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“that this name, signifying the Church Town, would be one probably given by the Saxons at first to Sidnacester.” In a subsequent place he destroys this argument by observing, that “The name has a manifest reference to a church, which is usually pronounced kirk in the name of places in the northern parts, particularly in Lincolnshire, where this word enters the composition of a number of names.” On this ground, other places might have equal pretensions, especially as Kirton has no vestiges of antiquity, though Dr. Stukeley fancied it was the In Medium of the Romans, nor any thing very noble in its appearance to induce the mind to give this the preference above the rest; yet, by an unaccountable and extraordinary mode of reasoning, Mr. Pegge thinks, “The very obscurity of Kirkton, veiled as it were by its modern name,” is a good argument that this was the place in question 1 The reasonings of Bishop Gibson, for placing Sidnacester at Stow, are the strongest of any hitherto adduced; and his conclusion, if not decisive, is extremely plausible. Eadnorth, the Bishop of Sidnacester, who died A. D. 1050, built St. Mary's, or the church of our Lady, in Stow. “Where then can we imagine,” says Gibson, “a Bishop of Sidnacester should so probably build a church as at Sidnacester? Or whence should he sooner take his pattern or platform, than from his own cathedral of Dorchester?” The see of Legecester, or Leicester, is concluded to have been where St. Margaret's now stands; and as that is a peculiar, a prebend, and an archdeaconry, so is, Stow. Besides, the present ecclesiastical privileges of this place are greater than any hereabouts, except Lincoln; and they have formerly even exceeded that. For that it was famous before Lincoln, and was a bishop's see, is beyond dispute; and it is a common notion in those parts, both of learned and unlearned, that Stow was the mother church to Lincoln. The steeple of the church, though large, has been much greater than it is. And Alfred Puttock, or Putta, Archbishop of York, anno 1023, when he gave two great bells to Beverley steeple, which he had built, and two others of the Vol. IX. U u saille same mould to Southwell, bestowed two upon Stow *.” It is generally agreed, that whatever places have chester in their names, were formerly Roman forts or stations. Upon this view, the site of Sidnacester must either have been one, or in the vicinity of one. Close adjoining to the present Stow is Stretton, so named from being situated on the Roman road, which branches off from the one leading from Lincoln to Ad Abum, and proceeds in a westerly direction to the Trent, and thence on to Danum, now Doncaster. About three miles west of Stow, on the banks of that river, is the site of the ancient Segelocum of the fifth Iter, and the Agelocum of the eighth. There Horsley fixes this station: for though he says that the present village of Littleborough answers to it, yet he observes, “The Roman station has been on the east side of the river, though the town stands on the west. Roman coins have been found here, called Swine pennies, two Roman altars, and other antiquitiest.” Here was a Roman Trajectus, and it is still a place for passing the river, which, from the opposite village, is called Littleborough Ferry. In the summer season it is often fordable. About a quarter of a mile from Marton the Roman road is still visible; and several pieces of pavement have been found here. The ancient city, might have stood more to the west; and, being built near the station, would of course obtain the addition of Castra, and Saxon Ceaster. Stow, though now a small village, is an archdeaconry; and its jurisdiction, comprehending the whole of Lindsey, is a strong argument in its claims to ancient note; but a still stronger is adduced by Mr. Gough, who says, “the district round it is called Sidena.” The see, in the early time of Remigius, was certainly at Sidnacester; and that prelate is said to have built, or rather re-edified, the church of Stow, which had been raised by Ead- * > - - north.
north. . This is a large cruciform structure, having a nave, transepts, choir, and an embattled tower rising from the centre. This rests on new pointed arches, built within the ancient semicircular arches. The length from east to west is one hundred and forty-six feet; the width of transept seventy-seven; that of the nave twenty-seven feet six inches; of the chancel twenty-five feet six inches. The western and southern entrances exhibit curious remains of the Saxon style. The western doorway is formed by three retiring columns on each side, with zigzag, or chevron mouldings round the circular arch, which rest on square abaci. Two of the shafts on each side are plain, the others octagonal, with a zigzag ornament. Over this is a large west window, having a sharp pointed arch. On the western side of the north transept is a very old Saxon arch, and another with the ends of the moulding terminating in snake's head ornament. Round the inside of the chancel is a continued arcade, consisting of semicircular arches, with zigzag mouldings resting on plain columns. On the average, they are twenty-three inches wide, and divided by half columns, or pilasters, formed by three small shafts, into divisions of five, four, and five on each side. The sides are nearly uniform in style and ornament, and from many parts being similar to what appears in Malmsbury Abbey Church, in the county of Wilts, it is probable that this part was rebuilt, by Bishop Alexander, subsequent to the time of Remigius". The chancel appears to have been once vaulted; and within it are two stones, bearing Saxon characters, but illegible. On the floor is an ancient monument of coffin shape, with a head, or half bust, in relief, within an ex
cavation. Inscribed are these letters:
• * These are represented and described in the Architectural Antiquities of Great Britain, Vol. I.
