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this county at Dowbridge, or Dovebridge, on the Northamptonshire border, where the station called Tripontium was fixed. Hence to Manduessedum it passed nearly in a straight line, having the small station of Benonæ on its course. Near this place the Foss-Way intersects it at right angles, and passes in almost a straight line to Rate, whence it continues, in a northerly direction, to Vernometum, and passes on to Margidunum, a station near East Britford, in Nottinghamshire. In the years 1788 and 1789, Mr. Leman, in company with Dr. Bennet, the present Bishop of Cloyne, travelled this road from “ Ludford, an undoubted station at the head of the Bain, clearly to Lincoln, and thence into Devonshire.” Of its course through Leicestershire, he gives the fol lowing description :-“ After quitting the station at Vernometum, the Foss makes a small bend (as it frequently does at entering, or leaving a station, but soon regaining its former bearing, continues straight to Sex, or Segs-Hill, and, though now much defaced, is still easily traced, by its continuing almost always in the same direction, and from its being still in many places high-ridged, and in some paved with large round stones.
“ At Sex-bill is a considerable tumulus, and also the remains of an entrenchment, where the Foss is intersected by another road, apparently Roman, coming from Paunton on the Ermin-street, in an E. N. Easterly direction, pointing towards Barrow-upon-Soar, and which, if continued in the same bearing across Leicestershire, would have passed the Via Devana north of Markfield, and fallen into the Watling-street, near Etocetum, or Wall, in Staffordshire, at its junction with the Ryknield-Street.
“ From Sex-hill, the Foss, in going over the commons and Thrussington Woulds, keeps generally near the hedge, till it descends into the valley beyond Ratcliff. It leaves the great oblong tumulus of Shipley-Hill to the left, and, crossing the Wreak, and another small rivulet near Syston, passes by a vast tumulus at the place where the Melton Mowbray quits the Leicester Road, and going through Thurmaston, proceeds directly to Rata, or Leicester.
« In Leicester it joins the Via Devana, and both, continuing through the town together, leave it by the great Gate-way still remaining (but which las, I know not for what tritiing reason, been called the Temple of Janus), and passing the meadow opposite to King Richard's Bridge, where its original breadth is still visible, it suddenly turns to the left (on crossing the second branch of the Soar) over the meadows; and, gaining its old bearing, joins the Narborough turnpike, and continues with it as far as the fourth mile-stone from Leicester. The Foss here quits the turnpike, and, going over the fields, leaves the town and church of Narborouglı to the left, and is still quite plain as it descends the last inclosure, opposite the Green-Lane, by which the Foss is continued to High Cross.
~ Near Croft the farmers were breaking up in many places the ridge of the Roman road, by carrying out their manure, when I passed it in 1788; and it was impossible not to observe still parts of the stone, with which it had been paved, lying about on every side. Near Soar-Mill, where the road has been entirely neglected, and is covered with water, one could feel plainly the broken pavement as one rode over it. In a direct line, and without any variation, the Foss continues from hence over fields to Benonæ *, where it joins the Watling-Street +."
The Via Devana, according to the opinion of Mr. Leman, extended from Camalodunum (Colchester) to Deva-Colonia (Chester), and entered this county near Bringhurst, whence it proceeds
*“ Benona, Rata, and all other towns in the plural number, were so called, as consisting originally of more towns than one; thus Benona included the present buildings at Clayhurst and Claychester; Rata, the buildings or towns on each side of the river: and, among the ancients, Athens was called Athene, and comprehending four distinct villages; and Syracuse, Syracuse, as made up of five." Wm. CORK and Ross.
+ The course of this Roman road, as well as those of the Watling-street and Via Devana, are laid down by the Rev. T. Leman, in a small Map of Leicestershire, published in “ The British Atlas."
to “Medbourn*, an undoubted station on it.” Here is a tumulus, and, on the hill between the parishes of Cranoe and Glooston, is another, and the road is still visible. Hence it continues in almost a straight line to Leicester, passing between the villages of Great and Little Stretton; and is seen in many places considerably raised above the original surface. It joined the Foss-way near the southern side of the town, and again left it on the north, where it branched off North-West, and continued nearly by Grooby, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, &c. to Burton.
Another ancient road, which Mr. Leman calls the “ Salt-Way," and considers as of British origin, entered this county from Lincoloshire, in its way to the great salt mines at Droitwich: after · passing by Croxton, on the north eastern border of the county, it continued to Segs-Hill, and, crossing the Foss, proceeded to Barrow, and is afterwards seen in some places in Charnwood-forest.
