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Hall, was replaced by new almshouses, and the adjoining church
of the Hospital made room for a Town Prison. The fate of
Wigston's Hospital has been related already. The Hall and
Chantry Houses of the Guild of Corpus Christi were bought
by the Town, and are still in existence.

Some parts of the ancient walls of the Abbey may yet be
seen, and particularly the brick wall in Abbey Lane, built by
Bishop John Penny, at the beginning of the i6th century, which
still bears his initials, wrought in ornamental brickwork, and
one lonely niche, long bereft of its tutelary image. And it is


probable that Penny's alabaster tomb, now in the chancel of
St. Margaret's Church, was moved thither from the Lady Chapel
of the Abbey, though on this point antiquarians differ.

The only existing relic of the Friars' houses may be a small
portion of the boundary wall of the Grey Friars' monastery,
to which Mr. Henry Hartopp has called attention. This is a
red brick wall which stands in Peacock Lane, opposite the site
of the chapel of Wigston's Hospital. It is of the same date as
Bishop Penny's wall, or possibly rather earlier, and it must,
therefore, it would seem, have formed part of the northern
boundary of the Grey Friars' property. It is possible that some
fragments of the southern wall may also survive, for it is only
seventy years since Mr. Stockdale Hardy called attention to
some " slight and dispersed portions of the boundary walls,"
and stated that " the chambers of a few houses in what is still
called Friars' Lane now rest upon some of them." Fragments
of St. Mary's College seem to survive about Bakehouse Lane.

Little of the ancient Newarke is now left. Throsby said
that the foundations and ruins of the College were finally de-
molished about the year 1690. The following buildings are
existing at the present day :- —

(i) The massive 14th century entrance Gate of the College,
now known as the Magazine Gateway, remains practically
unaltered within, although the exterior has been recased. Until
1904 all the traffic to and from the Newarke passed under this
archway, but in that year it was diverted to a new road on the
north side of the Gate.

(2) The Turret Gateway, before referred to. A drawing
of this Gateway was made by John Flower before its partial
destruction in 1832, an engraving of which will be found in
the Literary Remains of John Stockdale Hardy. Mr. Hardy,
who died in 1849, occupied a neighbouring house, and he is said
to have sustained " the structure of this ancient gateway at his
own expense," thus preserving to Leicester " one of the few
existing memorials of its former state."

(3) The Trinity Hospital. The original house was first
restored about 1776. In recent years it has been almost entirely


re-built, only part of the old building being left. The chapel,
however, yet remains, enriched by several objects salved from
various wrecks, such as the recumbent effigy taken from the
Collegiate Church, and the carved oak fronts of seats and altar
rails removed from Wigston's Hospital.

(4) The 14th century house which is now used as St. Mary's
Vicarage was probably at one time the residence of the Dean
of Newark^ College. Externally this dwelling retains much of
its ancient appearance.

(5) Portions of the West, South and East boundary walls
of the Newarke enclosure were standing in recent years, and
fragments of " Rupert's Tower," as the South Gate has been
named, may yet be found. There are traces of walls in Bonner's
Lane, built into several cottages and into a warehouse or
engineer's shop. Some good illustrations of the old boundary
walls of the Newarke, as they appeared in 1838, and a view of
Rupert's Tower in 1821, will be found in Mr. J. F. HoUings'
pamphlet on " Leicester during the great Civil War," which
was published at Leicester in 1840.

(6) The dwelling-house erected in 15 12 by William Wigston
near the Turret Gateway, has lately escaped destruction. It
was the chantry-house of the two priests of Wigston's Chantry
in the Collegiate Church of the Newarke, and bears above its
door-way the arms of the founder. When its destruction was
threatened, about ten years ago, a determined effort to save it
was made on the initiative of the Leicestershire Archaeological
Society, with the active co-operation of Mr. Sydney A. Gimson,
who was then Chairman of the Leicester Museum and Art
Gallery Committee. Nearly ;£3,6oo were then subscribed, and
the chantry house and two adjoining Jacobean houses with their
gardens were assigned to ten gentlemen who had secured an
option of purchasing them for the benefit of the town, upon
the understanding that, as soon as the property could be freed
from all burden of debt, it should be transferred to the Cor-
poration of Leicester, to be preserved as an historical memorial
of the past, and in the hope that it would be used as a Leicester
and County Museum, dealing specially with matters of local
interest. There is still a debt of 5^5,500 on the property, which


must be cleared off before this excellent scheme can be com-
pleted ; but one may feel confident that some of Leicester's
patriotic and prosperous citizens will quickly grasp this remark-
able opportunity of doing a lasting service to their City.

