Page images

the ashes to the stream. These desperate proceedings created much commotion; and many crafty tales were invented and propagated to justify the conduct of the priests. “The very names of Wickliffe, Lord Cobham, Huss,” &c. says Gilpin, “will not only awaken sentiments of gratitude and veneration, in every ingenuous heart, but will likewise excite a laudable desire of being particularly acquainted with the lives and characters of those emiment worthies, who, in times of peculiar danger and difficulty, nobly dared to oppose the tyrannical usurpation and barbarous superstition of the church of Rome, and sacrificing every valuable consideration on earth to the cause of truth and liberty. Wickliffe was in religion what Bacon was afterwards in science: the great detector of those arts and glosses, which the barbarism of ages had drawn together to obscure the mind of man.”

In the church are some old monuments with inscriptions, commemorating different persons of the Fielding family, some of whom obtained the titles of Earl of Denbigh", and Desmond. They possessed considerable property here. A portrait of Wickliffe, by S. Fielding, is preserved in the church.

Near this town formerly stood a mansion, called the Spittal, belonging to the Shuckburgh family.

At Misterton, about a mile east of Lutterworth, is MISTERTON HALL, the seat of Jacob Henry Franks, Esq. who possesses a collection of pictures.

OADBY, a large village, about four miles S. E. of Leicester, is situated on the great turnpike-road, and its buildings extend nearly a mile in length on each side. In 1801, Oadby contained 128 houses and 624 inhabitants. The church is large, and contains some specimens of ancient sculpture; also two stone seats, and a piscina in the chancel.

WIGston MAGNA, GREAt Wigston, or WIGSTON witH Two STEEPLEs, is a large village, about four miles to the south of

* A very copious account of this family is published in Nichols's History of Leicestershire, Vol. IV.

of Leicester, and is distinguished by having two churches with steeples, &c. though one of them being disused is now falling to decay. By an act of parliament, passed in 1764, for inclosing about 3000 acres of land in this parish, it appears that George, Duke of St. Alban's was impropriator of all the tithes of corn, grain, hay, &c. in several fields and parcels of ground therein specified; and that the vicar was entitled to the tithe of wool and lamb, and all other vicarial or small tithes. By the population act of 1801, Great Wigston contained 352 houses and 1658 inhabitants, the greater part of whom were employed in trade, manufactures, &c., Here is an hospital, founded by Mrs. Clarke, of Leicester, for three poor men and as many women, who are provided with habitations, a weekly allowance of money to each, and an annual gift of coals. Here is a meeting-house for presbyterians, who are numerous in this village. Within the lordship is a piece of moated ground, with some ruins of walls, where the family of the Davenports, who formerly possessed a large estate here, had a mansion. At a place called the Gaol Close, was a temporary prison during the civil wars, to which the prisoners were removed from the county gaol at Leicester. Some fragments of antiquity have been discovered here; among which were parts of a fibula, a ring, pieces of a glass urn, pottery, a spearhead and helmet. Several petrifactions have been found in the lime and gravel pits here.

[ocr errors]

SPARKENHOE HUNDRED is bounded on the north by the hundred of West Goscote, and parts of Staffordshire and Warwickshire bound it to the west and south, whilst the eastern side is united to the hundred of Guthlaxton. This part of the county is distinguished by some elevated tracts of land, and is watered by several small streams. A part of the Ashby de la Zouch canal passes through it from north to south; and just after entering it, at Snareston, proceeds under a hill by a tunnel. It afterwards passes Gopsal Park, Shakerston, Carlton, and Market-Bosworth, and leaves leaves the county near Hinckley. The mail-coach road from London to Lichfield, &c. passes along the southern edge of this hundred; and turnpike roads are made between Hinckley and Leicester, Hinckley and Ashby de la Zouch, and the latter place and Atherstone in Warwickshire. Within this district are the two market-towns of Hinckley and Bosworth, and near the latter is the memorable scene of battle called Bosworth-Field, where the long disputed contest, between the Houses of York and Lancaster, was finally terminated by the death of Richard the Third. “ In 1346, the Hundred of Sparkenhoe (on the aid then granted for knighting Edward of Woodstock, the king's eldest son) was assessed 34l.; and then said to contain 17 knights’ fees". The high sheriff of Leicestershire pays annually, to the Earl of Stamford, 10l. for licence to come into this hundred to execute any part of his officef. “The townships in this hundred, according to Mr. Nichols, are,

