« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
of one solid oak tree, which measured thirty-four feet in circumference. Among several portraits, is one of King James the First, and another of his consort, Queen Anne of Denmark, both originals, and presented by the Monarch to Sir William Heyrick.
At BRADGATE are the ruins of an old mansion, which was formerly magnificent and spacious. The place was parcel of the manor of Groby, and belonged, at an early period, to Hugh Grentesmainell, from whom it passed, by marriage, to Robert Blanchmains, Earl of Leicester, and afterwards, by marriage again, to Saber de Quency, Earl of Winton. A park was here in 1247, when Roger de Quency, Earl of Winton, granted permission, by written agreement, to Roger de Somery, to “ enter at any hour on the forest of him the earl, to chace in it (ad versandum) with nine bows and six hounds, according to the form of a cyrograph before made, between the aforesaid Roger, Earl of Winton, and Hugh de Albaniaco, Earl of Arundel, in the court of the Lord the King at Leicester. And if any wild beast, wounded by any of the aforesaid bows, shall enter the aforesaid park by any deer-leap, or otherwise, it shall be lawful for the aforesaid Roger de Somery, and his heirs, to send one man, or two of his, who shall follow the aforesaid wild beast, with the dogs pursuing that wild beast, within the aforesaid park, without bow and arrows, and may take it on that day whereon it was wounded, without hurt of other wild beasts in the aforesaid park abiding; so that if they be footmen they shall enter by some deer-leap, or hedge; and if they be horsemen, they shall enter by the gate, if it shall be open; and otherwise shall not enter before they wind their horn for the keeper, if he will come *."
The park, in Leland's time, was “ vi miles in cumpase," and the foundation and walls of " a greate gate-house of brike” were left unfinished when this tourist visited Bradgate. He also states, Cc 2
*This agreement is printed at length, in Nichols's History of Leicester. shire, Vol. III. p. 661.
that Thomas, the first Marquis of Dorset, erected, and almost finished ij toures of brike in the fronte of the house, as respondent on eche side to the gate-house *.” The ruins of this venerable, and once dignified mansion, with the forest scenery around, are highly picturesque. A correspondent to Mr. Nichols says, that “ traces of the tilt-yard are still visible; and the courts are now occupied by rabbits, and shaded with chesnut trees and mulberries."
Contiguous to the mansion is a chapel, in which is a handsome monument for HENRY LORD GREY of Groby, and his lady: beneath an arch on the monument is a figure in armour, of the nobleman, and another of his wife, and the front and summit are decorated with the armorial bearings and quarterings of the families of Grey, Hastings, Valence, Ferrers of Groby, Astley, Widvile, Bouvile, and Harrington. LADY JANE GREY, a native of this place, was born in 1537. She was the eldest daughter of Henry Grey, Marquis of Dotset, and Duke of Suffolk, by Frances, eldest daughter of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. The wife of the latter was Mary, Qučen Dowager to Louis XII. of France, and youngest daughter of Henry the Seventh of England. Jane Grey was married to Lord Guildford Dudley, son of the Duke of Northumberland. She was prevailed on to accept the British crown, but reigned only nine days, when she and her husband were imprisoned in the Tower; and soon afterwards both were beheaded, by command of Queen Mary, in 1554. Thus she fell a sacrifice to the ambition of her relatives, at the early age of seventeen; and all authors who have written about her life, or times, have indiscriminately portrayed her as a paragon of excellence and merit. Though it may be deemed irrelevant to the nature of this work to investigate and minutely detail such subjects, yet a few cursory remarks, it is hoped, will not be extraneous, or useless. Lady Jane Grey, afterwards Lady Dudley, according to her own statement, was treated with great rigour by her parents, who employed Roger Ascham and Dr. Aylmer to instruct her in
* Itinerary, Vol. I. p. 19, 21.
the usual education of the times; and, in the routine of instruction, the Protestant Religion constituted an essential part. Indeed, if we estimate her character by her own writings, we shall ipfer, that the scriptures, and religious books, were the chief subjects of her study and solicitude. Her tutors, however, panegyrised her learning, and the Martyrologists and Protestant advocates (for religion then engrossed the minds of men) descanted on her virtues, meekness, humility, and “ godliness.” Subsequent writers have admitted, and repeated, nearly the whole of these encomiums. Bigots and enthusiasts never discriminate, and from such writers we are not likely to obtain plain facts and “unvarnished truth !” If full credit be given to the statement of her tutors, Ascham and Aylmer*, she was one of the most extraordinary females that ever lived in this, or any other country. They relate, that their pupil, at the age of sixteen, understood the Greek, Latin, French, and Italian languages, and was also acquainted with the Hebrew, Chaldee, and Arabic. It is further asserted, that she played on several musical instruments, and sometimes accompanied the tunes with her voice: and added to these accomplishments the advantage of writing a fine hand, and excelJing in various kinds of needle work. Such transcendant attainments seem to exceed the bounds of credibility, and are nearly allied to those monkish romances of saints and martyrs, invented by craft, to impose on credulity. The historical interest attached to the memory of this lady, and the engaging accounts that have been given of her meekness, amiableness, and learning, combining with the afflicting and inhuman circumstance of her murder, all conspire to rouse our feelings, and excite our sympathies in her bebalf: but we must not allow these emotions to impose Cc3
* Dr. Aylmer, flying from Henry the Eighth, and the court, found an asylum at Bradgate, and a friend and patron in the Marquis of Dorset. “ He was for some time the only preacher in Leicestershire, where he so effectually fixed the Protestant Religion, that neither force nor fraud could blot it out." Nichols's History of Leicestershire, Vol. IIL p. 667. Strype's Life of Aylmer, p. 9.
on, and deceive our judgments, if we wish to ascertain and clearly comprehend the history of human actions, and of human powers. That nature occasionally produces phenomena, is evident; but the instances are very rare: it is more commonly the case, that craft, folly, or infatuated zeal, magnifies and exaggerates common effects into wonders. That Lady Jane was very learned for her age, and the times in which she lived, that she was amiable in manners, and truly unfortunate, are all circumstances extremely probable and admissible; but the indiscriminating and garrulous encomiums of Roger Ascham, her preceptor, and afterwards Queen Elizabeth's schoolmaster, do not command implicit credit *, nor, should we take such evidence alone, for historical data.
CASTLE DONINGTON, a large village on the northern verge of the county, was described, in the time of Edward the Second, as the castle, town, manor, and honor of Donington, and was granted by that monarch to Hugh le Despenser, junior. In this village are the remains of an hospital, and a small fragment of the castle, with the vallum. The church is spacious, and has a large chancel, also a lofty steeple; and within is a fine altar monument of alabaster, with the statues of a man in armour, and
In this parish is
DONINGTON PARK, a seat of the Earl of Moira. This fine demesne was noted for extensive woods at the time of compiling the Domesday Book, wherein it is stated that—" In Dunitone there is a wood twelve furlongs long, and eight broad." From the time of the conquest this manor continued the property of the Barons of Haulton, till 1310, when it was conveyed in marriage
Thomas Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster, Leicester, and Derby. It came to the Hastings family by purchase, in 1594 ; and, in 1789,
* In delineating this, or any other character, the writer is wholly influenced by a love of truth, and a desire to exercise bis own and the reader's rational faculties, in investigating the obscurities and improbabilities of bio, graphical, political, and statistical history,