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Mountsorrel, or Mount Soarhill,

Is a small market town on the great turnpike road from Leicester to Derby, at the distance of seven miles from the former. The name of this town presents a very odd compound of three words, one of which becomes tautological: Mount-Soar-Hill, i.e. a place distinguished by a Mount or Hill on the banks of the Soar. The natural features of this place are singularly romantic. Immediately on the western side of the town, is the termination of a ridge of high hills, which extend hence, through the midst of Charnwood forest, into Derbyshire, &c. The extremity here is lofty and steep, presenting a variegated face of grass and rock; and the highest point, almost overhanging the town, is called Castle-hill, where was formerly a fortress, which Mr. Nichols conjectures was built by Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester. It is mentioned as early as the reign of king Stephen, when amicable articles of agreement were made and signed between Ranulph de Germoniis, Earl of Chester (great nephew of the founder), and Robert Bossu, Earl of Leicester, who was at that time one of the king's foremost champions. This agreement specifies that each of these noblemen had large possessions, joining together at this place; and assigns the castle of Mountsorel, to the Earl of Leicester and his heirs, on condition that Ranulph and his family should be received in a friendly way within the borough, bailiwick, and castle, whenever they chose. This curious document is printed in Nichols's History of Leicestershire, Vol. I. p. 26. The castle continued in the possession of Robert Bossu till 1167, and then devolved to his son Robert Blanchmains, who, rebelling against Henry the Second, was dispossessed of this, and his other castles, &c. At the great council held in Northampton, 1175, he was restored to the royal favour, and had all his other possessions returned; but the king retained this as his own, and different governors were appointed to hold it, in that and some succeeding reigns. Saer de Queney was A a 3 invested invested with its government by king John, in 1215, and he occupied it with a strong garrison, not for his own monarch, but for Lewis the French king, whom the barons had invited to their assistance. This garrison committed great depredations on the neighbourhood; but these free-booters were at length opposed and conquered, by a party of royalists from Nottingham castle. The castle of Mountsorell, however, was not subdued, and Henry the Third commanded the garrison of Nottingham to besiege and demolish it. This was attempted without success. The French party and barons were afterwards conquered, and this castle was possessed by king Henry the Third, who appointed IRanulph Blondeville, Earl of Chester, its governor. It was now razed to the ground, “as a nest of the Devil, and a den of thieves and robbers, and was never again repaired”.” Edward the First, in 1292, granted to Nicholas de Segrave, sen. and his heirs, a weekly market, and a yearly fair, for eight days: also liberty of free-warren, in all their demesne lands of Overton, 'Segrave, Sileby, and Dithesworth, in this county. In 1781 an act of parliament was obtained, for “dividing, allotting, and inclosing, within the manor, lordship, and liberties of Mountsorell, part whereof lies in the parish of Rothley, and the other part in the parish of Barrow upon Soar, several open fields and commonable grounds, containing about 300 acres, and a certain commonable place called Mountsorrel Hills.” In this act, Sir John Danvers, Bart. is described as lord of the manor of Mountsorell, also as impropriator of all the tythes of corn, grain, and hay, and all the great and rectorial tythes arising from the said fields and commonable grounds. The town is in the two parishes of Barrowon-Soar, and Rothley, and the vicars of each, with the patrons and proprietors, are allotted their proportionate shares of lands and tythes, in the ground which was then to be inclosed. “Mount-sorel-hill, is a rock of reddish granite, with pieces whereof the streets are paved. They are commonly called Char- ley:forest i * Nichols's History of Leicestershire, Wol, III. p. 86,

ley forest stones, and in many places stand out bare, and are of such hardness, after being exposed to the air, as to resist all tools. Such pieces as can be got from under the ground, are broken with a sledge, and used in buildings, in the shape in which they are broken. Many houses are built with them, and make a very singular appearance. They are often imperfect cones; and being too hard to be cut or broken, the smoothest face is laid outermost in beds of the excellent lime of Barrew. These stones, from their uncommon hardness, are coveted for painter's mullets*.” At the end of Barn-Lane, which separates the parishes of Rothley and Barrow, formerly stood a curious cross. It consisted of a slender shaft of eight sides, fluted, and ornamented within the flutes, with carved heads, quatrefoils, &c. The upper part of the shaft was terminated with a crocketed pediment and niches, supported by carved figures of angels, and at the base were “rude figures with wings.” This little relic of monastic antiquity was taken down in 1793, and removed into the grounds belonging to Sir John Danvers, Bart. who caused a small market house, in imitation of a pavilion, to be erected in its place. In this town, says Burton, were formerly two chapels; but it has now only one, which belongs to, and is subordinate to the church of Barrow. Here are also three meeting-houses belonging to Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists. In 1800 the town contained 231 houses, and 1233 inhabitants. Connected with this town, and about two miles to the north of it, but in the hundred of East Goscote, is

