^ee. 

By T. Broadbent Trowsdale. 

QUAINT old Fuller, in his "Worthies," 
Ray, Grose, and other ancient writers, 
devoted much attention to the collection of local 
proverbs. Among these we find several connected 
with the county of Leicester, and although they 
are now almost entirely obsolete, — some, indeed, 
being altogether forgotten, — they are full of 
interest as a part of the folk-lore of our ancestors. 
Many of them, too, are characterised by an 
element of coarseness ; but we must remember 
that they were the popular sayings of a genera- 
tion not privileged with the educational advan- 
tages of our later and more favoured age. 
Numbers of these colloquial phrases also shed 
rays of light on the history of the places to 
which they pertain, and the early associations of 
their inhabitants. 

Foremost in this connection " we must consider 
an appellation vulgarly applied to Leicestershire 
and its people centuries ago ; and even yet not 



106 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

quite relegated to the oblivion it deserves. We 

allude to the phrase, " Bean-belly Leicestershire." 

It appears that the saying originated in the 

circumstance that the county was at one time the 

place ^ar excellence for the cultivation of this useful 

vegetable. Fuller has a curious explanatory note 

anent the vulgar reproach. " Beans," says he, 

" are the most natural and plentiful crops grown 

in Leicestershire, especially in that part of it in 

the Sparkenhoe Hundred lying about Barton, 

thence called * Barton-in-the-Beans,' where they 

are so luxuriant that towards harvest-time they 

look like a forest." " The Leicesterians are," 

continues Fuller, " indeed fond of beans, though 

in other counties they are food only for horses and 

hogs, except when eaten green, in this they are 

esteemed all the year round, so that the people 

have not only a pleasure in eating, but a profit 

on selling them to their neighbours." The poet 

Drayton, in his " Blazons of Shires," has a 

couplet which runs : — 

" Beane-Belly Leicestershire, her attribute doth beare, 
And bells and bagpipes next belong to Lincolnshire." 

A common saying in the neighbouring counties 
used to be : — " Shake a Leicestershire yeoman by 
the collar, and you will hear the beans rattle in 



LOCAL PROVERBS AND FOLK PHRASES. 107 

his belly." Of course this was a humorous 
exaggeration of what was formerly a staple 
product of the shire. Popular nicknames and 
epithets have at various times been applied to 
the inhabitants of diiferent counties and localities, 
to adhere with more or less pertinacity, in most 
cases having jocular or satirical allusion to some 
peculiarity of the district referred to, or the 
people who dwelt therein. In point of fact, how- 
ever, there is no more fitness in the application of 
the phrase " Bean-belly Leicestershire " — at any 
rate in the present day — to the inhabitants of 
Leicestershire than there is in calling the men of 
Lincolnshire or the dwellers in weald of Kent 
" yellow-bellies," because the eels and frogs of the 
fens have the abdomen of that colour. 

A famous old proverb relating to Market 
Harborough was : — 

" A goose will eat all the grass which grows in Harborough- 
field." 

This is explained by the fact that Market 
Harborough had no pasture lands belonging to it. 
Mothers and nurses used, according to Grose, to 
make common use of the expression : — 

"I'll throw you into Har borough-field," 
in order to frighten refractory children under 



108 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

their care into obedience, the circumstance of 
there being no field at Harborough entaiUng no 
obligation of carrying out the threat with which 
the youngsters were terrorised. 

Two sayings, probably having reference to 
Grooby, near Leicester, are noticed by Gough : — 

" Then I'll thatch Groby-pool with pancakes," 
is the first. This was locally made use of when 
any person boastingly undertook to perform any- 
thing having an air of great improbability. The 
other old proverb in connection with this 
presumably apochryphal pool, which, says Gough, 
is not mentioned by Burton, which : — 

*' At his death there will be many a wet eye in Groby-pool." 

The meaning of this was that no one would 
weep for or regret the demise of the party 
alluded to. It was applied, of course, to persons 
not held in high esteem. 

In alluding to Hocks Norton it was commonly 
customary, years ago, to say : — 

" Hogs Norton, where pigs play on the organ." 

A former organist of the parish church was 
blessed with the patronymic of Piggs, and, to 
give point to the phrase, Hocks Norton was 
corrupted into Hogs Norton, hence the origin 



LOCAL PROVERBS AND FOLK PHRASES. 109 

and application of this slightly witty colloquial 
saying. 

The inhabitants of Carlton Curlieu were, a few 
generations back, known as *' Carlton wharlers," 
because of a difficulty they experienced in 
correctly pronouncing the letter "r." Of this 
Burton thus speaks: — "I cannot here omit one 
observation, which, by some, hath been made of 
the naturalists of this town, that all those who 
were born here have a harsh and rattling kind of 
speech, uttering their words with much difficulty, 
and wharling in the throat, and cannot well 
pronounce the letter ' r.' It is, however, said 
that the present generation have got over the 
impediment." 

An antiquated bit of weather wisdom, common 

in the north-east of the county of Leicester, and 

also in those portions of the shires of Nottingham 

and Lincoln adjacent to " Belvoir's lordly 

terraces," is : — 

" If Bever have a cap, 
You churles of the vale look to that." 

The interpretation of this proverbial saying is 
that when dark masses of cloud are seen hovering 
over the towering ramparts of Belvoir Castle, it 
is a prognostication of much rain being about 



no BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

to fall in the surrounding valley. The ancestral 
home of the Rutland family stands on a 
commanding eminence, and continuous wet 
weather is very unfavourable to agricultural 
operations in the contiguous low-lying country. 

It used to be derisively said of any fellow 
conspicuous for his cowardice, but who, notwith- 
standing that he was constantly bragging of his 
pugilistic accomplishments, had never dared to 
engage in an actual combat : — 

"The last maa he killed keeps hogs in Hinckley-field." 
An egotistical person, or, as Grose tersely puts 
it, " one that is past learning," had this proverb 
sarcastically applied to him : — 

" He had gone over Assfordby Bridge backwards." 
Grose was of opinion that the point of this saying 
lay in the equivocal word prefixed in the name of 
the parish cited. The Assfordby referred to is no 
doubt the place now known as Asfordby, situated 
close to Melton Mowbray. 

" Put up your pipes and go to Lockington wake," 
was a command formerly given by the Leicester- 
shire people to troublesome fellows. Lockington 
stands at the extremity of the shire, near the 
confluence of the rivers Trent and Soar ; and the 
source of annoyance having been removed to such 



LOCAL PROVERBS AND FOLK PHRASES. Ill 

a distance from the greater portion of the county, 
would not of course cause so much inconvenience. 
The mention of the words pipes and wake would 
seem to indicate that the proverb was originally 
applied to a wandering minstrel. That race have 
always been regarded in the light of nuisances, 
and a wake or fair would be the most suitable 
place in which to ply their avocation. 

"The same again, quoth Mark of Belgrave," 

Tn common conversation, when a repetition of 
any sentence was made, or desired, it was usual 
to add " quoth Mark of Belgrave." Mark of 
Belgrave, so says tradition, was an officer of 
militia in the days of "good Queen Bess," who, 
whilst exercising the men under his charge before 
the Lord-Lieutenant, became so nervous after 
issuing the first word of command that he could 
remember no more of the order of his duty, but 
repeatedly called on his company to do " the 
same again." 

A proverb allotted to the county of Leicester 

by Grose is : — 

" What have I to do with Bradshaw's windmill 1 " 

which is elucidated as being synonymous with 

" what have I to do with any other men's 

business ? " 



112 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

The same antiquary, who, by-the-bye, is the 
" note takin' chiel " immortalised by Burns, 
apportions two other old sayings to Leicester- 
shire, referring to places which have not now any 
existence in the county, at least not by the names 

given : — 

" In and out like Belledon, I wot." 

This phrase was applied by Leicestershire 
people to anything crooked, and Belledon was, 
says Grose, probably a scattered irregular 
village ; though, adds he, nothing particular 
respecting it occurs in Burton. Destitute way- 
farers were known to the inhabitants of 
Leicestershire by the common designation of 
"Bed worth beggars." 

Bed worth, Grose remarks, is not mentioned by 

any of the topographical writers ; but is probably 

some poor hamlet. The saying may have had 

reference to the parish of Bedworth, near 

Nuneaton, in the neighbouring county of 

Warwick. 

"At Great Glen 
There are more great dogs than honest men." 

The above rhyme was formerly applied to the 

village of Glen Magna, and does not, we are 

afraid, reflect great credit on those inhabitants of 



LOCAL PROVERBS AND FOLK PHRASES. 113 

the place who Hved there when the saying 
originated. 

An active jumper was said to : — 

" Leap like the Bell-giant or devil of Mountsorrel." 

This proverb is derived from a very curious old 
Leicestershire legendary story. As this tradition 
is supposed to have given names to several 
places in the neighbourhood of Mountsorrel, we 
will briefly recapitulate it for the delecta- 
tion of our readers. Here it is in the words 
of Peck : — " The country people have a story of a 
giant or devil, named Bell, who once, in a merry 
vein, took three prodigious leaps, which they 
thus describe : — 

" At a place, thence ever after called Mount- 
sorrel, he mounted his sorrel-horse, and leaped a 
mile, to a place from this circumstance since 
called One Leap, now corrupted into Wanlip ; 
thence he leaped another mile, to a place called 
Burstall, from the bursting of both himself, his 
girths, and his horse ; the third leap was also a 
mile, but the violence of the exertion and shock 
killed him, and there he was buried, and the place 
has ever since been denominated Bell's grave, or 
Bel-grave." Truly a marvellous story, but only 
one amongst a great number of a similar character 



114 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

which have at various times during the reign of 

ignorance and superstition, in the dark ages of 

the past, found credence among the people of our 

land. 

Another old Leicestershire saying sets forth that : 

" There are more unfortunate women in Hose than virtuous 
ones at Long Claxton." 

Hose and Long Claxton are two neighbouring 
villages in the vicinage of Melton Mowbray, 
Long Claxton being very considerably the 
largest ; so that the assertion made in the pro- 
verb appears, on the face of it, to say the least, 
very strange. The saying is, however, really a 
play on the word " Hose," its true meaning being 
that there are more fallen women who wear hose 
than virtuous ones dwelling in Long Claxton. 
This coarse colloquialism was at one time retailed 
to every stranger who halted in the neighbour- 
hood of Hose or Long Claxton ; and much 
wonderment was excited in the minds of those un- 
acquainted with the double entendre of the 
assertion it apparently makes. 

An old writer on proverbs informs us that 
a hog- pudding was, more than a hundred years 
ago, spoken of as a " Leicestershire plover," but 
why, he makes no attempt to explain. 



LOCAL PROVERBS AND FOLK PHRASES. 115 

Ray, probably erroneously, places the following 
saying amongst the Leicestershire proverbs : — 
" Like the Mayor of Hartlepool, you cannot do that." 

Of course every school-boy is aware that 
Hartlepool is not in Leicestershire, but in the 
northerly county of Durham ; still it may be — 
from the fact of Ray, who was an observant and 
generally reliable writer, having included the 
proverb in those belonging to Leicestershire — that 
it was in common use in the Midland county. 
Grose, too, following the earlier antiquary, deals 
with this proverb under the heading of Leicester- 
shire, and informs us by way of elucidation that 
its understood sense was " you cannot accomplish 
impossibilities." The industrious captain adds a 
little illustrative story, which is, says he, the 
origin of the proverb. " A Mayor of a poor 
Corporation, desirous to show his old companions 
that he was not too much elated by his election 
to office, told them that though he was Maj^or of 
the Corporation, he was still but a man, and that 
there were many things he could not do." 

Such is a brief review and attempt at explana- 
tion of the most interesting of the local proverbial 
sayings of olden Leicestershire which have been 
handed down to the present day. The lapse of 



116 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

time has deprived many of them of their original 
zest and application ; but they are reliques of the 
popular folk-phrases of our fore-goers, and as 
such, deserving of the attention of all those who 
have any sort of regard for the associations of 
antique ages. 



Ifeetival Cuetoma in Xcice^terabire. 

By Henrietta Ellis. 

TO our forefathers the year in its round 
brought a succession of festivities, now 
almost forgotten, or only very partially observed. 
Christmas rejoicings were scarcely over, and 
Twelfth Cakes but lately eaten, when on Plough 
Monday a band of merry yokels invaded the farm- 
house kitchen to execute a lively dance. Their 
presence was supposed to be a signal that field 
work was about to be resumed ; they were 
probably entirely guiltless of having offered 
tapers to "speed the plough" at any shrine, but 
with some of their number in feminine attire, 
they would impersonate the ancient characters, 
and shout " good luck " on leaving to all who 
encouraged their sport. 

A few weeks later, on St. Valentine's Morn, 
the children would be early astir, eager to go to 
the great house "for a valentine." Assembled in 
groups before the front door of the mansion they 
piped forth their greeting : — 



118 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

"Good morrow Valentine, 
A piece of bread and cheese, 
And a bottle of wine ; 
If you've got a penny in your pocket, 
Slip it into mine ; 
We used to come at eight o'clock, 
And now we come at nine." 

The children's reward consLsted of halfpence or 
" Valentine Buns," always respectfully acknow- 
ledged by forelock or curtsey. T. R. Potter, in 
his " History of Charnwood Forest," says that on 
one such occasion he saw as many as "three 
hundred children with happy faces" going to 
Beaumanor. The art of making " Valentine 
Buns " is not yet forgotten in the neighbourhood 
of Melton. 

Shrove Tuesday again was a day when the 
children felt as light and free as the very shuttle- 
cocks which they sent into the air. An old custom 
of obtaining the half-holiday by "barring the 
master out of school " survived at Frisby-on-the 
Wreake until within the last forty years. The 
method of procedure was to entice the master 
by a pre-concerted manoeuvre outside the door of 
the school-house, and then turn the key upon 
him. The youngsters within would then 
commence to shout vigorously : — 



FESTIVAL CUSTOMS. 119 

"Pardon, master, pardon. 
Pardon in a pin, 
If you don't give a holiday 
We wont let you in," • 



or 



" Pardon, master, pardon, 
Pardon in a spout. 
If you don't give a holiday 
We'll all keep yKDu out." 

No Leicestershire schoolmaster is now 
" pardoned out of school " when the Pancake 
Bell rings at Shrovetide, but in many places 
children are allowed a little special license at that 
season, and may be seen playing in fields 
(possibly the old common land of the village) 
usually deemed sacred from such intrusion. 

In Leicester, a fair in the Newarke was a 
time-honoured Shrove Tuesday institution ; and 
long after the fair had been discontinued, the 
presence of men known as "whipping Toms" 
caused considerable riot, though the carter's 
whips, with which they were armed, were 
supposed to be for the express purpose of 
controlling the mob and clearing the precincts of 
the castle. Their last appearance was in 1847. 

The tradition which associates the hare with 
Easter is widely spread. Instances of it may be 



120 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

found in Leicestershire in the Easter Monday 
hunt, which used to take place on the Dane Hills 
near Leicester, and the scramble for " hare pies," 
which still goes on at Hallaton. In the former 
case a dead cat, sprinkled with aniseed and trailed 
over the ground at the tail of a horse, did duty 
for the hare, the trail being made finally to end 
at the door of the Mayor, who was expected to 
regale the hunters at the close of the day. At 
Hallaton, lands known as " Hare Crop Leys " 
were left to the rector in consideration of his 
providing annually " two hare pies, a quantity of 
ale, and two dozen penny loaves." The pies, now 
made of mutton or veal and bacon, are carried, 
cut up in a sack, at the head of a procession, on 
Easter Monday, to a place called * * Hare Pie 
Bank," on the outskirts of the village. The 
penny loaves are broken into fragments, and 
distributed by the way. Arrived at the scene of 
action, the contents of the sack are poured out, 
and scrambled for by the crowd. Part of the ale 
becomes the property of the men of any village 
who can succeed in kicking the wooden bottle 
containing it some five hundred yards across a 
brook, to a certain boundary ; the rest is drunk 
with full honours at the market cross. 



FESTIVAL CUSTOMS. 121 

The First of May has been an occasion for 
gladness and rejoicing since earhest times. 
Maplewell (May-pole- well), near Woodhouse, is 
said to be the spot where the Forest celebrations 
of this festival took place. In the " Tablette 
Book " of Lady Mary Keyes (a sister of Lady 
Jane Grey), a quaint description is given of 
May-day at Bradgate, in the 16th century : 
"Then when the merrie May Pole and alle the 
painted Morris dancers withe Tabor and Pipe 
beganne their spritelie anj:icks on oure butiful 
grene laune, afore that we idel leetel 
Bodyes had left owre warme Bedds, woulde 
goode Mistresse Bridget the Tire-woman whom 
our Lady Mother alwaies commanded to do owre 
Biddinge, com and telle us of the merrie men 
a-dancing on the Grene." On May morning the 
milkmaids would repair to the fields with pails 
bedecked with flowers. In some villages, arches 
of evergreens were erected, in others a large May- 
pole was carried round (occasionally on Whit Mon- 
day), and an ancient doggerel shouted in chorus : — 

" Riggany, raggany, 
Ten pin flaggany ; 
Eighteen pole." 

The first two lines of this apparently meaning- 



122 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

less jingle were said very rapidly, the third 
with the syllables long drawn out, 

Whit Monday has long been a day of " cakes 
and ale." In Leicester itself during the Middle 
Ages an imposing spectacle was witnessed. A 
gorgeous procession, with an image of the Virgin 
borne aloft, set out from the Church of St. Mary, 
and gathering contingents from other churches as 
it passed down High Cross Street (at that time 
the High Street), it proceeded through the 
North Gate to the Mother Church of St. 
Margaret, before the High Altar of which two 
pairs of gloves were offered, one to the glory of 
God, the other to St. Thomas of India. At 
Hinckley, in much later times, a pageant took 
place known as the " Riding of the Millers." 
This was a procession of millers from different 
parts of the country, dressed out in ribbons, with 
the " King of the Millers " at their head, followed 
by representatives of various trades of the town, 
carrying signs of their calling. The chief 
personages in the show were a supposed Baron of 
Hinckley and his Lady, in picturesque costume. 
At Burrow Hill, the Races, held in much later 
times on the level ground within the earthworks 
at the top, drew together annually a large 



FESTIVAL CUSTOMS. 123 

concourse of people. Leland thus describes these 
sports : "To these Borowe hills every year on 
Monday after White Sonday, com people of the 
country thereabouts, and shoote, runne, wrestle, 
dance, and use other feats of like exercise." They 
have long been discontinued. At Enderby some 
curious observances are associated with the 
selling of the grass of a certain meadow. This 
piece of land, known as " The Wether," is said to 
have been given to the men of Ratby by John of 
Gaunt. After the sale, which always takes place 
on Whit Monday, the seller and his attendants 
ride to Leicester to spend the proceeds at an inn 
in the town. Not only do they order for 
themselves a sumptuous repast, but ten of the 
aged inmates of the Trinity Hospital are also 
treated to a luncheon, the principal dish at which 
must consist of calf s head. Originally the riders 
wore in their hats a tuft of the grass of the 
meadow, tied with a silver tagged lace, which was 
taken out and thrown among the populace on 
reaching the High Cross. 

The Wake or Feast has long been a time of 
much holiday-making in every village. If held 
in the summer, the church would often be freshly 
" strawed," as is still done on the first and second 



124 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

Sundays in July at Braunstone and Glenfield 
respectively. At Braunstone the hay used for 
the purpose is brought from a particular field 
adjoining the parish of Aylestone, and must be 
spread on the floor of the church by the clerk 
without using a fork, or the right to the produce 
of the "Clerk's Acre" would be forfeited. At 
Glenfield, the tradition is that Lady Glenfield, 
having lost her way, and being helped out of her 
dilemma by the parish clerk, bestowed on him, as 
a reward, the "Church Acre," from which the 
church might be spread with hay for ever. The 
"acre" is now used as grazing land, but hay is 
procured by the clerk elsewhere, and duly spread. 
In September there were the Fairs, principal 
among them being the one at Leicester, granted 
by charter of Edward III., to be held "three 
days before and three days after the Feast of St. 
Michael." Smaller fairs were likewise held at 
Lutterworth, Husband's Bosworth, Hinckley, 
Kibworth, Hallaton, and other places. Farm 
servants were always hired for the twelve-month 
at the open air " statutes " at these fairs. Men 
and maids would stand in lines down the street, 
a waggoner with a knot of whip-cord in his hat ; 
a thresher with a few wheat ears ; a shepherd, a 



• FESTIVAL CUSTOMS. 125 

bit of wool ; a cow-man some hairs from a cow's 
tail ; and so on. A hiring penny always closed 
the bargain by way of stipulation. On the north 
side of the county many of the fairs were held at 
Martinmas, as, for instance, at Market Bosworth, 
Sproxton, Castle Donington, and Loughborough. 
Towards the end of the year preparations for 
Christmas began in good time. Pigs must be 
killed, and " chittering pies " made, or pasties of 
mince-meat in the shape of a pig, with tail of 
pastry and eyes of currants. " Mince pigs " were 
always favourite presents for absent members of 
the family, and were made in various sizes, large 
ones for the grown-ups, smaller ones for the 
children. They are not to be purchased at any 
shop, and but few Leicestershire house-wives now 
know how to make them. Finally the rejoicings 
of Christmas Eve brought round the mummers, 
with their thrilling representations of St. George 
and the Dragon, and a now forgotten song about 
the coyness of Chloe. Whether any such are 
to be found in the county now we know not, but 
in a village not far from Leicester they were to 
be seen about ten years ago. 

"Thus times do shift, each thiug his turn does hold ; 
New things succeed, as former things grow old." 



Mttcbcraft in Xciceetcrsbire, 

By J. Potter Briscoe, f.r.h.s. 

SUCH was the ignorance and superstition 
which prevailed in Leicestershire in the 
summer of 1616, that, on the 16th July, nine 
females were executed at the gallows on the 
charge of having bewitched a youth of twelve or 
thirteen years of age, named Smith, of Husband 
Bosworth, in Leicestershire. It is stated that 
half a dozen of these poor creatures were familiar 
spirits, — one was like a horse, a second like a dog, 
another like a cat, another a fulmart, another a 
fish which was not described, and another a cod- 
fish, each of which tormented the youth ! When 
the boy was possessed by the horse he would 
winny, and when the cat took possession of him 
he would mew. At these times he would go into 
fits, when strong persons were unable to keep 
him quiet. These attacks were witnessed by the 
best known people in the neighbourhood. After 
their trial by the judges of assize, the wretched 
women were ordered to be executed, which 



w 



WITCHCRAFT IN LEICESTERSHIRE. Ill 



sentence was carried out as we have already 
stated. 

Here is an instance of the belief in witchcraft 
which existed in the same county a century and a 
half later. In 1760 a dispute arose in the 
little village of Glen between two old women, 
each of whom vehemently accused the other 
of witchcraft. The quarrel at last ran so 
high that a challenge ensued, and they both 
agreed to be tried by the ordeal of swimming. 
They accordingly stripped to their shifts, procured 
some men, who tied their thumbs and great toes 
together, cross- wise, and then, with a cart rope 
about their middle, suffered themselves to be 
thrown into a pool of water. One of them sank 
immediately, but the other continued struggling 
a short time upon the surface of the water. The 
mob deeming this an infallible sign of her guilt, 
pulled her out, and insisted that she should 
immediately impeach all her accomplices in the 
craft. She accordingly told them that in the 
neighbouring village of Burton there were 
several old women "as much witches as she was." 
Happily for her, this negative information was 
deemed sufficient, and a student in astrology, or 
" white witch, " coming up at the time, the mob, 



128 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

by his direction, proceeded forthwith to Burton 
in search of all the deHnquents. After a Httle 
consultation on their arrival, they went to the old 
woman's house on whom they had fixed the 
strongest suspicion. The poor old creature on 
their approach locked the outer door, and from 
the window of an upstairs room asked what they 
wanted. They informed her that she was charged 
with being guilty of witchcraft, and that they had 
come to duck her ; remonstrating with her at the 
same time upon the necessity of submission to the 
ordeal, and that if she were innocent all the world 
would know it. Upon her persisting in a positive 
refusal to come down, they broke open the door 
and carried her out by force to a deep gravel pit 
full of water. They tied her thumbs and toes 
together and threw her into the water, where they 
kept her for several minutes, drawing her out and 
in two or three times by the rope round her 
middle. Not being able to satisfy themselves 
whether she was a witch or no, they at last let 
her go, or, more properly speaking, they left her 
on the bank to walk home by herself, if ever she 
recovered. Next day they tried the same 
experiment upon another woman, and afterwards 
upon a third ; but fortunately neither of the 



WITCHCRAFT IN LEICESTERSHIRE. 129 

victims lost her life from this brutality. Many 
of the ringleaders in the outrage were appre- 
hended during the week, and tried before the 
justices of quarter-sessions. Two of them were 
sentenced to stand in the pillory and to be 
imprisoned for a month ; and as many as twenty 
more were fined in small sums for the assault, and 
bound over to keep the peace for a twelvemonth. 



