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nument to the memory of a Danish king. The present Earl Ferrers, in a letter to Mr. Nichols, opposes both these conjectures, by stating that “the bill is lately proved to be the wonderful work of nature, not of art; and has been produced by some uncommon surflux of the river Wreke. It was cut open a few years past, and found to contain strata of gravel and red marle, evidently washed together by some extraordinary vortex of the river, or waters making strands round it; which are very perceptible. There are strata of different sorts of earth; first soil; then gravel ; marle, red and white; some little blue marle; mixture of gravel, &c. but all evidently appear to have been the work of Providence, not of man. This hill is close to the river," &c. Another correspondent of Mr. Nichols's states, that the hill is “ about 200 yards from the river;" and a third says, “ it does not appear likely that any part of it can be washed away, for it is a furlong at least from the Wreke."
6. Such jarring judgments who can reconcile.”
It will be impossible for me, not having seen the spot; but the arguments of the noble Earl do not appear either conclusive or probable. It is very unlikely that any river, like the Wreke, should have formed such a hill as that above described : besides, - its contiguity to the Roman road, shape, &c. are circumstances that induce one to view it as artificial, and thence conclude it to be a barrow, or tumulus. Besides, there are other hillocks of a similar character, at different places near this Roman way.
RAKEDALE, anciently called Ragdale, Ragdale on the Willows, a village on the northern border of the county, near Segshill and the foss-road, and with the manor of Willoughes, belong to Earl Ferrers. These two lordships contain about 1430 acres of land, the greater part of which is appropriated to the grazing system. About 400 acres of this is on the Woulds. On this estate is a large mansion, now occupied by a farmer, under Earl Ferrers. Over the entrance porch, which was built
about 1629, is a large coat of arms, carved in stone, with fifty quarterings. In this house Robert, first Earl Ferrers, frequently resided, and kept his hawks here, in a room which stil! remains, and wherein is the stone trough from which they were fed. A modern house, called RAKEDALE-HALL, was built here in 1785, by the present Earl Ferrers. It stands on an eminence, and commands some extensive and diversified views; in which the valley and windings of the Wreke constitute a striking and pleasing feature. In the house are a few cabinet pictures. In the church-yard is a stone cross, consisting of a shaft raised on steps, and surmounted with a perforated cross,
SKEFFINGTON, formerly written Sciftitone, Skevington, &c. is a small village on an eminence, near the turnpike road from Uppingham to Leicester, at the distance of ten miles from the latter. Leland says, that “Shefington lay upward a mile and more from Noseley, wher rose the name of the Skefingtons: Gentlemen of Leicestershire that be there of most reputation *." This lordship contains between 1200 and 1500 acres of good grazing land; some part of which is old inclosure; but the greater portion was inclosed under an act passed in 1772. In this, William Farrell, Esq. is described as lord of the manor, patron of the rectory, a proprietor of a considerable part of the open fields, and entitled to right of common. Within the lordship are five woods: Brome's-Wood, supposed to contain about twenty-five acres; Great-Wood, about nineteen acres; England-Wood, ten acres; Hoothill-wood, fifteen acres; and Moneybush-Wood, nine
The lands are mostly hilly, the soil rich, and on it are grazed many tine sheep and oxen. In this parish is
SKEFFINGTON HALL, the seat of Sir William Charles Skeffington, Bart. The house is large, and on the south front assumes a castellated appearance. The rooms are numerous, spacious and convenient; and many of them are decorated and enriched with pictures, by the first masters, as Sir William Skeffington,
Bart. Itinerary, Vol. I. p. 23.
Bart, has always been attached to the fine arts, and artists. Among the paintings are the following: Moses trampling on the Crown of Pharaoh, by Rembrandt.- Our Saviour blessing the Children, by Le Seur.- Two Landscapes, on copper, by Breughel.David with Goliah's Head, by Ciro Ferri.—A Magdalen, size of life, by Parmegiano:-A Landscape, with geese, ducks, a spaniel, &c. by Weenix.-A large picture, representing the Four Elements, by Jordaens.—Venus returning from Hunting, by Luca Giordano.-A Landscape, by Vander Uden, and the figures by Teniers.--The Adoration of the Shepherds, by L. Giordano.-A Landscape, by Lambert.--A Hare sitting, by Denner. PORTRAITS. The Earl of Holland, by Dobson.Pope Paul the Third, by Titian.-Charles the Second, and General Monck, both by Sir Godfrey Kueller.--Head of an old Man, by Vandyck.—Head of King Charles the First, by Vandyek.--Head of Henry the Eighth, by H. Holbein.---A whole length of King Charles the First, by old Stone.-A whole length of James the First, and his Queen, by Vansomer.-King William the Third, by Sir G. Kneller.- Queen Anne, by Vandyck. A large picture of King Charles the First, his Queen, the Prince of Wales, and James Duke of York, by old Stone, after Vandyck.