After the Romans had evacuated the Island, this district became part of the kingdom of Mercia; and when the subdivision of the Anglo-Saxon provinces into counties was established, and Bishops' Sees created, the town of Leicester was constituted the seat of the Diocesan. The Mercian kingdom was divided into, or distinguished by the names of Southern and Northern, and the inhabitants of Leicestershire were called Miditerranæ, or Middle Angles. They were frequently barrassed by the invading Danes, who, entering the district from the eastern coast, laid the whole country under contribution between the German Ocean and Leicester; and having conquered this place, established themselves here for some length of time. Indeed, Leicester was considered
*“If one were to indulge a conjecture, Medbonrn might originally be called Medium, a name not uncommon in the Itineraries. It is nearly the centre, or half-way station between Colchester and Chester, the two great Roman colonies, which were united by this road; and the Saxons often preserved the first syllable of the Roman name with a termination of their own, as Londinum, Loudon; Corstopitum, Corbridge,” &c. Wm. Cork and Ross.
one of their five chief cities in the Island. After the Norman Invasion, in 1066, Leicestershire experienced a complete revolution in its civil and mayorial privileges: as, the conqueror divided it. among his vassals and relations. To bis kinsman, Robert Earl of Mellent, who was afterwards Earl of Leicester, he gave the whole, or the greater part, of sixteen lordships in this county; to Hugh Lupus, his nephew, who was created Earl of Chester, he gave twenty-two lordships; William Peverell, his natural son, he made Earl of Nottingham, and gave him six lordships; to Judith, his niece, Countess of Huntingdon and Northampton, he gave thirtyeight lordships ; to Earl Anbrey, fourteen; to Henry de Ferrariis, thirty-five; to Robert le Despencer, seventeen; to Geoffrey de Wirce, twenty-seven; and to Hugo de Grentemaisnell, sixtyseven. Thus the chief parts of the county were allotted, and parcelled out to different Norman chiefs, who again regranted various allotments to their followers and dependants, to be held of them by knight's service. Besides the above-named landholders, the King, the Archbishop of York, and the Bishops of Lincoln and Constance, possessed landed 'property in the county: and some: was annexed to the Abbies of Peterborough, Coventry, and Croyland. In order to secure their newly-acquired possessions, these Norinan chiefs and barons soon built on their respective estates
strong and magnificent castles, which might at once secure themselves, and keep the conquered English in awe.” The several townships, in which such castles are known to have been erected, with the names of the founders, are, Leicester, Mount-sorel, Whitwick, and Shilton, founded by the Earls of Leicester ;Groby and Hinckley, by Hugo de Grentemaisnell ;-Donington, by Eustace, Baron of Hálton;-Melton, by Roger, Lord Mowbray;--Ravenston, by Goesfrid Hanselin ;--Sauvey, by the Lord! Basset of Weldon: and Thorpe, by Ernald de Bois. “Most : of these castles, during the unquiet reigns of Henry the Second, King John, and King Henry the Third, being held by the rebellious barons, and rendered receptacles of thieves and freebooters, were, by command of the latter king, utterly demolished; and X3
though some of them were afterwards rebuilt, yet at this day there is not one of them remaining entire; and even the ruins of most of them are entirely defaced *.”
The Norman chiefs, after settling their possessions and fortifying themselves within their respective domains, next directed their attentions to the religious habits and prejudices of the times; as to secure the favor and influence of the monks, in an age when they were almost omnipotent, or, at least, could command and intimidate nearly the whole community, was a necessary branch of military policy, which the provincial barons neither overlooked, nor neglected. Accordingly, part of their estates were appropriated towards the foundation and endowment of Abbies, Priories, Nunneries, and other monastic establishments. In this county there were ABBIES, &c. founded by the following per.. sons, at the times and places here specified.
Croxton, by William Parcarius, in 1162; Garendon, by Robert Bossu, Earl of Leicester, in 1133, who also founded an Abbey in the town of Leicester, in 1143; Olveston, by Robert Grimbald, in the time of Henry the Second.
PRIORIES, &c. Belvoir, by Robert de Todenei, about 1180. - Bradley, by Robert de Bundy, temp. John.-Bredon, by Robert de Ferrariis, 1144.-Charley, by Robert Blanchmaines, Earl of Leicester.-Hinckley, by Hugo de Grentemaisnell, about 10go. -Kirkby-Beler, by Alice Beler, 1359.-Laund, by Richard and Maud Bassett, about 1130.—Leicester Eremites, before 1304,Leicester Black Friars, Dominicans, temp. Henry III.-Leicester Grey Friars, Franciscans, by Simon Montfort.-Leicester St. Katharine's, for Austin Friars.-Ulvescroft, by Earl Robert Blanchmaines.-NUNNERIES. Gracedieu, by Roesia de Verdun, 1240.-Langley, by William Pantulph, temp. Henry II.--COLLEGIATE CHURCHES in Leicester. St. Mary de Castro, founded before the Conquest; rebuilt by R. de Bellomont, Earl of Leicesa ter, 1107.--St. Mary the Great, in the Newark, by Henry Earl,
* Nichols's History, &c. Vol. II. pt. I. p. 2.