(7) Two pointed arches, which form part of the cellar wall
of an old house now standing on part of the site of the Church
of Our Lady of the Newarke, and the effigy of a lady removed
to the chapel of Trinity Hospital, are all that remain from the
wreck of the Collegiate Church.

The mediaeval Walls of Leicester were originally kept
in repair at the expense of the community, and with the help
of murage tolls. During the 13th century they were maintained
in good order. In the following century also, as the Borough
Records show, they were from time to time repaired. A pit,
for example, on one of the walls, in which corn grew up, was
filled in with sand and gravel ; and trees that had grown up in
the Town Ditches were cut down. But the stones were tempting
to builders, and the broad ditches under the walls' shelter offered
desirable ground for the cultivation of fruit and vegetables.
Long before 1500 the old fortifications began to assume a
picturesque and peaceful aspect. The crumbling walls and the
slopes of the outer ditches, which varied in width from 40 to
47 feet, were parcelled out, by the year 1492, in small plots
among some eighty different holders. They were used mainly
as gardens and orchards, but on some parts of the wall, and in
the ditches, houses and barns had been built. Upon one strip
of land, 40 feet wide and 430 feet long, between the Town Wall
and Churchgate, were two pairs of butts, held by the " commons
of Leicester," for the practice of archery. In 1587 the walls
were described by the Town Clerk as " ruinous " ; and in 1591
an order was made that no stone should be taken from the Town
Walls without the license of a common hall. Queen Elizabeth
paid a keeper of the walls ^^4 5s. 4d. annually, but this
" Wallership," which concerned the Castle and Newarke walls
only, may have been a sinecure. A lady who visited
Leicester towards the end of the 17th century, wrote in her
Diary : — " Ye walls now are only to secure gardens that are
made of ye ruined places that were buildings of strength." A


few of these gardens that were sheltered by the mediaeval stone
walls of the town survived into modern times, but the walls
have now disappeared, and only a few scattered fragments
remain. Portions of the East Wall may perhaps yet be seen
between East Bond Street and Churchgate ; and near Cumber-
land Street, out of which runs a " City Wall Street," may be
traced some relics of the old North Wall.

The ditches outside the town Walls were not entirely
filled up for some centuries. One day in 1714 or 1715, a certain
Mrs. Dickman, when walking home from St. Margaret's Church
along Churchgate, was unexpectedly rescued from oblivion by
a sudden storm of wind, which carried her off her feet, and
" blew her into the Town Ditch." This ditch remained till
the middle of the i8th century.

Most of the other walls in the town were made of mud.
When saltpetre was urgently required in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth for the manufacture of gunpowder, it was proposed
that all the mud walls witliin the borough should be broken
down in order that supplies might be obtained. The Mayor
then stated that, if this proposal were carried out, the damage
done to the town would amount to " 1,000 marks or there-
abouts," that is to say, between ^650 and ^(^700 of that day's
money, and many thousands of pounds of ours. There must
therefore have been a very considerable number of mud walls.
Only a few of them lasted into our own times, which old in-
habitants will remember, such as the remnants which lingered
on the boundary of the old shooting butts in Butt Close Lane,
and a wall which was standing within recent memory in Newarke

The four Gates, or Gatehouses, of the town were kept
in better repair than the walls, and they remained standing
until the year 1774. They were then all pulled down to meet
modern requirements, having been sold by auction at the Three
Crowns Hotel, in four lots, as building material. But the width
of the entrances was not altered for some years. Throsby
complained that only " the humble roofs of the Gates were sold
in 1774, being considered as obstacles to the passage of a lofty


load of hay or straw. The walls which supported these roofs
were left standing in general."

Of the old stone Bridges, which served the needs of the
town for many centuries, one, the North Bridge, was washed
away by a flood in 1795. The other three were demolished in
the 19th century, as they then proved insufficient to carry the
constantly increasing traffic.

The Houses of Leicester, throughout the Middle Ages,
were built of wood and plaster, and either thatched or, in some
cases, covered with Swithland slates. Stone was used occasion-
ally in a few important buildings, but brick was hardly, if at all,
employed in the construction of houses at Leicester until the
end of the 17th century. In the Town Chamberlains' Accounts
bricks are never mentioned before the year 1586, when '* lyme,
ston, and brycke " were used for building the conduit head in
St. Margaret's Field. When John Leland visited the town
about 1536, he remarked that " the whole town of Leicester
at this time is builded of timber ; " and, more than a hundred
years later, it presented very much the same appearance to
John Evelyn, who calls it in his Diary " the old and ragged
city of Leicester." At the end of the 17th century another
visitor described the town as " old timber building, except one
or two of brick."

