Picture of William Camden

William Camden

places mentioned

Leicestershire, Rutland and Lincoln

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IN the Northside of Northamptonshire boundeth Leicestershire, called in that book wherein William Conqueror did set downe his survey of England, Ledecestershire : a champain [flat] country likewise throughout bearing corne in great plenty, but for the most part without woods. It hath bordering upon it on the East side both Rutlandshire and Lincolneshire, on the North Nottingham and Derbieshire, and Warwickshire on the East. For the high rode way made by the Romanes called Watlingstreet, directly running along the West skirt, seperateth it from Warwickshire. And on the South side, as I noted even now, lieth Northamptonshire. Through the middle part thereof passeth the river Soar taking his way toward the Trent, but over the East part a little river called Wrecke gently wandereth, which at length findeth his way into the foresaid Soar.

2. On the South side, where it is divided on the one hand with the river Avon the lesse, and on the other with the river Welland, we meete with nothing worth relation, unlesse it be on Wellands banke (whiles he is yet but small and newly come from his head) with Haverburgh, commonly called Harborrow, a towne most celebrate heereabout for a faire of cattaile there kept; and as for Carleton, as one would say, the husband-mens towne (that is not farre from it), wherein (I wote not whether it be worth the relating) all in maner that are borne, whether it be by a peculiar propertie of the soile or the water, or else by some other secret operation of nature, have an ilfavoured, untunable, and harsh maner of speech, fetching their words with very much adoe deepe from out of the throat, which a certaine kind of wharling [rumbling]. The Romane streete way aforesaid (the causey whereof being in some other places quite worne and eaten away, heere most evidently sheweth it selfe) passeth on directly as it were by a streight line Northward, through the West side of this province. The very tract of which street I my selfe diligently traced and followed even from the Tamis to Wales, purposely to seeke out townes of ancient memorie (laugh you will perhaps at this my painfull and expensfull diligence, as vainly curious), neither could I repose my trust upon a more faithfull guide for the finding out of those said townes which Antonine the Emperour specifieth in his Itinerary. This Street-way being past Dowbridge, where it leaveth Northamptonshire behind it, is interrupted, first with the river Swift, that is indeed but slow, although the name import swiftnesse, which it maketh good onely in the winter moneths. The bridge over it now called Branford and Bensford Bridge, which heere conjoined in times past this way, having beene of long time broken downe, hath beene the cause that so famous a way for a great while was the lesse frequented; but now, at the common charge of the country, it is repaired. Upon this way lieth of the one side Westward Cester-Over (but it is in Warwickshire), a place worth the naming were it but in regard of the Lord thereof Sir Foulke Grevill, a right worshipfull and worthy Knight, although the name it selfe may witnesse the antiquity, for our ancestors added this word cester to no other placed but only Cities . On the other side of the way Eastward, hard by the water Swift, ?which springeth neere Knaploft the seat of the Turpins a Knightly house descended from an heire of the Gobions,? lieth Misterton belonging to the ancient family of the Poulteneis, who tooke that name of Poulteney, a placed now decaied within the said Lordship. Neere to it is Lutterworth a mercate towne, the possession in times past of the Verdons, which onely sheweth a faire Church with hath beene encreased by the Feldings of Knights degree and ancient gentrie in this shire. That famous John Wickliffe was sometimes person [parson] of this Church, a man of a singular, polite, and well wrought wit, most conversant also in the holy Scripture: who for that he had sharpned the neb of his pen against the Popes authority of the Church of Rome and religious men, was not onely in his lifetime most grievously troubled, but also one and forty yeeres after his death his dead corps was cruelly handled, being by warrant from the Councell of Siena turned out of his grave and openly burned. Neither is it to be forgotten that neere to this towne is a spring so cold that within a short time it turneth strawes and stickes into stones.

3. From that Bensford bridge, the fore-said old High way goeth on to High-crosse, so called for that thereabout stood sometime a Crosse, in steed of which is erected now a very high post with props and supporters thereto. The neighbours there dwelling reported unto me that the two principall high-waies of England did heere cut one another overthwart, and that there stood a most florishing Citie there named Cleycester, which had a Senate of Aldermen in it, and that Cleybrooke, almost a mile off, was part of it; also that on both sides of the way there lay under the furrowes of the corne fields great foundations and ground workes of foure square stone; also that peeces of Roman money were very often turned up with the plough, although above the ground, as the poet saith, Etiam ipsae periere ruinae , that is, Even the very ruins are perished and gone. These presumptions together with the distance of this place from Bannaventa or Wedon, which agreeth just, and withall the said Bridge leading hitherward, called Bensford, are inducements unto me to thinke verily that the station Bennones or Venones was heere, which Antonine the Emperour placeth next beyond Bannaventa, especially seeing that Antonine sheweth how the way divided it selfe heere into two parts, which also goeth commonly currant. For Northeastward, where the way lieth to Lincolne, the Fosseway leadeth directly to Ratae and to Vernometum, of which I will speake anon, and toward the Northwest Watlingstreet goeth as streight into Wales by Manvessedum, whereof I shall write in his due place in Warwickshire.

HIgher, yet neere the same streetside, standeth Hinkley, which had for Lord of it Hugh Grantsmaismill a Norman, high Steward or Seneschall of England during the reigns of King William Rufus and Henrie the First. The said Hugh had two daughters, Parnell, given in marriage to Robert Blanch-mains (so called of his faire white hands) Earl of Leicester, together with the High-Stewardship of England, and Alice, wedded to Roger Bigot. Verily, at the East end of the Church there are to be seene trenches and rampiers, yea and a mount cast up to an eminent height, which the inhabitants say was Hughes Castle. Three miles hence standeth Bosworth, an ancient mercat town, which liberty together with the Faire Sir Richard Harecourt obtained for it at the hands of King Edward the First. Under this towne in our great grandfathers daies the kingdom of England lay hazarded upon the chance of one battaile. For Henrie Earle of Richmond with a small power encountred there in pitched field King Richard the Third, who had by most wicked means usurped the kingdome. And whiles he resolved to die the more valiantly, fighting for the liberty of his country with his followers and friends, the more happy successe he had, and so overcame and slew the usurper, and then, being with joyfull acclamations proclaimed King in the very mids of slaughtered bodies round about, he freed England by his happy valour from the rule of a tyrant, and by his wisdome refreshed and setled it, being sore disquieted with long civill dissentions. Whereupon Bernard Andreas of Tholous, a Poet living in those daies, in an Ode dedicated unto King Henrie the Seventh, as touching the Rose his Devise, wrote these verses, ?such as they are?:

Behold now all the winds are laid,
But Zephyrus that blowes full warme.
The rose and faire spring-floures in mead
He keepeth fresh, and doth no harme.

4. Other memorable things there are none by this Street, unlesse it be Ashbye de la Zouch, that lieth a good way off, a most pleasant Lordship now of the Earles of Huntingdon, but belonging in times past to the noble family De la Zouch, ?who descended from Alan Vicount of Rohan in LItle Britaine and Constantia his wife, daughter to Conan le Grosse Earle of Britaine and Maud his wife, the naturall daughter of Henrie the First.? Of this house, Alane de la Zouch married one of the heires of Roger Quincy Earle of Winchester, and in her right came to a faire inheritance in this Country. But when he had judicially sued John Earle of Warren, who chose rather to try the title by the sword point than by point of lawe, hee was slaine by him even in Westminster Hall, in the yeere of our Lord 1269, and some yeeres after the daughters and heires of his grandsonne transferred this inheritance by their marriages into the families of the Saint Maures of Castle Cary and the Hollands. ?Yet their father first bestowed this Ashby upon Sir Richard Mortimer of Richards Castle his cousin, whose younger issue thereupon tooke the surname of Zouch and were Lords of Ashby. But from Eudo a younger sonne of Alane, who was slaine in Westminster hall, the Lords Zouch of Harringworth branched out, and have beene for many descents Barons of the Realme.? Afterward in processe of time Ashby came to the Hastings, who built a faire large and stately house there, and Sir William Hastings procured unto the town the liberty of a Faire in the time of King Henrie the Sixt. Heere I may not passe over the next neighbour Cole-Overton, now a seat of the Beaumontes ?descended from Sir Thomas Beaumont Lord of Bachevill in Normandie, brother to the first Vicount. Which Sir Thomas, as some write, was he who was slaine manfully fighting at such time as the French recovered Paris from the English in the time of King Henry the Sixt.? This place hath a Cole prefixed to the fore-name of the pit-coles (being of the nature of hardned Bitamen), which are digged up to the profit of the Lord in so great a number that they serve sufficiently for fewell to the neighbour dwellers round about farre and neere.

5. I said before that the river Soar did cut this shire in the middle, which springing not farre from this Street, and encreased with many small rils and brooks of running water, going along Northward with a gentle streame, passeth under the West and Northside of the chiefe towne or Citie of this County, which in writers is called Lege-Cestria, Leogora, Legiocester and Leicester. This towne maketh an evident faire shew both of great antiquity and of good building. In the yeere 680 when Sexwulph at the commandement of King Etheldred divided the kingdome of the Mercians into Bishoprickes, he placed in this an Episcopall See, and was himselfe the first Bishop that sat there. But a few yeeres after, when the See was translated to another place, this dignity had an end, and therewith the stately part of the towne by little and little was empaired, untill that Ethelfleda, a most vertuous and noble Lady, in the yeere after our Saviours Nativity 914 repaired and strongly walled new about, in so much as Matthew of Paris in his lesser Story [history] wrote thus, Legecester is a right wealthy Citie and notably well fenced with an indissoluble wall, which if it had a strong foundation were inferiour to no Citie whatsoever. About the Normans entring into this land, it was well peopled and frequented, yea and had very many Burgesses in it, out of whom they were bound by an ancient custome (as we read in William the Conquerours booke) To send twelve with the King so oft as he went in person to the warres. But if he made a voiage by sea against his enimies, they sent foure horses to carry armour as farre as to London. This Citie payd yeerely to the King 30 pounds by tale, and twenty in orae, that is, by weight, also 25 measurers called Sextaries of hony. But in the time of King Henrie the Seconds reigne, it was sore overpressed with a world of great and grievous calamities, and the wals throwne downe, what time as Robert surnamed Bossu (that is, Crouch back ) Earle of Leicester conspired and rebelled against the King. Which Matthew of Paris sheweth in these words: For the obstinate stubbornnesse of Earle Robert spurning against the King, the Noble City of Leicester was besieged and overthrowne by King Henry, and the wall, which seemed indissoluble, was utterly cast downe all round about. For, that I may adde thus much out of the lesser historie abovesaid, when the wall of the Citie, wanting a good foundation, was undermined, and the props that sustained it at length burnt, the peeces and fragments of the wall fell downe, which even to this day (such is the indissoluble tenacity and stifnesse of the morter) remaine fast, and retaine the bignesse of sound rocks. Miserable also was the imposition of a fine upon the Citizens at that time, and their banishment as lamentable: who having obtained by paying summes of money licence to depart, tooke sanctuary for extreame feare in Saint Albans and Saint Edmundsbury. The castle likewise was dismantled of all fortifications, which verily was a large and strong peece, Beneath which there is a very faire Hospitall or house for receit of poore people, and a Collegiat Church wherein Henrie Earle of Lancaster and Henrie of Lancaster his sonne, who was the first Duke of Lancaster, lie buried. For the said Duke, when he was now stepped farre in yeeres, of a pious minde built this hospitall for the maintenance of poore folke, and to that end dedicated. Concerning Which, Henrie Knighton of Leicester, who lived in that age, writeth thus in his storie: Henrie the first Duke of Lancaster built a Collegiat Church and an hospitall without the South-gate of Leicester, wherein he ordained a Dean with 12 Canons prebendaries, as many Vicars, and other officers, an hundred poore and feeble people, and ten poore able women to give attendance upon the said feeble folke, and this hospitall he endowed with sufficient revenewes. ?As for this hospitall it continueth in some good state, as another old Bede-house in the towne built by William Wigeston. But the Collegiat Church, which was a magnificent worke and the greatest ornament of Leicester, was demolished when religious houses were granted to the King.? At the other side of the Citie, among most goodly and pleasant medowes which the river Soar watereth, there was an Abbay, called of that place De Pree , of which the said Knighton hath written thus: Robert de Bossu Earle of Leicester (when he began Gerondon Abby for Cistertians) founded the Monasterie of S. Marie De Pratis at Leicester, endowed it richly with lands, possessions and Revenews, and himselfe with the consent of Amice his wife became a Chanon Regular in the same, and for the space of fifteene yeares in habite of a Chanon served God there, and so slept in the Lord. That thus, forsooth, he might make amends by repentance in a Chanons weed of that offence, which beforetime hee had committed by rebelling with a traiterous minde against his liege Prince. What name Leicester had in the Romans time it is now knowne. In the Catalogue of Ninnius, I think it to bee that which is called Caer Lerion . But that Leir, a king of whom there goe many tales, built it, they that will may beleeve it for me. But the situation thereof upon the Foss-way, and the distance both from Bennones and Verometum agreeth so just with the description of Antonine that I cannot but thinke it to be that Rayae which Ptolomee nameth Ragae, unlesse peradventure it be in that old long dich and rampier which they call Rawdikes, scarce halfe a mile without the South gate.

