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A market and borough town, is the principal place in the soku, or wapentake, to which it gives name, and over which it exercises exclusive jurisdiction. In Ştowe's Chronicle, Grantham is said to have been built by Gorbomannus, King of Britain, 303 years prior to the Christian æra. Such stories are entitled to little credit; but it appears from history, that Grantham possèssed peculiar privileges at an early period, and was the residence of a suffragan bishop*. At the time of the Norman survey, this place was held in royal demesne; for in Domesday Book it is recorded, that Editha, Queen of Edward the Confessor, had a manor in Grantham, and twelve carucates at Geld. Maud, William the Conqueror's Queen, held the town and soke as part of the king's demesne. In the forty-second year of King Henry the Third, that monarch being greatly distressed by the parliament, which refused to grant him supplies, among other plans for raising money, mortgaged, to his uncle, William de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, the towns of Grantham and Stamford.
Near the point, where a small stream, called 'the Mowbeck, joins the Witham, formerly stood the castle; but no traces of the building remain: and the only evidence that the town bad a castle, arises from the adjoining street being called Castlegate; and the description in ancient deeds of certain tenements, which belonged to the chantry of St. Mary, as situated in Castle Dyke. The names of the three other principal streets of the present town, called Westgate, Watergate, and Swinegate, evidently denote that Grantham was once encompassed with a wall, but no , vestiges of it are now to be seen. On the 22d of March, 1642, this place was taken, for King Charles the First, by the forces under the command of Colonel Charles Cavendish, who made
This ecclesiastical officer was appointed to assist the bishop of the diocess, and called by Sir Edward Coke, “ a bishop's vicegerent.”
360 prisoners, with all the captains and officers, together with three loads of arms and ammunition, and afterwards demolished the works *.
“ About this time,” says De Foe, “it was, that we began to hear of the name of Oliver Cromwell, who, like a little cloud, rose out of the east, and spread first into the north, till it shed down a flood that overwhelmed the three kingdoms. When the war first broke out, he was a private captain of horse, but now commanded a regiment; and joining with the Earl of Manchester, the first action in which we lieard of his exploits, and which emblazoned his character, was at Grantham, where, with only his own regiment, he defeated twenty-four troops of horse and dragoons of the king's forces t."
Near the south entrance into the town, on St. Peter's f hill, formerly stood an elegant Cross, erected by King Edward the First, in memory of Eleanor his queen, who died 1290, this being one of the places where the corpse was laid in state, in its way for interment in Westininster Abbey., Grantham had se veral religious houses, ruins of which may still be seen. A priory of grey friars, called also franciscans, from the founder of their order, and minorites from their assumed humility, was founded here A. D. 1290. “The Angel Inn, which took its name from some representations of angels cut in stone, with several other religious devices about the building, was a commandery of the Knights Templars g.” The front of this inn displays some curious grotesque ornaments, and has three projections, with mullioned windows, &c. 3 C4
• Mercurius Belgicus.
† Memoirs of a Cavalier.
“Of the church dedicated to St. Peter, said to have stood here, I have not been able to find any traces, except the mention made of the chantry of St. Peter, in Grantham.” Turnor's Collections for the History of the Town and Soke of Grantham.
$ Turnor's Collections, &c. p. 37.
The following notices are contained in an index written by Bishop Sanderson." Spittlegate hospital, 2 Edward IV. Richard Bloer, master. - 13 Henry VILMr. Thomas Islam, master of the hospital of St. Leonard, otherwise called rector of the parocbial church of Spittal."
In the present church, and in that of St. Peter's were five chantries, respectively dedicated to Corpus Christi, St. John, St. George, the Blessed Virgiri, and the Holy Trinity. The two latter of which were given by King Edward the Sixth for the further endowment of a free school. The Church, cousisting of a nave, with spacious north and south ailes, and lighted by large hand. some pointed windows, is celebrated for the elegance of its spire. At what time the present church was built is not recorded. The style of architecture is that prevalent in the thirteenth century ; though Mr. Gough observes, that it was endowed by Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, A. D. 1100.". The crypt under the south aile of the church, now used as a charnel house, is the most ancient part of the building, and probably formed part of the former church, which was endowed as above described. The church underwent considerable repairs in 1628, the estimates of which amounted to 1450l. In 1651 the top of the steeple was blown down, and rebuilt by subscription, as appears by a table, containing a list of benefactors on that occasion, placed in the church. In 1797 it suffered by lightening, which displaced a stone on the south side, and broke off two or three of the crockets, which fell through the roof into the church. This elegant part of the fabric consists of a quadrangular tower, , containing three stories, the first of which is lighted by one mullioned window on each side; the second by pairs of windows, with pointed arches; and the third by one large window, with two sinaller lateral obes, having triangular heads. At each angle of the parapet, which is pierced with quatrefoils, is an bexavgular crocketted pinnacle. Over this, in beautiful proportion, rises, its octagonal spire, or
* Sanderson's Index, p. 629, as quoted by Turnor.