BARRow-UPoN-SoAR, called in ancient writings, Baro, Baroo, Barhoo, Barwe, &c. This is a large and pleasant Village, containing 231 houses, and 1090 inhabitants. The parish is within the deanery of Akeley, and includes the townships of Barrow, Kuorndon, Woodhouse, and part of the town of Mountsorell. The place appears to have taken its name from an ancientTumulus, A a 4 Ot

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or Barrow, and the addition is to distinguish it from another village of that name, on the Trent, not many miles distant. In

the time of Edward the Confessor, this extensive manor belonged.

to Earl Harold; afterwards to Hugh Lupus, who held it immediately under the king. In the reign of king Stephen, Ralph de Gernoniis gave the church here, with the chapel of Quorndon, and one carucate of his demesne lands, to the abbot and convent of St. Mary de Pratis, at Leicester, ad proprios usus. In an act passed 1766, for dividing the several open fields, within this lordship or liberty, Francis Earl of Huntingdon is described as lord of the manor, and the master, fellows, &c. of St. John's College, Cambridge, as patrons of the vicarage. These, with the vicar, and other proprietors, are allotted certain parts, tythes, &c. of the lands which are specified in the said act, wherein the Earl of Huntingdon is styled lord of the manor, in right of Erdington Manor, which now belongs to the Earl of Moira. “The greater part of the lordship, however, belongs to gentlemen farmers, who occupy it themselves, not only for the profits of husbandry, but there are several who get up and burn large quantities of lime, which brings them no small profit”.” In this village is an hospital, founded by the Rev. Dr. Humphrey Babington, vice-master of Trinity College, Cambridge, for six

poor men. - Dr. WILLIAM BEveRIDGE was a native of this place, and baptized here, February 11th, 1636-7. After passing through different church preferments, he was consecrated bishop of St. Asaph, in 1704, but did not enjoy his episcopal dignity above four years, as he died in March, 1707-8, in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey, and was interred in St. Paul's Cathedral, “where he has no memorial. He was author of many learned pieces, and had a peculiar felicity in composing sermons;” one of which, “on the use and excellency of the Common Prayer,” is in much repute with the clergy. His books he directed to be placed in St. Paul's Cathedral,

* Nichols's History of Leicestershire, Vol. III. p. 69.

Cathedral, as a foundation of a library for the use of the clergy. His writings, mostly on the subject of religion, are numerous, and have been spoken of in varied terms of praise by different critics. In the Biographia Britannica, Vol. II. many of these criticisms are collected, with a copious memoir of him”. , Barrow has for many centuries been famed for a hard blue Stone, which, being calcined, makes a very fine LIME, and that a hard, firm, and much esteemed cement. This is in particular request for water works, for making dams, flood gates, &c. and is exported to Holland, and other places, in large quantities. The stone lies in thin strata; the first under the surface is of a yellowish colour, and below this are several others of a blue colour. The latter strata are about six inches thick, and two feet asunder. Both sorts are dug out, piled up in the form of a cone, and burnt. Mr. Marshall observes, “it is an interesting fact, that the stone from which the Barrow lime is burnt, is in colour, texture, and quality of component parts, the same as the clay-stone of Gloucestershire, from which the strong lime of that district is burnt; and what is still more remarkable, it is found in similar situations, and deposited in thin strata, divided by thicker seams of calcareous clay, in the very same manner in which the clay-stone of Gloucestershire is found. One hundred grains of the stone contain eighty six grains of calcareous matter; affording fourteen grains of an impalpable tenacious silt, which seems to be possessed of some singular properties, forming a subject well entitled to future enquiry. One hundred grains of the clay, contain forty-six grains of calcareous matter, leaving fifty four grains of residuum, a fine clay. Hence this earth, which at present lies an encumbrance in the quarries, is richer in calcarosity, than the clay marl of the fleghundreds of Norfolk, with which very valuable improvements are made. In the Vale of Belvoir, is a similar stone, situated in a similar manner, and producing a similar kind of limet.” Stone - - of * See also Nichols's History of Leicestershire, Vol. III, p. 80, &c.

t Rural Economy of the Midland Counties.

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