6. Here I am at a stand, and looke about mee what way to follow for the seeking out of ancient townes. Ranulph a Monke of Chester recordeth that the ancient street way went through the wasts from hence to Lincolne , but hee telleth us not through what Wasts. The common voice goeth that it went on still full North through Nottinghamshire. Antonine the Emperor (if I have any sight at all) seemeth to insinuate that it passed North-east-ward through this Country into Lincolnshire. And verily, this way there are places of antique memorie that by some of their remaines and tokens shew themselves, but the other way I could not my selfe ever as yet meete with any; what others have done I know not, and would willingly learne.

7. North-west from Leicester, and not farre off, is Grooby a large Lordship and Manour, which from Hugh Grantmaismil, whom King William the Conquerour had enriched with great possessions and revenewes, came by the Earles of Leicester and the Quincies unto the house of the Ferrers: out of which the Lord Ferrers of Grooby flourished a long time in the honourable state of Barons, and in the end Isabell, the only daughter remaining of the right line, brought it by her mariage into the name of the Greies, from whence it fell againe at the last by attainder into the Kings hands. But whiles I was revising of this worke, our soveraigne Lord King James restored Sir Henry Grey a worthy knight to the ancient honor of his noble progenitors, creating him Baron Grey of Grooby in the first yeare of his reigne.

8. Now let us returne to the river Soar, which, being past Leicester, first giveth name to Montsorell, or rather Mont-Soar-hill , a name compounded of Norman and English both: which now is famous onely for a mercate there kept, but in old time most renowned for the castle, seated upon a steepe and craggie hill, hanging over the river, which before time belonged to the Earles of Leicester, but afterwards to Saer de Quincy Earle of Winchester in the Barons warre, at this daie nothing but a rude heape of rubbish. For in the yeere 1217 the inhabitants of the towne, when after a long siege they had wonne it, rased it down to the verie ground, as beeing the Devils nest and a Den of theeves, robbers, and rebells. Somewhat higher on the other side of the river standeth Barrow, where is digged lime commended above all other for the strong binding thereof. After, some few miles from thence, Soar, while hee seeketh Trent, ?leaveth Leicestershire a little above Cotes, now the habitation of the familie of Skipwith, originally descended out of Yorkeshire, and enriched may yeares since with faire possessions in Lincolneshire by an heire of Ormesbie.? Upon the opposite banke of Soar standeth Lough-borrough a mercat towne, which adorned one onely man with the name of Baron, to witte, Sir Edward Hastings, and that in the reigne of Queene Marie. But when shee, of whom hee was most deerely loved, departed this life, hee, taking a loathing to the world, was not willing to live any longer in the world, but, wholly desirous to applie him selfe to Gods service, retired into that hospitall which hee had erected at Stoke Pogeis in Buckingham sire, where with poore people hee lived to God, and among them finished the course of his life devoutly in Christ. That this Lough-borrow is that towne of the kings named in the Saxon tongue Lieganburge , which, as Marianus saith, Cuthwulph tooke from the Britans in the yeare of Christ 572 the neere affinity of the name may yeeld some proofe. But now among all the townes of this shire it rightfully chalengeth the second place next unto Leicester, whether a man regard either the bignesse or building thereof, or the pleasant woods about it. for within verie little of it the forest of Charnwood or Charley stretcheth it self out a great way, wherein is seene Beaumanour Parke, which the Lords of Beaumont (as I have heard) fensed round about with a stone wal. These Beaumonts descended from a yonger son of ?John County of Brene in France, who for his high honour and true valor was preferred to marrie the heire of the kingdome of Jerusalem, and with great pompe crowned King of Jerusalem in the yeare of our Lord 1248. Hence it is that wee see the Armes of Jerusalem so often quartered with those of Beaumont in sundrie places of England.? Sir Henrie Beaumont was the first that planted himselfe in England about the yeare 1308, who, advanced to the marriage of an heire of Alexander Comine Earle of Roghan in Scotland (whose mother was one of the heires of Roger Quincy Earle of Winchester), entred upon a verie goodlie and faire inheritance, and so a great familie was propagated from him. Hee in the reigne of Edward the Third for certaine yeares was summoned to the Parliament by the name of Earle of Roghan, and John Lord Beaumont in the reigne of Henrie the Sixth was for a time Constable of England, and the first to my knowledge that in England received at the Kings hands the state and title of a Vicount. But when William the last Vicount was dead without issue, his sister was wedded to the Lord Lovel, and the whole inheritance afterwards, which was rich and great, by attainder of Lovel fel into the hands of King Henrie the Seventh.

9. In this North part wee meete with nothing at all worth the naming, unlesse it be a little religious house which Roise Verdon founded for Nunnes and called it Grace-Dieu , now belonging to a younger house of the Beaumonts; and where the Trent runneth, hard by is Dunnington, an ancient Castle built by the first Earles of Leicester, which afterwards came to John Lacy Earle of Lincolne, who procured unto it from King Edward the First the priviledge of keeping a Mercat and Faire. But whenas in that great proscription of the Barons under King Edward the Second the hereditaments of Thomas Earle of Lancaster and Alice Lacy his wife were seised into the Kings hands and alienated in divers sorts, the King enforced her to release this Mamour unto Hugh Le Despenser the younger.

10. The East part of this shire, which is hilly and feedeth great numbers of sheepe, was adorned with two places of especiall note, Vernometum or Verometum, whereof Antonine the Emperour hath made mention, and Burton Lazers, both in the ages fore-going of very great name and reputation. Vernometum, which now hath lost the name, seemeth to have stood (for I dare not affirme it) in that place which at this day men call Borrowhill and Erd-burrow. For betweene Verometum and Rayae, according to Antonine his reckoning, are twelve Italian miles, and so many well neere there be from Leicester to this place. The name Borrow also that it hath at this day came from Burgh , which in the Saxon tongue signifieth a place fortified , and under it is a towne called Burrough belonging to an old family of Gentlemen so surnamed. But (that which maketh most for proofe) in that very place there riseth up an hill with a steppe and upright ascent on every side but South Eastward, in the top whereof appeare the expresse tokens of a towne destroyed, a duple trench, and the very tract where the wals went, which enclosed about eighteene acres of ground within. At this day it is arable ground, and is nothing so famous as in this, that the youth dwelling round about were wont yeerely to exercise themselves in wrestling and other games in this place. And out of the very name a man may conjecture that there stood there some great Temple of the Heathen Gods. For Vernometum in the ancient Gauls language, which was the same that the old Britans tongue, soundeth as much as A great Temple , as Venantius Fortunatus in his first booke of his Songs plainly sheweth, writing of Vernometum, a towne of Gaule, in these verses:

In elder time this place they term' d by name of Vernomet,
Which sounds in language of the Gauls as much as Temple Great.

As for Burton, surnamed Lazars, of Lazers (for so they used to tearme folke infected with the Elephantiasie or Leprosie), was a rich Spittle-house or Hospitall, under the Master whereof were in some sort all other small Spittles or Lazer-houses in England, like as himselfe also was under the Master of the Lazers in Hierusalem. It was founded in the first age of the Normans by a common contribution over al England, and the Mowbraies especially did set to their helping hands. At which time the Leprosie, which the learned tearme Elephantiasis ?(because the skins of Lepres are like to that of Elephants)? in grievous maner by way of contagion ran over all England. For it is verily thought that this disease did then first creepe out of Aegypt into this Iland: which eft-once [occasionally] had spread it selfe into Europe, first of all in Pompeius Magnus his daies, afterwards under Heraclius, and at other times as we may see in the Histories, whether by celestiall influence or other hidden causes I leave to the Learned. But so far as I could hetherto read it did never set foote in England before that time. Besides these places before named of great name and marke, we must not overpasse neither Melton Mobray neere unto this Burton, a Mercat towne bearing name of the Mobraies sometime Lords thereof, wherein is nothing more worth the seeing than a faire Church, nor Skeffington, standing farther off, which as it hath given name to a worshipfull family, so againe it hath received worship and credit from the same. ?The river that watereth this part of the Shire is by the inhabitants about called the Wreken, along which upon resemblance of the name I have sought Vernometon, but in vaine. This Wrecken gathereth a strong streame by many lively brookes resorting unto it, whereof one passeth by Wimondham and ancient habitation of a younger branch of the house of the Lords Berkleis, well increased by an heire of Dela-Laund, and so on by Melton Mobray before mentioned by Kirkby Bellers (where there was a Priory), having that addition of the Bellers, a respective, rich, and noble family in their time, by Brokesby a seat now of the Villiers of an old Norman race, and descended from an heire of Bellers, which Brookesby imparted formerly the surname to the Brokesbyes of especiall antiquity in these parts. Then the Wrecken speedeth by Ratcliffe, high mounted upon a cliffe, and within a few miles conjoyneth it selfe to Soar, neere unto Mont-Soar-hill before mentioned. Whatsoever of this Shire lieth beyond the Wrecken Northward is not so frequently inhabited, and part of it is called the Wold, as being hilly without wood, wherein Dalby a seat of the old family of the Noels, of whom I shall speake elsewhere, and Woltham on the Wold, a meane Mercat, are most notable. Through this part, as I have beene enformed, passeth the Fosse-way, made by the Romans from Lewing bridge, by Segrave, which gave surname to the honourable family often mentioned, and the Lodge on the Wold toward the Vale of Bever, but the tract thereof as yet I know not.?