XKIliHiam Xill^, tbe HstrolOGcr. 

By W. H. Thompsok. 

IN his " Hudibras," Butler has an astrologer 
whom he holds up to ridicule, under the 
name of Sidrophel. The poet, a man with a 
keen eye for the foibles and follies of his time, 
and coupled with it, a power of satire which has 
been rarely rivalled, doubtless had before him 
some particular character in actual life, when he 
drew the picture. 

" Quoth Ralph, not far from hence doth dwell 
A cunning man, hight Sidrophel, 
That deals in destiny's dark counsels. 
And sage opinions of the moon, sells ; 
To whom all people far and near. 
On deep importances repair." 

Professors of the occult arts were at that period 
by no means rare, for in the seventeenth century, 
Englishmen of all ranks, from the aristocracy down- 
ward, were quite commonly dabblers in astrology 
and the forecasting of horoscopes. There was, 
however, one astrologer whom the great satirist, 
with his Royalist sympathies, might be supposed 



WILLIAM LILLY, THE ASTROLOGER. 131 

to take an especial delight in lampooning and 

putting to ridicule. Fortune-tellers there were 

many, but none that the Commonwealth had so 

delighted to honour as William Lilly. Not 

only was he imagined to have foretold a number 

of the worst disasters that had befallen the 

Royalist cause, but he boasted also to have had 

the friendship of some of the most prominent 

meriibers of the parliamentary party. Says 

Ralph again to Hudibras : — 

'* Do not our great Reformers use 
This Sidrophel to forbode news : 
To write of victories next year, 
And castles taken, yet i' th' air ; 
Of battles fought at sea, and ships 
Sunk two years hence, the last eclipse ; 
A total overthrow giv'n the king, 
In Cornwall, horse and foot next spring ; 
And has not he point blank foretold 
What se'er the close committee would ; 
Made Mars and Saturn for the cause, 
The moon for fundamental laws." 

There was no man of the period beside Lilly, 

with his strange prophecies, his Roundhead 

partisanship, his accommodating to the desires of 

parliamentary wirepullers, as indicated in the 

lines : — 

" And has he not point blank foretold 
What se'er the close committee would," 



132 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

together with his great influence, to whom the 
words of Butler can be so aptly applied. 

William Lilly was born at Dise worth in 1602. 
He came of a tolerably good stock ; a family 
which had been " yeomen in that place for many 
asres." So far as education was concerned, he 
received a fair classical training at Ashby de la 
Zouch, although, as he himself somewhat quaintly 
says '' his master never taught logic." Does this 
latter fact explain some of the vagaries into 
which the pupil afterwards fell ? 

Lilly's father having died, and his family being 
left in great poverty, the youth came to London 
in his eighteenth year, where he obtained a menial 
situation of some sort in the household of a 
certain old citizen and his wife. He succeeded in 
winning the good graces of both. The master 
died in 1627, and left him an annuity of £20 per 
year, and then not very long afterwards his 
mistress and he were married. 

She died in 1633. At her decease, he came in 
for property of the value of £1,000, this repre- 
senting a far larger sum in Lilly's day than ours, 
and he was now in comparatively easy circum- 
stances. It was sometime about this period, 
having leisure on his hands, that he really began 



WILLIAM LILLY, THE ASTROLOGER. 133 

to prosecute his occult studies. He read all the 
books on astrology that he could obtain, and 
began to try his apprentice skill. The breaking 
out of hostilities between the Royalists and the 
Puritan party, and the subsequent stirring 
character of the epoch came to him as a golden 
opportunity. It was then, he tells us, he " did 
carefully take notice of every grand ' action 
betwixt king and parliament, and did first then 
incline to believe that as all sublunary affairs 
depend on superior causes, so there was a 
possibility of discovering these by the configura- 
tions of superior bodies." And having " made 
some essays," he " found encouragement to 
proceed further ; and ultimately framed to him- 
self that method which he ever afterward 
followed." 

Quickly he rose into great notoriety. His 
almanacs, forecasting coming events, had an 
extremely wide circulation, and by the common 
people he was looked up to as a veritable 
prophet. Further, it was not only amongst the 
unlettered populace that he was held in high 
reputation. If his own statement is to be 
believed (and there is no reason for doubting it), 
he was intimate in his astrological capacity with 



134 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

ca number of the most leading men of the times ; 
Lenthal, the speaker of the House of Commons, 
Whitlock, Ashmole, the antiquary, even the 
learned Selden appears to have given him 
countenance. This latter fact affords us a 
curious illustration as to the state of intellectual 
thought then prevalent. Indeed the only 
important difference between Lilly and a large 
portion of his contemporaries seems to have 
been this : that the beliefs which they in a 
general vague sort of fashion held, he endeavoured 
to apply to the current problems of his age. 
Not but that there was a very considerable element 
of the *' quack " in his make up. He may have 
been a sincere believer in the arts which he 
professed, but at the same time he was not above 
calling to his aid all the assistance which an 
intimate acquaintance with the political move- 
ments both at home and abroad could give him. 
He was as astute as he was credulous. Hence 
not only did he study the stars and planets, but 
he had also agents and informers everywhere. 

In the present sketch it is impossible for us to 
give in detail all the various schemes or enter- 
prises into which he entered. On one occasion, 
in the early days of his fame, he applied for 



WILLIAM LILLY, THE ASTROLOGER. 135 

permission to ascertain, by means of divining 
rods, whether there was not extensive treasure 
buried beneath the cloisters of Westminster 
Abbey. Leave having been obtained from the 
dean, on the condition that he should have his 




WILLIAM LILLY. 



share of whatever might be found, Lilly "and 
thirty other gentlemen entered the cloisters one 
night, and applied hazel rods." After, however, 
they had disinterred a few lead coffins, a violent 
storm arose, which so alarmed them that they all 
took to their heels and ran home. 



136 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

His first almanac was published in 1644, with 
the title of "Merlinus Anglicus, Junior," and 
such was the avidity with which the public 
devoured his prognostications, that the whole 
edition was sold out in a few days. To shew the 
importance attached to his forecasts, and what 
was their actual or reputed influence upon the 
minds of the people, Lilly was somewhere about 
this time arrested, by the Commissioners of 
Excise, as being the indirect instigator of certain 
insults which they had received. The Com- 
missioners complained of " having their cloaks 
pulled on 'Change," and that the Excise Office 
had been burned down, both of which events 
were attributed to predictions contained in one of 
his publications, " The Starry Messenger." In 
this case it was proved the events had occurred 
prior to the issue of the treatise, therefore he 
regained his liberty > 

During the contest between the King and 
Parliament, he was employed by the Royalists, 
with Charles's privity, to ascertain whether the 
King should sign the propositions of the 
Commons, and for this opinion he received £20. 
About the same period, however, he was serving 
the other side, being employed by them to furnish 



WILLIAM LILLY, THE ASTROLOGER. 137 

" perfect knowledge of the chiefest concerns of 
France," for which information he received £50 
in cash down, and the promise of an annuity of 
£100 per year. After 1645, until the Restora- 
tion, he was engaged exclusively in the interests 
of the Commonwealth party. 

Up to 1660, he had the highest reputation, 
and his house in the Strand was the resort of all 
sorts of men of mark. Under the date of October 
26th in that year, Master Samuel Pepys has the 
following entry in his diary : "To Mr. Lilly's, 
with Mr. Spong, where well received ; there being 
a club amongst his friends. Amongst the rest 
Esquire Ashmole, whom I found to be a very 
ingenious gentleman. With him we sang in Mr. 
Lilly's study." But, with the Restoration, the 
famous astrologer, like many other worthies of 
the Commonwealth, passed under a cloud. Not 
only were his Parliamentary leanings regarded as 
a black mark against him, but a new era now 
had dawned. An epoch characterised by 
licentious levity, and mocking French scepticism, 
could be expected to have scant sympathy with 
studies, however mistaken, which dealt with the 
more serious problems of life. Hence arts, which 
some of the greatest minds of the earlier half of 



138 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

the century had not considered beneath their 
attention, now sank into discredit and disrepute ; 
their arch-professor with them. Pepys reflected 
in many ways the spirit of his age, under its less 
vicious aspects ; and some years later we find 
him making fun of Lilly's prophecies. Under 
the date of 14th June 1667, we have this 
entry of his. "We read and laughed at 
Lilly's philosophies this month, in his almanac, 
this year." 

Long, however the astrologer, retained his 
popularity amongst the credulous. When Charles 
the Second had indeed sat on the throne for 
several years, there were a number of men tried 
and condemned to death for high treason in 1666, 
for a certain conspiracy which they had initiated 
on the faith of one of Lilly's forecasts. And 
for evidence that superstition dies hard, may 
be quoted the fact that as late as 1852, a 
London publisher considered it worth his while 
to issue an edition of his " Introduction to 
Astrolog}''." 

Lilly's " Life " affords one of the most 
remarkable examples of credulity, combined with 
successful charlatanry and imposture, to be found 
extant anywhere. We may add that when no 



WILLIAM LILLY, THE ASTROLOGER. 139 

longer the honoured person he had been during 
the Commonwealth period, finding his own star 
had ceased to be in the ascendant, he retired to 
Hersham, in Surrey. There, after Hving some 
years on the large fortune he had amassed, he 
died in 1680. 



(5Icanin00 from earl^ Xcicestcrsbire Mille. 

By the Rev. W. G. D. Fletcher, m.a., f.s.a. 

THERE is perhaps no class of ancient 
documents which gives us a greater insight 
into the manners and customs of our forefathers 
in the Middle Ages than old wills. The wills of 
Leicestershire persons may be found either at the 
Leicester District Probate Registry, or at 
Somerset House ; whilst some few are preserved 
at Lincoln, and at Lambeth Palace. 

The wills enrolled in the Court of Hustings of 
the City of London are the earliest series of wills 
extant; they begin in 1258. The Lambeth wills 
commence in 1 312. The wills and administrations 
of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury commence 
in 1383. The wills preserved in the Leicester 
District Registry commence about the end of the 
fifteenth century, and consist of two distinct 
series : the original wills, and wills copied into 
the Register Books. 

Few persons care to read old wilts, and yet 
they are wonderfully full of information of the 



EARLY LEICESTERSHIRE WILLS. 141 

highest interest. For genealogical purposes they 
are simply invaluable : indeed they are almost the 
only records by which families of the middle 
class can trace their descent, prior to the 
introduction of Parish Registers in the sixteenth 
century. But it is for the insight they afford us 
into the habits of our ancestors, that they are of 
so great value. In this chapter I purpose to 
show how much we can learn about Leicestershire, 
and the habits of our Leicestershire ancestors, as 
deduced from their wills. 

Pre-Reformation wills usually begin with a 
bequest of the soul to Almighty God, the Blessed 
Virgin, and all the saints ; and a direction that 
the body shall be buried in a particular church, 
or before a certain altar or image. From this 
direction we can often ascertain the correct 
dedication of the church in or near which the 
testator is buried. Next comes a bequest " for 
my mortuary" or ''principal," frequently of the 
testator's best beast, or according to the use and 
custom of the place. By the Statute of 
Circumspecte agatis, 13 Edward I., the clergy 
were permitted to sue in the Spiritual Courts for 
mortuaries, " in places where a mortuarie hath 
used to be given ; " and the taking of mortuaries 



142 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

or corse presents was further regulated some 
250 years later by the Statute 21 Henry VIII., 
cap. 6. The Leicestershire testator would then 
bequeath a small sum to the high altar of his 
parish church, for tithes forgotten ; if he were 
poor, 8d. or Is ; if he were comfortably off, 6s. 8d. 
or even 20s, He would also leave a few pence or 
shillings to the Cathedral or mother church of 
Lincoln. 

After this, there frequently occur bequests of a 
few shillings to the various Gilds of the parish ; 
to the religious houses in the neighbourhood ; to 
the side altars of the church ; to the building 
work or reparations going on at the time in 
connection with the church. Some article is not 
uncommonly given, instead of money. Thus, in 
1518, John Gybbon bequeaths to the high altar 
of Loughborough, " an apron to make an amj^-s of 
and a towell ; " and in the same year William 
Stakes of Loughborough leaves to the chapel of 
Smalley a bullock, to St. Katherine's altar a 
towel, to St. Nicolas's altar a towell-cloth, and to 
the image of St. Margaret "my wyffe's second . 
best Kerchoff." In the next year, John 
Wayttgode bequeaths "to Seynt Kat'yn aut' 
a schete." In 1521, Richard Ball leaves 



EARLY LEICESTERSHIRE WILLS. 143 

"to the Church of Wemyswold halff* a quart' of 
barly." 

The speedy deliverance of the soul from 
purgatory was of course a very important matter 
in days when the fires of purgatory were 
commonly believed in ; and so we find numerous 
bequests to priests to say masses for the repose of 
the testators' souls, A large part of the early 
wills is taken up with these bequests. The clergy 
were certainly consistent, and practised what they 
preached ; for their private money was mostly 
given in this way. I give a few instances, to 
illustrate this. Christopher Burton, in 1503, 
bequeaths to Sir Nicholas Hawarte, seven marcs, 
that he may celebrate for one year. Alice 
Whetley, in 1515, leaves 10s. "for a trentall of 
masses for my soul in the church of Loughborow." 
Hugh Yerland, in 1521, leaves ''to the three 
orders of ffreres in Leicester for fifteen masses, 
£5." Ralph Lemyngton, in 1521, bequeaths £30 
for keeping his obit sixty years, 10s. a year ; also 
" to the purchasing of XX. marc, of land by the 
yere, for to find ij. prestis, and to purchase ye 
mortemayne, £320." John Rygmadyn, in 1530, 
desires that a priest shall sing for his soul and all 
Christian souls for half a year. John Blower, in 



144 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

1534, directs Isabel his wife "to cause a trentall 
off masses to be sunge " for his soul ; and Alice 
Shylton in the same year directs that a priest 
shall sing and pray for her soul, her husband's, her 
father and mother, and all good Christian souls, 
for two years. Richard Sharpe, in 1535, directs 
that " at my buryall day mass and dirige after 
the custom of the towne, the parish priest to 
have viijd, and all other priests y'}d., and every 
child that could serrves in the quire, and haith byn 
my skeller shall have jcZ. a peice, also at my 
burial xxs. in bread to the poor people ; " and he 
leaves the residue of his estate in masses for his 
soul. 

To shew that the clergy were consistent, I 
would cite the will of Sir Thomas Crosby, priest, 
in 1523. This good priest, after various bequests 
to his parish church, leaves xs. apiece to the 
convents of Garendon, Gracedieu, and Langley, 
for saying placebo, dirige, and mass; and "an 
honest p'st synging for my sowle, my ffaders, my 
moders, my bredyrn, my systers, and all crysten 
sowles, the space off iiij. years, every yer to haffe 
ye stypend ye sum of \li., sm* to do hyt w* alt. 
xx?i." It was the custom for priests to leave their 
money for masses for their souls. 



EARLY LEICESTERSHIRE WILLS. 145 

The Religious Houses came in largely for these 
religious bequests. Elsabell Lemyntun, in 1532, 
bequeaths 5s. each to the abbeys of Garendon, 
Ulverscroft, Gracedieu, and Langley. John 
Rygmadyn, in 1530, bequeaths " 12d. to the gray 
ffreas in Lecester." Ales Shylten, in 1534, gives 
to the Abbot of Garendon, 3s. 4d., and to the 
convent, 6s. 8d. Alice Barber, of Langley, in 
1526, directs that her body be buried in the 
Church of Langley, before the image of our 
Lady ; and bequeaths " to the ffrerys howse oft' 
Dawby, 6s. 8d., to our Lady oft" Langley a Powe, 
and to the hyghe awter oft" lancton, 12d." 
Thomas Eyreke, of Leicester, in 1517, wills " that 
iij. orderis of freeris of Lecester bring my body to 
the grave, and every of them to haffe xxc?., and 
the Warden of the gray Freers to say v. messys 
at the entering of our Lady in the Frers, and 
to have xxo?. for his labor." 

Sir E-auf Shirley, Knight, of Staunton Harold, 
1516, bequeathed 10s. to every house of Friars in 
Leicester, to pray for his soul. William, Lord 
Hastings, in 1481, bequeathed £10 to the Grey 
Friars of Leicester, and 100s. to each of the 
other two houses of Friars. 

The early wills often contain the only records 

L 



146 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

we have of the mediaeval Gilds, which played so 
important a part in the middle ages. The returns 
made in the reign of Richard II., and preserved 
in the Public Record Office, are, I believe, missing 
or lost, so far as Leicestershire is concerned. 
But from the wills we learn at least the names 
of these Gilds, for it was the practice of most 
tradesmen to leave small legacies to the Gilds of 
their town. And it is astonishing to find how 
numerous these Gilds were. Thus the little town 
of Loughborough, with its population of perhaps 
2,000 or 2,500 people, had, in the early part of 
the sixteenth century, at least twelve Gilds. 
The pre-Reformation wills have preserved to us 
the names of these Gilds : — Religious or Social 
Gilds : Jesus, Corpus Christi, Our Lady, St. 
George, St. Katherine, King's Gild ; Trade or 
Craft Gilds : Weavers, Carpenters, Shoemakers, 
Tailors, Cordwainers, and Smiths. The Religious 
or Social Gilds were dissolved in 1549, when 
the king seized their property. The Trade or 
Craft Gilds subsequently merged into the Trade 
Companies. As most men belonged to one or 
more Gilds, and members were expected to leave 
a legacy, the names of these Gilds have fortun- 
ately thus been preserved. Thomas Burton, the 



EARLY LEICESTERSHIRE WILLS. 147 

founder of the splendid Loughborough Charities, 
by his will, in 1494, bequeathed "to the Gilds of 
Jesus, Corpus Christi, the Weavers, Carpenters, 
and to the King's Gild, twenty shillings, to be 
equally divided amongst them." Richard Sharpe, 
in 1535, left to the Church of Hallouten twelve 
pence, and to Corpus Christi Gild, in the same 
town, twelve pence. John Loveday, in 1419, 
made bequests to the Gilds of Corpus Christi, St. 
Cross, St, Thomas, and St. Katharine, in 
Leicester. 

Bequests for repairing bridges and fords are 
very common ; indeed legacies seem to have 
been the chief source of their reparation. The 
before-mentioned Thomas Burton left, in 1494, 
twenty shillings, and more if necessary, to the 
reparations of bridges and public roads within the 
the parish of Loughborough. William Smythe, 
of Cotes, bequeathed, in 1560, twelve pence "to 
mendinge of a forthe at Cotes bry gge." John 
Fildyng, of Lutterworth, in 1403, left money for 
repairing the king's highway in Ly Bonde-end, 
and the bridge leading to the hospital. Thomas 
de Beby, of Leicester, in 1382, bequeathed to the 
reparation of the north and west bridges forty 
shillings each, and for the repair of the road 



148 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

called le Wodegate, twenty shillings. Ralph 
Wooton, of Stoke-golding, in 1533, left "one land 
to the towne to dyge stone for reparacions of 
hyeways in the towne and fylds for evermore." 

Bequests to the poor, though now very rare, 
frequently occur after the Reformation, and 
occasionally before. The dissolution of the 
Monasteries proved a great blow to the poor, and 
the Poor Laws were inefficient; and so in 
Elizabeth's reign and later, testators were chari- 
tably disposed. Loughborough testators, from 
1520 to 1540, frequently left 13d., and sometimes 
as many black hoods, " to the xiii poor Beedes 
folke." 

It was not rare for a testator to bequeath 
money or loaves to be distributed amongst the 
poor who should be present at his funeral. 
Ralph Wooton of Stoke-golding, in 1533, left a 
curious bequest of " a dole of fifteen loaves and 
fifteen herrings to the poor of Stoke every 
Sunday next Easter." To give a few more 
instances : John Adeson, rector of Loughborough 
and Caldbeck, in 1540, left " to every poore house 
in Lughborowe, fourpence ; and four quarters of 
rye, and four quarters of barlye, to be disposed 
amongst them at the discretion of Richard Grene 



EARLY LEICESTERSHIRE WILLS. 149 

and Sir William Fyshpicke, and four quarters of 
pese." John Stockes, of Beaumanor, in 1575, 
leaves 20s. to the poor of Woodhouse ; Thomas 
White, in 1682, 40s. to the poor of Lutterworth ; 
and Katherine Parker, of East Norton, in 1747, 
40s. to the poor of Tugby for bread, and £5 each 
to the poor of Goadby, Hallaton, Billesdon, and 
other places, Thomas Damporte, sometime 
mayor of Leicester, leaves, in 1556, **£3 to be 
geven to poore folke the day of my buriall." 

We can often glean a man's religious 
views from his will. Thus we find a rector of 
Loughborough, John Willocke, in 1585, directing 
that his body should " be buried christenly in the 
grounde without any Rynginge after my deathe, 
or any pompe, miche lesse without any Supersticon 
wheare my frends will." He was evidently in 
sympathy with the Puritanism prevalent in 
Elizabeth's reign. Another rector. Dr. John 
Bright, in 1695 directs that £100 or more should 
be spent upon his funeral and monument : but he 
was chaplain to the King and Dean of St. Asaph, 
as well as rector! In 1656, Dame Margaret 
Bromley, widow of Sir Edward Bromley, a judge, 
lived at Loughborough, in the house of the 
intruding Parliamentarian rector, and she directed 



160 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

that she should be buried in the chancel by Mr. 
Trigg, and that none of her relations should be 
sent for but her nephew Abney, and no solemnity 
used, nor ringing of bells. 

Sir Robert Hesilrige, Bart., in 1721, directs 
that his trustees shall educate his children in the 
same opinions he holds, and desires his son will 
never keep a priest of any religion in his family. 
John Browne, who describes himself as "an 
unworthy servant of Christ Jesus, and minister 
of his Word," in 1622, charges his son Joseph 
Browne "to feede the flock committed to his 
charge, and that he doe it tarn verba quam 
exemplo." 

Bequests of articles of dress are very common 
in sixteenth century wills. Such garments as a 
black furred gown with hood, a jacket of St. 
Thomas worsted furred with fox and lamb, a 
black gown, a scarlet gown, a murray gown, a 
doublet of chamlet, a black hood, a girdle, a 
kertyll of sylke and gold with frerys koutts, a 
greyn gowne, a peyr of sheyts with a pillow, my 
buckskyng doublet, etc., constantly occur. 

Occasionally, but very rarely, we find a few 
books named in early wills, and these chiefly in 
the wills of the clergy. John Adeson, a priest, 



EARLY LEICESTERSHIRE WILLS. 151 

in 1540, leaves to Sir William Fishpoll, St, Thomas 
super epistolas Paulli and the Bible in four 
volumes ; to Sir Richard Grene, Summa 
Anthonini, sermones Richardi, St. Ambrose, 
Athanasius, Theophylact, Summa Angelica, 
sermones Jannensis ; to Thomas Barnyngham my 
great Bible at London ; and to John Bothe a 
Bible and Newe Testament in Englishe, and the 
Bishop's boke called the Institution of a Christian 
man. 

John Willocke, in 1585, bequeaths to the Earl 
of Huntingdon, all my bookes of histories, 
Anthonie Sabellicus the towe volumes, Naw- 
clerus, Pollydorus Virgilius, Sledanus, Paulus, 
Jovius Aventinus, the great concordance of the 
Byble, and my latten Byble, the Booke of 
Concells, and the Booke called the Code. 

John Heyrick, of Leicester (the father of Sir 
William), left, in 1589, to his son Thomas, his 
Bible lying in the hall window, and the New 
Testament of Mr. Calvin's translation. 

Thomas Bright well, d.d.. Dean of the new 
Collegiate Church at Leicester, in 1389, directs 
that all his books, which he had from Martjmhalle, 
Oxford, shall be returned thither. William de 
Humberstone, in 1394, bequeaths to the abbey 



152 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

a Bible complete in one volume. Richard de 
Spridlington, in 1382, bequeaths to Eston Chapel 
Portiforium and great Psalter, and his Ordinale ; 
and to Bringhurst Church his great Portiforium. 
In 1391, Sir Robert de Swyllyngton, Knight, 
bequeaths his new missal to our Lady of Leicester. 
William de Wolstanton, in 1403, bequeaths to 
Sir John le Scrope, his Portiforium of the use of 
York. Four of these five last testators were 
priests. 