Anebein, now a depopulated
Appleby Magna, a rectory; in-
cluding the hamlet of Apple-
by Parva.
Aston Flamvile, a rectory; in-
cluding the chapelries of Bur-
bach and Sketchley, with the
hamlet of Smockington.
Barwell, a rectory; including
the chapelries of Potters-
Marston and Stapleton.
Basset-house; extra parochial.
Beaumont Leys ; extra-paro-
[MARKET] Bosworth, a
rectory; including the cha-
pelries of Barleston, Carle-

ton, Coton, Shenton, and Sutton Cheynell; with the hamlets of Anebein, Naneby, West Osbaston, and Redmere Plain. Bruntingthorpe, Danet's Hall, and Westcotes ; extra-parochial. Cadeby, a rectory; including the hamlet of East Osbaston. Congeston, a rectory. w Croft, a rectory. Desford, a rectory. [Fenny] Drayton, a rectory. Elmesthorpe, a rectory. Enderby, a vicarage; including the chapelry of Whetstone in Guthlaxton Hundred. Glenfield, a rectory; including the

* Rot, Aux. 20 Edw. III.

+ S. Carte, MS.

the chapelries of Groby Castle, Braunston, and Kirby Mualoe.

Hether, a rectory.

Higham, a rectory; including the chapelry of Lindley.

HINCKLEY, a vicarage, with

the rectory of Stoke Golding united; including the chapelries of Dadlington and Wykin, and the hamlet of The Hyde. Ibstock, a rectory; including the chapelries of Dunnington, Hugglescote, and Pickering's or Swinfen's Grange. Kirby Malory, a rectory; including the chapelry of EarlShilton. Lea Grange, extra-parochial. Ileicester Forest, and Barn Park. Lubbesthorpe, a chapelry to Aylston (described under Guthlaxton.) Markfield, a rectory. Nailston, a rectory; including the chapelries of Barton and Normanton. Narborough, a rectory; includ

ing the chapelry of Huncote.

Nowbold-Verdun, a rectory; including the hamlet of Brescote.

Norton, a rectory; including the chapelry of Bilston.

Orton on the Hill, a rectory; including the chapelries of Gopsal and Twycross, and the hamlet of Morebarne. Peckleton, a rectory. Ratby, a vicarage: including the hamlets of Bocheston, Newtown, Old Hay, and Whittington Grange. Sapcote, a rectory. Shakerston, a vicarage; including the chapelry of Oddeston. Snareston, a chapelry to Swebston. Sharnford, 2 rectory. Shepey Magna and Parva, a rectory in two medieties; including the chapelry of Ratcliff-Culey. Sibbeston, a rectory; including the chapelries of Upton and Whellesborough, and Temple Hall. Stoney-Staunton, a rectory. Thornton, a vicarage; including the chapelry of Bagworth, the hamlet of Staunton under Bardon, and Bardon Park. Thurleston, a rectory; including Brakenholme, New Hall, and Normanton Turvile. , Tooley Park; extra parochial. Witherley, a rectory; including the chapelry of Atterton.”



The principal town in this hundred, is situated near the borders of Warwickshire. Soon after the conquest it was created a barony, and held by Hugh de Grentemaisnel, who erected a stately castle here, and also a parish church. “The ruines of the castle,” says Leland, “now longying to the king, sumtyme to the Earl of Leicester, be a 5 miles from Leyrcester, and in the borders of Leyrcester forest, and the boundes of Hinckeley be spatious and famose there.” In Burton's time only the earthworks of the castle remained: and these are now nearly levelled. The site had long been occupied as a gardener's ground, when, in 1760, it was purchased by William Hurst, Esq. who built a handsome dwellinghouse on it; when the foundation of a bridge, which crossed the castle ditch, was discovered. The ditch and town-wall may yet be traced in many places, and also the vestiges of what are called two Roman works; a mount near the river, and the ruins of a bath near the church. A Priory was founded here, according to Tanner, by Robert Blanchmaines, and according to Dugdale by Bossu the father of Robert; but Mr. Nichols controverts those claims, and ascribes it to Hugh de Grentesmaisnel, who gave the priory, with the appropriation of the parish church, to the Abbey of Lira in Normandy. This priory, like all foreign cells, was often seized by the Crown, during the wars with France, and was wholly suppressed by Henry V. when its lands were annexed to the priory of Montgrace in Yorkshire; and, after the dissolution, were given by Henry VIII. with the church, to the dean and chapter of Westminster, the present impropriators. The parish of Hinckley is of very great extent, and includes Stoke-Golding, Dadlington, Wyken, and The Hyde, which, though distinct villages (the latter being in the county of Warwick), are considered as hamlets of Hinckley. The town, under its original lords, certainly enjoyed the privileges of a borough; and probably sent deputies to the great council of the nation: but Vol. IX. H h


« PreviousContinue »