11. This Shire hath beene more famous from time to time by reason the Earles thereof have beene notorious. And seeing had under the Saxons government Earles by inheritance, I fill first reckon them up in order, as Thomas Talbot a skilfull Antiquary hath delivered me a note of them out of the Kings Records. In the time of Aetheldred King of the Mercians, and in the yeare of our redemption 716, Leofrick was Earle of Leicester, whom there succeeded in direct line Algar the first, Algar the second, Leofrick the second, Leofstane, Leofrick the third, buried in Coventry, Algar the third, who had issue two sonnes, Aedwin Earle of March, Morkar Earle of Northumberland, and a daughter named Lucie, first maried to Ivon Talboys of Anjoy, afterwards to Reger of Romara, who begat of her William of Romara Earle of Lincolne. Now whenas the issue male of this Saxon familie failed, and the name of the Saxons was troden (as it were) under foot, Robert Beaumont a Norman Lord of Pont Audomar and Earle of Mellent (after that Simon an officiary Earle of Leicester was dead) obtained his Earldome in the yeare of our Lord 1102 at the bountifull hand of King Henrie the First: which Robert, a man for skill and knowledge excellent, faire spoken, subtile, wise and witty, and by nature willy, who while he lived in high and glorious estate, an other Earle caried away his wife from him. Whereupon in his old age being much troubled in minde, he fell into deepe melancholy. After him succeeded from father to sonne three Roberts, the first surnamed Bossu because he was crook backed, who after he had rebelled against King Henry the First, weary of his loose irregular life, became a Chanon Regular; ?the second surnamed Blanch-maines of his lillie-white hands, who sided with the young King against King Henry the second, and died in the expedition of King Richard the First to the Holy-land;? the third surnamed Fitz-Parnell because his mother was Parnell daughter and one of the heires to Hugh Grant-maismill the last, in whose right he was Seneschall or Steward of England, and died issuelesse in the time of King John. A few yeeres after, Simon Montford descended from a base sonne of Robert King of France, who had maried the sister of Robert Fitz-Parnell, enjoied this honour. But after that he and his were expelled in the yeere 1200 as wholly devoted to the French, Ranulph Earle of Chester atteined unto this dignity, not in right of inheritance, but by his Princes favour. Howbeit, afterwards Simon Montfort sonne of the fore-said Simon obtained this honour, when Almarik his eldest brother surrendred up his right before King Henry the Third. This Simon stood in so gratious favour with King Henrie the Third that he called him home againe out of France when he was banished, heaped upon him great wealth, admitted him to the Earledome of Leicester, graunted him the Stewardship of England, and to honour him the more gave him his owne sister in mariage. But he, thus over-heaped with honourable benefits, when he had no meanes to requite them (such is the perverse wilfulnesse of men) began hatefully to maligne him, yea and did most wickedly molest the good King having so well deserved, making himselfe ringleader to the rebellious Barons, and with them raising horrible tempests of civil warre, in which himselfe also at length was overthrowen and slaine. As for his honours and possessions, King Henrie the Third gave and granted them to Edmund his owne younger sonne Earle of Lancaster. So afterward this honour lay as it were obscured among the titles of the house of Lancaster, and Mawde the daughter of Henrie Duke of Lancaster, being married to Henrie Duke of Bavaria, Earle of Henault, Holland, Zeland &., added unto his other titles this of Earle of Leicester also. For in the Charter dated the five and thirty yeare of King Edward the Third, hee is in plaine termes stiled William Earle of Henhault and of Leicester , yea and, as we finde in the Inquisition made anno 36 of the said King Edward the Third, shee by the name of Dutchesse of Bavaria held the Castle, Manour, and Honour of Leicester. After whose decease without issue, that honor reverted to John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster, who had wedded Blanch the other sister of Mawd. From which time it became united to the House of Lancaster, untill in our remembrance it reflourished in Lord Robert Dudley, who was by Queene Elizabeth girt with the sword of the Earledome of Leicester and extraordinarily favoured. Whereupon the States Generall of the United Provinces in their great troubles chose him triumphantly for their absolute governour, and soone after as contemptuously rejected him, reserving all soveraignty to themselves. But after a short time he passed out of this transitorie life in the yeere 1588, leaving the fame onely of his greatnesse behind him.

Within this Shire are 200 Parish Churches.


RUTLAND, in the old English-Saxon tongue Roteland , is environed with Leicestershire, unlesse it bee on the South-side, where it lieth upon the river Welland, and on the East side where it butteth upon Lincolnshire. A Countie nothing inferiour to Leicester-hire either in fruitfull qualitie of soile or pleasantnesse, but in quantity onelie, as being the least Countie of all England. For lying in forme almost round like a circle, it is in compasse so farre about as a light horsman will ride in one day. Whence it is that the Inhabitants tell a tale of I wote not what king, who should give to one Rut so much land as hee could ride bout in one day, and that hee, forsooth, rode about this shire within the time appointed, and so had it given him, and named it by his owne name Rutland. But let such fables be packing, I would not have the truth prejudiced with an extravagant tale. And whereas the earth in this shire is every where red, and so red that even the sheepes fleeces are thereby coloured red, whereas also the English-Saxons called red in their tongue roet and rud , may wee not suppose that this Country was named Rutland, as one would say a redland ? For, as saith the Poet,

The names, as often times we see,
With things them selves full well agree.

Now, that places in all nations have had their names of rednesse, Rutlan Catle in Wales, built on a shore of red earth, ?Redbay, Redhill, Redland,? the Red Promontory, the Red-Sea also betwixt Aegypt and Arabia, Erytheia in Ionia, and a number besides may proove most evidently, so that there is no cause why we should give credit to fables i this behalfe. As for this little County, it may seeme to have beene ordained a Shire or County but of late daies. For in King Edward the Confessours time it was counted a part of Northamptonshire, and our Historiographers who wrote three hundred yeeres agoe and upward reckoned it not in the number of Shires.

2. Wash or Guash, a little river which runneth from the West Eastward through the middle of it, divideth it in twaine. In the hithermore or South part riseth Upppingham upon an high ascent, whence that name was imposed, not memorable for any thing else but because it is counted a well frequented Mercat towne, and hath for to shew a proper schoole, which together with another at Okenham Richard Jhonson a Minister of Gods Word, in a good and laudable intent, for the training up of children in good literature lately erected with the mony that he had gotten together by way of collection. Under this standeth Drystoke, which in no wise is to be passed over with silence, considering it hath beene the habitation from old time of a right ancient race of the Digbeys: which? (I grieve to utter it, but all men know it)? hath now caught a deepe steine by Sir Everard Digby, drawen into that cursed crew who most horribly complotted with one devilish flash of hellish gunpouder to blow up both Prince and Country. ?More Eastward upon the river Welland I saw nothing remarkable, unless it be Berohdon, now Barodon, which Thomas Beauchamp Earle of Warwicke held, with South Leffingham, now South Luffenham, and other Hamelets, by service to be the Kings Chamberlaine in the Exchequer.?

3. On the further part beyond the river, among the hils, there spreadeth below a verie pleasant and fruitfull vale, named at this date The Vale of Catmose, happily [perhaps] of Coet maes , which signifieth in the British tongue a field ful of woods. In the midest whereof Okeham sheweth it selfe, which by the like reason may seeme to have taken the name from Okes; where hard by the Church, which is large and faire, remaine the crackt and decaying wals of an old Castle which Walkelin de Ferrariis built in the first times of the Norman kings. And that it hath beene the dwelling place of the Ferrars, besides the credit of writers and generall report, the great horse shoes, which in times past that familie gave in their armes, formed upon the gate and in the hall, may sufficiently prove. Afterwards it belonged to the Lords of Tatteshall. But when King Richard the Second had promoted Edward the Duke of Yorkes sonne to the Earledome of Rutland, hee gave unto him this Castle also. But within our fathers remembrance it befell unto Thomas Cromwel and was reputed the seat of his Baronie, whom King Henrie the Eighth advanced to the highest pitch of dignity, and streightwaies, when by his plotting and attempting of many matters he had cast himselfe into the tempestuous stormes of envie and displeasure, bereft him on a sodaine both of life and dignity.

4. Over against it Eastward, there standeth Burly most daintily seated, and overlooking the vale: a stately and sumptuous house now of the Haringtons, who by marrying the daughter and heire of Colepeper became Lords of so faire an inheritance, that ever since they have flourished in these parts, like as before time the Colepepers had done, unto whom by Nicolas Green the wealthy and goodly Livelod [patrimony] of the Bruses in part had descended. As for those Bruses, being men of the chiefe Nobility in England, they were engraffed into the roiall stocke and familie of Scotland, out of whom by Robert the eldest brother the Cottons of Conington in Huntingdonshire (of whom I have written already) and these Haringtons. In which regard and gratious respect King James advanced Sir John Harington, branched from that stem of the ancient Lords Harington, to the title of Baron Harington of Exton, a towne adjacent where hee hath also another faire house.

5. Moreover, on the East side by the river Guash stand Brigcasterton, whereof I will say more afterward, and Rihall, where when superstition had so bewitched our ancestours that the multitude of their pety Saints had well neere taken quite away the true God, one Tibba a pety Saint or Goddesse, reputed to bee the tutelar patronesse of hauking, was of foulers and faulkoners worshipped as a second Diana. Edssendon also is neere adjoining, the Lord whereof, Sir Robert Cecil, a good sonne of a right good father (the strength and stay of our common-wealth in his time) was by King James created Baron Cecil of Essendon in the first yeere of his reigne.

6. This little country King Edward the Confessor by his last wil and testament bequeathed unto his wife Eadith, yet with this condition, that after her death it should come to Saint Peter of Westminster. For these be the very words of the said testament: I will that after the death of Queene Eadgith my wife, Rotleland with all the appertenances thereto be given to my Monastery of the most blessed Saint Peter, and be yeelded up without delay for ever unto the Abbot and to the Monkes there serving God. Yet King William the Conquerour cancelled and made voide this testament, who, reserving a great part of it to himselfe, divided the rest betweene Countesse Judith, whose daughter was married to David King of Scots, Robert Mallet, Oger, Gislebert of Gaunt, Earle Hugh, Aubrey the Clerk and others. And unto Westminster first hee left the Tithes, afterwards the Church onely of Okeham and parcels thereunto appertaining.

7. This Countie hath not had many Earles. The first Earle of Rutland was Edward, the first begotten sonne of Edmund of Langley Duke of Yorke, created by King Richard the Second upon a singular favour that hee cast unto him during his fathers life, and afterwards by the same king advanced to the honour of Duke of Aumarle. This young man wickedly projected with others a practise to make awaie King Henry the Fourth, and streightwaies with like levity discovered [revealed] the same. But after is fathers death, being Duke of Yorke, lost his life fighting couragiously amid the thickest troopes of his enimies in the battaile of Agin-court. Long time after, there succeeded in this honour Edward the little young sonne of Richard Duke of Yorke, and he together with his father, during those deadly broiles of civill war, was slaine in the battaile fought at Wakefield. Many yeares after, King Henrie the Eight raised up Sir Thomas Mannours to be Earle of Rutland, who in right of this Grand-mother Aeleonor was possessed of a good and faire inheritance of the Barons Roos, lying in the countries round about and elswhere. In his roome succeded his sonne Henry, and after him likewise Edward his sonne, unto whom, if I should say nothing else, that commendation of the Poet was most aptly and truly appliable:

His name so great with vertues good he matcheth equally,
Nor suffreth wit smuthring to lie under Nobility.

But he, by over hasty and untimely death being received into Heaven, left this dignity unto John his Brother: who also departing this life within a while, hath for his successor Roger his sonne, answerable in all points to his ancient and right noble parentage.

This small shire hath Parishe Churches 48.


