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wardenship of this was entrusted to Hugo de Grentemaisnel, baron of Hinckley.
The following is a translation of that part of Domesday Book which more immediately concerns this ancient city: for the words of it are, Civitas de Ledecestre, Tempore Regis Edwardi, &c.“ The City of Leicester, in the time of King Edward, paid yearly to the king thirty pounds by tale, (every one of the value of tenpence) and fifteen sextaries of honey. When the king marched with his arıny through the land, twelve burgesses of that borough attended him. If the king went over sea against the enemy, they sent four horses from that borough, as far as London, to carry arins, or such other things as circumstances required. At this time King William has, for all rents from that city and county, forty-two pounds and ten shillings in weight. Instead of one bawk he has ten pounds by tale; and instead of a baggage, or sumpter horse, twenty shillings. Of the mint-masters he has yearly twenty pounds, every ore of the value of twenty-pence. Of this twenty pounds, Hugo de Grentemaisnel has the third penny. The king has in Leicester thirty-nine houses. The Archbishop of York two houses, with sac and soc; and they belong to Cherlintone. Earl Hugh has ten houses, which belong to Barhou, and six belonging to Cacheworde, and one house belonging to Locteburne. The Abbey of Coventreu has ten houses. The Abbey of Cruiland has three houses. From all which the king has his geld. Hugo de Grentemaisnel has a hundred and ten houses and two churches; besides these he has, in common with the king, twenty-four houses in the same borough. In the same borough has the same Hugo two churches and two houses, and four houses decayed. The Countess Judith has in the same borough twenty-eight houses; and from the moiety of a mill she has five shillings and fourpence. Without the borough she has six plough-lands belonging to the borough ; and she has there one plough, and her homagers three ploughs. There are eight acres of meadow, and a wood six furlongs long, and three broad. The whole is worth forty shillings."
During the disputes concerning the succession, on the death of the Conqueror, the Grentemaisnels seized Leicester Castle, and held it for Duke Robert. This subjected it to the fury of the successful partizans of William Rufus, who battered it nearly to the ground, and it continued in ruins for some time.
In the reign of Henry the First, Robert Earl of Mellent being created Earl of Leicester, chiefly resided in the castle, which he fortified and enlarged. He was very liberal to the town; as was also Robert Bossu his son; but the arrogant behaviour of the latter to the king, involved the town in broils and war; it being the practice, in those times, for sovereigns to revenge themselves, for the offences of the nobility, on the people and places immediately under the patronage of the offenders. Of this a remarkable instance took place in the reign of Henry the Second, when Earl Robert Blanchmains, leaguing with the king's son in his unnatural rebellion, Leicester, the chief resort of the disaffected, stood a long siege. The earl and his adherents were defeated near St. Edmund's Bury by the king's army, under Richard Lucy, chief justiciary of England. The earl was taken prisoner; and the king's forces gaining possession of the town, fired it in several places, and overthrew by the force of engines what the flames did not destroy. The castle held out some time longer, but the garrison was at length compelled to yield, and the whole building was made a heap of ruins. This almost complete destruction of Leicester is visible in the frequent discoveries of foundations of buildings, walls, and rubbish: some of the former are found in directions right across the present streets.
“Blanchmains, however, regained the king's favour, and was restored to his estates, but both he and his son, Robert Fitz-Parnel, engaging in the crusades, the town of Leicester was but ill-rebuilt, and the castle remained many years in a state of dilapidation. Fitz-Parnel dying without issue, the honor of Leicester, as part of the Bellomont estates was called, passed into the family of Simon de Montfort, in consequence of his marriage with one of the sisters of Fitz-Paruel. But the Montforts, Earls of Leicester, both
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father and son, were too much engaged iri the busy transactions of their times to pay inych attention to their property at Leicester. After the death of the latter in the battle of Evesham, the Leicester property was conferred by Henry the Third on his second son, Edmond Earl of Lancaster, whose second son Henry, heir and successor to Thomas Earl of Lancaster, beheaded at Pontefract, in the year 1322, made Leicester bis principal place of residence, and under him, and the two next succeeding earls, the castle recovered, and, probably, surpassed its former state of splendor. When the Dukes of Lancaster ascended the throne, Leicester, though frequently honoured with their presence, received no permanent benefit ; and though several parliaments were held there in the reign of Henry the Sixth, the castle had so far decayed in the time of Richard the Third, that he chose rather to sleep at an inn, a few evenings before his fall, than occupy the royal apartments in the castle. From this time the castle seems to have made constant progress to decay, so that in the reign of Charles the First, orders, dated the ninth of his reign, were issued to the sheriff, William Heyrick, Esq. of Beaumanor, (as appears from papers in the possession of that family)“ to take down the old pieces of our castle at Leicester, to repair the castle house, wherein the audit hath been formerly kept, and is hereafter to be kept, and wherein our records of the lionor of Leicester do now remain; to sell the stones, timber, &c. but not to interfere with the vault there, nor the stairs leading therefrom.” From others of the same papers, it appears that the timber sold for 31. 55. 8d. the free-stone and iron-work for 361. 145. 4d. and that the repairs above ordered cost about 50l. Thus was the castle reduced to nearly its present state; and though the antiquary may, in the eagerness of his curiosity, lament that so little of it now remains, yet he must surely rejoice, in his reflecting moments, that such structures are not now necessary for the defence of the kingdom, and that the fortunes of the noblemen are now spent in a way calculated to encourage the arts and promote industry, rather than in maintaining in these castles a set of idle re
retainers, ever ready to assist them in disturbing the peace of the realm, and still more ready to insult and injure the humble inhabitants in their neighbourhood *."
