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capons, 5s.; half a quarter of malt, 2s.; four gallons of milk, 4d.;

a pig, 5d.”
At the west end of the church is a handsome tower, surmounted
by a lofty and elegant spire. The latter has suffered two acci-
dents from storms. On that memorable day, March 14th, 1757,
when Admiral Byng was cruelly shot, a tempestuous wind blew out
one of the windows of the spire, and did so much other damage
that it was obliged to be new lined with brick, and bound round in
many places with iron bands. In the year 1763 it again sustained
much injury by means of lightning; and in 1783, another flash of
the electric fire struck the upper part of the steeple, and nearly
split it from top to the bottom. The whole was obliged to be
taken down, and a new one was erected at an expence of 245l. 10s.
besides the value of the old materials. The eastern end, or chancel,
of this church, is a curious specimen of ancient architecture,
having three stone stalls, or seats, in its southern wall, and the
old windows have semicircular arches, ornamented with bold zig-
zag mouldings. The buttresses are flat, with the same sort of
mouldings running up their extreme angles”. Near the north
door is a passage leading under an old building, which forms a
gateway to an area called the castle yard. At this gateway was
practised, till within a few years past, an ancient ceremony, ex-
pressive of the homage formerly paid by the magistrates of Lei-
cester to the feudal lords of the castle. The mayor, knocking for
admittance, was received by the constable, or porter of the castle,
and then took an oath of allegiance to the king, as heir to the
Lancastrian property. The office of constable of the castle is
still nominally held. Opposite this gateway is a building, partly
old and partly modern, within which is a large hall, “exceedingly
curious.” Its dimensions are seventy-eight feet long, fifty-one
feet wide, and twenty-four feet high, This space is divided by
tWo

* Since I saw this church, October 1806, I learn that part of the chancel has been taken down, and rebuilt with much skill by Mr. Firmadge, an ingenious architect of Leicester.

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two rows of tall and massy oaken pillars into three divisions, like the nave and side ailes of a church. “This vast room was the ancient hall of the castle, in which the Earls of Leicester, and afterwards the Dukes of Lancaster, alternately held their courts, and consumed in rude but plenteous hospitality, at the head of their visitors, or their vassals, the rent of their estates, then usually paid in kind. On the south end appear the traces of a door-way, which probably was the entrance into a gallery that has often, among other purposes, served as an orchestra for the minstrels and musicians of former days. This hall, during the reign of several of the Lancastrian princes, was the scene of frequent parliaments. At present it is used only for the holding of the assizes, and other county meetings, to which purpose it is, from its length, so well adapted, that though the business of the civil and crown bars is carried on at the same time at the opposite ends of the room, the pleadings of the one do not in the least interrupt the pleadings of the other *.” : The fine Collegiate Church of St. Mary, in the Newarkt, was wholly demolished in the year 1690. Near the north gate of the town was formerly another church, called St. Clement's, but this has been destroyed, as has one dedicated to St. Leonard, which stood near the north bridge. The church-yard of the latter is still preserved as a burial ground to the parish. The church of All Saints is a small modern structure, consisting of a nave and two ailes, all nearly of the same length. This vicarage, with that of St. Peter, which was annexed to it in the reign of Elizabeth, include the ancient parish of St. Michael, and part, if not the whole, of that of St. Clement. On a wooden tablet, an inscription to William Norice states that he is - —-‘‘Dead and gone, \ . Whose grave from all the rest is knowne By finding out the greatest stone.”

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* . . t of which an ample history is given by Mr. Nichols.

*

. This stone is a large rough pebble. William Norice, who was

twice mayor of the town, had three wives, and “gave thrice fifteen groats yearly to All Saints poore,”—also five marks yearly to the second master of the free-school. He died in 1615, in his ninety-seventh year. • An epitaph on Joseph Wright, a gardener, is couched in terms allusive to his profession:

“My mother Earth, though mystically curst,
Hath me, her son, most bountifully nurst;
For all my pains, and seed on her bestow'd,

- Out of which store that I of her receiv'd,

- My painfull wantfull brethren I reliev'd;
And though this mother I full well did love,
I better lov'd my father that's above;
My mother feeds my body for a space,
My soul for aye beholds my father's face.”