The most interesting examples of domestic architecture,
besides the Wigston Chantry House, and the old Vicarage of
St. Mary's, which survived into modern times were the following :

(i) An old house in High Cross Street, now known as
Wigston House.

(2) The old " Parliament House," in Redcross Street.

(3) The Blue Boar Inn.

(4) An old house in St. Nicholas Street associated both

with Bunyan and Wesley.

(5) The " Lord's Place," in the present High Street, vdth

the Porter's Lodge and Gardener's Cottage.

(6) The Old Barn, in Horsefair Street.

(7) The Confratery of Wigston's Hospital.


(8) Some old timbered houses in Little Lane and Highcross

(i) This house was formerly supposed to have been a
Chantry House of the Guild of St. George, The original front
was taken down in 1796, and the ancient stained glass, which
then filled the long range of windows that look on to the court-
yard of the house, was taken away. This glass has been care-
fully preserved, having been for many years in the possession
of the Leicestershire Archaeological Society, and it is now
displayed in the City Museum. It has been reproduced
in colour in the Transactions of the Society, which at the same
time published an elaborate description of the various panels,
written by Thomas North. The Hall of the Guild of St. George
stood on the eastern side of St. Martin's Church, beyond the
Maiden Head Inn, and it is very doubtful if the house in the old
High Street was ever owned by that Guild. It is thought now
that it was the dwelling-place of some wealthy burgess. The
original building and the stained glass seem both to belong to
the reign of Henry VII, and it is conjectured (mainly on account
of the initials R. W. inscribed on two of the pieces of glass),
that the house may have been built and occupied by Roger
Wigston, who was Mayor of Leicester in 1465, 1472 and 1487,
and M.P. for Leicester in 1473 and 1488. He died in 1507,
and was buried in the Lady Chapel of St. ]\Iartin's Church.

(2) This old house was always called the " Parliament
House," on account of a tradition which maintained that Parlia-
ment had once met there. It was pulled down, unfortunately,
in the last century, but there is a very good illustration of it,
showing the heraldic devices displayed upon its front, in Mrs.
Fielding Johnson's " Glimpses of Ancient Leicester." It is
on record that Parliament met on February i8th, 1425-6, in
the great Hall of Leicester Castle. Both Lords and Commons
there listened to a speech of Cardinal Beaufort, Bishop of
Winchester and Chancellor of England, after which the Commons
were directed by the Chancellor to assemble " in quadam bassa
camera," to elect a Speaker. The accommodation provided
by the " Parliament House " would answer to this description,


and as the house stood hard by the Castle, one might reasonably
accept the local tradition, and conclude that the Commons
really met in the " low chamber " of this ancient dwelling-place.

(3) The Blue Boar Inn remained in existence, although not
used as an Inn, until 1836. " The Blue Boar," wrote James
Thompson in 1844, in his Handbook of Leicester, " was taken
down a few years since by a speculating builder to erect some
modern houses upon its site. Whilst its previous owner (Miss
Simons, a lady of the old school) was alive, it was preserved
from the hand of the destroyer ; but on her death no one was
found to rescue this relic of national interest from its

(4) This old house, in which John Bunyan lodged, according
to local tradition, in the reign of Charles II, and which John
Wesley occupied in the next century, was standing in St. Nicholas
Street not many years ago, but has now disappeared.

(5) A house in the Swinesmarket, known as " Reynold's
House," was purchased by the Earl of Huntingdon in 1569,
and thenceforth, under the name of " Lord's Place," became
the town-house of his family. Several royal visitors were there
entertained, including Mary Queen of Scots and Charles I.
The house itself, though perhaps not all the grounds, belonged
at one time io the family of Reynolds, who provided Leicester
with so many Mayors. It was bought in 1540 by Nicholas
Reynold, who was Mayor in 1531 and 1539. On the East it
was bounded by the George, on the West by a messuage belong-
ing to the King, and it extended on the North as far as Soapers'
Lane. The grounds of Lord Huntingdon's house seem to have
been more extensive ; and it is thought that an old house called
" The Porter's Lodge," formerly standing at the corner of
South and East Bond Streets, lay at the north-east entrance of
his property. An old building, still to be seen at the junction
of Free School Lane and West Bond Street, and known as
" The Gardener's Cottage," may also have belonged to the Place.
One of the lofty stone turrets of this mansion, concealed in
i8th century brickwork, survived until the year 1902, when the
premises to which it belonged were demolished.