According to a record in the family, and the traditions of the place, the floor of the drawing-room, measuring 32 feet in length by 23 in breadth, was obtained from one oak tree, which also furnished the whole of the wainscoting to the same room. This tree grew in the neighbouring woods.
The church at Skeffington, dedicated to St. Thomas à Becket, is built of stone, and consists of a nave, two ailes, and a chancel. At the end of the north aile is a private chapel for the Skeffington family, and in the south wall of the chancel is a curious Piscina. In the same place also remains the rood loft, nearly in a perfect state. In the eastern window is some painted glass, in which are several figures and mutilated inscriptions; and in the private chapel and chancel are several inscriptions to the memories of different branches of the Skeffington family, and some handsome monuments. A particular account of the Skeffington pedigrees, with
some particulars of the principal persons of the family, are detailed in Nichols's History, Vol. III. p. 449, &c.; also in Shaw's History of Staffordshire, Vol. I. p. 365.
At this place was born THOMAS SKEFFINGTON, who was, consecrated Bishop of Bangor in June 1509. He caused a window to be made in this church, in which, says Burton, was “ his picture, arms, and a subscription.” He also made another, window in Merevale church in Warwickshire, wherein was the following inscription in old letters, “Orate pro anima Thome Skeffington, episcopi Bangor;" with his arms, impaling those of the See of Bangor. Burton further states, that this Bishop “ built all the cathedral church at Bangor, from the quire downwards.to the west end, and the fine tower steeple, which was not fully perfected when he died, but after finished by his executors, though not to that height he had intended." Wood relates, that Bishop Skeffington became, when young, professed in the monastery of Cistertians at Merevale; instructed in theological and other learning in St. Bernard's college, originally built for Cistertians in the north suburb of Oxford (being now St. John's college), to which place he bequeathed 20t. towards its reparation. He was afterwards made Abbot of Waverley, a house of that order in Surrey.” He died in 1533, and his heart was interred in the cathedral at Bangor, but his body was conveyed to and buried in the monastery of Beaulieu in Hampshire.
SYSTON, one of the most populous villages in the county, is seated, on the turnpike road between Leicester and Melton, at thedistance of five miles from the former. The Lordship contains about 1800 acres, the greater part of which is appropriated to grazing. The Earl of Stamford is Lord of the manor. In the year 1777, the open fields of this village, and those of Barkby, were appointed to be inclosed by Act of Parliament; a brook runs on the , western side of the village, over which a Bridge was erected in 1797. This was begun and completed in nine days by three bricklayers, with their six labourers; and from the rapidity of its
execution, has since been called “The Nine Days Wonder." The quantity of materials used in this bridge, was 25,000 bricks and 150 tons weight of stone. Within this lordship is an eminence called Mowde-bush-Hill, on which is a stone inscribed with that
The late Sir John Danvers formerly held a meeting at Mountsorele, called Mowde-bush-Court, at which time the lawyer or Steward of Sir John went to Mowde-bush hill, and cutting a piece of turf, carried it to the court.
The Parish Register of Syston begins in 1594, and contains, among various other entries, the following; which are curious, as illustrative of the customs, expences, &c. of former times.
“ 1597, paid to the armour dresser, 3s. 4d.; also for the town sword, 75. -1599, paid to Peter Pollard, for helping to drive away
the Town Bull, that was sold, id. Paid for a Bull, 30s.; paid for another Bull, 40s. 60.-1600, paid to Thomas Pollard, for moving the Bull-hooke, 12d.-1601, old Julien Rivett, widow, bequeathed by will, 12d. upon the church; which was bestowed upon painting the church porch and oiling of the same. -1601, spent at Leicester, when we were summoned to appear at the court, for that some of the priests had wrought on St. Bartholomew's day, 12d.—1602, paid to Lord Morden's Players, because they should not play in the church, 12d.-1602, harvest late; barley not got in before St. Matthew's day; and on that day no peas nor beans were got in, in Syson.-1603, a pound of good hops sold for 2s. 8d.; a strike of malt, 17d, and a strike of wheat, 2s, 4d.-1606, grinding was so scant, either by water or wind, that at the feast of St. Luke, the people came from Hinckley to Syston to grind their corn.—1609, at Loughborough, 500 people died of the plague."
The church is large, with a nave, ailes, chancel, and a square tower. A passage to the rood-loft still remains, and a skreen separates the nave from the chancel. A Chantry was founded here by William Grendell, priest, for one priest to sing mass and perform other service, for which he was to receive 31. 115. 2d. arising out of lands and tenements. In 1534-5, the procurations