Engraved on a copper plate, against a pillar, is this inseription:
Aspice respice, prospice.
In this chauncel lyeth buried ye bodies of Richard BURGH, of StoweHall, Esq. & Anne his wife, descended f" the anco & noble familie of the Lord Burgh, Baron of Gainesborough, & next heyr male of that familie, & the s” Ane was the eldest daughter of Anthonie Dillington, of Knighton, in yo Isle of Wight, Esq. had 4 sons, viz. That noble and valiant soldyer, Sir John Burgh, Collonel Gen'rall of his Maj' forces to the Isle of Rhe, in France, where he was slaine, A. D. 1627.
The above-named Richard died, A. D. 1616. Coat of arms,
three fleurs de lis, supporters two lions rampant, crowned with two hawks or falcons, with this motto:
Nec parvis sisto.
Against the south wall of the chancel is a mural stone, thus inscribed:
Neare unto this place lyeth buried the bodyes of Mr. Thomas HolBECH, that sometyme dwelt in Stowe Parke, with Anne his wife, daughter of Anthony Yoxley, of Mellis, Esq. which said Anne deceased the 7th day of Sep'. An. Dom. 1581, and the so Tho'. dece" the 16th day of Aprill, 1591. And they left issue one only son, named Edward.
In the church, under the tower, was a large flat stone, inscribed in old letters, M,CCC,II. The pulpit is made of curiously carved oak. The clock is a piece of peculiar and curious mechanism, having a pendulum vibrating at longer intervals than is usual. But the most interesting object, after the church, to the antiquary, is a curious ancient Font. It stands upon a platform, ascended by two steps. The base, or pedestal, is square; on which is carved a figure, in relief, of a wivern, or dragon”, intended as a personification of Satan, and allusive to his fall, by the efficacy of Christian baptism. The shaft is - - circular,
* A similar animal appears on the crest of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster : also on the reverse of his great seal. See Sandford's History, &c. p. 102.
circular, and surrounded by eight short pillars, with foliated capitals. The upper part is octagonal; and each face, or side, has an ornamental device. Near the church are two sides of a quadrangular moat, which, it is supposed, surrounded either a palace of the bishop, or the old manor house. It is evident that the bishops had formerly a palace in this parish, as some records are still preserved, with the signature of the Diocessan, at his palace of Stow. “Here was a church, or minster, for secular priests, built to the memory of the blessed Virgin Mary, by Eadnorth, Bishop of Dorchester, and much augmented by the benefactions of Earl Leofric, and his Lady, Godiva. After the conquest, the religious here were changed into benedictine monks, under the government of an abbot, by Bishop Remigious, who got for them, of William Rufus, the desolate abbey of Eynsham, in Qxfordshire, whether his successor, Robert Bloet, removed them, reserving Stow, Newark, and some other estates, to the see of Lincoln, for which he gave them in exchange Charlbury, and others".” About one mile south-west of the church is
STow PARK, which is now divided into four farms; and there are still traces of a large moated place, which, according to tradition, inclosed the Bishop's palace. Considerable foundations of buildings have been found here.
ASLACOE EAST AND WEST WAPENTAKES Contain the parishes of Atterby, Cainby, Firsby east, Firsby west, Glentham, Hackthorn, Hanworth Cold, Normanby, Norton Bishop, Ownby, Sarby, Snitterby, Spridlington:—Blyborough, Cammeringham, Coates, Fillingham, Glentworth, Harpswell, Hemswell, Ingham, and Willoughton. In the parish of Hems
well is U u 3 SPITTAL
* Tanner's Notitia.