We learn the burial places of distinguished 
personages from their wills. Thus Henry Plan- 
tagenet, Earl of Lancaster, in 1345, directs that 
his body be buried in the Hospital of our Lady of 
Leicester, in the choir before the high altar. 
His son Henry, Duke of Lancaster, Earl of Derby, 
Lincoln, and Leicester, and Seneschal of England, 
in 1360, directs that he be buried in the 
Collegiate Church of the Annunciation of our 
Lady at Leicester, near the altar where his father 
is buried ; and that the King, Queen, Prince, his 
wife Lady Isabel, and his sisters, be invited to 
his funeral. 

There are preserved, with many of the early 
wills, inventories of the goods and chattels and 
money of the testators, which were filed in the 



EARLY LEICESTERSHIRE WILLS. 153 

Court, and which throw great light on the 
domestic habits of our forefathers. Our ancestors 
lived in very much smaller houses than would 
satisfy their descendants to-day. An eight- 
roomed house would suffice for a country gentle- 
man and his family. The furniture was very 
scanty. In the hall, — the principal living room, — 
there might be one folding table, a long settle, a 
throne chair, and a form. Then there occur beds 
in all the parlours, in every room except the hall 
and kitchen. Jugs and basins were unknown ; 
perhaps only one basin and ewer in the whole 
inventory. There are no books or ornaments ; 
but a fine collection of silver plate. 

Let us look at the inventory attached to the 
will of a yeoman, one of the Herricks, John 
Heyrick of Houghton-on-the-Hill, in 1543. He 
has but four rooms in his house, viz., the hall, 
seller, kitchen or bruhouse, and barn. In the 
hall were 5 pots, 3 pans, 12 dishes, 10 plates, 4 
saucepans, 2 salt-sellers, 2 spits, a pair of tongs, 
a table, 2 forms, a hamper, a board, a chair, 3 
stools, and a pendyd cloth. His sleeping room 
was the seller, where he had 2 beds, with 
mattresses, sheets, coverlets, blankets, bolsters, 
pillows, towels, and candlesticks. There is no 



154 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

mention of jugs, basins, baths, etc. This worthy 
yeoman's stock consisted of 10 horses, 19 kine, 
and five score sheep. His whole inventory 
amounted to £36 18s. He was evidently a 
religious man, for he leaves money for thirty 
masses, and a pyx for the Sacrament. 

We often get a glimpse at current local events 
from the wills. Thus in July 1515, the plague 
was evidently raging in the neighbourhood of 
Loughborough, as we find Gefferey Salesbury's 
will was witnessed by the parish priest, " and no 
more for ffer off the plage off pest." 

The following curious inventory, which is 
attached to the will of Raffe Warde of Lough- 
borough, 1535, shows us what expenses he was 
put to at the burial of his wife Maud : — 
" Exspenc' at the bereall of Mawd Ward. 

It. payd to the presse for masse 

& dirige ijs. iiijd 

It. payd to the belman, to thomas 

bedford iiid. 

It. payd the Ryngars . . xvc?. oh. 

It. to the bedfolke . . . ijc?. oh. 

It. payd In bred & Ayll' . . vis. \\]d. 

It. payd for belles & candyllstykes xxc?. 

It. payd for the lyghttes . . xviijc/. 



EARLY LEICESTERSHIRE WILLS. 155 

"It. payd for bred & Ay 11 to the 

Ryngars . . . . . '^d. oh. 

It. payd for A man & A horsse 

to Granth'm . , . . xiijcZ." 

Sometimes much of a man's personal history 
can be gleaned from his will. Thus one John 
Bowes of Beccles in Suffolk, in 1523, mentions 
in his will that he was born at Ragdale in the 
Wyllowes, but received his early education until 
he was fourteen at Loughborough, and that his 
father, John Bowes, and his three brothers, 
Edward, Thomas, and William, were all buried at 
Loughborough. 

Early wills are of immense value, from the vast 
amount of ecclesiastical information that they 
contain. We can get a very fair idea of the 
internal appearance of churches in pre-Reforma- 
tion times from the bequests in the wills. We 
learn the correct dedications of the churches, and 
of the side-altars ; what images were set up in 
the buildings ; approximate dates of rebuilding, 
altering, or repairing the churches ; gifts of 
communion-plate, bells, or goods ; the names of 
the parochial clergy, etc. 

The grand old parish church of Loughborough 
is now always known as All Saints ; but this is 



166 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

evidently incorrect, for in the sixteenth century 
many testators directed that their bodies should 
be interred in the church or churchyard dedicated 
in honour of St. Peter and St. Paul. In the 
same church, there were side-altars dedicated to 
St. Nicholas, St. Katherine, and our Lady, the 
last on the south side ; and images of St. 
Margaret, our Lady, and St. Anne, 

The Tower of Loughborough Church was 
evidently undergoing considerable rebuilding in 
the sixteenth century ; as many testators, between 
1521 and 1535, left money for the building of 
the steeple, the edification of the steeple, or the 
window of the steeple. 

In Wymeswold Church, there was some repre- 
sentation of the Assumption ; as Thomas 
Humston, in 1533, bequeathed "to kepyng a 
leyght before the ymage of the Assumption of our 
Lady in the hay quere of Wymundiswolde, ij 
kayne ;" and Thomas Andyby, in 1530, bequeathed 
two shillings " to the hee altar of our Lady the 
Assumptyon in Wymyswold." Thomas Lufwyk, 
rector of Burton Overy, in 1390, bequeaths to 
Lufwyk parish church, a missal, a vestment, and a 
silver zone to make a chalice. William de Humber- 
ston, in 1394, gives a toft, to maintain a light at 



EARLY LEICESTERSHIRE WILLS, 157 

the principal altar of Burstall Chapel, and twenty 
shillings for the like at Thurmaston Chapel. 
Thoraes de Beby, in 1382, bequeaths 100 shillings 
to St. Mary's altar in Beby Church. Sir Ralph 
Basset, Knight, in 1377, desires that he be 
interred in the newly-built chapel of the Blessed 
Virgin Mary, at Sapcote ; and makes a bequest to 
the high altar of St. John Baptist, of Sapcote. 
Amongst the bequests to Loughborough Church 
in the early part of the sixteenth century are 
these : — a table cloth to St. Nicolas's altar, a 
towel to St. Katharine's altar, " my wife's second 
best kerchoff " to St. Margaret's image, a gallon 
of wax to our Lady's altar. Thomas Burton, 
by his will, in 1494, left £13 6s. 8d. for the 
purchase of an altar "in honore Sancti Nicholai 
de fackur transmarium ; " this shows the date of 
the erection of this altar, and its cost. John 
Malory, in 1516, directs that he be buried in the 
chapel of St. John Baptist within the church of 
Walton. John Porter, in 1517, will be buried 
before the image of St. John Baptist in the north 
aisle of the church of Thorpe edmer. William 
Ardern, in 1530, will be buried in the church of 
Knipton, before the picture and image of our 
Lady, and gives a *' candy Istyke of latyne of three 



158 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

lights to be sett before the pyketor of all 
Saynctts " in the same church. John Jackson, 
in 1531, bequeaths twenty shillings to making of 
a new rose in the north aisle of St. Mary's, in 
Leicester. 

These fragmentary gleanings from a few of the 
early wills will show what a great deal of 
ecclesiastical information we can find in them. 

The wills were mostly made by the clergy, as 
they were often the only persons in the parish 
able to write, and were usually witnessed by 
them. They relate mainly to personalty, as, 
until Henry VIII. 's reign, a man could not dis- 
pose of his land as he wished, so as to leave it 
away from his heir-at-law. Besides appointing 
executors, it was also most usual for testators to 
appoint two or more overseers or supervisors. 

I trust that the foregoing will help to show 
something of the interest attaching to early wills, 
and of the great amount of valuable matter that 
can be gleaned from their contents. 



IPuni0bment6 of the paet 

IN " the good old days of ' Merrie England,' " 
a scolding or shrewish woman was held to 
be a delinquent against the public peace, and 
various curious instruments were devised for her 
punishment. The chief of these old fashioned 
terrors of the virago was the cucking-stool. 
Several writers on old English customs have 
alluded to the use of the cucking-stool in the 
county of Leicester, so that we see our Leicestrian 
dames were addicted, in common with their 
sisters in other parts of their country, to 
occasionally letting their tongues run too freely 
for the public comfort. 

The cucking-stool in the early history of 
England must not be confounded with the 
ducking-stool. They were two distinct machines. 
It appears from a record in the " Domesday 
Book," that as far back as the days of Edward 
the Confessor, any man or woman detected 
giving false measure in the City of Chester was 
fined four shillings ; and for brewing bad ale, was 



160 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

placed in the Cathedra stercoris. It was a 
degrading mode of chastisement, the culprits 
being seated in the chair at their own doors or 
in some public place. In 1467, the town 
authorities at Leicester directed that scolds were 
to be presented by the Mayor on a " cuck-stool " 
before their own doors, and then carried to the 
four gates of the town. 

Mr. William Kelly, f.s.a., one of the most pains- 
taking and able of Leicester antiquaries, who has 
paid much attention to obsolete local punishments, 
has some important notes bearing on this subject 
in a lecture delivered on the 24th February 1851, 
before the members of the Leicester Literary and 
Philosophical Society. " From the frequency," 
said Mr. Kelly, " with which payments for making 
Cucking-stools occur in the accounts, it is to be 
presumed that its use in this town was not rare. 
Throsby, waiting about the year 1790, says in his 
History of Leicester, that there was at that time 
a Cucking-stool kept somewhere about the Town 
Hall premises, and adds that *to the credit of 
the nimble-tongued fair it is now a long time 
since it was used.' On reading this passage, it 
immediately struck me that an oak chair in the 
Town Library (called by the Librarian, 



PUNISHMENTS OF THE PAST. 161 

' Alderman Newton's Chair,' but as I sub- 
sequently found, without authority), had very 
much the character of some of the ancient 
Cuck-stools of which I had seen engravings. I 
had not previously examined the chair closely ; 
but on doing so, I at once found my anticipations 
confirmed, as it proved beyond doubt to be one 
of these instruments of 
punishment formerly in 
use in Leicester. A draw- 
ing of this Cucking-stool 
has been kindly made for 
me b}^ Mr. Flower, from 
which the accompany- 
ing engraving is taken. 

" It will be seen that 
under the arms are 
grooves, constructed for 
the purpose of receiving and retaining in their 
proper position the cords by which the instrument 
was suspended w^hen immersion was resorted to ; 
for which occasion also the seat is so constructed 
as to be removable at pleasure, in order that it 
should offer no obstruction to the passage of the 
chair through the water. The Cucking-stool 
itself may be seen in the Town Museum." 




LEICESTER CUCKINO-STOOL. 



M 



162 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

Mr. Kelly reproduced from the Chamberlains' 
Accounts the following items : — 

s. d. 

"1548. Item,— Paid to John Croft 
for makyng the Cookstolle - - v 

1552. Item, — Paid for mendyng of 

the Cuckstole at tow tymes - - viij 

1558. Item, — Paid to Robert Crofts 
for makyng of the Duckstoole - xvj 

1563. Item, — for makinge the cuc- 

stoole ------ xvj 

Item, — to Willm. Yates for 
making pynes and bands for the 
same ------ vj 

1556. Item, — Paid to Robert Byl- 
brough for certen wood and bords 
for the repairinge of the Coock- 
stole ------ xij 

Item, — Paid to William Yates 
for ij longe pynns with coUers for 
the same Coockstoole - - - xij 

Item, — Paid for nails for the 
same Coockstole - - - - ij 

1578. Item, — Paid for a newe Cuck- 
stoole ------ xiiij." 

In 1646, a new Cucking-stool was provided. 



PUNISHMENTS OF THE PAST. 163 

and in the following year an item as follows occurs 
in the accounts of the town : — 
" Item, — Paid for making the 

Cookestoole - - - - xvjs vjd." 

This seems to indicate that more than one was 
in use at the same time. 

Mr. Kelly found in the Hall-papers of Leicester 
the following account of an accusation and 
punishment : — 

"27th June 1654, before Mr. Maior, Mr. 
Somerfeild. 

"The informacon of Mr. Thomas Goadbye 
against Ann Ramkin, widdow, sayeth as he was 
goeinge downe Redcrosse Streete, one Clarkes 
wife called him to her and shee tould him that 
one Ann Ramkin, widdow, did saye that the said 
Clarkes wife did pyne her husband in Goale, and as 
they were talkinge together the said Ann Ramkin 
came to them and did use many railenge words and 
called Mr. Goadbye knave, and did then say that 
Clarke's wife did pyne her husband in the Goale. 

" The said widdow Ramkin sent home in the 
Cuchstoole then." 

The last entry bearing on this subject Mr, Kelly 
was able to trace in the old accounts of the town 
was as follows : — 



164 



BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 



" 1768-9. Paid Mr. Elliott for a Cuck- 

stool by Order of Hall - - £2 0." 

When women were ducked at Leicester the 
operation was performed on or near the side of 
the West Bridge. Old accounts include items for 
carrying the ducking-stool thither. 

An intelligent Frenchman, named Misson, 
visited England about 1700, and has left on 




DUCKING-STOOL. 



record one of the best descriptions of a ducking- 
stool that has been written. It occurs in a work 
entitled " Travels in England." " The way of 
punishing scolding women," he writes, "is pleas- 
ant enough. They fasten an arm chair to the 
end of two beams, twelve or fifteen feet long, and 
parallel to each other, so that these two pieces of 
wood, with their two ends, embrace the chair, 
which hangs between them upon a sort of axle. 



PUNISHMENTS OF THE PAST. 165 

by which means it plays freely, and always re- 
mains in the natural horizontal position in which 
the chair should be, that a person may sit con- 
veniently in it, whether you raise it or let it 
down. 

" They set up a post on the bank of a pond or 
river, and over this post they lay, almost in equi- 
librio, the two pieces of wood, at one end of which 




DUCKING-STOOL— FROM AN OLD CHAP-BOOK. 

the chair hangs over the water. They place 
the woman in this chair, and so plunge her into 
the water, as often as the sentence directs, in 
order to cool her immoderate heat." In some 
instances the ducking was carried to such an 
extent as to cause death. 

We give two illustrations of the ducking-stool, 
one similar to that described by Misson and the 



166 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

other from an old chap-book, without date, 
entitled " Strange and Wonderful Relation of the 
Old Woman who was Drowned at Ratcliff 
Highway a fortnight ago." We gather from the 
work that the poor woman was dipped too often, 
for at the conclusion of the operation she was 
found to be dead. 

At Leicester there was another machine for 
punishing women who used their tongues too freely, 
called the Scolding Cart. In 1629 there is in 
the old accounts of the town a charge of two 
shillings for making two wheels and furnishing a 
bar for it. In many places this was known as 
the tumbrel. On this machine women were 
carted round the town before being ducked. 

There was at Leicester another form of punish- 
ment not confined to women only, it was that of 
carting through the town evil doers. A man 
ringing a bell to attract attention attended the 
procession. The culprits usually had a paper on 
their heads setting forth the nature of their 
crimes. " Entries relating to this mode of 
punishment," says Mr. Kelly, " are far from rare, 
but they are generally of a nature unsuitable for 
quotation. The following, however, may serve to 
illustrate the custom : — 



PUNISHMENTS OF THE PAST. 167 

8. d. 
" 1586. Item, — Payed for a Carte and 

to the Beadell for cartinge of twoe 

Harlotts abowte the Towne - xij 

1598. Item,— Pd to Whittel for his 

horse and Carte, and one that Led 

the horse and Carte abowte the 

town, to Cartt Marye Smythe, 

and one John Wylkynson glover xij 

Itm. p to George Longley for 

paynetinge of ij papers sett on 

Marye Smithes head and Wylkyn- 

son's [and other work] - - iij 

1613. Item, — paid for A horse and 
Carte, three holberde men, and 
one other man to ring the Bell, 

when John Camden and his 

and allso Robert Webster were by 
order of the Sessions Carted about 

the Town - - - - - iij vj 

1614. Item, — Paide to the Burne- 
man for his horse and Carte, to 
cart a Knave and a Queyne, which 

came from Coventrie - - - xij." 

The brank was an instrument planned for 
curing scolds. It was by some authorities 



168 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

considered to possess greater advantages as a 
corrective measure than the ducking-stool. Dr. 
Plot, speaking of this artifice for the silencing of 
female speech, said " I look upon it as much to 
be preferred to the cucking-stool, which not only 
endangers the health of the party, but also gives 
the tongue liberty 'twixt every dip, to neither of 
which this is at all liable, it being such a bridle 
for the tongue as not only quite deprives them of 

speech, but brings shame 
for the transgression, and 
humility thereupon, before 
'tis taken off, which being 
put upon the offender by 
order of the Magistrate 
and fastened with a pad- 
LEicESTER BRAKK. lock bchiud, shc is led 

round the town by an officer to her shame ; 
nor is it taken off till after the party begins 
to show all external signs imaginable of 
humiliation and amendment." The historian just 
quoted gives an illustration representing a pair of 
branks, as used at the end of the seventeenth 
century. They are formidable looking contriv- 
ances, consisting of hoops of metal passed round 
the neck and head, opening by means of hinges 




PUNISHMENTS OF THE PAST. 169 

at the sides, and closing by a staple with a pad- 
lock at the back ; a plate within the hoop, 
projecting inwards, pressed upon the tongue, and 
formed an effectual gag. We give a picture of 
the brank formerly in use at Leicester. In the 
parish church of Walton-on-Thames one is pre- 
served, bearing a date of 1633 and the following 
couplet : — 

" Chester presents Walton with a Bridle, 
To curb women's tongues that talk too idle." 

It is asserted that a man named Chester lost a 
valuable estate he expected to inherit from a 
wealthy relative through a gossiping and lying 
woman. 

The pillory was for a long time employed as an 
engine of punishment. In Leicester it stood in the 
Market Place. We may state that the pillory 
was for many ages common to most European 
countries. Known in France as the pillori or 
carcah, and in Germany as the prayiger, it seems 
to have existed in England before the Conquest, 
in the shape of a stretch-neck, in which the head 
only of the criminal was confined. By a 
statute of Edward I., it was enacted that every 
stretch- neck, or pillory, should be made of 
convenient strength, so that execution might be 



170 



BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 



done upon criminals without peril to their bodies. 
The pillory in which Roger Ockam underwent 
his punishment for perjury in the reign of 
Henry VIII., consisted of a wooden frame erected 
on a stool, with holes and folding boards for the 
admission of the head and hands. An engraving 
in Douce's " Illustrations of Shakespeare " (vol ii., 

p. 147), taken from a 
MS. of the thirteenth 
century, gives an example 
of a pillory constructed 
for punishing a number of 
offenders at the same time, 
but this form was of rare 
occurrence. 

The use of the pillory 
was brought to an end 
by an Act of Parliament, 
dated June 30th, 1837. As a mode of punish- 
ment it was so barbarous, and at the same time 
so indefinite in its severity, that we can only 
wonder it should not have been swept away long 
before. 

In the church of Ashby-de-la-Zouch is a finger 
pillory. It is one of a few which have come 
down to the present time. 




B. OCKAM IN THE PILLORY. 



PUNISHMENTS OF THE PAST. 



171 



We believe the finger pillory was frequently 
employed in our old manorial halls. The 
interesting Leicestershire example has often been 
described and illustrated. An account of it 
appears in Notes and Queries of October 25th, 
1851. It is described as "fastened at its right 
hand extremity into a wall, and consists of two 




FINGER PILLORV, ASHBY-DE-LA-ZOL'CH. 



pieces of oak ; the bottom and fixed piece is three 
feet eight inches long ; the width of the whole is 
four-and-a-half inches, and when closed it is five 
inches deep ; the left hand extremity is supported 
by a leg of the same width as the top, and two 
feet six inches in length ; the upper piece is 
joined to the lower by a hinge, and in this lower 
and fixed horizontal part are a number of holes, 



172 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

varying in size ; the largest are towards the right 
hand : these holes are sufficiently deep to admit 
the finger to the second joint, and a slight hollow 
is made to admit the third one, which lies flat ; 
there is, of course, a corresponding hollow at the 
top of the moveable part, which, when shut down 
encloses the whole finger." Thomas Wright, 
F.S.A., in his "Archaeological Album," gives an 
illustration of the Ashby-de-la-Zouch example, 
and we reproduce a copy. " It shows the manner 
in which the finger was confined, and it will 
easily be seen that it could not be withdrawn 
until the pillory was opened. If the offender 
were held long in this posture, the punishment 
must have been extremely painful." 

Stocks were much used, and several pairs were 
in various parts of Leicester. They were placed 
at each of the four gates of the town, and in 
other localities. One pair was placed under an 
elm tree in the Market Place, and of course in 
the towns and villages of the county. 

Whipping at the whipping-post was another 
common method of punishing persons in past 
times. From the Leicester Town Accounts 
of 1605, Mr. Kelly copied the following 
entries : — 



PUNISHMENTS OF THE PAST. 173 

" Itm.— P"*- to W"'- Sheene '• '*• 

for A poste for correction of 
Roages - . . > ij 

Itm.— P*^ to Robert Lud- 
1am, locksmythe for one Iron 
for same post - - - xij." 

And in 1660 there was 

"Paid to John Groce for 
setting up the Whipping-post 
and for ale - - - - 00 08 06." 

We learn from Machyn's Diary that it was 
also designated the post reformation. 

" At this period," continues Mr. Kelly, " the law 
made no distinction of sex, with regard to the 
punishment of the lash, for by the Statute of the 
21 Jac. I., c. 6, it was enacted that women 
convicted of simple larcenies under the value of 
ten shillings should be burned in the hand,* and 
whipped, stocked, or imprisoned for any time 
not exceeding a year ; and the whipping of 
women was not abolished until the reign of 
George IV. Thus in the account for the year 
1591 we find there was 

' Paid for the whipping of a woman - 6*^ ' 

* In the account for 1599 there is a charge of sixpence " for a Brand 
to burne prisoners withal. " 



174 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

And this entry is followed by a charge for the 

* whipping of a lame cripple,' and other instances 

of the same kind occur in subsequent years.* 

A whipping-post stood beside the stocks in 

which Hudibras was confined, of which a 

burlesque description is given in the poem ; 

whilst of the great number of them in use during 

the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. we have a 

striking testimony in the works of Taylor, the 

water-poet. He says : — 

' In London, and within a mile, I ween 
There are of jails or prisons full eighteen ; 
Ajid sixty whipping-posts, and stocks, and cages.' 

— The Virtue of a Jail. 

One of these instruments is still standing, near 
the school-house, in the village of Keyham in this 
county." 

In closing this paper we must not omit to state 
that the chief facts are drawn from an interesting 
lecture by Mr. William Kelly, delivered at the 
Literary and Philosophical Society, Leicester, 

* "The p^eneral rule of all England," says the pamphlet, entitled 
"Stanleye's Remedy," published in 1646, "is to whip and punish the 
wandering beggars and to brand them according to the form of the 
new Statute, and so mark them with such a note of infamie, as they 
may be assured no man will set them on work. " And the writer adds 
that " the poor may be whipped to death, and branded for rogues, 
and so become felons by the law, and the next time hanged for 
vagrancie." What a picture we have here of the tender mercies of 
the law at that period ! 



PUNISHMENTS OF THE PAST. 175 

on 24th February, 1851, and bearing the title of 
"Ancient Records of Leicester ;" from " Old-Time 
Punishments," by William Andrews, f.r.h.s., 
published at Hull, in 1890, and now out of print ; 
from a carefully prepared paper from the pen of 
Mr. T. Broadbent Trowsdale ; and we have also 
been supplied with notes by residents in the 
county. 



Xaurence ifcrrere : tbe flDur&erer»*iearL 

By T. Broadbent Trowsdale. 

