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district. It belonged " to several parishes, and is partly holden by persons who are free from drainage expences, by the nature of their buildings; and all the land is free from every other charge of assessment, and from land-taxes and ecclesiastical demands. But though there is no poor assessment, relief is granted by the adventurers to some poor persons who do properly belong to the district of tasable laud, which expence is mixed with the account of movies expended in supporting the works. But as to the free lands, which are about one-third part of the whole, every separate farmer maintains his own poor, without
connection with others. I suppose there are not a great number settled upon them, for being aware of the peculiar burden, I believe they make such contracts for hiring, as to avoid, as much as possible, having people settled on thein. I have sent below a copy of the clause in the act of parliament, relative to the maintenance of our poor, which will shew the foundation of that business, and is all, I believe, in any part of the acts respecting it, viz. 16° and 17° Cliarles Id. • But all and every the inhabitants that may hereafter be upon any part of the said third part, or upon any part of the said 5000 acres, and are not able to maintain themselves, shall be maintained and kept by the said trustees, their heirs, and assigns, and the survivor of them, and never become chargeable in any kind, to all, or any of the respective parishes wherein such inhabitant, or inhabitants, shall reside or dwell; any statute or law to the contrary, whereof in any wise, notwithstanding. The qualification is, being holder of 200 acres, or upwards. The inclosed fen was formerly part of the common belonging to several parishes adjoining. There is no church in the district; the inhabitants go to the neighbouring towns to church.”
STAMFORD, OR STANIFORD,
Is an ancient borough and market town, seated on the northern bank of the river Welland, in the south-west corner of the county, VOL. IX.
siderable place than Peterborough. In that reign, Leland observes, that it was a borough, and ever after belonged to the crown *. In the time of the Danes it was reckoned one of the five great cities of the Danish kingdom, whose inhabitants, for the purpose of distinction, were termed Fisburgenses. The others were Derby, Nottingham, Leicester, and Lincoln ; to which two more were afterwards added, Chester and York: when the appellation was changed to Seafenburgenses, which name they retained till the close of the Danish dynasty in England. By the Saxon annals calling it Byrigh, and Florence of Worcester Arx, it was evidently then a walled town.—Leland says there were seven principal towers on the walls of Stamford, to each of which the freeholders were occasionally allotted, to watch and ward; and, according to Speed's plan of the town, there were also four smaller forts, which made the number eleven. Besides these, the town was defended by seven principal, and two postern gates, and a strong citadel. The castle was probably built by the Danes : for the Saxon Chronicle, and Henry of Huntingdon, speaking of its being taken from them by Edmund Ironside, A. D. 942, observes, it had been then a long time in their possession.' But Leland, following Matthew of Westminster, states, that Elfreda, sister of Edward the elder, rebuilt the castle of Stamford, on the northern bank of the Welland, A. D. 914. The Danes again repossessed themselves of the castle, and held it till the death of their last king, in the year 1041, when it reverted again to the English. But by William conquering the kingdom, it fell, A. D. 1066, into the hands of the Normans. At the time of the general survey, there were in Stamford one hundred and forty-one mansions t, and twelve lage3 E 2
* Itin. Vol. VI. f. 28.
† Mansio or mansion, comprehended more in its ancient, than its present acceptation ; for in Domesday it is stated, that “ Roger de Busli had in Snottingham, or Nottingham, three mansions, in which were situated eleven houses,"
men", who had within their own houses sac and soc, over their own men, except the tax and heriots, and the forfeiture of their bodies, and felons' goods. In the reign of Stephen, the castle was besieged by Henry of Anjou, afterwards King Henry the Second ; who took it, and bestowed both that and the town, excepting the barons' and knights' fees, on Richard Humez or Humetz, to hold them of the crown by homage and other service. By King John they were granted to William Earl of Warren, to hold by a similar tenure. After his death, they were granted by John Earl of Warren to Edward the First, and by the king regranted to the said earl, for the term of his life; on whose demise, by a previous agreement, they reverted again to the crown, After many grants, and as many reversions arising from forfeiture, or failure of male issue, the manor was given by Queen Elizabeth to William Cecil, first Lord Burleigh ; and by marriage of Anne, his grand-daughter and coheiress, with William Earl of Exeter, it descended to Henry Grey, first Earl of Stamford, in which family it continued for several descents; but is now again, by purchase, vested in the family of Cecil.
In the reign of Richard the Third the castle was thrown down and demolished. The hill on which it stood, to the north-west of the town, appears to have been nearly artificial, the various layers of earth lying horizontally; and by the side are the small remains of a stone wall.
In the time of the Conqueror, Stamford was governed by the lagemen or aldermen. In the time of Edward the Fourth it obtained the privilege, which it still retains, of sending two members to parliament: and in the first year of that reign a charter was granted, by virtue of which the aldermen and other officers were incorporated, under the name of the “ Aldermen and combur
These were judges of the laws, and were the first civil governors of towus ; having sac, that is the privilege granted by the king to judge and try causes, and receive the forfeitures arising from crimes within a certain limit: The place of such jurisdiction was denominated Soc.