UPON Rutland on the East side confineth the country of Lincolne, called by the English-Saxons Lincollscyre , and by the Normans Nicol shire after their first comming into the land, with some transposition of letters, but usually Lincolnshire. A very large country, as reaching almost three score miles in length, and carrying in some places above thirty miles in breadth; passing kind for yield of corne and feeding of cattaile, well furnished and set out with a great number of townes, and watered with many rivers. Upon the East side, where it bendeth outward with a brow fetching a great compasse, the German Ocean beateth on the shore. Northward it reacheth to Humber, an arme of the sea. On the West side it butteth upon Nottinghamshire, and on the South it is severed from Northamptonshire by the river Welland. This whole shire is divided into three parts, whereof one is termed Holland, a second Kesteven, and the third Lindsey. Holland, which Ingulph termeth Hoiland, lieth to the sea, and like unto that Holland in Germanie, it is so thoroughly wet in most places with waters that a mans foote is ready to sinke into it, and as one standeth upon it the ground will shake and quake under his feet, and thence it may seeme to have taken the name, unlesse a man would with Ingulph say that Hoiland is the right name, and the same imposed upon it of Hay, ?which our progenitours broadly called Hoy.?

2. This part throughout beareth upon that ebbing and flowing arme of the see which Ptolome calleth Metaris in steed of Maltraith , and we at this day, The Washes. A very large arme this is and passing well knowen, at every tide and high sea covered all over with water, but when the sea ebbeth and the tide is past, a man may passe over it as on dry land, but yet not without danger. Which King John learned with his losse. For whilest he journied this way, when he warred upon the rebellious Barons, the waters suddenly brake in upon him, so that at Fosse-dyke and Welstream he lost all his carriage and princely furniture, as Matthew of Westminster writeth. This Country which the Ocean hath laied to the land, as the inhabitants beleeve, by sands heaped and cast together, they terme it Silt, is assailed on the one side with the said Ocean sea, and in the other with a mighty confluence of waters from out of the higher countries, in such sort that all the winter quarter the people of the country are faine to keepe watch and ward continually, and hardly with all the bankes and dammes that they make against the waters are able to defend themselves from the great violence and outrage thereof. The ground bringeth forth but small store of corne, but plenty of grasse, and is replenished abundantly with fish and water-foule. The soile throughout is so soft that they use their horses unshod; neither shall you meet so much as with a little stone there that hath not beene brought thither from other places. Neverthelesse there be most beautifull Churches standing there built of foure square stone. Certaine it is that the sea aforetime had entred farther up into the Country, and that appeareth by those bankes formerly raised against the waterwaves then in-rushing, which are now two miles off from the shore, as also by the hilles neere Sutterton, which they call Salt-Hills. But of fresh water there is exceeding great want in all places, neither have they any at all but raine water, and that in pits which, if they be of any great depth, presently become brackish; if shallow, they dry up as soone. Neither are there Quicksands wanting, which have a wonderfull force to draw to them and to hold fast, as both shepheards and their sheepe also find otherwhiles, not without danger.

3. This Holland or Hoiland (whether you will) is divided into two parts, the Lower and the Higher. the Lower hath in it foule and slabby quavemires, yea and most troublesome fennes, which the very inhabitants themselves for all their stilts cannot stalke through. And considering that it lieth very low and flat, fensed it is of the one side against the Ocean, on the other from those waters which overwhelme the upper part of the Isle of Ely, with mighty piles and huge bankes opposed against the same. Of which, Southybanke is of greatest name, which least it should have a breach made through it with that infinite masse of water that falleth from the South part. when the rivers swell and all is overflowen by inundation, the people watch with great care and much feare, as against a dangerous enimie. And yet for the draining away of this water the neighbour inhabitants, at the common charges of the country, beganne to make a new chanell at Clowcrosse in the yeere 1599. Neere unto this banke aforesaid we saw Crowland, which also is called Croyland, a towne of good note among the Fennepoeple, the name whereof soundeth, as Ingulph the Abbot of this place interpreteth it, as much as A raw and muddy land. A place, as they write, much hanted in times past with I wot not sprits and fearefull apparitions before the Guthlake, a right holy and devout man, led there an Eremits life. In whose memoriall Aethelbald King of the Mercians founded to the honor of God at his great charges, in the yeere of our Salvation 716, an Abbay very famous both for opinion of the religious life of the Monkes, and also for their wealth. Concerning which, take heere, if you please, these verses of Foelix, a Monke of good antiquity, out of the life of Guthlake:

His bounty now the King doth there bestow,
An Abbay faire with much expense to reare.
But seeing that the waterish fenne below
Those ground-workes laid with stone uneath [hardly] could beare
(So quaving, soft and most the Bases were),
He caused piles made of good heart of oke
Pitch' t downe to be with maine commanders stroke.
Then nine leagues off, men sand in barges brought,
Which once fast ramm' d by painfull workmans hand,
Of rotten earth good solide ground was rought,
On which for ay such workes might firmly stand.
And thus by this devise of new plantation,
The Church stands firme and hath
[a ] sure foundation.

4. If I should exempifie unto you out of that Monke the divels of Crowland, with their blabber lips, fire-spitting mouths, rough and skaly visages, beetle heads, terrible teeth, sharpe chins, hoarse throats, blacke skinns, crump-shoulders, side and gorbellies, burning loines, crooked and hawm' d legs, long tailed buttocks, and ugly mishapes, which heeretofore walked and wandered up and downe in these places, and very much troubled holy Guthlake and the Monkes, you would laugh full merrily, and I might be thought a simple sily-one full worthily. Howbeit, in regard of the admirable situation of this place, so farre different from all others in England, and considering the Abbay was so famous, I am well content to dwell a while in the description of these particulars. Amid most deepe fennes and standing waters in a muddy and miry ground, this Crowland lieth so shut up and divided round about from all entrance that there is no accesse to it, unlesse it be on the North and East side, and that by narrow causies. Seated it is for all the world, if I may resemble great and small things together, like unto Venice. Three streets it hath, and those severed one from another by water courses betweene, planted thicke with willowes, and raised upon piles or posts pitched and driven downe deepe into the standing waters, having over them a triangle bridge of admirable workmanship, under which for to receive the fall of the waters meeting in one confluence, the inhabitants report there was pit suncke of a mighty depth. Now, whereas beyond the bridge in solum mutatur humus (as that Monke said), that is, The mould is chaunged, and is become firme and solid ground , there stood in times past that famous Abbay, and the same verily taking up but a small plot of ground: about which all (save where the towne standeth) is so rotten and moorish that a man may thrust a pile downe right thirty foote deepe, and round about in every way is nothing but a plot of reeds, and next unto the Church a place planted with alders. Howbeit, the towne is well enough peopled with inhabitants, who have their cattaile a great way from the towne, and when they are to milke them they goe in little punts or boats that will cary but two apeece (which they call Skerries). Yet the most gainfull trade they have is by taking fish and catching of water foule, and that is so great that in the moneth of August they will spred a net and at once drawe three thousand mallards and wild ducks and such like together, and these pooles or watery plots of theirs they use to terme their Corne fields, for they see no corne growing in five miles any way. In regard of this their taking fish and foule they paid yeerely in times past to the Abbat, as now they doe to the King, three hundred pounds of our money.

5. The private history of the Abbay I list not to relate (seeing it is commonly extant and to be seene) out of Ingulph, now printed and published, yet my minde serves me well briefely to record that which Peter of Bloys Vice-chancellour to King Henrie the Second reported at large as touching the new building of this Abbay in the yeere of our redemption 1112, to the end that by this one president we may learne by what meanes and helpes so mighty, so huge, and so faire religious houses were raised and built up in those times. Joffrid the Abbat obtained of the Archbishops and Bishops of England, An Indulgence for a third part of the penance enjoined for sinnes committed, unto every one that helped forward so holy a work. With this Indulgence hee sent out Monkes every way and all about to gather money, wherewith when he was now sufficiently furnished, to the end that he might have an happy beginning of this worke from some happy names of lucky presage, he solemnly appointed the day of Saint Perpetua and of Saint Felicity, on which hee would lay the first foundation. At which day there came flocking in great numbers the Nobles, the Prelates and Commons of all the Country thereabout. After the celebration of divine service, and Anthems sung in parts, Abbat Joffrid himselfe layed the first Corner stone Eastward; then the noble men and great persons every one in their degree couched their stones, and upon the said stones some laid money, others their sealed Deeds of lands, avousons [titles] of Churches, of tenths of their sheepe, and the tithes of their Churches, of certaine measures of wheat, and of a certaine number of workmen, as masons and Quarriers, whom they would pay. The Common sort again and Townships for their parts offred with cheerefull devotion some money, others one daies labour every moneth untill the worke were finished, some the building of whole pillars, others of the bases to the said pillars, and others againe to make certaine parts of the wals, striving a vie who should doe most. This done, the Abbat, after hee had in a solemne speech commended their devout bounty to so holy a worke, granted unto every one of them the fraternity of his Abbay, and the participation besides of all Spirituall benefits in that Church, as praiers, blessings &., and so when hee had entertained them with a very sumptuous feast, hee gave them his blessing and dismissed them cheerefully every man to his owne home. But I will dwell no longer in this matter. But heereby you may see how by small contributions great workes arose.

6. From Crowland there goeth a Cawsey planted on both sides with willowes, between the river Welland and the deep marishes, Northward: upon which, two miles from Crowland, I saw the fragment of a Piramis with this Inscription:

Latin inscription


Higher yet upon the same river is seated Spalding, enclosed round about with riverets and draines, a fairer towne, I assure you, than a man would looke to finde in this tract among such slabbes and water-plashes: where Ivo Talbois, whom Ingulph elsewhere calleth Earle of Anjou, gave an ancient Cell to the Monkes of Angiers in France. From hence as farre as to Deeping, which is ten miles off, Egelrick Abbot of Crowland, afterward Bishop of Durham, made for the ease of travailers, as saith Ingulphus, through the midest of a vast forest, and of most deepe fens, a sound causey of wood and sand , after his owne name called Elrich-riad, which notwithstanding at this daie is not to be seene.

