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gesses of the first and second bench.” Various other privileges were conferred by different cliarters in succeeding reigns; but the town was not governed by a mayor till the reign of Charles the Second*, who, when he recalled the royal charters throughout the kingdom, granted a new one to Stamford, which was confirmed in the reign of James the Second. By that charter it was again incorporated ; and the corporation made to consist of a mayor, thirteen aldermen, and twenty-four capital burgesses, by the name of " The mayor, aldermen, and capital burgesses of the town or burough of Stamford.” By the same deed, the mayor and corporation are empowered to chuse a recorder, deputy recorder, a coroner, and a town clerk, “ to enter debts, according to the statutes of merchants, and the statute of Acton Burnell.”

In Stamford were formerly four religious houses, besides one in the parish of St. Martin, or Borough Stamford. The principal of these

A Benedictine PRIORY, called ST. LEONARD's, was founded, according to Mr. Peck, by Wilfred, in the seventh century; and refounded in the time of the Conqueror by Bishop Carileph, A. D. 1082, who made it a cell to Durham. The site is at a small distance from the town, but formerly was included within it. A part of the conventual church is standing. The ailes and transepts are down. A portion of the nave, sixty feet long and twenty-one broad, is an interesting ruin. On the north side is a range of circular arches, with a waving ornamental moulding; in the west front is a doorway, with a semicircular arch. This is connected with two lateral niches, and over them is an arcade with an oral window in the pediment. 3 E 3

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• This appears from a letter directed to Robert Fawcet, alderman, by Lenthall, the speaker of the House of Commons, at the latter end of Charles the First's reign; and in consequence of an ordinance, which soon followed that circular letter, the alderman put in nomination, for his loyalty to the king, was declared an improper person, and another was nominated in his place, and served the office of chief magistrate.

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The WHITE, or CARMELITE FRIARY, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is said to have been founded by Henry the Third. It was evidently a royal foundation, from the king's arms having been cut in stone over the western gate; but as the coat contains the arms of France quartered with those of England, it is evident that Edward the Third was either the founder, or a great benefactor to it. That monarch held a council here, when he confirmed the monastery of Newstede. It was a place used for the reception of the English kings, in their progress to and from the north, and was situated at a small distance from St. Paul's-gate, where the road divides for Richall and Uffington; and from remains of walls appears to have been an extensive building. The west gate still remains entire, and is a handsome, though small specimen of the architecture of the fourteenth century.

The CONVENT of GREY FRIARS, Fransciscans, or Minorites, was founded by Henry the Third, or by some of the Plantagenet family, in the reign of that monarch; who was so partial to this new order, that he wished to place some of its monks in all the great towns of his dominions. Fuller gives a particular account respecting the surrender of this monastery, by its prior, or warden, and nine monks, to King Henry the Eighth, in the year 1539. It stood just without St. Paul's gate. Mr. Peck describes various stone figures, and fine pieces of carvings, which have been dug up; but all the remains at present are part of an outer wall, and a postern, or back gate-way.

The MONASTERY of BLACK FRIARS, called also Dominicans, and Friar Preachers, was founded about the year 1220, by William de Fortibus, the second Earl of Albermarle, who rebelled against his sovereign, Henry the Third. It was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and St, Nicholas, the favourite saint of that monastic order, Speed notices a Dominican friary of St. Mary and St. Nicholas, founded at a much earlier period, by Talbois, Earl of Anjou, and William de Romara. These were probably the same; but if founded as above described, it must have been for

monks

monks of some other order, as that of St. Dominick did not take its rise till A. D. 1216. William de Fortibus might therefore have further endowed it, and changed its monks to the more fashionable order of the time. It stood between St. George's gate and Tenter meadow.

The Austin FRIARY, Leland says, was founded about the year 1380, by Fleuning, Archdeacon of Richmond, who was a very wealthy man of Stamford. Richard Warner, its last prior, with five monks, surrendered this monastery to Henry the Eighth, October 6th, 1539.

In this town were, at one period, fourteen parish churches, besides chapels. Several of these were burnt by the northern soldiers A.D. 1461, and never rebuilt. The number was further diminished at the dissolution of the monasteries ; and by an act passed in the year 1547, they were reduced to five, according to the ancient division of the town into five wards: This is the present number, exclusive of St. Martin's, in Stamford Baron. The names are Great St. Michael's, St. Mary's, St. George's, All Saints', and St. John's.

ST. MICHAEL'S CHURCH, situated near the centre of the town, is probably the oldest structure, part of it being built prior to the year 1230. It consists of a nave, north and south ailes, choir, with north and south chancels, which extend beyond the ailes. The eastern end of the choir, being in a ruinous condition, was taken down and rebuilt by the parishioners about the year 1705, when in the wall were found, thrown in as rubbish, sculptpred stones, the fragments of some religious building, which had existed anterior to this. At the west end of the nave was a wooden tower, which was taken down, and replaced by another of stone in 1761. The windows of the church have formerly been highly ornamented with painted glass, but the figures, arms, &c. are in a lamentable state of mutilation.

ST. MARY'S CHURCH appears to have been built at the latter end of the thirteenth century, and probably on the site of one as 3 E 4

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