Of the castle here referred to, there is scarcely any thing remaining but an artificial mound, or the earth work of the keep, near which is a part of the town, with some ancient buildings, called “ the Newark,” or New-Works. This name appears to. have been given to distinguish it from the castle with its original buildings, which was either called, or considered as the old works. The former is said to have been founded by Henry, the third earl of Lancaster, and his son Henry, the first Duke of that name. By these two noblemen some large buildings were erected here; and John of Gaunt, who was Earl of Leicester, &c, added considerably to this pile. When completed, the whole must have formed a grand display; but nearly all of these have fallen beneath the devastating hand of man, and the slowly devouring tooth of time. From the remains of the surrounding walls, it is presumed that the Newark was an inclosed area, bounded on the north by the castle, on the south by fields, to the west by a branch of the river Soar, and to the east by a street of the suburbs. At this side is still remaining a large castellated gateway, called the Magazine, which name it obtained in 1682, when it was purchased by the county, and applied to the use of the trainbands. Throsby says it “was built with the New-works, by the founder of the hospital and collegiate cliurch.” This gateway has a large pointed arched entrance, with a small postern door-way, and communicated with an area nearly surrounded with buildings. On the south, another gate-house opened a communication to a second court, opposite to the southern gate of the castle. To the west rose a college, with a church and an hospital, which completed the buildings of the Newark. These latter structures forined another smaller quadrangle court, having on the north side the present old, or Trinity-Hospital, which was built and endowed for ope hundred poor persons, with ten women
* Walk through Leicester, p. 108.
to wait on, and serve them. On the south stands St. Mary's church, which has cloisters; and on the west was the College for the Prebendaries, which Leland says, “ be very praty." The walls and gates of the college, occupying the west side, were pronounced by Leland to " be very stately." This college was not only spacious in building, but was liberally founded by the Lancastrian family for a dean, twelve prebendaries, thirteen choral vicars, three clerks, six choristers, and one verger: at the dissolution its yearly revenues were estimated at 5951. 12s. 11d. Among the various donations to this establishment, the following is worthy of notice. By the Parliamentary Rolls of the year 1450, it appears that King Henry the Seventh granted to the dean and canons of the collegiate church of our Lady at Leicester, “ a tunne of wynne to be taken by the chief Boteller of England in our port of Kingston upon Hull;" and it is further added, " they never had no wynne granted to them by us, nor our progenitors, afore this time to sing with, nor otherwise.”
The buildings of the Newark continued in good and habitable preservation till the dissolution of the monasteries, in the time of Henry the Eighth, when Robert Burne, the last dean, surrendered his house and possessions to the king's commissioners. “From this period, the buildings of the college, being unsupported by any fund, sunk into decay, or were applied to purposes widely different from the intention of the founders. The church, cloisters, and gateway are entirely removed, with the exception of two arches of the vault under the former, which are still to be seen, firm and strong, in the cellar of the house, now a boarding-school *."
Of the ancient religious buildings and foundations of this town that of the ABBEY was formerly of great local importance; but its buildings are nearly levelled to that earth which covers the ashes of its founders, patrons, monks, and dependants. It is said that this abbey was founded by Robert Bossu, Earl of Leicester, in the
* Walk throngh Leicester.