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tower. In the contiguous village of Shearsby is a salt spring, the water of which has proved serviceable iu some scorbutic complaints.
Now the only market-town in this hundred, is thirteen miles south of Leicester, and had its weekly mart, with an annual fair, granted it by King Henry the Fifth, in the second year of his reign. Two other fairs have since been obtained for the town. Lutterworth is situated on the bank of the small river Swift, which, soon after leaving the town, joins the Avon. Leland describes this “towne as scant half so bigge as Lughborow; but in it there is an hospital of the foundation of two or three of the Verdounes, that were lords of auncient tyme of the towne. A good part of the landes of Verdounes be cum in processe unto the Lord-Marquise of Dorsett. And the college of Asscheley, in Warwickshire, by Nunnerton, where the late Lorde Thomas Marquise of Dorsete was buried, was of the foundation of Thomas Lorde Asteley. And all the landes and manor that the Lorde Marquise of Dorsete hath in that egge of Leicetershire, or Warwickshire, were longging sum time to the Verdounes and Astleis. There riseth certain.
springes in the hilles a mile from Lutterworth *.” o:
The town of Lutterworth was formerly noted for a peculiar vassalage of its inhabitants; all of whom were obliged to grind their malt at one particular mill, and their corn at another. This custom of feudal tyranny was continued even to the year 1758, when the inhabitants obtained a decision at the Leicester assizes, empowering them to erect mills, and grind where they pleased; and had costs of suit allowed, to the amount of three hundred pounds. In the year 1631, an official order, or decree, was made, enforcing the inhabitants to “grind their corn, malt, and grits, at certain ancient water corn-mills, called the Lodge-Mills, and, an ancient malt-mill, within the manor of Lutterworth.” In this order * Itinerary, Vol. I. p. 21.
order it is specified, that King James was seised in his “demesne as of fee, in the right of the crown of England, of the said mills, &c. and did grant them in fee-farm unto Edward Ferrars and Francis Phillips, gentlemen, and their heirs and assigns, together with all the suit of mills, and benefit of grinding and mulcture; reserving unto his said late Majesty, his heirs and successors, for ever, the yearly rent of 5l.” This arbitrary decree created much litigation; and at length a person, named Bickley, possessing a little more courage and resolution than any of his neighbours, erected a mill in opposition to the old ones. Some other persons soon followed his example, and the proprietors of the “ancient mills” contested their long-established rights by a suit at law, which was terminated, as already observed, in favour of the inhabitants. In 1790 an act of parliament was passed for dividing and inclosing in this parish about 1400 acres of land; in which act Basil Earl of Denbigh and Desmond is mentioned' as lord of the manor, a proprietor of considerable part of the lands, and entitled to right of common in the open fields. His Majesty is described as patron of the rectory. Sir Thomas Cave supposes that Lutterworth formerly contained more houses than it does at present; and particularly notices Ely Gate, as standing in a place called The Ely Lane. In 1801 the town contained 277 houses, and 1652 inhabitants. The cotton manufacture is now carried on in this town to a considerable extent; and some large buildings have been lately erected here as factories and workshops. The stocking trade is also carried on here; and many hands are employed in the business. Among the benefactions of this town, the following are entitled to particular notice. Richard Elkington, of Shawell, by Will dated May 29th, 1607, gave, in trust, to the mayor, bailiff, and burgesses of Leicester, 50l. to be lent in sums of 10l. each, to five tradesmen of Lutterworth, for the term of one year, at the rate of 5l. per cent. This interest to be distributed among certain poor persons, &c. The same person left a similar legacy to the town of Leicester.—Edward Sherrier, of Shawell, clerk, left
left 200l. towards building a school, school-house, and almshouse, in this town.—In the reign of King John an hospital was founded here by Roise de Verdon and Nicholas her son, for one priest and six poor men, and “to keep hospitality for poor men travelling that way".” “The statutes for the regulation of this hospital were drawn up soon after the year 1310, under the sanction of John D'Alderby, Bishop of Lincoln, and are preserved among the records of that cathedral +.” In 1322, Wm. Poyntell gave eight messuages, with one yard land and a quarter, lying in HillMorton, in the county of Warwick, to this hospital, for a chantry priest to sing mass for the souls of the said William and his wife. Some other donations were afterwards made to this hospital; for, as Mr. Nichols observes, “so desirous were the men of former ages to add their benevolent shares, even to the additional support
of religious places founded by others.”
*Tanner's Notitia, p. 243.