7. In higher Hoiland, that bendeth more into the North, first wee have in sight Kirdton, so named of the Church, which is passing faire, and then, where the river Witham, hemned in strongly with bankes on both side, runneth in a maine and ful streame toward the sea, flourisheth Boston, more truely named Botolphs-towne, For it caried that name from one Botolph, a most holy and devout Saxon, who at Icanhoe, as Bede witnesseth, had a monasterie. A famous towne this, standing on both sides of the river Witham, which hath over it a wooden bridge of a great height, and well frequented by the meanes of a commodious haven into it. The market place is faire and large, and the Church maketh a goodly showe, as well for the beautifull building as the greatnesse thereof; the towre-steeple of it, which riseth up to a mighty height, doth, as one would say, salute passengers and travailers a great way off, and giveth direction also to the sailers. A lamentable overthrow it susteined in the reigne of Edward the First. For when bad and ruffian-like behaviour rufled at that time over all England, certaine military lusty fellowes having proclaimed heere a Justs or running at Tilt at a Faire-time, when there was much resort of people thither, came apparelled in the habit of Monkes and Chanons, set fire on the towne in most places thereof, brake in upon merchants with sodaine violence, tooke away many things by force, burnt a great deale more, in so much as our Historians write that (as the ancient writers record of Corinth when it was destroied) molten gold and silver ran downe in a streame togither. Their ring-leader Robert Chamberlain, after hee had confessed the act and what a shamefull deed had beene committed, was hanged, yet could hee not bee wrought by any meanes to disclose his complices in this foule fault. But happier times raised Boston againe out of the ashes, and a staple for wooll here setled did verie much enrich it, and drew thither merchantes of the Hanse Society, who had here their Guild. At this daie it is for building faire, and by good trade rich. For the Inhabitants give themselves both to merchandise and also to grasing. Neere unto this was the Baronie de Crouen or de Credonio, out of which familie Alan de Croeun founded the Priorie of Freston; and at length Parnel, heire of the familie, being twice married, transferred no small inheritance, first to the Longchamps, which came [to] the Pedwardins; and secondly to John Vaulx, from whom the Barons Roos are descended. Beyond it scarce sixe miles reacheth Holland, all which Ivo Talboys of Anjou received at the bountifull hands of King William the Conqueror, but Herward, an English man of good hope and full of doutie courage, beeing sonne to Leofrick Lord of Brane or Burne, not brooking his insolencie when hee saw his owne and his Country-mens safetie now endangered, after hee had received the cincture with a military Belt by Brann Abbot of Peterborough, whose stomacke rose also against the Normans, raised warre against him, oftentimes put him to flight, and at length carried him away captive, and suffered him not to bee ransomed but which such conditions that hee might bee received into the kings favour, wherein hee died his liege man. For so deserved his valour, which is alwaies commended even in a verie enimie. His daughter, beeing wedded to Hugh Enermeue Lord of Deeping, enjoied his lands, which afterwards, as I understand, was devolved upon the familie of Wake, which beeing mightily enriched with the possessions of the Estotevills, was of right great honour in these parts, untill the reigne of Edward the Second: for then, by an heire Generall, their inheritance came by right of marriage unto Edmund of Woodstocke youngest sonne to King Edward the First and Earle of Kent. But of a younger sonne, the ancient familie of the Wakes of Blisworth in Northamptonshire yet remaining is descended.

8. The second part of this Country, commonly called Kesteven and by Aethelward an ancient author Ceostefnewood , adjoyning to Hoiland on the West side, is for aire farre more holsome, and for soile no lesse fruitfull. Greater this is and larger than the other, yea and garnished everie where with more faire townes. At the entrie thereinto upon the river Welland standeth Stanford, in the Saxon tongue Stean-ford , built of rough stone, whence it hath the name. A towne well peopled and of great resort, endowed also with sundrie immunities and walled about. it gave Geld or Tribute , as wee reade in Domesday booke, for twelve hundreds and a halfe, in the armie, shipping, and Danegeld, and in it were six wards. What time as King Edward the Elder fortified the South bankes of rivers against the Danes breaking by force into the land out of the North parts, Marianus recordeth that hee built a verie strong Castle just over against this downe also on the South banke (which now is called Stanford Baron), yet there appeareth not any one token thereof at this daie, for that Castle which in time of the civill warre Stephen strengthened against Henrie of Anjou was within the towne, as both the generall report holdeth and the verie plot also whereon it stood, as yet remaining, sheweth. But soone after, the said Henrie, being now King of England, gave the whole towne of Stanford, which was in his demaine, excepting the feofs or Perss of the Barons and knights of the same towne, unto Richard de Humez or Hometz, who was Constable to the King his Soveraigne Lord, for his homage and service. And the same afterwardes held William Earle of Warren by the will and pleasure of King John. Under the reigne of Edward the Third, an Universitie and publicke profession of good learning beganne heere, which the Inhabitants count no small credit unto them. For when there was such hote debate and contention betweene the Northren and Southren students at Oxford, a great number of scholers withdrew themselves hither; but after a small while they returned upon the kings Proclamation to Oxford, and as they sodainelie beganne, so they ended as soone this new University. And thence forward provided it was by oth, That no student in Oxford should publickly professe or reade at Stanford to the prejudice of Oxford. Neverthelesse it flourished with fresh trading and merchandise, untill the civill warre betweene the two houses of Lancaster and Yorke grewe so hote that the Northren soldiours breaking into the towne destroied all with fire and sword. Neither could it ever since that time fully recover the ancient dignity. And yet now it is in good estate, and the civill government thereof consisteth of an Alderman and foure and twentie Burgesses his brethren. Beautified it is with seven parish Churches or there about, and sheweth an old Hospital, and that a very faire house, founded by William Browne a Burgesse there, besides another new one on this side of the Bridge lately built by that Nestor of Britaine, Sir William Cecill Baron Burghley, what time as hee raised that stately and sumptuous house at Burghley, whereof I have spoken already in Northamptonshire, who lieth enterred heere in a goodly and gorgeous tombe within the Parish Church of Saint George; a man (to say nothing else of him) who by course of nature and for his owne glory lived long enough, but in regard of his country died oversoone.

9. Although some tokens remaining of antiquity and the High-street, made by the Romans, which so soone as you are without the towne, leadeth you the direct way into the North, may sufficiently shew that sometimes there was a Ferry or Water fare heere. Yet that this towne should be that Gavsennae which Antonine the Emperour placeth not far from hence, the said tokens of Antiquity doe not affoord sufficient proofe. But seeing that a mile from hence there is a little Village called Bridg-casterton (which very name carieth with it the marke of Antiquity), where the river Guash or Wash crosseth the said High-street, the affinity of this name Guash with Gausennae, and the distance also making not against it, hath made me to thinke that Gausennae was it which now is called Bridg-casterton, untill time bring truth to light. If I should thinke that Stanford grew out of the ruines of this towne, and that this part of the shire was named Kesteven of Gavsennae, like as another part, Lindsey, of the City Lindum, let this I pray you be but mine opinion, and judge thereof accordingly. It is supposed that this Gausennae was overthrowen when (as Henry Archdeacon of Huntingdon writeth) the Picts and Scots had spoiled all the country as farre as to Stanford, where Hengist and his English-Saxons with their unwearied force and singular prowesse hindered the passage of those furious nations, so that after many of them were slaine and more taken prisoners, the rest betooke themselves to flight. But let us proceed to the rest.

10. On the East side of Kesteven, which bendeth toward Hoiland as wee goe Northward, these places stand in order. First, Deeping, that is to say (as Ingulph interpreteth it), Deepe Medow , where Richard de Rulos, Chamberlaine to William Conquerour, excluding the river Welland with raising up an high banke (for that it often overflowed) and building upon the said Banke many tenements, made a great Village. This Deping, or Deepe Medow, was very fitly so called, for the plaine lying under it, and which taketh up in compasse many miles, is of all this fenny country the deepest, and the very receptacle of most waters. And that which a man would mervaile at, it lieth farre under the channell of the river Glen, which being held in with forced bankes, passeth by from out of the West. They you have Burne, well knowen by occasion that King Edmond was crowned and the Wakes had a Castle there, who obtained unto this towne from King Edward the First the liberty of a Mercat. More Eastward is Irnham, a seat of the Barony in times past of Sir Andrew Lutterell. Beyond it is Sepringham, famous in these daies by reason of that passing faire house which Edward Lord Clinton, afterwards Earle of Lincolne, built, but renowmed in old time for the religious order of the Gilbertines, instituted by Gilbert Lord of the place: for he, a wonderfull man, and in custodia mulierium gratiae singularis , that is, of singular grace in taking charge of women , in the yeere after Christs nativity 1148, contrary to Justinians Constitutions, which forbad Double Monasteries, that is to say, of men and women together; howbeit, well backed with the authority of Eugenius the Third, Bishop of Rome, ordeined a Sect consisting of men and women; which so grew and encreased that himselfe laied the foundations of thirteene religious houses of this Order, and whiles he lived had in them 700 Gilbertine Brethren and eleven hundred Sisters, but no honester than they should be, if we may beleeve Nigele, a scoffing Poet in those daies, who wrot thus of them:

Some barrein are of these, some fruitfull bee,
Yet they by name of Virgins cover all.
More fertile sure and better beareth shee,
Who blest is once with crosier pastorall.
Now, scarce of them is found one barrein doe,
Till age debarre, whether they will or no.

11. Then see you Folkingham, which also is now a Lordship of the Clintons, the Barony in times past of the Gaunts, who were descended from Gilbert de Gaunt, nephew to Baldwin Earle of Flaunders, unto whom by the liberality of King William the Conquerour there fell great revenewes. For thus we read in an old Manuscript: Memorandum, that with William Conqueror there came in one Gilbert de Gaunt, unto whom the said William gave the Manour of Folkingham with all the appertenances and the Honour thereunto belonging, and they expelled a certaine woman named Dunmuch. Of the said Gilbert came one Walter de Gaunt his sonne and heire, and of the said Walter came Gilbert de Gaunt his sonne and here, also Robert de Gaunt a younger sonne. And from the said Gilbert the sonne and heire came Alice his daughter and heire, who was espoused to Earle Simon, and she gave many tenements to religious men and died without heire of her owne body. Then descended the inheritance to Robert de Gaunt aforesaid, her unkle, and of the foresaid Robert came Gilbert his sonne and heire, and of the aforesaid came other Gilbert his sonne and heire, and of the aforesaid came another Gilbert his sonne and heire, who have the Manour of Folkingham with the appertenances to Edward the sonne of Henry King of England. This Gilbert, as we finde in the Plees, out of which this Pedigree is prooved, claimed service against William de Scremby. And at length it came by gift of the Prince to Sir Henry Beaumont. For most certaine it is that he held it in the reigne of Edward the Second. Neere unto this is Screkingham, remarkable for the death of Alfrik the second, Earle of Leicester, whom Hubba a Dane slew. Of which place, it seemeth that Ingulph spake, writing thus: In Kesteven were slaine three great Lords or petty Kings of the Danes, whom they buried in a Village which was called before Laundon, but now for the Sepulture of three Kings, Tre-King-ham. And more into the East is Hather, in this regard only to be mentioned, that the Busseis or Busleis heere dwell, who deduce their race from Roger de Busly in the Conquerours time. Then Sleford, a Castle of the Bishops of Lincolne, built by Alexander the Bishop: where Sir John Hussy the first and last Baron of that name, created by King Henry the Eighth, built himselfe an house: who having unwittingly and unadvisedly in the yeere 1537 engaged himselfe with the common people in a tumultuous commotion, what time as the first dissention brake out in England about religion, lost his head. Not many miles from hence standeth Kime, which gave name to a noble family called De Kime, but the possession of the place came at length to the Umfranvils, of whom three were called to the Parliament by the names of the Earles of Anguse in Scotland. But the first of them the learned in our common lawes would not acknowledge to be Earle (for that Anguse was not within the limits of the realme of England) untill he produced openly in court the Kings writ, by vertue whereof he had beene sommoned by the King to the Parliament under the title of Earle of Anguse. From the Umfravils this came unto the family of Talbois, of whom Gilbert was created by King Henry the Eighth Baron Talbois, whose two sonnes dying without issue, the inheritance was by the females transferred to the Dimocks, Inglebeies, and others. More Westward we saw Temple Bruer, that is, as I interpret it, Temple in the Heath. For it seemeth to have beene a Commaundery of the Templers, considering that the decaied broken walles of the Church there are seene in forme of the New Temple at London. Hard to it lieth Blankenay, the Barony in times past of the D' Eincourts, who flourished successively a long time one after another from the Normans comming in unto King Henrie the Sixth his time. For then their male line determined [ended] in one William, who had two sisters for his heires, the one married to Sir William Lovell, the other to Sir Ralph Cromwell. The more willingly have I made mention of this family, to give satisfaction in some measure unto the longing desire of Edmond Baron D' Eincourts, who long since, being carefull and earnest about the preservation of the memory of his name, as having no male issue, put up an humble petition to King Edward the Second, Whereas he fore-saw that his surname and armes after his death would be quite forgotten, and yet hartily desired that after his decease they might still be remembred, that hee might bee permited to enfeoffe whom soever it pleased him, both in his Manours and Armes also. Which request hee obtained, and it was graunted under the kings letters Patents, yet for all that is this surname now quite gone (to my knowledge), and had it not beene continued by the light of learning, might have been cleane forgotten forever.