IN a folio volume issued in 1760 (the year of 
Lord Ferrers' execution), the full title of 
which reads: — "Trial of Laurence, Earl of 
Ferrers, of Breedon, in the county of Leicester, 
for the murder of his servant, John Johnson, 
before Ho. of Peers, with judgment for murder 
given against him," is given a full account of this 
extraordinary trial, which excited more public 
interest than almost any other on record. The 
father of the nobleman who forfeited his life to 
the offended laws of his country, was the Hon. 
Laurence Shirley, fourth son of the first Earl, 
and his mother one of the daughters of Sir 
Walter Clarges, Baronet. Through his grand- 
mother, Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of 
Lawrence Washington, of Garsden, his lordship 
represented a branch of the family which, in after 
times, gave to America her illustrious President, 
George Washington, and by female descent also 
he was the representative of Robert Devereux, 



LAURENCE FERRERS. 177 

Earl of Essex, the romantic, headstrong, and 
unfortunate favourite of " Good Queen Bess." 
The estates inherited by Lord Ferrers were very 
large, his abilities of no mean order, and every- 
thing seemed to combine to brighten the prospects 
of his journey through life. But a violent temper, 
sometimes, sad to relate, maddened to fury by the 
influence of intoxication, marred all these gifts of 
fortune, and at last brought the unhappy Earl 
to an ignominious death at the hands of the 
executioner. Many, impressed with the strongest 
conviction of Lord Ferrers' insanity, have con- 
demned the verdict which consigned him to the 
scaffold, and we feel assured that, in our own 
more lenient times, the doubt that did exist would 
have tempered justice with mercy. The main 
cause of the rejection of the plea of insanity was 
the extraordinary skill and acumen displayed by 
his lordship in the examination of the witnesses ; 
and it must be conceded, even by the firmest 
advocates of the Earl's lunacy, that in most 
instances his fits of fury arose from the excite- 
ment of drinking, and that occasionally his mind 
exhibited great strength and clearness. Before 
entering on the story of the murder, we will give 
our readers a few particulars in exemplification of 



178 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

the Earl's ungovernable passion. In the year 
1752, he had married the sister of Sir William 
Meredith, Baronet, of Henbury, Cheshire, a lady 
of great beauty and accomplishments. With such 
cruelty did Earl Ferrers behave to his consort, 
that her ladyship was obliged to apply to Parlia- 
ment for redress. The consequence of her 
petition was that an Act was passed, allowing her 
a separate maintenance, to be raised out of the 
estates. 

Lord Ferrers ran his mare against a military 
friend's horse at the Derby races of 1756, for 
£50, and was the winner of the stakes. After 
the race he spent the evening with some 
gentlemen, and in the course of conversation, the 
Captain whose horse had lost the stakes for him, 
having been informed that his lordship's mare was 
in foal, proposed, in a jocose manner, to again run 
his horse against her at the expiration of seven 
months. Lord Ferrers was so affronted with 
this circumstance, which he conceived to have 
arisen from a preconcerted plan to insult him, 
that he quitted Derby at three o'clock in the 
morning, and went immediately to his seat at 
Staunton Harold in Leicestershire. He rang his 
bell as soon as he awoke, and a servant attending, 



LAURENCE FERRERS. 179 

he demanded of him if he knew how the Captain 
came to be informed of the condition of his mare. 
The servant declared that he was ignorant of the 
matter, but the groom might have told it. That 
person being called, he denied having given the 
information. Previous to the affront presumed 
to have been given on the preceding evening, 
Lord Ferrers had invited the Captain and the 
rest of the company to dine with him as on that 
day, but they all refused their attendance, though 
he sent a servant to remind them that they 
had promised to come. Lord Ferrers was 
so enraged at this disappointment, that he 
kicked and horse-whipped his servants, and 
threw at them such articles as lay within his 
reach. 

On one occasion some oysters were sent to his 
lordship from London. The bivalves did not turn 
out to be good, and the Earl thereupon directed 
one of the servants to swear that the carrier had 
changed them. The conscience of the servant 
would not allow him to take such an oath, and he 
declined to obey the order of his master. Lord 
Ferrers at once flew into a violent rage, stabbed 
the servant in the breast with a knife, cut his 
head with a candlestick, and kicked him with 



180 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

such severity that he was under the surgeon's 
care for several years afterwards. 

During a visit of the Earl's brother to himself 
and Countess at Staunton Harold, a casual 
dispute arose between the parties, and Lady 
Ferrers being absent from the room, the Earl ran 
upstairs with a large clasp knife in his hand, and 
demanded of a servant whom he met where his 
lady was. The man replied, "In her own room," 
and having directed him to follow him thither, 
Lord Ferrers sternly ordered the servant to load 
a brace of pistols with bullets. This order was 
complied with, but the man, apprehensive of 
mischief, declined priming the pistols. Lord 
Ferrers discovered this evasion, swore at the 
servant, and calling for powder, primed the 
weapons himself. He then threatened the now 
almost terror-stricken servant that if he did not 
immediately go and shoot his brother he would 
blow his brains out. The poor man hesitated, 
and his lordship pulled the trigger of one of the 
pistols, but it fortunately missed fire. Hereupon 
the Countess fell upon her knees, and implored 
her irate husband to appease his passion, but in 
return he swore at her, and threatened her 
destruction if she opposed him. The servant now 



LAURENCE FERRERS. 181 

escaped from the room, and reported what had 
passed to his lordship's brother, who immediately 
called his wife from her bed, and they left the 
house, though it was then two o'clock in the 
morning. 

The ill-fated Mr. John Johnson, the Earl's 
steward, whose life was sacrificed to his master's 
passion, had been connected with the family from 
his youth up, and was distinguished by the fidelity 
of his service, and the regular manner in which he 
kept his accounts. When the law had decreed a 
separate maintenance for the Countess, Mr. 
Johnson was proposed as receiver of the rents for 
her use, but apprehending that much unpleasant 
ness would accrue to the holder of the oflSce, he 
declined to accept it, until he was urged to do so 
by the Earl himself. It appears that at that 
time Johnson stood high in his lordship's favour, 
but this state of feeling endured for a brief period 
only. The Earl soon conceived an opinion that 
his steward had combined with the trustees to 
disappoint him of a contract for some coal mines, 
and he came to a resolution, out of spite for this 
imaginary wrong, to put an end to his existence. 
The Earl's displeasure was first evinced by his 
sending notice to Johnson to give up a profitable 



182 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

farm which he held under him, but upon Johnson 
producing a lease granted by the trustees, no 
further steps were taken in the affair. 

After this Lord Ferrers behaved in so affable 
a manner to Johnson that the latter imagined 
that all thoughts of revenge had subsided, but on 
the 13th of January, 1760, his lordship called on 
Johnson, who lived about half a mile from his 
seat, and bade him come to Staunton between 
three and four of the afternoon of the Friday 
following. His lordship's family consisted at this 
time of a gentlewoman named Clifford, with four 
of her natural children, three maid servants, and 
five men servants, exclusive of an old man and a 
boy. After dinner on the Friday, Lord Ferrers 
sent all the men servants out of the house, and 
desired Mrs. Clifford to go with the children to 
the house of her father, at a distance of about two 
miles. Johnson coming to his appointment, 
one of the maids let him in, and he was ushered 
into his lordship's room. In about an hour after, 
a female domestic, hearing some high words, 
went to the door to see if she could discover what 
was going on. Listening, she heard the Earl 
say, "Down upon your knees, your time is come, 
you must die 1 " and shortly afterwards she heard 



LAURENCE FERRERS. 183 

the report of a pistol. Then his lordship, 
apparently alarmed at the act he had committed, 
called for aid ; and his servant, on reaching the 
room, discovered the steward shot through the 
body, and weltering in his blood. Lord Ferrers, 
under a momentary touch of compassion, gave 
directions that the poor man should be led to 
bed, and that Mr. Kirkland, the surgeon, should 
be brought from Ashby-de-la-Zouch. At a 
request of the wounded man a person was also 
dispatched for his children. Miss Johnson, the 
eldest daughter, immediately came, and was 
followed by the surgeon, to whom Lord Ferrers 
said, " I intended to have shot him dead, but, 
since he is still alive, you must do what you can 
for him." 

The medical gentleman soon found that the 
poor steward had been mortally wounded ; but, 
knowing the Earl's fierce disposition, and dreading 
similar consequences to himself, he dissembled the 
matter, and told him that there was no danger in 
the case. Hereupon the Earl drank himself into a 
state of intoxication, and then went to bed ; after 
which Mr. Johnson was sent to his own house, in 
a chair, at two o'clock in the morning, and the 
poor fellow died at nine. Mr. Kirkland, being 



184 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

really convinced that Johnson could not live, 
procured a number of persons to secure the 
murderer. When they arrived at Staunton 
Harold, Lord Ferrers had just risen, and was 
going towards the stables with his garters in his 
hand ; but, observing the people, he retired to 
the house. He covertly removed about from one 
hiding place to another, so that it was a consider- 
able time before he was taken. This happened 
on the Saturday, and he was conveyed to Ashby- 
de-la-Zouch, and there kept in confinement until 
the following Monday, when a coroner's inquest 
having returned a verdict of "Wilful murder 
against Lord Ferrers," the Earl was committed to 
the Gaol of Leicester. 

Lord Ferrers was kept in durance vile at 
Leicester about a fortnight, when he was allowed 
to proceed to London in his own landau, in order 
to take his trial before the House of Peers on the 
capital charge. His behaviour on the journey 
evinced the utmost composure. He was taken to 
the House of Lords, and the verdict of the 
coroner's jury having been read over before the 
assembled Peers, Lord Ferrers was committed to 
the Tower of London for safe custody. 

His Lordship's place of confinement was the 




< ■? 

as 6< 






2 ^ 



186 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

Round Tower, near the drawbridge. Two warders 
constantly attended in his room, and one waited 
at the door. At the bottom of the stairs two 
soldiers were placed, with their bayonets fixed, 
and a third stood on the drawbridge. The gates 
of the Tower were shut an hour before the usual 
time during his imprisonment. Mrs. Clifford 
took her four children up to London, and occupied 
lodgings in Tower Street, sending messages to his 
Lordship several times in the day ; to these he at 
first replied, but the communication became so 
troublesome that the correspondence was much 
restricted. Whilst in the Tower, Lord Ferrers 
lived in a regular manner. His breakfast con- 
sisted of a muffin and a basin of tea with a spoon- 
ful of brandy in it ; after dinner and supper he 
drank a pint of wine mixed with water. His 
conduct was generally becoming, but he some- 
times exhibited evident proofs of discomposure of 
mind. His natural children were permitted to 
visit him several times, but Mrs. Clifford was 
denied admission after repeated application. 

After the necessary preparations were com- 
pleted, and Lord Henley, the Chancellor, was 
created High Steward, the trial came on before 
the House of Peers, in Westminster Hall, on the 



LAURENCE FERRERS, 187 

16th of April, 1769. The proof of the fact was 
sufficiently clear, and by the unanimous voice of 
the tribunal of his Peers, Earl Ferrers was found 
guilty of murder, and the Lord High Steward 
passed sentence that he should be executed on 
the 21st of April. The condemned Earl, how- 
ever, received a respite to the 5th of May. 

The Earl made a will during his imprisonment, 
leaving sixty pounds a year to Mrs. Clifford, a 
thousand pounds to each of his natural daughters, 
and thirteen hundred pounds to the children of 
his murdered steward. The latter legacy, which 
should have been the first to be discharged, was 
for some reason or other never paid. His Lord- 
ship petitioned to be beheaded within the Tower, 
but as his crime was so atrocious, the King 
refused to interfere with the sentence of the law. 

Through the influence of his family, however, 
he was not swung off into eternity from a 
common cart, as had hitherto been the practice 
with plebeian culprits. A scaffold was erected 
under the gallows at Tyburn, and covered with 
black baize. A part of the scaffold, on which the 
murderer was to stand, was raised eighteen inches 
above the rest. This arrangement may, we 
think, be regarded as the precursor of the drop. 



188 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

" There was," says Horace Walpole, " a con- 
trivance for sinking the stage under him, which 
did not play well ; and he suffered a little by 
delay, but was dead in four minutes." 

In his preparations for the execution, Lord 
Ferrers displayed another prominent feature of 
his character, his great vanity. His lordship was 
dressed in his weddings clothes, which were of a 
light colour, and richly embroidered with silver. 
When he put them on, he said, " This is the suit 
in which I was married, and in which I will die." 
He set out from the Tower to meet his fate at 
nine o'clock in the morning, amidst crowds of 
spectators. First went a large body of police, 
preceded by one of the high constables ; next 
came groups of grenadiers and foot soldiers ; then 
the sheriff in a chariot and six ; and next Lord 
Ferrers in his landau and six, guarded by a 
strong escort of cavalry and infantry. The other 
sheriff's carriage followed, succeeded by a 
mourning coach, drawn by six horses, conveying 
some of the malefactor's friends. Last of all 
went a hearse, provided for the purpose of taking 
the corpse from the place of execution to 
Surgeon's Hall. 

The procession was two hours and three- 



LAUHESCE FERRERS. 18'J 

quarters on its way. During the passage his 
lordship conversed very freely with Mr. Sheriff 
Vaillant, who joined him in his landau at the 
Tower-gate. That officer expressed to Lord 
Ferrers how disagreeably he felt his position in 
having to wait upon him on so awful an occasion, 
but promised to do all in his power to render 
his situation as little irksome as possible. The 
Earl replied, "The apparatus of death, and the 
passing through such crowds of people, are ten 
times worse than death itself; but I suppose 
they never saw a lord hanged, and perhaps they 
will never see another." Upon the Chaplain of 
the Tower, who also occupied a seat in the landau, 
observing that the public would naturally be 
inquisitive about his lordship's religious opinions, 
the Earl returned answer that " He did not 
think himself accountable to the world for his 
sentiments on religion ; but that he always 
believed in one God, the maker of all things ; 
that whatever were his religious notions he had 
never propagated them ; and that all countries 
had a form of religion by which the people were 
governed, and whoever disturbed them in it he 
considered as an enemy to society." Respecting 
the death of Mr. Johnson, he said, " He was 



190 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

under particular circumstances, and had met with 
so many crosses and vexations that he scarce 
knew what he did." He declared, however, that 
he had no malice against the unfortunate man. 

Once during the journey, Lord Ferrers desired 
to stop to have a glass of wine and water ; but 
upon the sheriff remarking that such a piroceeding 
would only draw a greater crowd around them, 
the Earl replied, " That is true, by no means 
stop." Shortly afterwards, a letter was thrown 
into the carriai^e ; it was from Mrs. Clifford, to 
tell him that it " was impossible, on account of 
the dense crowd, for her to get up to the spot 
where he had appointed she should meet and take 
leave of him ; but she was in a hackney-coach of 
a certain number." The Earl begged Mr. 
Vaillant to order his officers to endeavour to get 
the hackney-coach up to his. " My Lord," said 
that gentleman, " you have behaved so well 
hitherto, that it is a pity to venture unmanning 
yourself" To this the Earl answered, " If you, 
sir, think I am wrong, I submit." After 
which he gave the sheriff a pocket-book, contain- 
ing a bank-note, with a ring, and a purse of 
guineas, which were afterwards delivered to the 
unfortunate woman. 



LAURENCE FERRERS. 191 

At the place of execution, the procession was 
met by another party of horse soldiers, who 
formed a circle round the gallows. His lordship 
walked up the steps of the scaffold with great 
firmness ; and, having joined with the chaplain in 
repeating the Lord's prayer, which he called a 
fine composition, he spoke the following words 
with great fervency : — " O ! God, forgive me all my 
errors, pardon all my sins ! " He then presented 
his watch to Mr. Vaillant, and gave five guineas 
to the assistant of the executioner, by mistake, 
instead of the dread finisher of the law himself 
The master demanded the money, and a dispute 
arose, which was promptly stopped by the sheriff. 
The executioner now proceeded to do his duty. 
Lord Ferrers' neckcloth was taken off, a white cap, 
which he had brought in his pocket, put on his 
head, and his arms pinioned with a black sash. 
On the silken rope being placed round his neck, 
the culprit turned momentarily pale, but 
recovered again in an instant. He then ascended 
the raised stage, and, within seven minutes of his 
leaving the landau, the signal was given for that 
part of the scaffold on- which he stood to be 
struck, and the guilty spirit of the murderer-Earl 
passed into the presence of its Creator. 



192 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

After hanging an hour and five minutes, the 
body was received into a coffin lined with white 
satin, and conveyed to Surgeons' Hall, there to be 
dissected. After the mortal remains of the Earl 
were again placed in the coffin, the halter and his 
hat were laid with him, near his feet. On the lid 
of the coffin there appeared these words : — 

" Laurence, Earl Ferrers, Suffered 
5 May, 1760." 
After the body had remained some time at 
Surgeons' Hall for public inspection it was given 
up to the Earl's friends for interment. It would 
be an injustice to the memory of the unfortunate 
nobleman not to mention that during his 
imprisonment he made pecuniary recompense to 
several persons whom he had injured during the 
extravagance of those fits of passion to which he 
unhappily so often gave way. 



Zbc Xaet (Bibbct 

By Thomas Frost. 

THAT the exposure upon gibbets of the 
bodies of criminals who had suffered the 
extreme penalty of the law should have continued 
to be practised down to a period within the 
recollection of many persons now living ought 
not, perhaps, to cause much surprise in the minds 
of those of the present generation who remember 
that, within a time even more recent, men 
convicted of treason have been sentenced to be 
disembowelled and dismembered after the hang- 
man had executed his odious office upon them. 
The time had passed, however, when a civilised 
and — nominally at least — Christian community 
could regard such horrors without a shudder, and 
the sentences to which reference is made were not 
carried into operation. It has been remarked 
that many of the generation of Frenchmen that 
perpetrated or gloated over the horrors of the 
great revolution of the last century may have 
seen Damien dismembered while living, after a vain 



194 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

effort had been made to carry out the terrible 
sentence that he should be torn in pieces by 
horses attached to his limbs. That such barba- 
rous punishments have a tendency to debase and 
brutalise those who witness their infliction, and 
thus to reproduce the crimes they were designed 
to repress, is now generally recognised, and 
with the recognition has come a penal code more 
humane, and yet no less efficient for its legitimate 
purpose. 

In the first quarter of the present century, 
though the bleached skulls and blackened quarters 
of political offenders no longer w^ere displayed 
on city gates, many a strip of green waste by the 
road-side, and many a gorse-covered common had 
its gibbet, from which swung in the breeze the 
clanking and creaking iron hoops encasing the 
grim and ghastly remains of what had been a 
man. 

The writer has heard from his father a descrip- 
tion of the demoralising scene which he witnessed 
on Putney Heath, on the Sunday after the execu- 
tion of Jeremiah Abershaw, a notorious highway- 
man, when drunken revellers clustered round the 
gibbet, and drank to the ghastly form that 
depended from it, and from which one of the 



THE LAST GIBBET. 195 

wretches separated a finger, in order to make 
a tobacco stopper of the bone. He has heard, 
too, from a relative who had been an officer of the 
mercantile marine, of the shock which he 
received, when departing on his first voyage, from 
the hideous spectacle of th'e gibbets of pirates and 
murderers on the seas, which then studded the 
banks of the Thames, just below Black wall. But 
the last gibbet was set up in the vicinity of 
Leicester, in which town there must be persons 
still living who remember the horrible circum- 
stances connected with its erection. 

Sixty years ago there resided with his parents 
in Wharfe Street, off Wheat Street, Leicester, a 
young man named James Cook, who carried on 
the business of a bookbinder at a workshop 
situated in the rear of the Flying Horse public- 
house, in Wellington Street. About eleven 
o'clock on the night of June 7th, 1832, some men 
who were passing the workshop observed a glare 
of light from one of the windows, and supposing 
the premises to be on fire, paused to ascertain 
the cause. Thej' then became aware of a strong 
smell of burning, and having aroused some of the 
neighbours, they forced open the outer door and 
entered. A large fire was found to be burning 



196 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

in the grate, and from this alone had proceeded 
the glare of light which had arrested their steps. 
Over the fire, the flame of which mounted far up 
the chimney, was a large piece of charred flesh, 
the burning of which had caused the effluvia which 
had reached their olfa'ctory organs even before 
they entered the building. The singularity of 
this circumstance, and the risk which there seemed 
to be of the chimney being set on fire, prompted 
the men to send for the occupier of the premises. 
Cook came immediately, and on being asked for an 
explanation, stated that the flesh had been bought 
for a dog, but, as he deemed it unfit for even canine 
consumption, he had determined to burn it. To 
some of the persons present this explanation did 
not seem [perfectly satisfactory, and a constable 
was sent for. On the arrival of this functionary 
the circumstances were related to him, but he 
did not deem them such as would warrant him in 
detaining Cook, who was allowed to depart. 

The constable took possession of the premises, 
however, and the burning mass of flesh was 
removed from the fire, and submitted to the 
inspection of a local surgeon named Macaulay. 
That gentleman was unable to determine whether 
or not the flesh was that of a human being, but 



THE LAST GIBBET. 197 

some partially calcined bones which were found 
in the ashes under the grate he pronounced to 
be those of human fingers. Other suspicious 
circumstances came to the knowledge of the 
police on the following day. A stranger from 
London had dined at the Stag and Pheasant Inn, 
and had afterwards been seen to enter Cook's 
workshop ; and no one could be found who had 
seen him since. A lad employed by Cook had 
been sent home earlier than usual that evening, 
and Cook had been seen washing the floor at an 
unusually early hour on the following morning. 
A warrant was thereupon obtained by the police 
for the arrest of Cook, but on their proceeding 
to execute it, it was found that he had left the 
town. 

Intense excitement was produced in Leicester 
and the surrounding neighbourhood by these 
circumstances, and several persons joined the 
detectives in the search for the fugritive. The 
Town Clerk convened a public meeting, to 
consider measures for the assistance of the 
authorities, and it was determined to offer a 
reward of £200 for the apprehension of the 
murderer, several prominent residents in the town 
joining the magistrates in this offer. Search was. 



198 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

in the meantime, made for the head and other 
portions of the victim, but without success, 
nothing being found beyond the ghastly reKcs 
of mortality already in the possession of the 
police. 

Cook succeeded only for a day or two in 
evading the search that was made for him. The 
newspapers of the period give no details of his 
arrest or of the subsequent proceedings before the 
magistrates. Their absence may be accounted 
for partly by the comparative smallness of the 
journals of sixty years ago, and partly by the 
pressure upon their space caused by the debates 
in Parliament on the Keform Bill, and the 
intense cKcitement which they occasioned 
throughout the country. To this latter cause 
may be added the news, given almost as fully as 
that of the murder in Leicester, of the formidable 
insurrection in Paris, on the occasion of the 
funeral of General Lamarque. All that the 
public learned through the press concerning Cook 
at this time was that he had been visited in gaol 
by the magistrates, to whom he had confessed his 
guilt. 

From the briefly related particulars which were 
o-iven, it appears that the man who visited Cook, 



THE LAST GIBBET. 199 

and was seen no more afterwards, was a London 
tradesman named John Paas, with whom Cook 
had had business relations. The latter had 
received some goods from Paas, concerning 
payment for which a dispute arose, which was 
terminated by Cook seizing the iron pin of a 
binder's press and striking his victim a violent 
blow on the head with it. Paas called 
"murder!" and staofofered towards the door, 
seizing a hammer, as if to defend himself ; but he 
dropped it immediately, and fell on the floor. 
Cook struck him on the head two or three times 
more, and he never spoke or stirred again. The 
murderer then took from his victim's pockets £55 
in gold and notes, and sat down to consider how 
he should dispose of the body. This he resolved 
to do by burning, and for that purpose he made a 
large fire, and then proceeded to decapitate and 
dismember the body. The magistrates and the 
police were of opinion that he had not disposed 
of the whole of the remains by fire, but he 
persisted in his statement that all had been 
burned except the portion discovered when the 
premises were broken into by the neighbours. 
He related these particulars with the utmost 
calmness, and added that if he " had not got 



200 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

drinking before the job was completed," no trace 
of the crime would have been left. 

The trial took place on August 8 th, in a 
crowded court, the judge taking his seat on the 
bench at the unusually early hour of nine o'clock. 
It was perhaps expected that the proceedings 
would be of a protracted character, but to the 
surprise, and perhaps disappointment, of those 
present, the prisoner, who retained the calmness 
and self-possession he had evinced from the first, 
pleaded guilty, and then proceeded to read the 
New Testament, as if the formalities which 
remained to be observed had no interest for 
him. 

" I suppose," said the judge, "you are aware 
of the consequences of that plea?" 

" I am," replied Cook. 

" And you make it deliberately and advisedly V 

'' I do." 

"Attend to me now, not to that book," con- 
tinued the judge. "You can look at books 
afterwards. Do you mean to adhere to the 
answer you have given, and are you determined 
to persevere in it ?" 

'* I am," replied the prisoner. 

