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worth, the Avon has its source, and running westerly, forms the outline of the county to Dovebridge, where it enters Warwickshire: and continues till it unites with the Severn, near Tewkesbury. Thus the latter river flows to the Irish Sea, or St. George's Chan
nel; and the Welland, which has its source in the same part of this
county, empties its waters into the North Sea, or German Ocean.
Soar near Mount-sorel.
ways, or stone-roads, and water-levels, from several places and mines to the said Loughborough canal.” The proprietors are styled in the act, “the company and proprietors of the Leicester Navigation;” and are fully empowered to carry their plan into immediate execution, under certain restrictions and provisions, particularly specified in the act. In the year 1791, another act of parliament was obtained “for making navigable the rivers Wreak and Eye,” from their junction, to join the former navigation. This plan was chiefly intended to open a water communication between the town of Melton-Mowbray, and the river Trent, for the conveyance of coal, lime-stone, lime, lead, &c. In the year 1793, the royal assent was given to a bill for making “ the Oakham Canal,” from a town of that name, in Rutlandshire, to Melton-Mowbray. To complete this, the proprietors were authorised to raise the sum of 56,000l. in shares of 100l. each, with power to raise 20,000l. more, if such sum should be required. Besides the above, other bills have been planned and prepared for making other canals in the county; and several petitions were presented to parliament, by different land-owners, and the farmers of the district, against the passing of such bills*. Sol L and natural char Act ERistics. Leicestershire is mostly a flat county, and is chiefly appropriated to the grazing system. It has obtained peculiar celebrity among agriculturalists for a breed of sheep, that is generally distinguished by the name of the shire: and the late Rob ERT BAKEw ELL, of Dishley, acquired for himself and the county much popularity, by the experiments and improvements he made in the breed of cattle and sheep, and in different agricultural pursuits. In a subsequent part of the work will be given a few biographical particulars of this gentleman, whose successful plans, and zealous perseverance, excited
* In Mr. Nichols's elaborate and comprehensive History, the reader will find abstracts of several of the bills which were obtained for making the dif. ferent navigable cuts, &c. in this county.
excited very general emulation among a class of persons, that had not previously evinced any particular symptoms of laudable ambition. It will be difficult to define the soils of the whole county; but it may be observed, in the words of Mr. Monk, that “it varies pretty much from a light sandy, or gravelly loam, to a stiff marly-loam, including all the intermediate degrees possible between these two extremes. Very little of the land can (with propriety) be called a mere sandy, or gravelly soil; nor is there any great quantity of it that may properly be called clay. The best soil is upon the hills; and the worst, or nearest approaching to clay or cold lands, in the valleys; though there are many exceptions from this rule. The soil, or what the farmers generally call. mould, is generally deep, which makes it very proper for grass: such deep soils uot being very soon affected by dry weather. About Lutterworth, some part is a light rich loam, excellent for turnips and barley; a part stifi, inclining to marle, or rich clay; the remainder chiefly a sort of medium between both, with a subsoil, inclining to marl, bearing excellent crops of oats and wheat, and good turnips also, though not so well adapted for their being: eat off the land with sheep. Round Hinckley most of the land is . a good mixed soil, and bears good crops of grass, &c. Ashby-dela-Zouch, and the northern part of ille county: the soil here is various, sand, gravel, loam, and clay, but mostly clay. MeltonMowbray: the soil in this part of the county, is in general a heavy loam; and immediately underneath, a very stiff impervious clay, mixed with small pieces of lime-stone. These lands are very wet in winter, and the turf so tender, as scarcely to be able to bear the treading of sheep at that season, without injury. Market Harborough: the soil here, in general, is a very strong clay, chiefly in grass.” Among the different breeds of sheep in the county, the OldLeicester, the Forest, and the New-Leicester, or Dishley, constitute the principal sorts, and of them the latter class is in the most repute. It is a judicious maxim with the graziers to procure that breed, which, on a given quantity and quality of food, will pro- - duce