12. In the West part of Kesteven and the verie confines of this shire and Leicester, standeth Belvoir or Beauvoir Castle, so called of the faire prospect (what name so ever it had in old time) mounted upon the top of a good steepe hill, built by Robert de Todeneie a Norman Nobleman, who also beganne the little monasterie adjoining, from whom by the Albeneies out of little Britaine, and the Barons Roos, it came by inheritance to the Mannors Earles of Rutland: of whom the first, that is to say, Thomas, as I have beene enformed, raised it up againe with new buildings from the ground, when as it had for many yeares lien buried as it were in his owne ruines. For in despite of Thomas Lord Roos, who tooke part with King Henrie the Sixth, it was much defaced by William Lord Hastings, unto whom (after that the said Baron Roos was attainted) King Edward the Fourth had graunted it with verie faire lands. But Edmund Baron Roos, sonne of the said Thomas, by the gratious favour of King Henrie the Seventh recovered this ancient inheritance againe. About this Castle are found the Stones called astroites , which resemble little starres joyned one with another, wherein are to bee seene at everie corner five beames or raies, and in everie raie in the middest is small holownesse. This Stone among the Germans got his name of Victorie, for that, as George Agricola writeth in his Sixth booke of Mineralls , they are of opinion that whosoever carrieth it about him shall winne his suite and get victorie of his enimies. But whether this stone of ours, as that in Germanie, beeing put in vinegar will stirre out of his place and turne it selfe some-what round, I could never yet make triall. Under this Castle lieth a vale and presenteth a most pleasant prospect thereunto, whereupon it is commonlie called the Vale of Belver, which is verie large and passing pleasantlie beautified with cornefields, and no lesse rich in pastures, lying stretched out in three shires, of Leicester, Nottingham and Lincolne.

13. If not in this verie place, yet hard by it, in all probabilitie, stood that Margidunum which Antonine the Emperour placeth next after Vernometum, as both the name and the distance also from Vernometum and the towne Pont or Paunton, betweene which Antonine placeth it, may most planely shew. It should seeme that ancient name Marginumum was borowed from marga and the situation of it. For marga among the Britans is a kinde of earth named Marle wherewith they nourished and kept their grounds in heart, and dunum , which signifieth an hill, agreeth onelie to places higher mounted than others. And yet in this Etymologie of that name I am in a doubt, seeing that Marle in this place is verie geason or skant (happily because no man seeketh for it), unlesse the Britans by the name of marga tearmed Plaster-stone, which is digged up hard by, as I have learned, the use whereof in white pargetting [plastering] and in making of Images was of especiall request among the Romans, as Plinie witnesseth in his Naturall Historie.

14. Witham a river plentifull in pikes, but carrying a small streame, watereth this part of the Shire and on the North-side encloseth it. It hath his beginning by a little towne of the same name, not farre from the ruins of Bitham Castle, which, as we find in an old Pedigree King William the First gave to Stephen Earle of Albermarle and Holdernesse, that he might from thence have wherewith to feed his sonne, as yet a little infant, with fine wheat bread (considering that in Holdernesse they did eate in those daies oten bread onely, although they use now such kind of bread little or nothing at all). But in the reigne of King Henrie the Third, when William de Fortibus Earle of Aumarle rebelliously kept this Castle, and thence forraied and wasted the country about it, it was laid well neere even with the ground. Afterward, this was the capitall seat, as it were, of the Baronie of the Colvils, who a long time flourished in very great honour, but the right line had an end under King Edward the Third, and then the Gernons and those notable Bassets of Sapcot in right of their wives entred upon the inheritance.

15. This river Witham presently beneath his head hath a towne seated hard by it named Paunton, which standeth much upon the antiquity thereof, where are digged up oftentimes pavements of the Romans wrought with checker worke, and heere had the river a bridge over it in old time. For that this is the towne Ad Pontem which Antonine the Emperour placed seven miles distant from Margidunum, the name Paunton, together with the distance not onely from Margidunum but also from Crococalana doth easily convince: for in Antonine that towne was called Crococalana, which at this day is called Ancaster, and is no more but a long street, through which the High-way passeth, whereof the one part not long since belonged to the Vescies, the other to the Cromwells. At the entrie into it on the South part, we saw a rampier with a ditch, and certaine it is that aforetime it had been a Castle, like as on the other side Westward is to bee seene a certaine summer standing campe of the Romans. And it may seeme that it tooke a British name from the situation thereof. For it lieth under an hill, and Cruc-maur in British signifieth A Great hil , like as Cruc-occhidient, A mount in the West , as we read in Giraldus Cambrensis and Ninnius. But what should be the meaning of that Calana , let others looke. The memory of antiquity in this towne is continued and maintained by the Romane Coines, by the vaults under ground often times discovered, by the site upon the High-street, and by those fourteene miles that are between it and Lincolne through a greene plaine, which we call Ancaster-Heath, for just so many doth Antonine reckon between Croco-calana and Lindum. But now returne we to the river.

16. After Paunton, wee come to Grantham, a towne of good resort, adorned and set out with a schoole built by Richard Fox Bishop of Winchester, and with a faire Church, having a spire-steeple of a mighty height, whereof there goe many fabulous tales. Beneath, neere unto Herlaxton a little village, a brasen vessell in our fathers time was turned up with a plough, wherein a golden helmet of a most antique fashion was found, set with precious stones, which was given as a present to Catherine of Spaine, wife and Dowager to King Henrie the Eighth. From hence Witham passeth with a long course North-ward not farre from Somerton Castle: which Antonie Becc Bishop of Durham built and gave to King Edward the First, but a little after it was bestowed upon Sir Henrie le Beaumont, who about that time came into England and beganne the familie of the Lords Beaumont: which in the foregoing age in some sort failed, when as the sister and heire of the last Vicount was married to John Lord Lovel de Tichmrsh. But of this house I have spoken before in Leicestershire. From thence the river, bending by little and little to the South-East and passing through a fenny Country, dischargeth it selfe into the German Sea beneath Boston, after it hath closed in Kesteven on the North.

17. On the other side of Witham lieth the third part of this shire, named Lindsey, which of the chiefe Citie of the Shire Bede called Lindissi, and beeing greater than Holland and Kesteven, butteth with a huge bowing front upon the Ocean, beating upon the East and North sides thereof. On the West part it hath the river Trent, and is severed from Kesteven; on the South by that Witham aforesaid and the Fosse Dike anciently cast and scoured by King Henrie the First for seaven miles in length from Witham into Trent, that it might serve the Citizens of Lincolne for carriage of necessaries by water. Where this Dike entreth into Trent standeth Torksey, in the Saxon languege Turcesig , a little towne and in these daies of small account, but in ancient times verie famous. For before the Normans comming in, as wee find in that booke wherein King William the First set downe his survey of England, there were numbered in it two hundred Burgesses, who enjoyed many privileges on this condition, that they should transport the kings Embassadours whensoever they came this way in their owne Barges along the Trent, and conduct them as farre as Yorke. But where this Dike joyneth to Witham there is the Principall City of this Shire placed, which Ptolomee and Antonine the Emperour called Lindum, the Britans Lind-Coit of the woods (for which wee find it elsewhere written amisse Luit-coit ), Bede Linde-collinum and Lindecollina civitas , whether it were of the situation upon an hill or because it hath beene a Colonie, I am not able to avouch. The Saxons termed it Lindo-collyne and Lind-cyllan-ceaster , the Normans most corruptly Nichol , wee Lincoln, and the Latine writers Lincolnia , whereupon Alexander Necham in his booke entituled Divine Wisdome writeth thus:

Lincoln, the stay or pillar sure of Linsey thou maist bee,
Blest for thy
people bounteous, and goods that are in thee.

Others will have it to take that name of the river Witham, which they say was called by a more ancient name Lindis, but they have no authority to warrant them. Neither am I of their judgement. For Necham is against it,

The Trent unto thee sendeth fish, o Lincoln, well we see;
Yet little Witham, scorne it not, a riveret comes to thee.

18. I for my part would rather derive it from the British word lhin , which with the Britans signifieth a Lake. For I have beene enformed of the Citizens that Witham below the Citie by Swanpole was broader than now it is, and yet it is at this daie of a good breath, and to say nothing of Lindaw in Germanie by the Lake Acronius, and of Linternum in Italie standing by a Lake, I see that in our Britaine Tal-lhin, Glan-lhin, and Linlithquo are townes by lakes sides. This Citie it selfe beeing large and well inhabited and frequented, standeth upon the side of an hill, where Witham bendeth his course Eastward, and, beeing divided with three small chanels, watereth the lower part of the Citie. That the ancient Lindum of the Britans stood on the verie toppe of the hill, which had a verie hard ascent uppe to it, and reached out beyond the gate called Newport, the expresse tokens of a rampier and deepe Ditches, which are yet verie evident, doe plainlie shew. In this Citie Vortimer, that warlicke Britan, who man a time discomfited the Saxons and put them to flight, ended his daies, and was heere, contrary to his owne commandement, buried. For hee was in a full and assured hope perswaded that if hee were enterred in the sea shore, his verie ghost was able to protect the Britans from the Saxons, as writeth Ninius the disciple of Elvodugus. But the English Saxons, after they had rased this old Lindum, first possessed themselves of the South side of the hill, at the foote whereof they built, as it seemeth, the gate yet standing, compiled of vast stones, and with the ruines of that more ancient towne fortified it. Afterwards they went downe lower to the river side, built in a place that was called Wickanforde, and walled it about on that side which is not fensed by the river. At which time, as saith Bede, Paulinus preached the word of God unto the Province of Lindsey, and first of all converted unto the Lord the Governour or Provost of Lincoln-city, whose name was Blecca, with his family. In which very City he built also a Church of goodly stone-work, the roofe wherof being either fallen for want of repaire, or cast downe by the violent hand of enemies, the walles are seene standing to this day. After this the Danes won it by assault once or twice. First, those troupes of spoiling mates, out of whose hands King Edmund Yronside wrested it by force; then Canutus, from whom Aetheldred regained it when upon his returne out of Normandy he valiantly forced Canutus to abandon the town, and beyond all hope recovered England, which before was lost. In the reigne of Edward the Confessor there were in it, as Domesday boke recordeth, a thousand and seventy Mansions, with lodgings to given entertainment, and twelve Lage men having Sac and Soc. But in the Normans time, as saith William of Malmesbury, It was one of the best peopled Cities of England, and a place of traffike and merchandise for all commers by sea and land , and as the same Domesday booke saith, there were at that time counted and taxed in this City 900 Burgesses, and many Mansions were laid wast, 166 for the Castle, and other 74 without the precinct of the Castle, not through the oppression of the Sheriffe and his ministers, but by reason of mishap, poverty, and casualty by fire. The said King William the Conqueror, for the strenghning of it and terrour of the Citizens, raised a passing large and strong Castle upon the brow of the hill, and almost at the same time Remigius Bishop of Dorchester for to give credit and ornament thereto translated hither his Episcopall seat from Durchester, which was in the most remote corner of his dioecesse and a small towne. And when by this time that Church which Paulinus had built was quite gone to decay, the same Remigius, having purchased certaine houses with grounds lying unto them in the very highest place of the City, neere unto the Castle (as Henry of Huntingdon saith), mounting up aloft with high and stately towers, built in a strong place a strong Church, in a faire plot a faire Church, and dedicated it to the Virgin of Virgins; notwithstanding the Archbishop of Yorke was enraged thereat, who chalenged to himselfe the propriety of the soile, and in it ordeined 44 Prebendaries. Which Church afterwards being sorely defaced with fire, as he saith, Alexander that most bountifull Bishop of Lincolne repaired, with skilfull and artificiall workmanship. Of whom William of Malmesbury reporteth, because for his little low stature he was a dwarfe among men, his minde laboured to rise aloft and shew it selfe to the world with outward workes. And as concerning his bounty a Poet of that time, among other things, wrot thus:

Who hastning frankly for to give, for feare that folke should crave,
He never thought that he had that which yet he never gave.