209 ^

(6) Among the real estate granted to the Mayor and Bur-
gesses of Leicester by Queen Elizabeth's Charter of 1589 was
" an old Barn with the Barn-yard in Horsefair Street." This
ancient building may perhaps have been the " Fermerie " of
the Grey Friars, in which the Commons met in 1414. After
many generations, it was adapted to another use, being con-
verted, in the year 1752, into a place of worship for Methodists.
Twenty years later, John Wesley preached in the great building
to very large congregations. It was taken down in 1787.

(7) The very picturesque old house of the Confrater of
Wigston's Hospital stood in High Cross Street, and was destroyed
in 1875.

(8) A few old timbered houses of ancient date are to be
found in High Cross Street, at the corner of Red Cross Street,
and in Little Lane. The White Lion Inn, between Cank Street
and the Market Place, probably dates from the reign of Queen
Elizabeth, but has been much altered.

The Free Grammar School, built in 1573 out of the ruins
of St. Peter's church, was closed as a school in 1841. It is still
standing, at the corner of High Cross Street and Free School
Lane, being now used as a carpet warehouse. The arms of
Queen EUzabeth and those of the Borough of Leicester are
united upon its front. It is a plain structure of little beauty.
There are, in fact, in modern Leicester scarce half a dozen
buildings left, apart from the five old churches, in which the
genuine spirit of the Middle Age is still able to charm.




REteoRDS of the Borough of Leicester, edited by Miss

Bateson. 3 vols. (London and Cambridge, 1899-1905) R.

John Nichols' History and Antiquities of the County of

Leicester. 8 vols, in 4. (London, 1795-1811) .. N.

John Throsby's History of Leicester. (Leicester, 1791) .. Throsby.
James Thompson. History of Leicester. (Leicester, 1849) Ti.

James Thompson. History of Leicester in the i8th century.

(Leicester, 1 871) .. .. .. .. T2.

James Thompson. An Account of Leicester Castle.

(Leicester, 1859) . . . . . . . . T'3.

James Thompson. An Essay on English Municipal History.

(London, 1867) . . . . . . . . T4.

James Thompson. The Jewry Wall of Leicester.

(Leicester, 1850) . . . . . . . . ^5.

James Thompson. The Handbook of Leicester. (Leicester,

1844) .. .. .. .. .. Td.

William Burton. The Description of Leicestershire.

(London, 1622) . . . . . . . . . . Burton.

The Victoria History of Leicestershire. Vol. I. (all yet

published). (London, 1907) .. .. Victoria Hist.

Thomas North. A Chronicle of the Church of St. Martin,

Leicester. (London, 1866) .... .. .. North i.

Thomas North. The Accounts of the Churchwardens of

St. Martin's, Leicester. (Leicester, 1884) . . . . North 2.

Thomas North. Leicestershire Tradesmen's Tokens.

(Leicester, 1857) . . . . . . . . North 3.

Thomas North. The Church Bells of Leicestershire.

(Leicester, 1876) . . . . . . . . North 4.

Wlliam Kelly. Royal Progresses and Visits to Leicester.

(Leicester, 1884) .. .. .. .. Ki.

William Kelly. Notices Illustrative of the Drama and

other popular Amusements at Leicester. (London,

1865) Kz.

William Kelly. Ancient Records of Leicester. (Leicester,

185s) K2.

William Kelly. The Old West Bridge, Leicester (con-
tributed to Spencer's Illustrated Leicester Almanack,

1878) K^.

William Kelly. The Old Guildhalls of Leicester (in

Spencer's Almanack, 1879) . . . . , . K^.

Mrs. T. Fielding Johnson. Glimpses of Ancient

Leicester. (Second Edition, with Supplementary

Notes.) (Leicester, 1906) .. .. .. Glimpses.

A Guide to Leicester and District. (Leicester, 1907) Guide.

E. F. Doering. Studien zur Verfassungsgeschichte von

Leicester. (Hanau, 1908) .. .. .. .. Doering.

21 I



[Miss Watts.] A Walk through Leicester, being a Guide
to strangers, containing a description of the Town
and its Environs, with remarks upon its History and
Antiquities. (Leicester, 1804)

F. S. Herne. History of the Town Library and of the
Permanent Library of Leicester. (Leicester, 1891)

William Gardiner. Music and Friends, or Pleasant
Recollections of a Dilettante. 3 vols. (London,

J. F. HoLLiNGS. Leicester during the great Civil War.
(Leicester, 1840)

Henry Hartopp. Leicester and its Inhabitants in 1664,
being a Transcript of the original Hearth Tax Returns.
(Leicester, n.d.)