duce the most profit; and this has been proved in those of the New-Leicester. The extraordinary price for which many of these sheep have been sold at public auctions, and the large sums for which some of the rams and bulls have been let out for the season, serve at once to shew their estimation in public opinion, and the laudable zeal that prevails among certain classes of the nobility and yeomanry of the kingdom, for improving the breeds of cattle, &c. At an auction of Ewes, belonging to Thomas Pagett, Esq. in the year 1793, the following sums were given for different sheep:-Five ewes, at 62 guineas each ; five, at 52 guineas each; five, at 45 guineas each; ten, at 30 guineas, and several others at 29, 25, 22, 20, and 16 guineas each. One of these sheep, which was killed at Walgrave, in Northamptonshire, was of the following weight:—The carcase, 144lb., or 36lb. per quarter; blood, 5lb.; head, 4}lb.; pluck, 4}lb.; guts, large and small, 141b.; paunch, 23 lb.; rough fat, 1641b., and the skin 18lb.; making, in the whole, 1774lb. It is no uncommon thing in this county to salt down the mutton, and keep it in the usual way, and as a substitute for bacon. In the year 1793, Mr. Pagett sold several bulls, heifers, cows, and calves, by public auction, when some were knocked down at the following very extravagant prices. A bull, called “Shakespear,” described in the catalogue, as “ (bred by the late Mr. Fowler,) by Shakespear, off young Nell. Whoever buys this lot, the seller makes it a condition that he shall have the privilege of having two cows bulled by him yearly. Four HUNDRED GUINEAs 11” A bull-calf, 31 guineas; a three years old heifer, 70 guineas; others at 35 and 32 guineas each ; a two years old heifer, at 84, and another at 60 guineas. It is asserted by Mr. Monk, that Mr. Bakewell had let out a bull for 50 guineas, for the season; and that it occasioned the following curious case for the lawyers. The gentleman who hired the bull, died before the expiration of the season, and his executors, ignorant of the agreement, sold the animal, with other stock, at a public auction. The bull was bought by the butcher for about eight pounds, and killed; soon afterwards, Mr. Bakewell, not knowing of the transaction,
sent for it, when he was first informed of the circumstance; and as the executors refused either to pay the stipulated sum, or the value of the beast, the owner was necessitated to seek restitution in a suit at law. His demand was 200 guineas for the bull, and 50 more for the season. The executors plea for refusing this demand, was grounded on the publicity of the sale, and the small sum that it then obtained, although “there were many farmers present, and some of those thought to be men of judgment.” On the trial, however, many witnesses gave their opinion, on oath, that Mr. Bakewell had not overvalued his property, and after a full examination of the case, a verdict was given in favour of the plaintiff “to the full amount, with costs of suit.” “There are no manufactures in Leicestershire, except that of stockings, which hath, of late, been much encouraged, so that the shepherd and husbandman engross almost all to themselves; for, as the latter supplied other counties with corn and pulse, the former sends wool into many parts of England. The whole county produces wheat, barley, pease, and oats; but its most natural and plentiful crops are beans, especially that part of Sparkenhoe hundred, which lies about the village thence called Barton-in-thebeans, where they are so luxuriant, that towards harvest time they look like a forest”.” Since the commencement of the last century, cheese has become an article of some importance to the Leicestershire farmers; and a large cheese-fair is annually held in the county-town, for the sale of this commodity. Among the different sorts manufactured in the county, that called STILTONCHEESE, is deemed the finest, and consequently obtains the highest prices. It acquired the title of Stilton, from a place of that name on the great north road in Huntingdonshire, where it is well known to have been first publicly sold by retail+. This cheese is - sometimes
It is asserted by Mr. Marshall, in his Agricultural Work, on the “Midland Counties,” that Mrs. Paulet, of Wymondham, near Melton-Mowbray, Was