19. Besides these two Bishops already mentioned, Robert Bloet, who sat there before Alexander, Richard de Beaumeis, Hugh, a Burgundian, and their successours by little and little brought this Church, which could not be one Bishops worke, to the stately magnificence that now it carrieth. Certes, as it is built, it is all throughout not onely most sumptuous, but most passing beautifull, and that with rare and singular workmanship; but especially that fore-front at the West end, which in a sort ravisheth and allureth the eies of all that judiciously view it. In this Church, although there be divers Monuments of Bishops and others, yet these only seeme memorable: that of Copper wherein the bowels of that right noble and vertuous Queene Aeleonor wife to King Edward the First are bestowed, ?who died at Hardby in this Shire,? as also these following wherein lie enterred Sir Nicolas Cantlow, one or two of the family of Burgerhersh, Lady Catherine Swinford the third wife of John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster and mother of the house of Somerset, with whom lieth buried Joan her daughter, second wife to Raulph Neville the first Earle of Westmerland, who enriched her husband with many happy children.

20. The Bishops Dioecesse of Lincolne, not content with those streit limits wherewith the Bishops of Sidnacester, who had Episcopall Jurisdiction over this shire contented themselves in the Primitive Church of the English Nation, conteined under it for so many countries as that the greatnesse thereof was burdenous unto it. And although King Henry the Second tooke out of it the Province of Ely, and King Henry the Eighth the Bishopricks of Peterborough and Oxford, yet still at this day it is counted the greatest Dioecesse by farre of all England, both for jurisdiction and number of shires, and the Bishop hath in his Dioecesse one thousand two hundred fourty seven Parish Churches. Many and great Bishops since Remigius his time have governed this See, whom to reckon up is no part of my purpose. For I will not insist either upon Robert Bloet, from whom King William Rufus wrung 50000 pounds for securing his title in the very Citie of Lincolne it selfe, which was found defective, nor upon that prodigall and profuse Alexander, who in exceeding stately buildings was so excessive delighted, ne yet upon Hugh the Burgundian, Canonized a Saint, whose corps King John with his nobles and friendes about him, to performe (as mine authour saith) a dutifull service to God and that holy Saint late Bishop , carried upon their shoulders to his buriall. Howbeit, the memory of two Prelates I must needs renew afresh: the one is Robert Grostest, a man so well seene both in literature and in the learned tongues, in that age, as it is incredible, and to use the words of one then living, A terrible reproover of the Pope, an adviser of his Prince and Soveraigne, a lover of veritie, a corrector of Prelates, a director of Priests, an instructor of the Clergy, a maintainer of scholers, a Preacher to the people, a diligent searcher into the Scriptures, a mallet of the Romanists &. The other is mine owne Praeceptor, whom in all duty I must ever love and honour, that right reverend Father Thomas Cooper, who hath notably well deserved both of all the learned and also of the Church, in whose schoole I both confesse and rejoice that I received education. The City it selfe also flourished a long time, being ordeined by King Edward the Third for the Staple, as they tearme it, that is, the Mart of Wooll, Leather, Lead &. Which although it hath not beene over-laied with any grievous calamities, as being once onely set on fire, once also beseeged in vaine by King Stephen, who was there vanquished and taken prisoner, forced also and won by King Henry the Third, when the rebellious Barons, who had procured Lewis of France to chalenge the Crowne of England, defended it against him, without any great dammage; yet incredible it is how much it hath beene empaired by little and little, conquered as it were with very age and time, so that of fifty Churches which it had standing in our Great-grandfathers daies, there are now remaining scarce eighteene. It is removed, that I may note this also, from the Aequator 53 degrees and 12 Scruples, and from the West point 22 Degrees and 52 scruples.

21. As that Street-way called HIghdike goeth on directly from Stanford to Lincolne, so from hence Northward it runneth with an high and streight causey (though heere and there it be interrupted) forward for tenne miles space to a little Village called the Spittle in the Street, and beyond. By the which as I passed, I observed moreover, about three miles from Lincolne, another High-Port-way also, called Ould-street, to turne out of this High dike Westward, carrying a banck likewise evident to be seene, which, as I take it, went to Littleborough, the next baiting [resting] towne, or place of lodging, from Lindum in the time of the Romans. But I wil leave these, and proceed in the course that I have begun.

Witham, being now past Lincolne, runneth downe not far from Wragbye, a member of the Barony called Trusbut, the title whereof is come by the Barons Roos unto the Mannours, now Earles of Rutland. Then approcheth it to the ruines of a famous Abbay in times past called Beardena or Peartanen , commonly Barney, where Bede writeth that King Oswald was entombed, with a Banner of gold and purple hanged over his tombe. The writers in the foregoing age though it not sufficient to celebrate the memory of this most Christian worthy King Oswald, unlesse unto his glorious exploites they stitched also ridiculous miracles. But that his hand remained heere uncorrupted many hundred yeeres after, our ancestours have believed, and a Poet of good antiquity hath written in this wise:

The mans right hand by no worme perisht is,
No rottennesse doth cause it putrifie;
No binding cold can make it starke, ywis,
Nor melting heat dissolve and mollifie;
But alwaies in one state persist it will,
Such as it was. Through dead, it liveth still

22. This Abbay, as writeth Peter of Bloys, being sometime burnt downe to the ground by the Danes furious outrage, and for many revolutions of yeeres altogether forlorne, that noble and devout Earle of Lincolne Gilbert de Gaunt reedified, and in most thankfull affectionate minde assigned unto it with many other possessions the tithes of all his Manours wheresoever throughout England. Then is Witham increased with Ban, a little river which out of the mids of Lindsey runneth downe, first, by Horne Castle, which belonged in times past to Adeliza or Condie, and was laid even with the ground in the reigne of Stephen, afterwards became a capitall seat of the Baronie of Gerard de Rodes, and pertaineth now, as I have heard, to the bishop of Carlile. From thence by Scrivelby, a Manour of the Dimockes, who hold it hereditarily devolved upon them from the Marmons by Sir John Ludlow, and that by service (to use now the Lawyers words) of Grand Serjeantie, viz., That whensoever any King of England is to be crowned, then the Lord of this Mannour, for the time being, or some one in his name (if himselfe be unable) shall come well armed for the warre, mounted upon a good horse of service, in presence of this soveraigne Lord the King upon his Coronation day, and cause proclamation to be made that if any man will avouch that the said soveraigne Lord the King hath not right to his kingdome and crowne, he will be prest [prepared] and ready to defend the right of the King, of his kingdome, of his crowne and dignity, with his body, against him and all others whosoever. Somewhat lower, the Ban at Tatteshall, a little towne standing in a marish country but very commodiously, well knowne by reason of the Castle, built for the most part of bricke, and the Barons thereof, runneth into Witham. The write that Eudo and Pinso two noblemen of Normandie, loving one another entirely as sworne brethren, by the liberall gift of King William the Conquerour received many Lordships and faire lands in this tract, which they parted so as that Tatteshall fell to Eudo, which he held by Baronie, from whose posterity it came by Dryby and the Bernaks unto Sir Raulph Cromwell, whose sonne, bearing the same name and being under King Henrie the Sixth Lord Treasurer of England, departed out of this world without issue; but unto Pinso fell Eresh, which is not farre of. From whose progenie the inheritance descended by the Becks unto the Willoughbeys, unto whom there came also an encrease both of honor, and also of faire Livelods [patrimonies] by their wives, not onely from the Uffords Earles of Suffolk, but also from the Lords of Welles, who brought with them very faire possessions and lands of the family de Engain Lords of ancient Nobility, and from the first comming in of the Normans of great powre in these parts. Among these Willoughbeis one excelled all the rest in the reigne of Henrie the Fifth, named Sir Robert Willoughbey, who for his martiall prowesse was created Earle of Vindosme in France, and from these by the mothers side descended Peregrine Berty, Baron Willoughby of Eresby, a man for his generous minde and military valour renowned both in France and the Low-countries. Witham, now approaching neere unto the Sea, entertaineth out of the North another small namelesse river, at the spring head whereof standeth Bollingbroke Castle, situate upon a low ground, and built of a soft and crumbling stone by William de Romara Earle of Lincolne, taken from Alice Lacey by King Edward the Second, because she maried against his will, and ennobled in that it was the Birth-place of King Henrie the Fourth, who thereof was named Henrie of Bollingbroke. At which time it beganne to be reckoned among those Honorable Manours which are termed Honours. And Witham, after it hath received this riveret, having passed through Boston, as I have said, dischargeth it selfe at length into the German Sea.

23. From the mouth of Witham the shore shutteth forth with a mighty swelling bent into the German Sea as farre as to Humber, a great Arme of the Sea, being everywhere slashed and indented with many small washes and places which the salt water breaketh into, and hath but few townes upon it, because there be few havens there, and the shelves or barres of sand lie everywhere anenst [near to] the land. Yet of those few townes which take up this coast some be memorable, and Wainefleet especially, if it were but for this cause onely, that it bred William Wainfleet Bishop of Winchester, a worthy Prelat, founder of Mawdlen College in Oxford, a man that singularly well deserved of learning. Then Alford, which for the mercate is beholden to Lion Lord Welles, who obtained for it this priviledge from King Henrie the Sixth. This family of Welles was very ancient honorable, and the last of that name had to wife a daughter of King Edward the Fourth, and being by King Henrie the Seventh created Vicount Welles, died having no issue. But the inheritance by the Females came to the Willoughbeys, Dimockes, De la Launds, Hoes and others. ?More inward are Driby and Grimseby, neighbour townes which gave surnames to two great families in their times; from the Dribyes descended the elder Lords Cromwell, now determined, and from Ormesbyes the house of Skipwith, stil continuing.? After this ye have Louth a little mercate towne well frequented, which had the name of Lud, a small river that runneth under Driby, the capital place in times past of the Baronie of Scoteney. And then Grimsby, which our Sabins or conceited persons, dreaming what they list and following their owne fansies, will have to be so called of one Grime a merchant, who for that he had brought up a little foundling of the Danes roiall bloud named Haveloke, when it had beene cast forth to perish, or to take his lucke or fortune, is much talked of, together with Haveloke that lucky foster-child of his, who, having beene first a skullen [scullery-boy] in the Kings kitchen, and afterwards promoted to the marriage of the Kings daughter for his heroycall valour in feats of arms and I wot not what worthy exploits. A narration right wel beseeming and meetest for them that take pleasure to passe out the long nights with telling of old wives tales. ?But the honour and ornament of this place was the right reverend Doctor Whitgift, late Archbishop of Canterbury, a peerelesse prelate for pietie and learning in our daies.?