The judge then put on the black cap, and pro- 



THE LAST GIBBET. 201 

ceeded in a speech said to have been " most 
impressive," to pass sentence of death, with the 
addition that the prisoner's body should, after 
execution, be hung from a gibbet near the town. 
During the dehvery of this address, the prisoner 
exhibited no emotion, and on its conclusion he 
gently inclined his head, made a movement of 
his right hand to some person on the bench, and 
was conducted to his cell, the whole of the pro- 
ceedings having occupied no more than a quarter 
of an hour. 

The sentence was executed three days after- 
wards, as was the custom at that time. Half- 
past nine was the time fixed for the execution, 
but long before the hour had struck, Welford 
Road, leading to the gaol, was thronged, and the 
dense mass of human beings that congregated 
around the scaffold was estimated at no less than 
30,000. It was five minutes after the time 
announced for the dread event when the con- 
demned man, having received the sacrament, 
walked to the scaffold with a firm step, displaying 
no more emotion than he had done on his trial. 
The authorities appear to have been still disposed 
to doubt the truthfulness of his statement that 
he had disposed of the whole of the remains of 



202 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

the murdered man by burning, for he was again 
questioned on the subject just before his execu- 
tion, and exhorted to make a further revelation, 
if there was anything more to be disclosed. To 
this appeal he replied : "I am now about to 
stand in the presence of my maker, and I declare 
that I destroyed the whole, except what was 
found." Good order is said to have prevailed 
around the scaffold, and the immense crowd 
dispersed quietly after the judicial sentence had 
been carried into effect. The body of the culprit, 
after hanging the usual time, was cut down and 
carried into the gaol. 

The gibbet constructed for the due carrying 
out of the latter portion of the sentence was 
thirty-three feet in height, and was set up on a 
piece of waste land on the side of the road 
leading to Countesthorpe, and about a quarter of 
a mile from the toll-gate on the Aylestone road. 
Twenty thousand persons are said to have been 
present when the body of the murderer, dressed 
as he had been at the trial, and encased in iron 
hoops, braced together by transverse pieces of 
iron, was brought from the gaol in a cart, and sus- 
pended from the lofty gibbet by means of a ring 
in the ironwork enclosing the head, and a hook 



THE LAST GIBBET. 203 

in the arm projecting from the highest portion of 
the upright. 

Some objectors to the observance of the 
barbarous custom made an application to the 
authorities for permission to remove the body 
from the gibbet and consign it to a more fitting 
resting-place in the earth. Whether any repre- 
sentation in support of this course was made to 
the Secretary of State for the Home Department 
does not appear ; but the body had been only 
three days suspended from the gibbet, when an 
order for its removal therefrom was received 
from the Home Office, and was promptly acted 
upon. The residents in the neighbourhood were 
probably not sorry to see the horrible thing 
taken away, while every right-minded person in 
the kingdom must have received with satisfaction 
the knowledge that the last gibbet had been 
removed from the green waysides of England. 



Zl)c ancient TKnater:»«min0 at 
^ouobborougb. 

By the Rev. W. G. D. Fletcher, m.a., f.s.a. 

ANY traveller going by train along the 
Midland line of railway from Leicester to 
Loughborough, can see on his right hand, just 
before reaching Loughborough Station, two 
water corn mills standing on. the banks of the 
river Soar. These mills have long been known 
as the Upper and Lower Mills, and during a very 
long period the tenants and inhabitants of the 
Manor of Loughborough were compelled to take 
all their corn and grist there to be ground. This 
led to a number of lawsuits in the Exchequer, 
and the pleadings in these suits are preserved in 
the Public Record Office. I propose in this 
paper to show how the inhabitants of the manor 
asserted and eventually obtained the right to 
have their corn ground where they pleased. 

The Domesday Survey mentions that Hugh 
Lupus, the Norman Earl of Chester, and nephew 
to William the Conqueror, held the Manor of 



WATER-MILLS AT LOUGHBOROUGH. 205 

Loughborough ; and that in the manor there 
were two mills of ten shillings value. There is 
little doubt but that the Upper and Lower Mills, 
which were long ago known as the King's Mills, 
occupied the sites of these two Domesday Mills. 
They followed the manor for centuries, and were 
the property of the Despensers, Beaumonts, 
Greys, and Hastings, successively lords of the 
manor, until the year 1810, when the then lord, 
Francis, Earl of Moira, sold the manor and all 
his property in Loughborough, and with them 
these ancient mills. 

The Manor of Loughborough was in the 16th 
and 17th centuries held of the King, subject to 
the payment of a fee-farm rent of £115 16s. 6d. 
yearly. A few miles from the town was the 
Abbey of Garendon, which had for its benefit 
certain corn mills at Garendon and Dishley ; and 
when this Abbey was dissolved, and its possessions 
sold, the millers of these mills not unnaturally 
sought to increase their custom, and this they 
did by offering to grind corn in a shorter time and 
at a cheaper rate than the millers of the old 
Louofhborouo^h mills. 

Katherine, Countess Dowager of Huntingdon, 
who was tenant for life under the settlement 



L'OG BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

made on her marriage with Henry, third Earl of 
Huntingdon, of '* all those three auncyent milles 
called the Sore mills, the walke mill, and the 
ffishpoole mill, being all parcell of the mannor of 
Loughborowe," about the year 1610 commenced 
a suit in the Exchequer against Nicholas Gossen, 
father and son, who were millers of Dishley Mill, 
and Robert Traunter, miller of Garendon Mill, 
and several inhabitants of Loughborough. The 
countess alleged that the lords of the manor had 
from time immemorial the right of grinding all 
the corn of the inhabitants, but that the Gossens 
and Traunter had enticed many of the tenants 
and inhabitants to grind their corn at the Dishley 
and Garendon Mills, and had sent men and 
horses to carry it to and from the town, and took 
less toll than was charged at her mills. This was 
the first of ten successive suits that were brought 
within a period of eighty-eight years by members 
of the Hastings family against owners or tenants 
of adjacent mills ; and, though I have not found 
any Decree, yet the defendants probably submitted, 
and matters were quiet for sixteen years. 

The next suit was commenced by Henry 
Hastings, fifth Earl of Huntingdon, in the year 
1626, against William Fowlds and eight other 



WATER-MILLS AT LOUGH BO ROUGH. 207 

freeholders and copyholders, tenants of the 
manor, and against Thomas Farnham, gent., owner 
of a water corn mill in Quorndon, distant two 
miles from Loughborough, and his four loadsmen. 
In his Bill of Complaint, the Earl alleges that 
from time immemorial " there have beene two 
water corne mylnes standinge uppon the river of 
Soare, and one mawlte mylne standinge within 
the saide Towne of Loughborough," on the Wood 
Brook, and that all the inhabitants and house- 
holders within the town owe suit and soke to the 
said mills, and are used to grind all their corn 
and malt that they spend in their houses, or bake 
or brew, at the Earl's mills. And that Fowlds 
and other tenants of the manor have ground their 
corn and malt at other mills, and have set up 
querns in their own private houses ; and pretend 
that they have liberty to grind their corn when 
they please, and are not bound by any custom or 
tenure to grind their corn and malt at the Earl's 
mills. And that Farnham's loadsmen have 
carried corn and malt of various inhabitants 
from Loughborough to the said mill in Quorndon. 
I have not found any Decree in this suit ; but no 
doubt aofain the defendants submitted. 

The same Earl Henry commenced another suit 



208 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

in the Exchequer, in 1638, against Henry 
Skipwith, of Knight- thorpe, Esq., and Symon 
Rugeley, Esq., Skipwith's son-in-law, and against 
John Nicholas, and certain tenants of the manor. 
He complains that Skipwith had newly built and 
set up a wind-mill within half a mile of the town 
of Loughborough, at which he had persuaded 
some of the tenants to grind their corn and grist ; 
and that Nicholas had lately set up a common 
bakehouse in Loughborough, and had baked 
bread which had been sold to the tenants and 
inhabitants. 

Nicholas, with Gertrude Dixon and William 
Fowlds, filed their Answer, in which they assert 
that excessive toll is taken at the Earl's mills, and 
that the toll should be a twentieth or twenty- 
fourth part of the corn ground ; and that they 
have only sent their corn to other mills when, by 
reason of floods or droughts, the Earl's mills could 
not serve them. They assert further that 
Loughborough bakers are by ancient custom 
permitted to bake in their own ovens, or where 
they pleased ; and that the Earl's tenants of the 
bakehouse used only to charge one penny for 
baking a strike of corn, but now charge three- 
pence a strike. Skipwith and Rugeley also filed 



WATER-MILLS AT LOUGHBOROUGH. 209 

an Answer, in which they say that the old mill, 
situate in Mill Field, in the manor of Knight- 
thorpe, being decayed, Skipwith set up a new mill 
on the foundation of the old one. 

The Depositions of witnesses taken in this suit 
at Loughborough, on 26th September, 1638, are 
preserved, and are interesting. From the 
evidence it seems that Skipwith's wind-mill at 
Knight-thorpe was built about 1611, on the site 
of " an olde ruynous wyndmyll," in a field called 
Neather Field, and on the Mill Furlong ; and 
that corn was often taken there to be ground, as 
also to other mills at Dishley, Sheepshed, 
Quorndon, and Garendon, when the water was 
defective at the Earl's mills. The Earl's millers 
seem to have dealt ill with some of the customers, 
taking five, six, seven, or even eleven pounds out 
of a strike ; and when they made complaint, met 
with abuse, not satisfaction. 

A curious list of the stones in the Earl's mills 
is given. Opinions differed, however, as to 
whether the Earl's bakehouse was a common 
bakehouse, and the only bakehouse in the town, 
and whether all tenants were bound to bake their 
bread there. The raising of the toll for baking 
bread is attributed to the scarcity and dearness of 



210 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

fuel, which thirty years back might have been 
had for little or nothing. 

The cause came on for hearing on 4th February, 
1640, before the Chief Baron and other Barons, 
who ordered that the tenants and inhabitants 
within the manor should grind all their corn and 
malt at complainant's mills, so that the same 
should be ground within forty-eight hours, and 
in default of this they might grind their corn 
and malt at any other mills they should think fit. 
The question of the common bakehouse was not 
touched upon, and, indeed, was never seriously 
pressed by the lords of the manor. 

Matters now remained quiet for a few years ; but 
Earl Henry dying on 14th November 1643, and his 
son, Ferdinando Hastings, succeeding to his title 
and estates as sixth Earl of Huntingdon, some 
of the tenants began to send their corn to certain 
mills at Quorndon, the property of Thomas 
Farnham, and to Dishley Mill, to be ground. 
Consequently Earl Ferdinando, in 1648, com- 
menced a suit in the Exchequer against Thomas 
Farnham, gent., Henry Gosson, farmer of 
Dishley Mill, and against Thomas Whittaph, 
a copyholder, and several inhabitants of the 
manor, for taking their corn to be ground at 



WATER-MILLS AT LOUGHBOROUGH. 211 

Quorndon and Dishley Mills. The defendants, 
in their Answer, simply deny that complainant 
has any exclusive right of grinding, Lough- 
borough "beeinge of very lardge extent, and 
beeinge a great markett towne." 

The Depositions of a number of witnesses, 
which were taken on 25th January, 1649-50, are 
full of interest. From these depositions it seems 
that the late Earl Henry "was a very powerfull 
man in the County, and especially at Lough- 
borrowe," and the inhabitants were in much 
subjection to him ; and that they did not carry 
the former suits to hearing, because he was " a 
great man, and one with whom they could not 
deal, else they would not have ceased their 
defence." The Earl's mills in the manor were 
three, and were called " the Walke Mill, the Malt 
Mill, and the Soare Mill near the Cotes Bridge," 
and had seven pairs of stones for grinding corn, 
etc. The Walke Mill lay ruined several years, 
and about twenty years ago was rebuilt by Earl 
Henry. It seems that when a Dishley loadsman 
came into Loughborough about fifty years ago 
with bells about his horse's neck, a loadsman of 
Loughborough cut off the bells and broke them; 
Some of the defendants' witnesses assert that for 



212 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

many years the inhabitants of Loughborough 
have sent their corn to Quorndon and Dishley 
Mills at their own pleasure, also to Barrow and 
Sheepshed ; one old man deposing that for 
seventy years the Farnhams have sent into 
Loughborough to fetch corn to grind at their 
mills in Quorndon. It is stated by the Earl's 
witnesses that most tenants took their own corn 
to be ground ; but forty years since the penny 
bakers and others hired loadsmen, whom they 
paid a penny a strike for carrying ; and after- 
wards Earl Henry provided loadsmen and horses 
for the use of the tenants at his own cost. The 
town of Loughborough is said to be "a very 
great markett towne, and there is very many 
ffamilyes there, perhaps five hundred." 

When the cause came on for hearing on the 
12th June, 1651, the Court decreed that the 
owners or occupiers of the Quorndon and Dishley 
Mills should not fetch or carry any corn of the 
freehold, leasehold, or copyhold tenants of the 
manor to be ground at any mill except the 
complainant's mills ; and that the question 
whether the rest of the inhabitants of 
the manor are bound to grind at com- 
plainant's mills shall be decided in an action 



WATER-MILLS AT LOUGHBOROUGH. 213 

at Common Law to be tried in the Exchequer 
of Pleas. 

About this time Earl Ferdinando and his 
brother Henry, Lord Loughborough, sold some 
of their property in the manor, and in the 
conveyance a covenant was invariably inserted, 
that the purchaser should grind his own corn, 
grain, and malt at the Earl's water mills and horse 
mills. 

Whether this trial at the Common Law, to 
test the right of the inhabitants generally, apart 
from the freehold, leasehold, and copyhold 
tenants, ever took place, I do not know. How- 
ever, Earl Ferdinando died a few years afterwards, 
on 13th February, 1656, and then the Dishley 
millers began again to carry the corn of the 
tenants or inhabitants to be ground at Dishley 
Mill, situate a mile and a half from the town, 
and outside the manor. In 1664, Lucy, Countess 
Dowager of Huntingdon, Ferdinando's widow, 
filed her Bill of Complaint against Bridge tt 
Gosson, of Dishley, widow, tenant of the Dishley 
Mill, for fetching and grinding the corn of the 
inhabitants within the manor, and against Oliver 
Bromskill, clerk (the intruding but now deposed 
rector), and Elizabeth Towle, who had within the 



214 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

last three years set up hand mills, and ground the 
corn of other inhabitants. From the pleadings 
in a later suit., it appears that Widow Gosson 
spent £20 in defending this suit, but the Countess 
of Rutland (who was owner of the Dishley 
Mills), not assisting her, she neglected further 
defence of the suit. So the question whether 
the inhabitants of Loughborough, who were not 
tenants of the manor, might grind where they 
liked was not yet brought to an issue. 

The Manor of Loughborough now became 
vested in Theophilus Hastings, seventh Earl of 
Huntingdon ; and a series of five suits in the 
Exchequer followed in rapid succession, until the 
question was finally determined. The Earl seems 
to have leased his ancient mills, in 1675, for a 
term of years to John Harrison and Benjamin 
Harrison ; and they, in 1678, commenced a suit 
against William Freeman, tenant of the Dishley 
water corn mill, for fetching and grinding the 
corn of certain inhabitants of Loughborough at 
Dishley mill. Freeman in his Answer alleges 
that the Dishley millers have always fetched corn 
from Loughborough. 

Three years later, in January 1680-81, Earl 
Theophilus also filed his Bill against the same 



WATER-MILLS AT LOUGHBOROUGH. 215 

William Freeman ; who, in his Answer, says that 
the Earl's mills are inefficient to grind the in- 
habitants' corn, and that the Earl had within the 
last three years erected a new windmill in the 
•Lordship of Loughborough, and that he had 
constantly for four years fetched the corn of the 
inhabitants to be ground at Dishley mill. 

In 1682, the Earl filed two Bills of Complaint 
against Anne Freeman, widow (William Freeman, 
the defendant in the former action, having 
apparently died), who was now the tenant of 
Dishley Mill, under George, Duke of Buckingham, 
at a rent of £31 ; and she in her Answer alleges 
that time out of mind Dishley millers have fetched 
corn from Loughborough, and the inhabitants 
have sent their corn to Dishley mill. Ambrose 
Phillipps, Esq., also puts in an Answer, and says 
that he lately purchased Dishley Mills with 
Garendon Manor, and has since let the mills at 
£25 rent, and he claims the general privilege of 
all Englishmen of going into Loughborough or 
grinding the corn of such customers as they can 
efet. None of these suits seem to have been 
proceeded with, or to have come to a hearing. 

We now come to the last and most important 
suit of all, sixteen years later. The inhabitants of 



216 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

Loughborough still asserted their right to send 
their corn where they liked to be ground, and 
continued to do so, and the millers from all the 
country round regularly came into the town to 
fetch their corn. Consequently, Earl Theophilus 
filed his Bill, about 1697, against George Mugg 
and several other inhabitants of Loughborough, 
and against the tenants of mills at Garendon, 
Dishley, and Costock. The despositions were 
taken at the Bull's Head, in Loughborough, on 
9th May, 1698 ; and a number of witnesses were 
examined. It seems that the horses of foreign 
millers were frequently impounded when they 
came into the town to fetch corn; and that one 
John Peake, thirty years ago, bought a quern, 
which he never used for fear of trouble, so sold it. 
Some of the witnesses complained that they were 
not fairly or honestly dealt with by Lowe, the 
Earl's miller ; that the customary toll was for the 
miller to take four pounds out of each strike of 
wheat, but Lowe would sometimes take seven or 
eight pounds. One woman, who sent half a strike 
of white wheat to be ground, got back red wheat 
instead. Another sent a peck of rye, and got it 
back five pounds short. Some alleged that the 
Earl's mills were not able to grind in time of 



WATER-MILLS AT LOUGHBOROUGH. 217 

floods, sometimes for two or three weeks 
together. 

When the cause came on for hearing, on the 
20th of July following, the court ordered that the 
matter in question be tried at the next Assizes to 
be held for the county of Leicester, the issue 
to be whether the inhabitants within the manor 
are obliged by custom to grind all their corn, 
grain, and malt at the Earl's ancient mills, and 
not at any other mills. The question was tried 
at the next Leicester assizes accordingly, and a 
verdict was given for the defendants, and it was 
decided that the inhabitants of the manor of 
Loughborough are not bound by custom to grind 
all their corn, grain, and malt at the Earl's 
ancient mills there, but at any other mills. On 
the 8th December the Earl applied for a new trial, 
but the Court of Exchequer, on 21st February, 
1698-99, refused to grant it, and so the matter 
was finally disposed of 

Thus the inhabitants of Loughborough, after 
long litigation, extending nearly ninety years, 
during which there were no less than ten suits 
commenced in the Court of Exchequer, finally 
won the victory, and threw off the claim asserted 
by the powerful lord of the manor that they 



218 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

should grind solely at his mills, and gained 
the right to grind their own corn whereso- 
ever they pleased. No doubt, if the Records 
were searched, similar results might be found 
in the case of other places within the 
county. 



Uobb^^tfcAa^Zoncb Castle ant) its 
associations. 

asbb^*«be:*Ia*'Zoncb anb the Jfrcncb 
prisoners. 

By Canon Denton, m.a. 

THOUGH its baths and other attractions 
are most of them of recent date, yet long 
before many of what are now great centres of 
population had an existence, Ashby-de-la-Zouch 
was a place of considerable note. 

And although Sir Walter Scott has in his 
vivid and masterly description of the lists and the 
tournament at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, thrown a 
halo of chivalry and romance over the town, yet 
independent of the charms and fascinations of the 
pages of Ivanhoe, from its ancient remains, and its 
associations stretching far back into the past, 
Ashby-de-la-Zouch, or Ashby as it is generally 
called, may, beyond any other parts of the county, 
claim to belong to " Bygone Leicestershire." 

The great Castle of Ashby, throughout the 
middle ages, was one of " the stately homes of 



220 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

England," and its picturesque ruins at the present 
day, tell alike of olden days and of former 
magnificence. 

Sir Walter Scott knew Ashby and its Castle 
and neighbourhood well, for he often stayed at 
Coleorton Hall two miles distant, and he thus 
writes in Ivanhoe — ** Prince John (afterwards 
King of England) held his high festival in the 
Castle of Avshby. This was not the same 
building of which the stately ruins still interest 
the traveller, and which was erected at a later 
period by the Lord Hastings, High Chamberlain 
of England, a victim of the tyranny of Richard 
the Third, and yet better known as one of 
Shakespeare's characters than by his historical 
fame." William, Lord Hastings, to whom Sir 
Walter here refers, lived at Ashby Castle in 
almost reofal state. He had no less than two 
lords, nine knights, fifty-eight squires, with 
twenty gentlemen of rank among his retainers. 
Yet how uncertain is the tenure of earthly 
greatness or the enjoyment of wealth and power ! 
For though Ashby Castle and the old town of 
Ashby have seen many dark and gloomy days, 
— yet they have seen few darker ones than that 
when messengers conveyed the terrible news to 



ASHBY-DE-LA-ZOUCII CASTLE. 221 

the inmates of his Castle — that WilHam, Lord 
Hastings, High Chamberlain of England, one of 
the most powerful nobles of his day, had been 
beheaded ! 

As the first shock of loss, and the first burst of 
fierce rage abated in the Castle and town, 
knight and squire and dame would have their 
indignation renewed, when under the shadow of 
the great keep or in the reception rooms high up 
in it, they heard fuller particulars of their Lord's 
fate. Heard how on June 14, 1483, the Duke of 
Gloucester had accused William, Lord Hastings, of 
high treason, and had had him beheaded on Tower 
Hill, within a few^ hours of so accusing him, 
fulfilling to the letter his dastardly threat 
that " he would not dine until Hastings' head 
was off." 

It would be a far brighter day for Ashby when 
the portals of its Castle, two years later, opened to 
welcome Edward, Lord Hastings, after the battle 
of Bosworth, where he fought with the victorious 
army. Bosworth field being only a few miles 
distant, early intelligence would reach it of the 
issue of the last great Battle of the Roses. And 
in Ashby and its Castle there would be but one 
feeling of rejoicing, that the man who had be- 



222 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

headed William, Lord Hastings, who had waded 
to the throne through blood, had himself been 
defeated and slain, and that the crown of England 
had been placed on the head of the new king in 
the hour of his triumph. 

And the rejoicings at Ashby over the Battle 
of Bosworth proved an earnest of the better 
fortune of Edward, Lord Hastings, who had in 
due course all his estates restored to him by 
Henry the Seventh. 

As has been remarked, Sir Walter Scott speaks 
of the " stately ruins " of Ashby Castle, and few 
words better than "stately" could also have 
described what the castle was before it was a 
ruin. 

Leland, the great antiquary, in his ** Itinerary," 
written during the reign we have just referred to, 
that of Henry the Seventh, says, speaking of 
William, Lord Hastings — '' This Lord built a 
very noble house at Ashby, intending it for the 
residence of his family, which it continued to be 
for about 200 years. The situation was at the 
south side of the town, on a rising ground having 
three parks adjoining thereto. The great Park 
which was ten miles in compass ; Prestop Park 
for fallow deer ; and the Little Park at the back 



ASHBY-DE-LA-ZOUCH CASTLE. 223 

of the house for red deer, which were all well stored 
with wood. The house itself consisted of mixed 
buildings of brick and stone, the rooms therein 
being large and magnificent, and adjoining 
thereto a fair chapel, scarcely to be equalled by 
any private one, the Universities excepted. But 
that which was the greatest ornament were two 
stately large towers, with walls of Ashlar stone, 
covered with lead and embattled ; which towers 
stand back and towards the garden in the south 
and south-west sides of the house, as it should 
seem, and by tradition it has been told, built in 
such a figure, that two more might be placed at 
convenient distances to equal them, the greater 
of these being an entire house of itself, consisting 
of a large hall, great chambers, bed chambers, 
kitchens, cellars, and all other offices. 

" The other, much less, and standing westward, 
was an entire kitchen of so large dimensions as is 
scarcely to be paralleled, over which were divers 
fine rooms that was called the kitchen tower." 
It may be added that the outer walls of the 
kitchen tower were very strong ; a large pro- 
portion of them now remain ; they are in some 
instances nine feet thick, the ground floor 
containing one large kitchen with huge fire-places. 



224 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

For two months, viz., from the middle of 
November 1569 to the middle of January 1570, 
Mary Queen of Scots was a guest, or rather a 
prisoner, in the Castle — and a spacious apartment, 
with an immense stone window, each of its many 
squares large enough for a tall man to stand 
upright in, is known as " Queen Mary's room." 
The present owner of the Castle and Lord of the 
Manor of Ashby, Lord Donington, to whose wife 
(the late Countess of Loudoun) a beautiful 
memorial cross is placed in the town, has lately 
caused the part of the Castle including Queen 
Mary's apartments to be especially cared for, 
and protected against the ravages of time. 