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The following may also be noticed among those ludicrous iuseriptions which are too frequent in church-yards, and which serve as public memorials of reproach to the clergy, churchwardens, and writers. Churches, and places of human interment, are not the proper spots for illiterate and ridiculous jesting. A father, whose hame was John, had two children baptised in the same name, and both dying infants, he wrote this stanza for their tomb:

“Both John and John soon lost their lives,
And yet, by God, John still survives.”

Bishop Thurlow, at one of his visitations, directed the words “ by God,” to be altered “ thro' God.” ' The Church of St. Martin, formerly called St. Crosse, is a large old building, consisting of a nave, three ailes, and a tower, with a lofty crocketted spire. In the south aile the Archdeacon of Leicester holds his court; and the chancel, which belongs to the king, was built in the time of Henry the Fifth, at an expense of ‘341. This church is considered the largest in the town, and of the county, and is used at all the public meetings of the district a. - . . ; for for the bishop, members of parliament, judges at assizes, &c. Within it were formerly two chapels, or oratories, and before the dissolution it contained three altars. Several carvings, sculptures, and tabernacles, also contributed to adorn the interior of this fabric: but these were systematically destroyed, and sold at the time of ihe reformation, The churchwardens' accounts respecting this church and parish are copious and well preserved. They begin in 1544, and contain many curious notices, descriptive of the peculiar manners and customs of the different times. In this church was held St. George's Guild; a fraternity which was in. wested with peculiar privileges, and annually ordained a sort of Jubilee in the town, called “the Riding of St. George.” The master of the guild gave public notice to the inhabitants of the day appointed for this ceremony. In an old hall-book, 17th of Edward IV. is an express order, enjoining all the inhabitants, by general summons, to attend the mayor—“to ride against the king, or for riding the George, or any other thing, to the pleasure of the mayor and worship of the town.” Another order occurs, the 24th Henry VII. specifying, “that every one of the forty-eight should contribute towards the support of St. George's Guild; those who had been chamberlains sixpence, and the others fourpence annually.” In the 15th of Henry VIII. the master having neglected to notice, or proclaim, this annual custom, an order was made, subjecting him to a fine of 5l. in default of appointing a day between St. George's day and Whitsunday. In St. George's chapel, the effigy of an horse harnessed, or decorated with gaudy church trappings, was formerly kept. “When the reformation had overthrown the monkish mummeries, that so inconsistently blended religion with pastime”,” this horse was sold for twelvepence.—In St. Martin's church was also another Guild, called £orpus Christi, which, Mr. Throsby says, “was the most ancient and principal in Leicester,” To all public charges this guild contributed largely. There were two masters presided, who had

great interest in the corporation. They had power, in conjunction

* Walk through Leicester, p. 138.

with the mayor, to inflict penalties upon the members of the corporation for misconduct; and, upon the mayor's neglect to obtain these penalties, they had power to levy them upon him.” The present hall of the borough belonged to this guild. St. Martin's church was converted into a barrack, or citadel, during the civil wars, when the parliamentary soldiers, who had been driven from their garrison at Newark by the royalists, took a temporary refuge here; but many were slain in this building, and in the market-place. Among the entries in the churchwardens' accounts are the following, which serve to exemplify many ancient customs, and shew the value of money, and of different articles, at the respective periods here mentioned: A. D. 1545. “Paid to Robert Goldsmith, for mending the chalis belonging to Sent Georges chapell, and a pix, xvid.” “Paid for IIIIlb. of wax, and . . . . . . weke for a torche, and makyng the same, IIs. v.d.” “Paid to Robert Crofte for a day wark at the store hows, Vd.” “ Paid to the plumar for a dais warc on of Lady Chappell, v IId. “. Paid to the Viker, Prests, and Clarks, for the presesshon at St. Mgetts, on Whissun Moday, xIIId. “ Paid for a yard of grene silke, and x skeynes thred, v1.1d.” “Paid on Palme Sonday to the profit, and for ale at the reding the passon, 11d.” . “ Paid for chercole on Esto. evin. 11d." “Paid for the charges of the presshon on Whissun Monday, as doth appeyr in a bill, xs. IId.” “ Paid to ij pore wemen for scowring the eygle of brasse, the candilstix, and ali wat'. stop, xxiId.” “ Paid for this chirche boke, bought at London the xIV day of February, Anno. Dom. 1544, IIIIs. VIIId".” A. D.

* This folio contains 773 pages of writing paper, bound in rough calf, with strong brass clasps, - ,

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