24. Scarce six miles from hence, more within the country, there sheweth it selfe an ancient Castle, which at this day is called Castor, in the old English Saxons tongue Thuang-caster and Thong-caster , in British Caer Egarry . In both languages it is aptly named so of the thing, to wit, of an hide cut into peaces, like as Byrsa, that Castle or Citadell of the Carthaginians so well knowen. For our Annales record that Hengist the Saxon, after he had vanquished the Picts and Scots and received very large possessions in other places, obtained also in this tract of Vortigern so much ground as he could compasse round about with an oxe hide cut out into very smal laners, that we call Thongs, wherin he founded and built this castle. Whence it is that one who hath written in verse a Breviarie of the British Historie turned Virgils verses in this maner:

And ground he tooke, which Thong he cal' d when he did first begin,
As much as he a bull hide cut could well enclose within.

From Grimsby the shore draweth in with great reach to make way for to admit Humber, by Thornton a religious house in times past instituted for the worship of God by William the Grosse Earle of Aumarle; also by Barton, where there is a very notable Ferry or passage over into Yorkshire. Hard by, Aukham a little muddy river, and therefore full of Eeles, emptieth it selfe into Humber, neere unto the spring-head whereof is Merket-Rason, so called of a mercate there well resorted unto. Somewhat higher stand Angotby, now corruptly called Osgodby, belonging in times past to the family of Semarc, from whom it descended hereditarily to the Airmins; also Kelsay, a Lordship in old time of the Hansards, men of great name in this shire, from whom in right of the wives it came to the family of the Ascoghs, Knights. But after this, Ankham hath a bridge over it at Glanford, a small mercate towne which the common people of the said bridge so commonly call Brigg that the true name is almost quite forgotten. Next unto it within a Parke I saw Kettleby, the seat of the worshipfull ancient family of the Tirwhits, Knights, descended from Gronvil Oxenbridge, and Enchingham. But in times past it was the habitation, as a man may gather by the name, of one Ketell (which was in the times of the Saxons and Danes and usuall name). For bye in the English-Saxon language signifieth A dwelling place , and , and byan to dwell , whence it is that so many places both elsewhere in England heere especially in this shire doe end in bye.

25. All this Tract over at certain seasons, good God, what store of foules (to say nothing of fishes) is heere to be found! I meane not those vulgar birds which in other places are highly esteemed and beare a great price, as Teales, Quales, Woodcocks, Phesants, Partridges &., but such as we have no Latin names for, the very delicate dainties, indeed, of service, meates for the Demigods, and greatly sought for by those that love the tooth so well. I meane Puitts, Godwitts, Knots, that is to say, Canuts or Knouts birds (for out of Denmarke they are thought to fly thither), Dotterells, so named of their dotish foolishnesse, which being a kind of birds, as it were, of an apish kind, ready to imitate what they see done, are caught by candle light according to foulers gesture: if he put forth an arme, they also stretch out a wing; sets he forward his legge, or holdeth up his head, they likewise doe theirs; in briefe, what ever the fouler doth, the same also doth this foolish bird untill it be hidden within the net. But these things i leave to their observation, who either take pleasure earnestly to hunt after Natures workes, or, being borne for to pamper the belly, delight to send their estates downe the throat.

26. More Westward the River Trent also, after he hath ended his long course, is received into the Humber, after it hath with his sandy banke bounded this shire from Fosse-dike hither, having runne downe first not farre from Stow, where Godive the wife of Earle Leofricke built a Monasterie, which for the low site that it hath under the hills, Henrie of Huntingdon saith to have beene founded under the Promontorie of Lincolne. Then, neere unto Knath, now the habitation of Baron Willoughby of Parnham, in times past of the family of the Barons Darcy, who had very much encrease both in honor and also in possessions by the daughter and heire of the Meinills. This family of the Darcyes proceeded from another more ancient, to wit, from one whose name was Norman de Adrecy or Darcy de Nocton, who flourished in high reputation under King Henrie the Third, and whose successours endowed with lands the little Nunnerie at Alvingham in this County. But this dignity is as it were extinct, for that the last Norman in the right line, which is more ancient, left behind him onely two sisters, of which the one was maried to Roger Pedwardine, the other to Peter of Limbergh.

27. Then runneth the Trent down to Gainsborrow, a towne ennobled by reason of the Danes ships that lay there at rode, and also for the the death of Swene Tings-Kege, a Danish Tyrant, who after he had robbed and spoiled the country, as Matthew of Westminster writeth, being heere stabbed to death by an unknowne man, suffred due punishment at length for his wickednesse and villanie. Many a yeere after this it became the possession of Sir William de Valence Earle of Pembroke, who obtained for it of King Edward the First the liberty to keepe a Faire. From which Earle by the Scotish Earles of Athol and the Percies, descended from the Barons of Bourough who heere dwelt, concerning whom I have written already in Surrie. In this part of the shire stood long since the City Sidnacester, which affoorded a See to the Bishops of this Tract, who were called the Bishops of Lindofars. But this City is now so farre out of all sight and knowledge that together with the name the very ruines also seeme to have perished, for by all my curious enquirie I could learne nothing of it. Neither must I overpasse that in this quarter, at Melwood, there flourisheth the familie of Saint Paul, corruptly called Sampoll, knights: which I alwaies thought to have beene of that ancient Castilion race of the Earles of Saint Paul in France. But the Coat-Armour of Luxemburgh which they beare implieth that they are come out of France since that the said Castilion stocke of Saint Paul was by marriage implanted into that of Luxemburgh, which happened two hundred yeares since or there about.

28. Above this place the rivers of Trent, Idell and Dane doe so disport themselves with the division of their streames, and marshes caused by them and other springs, as they enclose within them the river-Island of Axelholme, in the Saxon tongue Eaxalholme , which is a parcell of Lincolnshire. It carrieth in length from South to North ten miles, and in bredth not past halfe so much. The flat and lower part of it toward the river is marish ground, and bringeth forth an odiferous kind of shrub, which they tearme gall. It yeeldeth also Pets [peat] in the more, and dead rootes of fir-wood which in burning give a ranke sweet savour. There also have beene found great and long firre-trees while they digged for peet, both within the isle and also without, at Laughton upon Trent banke, the old habitation of the family of D' alanson, now contractly called Dalison. The middle parts of this isle, where it riseth gently with some ascent, is frutefull and fertile, and yeeldeth flax in great aboundance. Also the Alabaster-stone, and yet the same not being very solide but brittle, is more meet for pargetting and plaster-worke than for other uses. The chiefe towne, called in old time Axel, is now named Axey, whence, by putting to the Saxon word holme , which they used for a River-Iland, the name no doubt was compounded. But scarce deserveth it to be called a towne, it is so scatteringly inhabited, and yet it is able to shew the plot of ground where a Castle stood, that was rased in the Barons warre, and which belonged to the Mowbraies, who at that time possessed a great part of the Isle. In the yeere 1173, as writeth an old Chronographer, Roger de Mowbraie, forsaking his allegeance to the Elder King, repaired the Castle at Kinard Ferry in the Isle of Axholme, which had been of old time destroyed. Against whom a number of Lincolneshire men making head, when they had passed over the water in barges, laid siege to the castle, forced the Constable thereof and all the souldiours to yeeld, and overthrew the said Castle. Somewhat higher is Botterwic, the Lord where of Sir Edmund Sheffeld King Edward the Sixth created the first Baron Sheffeld of Botherwic: who for his country spent his life against the rebels in Norfolke, having begotten of Anne Vere the Earle of Oxfords daughter a sonne named John, the second Baron, and father to Edmund now Lord Sheffeld, a right honorable Knight of the Garter, President of the Councell established in the North. But more into the North I saw Burton Stather standing upon the other side of Trent, whereof I have hetherto read nothing memorable.

29. This Shire glorieth in the Earles which have borne title thereof. After Egga who flourished in the yeere 710 and Morcar, both Saxons, and who were Earles by office onely, William de Romara, a Norman, was the first Earle after the Conquest, in whose roome being dead (for neither his sonne, whereas he died before his father, nor his grand-child enjoied this title) King Stephen placed Gilbert de Gaunt. After whose decease Simon de Saint Lyz the younger, the sonne of Earle Simon (you read the very words of Robert Montesis, who lived about that time) Wanting lands, by the gratious gift of King Henrie the Second tooke his only daughter to wife, with her his honour also. After this, Lewis of France, who was by the seditious Barons brought into England, girt a second Gilbert out of the family de Gaunt with the sword of the Earldome of Lincolne, but when the said Lewis was soone after expelled the land, no man acknowledged him for Earle, and himselfe of his owne accord relinquished that title. Then Raulph the sixt Earle of Chester obtained this honor of King Henrie the Third, who a little before his death gave unto Hawise or Avis his sister (the wife of Robert de Quincy) by Charter the Earledome of Lincoln, so farre forth as appertained unto him, that shee might be Countesse thereof. For in this tenor runne the verie words of the Charter. Shee likewise bestowed it upon John de Lacy Constable of Chester, and the heires whom hee should beget of the bodie of Margaret her daughter. This John had issue Edmund, who dying before his mother left this honour for Henrie his son to enjoy, who was the last Earle of that line. For when his sonnes were taken away by untimely death, and he had but one little daughter onely remaining alive named Alice, he affianced her, being but nine yeares old, to Thomas the sonne of Edmund Earle of Lancaster, with this condition, That if hee should fortune to die without heires of her body, or if they happened to die without heires of their bodies, his Castles, Lordships, &. should in Remainder come to the heires of Edmund Earle of Lancaster for ever. But the said Alice had no child at all by her husband Thomas. But when Thomas her husband was beheaded, shee that by her light behaviour had not a little steined her good name tooke Sir Eubul le Strange, with whom she had lived before time too familiarly, for her husband, without the assent and privity of her Soveraigne: who being hereat highly offended, seized her possessions into his owne hands. ?Yet both Sir Eubul Strange and Sir Hugh Frene her third husband are in some Recordes named Earles of LIncolne.? After Alice, now verie aged, was departed this life without issue, Henrie Earle of Lancaster, Nephew to Edmund aforesaid by his second sonne, entred upon her large and faire patrimony by vertue of that conveiance (which I spake of before) and from that time it accrued to the House of Lancaster. Howbeit the Kings of England at their pleasure have bestowed the name and honour of Earles of Lincolne, as King Edward the Fourth gave it to Sir John De la Pole, and King Henrie the Eighth to Henry Brandon, both the sonnes of the Dukes of Suffolke, who both ended this life without issue, ?the first slaine in the battaile at Stooke, and the other taken away by the sweating sicknesse.? Afterward Queene Elizabeth promoted Edward Baron Clinton Lord high Admirall of England to the said honour, which his sonne Henry enjoieth at this day.

There are in this shire Parishes much about 630.

William Camden, Britain, or, a Chorographicall Description of the most flourishing Kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland (London: George Bishop and John Norton, 1610) Copyright 2004 by Dana F. Sutton. This text was transcribed by Professor Sutton, of the University of California, Irvine, from Philemon Holland's 1610 translation [British Library Short Title Catalogue 4509, Early English Books reel 911:1]. For a full critical edition presenting Camden's original Latin text in parallel with Holland's translation, visit Professor Sutton's site at:


Placename mark-up by Humphrey Southall.

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