If Queen Mary came to Ashby unwillingly, 
her son King James, by all accounts, came there 
willingly enough. When that King visited 
Ashby, the establishment at the castle was on a 
princely scale. Upwards of seventy persons 
daily dined and supped there, exclusive of 
strangers. The visit of King James the First 
added so much to the costliness and splendour of 
the style of living, that the expense of entertain- 
ing him is said to have materially crippled the 
property of the Earl. Indeed, the late Lady 
Flora, daughter of the First Marquis of Hastings, 



ASHBY-DE-LA-ZOUCII CASTLE. 225 

concludes her poem on Ashby-de-la-Zouch, 
describing this visit of James the First to her 
ancestor, Henry, Fifth Earl of Huntingdon, as 
follows : — 

" The bells did ring, 
The gracious King 
Enjoyed his visit much ; 
And we've been poor 
Ere since that hour 
At Ashby-de-la-Zouch." 

During the King's stay at Ashby Castle, 
dinner was served up by thirty-four knights in 
velvet gowns and gold chains, everything else 
being sumptuously magnificent. In the year 
1617, preparatory to the Royal visit, the Corpora- 
tion of Leicester presented the Earl of Hunt- 
ingdon with a yoke of fat oxen. In the month 
of May, 1645, King Charles the First was the 
guest of the then Earl of Huntingdon. A " 
gleam of sunshine at that time illumined the 
fortunes of the King in the Midlands. 

Leicester was taken by the Royalist army, 
and, with the fall of the county town, the 
soldiers of the Parliament quitted the garrisons 
of Bag worth, Coleorton, and Kirby. At this 
seeming turn of the tide, sanguine hopes of 
ultimate success would inspire confidence in 



226 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

the hearts of the good men and true in Ashby 
Castle. These hopes, however, were, we know, 
doomed to be disappointed, the king's troops had 
to leave Leicester, and the commanders of the 
garrison at Leicester rode straight to Ashby, 
which, in those troublous days, served as a place 
of refuge not only to combatants, but to non- 
combatants ; among them being several learned 
and pious divines. We cannot now look at the 
Earl's tower, with its reception rooms at such an 
elevation as to be beyond the reach of rude 
assault or desperate onset, and not feel that 
Ashby Castle was well calculated to protect 
those who sought for safety within its massive 
walls, and right glad must they have been 
for the pleasant refuge they afforded them. 

In June, 1645, King Charles the First came for 
another, and a very brief, visit to Ashby Castle. 
And it would seem that on Sunday, June 15, he 
left the castle about ten in the morning, on his 
way to Lichfield. 

It is not difficult to conjecture how sad a day 
the 15th of June, 1645, was in the town. And as 
the King, with all his troubles before him, rode 
that June morning out of the castle, and passing 
the western doorway of the church, possibly 



ASHBY-DE-LA-ZOUCH CASTLE. 227 

having already joined in its serv^iees, went down 
what is now the Market Place of Ashby. As 
he rode on, every inch a King, we can believe 
that while on all sides loyal homage was paid 
him, yet anxious looks followed his course, and 
that when they had seen their last of him, fore- 
bodings of coming evil would prevail in the town 
and in the castle. Forebodinofs all too soon 
realized, for on the surrender of the garrison at 
Leicester, the Royalist general, Lord Lough- 
borough, according to Nicholls, returned to 
Ashby Castle, and the Parliamentary army, 
under Sir Thomas Fairfax, for months closely 
besieged both the town and castle, which 
strongly resisted them, and held out bravely for 
the Poyal cause. 

Eventually articles for the surrender of " the 
maiden garrison at Ashby-de-la-Zouch," so called 
as having never actually been conquered, were 
signed, and the. castle doomed. 

In 1648, we find the command of Ashby-de-la- 
Zouch given to Thomas, Lord Grey, of Groby, 
who was desired to take care for securing and 
safe keeping the Duke of Hamilton a prisoner 
there. 

In the month of November that same year, it 



228 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

was referred to a committee of the House of 
Commons " to consider of all castles, garrisons, 
and places of strength in the kingdom, what were 
to be kept up and what were to be slighted and 
made untenable," and on the same day it was 
resolved that the garrison and castle of Ashby- 
de-la-Zouch should be " slighted and made unten- 
able," and that James, Earl of Cambridge, then a 
prisoner in that castle should be committed close 
prisoner to Windsor Castle for high treason. 

"Thus," says Nichols, "was this noble structure 
soon after permitted to dissolve, with the downfall 
of the monarchy and the king's interest — these 
unworthy ends being affected by the Parliamentary 
Committee then sitting at Leicester, which 
committee having- sent some of their members 
to view the place, employed divers persons to 
demolish these goodly towers by undermining. 
William Bainbricja of Lockington in the said 
county, a general in the Parliamentary army, 
commanding a party of horse for the occasion, 
bearing the oversight thereof." 

General Bainbrigg executed his commission 
with such zeal that the immensely thick walls 
were overthrown, and what was once a famous 
castle, great in its strength and 



ASIIBY-DE-LA-ZOUCH CASTLE. 229 

has been from that day to this a famous ruin, 
beautiful, exceedingly, in its decay. 

One hundred and twenty years after, in 178G, 
a visitor to Ashby thus writes respecting the 
castle: — "The castle, however, still preserves a 
considerable portion of its original grandeur, and 
fully merits the eulogy of its several panegyrists. 
It seems scarcely to have known any bounds 
either in the modes of arrangement, or in the 
altitude of the several stories." 

We pass over many interesting particulars, 
civil and ecclesiastical, pertaining to Ashby in 
the years that have intervened since its castle 
was destroyed, and we will conclude this paper 
with a short notice of the residence of the French 
prisoners in the town, at the beginning of the 
present century. 

It may perhaps not be always borne in mind, 
that during the long wars with France, this 
country had to receive within its shores a vast 
number of prisoners of war of all ranks. 

There were, according to Sir Archibald Alison, 
in the year 1810, not less than 50,000 French 
prisoners in Great Britain. And relying on the 
same authority, Napoleon never remitted one 
farthing for their maintenance. The Emperor 



230 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

thus left thousands who had fought his battles 
and won his laurels, either to starve or to be a 
burden on the British Government, which on the 
contrary regularly remitted the whole cost of the 
support of the English captives in France to the 
imperial authorities. Vast structures were 
erected at an enormous expense for the reception 
of the French soldiers, notably one at Dartmoor 
and two in Scotland, each of these being capable 
of containing six or seven thousand men. 

While the soldiers were imprisoned in these 
and other places, the officers were quartered in 
various towns, and among them Ashby-de-la- 
Zouch received about 200, though not all officers. 

The writer of this paper had many particulars 
respecting them given him by one who was in 
Ashby all through the residence of the French 
prisoners in the town, and who lived to a great 
age. He also has had access to a record kept by 
a well-known physician who lived in Ashby at 
that time. 

It would seem that the first French prisoners 
arrived in the town on Friday, September 26th, 
1804, — this first detachment consisted of forty-two 
officers, and other detachments followed. The 
French prisoners were in Ashby from 1804 to 



ASHMY-DE-LA-ZOUCII CASTLE. 231 

1814, returning to their own country when 
Napoleon was sent to Elba. 

We can readily imagine in those days when 
war was constantly being waged between this 
country and France, in the Peninsula and 
elsewhere, how strange it must have seemed to 
the good people of Ashby to have living in their 
midst 200 men who rejoiced when their neighbours 
sorrowed, and sorrowed when their neighbours 
rejoiced. In these " good old days " news of any 
kind travelled very slowly, and it might be that 
days would elapse after a battle was fought 
before the particulars reached Ashby. And 
when the postman who rode into the town on the 
Birmingham and Tamworth road, with gay ribands 
in his hat, the French prisoners who always went 
as far as they were allowed on the way to meet 
him, when they saw these outward signs of the 
tidings, were terribly distressed and disheartened. 

And as the bells of the Parish Church rang 
out the news (some of the same grand peal of eight 
now in the tower), clashing out England's 
victory, as the great bonfires blazed, as other 
tokens of national joy were manifested, — the 
French prisoners dropped their usual bonhomie 
and retired to their rooms, and stayed there until 



^32 hYGOli^k lEtCESfEkSHtM. 

the rejoicing was over. On the other hand, 
rumours of the landing of Napoleon in England 
were frequent, and as the French residents in 
Ashby heard of them their manifestations of 
deliofht were demonstrative in the extreme. 

The greater part of the French prisoners at 
Ashby were officers of the army or navy ; there 
were, however, thirty civilians among them, 
"merchants" as they are called by Dr. Kirkland 
in his note-book, to which I have referred. 

My aged informant, Mrs. Why man, told me 
that the officers were allow^ed 10s. 6d., and the 
civilians 7s. 6d., a week for their maintenance, 
which was paid them on behalf of the Govern- 
ment by a Mr. Farnell. The French prisoners 
were allowed to go a mile in any direction out- 
side the town, and no more, their favourite walk 
was what is now called "the Mount Walk," and 
they loved to gaze on the ruins of the Castle. It 
is said by some that they taught the inhabitants 
of Ashby the art of crochet work, and it must 
have been an advantage in many ways to the 
people of Ashby to have them, — and doubtless 
intercourse with them softened many of the 
existing and deep-rooted prejudices against the 
French. During the ten years the French 



ASHBY-DE-LA.2iOUCII CASTLE. 233 

prisoners were in Ashby, some of them escaped, 
others were exchanoed for Eno^Hsh officers 
imprisoned in France, and many were ransomed, 
but the places of those who left were always 
filled, and the full number of two hundred kept 
up. Towards the end of their stay occurred 
the Battle of Pampeluna, and of the officers who 
had been shut up in that so long besieged city, 
and who surrendered to the English, several were 
sent to Ashby. Those who came from Pampeluna 
brought much money with them, which they had 
concealed in the soles of their " Napoleon " boots, 
and in the collars and cuffs of their coats. There 
were two dogs, rather distinguished in their way, 
belonging to the prisoners, one named Mouton, 
who came with the first party of prisoners in 1804, 
and went back in 1814, and another dog, which 
came with one of the prisoners from Pampeluna, 
the only dog who had survived the siege. Both 
animals were great pets, not only with the 
Frenchmen, but also with the people of Ashby. 

The prisoners lived in lodgings, but the utmost 
resources of the town must have been taxed to 
accommodate as it did 200 additional inhabitants, 
some of them were married, and others took to 
themselves wives while in Ashby. 



234 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

At least two duels are recorded as having been 
fought by the French officers during their 
residence in Ash by — one of them being a Captain 
Colvin, whose body, with its military cloak 
round it, was found early in the morning between 
Ashby and the neighbouring village of Packing- 
ton. The officer who killed Captain Colvin, 
we are told, attended the funeral at Packington. 

Dr. Kirkland has also the following entry in 
his records : " Monsieur Denegres, a French 
prisoner, killed in a duel, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 1808." 

As we have already said, some of the 
French officers married while they lived in the 
town. Indeed, according to the registers of 
Ashby Parish Church from 1806 to June 1st, 
1814, ten weddings took place between French 
officers and residents in Ashby. In all the 
entries the bridegrooms are described as " French 
prisoners of war resident in this Parish," or as 
" French prisoners of war on parole in this 
Parish." 

Some of the prisoners also died, and were 
buried in Ashby Parish Churchyard, e.g., on 
November 2, 1806, Etienne Lenon, ''French 
prisoner;" on April 15, 1807, Francis Rabin, 
"French prisoner;" October 19, 1808, "French 



ASH BY-DEL A-ZOUGH CASTLE. 235 

prisoner " Xauvier Mandelier ; and others were 
also laid to rest under the shadow of the church, 
which, with the Castle, is a great object of 
interest in Ashby. In the Registers of Baptisms 
there are several entries as being those of 
children of French prisoners. And these 
records show, among other things, that the 
prisoners of war who were quartered at Ashby, 
did not allow national prejudices to prevent them 
forrainor the closest ties with the inhabitants 

o 

of the place of their captivity, who cordially 
reciprocated this feeling. 

Nor at their departure was this good feeling 
lost, and years after Waterloo, and after Napoleon 
had been sent a prisoner to St. Helena, there were 
kindly memories entertained in many a French 
family of the hospitable English town, where for 
ten years the soldiers of the empire found their 
prison a home. 



nDi65 flDar^ Xiuwoob— an Hrtiet with the 
IRceMe. 

By William Andrews, f.r.h.s. 

AMONG the worthies of Leicestershire, 
Miss Mary Linwood is entitled to a 
prominent place. She obtained with her artistic 
needlework more than local fame. "No needle- 
work, either ancient or modern," says Lambert, 
** ever surpassed the productions of Miss 
Linwood." At the age of thirteen years she 
commenced her first picture with the needle, and 
continued to labour with much success until 
she had attained the ripe age of eighty-seven. 

Needlework was not the only work of her long 
life ; for many years she conducted a young ladies' 
school in Leicester, which her mother had 
established in 1764, in a house in the upper end 
of Belgrave Gate, and in this house Miss Linwood 
remained until her death in 1845. 

She early in life became famous. " Strangers," 
says Mrs. T. Fielding Johnson, in her charming 
" Glimpses of Ancient Leicester," " passing 



MISS MARY LIN WOOD. 237 

through the town would frequently break their 
journey, and miss a coach, by stopping to call 
on Miss Linwood, in the hope oT an interview 
with the gifted lady, and perchance of being 
favoured with a glimpse of her finely-executed 
work." She was invited to exhibit her work 
before the Royal family. The papers of the period 
contain a report of the proceedings. " On Friday 
last," says the Morning Post of April 24th, 1787, 
'* Miss Linwood, of Leicester, was introduced to 
her Majesty, at the Queen's House, where she 
had the honour of exhibiting several pieces of 
needle-work, wrought in a style far superior to 
anything of the kind ever yet attempted. She 
received from her Majesty the highest 
encomiums, whose attention and encouraging 
behaviour to this truly ingenious young lady 
reflects great honour on the royal Patroness. 
The Princess Royal, Princess Augusta, and 
Princess Elizabeth, who were present, were much 
pleased, and expressed great approbation at those 
admirable performances. His Majesty being 
then engaged, Miss- Linwood was requested to 
leave them till the next day for his inspection." 
The pictures were removed to the Pantheon, 
Oxford Street, London, and in the Morning Post 



238 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

of May 4th, 1787, an advertisement as follows 

appears : — 

"AT THE PANTHEON. 

AN EXHIBITION OF PICTURES IN NEEDLE-WORK, RESEMBLING 

PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS, IN THE MANNER OF SEVERAL 

ESTEEMED ARTISTS, 

By miss LIN wood, of LEICESTER. 

HONOURED BY THE APPROBATION OF THEIR MAJESTIES AND 
THE PRINCESSES. * 

Some of these works have been submitted to the inspection 
of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, etc., who pre- 
sented Miss Linwood with a medal, in token of their 
approbation. 

Commences to-morrow, and will continue open every day 
from Nine to Seven o'clock. 

ADMITTANCE ONE SHILLING." 

A notice of the collection appears in the 
Morning Post of May 12th, 1787, in which it is 
observed that, " The great number of Noblemen 
and Gentlemen who go to Miss Linwood's 
Exhibition at the Pantheon, do them credit as 
friends to female merit, which should ever find 
attention from the men, as well as from the 
ladies, who, to their praise, visit the Exhibition 
in numerous and respectable parties." 

The editor of the Morning Post appears to 
have been greatly pleased with Miss Linwood's 
work, and most anxious that she should obtain 



MISS MARY LIN WOOD. 239 

the patronage of the pubHc at her exhibition. 
In his issue for June 30th, 1787, he again called 
attention to it, as follows: — "Miss Lin wood's 
Exhibition at the Pantheon evinces the admirable 
effect of worsted properly disposed, as a 
resemblance of painting ; with some slight 
exceptions it forms a beautiful scene. The 
amateurs of paintings may receive satisfaction 
from the comparison ; this species of composition 
having been raised to some degree of rank among 
the arts, by the genius and skill of Miss Linwood, 
of Leicester, whose exhibition, now open at the 
Pantheon, should be inspected particularly by 
young ladies who are in town during the present 
school vacations, as ingenious and elegant 
exercises of the needle." Other journalists were 
equally favourable in their comments. " Miss 
Linwood," says Tlie World of July 6th, 1787, 
" by the exhibition of her needle- work, has got 
much fame, but not as much as she deserves. 
The profits of the exhibition are all she gets, for 
none of the pieces are to be sold." 

The pictures were removed to Hanover Square 
Rooms, and subsequently to Leicester Square, 
where they remained for many years one of the 
sights of London. 



240 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

Her method of work has been several times 
described. On an upright frame was stretched 
thick tammy, woven expressly for her use. 
A sketch in outline of her picture was then 
made, and with worsteds, chiefly dyed in 
Leicester by her manufacturing friends and by 
herself, she set to work with great energy, and 
worked every stitch of her pictures. The only 
help she had was in the threading of her 
needles. 

In her gallery sixty- four pictures were 
ultimately brought together, consisting chiefly 
of copies of paintings, the works of the great 
masters. The most prized production was 
Salvator Mundi, after Carlo Dolci. She refused 
for this one work three thousand guineas, and it 
was bequeathed to Her Majesty Queen Victoria. 
She presented to the Leicester Infantry Volun- 
teers, in 1794, a beautifully embroidered banner. 

Her pictures, in the year following her death, 
were sold by public auction by Messrs. Christie 
and Manson, and, remarkable to record, the prices 
received for them were extremely small. We 
reproduce the following particulars of the sale 
from Chambers's " Book of Days " :—The Judg- 
ment of Cain, which had occupied ten years 



MISS MARY LIN WOOD. 241 

in working, brought but £64 Is. ; JephthaJs Rash 
Vow, after Opie, sixteen guineas ; two pictures 
from Gainsborough, The Shepherd Boy, £17 6s. 6d., 
and The Ass and Children, £22 2s., The Farmers 
Stable, after Morland, brought £32 lis. A 
portrait of Miss Lin wood, after a crayon picture 
by Russell, r.a., brought eighteen guineas ; and 
A Woodma7i in a Storm, by Gainsborough, 
£33 Is. 6d. Barker's Woodman brought £29 8s. ; 
The Girl and Kitten, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 
£10 15 s. ; and Lady Jane Grey, by Northcote, 
£24 13s. In the Scripture-room, The Nativity, 
by Carlo Maratti, was sold for £21 ; Dead Chnst, 
L. Caracci, fourteen guineas ; but The Madonna 
della Sedia, after Raffaelle, was bought in at 
£38 17s. A few other pictures were reserved ; 
and those sold did not realize more than £1,000. 

It is pleasing to record that, through the public 
spirit of two or three Leicester ladies, in April, 
1891, Miss Lin wood's picture of The Nativity 
was purchased, and placed in the Town Museum, 
Leicester. 

Miss Linwood was one of the last persons in this 

country to use a Sedan-chair. A few years before 

her death she might often be seen in this once 

popular conveyance in the streets of Leicester. 

R 



242 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

She made an annual visit to London, and there, 
in 1844, she was taken ill, and was brought back 
to Leicester in an invalid carriage. Her health 
improved, and her life was prolonged until the 
following year, when she died of an attack of the 
influenza, at the age of eighty-nine years. She 
was buried at St. Margaret's Church, Leicester. 
Mrs. Johnson tells us that " either from a morbid 
fear that she would quickly be allowed to pass 
into oblivion, or from a desire to be constantly 
reminded of her own mortality, she had ordered 
her own name to be previously engraved on her 
parents' tombstone, and under it the words : 
' died in the 19th century.'" A tablet, erected 
by her friends, bears the following inscription : — 

" SACRED TO THE MEMORY 
OP 

MARY LINWOOD, 

WHOSE GENIUS HAS SHED A LUSTRE ON 

HER AGE, HER COUNTRY, AND HER SEX : 

AND 

WHOSE WORKS ARE A SPLENDID MONUMENT OP ART AND 

PERSEVERANCE. 

IN CALM AND GRATEPUL RESIGNATION 

SHE CLOSED A LIFE OF UNWEARIED ACTIVITY AND BENEVOLENCE 

ON THE 11th DAY OF MARCH, A.D. 1845, 

IN THE NINETIETH YEAR OF HER AGE." 



MISS MARY LIN WOOD. 243 

" Her end," says the Leicester Mercury, in 
recording her death, " was approached with 
exemplary resignation and patience. By her 
death, many poor famihes will miss the hand 
of succour ; her benevolence of disposition having 
led her to minister of her substance to the 
necessities of the poor and destitute in her 
neighbourhood. " 



street Cries. 

By F. T. Mott, f.r.g.s. 

ONE of the most fundamental laws of the 
universe is the law of change. From 
hour to hour the Ages march along, and every 
step is marked by death, and every step by life. 
The old forms fade. The new ones blossom and 
fade in their turn. Not a spider's web, not a 
grain of sand, not a leaf in the forest, remains 
permanent for a single second. Even the stars 
come and go. The sun is a boiling cauldron full 
of storm and whirl and change ; and as he 
changes so do his planets, and this world with all 
its living occupants. Not wildly nor chaotically. 
It is law, and every phase of it is law-bound, 
ordered, and unchangeable. All these complex 
and interwoven movements are waves that rise 
and fall in perfect rhythm, notes in the universal 
harmony. The history of man is a single phrase 
in the music of the spheres, but place that phrase 
under the intellectual microscope, and it unfolds 
into a complex universe, whose beginnings and 



STREET CRIES. 245 

endings are out of sight, and whose minutest 
fraofinent it would take a volume to describe. 

The species is broken up into races, the race 
into nations, the nations into provinces and towns, 
and each has its history of perpetual change, its 
epochs of rise and fall. The intellectual outlook 
of each social group changes as widely as its 
external conditions. Public opinion and public 
sentiment are never the same at the end of any 
century as they were at the beginning, and the 
changes of thought and feeling are necessarily 
marked by varied customs. There are epochs 
of poetic inspiration, of hard utilitarianism, of 
scientific research, of miserly acquisitiveness, of 
chivalrous generosity, of land hunger and glorj^ 
hunger, of heedless vice, and of ascetic devotion. 
These social changes follow each other no doubt 
in varied, yet quite orderly, succession, though the 
law of their succession may be hidden from us, 
too large in its sweep for our small field of vision. 
But the recognition of the great fact that all is 
changing, and that all change is orderly, gives a 
deep interest to the small bye- ways of history, 
and makes even the street cries of a provincial 
town worth thinking about. Some persons 
wonder why the musical cries of the last century 



246 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

are heard no longer in our English towns. It is 
due simply to the inevitable change of public 
sentiment. 

The life-stream of the English race has 
reached a deep clean channel, in which the 
picturesqueness of the banks is sharply marked 
off from the steady flow of the mid-channel. 
'* Let business be business," is the motto of the 
day. " What has trade to do with poetry or 
music ? They are for holidays, and galas, and 
recreative evenings, not for shops or markets." 
The work of the day is crowded into fewer hours, 
but not a moment of those few can be spared to 
the graces of song. 

" Cherry ripe I cherry ripe ! ripe I cry ! 
Fresh and fair ones, come and buy ! " 

is a waste of time and breath, and must be 
shortened into : — 

"Cherries, tuppence a pound, tuppence a pound !" 

If rural hamlets will still listen to the Dutch 
girl's pretty melody of " Buy a broom !" there 
is no room for her in the busy market-place, her 
trumpery besoms are of no practical use. 

About the year 1700, there was a book 
published called " London Cries," with wood-cuts 



STREET CRIES. 247 

of the criers and their wares, and some of these 
are reproduced in Hone's "Table Book" (1827). 
Even at this latter date the musical cries were 
dying out, and Hone mentions several which had 
been for some time extinct. 

Several others which were still in existence 
were known in the streets of Leicester as well as 
in London. 

" Young lambs to sell ! young lambs to sell ! 
If I'd as much money as I could tell 
I never would cry young lambs to sell ! " 

was heard here occasionally about fifty years ago. 
They were frail little toys covered with white 
wool, with a bit of ribbon round the neck. 
Hone gives the pin-man's cry as : — 

" Three rows a penny, pins, 
Short whites, and mid-dl-ings !" 

But our Leicester pin-man made more than this 
of it. His well-known song was for many years 
almost a necessary element in the Saturday 
market, and only disappeared about thirty years 
ago :— 

" Eight rows a penny O ! 
Whilst I've got any O ! 
Eight rows a penny O ! 
Yer long, strong pins ! " 



248 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

And sonietinies he would vary the last line to 
" Yer fine London pins !" 



-^^^^ ^ — X • — •— H -b ;^^ ^ — * — * — m — g — ^ — 



Eight rows a pen - ny, O ! Whilst I've got a - ny, O ! 



#- 



Eight rows a pen - ny, O ! Yer long strong pins ! 

There was another notable cry which went out 
behind the Gates of Silence, about the same time 
as the old pin-song. 

A very ancient, very dirty, and very weird- 
looking woman, used to trot about the streets, 
with her back bent at a right angle, and a dirty 
bag over her shoulder, and her cry kept time 
with her quick shuffling steps in a nasal chant : — 

'' Ainy ould shoes or ould boots to pairt wi' ? 
Ainy 'are-skins, rabbit-skins, doctor's bottles, ould iron, 
broken flint glass, bones, rags to pairt wi' ?" 

The cry of the night watchman, who went 
round the dark streets with his heavy coat and 
his lantern, ceased with the coming of the new 
police. It was a relic of the times when all things 
were done artistically. 



1_« — j,:N_g>_.„^ 



Half - past two o'clock, Snow - y morning !. 



STREET CRIES. 249 

"Hot cross buns" are still cried lustily by 
hundreds of small boys on Good Friday morning, 
but they don't trouble themselves to sing the 
well-known melody. It is simply a shout on one 
note, " Hot cross buns ! Hot cross buns ! One 
a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns!" pro- 
nounced as rapidly as their careless tongues can 
do it. 

Some twenty years ago there was a rather 
pretty Irish girl in Leicester who had a dainty 
way of crying: "Good lither laces, a penny a 
paire !" Her pleasant voice and manner and 
Irish accent attracted many customers. 

Those who knew the Leicester Saturday 
Market twenty or thirty years ago will recognize 
the folio wins: familiar cries : — 

" Ham sandwiches a penny each, a penny each ! 
Ham sandwiches a penny each !" 

"Sold again ! Four more a penny here, four a p'ny !" 

These were plain round sweetish cakes, three 

inches across, convex on the upper side, and with 

three or four currants in the top of the convexity. 

They are still sold. 

" Old Moore's book almanack ! Old Moore's book almanack, 
one penny ! " 

This famous almanack still gets printed and 



250 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

published, but it must be nearly pushed out 

by swarms of competitors. It used to have the 

field almost to itself. 

" Six sheets of note paper and a packet of envelopes all for 
one penny !" 

This cry cannot be older than the penny post, 
as envelopes were not used previously. 
" Penny an ounce here ! Two ounces for three halfpence !" 

The sale of " rock " in the streets and the 
markets has greatly diminished, probably owing 
to the opening of innumerable shops for the sale 
of "hard confectionery." 

" Half-a-dozen silver spoons, a knife and fork, a gold ring, 
and a cedar pencil, all for one penny ! " 

The adjectives in this cry were, of course, purely 
euphuistic ; " tall talk " for tin, brass, and deal ; 
but it seemed a cheap pennyworth, and many 
little boys and girls were made happy, no doubt, 
by such a gift. 

" Pies hot here, a penny each ! penny each, pies hot ! " 
The celebrated Leicestershire Pork Pie was 
here reduced to its lowest quality and smallest 
size, but it was sold by thousands. 

There was a quack chiropodist who used to 
stand upon a stool and repeat a very short 
address about every five minutes, beginning with 



STREET CMIES. 251 

the words, " Cutting your corns is the worst 
thing you can possibly do. Apply this plaster," 
etc., etc. Then he would sell a few penny- 
worths of his plaster, and begin again. 

One Leicester man used to make a living 
by selling ''Baked Wheat" about the streets. 
It was used for making " Firmity," a very ancient 
dish, and still enjoyed by children. His cry at 
night, or very early in the morning, was a kind of 
hoot — "Hot! — wheat!" in a deep monotonous 
voice, and so indistinctly pronounced, that only 
those who knew could make out what he 
meant. 

The milkman's call was more of a shriek than a 
hoot. You heard the clink of the tin pail upon 
the doorstep, and then came "Milk O — Oh!" 
the last syllable jumping up two or three octaves 
at a bound, and "fetching" the maid wherever 
she might be. Milk-carts have now superseded 
the old pail. 

Does anybody know what "ships' trotters" 
are ? They used to be sold in great numbers in 
the Leicester market. A little old man had a 
little stall covered with them, and cried them to 
the passers-by. 

They were sheeps' feet skinned and cleaned 



252 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

and boiled, and very good little tit-bits they were 
when they were fresh ; but if anybody once got a 
putrid one he remembered it. 

" Catch 'em alive O ! — catch 'em alive ! " was 
the cry of a young man who wore a hare-skin cap 
to make himself conspicuous, and sold fly-papers. 

*' White herrings ! — all hut alive ! " was chanted 
by a hawking fishmonger. 

There was a man with a large box on two 
wheels, the edges of the box adorned with little 
windmills of coloured paper revolving in the 
wind, who cried " Rags and bones ! Bring out 
your rags and bones !" and the children of the 
back streets would run out with hands full of 
rubbish and refuse, and get a windmill in ex- 
change. 

Finally there was the early morning cry of 
" Swe-e-e-ep !" repeated at your door with 
irritating monotony, until the servants woke and 
let in the black man and his climbing boy. 

A notable sound in the Leicester streets for 
many years, more truly artistic than any of its 
cries, was the music of the Nottingham organ- 
grinder, with his pan-pipes. He was no common 
grinder whose business is just to turn the handle 
at an unvarying pace, and let the machine make 



STREET CRIES. 253 

such music as is in it. He was an artist of taste 
and feeling, and the tones he drew out of his 
pipes to the organ accompaniment made many 
good judges pause and wonder. It was a treat 
to hear him play "Annie Laurie," or "Love 
Not." These were two of his favourite tunes, 
and were well suited to his instruments. It was 
a serious loss to Leicester when the old gentle- 
man retired upon the little fortune he had 
accumulated. 

There are still some cries in the Saturday 
market, but all the picturesqueness and the 
music is gone out of them. The vendors only 
want to be heard, and to sell their goods. They 
have no pleasure in their work. They shout, but 
they do not sing. Such pleasures as their hard 
lives admit are taken at night, when the day's 
work is over. In the old days, when it was 
easier to live, the work and the pleasure were 
mingled together, life was of a different 
pattern. Those times will not come back. 
History never repeats itself But a century 
hence the pattern will have changed again, and 
the love of beauty and song will find develop- 
ment in some new form. 



flDin0trel6\> in Xciccster. 

By Rev. Geo. S. Tvack, b.a. 

THERE can be little question that Mediaeval 
England was a music-loving land. 
Amongst the representatives of all classes, for 
example, that pass before us in the pages of 
Chaucer, the art of music in some of its forms is 
no uncommon accomplishment. Of the Squire 
we read that "singing he was, or floyting 
(fluting) all the day." The Friar is quite at 
home wuth song or harp, and the Miller can well 
"blow and soun " his bagpipe. "There never 
was," says Charles Knight, " a people apparently 
more keenly alive to the charm of music in con- 
nection with the services of the Church, with 
poetry, and with dancing." The oldest known 
specimen of the part-song is, as is well-known, a 
North Country canon of the early thirteenth 
century, " Sumer is icumen in," and we have it on 
the authority of Giraldus Cambrensis (1147-1216), 
that part-singing was in his day a peculiarity of 
the English nation, "The Britons," he says, 



MINSTRELSY IN LEICESTER. 2rjr, 

"do not sing their tunes in unison, like the 
inhabitants of other countries, but in different 
parts ; so that when a company of singers meet 
to sing, as is usual in this country, as many 
different parts are heard as there are singers." 

Another illustration of this same truth is the 
fact that nobles of that ao^e thoucjht it as much 
part of their necessary state to keep a company 
of minstrels, as to provide a retinue of knights 
and men-at-arms, and no house with any claim to 
rank was without its harper at the least ; while 
corporations and other public bodies frequently 
had their musicians paid out of the revenues at 
their disposal. It is a matter of regret that our 
England of to-day does not more fully realize 
that it is but a narrow-minded and short-sigfhted 
practicalness which holds art to be so much more 
a luxury than a necessity of civilized life as to be 
almost beyond the pale of public assistance, 
while a host of grooms and stablemen are deemed 
a more needful adjunct to a great house than a 
company of musicians. 

Leicester affords us good examples of the 
support which both private munificence and 
public policy rendered to the cause of music in 
days gone by. 



25G RYOONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

As early as 1308, the Earl of Lancaster and 
Leicester kept a body of minstrels at his castle 
in the latter town, and expenses with regard to it 
occur from time to time in the records of the 
household. In 1381, John of Gaunt, one of the 
greatest of the Earls, founded a Court of 
Minstrels at Tutbur}?", which was by charter 
endowed with the legal powers of a court-baron 
over all musicians in the counties of Stafford, 
Derby, Nottingham, Leicester, and Warwick ; 
but in spite of the wide jurisdiction thus assigned 
to it, it is doubtful whether it could exercise 
any control over the Honour of Leicester, which 
was entirely independent of Tutbury, and one of 
the most important in the realm. With the 
accession of Henry of Bolingbroke, Gaunt's eldest 
son, to the throne, as Henry IV., in 1399, 
Leicester Castle ceased to be the chief seat of 
that house, and we hear no more of its 
minstrelsy. 

But it was not only the great folk at the 
castle and their noble guests who had an ear for 
music ; the busy burgesses and honest citizens of 
Leicester could enjoy round, and catch, and . 
madrigal with the best of them, and that was 
indeed a poor wedding, or an ill-managed merry- 



MINSTRELSY IN LEICESTER. 257 

making, that had not its seasoning of music. 
Hugh the Trumpeter ; Henry Howman, harper ; 
Thomas Wylkyns, "wayte;" Thomas Pollard, 
musician ; and Andrew Marsam, virginal maker, 
all appear in the guild-rolls of the town between 
1314 and 1579, proving that there were 
musicians in Leicester of esteem and position 
among their fellow-citizens. The first mention, 
— not necessarily, however, the first institution, 
— of an organized body of town waits is in the 
year 1524, in the Chamberlain's annual accounts, 
when liveries were provided for three waits at a 
cost of 16s. This livery consisted of a scarlet 
gown trimmed with silver lace, and a silver chain 
with a "scutcheon" bearing the town arms, a 
cinquefoil. The number of these badges seems 
never to have been increased, but that of the 
waits grew from the original three to five in 
1603, and then to six ; their cloaks also were 
subsequently ornamented with gold instead of 
silver lace. Each of the waits was allowed a 
boy under him, who also wore a gown, and a 
badge, probably of inferior metal, hung about his 
neck by a green ribbon. 

The primary duty of this company was no 
doubt to act as watchmen, crying the hours and 



258 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

watchinof ajsrainst fire or foe throuerhout the 
night, as their name implies ; but together with 
all their bravery of scarlet and silver, they 
undertook more ambitious offices. Twice daily 
all through the year they were to play in some 
public place for the pleasure of the people, and 
they provided the requisite music on all occasions 
of municipal state, occupying, for instance, the 
minstrels' gallery, still existing at the Guildhall, 
at the mayoral banquets. 

No fixed salary was assigned to them until 
1581, before which time they seem to have 
depended upon the irregular support of gratuities. 
In that year, however, it was ordered that each 
inhabitant should be assessed by the mayor, at 
his discretion, in a quarterly sum for the 
maintenance of the waits ; and in the following 
year further provision was made for them by the 
corporation taxing itself for the same object, 
the "Twenty-four" to the extent of 12d., and 
the " Forty-eight " to that of 6d. per quarter. 
At the same time they were granted absolute 
protection from all competition ; for all other 
musicians, even if residents in Leicester, were 
forbidden to exercise their art in public, except 
at the general assizes, when they might play for 



MINSTRELSY IN LEICESTER. 269 

the amusement of strangers only. In return for 
these privileges the town waits, on their part, 
were bound to the aforesaid duties, and were 
prohibited from performing anywhere without 
the town, except, by the mayor's permission in 
each case, at fairs or weddings. 

A further illustration of the support given by 
private individuals to companies of musicians 
meets us in the year 1583, when, the old waits 
having been dismissed, the musicians of one Mr. 
Griffin were appointed in their stead, on the 
same terms as their predecessors. The new 
waits held office for nearly twenty years, losing 
it at last owing to disagreements among them- 
selves. In 1603, five waits were appointed, but 
their wages, so far as they were derived from the 
members of the corporation, were reduced by 
one-half, the two sections of that body paying 
quarterly only 6d. and 3d. respectively. In 
1671, when Robert Howe was leader of the 
waits, another irruption of discord ended in 
the dismissal of the company, and on the 
appointment of their successors a further change 
was made in their remuneration, £5 per annum 
being given to them collectively, together with 
their liveries. These, in 1677, cost £10 17s. 8d. 



260 BYGONE LEICESTERSHIRE. 

No doubt during all this time gratuities given at 
weddings and other private festivals, and con- 
tributions collected at fairs and such like, added 
considerably to the income of the waits. 

The wandering minstrel, once the honoured 
guest at every hall or castle which he passed, 
had long since sunk into disrepute, so that, in a 
statute of the thirty-ninth year of Elizabeth, 
minstrels are joined with jugglers, bear- wards, 
fencers, common players of interludes, tinkers, 
and pedlars, in one general condemnation as 
rogues, vagabonds, and sturdy beggars. The 
Leicester waits, protected by the prestige of 
municipal appointment, and by a regular employ- 
ment, escaped the hue and cry that followed 
their less fortunate brethren, and hved on in all 
the dignity of lace and chains till the " Municipal 
Corporations Reform Act" of 1835, that foe to 
so much that, if objectionable, was picturesque, 
swept them away, with other things far less 
worthy of preservation. Mace-bearers, town 
waits, and others were involved in one common 
overthrow ; and maces, town-plate, silver chains, 
" scutcheons and cinquefoils," and all, met the 
unhonoured doom of the auctioneer's hammer. 
From the catalogue of the sale it appears that the 



MINSTRELSY IN LEICESTER. 261 

" properties " of the waits consisted of two horns, 
two clarionets, four piccoloes, and a bassoon. One 
of the chains, with its badge, is now to be seen 
in the Town Museum. 

It may well have been that the music of the 
waits of bygone days left much to be desired, 
and our concert-halls and assembly-rooms doubt- 
less provide infinitely better food for the musical 
palates of the upper and middle classes than did 
the morning and evening performances of the 
Leicester town waits ; yet one cannot help think- 
ing that the Corporation of Leicester, and of 
every other town and city in our land, is respon- 
sible for much expenditure which is less justifiable 
that would be the provision of the free enjoy- 
ment of music by the poor amid the monotony 
and dinginess of our prosaic and " practical " life 
of to-day. 



Jnbey. 



Abbeys, 7 

Abershaw, Jeremiah, 194 
Anecdote, re Bosworth, 58 
Ashby-de-la-Zouch Castle, 219 
Leland's account of, 222 
Mary Queen of Scots at, 224 
James I. at, 224 ; Charles I. 
at, 225-227 ; surrendered to 
Parliament, 227 ; rendered 
untenable, 228 ; Nichols re, 
228 ; in 1786, 229 
Ashby-de-la-Zouch and the French 
prisoners, 229 ; tidings of 
victory, 231 ; prisoners' allow- 
ance, 232; pet dogs, 233; 
duels, 234 ; marriages, 233- 
234 ; deaths and births, 235 
Assfordby Bridge, 110 

Bainbridge, General, 228 

Bean-belly, Leicestershire, 1.06 

Beaumont, Robert de, 6 

Bed worth beggars, 112 

Belledon, 112 

Belvoir Castle, 86 ; founded, 87 
Mediaeval history, 87-90 
Leland's description, 90 
additions to, 90 ; Civil War 
incidents, 92 ; restored, 93 ; 
fire at, 95 ; hospitality, 95 

Bever's cap, 109 

Bible, Wiclif's translation, 25 

Blue Boar, the, 41, 60-61 

Bosworth, Battle of, 13, 41-53 

Bosworth Field, 43 

Bohun, Humphrey de, 99-100 

Books, bequests of, 151 

Brackenbury, Sir Robert, 49 

Bradgate and Lady Jane Grey, 
62 

Bradshaw's wind-mill. 111 

Brandon, Sir William, 13, 50 

Branks, 168 

Bridges, re bequests, 147 



Britons : the Coritani, 1 
Buckingham's insurrection, 36-37 
Buns, valentine, 118 
Burials, re wills, 149, 152 
Burton, 128 

Cambridge, James, Earl of, 228 

Carlton Curlieu, 109 

Carting through the town, 166 

Catesby, 52 

Charles L, 16,225-227 

Cheney, Sir John, 13, 50 

Chicheley, Archbishop, 26 

Christmas, 125 

Churches, St. Mary, 6 ; Lough- 
borough, 155-156, Wymes- 
wold, 156 ; bequests, 141- 
142 ; burials, 141 ; hay, 124 

Clothing, bequests of, 150 

Collingbourne's epigram, 35 

Commines, re Richard III. , 55 

Cook, James, 195-203 

Courtenay, Archbishop, 10, 22 

Cucking Stool, 159 

Danes, 4-5 

Death of Cardinal Wolsey, 76 
Desmond, Countess of, 34 
Digby, Sir Simon, his exploit, 45 
Dorset, Marquis of, 15 

Easter Monday, 119-120 

Edward III., 9 

Edward IV., 12 

Edward, Prince of Wales, 34 

Ethelfleda, 5 

Execution of Witches, 126 

Fairs, 124 

Festival Customs, 117 
Finger Pillory, 171 
Flags and Standards, 46 
Flavia Csesariensis, 3 
Fords, bequests re, 147 
Fornham, battle at, 99 



INDEX. 



263 



Fosse- Way, the, 1 
Funeral Expenses, 154 
Furniture, re wills, 153 

Gaunt, John of, 9, 22, 24, 32, 36, 

75, 123 
Gibbet, the last, 193 
Gilds, 146 
Glen, 127 
Glen Magna, 112 
Gossip, evil results of, 169 
Grantmesnil, Hugh de, 6 
Greys of Bradgate, the, 12 
Grey, Lady Jane, 16, 66-68 
Grooby, lOS 

Hamilton, Duke of, 227 
Hastings, the, 15 ; Sir William, 

11 ; Lord Edward, 221 ; Lord 

William, 220 
Henry IL, 97-104 
Hinckley Field, 110 
Hiring "Statutes," 124 
Historic Leicestershire, 1 
Hocks Norton, 108 
Hose and Long Claxton, 1 14 
" Hudibras" quoted, 130-131 
Huntingdon, Catherine, Countess 

of, 205 
Huntingdon, Henry, fifth Earl 

of, 206 
Husband Bosworth, 126 

Key of Stainton Tower, 96 

Last days of a dynasty, 33 

Laurence Ferrers, 176 ; un- 
governable temper of, 178- 
181 ; shoots his steward, 181- 
183 ; committal and trial, 
184-187 ; last will, 187 ; 
execution, 187-192 

Lee, William, 17 

Leicester (Rataj, Legicester), 3, 
5, 7, 10-11 ; See of, 4 ; After 
the Conquest, 6 ; Parliaments 
at, 11, 75; Richard IIL at, 
13, 41 ; Wolsey at, 14 ; 
Captured, 16, 101; Musicians, 
re, 257 

Leicester Abbey, 76-77 

Leicester Castle, 70 ; early 
history, 70-71 ; early lords of, 
72-73 



Leicester, Robert, Earl of, 7, 97- 
104 

Leicestershire plover, 114 

Lincoln, Earl of, 35 

Lilly, William, 130 ; his almanacs, 
133, 136 ; at Westminster 
Abbey, 135 ; Pepys, re, 137 ; 
conspiracy, re, 138 

Linwood, Miss Mary — an artist 
with the needle, 236 ; royal 
patrons of, 237 ; exhibition 
of pictures, 238 ; sale of 
pictures, 240-41 ; method of 
working, 240 ; her death, 242 

Local proverbs and folk phrases, 
105 

Lockington Wake, 110 

Lucy, Richard de, 99, 101 

Lutterworth, 9-10, 28; Lutter- 
worth Church, 28-32 

Mallory, Anketill, 101-104 
Manners family, the, 15 
Mark of Belgrave, 1 1 1 
Market Harborough (proverb), 

107 
Maunday Thursday, 78 
May, first of, 121 
Mayor of Hartlepool, the, 115 
Mercia, 3-4 

Milford Haven, Richmond at, 38 
Mince Pigs, 125 
Minstrelsy in Leicester, 254 ; 

John of Gaunt's minstrels, 

256 
Montfort, Simon de, 7, 73-74 
More, Sir Thomas, 34 
Mountsorrel, Bell-giant of, 113 
Municipal Corporation Reform 

Act, 260 
Music, love of, 254 

Nottingham, Richard III. at, 38, 

41 
Norfolk, Duke of, 38, 49, 51 ; his 

warning, 47 
Normans, the, 5-6 
Northumberland, Earl of, 16 

Paas, John, murder of, 199 

Parliament and Leicester, 11, 75 

Pillory, 169 

Pirates, gibbeting, 195 

Plague, 154 

Plough Monday, 117 



264 



INDEX. 



Poor, bequests to the, 148 
Praed's " Red Fisherman," 58 
Prisons for French soldiers, 230 
Punishments of the past, 159 
Purgatory, bequests re, 143 

Ratcliflf, Sir Richard, 49 

Repton, 3 

Richard III., 13, 33-40, 41-53, 55- 

59; his death, 13, 50; his 

burial, 14, 59 
Richard's Well, 14, 43 
Richmond, Countess of, 54 
Richmond, Earl of, 13, 36-40 
Riding of the millers, 122 
Robert Blanchmains, 7, 97-104 
Romans, the, 1-3 
Rutland, Henry, second Earl, 90 

Saxons, the, 3 

Scenes at Bosworth, 54 

Scolding cart, 166 

Sedan chair, 241 

Sentinel, Richai'd, and the, 57 

Shrove Tuesday, 118 

Sidrophel, 130-131 

Stanley, Lord, 13, 40, 42, 47-49, 
54-55 ; Sir William, 40, 47-49 

Stamford, Countess of, the incen- 
diary, 68 

Staunton, Sir Mauger, 96 

Statute re minstrels, 260 

Stocks, 172 

Stockings, 17-18 



Strange, Lord, 40, 47, 48 
Street cries, 244 
Sudbury, Archbishop, 23 
Suffolk, Duke of, 16 
S. Valentine, 117 

Tamworth, 42 
Tudors, the, 14-15 

Waits, 257-261 

Wake or feast, 123 

Warwick, Earl of, 12 

Water Mills at Loughborough, 
the ancient, 204 ; right of 
grinding, 204-205 ; trial of 
1640, 210; trial of 1651, 212; 
trial of 1698, 217 

Whipping, 172 

" Whipping Toms," 119 

Whit Monday, 122 

Wiclif, John, 8-10; and Lutter- 
worth, 20 ; he disputes the 
Papal supremacy, 21 ; charged 
with heresy, 22-24 ; at 
Lutterworth, 24 ; death, 26 ; 
monument, 30 ; relics, 30-32 

Wiclifites, 11 

William, the Lion, captured, 103 

Wills, early Leicestershire, 140 

Witchcraft, 91 ; in Leicestershire, 
126 

Wool, trade in, 8, 17 

York, Richard, Duke of, 54 



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Edited by WILLIAM ANDREWS, F.R.H.S. 



Contents of Volume I. : — Historic Lincolnshire, by John Nicholson — The 
Ancient Boat at Brigg, by T Tindall Wildridge — Havelok, the Dane, by 
Mabel Peacock— The Crowle Stone, by the Rev. Geo. S Tyack, b.a. — 
A Roman Arch — A Curious Legend, by the Rev. W Henry Jones — 
Quaint Land Tenures and Customs of the Manor, by T Broadbent 
Trowsdale, f.r.h.s. — Swineshead : The Story of King John's Death, by 
Edward Lam plough — Barton-on-Humber in the Olden Time, by C H 
Crowder — Pirates in the Humber, by Edward Peacock, f.s.a. — The 
Pilgrimage of Grace, by Frederick Ross, f.r.h.s. — Horncastle or Winsby 
Fight, by Edward Lamplough — Somersby Manor and Cross, by J G Hall 
— Some Old Lincolnshire Gilds, by the Rev. J Malet Lambert, m.a., ll. u. 
— Somerton Castle and its Royal Captive, by Theo Arthur — The 
Champion, by William Andrews, k.k.h.s. — Haxey Hood— Bull-Running, 
by John H Leggott, f.r.h.s. — Henry Welby, the Grub Street Hermit, 
by Theo Arthur— The Plague in Alford, 1630, by the Rev. Geo S 
Tyack, b.a. — Kirke White in Lincolnshire, by Alfred Lishman — Index. 

Contents of Volume II. : — Lincoln Cathedral, by T Tindall Wildridge 
— Lincoln Castle, by E Mansell Sympson, m.d. — Tattershall, its Lords, 
its Castle, and its Church, by E Mansell Sympson, m.d. — Bolingbroke 
Castle, by Tom Robinson, m.d. — Ancient Stained Glass at Barton-on- 
Humber, and the great Earl Beaumont, by T Tindall Wildridge — On the 
Population of Lincolnshire, by Tom Robinson, m.d. — Suj)erstitious 
Beliefs and Customs of Lincolnshire, by the Rev. Wm. Proctor Swaby, D. D.' 
— The Legend of Byard's Leap, by the Rev. J Conway Walter — 
Thornton Abbey, by Frederick Ross, f.r.h.s.— The Witches of Belvoir, 
by T Broadbent Trowsdale — The Battle of Lincoln, by Edward 
Lamplough — Lincoln Fair, by Edward Lamplough — Alford Fight, by the 
Rev. Geo S Tyack, b.a. — Robert de Brunne, by Frederick Ross, f.r.h.s. 
— Dr. Dodd, the Forger, by John T Page — Sir Isaac Newton— Barton- 
on-Humber Ferry, by C H Crowder — An Eighteenth Century Poet, by 
the Rev. Alan Cheales, m.a. — Lincolnshire a Century Ago — Spalding 
Gentlemen's Society, by Dr. Perry — The Great Brass Welkyn of Boston, 
by William Stevenson— The Great Hawthorn Tree of Fish toft — Index. 

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of England, and produced so many men who have illustrated it. . . A 
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T 



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Edited by WILLIAM ANDREWS, f.r.h.s., 

Author of "Old-Time Punishments," "Curiosities of 
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CONTENTS. 

Historic Essex, by Thomas Frost — Epping Forest : Its History, 
Customs, and Law^s, by Jesse Quail — Greenstead Church, by Edward 
Lamplough — The Burial of Harold at Waltham, by William 
Winters, f.k.h.s. — St. Osyth's Priory, by John T Page — Colchester in 
Olden Times, by Joseph W Spurgeon — The Siege of Colchester, by 
Joseph W Spurgeon— Colchester : Its Historic Buildings and Famous 
Men, by Joseph W Spurgeon — Essex Tokens, by Thomas Forster — 
Queen Elizabeth at Tilbury : A Glance at Armada Days, by Edward 
Lamplough — The Lawless Court, by the Rev. Geo. S Tyack, b..\. — The 
Dunmow Flitch — A Deserted Primitive Village, by (i Fredk. Beaumont 
— William Hunter, the Young Martyr of Brentwood, by John W Odling 
— Fairlop Fair by John W Odling— Thomas Tusser and his "Five 
Hundred Points of Good Husbandry," by W' H Thompson — John Ray, 
Naturalist, by W H Thompson — Wanstead House, by John T Page — 
Hopkins, the Witchfinder, by Frederick Ross, f.r.h.s. — An Essex Poet, 
by the Rev. Geo. S Tyack, b.a. —Historic Harwich — Old Bow Bridge, by 
John T Page — Index. 

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:B^gone Xancaebtre* 

Edited by ERNEST AXON. 



Contents : — Historic Lancashire, by Ernest Axon — The Religious Life of 
Lancashire during the Commonwealth, by W A Shaw, m.a. , — Kersal 
Moor, by Janet Armytage — A Lancaster Worthy (Thomas Covell), by 
William Hewitson— Some Early Manchester Grammar School Boys, by 
Ernest Axon — The Sworn Men of Amounderness, by Lieut. -Col. Henry 
Fishwick, f.s.a. — Lancashire Sundials, by William E A Axon, m.r.s.l. 
— Tlie Plague in Liverpool, by J Cooper Morley — The Old Dated Bell at 
Claughton, by Robert Langton, f.r.h.s. — The Children of Tim Bobbin, by 
Ernest Axon — The " Black Art" at Bolton — An Infant Prodigy in 1679, 
by Arthur W Croxton — Wife Desertion in the Olden Times — The Colquitt 
Family of Liverpool — Some Old Lancashire Punishments — Bury Siranels — 
Eccles Wakes, by H Cottam — Furness Abbey — Colonel Rosworm and the 
Siege of Manchester, by George C Yates, f.s.a. — Poems of Lancashire 
Places, by William E A Axon, m.k.s.l. — Father Arrowsmith's Hand, by 
Rushworth Armytage — Index — Illuntraied. 

" A work of considerable historical and archaeological interest." — 
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*' The book is handsomely got up." — Manchester Guardian. 

" In the collection of papers forming this highly interesting volume, 
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essays rich in curious facts. . . All the articles are good, and should 
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BY^OflE MOpAMpTOM^[llI(E, 

Its History, Folk-Lore, and Memorable Men and Women. 
Edited by WILLIAM ANDREWS, f.r.h.s., 

Author of "Old-Time Punishments," "Curiosities of the Church," 
"Old Church Lore." 



Contenf9 : — Historic North.imptonshire, by Thomas Frost — The Eleanor 
Crosses, by the Rev. Geo. STyack, b.a. — Fotheringhay : Past and Present, 
by Mrs. Dempsey— The Battle of Naseby, by Edward Lamplough — The 
Cottage Countess — The Charnel House at Rothwell, by Edward Chamber- 
lain — The Grunpowder Plot, by John T Page — Earls Barton Church, by 
T Tindall Wildridge— Old Fairs, by William Sharman — Witches and 
Witchcraft, by Eugene Teesdale — The City of Peterborough, by Frederick 
Ross, F.R.H.S. — The English Founders of the Washington Family of 
America, by Thomas Frost — Ann Bradstreet, the Earliest American 
Poetess — Liber Custumarum, Villse Northamptonise, by Christopher A. 
Markham, f.s. a. — Thomas Britton, the Musical Small-Coal Man, by E E 
Cohen — Old Scarlett, the Peterborough Sexton — Accounts of Towcester 
Constables, by John Nicholson — Miserere Shoemaker of Wellingborough, 
by T Tindall Wildridge — Sir Thomas Tresham and his Buildings, by John 
T Page — Northamptonshire Folk-Lore, by John Nicholson — Northampton- 
shire Proverbs — An Ancient Hospital, by the Rev. I Wodhams, m.a. — 
A carefully prepared Index — Illustrations. 

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not only a thing of beauty, but also a veritable treasure-house of reliable 
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able to pleasantly while away many odd half -hours by perusing its pages. " 
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Begone 2)crb^6bire: 

Its History, Romance, Folk-Lore, Curious 
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Edited by WILLIAM ANDREWS, f.r.h.s. 

"TAERBYSHIRE is rich in historical associations of an out-of-the-way 
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ancient castles, monumental brasses, gleanings from parochial records, 
old church lore, family romance, traditions, curious customs, witchcraft 
well-dressing, old-time sports, etc., etc. 



GontentH : — Historic Derbyshire — On an Early Christian Tomb at Wirks- 
worth — Curious Derbyshire Lead-Mining Customs — The Place-Nam 
Derby — Duffield Castle — Haddon Hall— The Romance of Haddon Hall — 
The Ordeal of Touch — The Monumental Brasses at Tideswell — Bolsover 
Castle — The Lamp of St. Helen — Peveril Castle — Samuel Slater, the 
Father of the American Cotton Manufacture — The Bakewell Witches — 
Mary Queen of Scots in Derbyshire — The Babington Conspiracy — Eyam 
and its Sad Memories — Well-Dressing — Old-Time Football — After Thirty 
Years ; An Incident of the Civil War — Derbyshire and the '45 — Bess of 
Hardwick — Shadows of Romance — Index. 



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shire." — Derbyshire Cotirier. 

"Mr. Andrews is to be warmly complimented on the all-round 
excellence of his work, which forms a valuable addition to Derbyshire 
literature." — Alfreton Journal. 

" A valuable addition to any library." — Derbyshire Times. 

HULL : WILLIAM ANDREWS & CO., THE HULL PRESS. 
London : Simpkin, Marshai,l, Hamilton, Kent, & Co. , Ltd. 



Elegantly bound in cloth gilt, demy 8uo., price 7s. 6d. 

By FREDERICK ROSS, F.R.H.S., 

Author of " Yorkshire Family Romance," "Legendary 
Yorkshire," etc. 



CONTENTS. 

The Walls and Gates — Episodes in the Annals of Cheapside — Bishops- 
gate Street Within and Without — Aldersgate Street and St. Martin's-le- 
(irand — Old Broad Street — Chaucer and the Tabard — The Priory of the 
Holy Trinity, Aldgate — Convent of the Sisters Minoresses of the Order 
of St. Clare, Aldgate— The Abbey of St. ^lary of Graces, or East Minster 
— The Barons Fitzwalter of Baynard's Castle — Sir Nicholas Brember, 
Knight, Lord Mayor of London — An Olden Time Bishop of London : 
Robert de Braybrook — A Brave Old London Bishop : Fulco Basset — An 
Old London Diarist — Index. 

PRESS OPINIONS. 

*' Mr. Ross deals with the chief episodes in the history of London 
architecture, and with existing London antiquities in a garrulous, genial 
spirit, which renders his book generally attractive." — The Times. 

"Beyond all doubt a more interesting and withal informing volume 
than ' Bygone London ' it has not been our good fortune to come across 
for many a long day." — The City Press. 



PRICE ONE SHILLING. 

-^ In the Temple. ^ 



eONTEMTS. 

In the Temple — The Knights Templars— The Devil's Own— Christmas in 
the Temple — How to become a Templar — On Keeping Terms — Call Parties. 



•' Amusing and interesting sketches." — Late Times. 

" Pleasant gossip about the barristers' quarter." — Gentlewoman. 

" A very pleasant little volume." — Globe. / 

" An entertaining little book." — Manchester Examiner. 

HULL: WILLIAM ANDREWS & CO., THE HULL PRESS. 
London : Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, & Co., Ltd. 



Elegantly hound in cloth gilt, demy Svo., 6s. 

Legendary ^ Cjorkshire. 

By FREDERICK ROSS, F.R.H.S. 



Contents : — The Enchanted Cave —The Doomed City — The Worm of 

Nunnington — The Devil's Arrows— The Giant Road Maker of Mulgrave — 

The Virgin's Head of Halifax — The Dead Arm of Sb. Oswald the King — 

The Translation of St. Hilda— A Miracle of St. John— The Beatified 

Sisters — The Dragon of Wantley— The Miiacles and Ghost of Watton — 

The Murdered Hermit of Eskdale— The Calverley Ghost- The Bewitched 

House of Wakefield. 

PRESS OPINIONS. 

Beverley Recorder says — " It is a work of lasting interest, and cannot 
fail to delight the reader." 

Driffield Ob-'^erce.r says : — The history and the literature of our county 
are now receiving marked attention, and Mr. Andrews merits the support 
of the public for the production of this and the other interesting volumes 
he has issued. We cannot speak too highly of this volume, the printing, 
the paper, and the binding being faultless." 



Elegantly bound in cloth gilt, demy Svo. , 6s. 

l^orhsbire dfamil^ IRomance. 

By FREDERICK ROSS, FR.H.S. 



Contents : — The Synod of Streoneshalh — The Doomed Heir of Osmother- 
ley — St. Eadwine, The Royal Martyr — The Viceroy Siward — Phases in the 
Life of a Political Martyr — The Murderer's Bride — The Earldom of Wiltes 
— Blackfaced Clifford— The Shepherd Lord— The Felons of Ilkley— The 
Ingilby Boar's Head — The Eland Tragedy — The Plumpton Marriage — The 
Topcliffe Insurrection — Burning of Cottingham Castle — The Alum Workers 
—The Maiden of Marblehead — Rise of the House of Phipps — The Traitor 
Governor of Hull. 

PRESS OPINIONS. 

" The grasp and thoroughness of the writer is evident in every page, 
and the book forms a valuable addition to the literature of the North 
Country. " — Gentlewoman. 

" Many will welcome this work." — Yorkshire Post. 

HULL : WILLIAM ANDREWS & CO., THE HULL PRESS. 
London : Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, & Co., Ltd. 



Elegantly hound in cloth gilt, demy 8vo. , price 6 n. 

yorkshire Battles. 

By EDWARD LAMPLOUGH. 

Contents: — VVinwidfield, etc. — Battle of Stamford Bridge— After Stam- 
ford Bridge— Battle of the Standard — After the Battle of the Standard- 
Battle of Myton Meadows — Battle of Boroughbridge — Battle of Byland 
Abbey — In the Days of Edward III. and Richard II. — Battle of Bramham 
Moor — Battle of Sandal — Battle of Towton — Yorkshire under the Tudors 
—Battle of Tadcaster — Battle of Leeds— Battle of Wakefield — Battle of 
Adwalton Moor— Battle of Hull — Battle of Selby — Battle of Marston 
Moor — Battle of Brunnanburgh — ^Fight off Flamborough Head — Index. 
PRESS OPINIONS. 

" A remarkably handsome volume, typographically equal to the best 
productions of any European capital. "—iVort/i British Daily Mail. 

"An important work." — Beverley Independent. 

"Does great credit to the new firm of book publishers." — Yorkshire 
County Magazine. 

" A beautifully printed volume." — Halifax Courier. 

Cloth, 4.S. 

yorkshire in Olden Times. 

Edited by WILLIAM ANDREWS, F.R.H.S. 

Contents: — An Outline History of Yorkshire, by Thomas Frost — The 
Cow-Devil : A Legend of Craven, by William Brockie — The First Anglo- 
Saxon Poet, by John H Leggott, f.r.h.s — The Battle of Brunnanburgh, 
by Frederick Ross, f.k.h.s — Old Customs of York, by George Benson — 
Elizabethan Gleanings, by Aaron Watson — The Fight for the Hornsea 
Fishery, by T Tindall Wildridge — Folk Assemblies, by John Nicholson 
— Quaint Gleanings from the Parish Register-Chest of Kirkby Wharfe, 
by the Rev Richard Wilton, m.a. — The W^akefield Mysteries, by William 
Henry Hudson — A Biographical Romance, by William Andrews, f.r.h.s. 
— Some Sera ps and Shreds of Yorkshire Su perstitions, by W Sydney, f. r. s. l. 
— The Salvation of Holderness, by Frederick Ross, f.r.h;.s. — -Yorkshire 
Fairs and Festivals, by Thomas Frost — James Nayler, the Mad Quaker 
who claimed to be the Messiah, by William Andrews, ?.R.ii.s — Duke 
Richard's Doom : A Legend of Sandal Castle, by Edward Lamplough — 
Obsolete Industries of the East Riding, by John Nicholson— Bolton 
Abbey: Its History and Legends, by Alfred Chamberlain, u.a. — To 
Bolton Abbey, by the Rev E G Charlesworth. 
PRESS OPINION. 

"The work consists of a series of articles contributed by various 
authors, and it thus has the merit of bringing together much special 
knowledge from a great number of sources. It is an entertaining 
volume, full of interest for the general reader, as \vell as for the learned 
and curious." — Shields Daily Gazette. 

HULL: WILLIAM ANDRE W^S & CO., THE HULL PRESS. 
London : Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, & Co. , Ltd. 



SECOND EDITION . Bound In cloth gilt, demy 800. 6s 

Cutioeitm of t^t Cpurep: 

Studies of Curious Customs, Services, and Records, 
By WILLIAM ANDREWS, F.R.H.S., 

Author of *' Historic Romance," " Famous Frosts and 
Ikost Fairs," "Historic Yorkshire," etc. 



eONTE/NTS: 

Early Religious Plays : being the Story of the English Stage in 
its Church Cradle Days — The Caistor Gad-Whip Manorial 
Service— Strange Serpent Stories — Church Ales — Rush-Bearing 
— Fish in Lent — Concernirg Doles — Church Scrambling Chari- 
ties — Briefs — Bells and Beacons for Travellers by Night — Hour 
Glasses in Churches — Chained Books in Churches — Funeral 
Effigies — Torchlight Burials — Simple Memorials of the Early 
Dead — The Romance of Parish Registers — Dog Whippers and 
Sluggard Wakers — Odd Items from Old Accounts — A carefully 
compiled Index. 

— >© I LLUST-RATED. ©^ 



press (Opinions. 

" A volume both entertaining and instructive, throwing much light on the manners 
and customs of bygone generations of Churchmen, and will be read to-day with much 
interest." — Neivbery House Magazine. 

"An extremely interesting volume." — North British Daily Mail. 

" A work of lasting interest." — Hull Examiner. 

" The reader will find much in this book to interest, instruct, and amuse." — Hoine 
Ckitnes. 

" We feel sure that many will feel grateful to Mr. Andrews for having produced such 
V) interesting book." — The Antiquary. 

" A volume of great research and striking interest." — The Bookbuyer {New York). 

" A valuable book." — Literary World {Boston, U.S.A.). 

"An admirable book." — Sheffield Independent. 

" An interesting, handsomely got up volume. . . , Mr. Andrews is always chatty 
*nd expert in making a paper on a dry subject exceedingly readable." — Newcastle Courant 

" Mr. William Andrews' new book, ' Curiosities of the Church,' adds another to the 
series by which he has done so much to popularise antiquarian studies. . . . The book, 
it should be added, has some quaint illustrations, and its rich matter is made available foi 
reference by a full and caj-ffuUv coniciled index." — Scotsman. 



Hull : William Andrews & Co., The Hull Press. 
London : Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, & Co., Ltd. 

X 



Elegantly bound in cloth gilt, demy 8uo., price 6s. 



Ofb Cputc? Bore. 

By WILLIAM ANDREWS, F.R.H.S., 

Author of ^* Curiosities of the Church" ^' Old- Time Punishments,'' 
''Historic Romance," etc. 



The Right of Sanctuary— The Romance of Trial— A Fight 
between the Mayor of Hull and the Archbishop of 
York— Chapels on Bridg-es— Charter Horns— The Old 
English Sunday — The Easter Sepulchre — St. Paul's 
Cross— Cheapside Cross— The Biddenden Maids Charity 
—Plagues and Pestilences- A King Curing an Abbot 
of Indigestion— The Services and Customs of Royal 
Oak Day— Marrying in a White Sheet— Marrying under 
the Gallows— Kissing the Bride— Hot Ale at Weddings 
—Marrying Children — The Passing Bell — Concerning 
Coffins- The Curfew Bell— Curious Symbols of the Saints 
—Acrobats on Steeples— A carefully-prepared Index. 



--'• PRESS OPINIONS. "^ 

" A worthy work on a deeply interesting subject. . . . We 
commend this book strongly." — European Mail. 

*' An interesting volume." — The Scotsman. 

"Contains much that ■will interest and instruct." — Gla-tfjow 
Herald. 

" The author has produced a book which is at once entertaining 
and valuable, and which is also entitled to unstinted praise on the 
ground of its admirable printing and binding." — Shidds Daily Gazette. 

"Mr. Andrews' book does not contain a dull page. . . . 
Deserves to meet with a very warm welcome. " — Yorkshire Post. 

" Mr. Andrews, in ' Old Church Lore,' makes the musty 
parchments and records he has consulted redolent with life and 
actuality, and has added to his works a most interesting volume, 
which, written in a light and easy narrative style, is anything but 
of the ' dry-as-dust ' order. The book is handsomely got up, being 
both bound and printed in an artistic fanhion."— Northern Daily 



Hull : William Andrews & Co., The Hull Press. 
London : Simpbin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, & Co., Ltd. 



Fcap 4to. Bevelled boards, gilt tops. Price 48. 

jfamous 3Ft06t8 anb J^roet Jfaits 
in (Breat Britain. 

Chronicled from the Ear/ /est to the Present Time. 
By WILLIAM ANDREWS, f.r.h.s. 



This work furnishes a carefully prepared account of all the great Frosts 
occurring in this country from a.d. 134 to 1887. The numerous Frost 
Fairs on the Thames are fully described, arid illustrated with quaint 
woodcuts, and several old ballads relating to the subject are reproduced. 
It is tastefully printed and elegantly bound. 

PRESS OPINIONS. 
" The work is thoroughly well written, it is careful in its facts, and may 
be pronounced exhaustive on the subject. Illustrations are given of 
several frost fairs on the Thames, and as a trustworthy record this volume 
should be in every good library. The usefulness of the work is much 
enhanced by a good index." — Public Opinion. 

" A very interesting volume."— Northern Daily Telegraph. 

" A great deal of curious and valuable information is contained in these 
pages. . " . . A comely volume." — Literary World. 

" The work from first to last is a most attractive one, and the arts alike 
of printer and binder have been brought into one to give it a pleasing 
form. " — Wakefield Free Prexs. 

" An interesting and valuable work." — Went Middlesex Times. 

" Not likely to fail in interest." — Manchester Guardian. 

" The book is beautifully got mp.^—Barnsley Independent. 

" This chronology has been a task demanding extensive research and 
considerable labour and patience, and Mr. Andrews is to be heartily con- 
gratulated on the result." — Derby Daily Gazette. 

" A volume of much interest and great importance." — Rotherham 
Advertiser. 

One hundred copies only printed for sale, and each copy numbered. 

Ube Bvolution of Brama. 

By SIDNEY W. CLARKE. 

"A carefully written work. . . . It is a readable contribution to 
dramatic history." — The Critic. 

HULL : WILLIAM ANDREWS & CO., THE HULL PRESS. 
London : Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, & Co., Ltd. 



Price 6s. Demy 8uo. Elegantly bound cloth gilt. 

(^ (TUon^P in a ®anl»i : 

A Woman's Wanderings in Northern India. 
By CHRISTINA S. BREMNER. 



Contents : — The Ascent from the Plains to the Hills — Kasauli and its 
Amusements — Theories on Heat— Simla, the Queen of the Hill Stations — 
Starting Alone for the Interior — In Bussahir State — The Religious Festival 
at Pangay — On Congress — On the Growing Poverty of India. 

PRESS OPINIONS. 

" The author of a ' Month in a Dandi ' has a facile pen, and is evidently 
a shrewd observer. Her book differs from many belonging to the same 
class by reason of its freshness, its spontaneity, and its abundance of 
interesting detail. Moreover, the book is written with a purpose. ' If by 
perusing these pages the reader obtains a clearer view of England's 
attitude to her great dependency, if his prepossessions against ' black 
men ' and the ' poor heathen ' should melt away in any degree, if the 
assumption that what is good for England must necessarily be so for 
India receives a slight shake, the writer will feel rewarded.' To these 
conclusions one is almost certain to come when the experiences of Miss 
Bremner's ' Month in a Dandi ' are recalled. There would be no end to 
our quotations were we to reproduce all the passages we have marked as 
being interesting. Miss Bremner is always in good spirits, and writes 
with ease, and evidently con amore." — Birmingham Daily Gazette. 

" Miss Bremner's book describes a woman's wanderings in Northern 
India, and it is written from adequate knowledge, with shrewd discern- 
ment, and a pleasing amount of vivacity." — Speaker. 

" ' A Month in a l)andi ' is full of instruction. It shows a great deal of 
ability and determination to express truths, even if they be unpalatable. 
The chapters on the vexed questions of Baboo culture and Indian 
Congress are well worth reading." — Manchester Guardian. 

" Miss Bremner's style is chastened, for the most part humorous, faithful 
to detail, and oftentimes polished to literary excellence. The earlier 
chapters are full of raciness and agreeable personality. — Hull Daily Mail. 

" ' A Month in a Dandi ' describes the writer's wanderings in Northern 
India, following upon a shrewdly observant account of the seamy side of 
Anglo-Indian Society. The subject throughout is approached from a 
political economist's point of view. The chapter on the growing poverty 
of India sounds a warning note." — Gentlewoman. 

" The author of a ' Month in a Dandi ' is evidently a keen observer of 
men and things, and we know that her opinion is shared by many of our 
countrymen who have had a much larger experience of India and Indian 
affairs than herself. The book is full of the most exquisite word pictures, 
pictures that are full of light, beauty, and grace, but, unfortunately, some 
of them have more shade than we care to see ; but, doubtless. Miss 
Bremner's treatment is correct and life-like. " — Hidl Daily News. 

HULL : WILLIAM ANDREWS & CO., THE HULL PRESS. 
London : Simphin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, & Co., Ltd. 



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