John Storey. Historical Sketch of some of the principal
Works and Undertakings of the Council of the Borough
of Leicester. (Leicester, 1895)

John Stockdale Hardy. Literary Remains. (London, 1852)

W. Hutton. The Battle of Bosworth Field (Second
Edition, with Additions by J. Nichols). (London,

Henry Knighton. Chronicon Henrici Knighton vel
Cnitthon, Monachi Leycestrensis, edited by J. R.
Lumby. 2 vols. (London, 1889)

John Leland. The Itinerary of John Leland, the Anti-
quary. (Second Edition.) 9 vols. (Oxford, 1744-45) . .

Transactions of the Leicestershire Architectural and
Archaeological Society. (Leicester, 1866-1920)

Leicestershire and Rutland Notes and Queries and
Antiquarian Gleaner, edited by John and Thomas
Spencer. 3 vols. (Leicester, 1891-1895) .. L. N. i^ O.

Reports and Papers read at the Meetings of the Architec-
tural Societies of the Counties of Lincoln, etc.
(Associated Architectural Societies.) (Lincoln,
1 852- 1 920)

Early Lincoln Wills. A. Gibbons. (Lincoln, 1888)

British Record Society (Index Library). Index of
Wills proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.

A New English Dictionary. (Oxford)

The Old Town Library of Leicester. A Catalogue, with
Introduction, etc., compiled for the Corporation of
Leicester by Cecil Deedes, M.A., Prebendary of Chi-
chester ; J. E. Stocks, D.D., Archdeacon of Leicester ;
J. L. Stocks, M.A., Fellow of St. John's College,
Oxford. (Oxford, 1919) . . .. .. Tovm Lib. Cat

The History of the Parish of Langton, etc., by J. H. Hill.

(Leicester, 1867) .. .. .. .. Hill

The Visitation of the County of Leicester in 1619. (Har-

leian Society, 1870) .. .. .. Visit. Lei c

Desiderata Curiosa by Francis Peck, M.A., Rector of
Godeby, in Leicestershire. A New Edition. 2 vols.
(London, 1779) . . . . . . . . . . Peck.











Note. — The References to Authorities are giveti in the order in which
the statements based upon them occur in the text.


Gates. R.I. 333, etc.

High Streets. R.II. 103.

Southfields. R.II. 389, etc.

Quarters. R.I. 359, 371, etc. R.I. 44-46, 213. R.II. 454-457.

North Quarter. R.II. Ivi.

Back Lanes. N.I. 328, 264.

Butt Close. R.III. 6, 7, 94. Watts, 20. N.I. 433, 513, note. R.II.

265, 337.
High Street. Ti,98. R.I. 228, 400. R.III. 141. N.I. 399. R.III.

xlv. R.II. 350, 245. North I, 213.
St. John's Lane. R.II. 307. Throsby, 386. N.I. 532.
Torchmere. R.I. 367. N.I. 327. R.I. 172. N.E.D., s.v. " Torch."

W. H. Duignan. Warwickshire Place Names, (Oxford, 191 2,)

29. R.II. 436.
St. Michaels Lane. R.II. 388, 436. N.I. 327. R.II. 417-
St. Peter's Lane. R.I. 367. RII. 95, 307- Watts, 25. N.I. 328.
Dead Lane. Nottingham Borough Records. I. 431. R.I. 256, 407.

R.II. 22, 307. N.I. 399. R.III. 141- N.I. 533- T i, 168.
Cross Lane. R.II. 258, 418.
Soapers' Lane. N.I. 533, 556. R.I. 287. R.I. 14, 15. R.II. 268,

348. R.III. II, 36. North I, 200. R.II. 435.
Parchment Lane. R.I. 288. N.I. 590. R.II. 203, 268, 343, 348,

433. 372, 307, note. N.I. 390, 532, R.III. 310.
Sviinesmarket. R.II. 22, 97, 148, 157. N.I. 393. R.III. 25, 240.

N.I. 532, 556.
Grey Friars. Throsby, 291.

Horse Fair Lane and Millstone Lane. R.II. 259. R.III. 251.
Hangman Lane. Throsby, 406. N.I. 532. R.II. 389. T2, 175.
Kirk Gate. R.II. 95, 267, 432. N.I. 532, note. R.II. 342, 445, 347.

R.III. 310. North I, 245. Throsby, 138.
Sheepmarket, or Silver Street. R.II. 83. N.I. 532. R.II. 268. N.I.

532. R.III. 240. R.II. 377, 379. Northampton Borough

Records, II. 522, 526. R.I. 383.
St. Francis Lane. R.I. 364. R.II. 401 {see R.I. 395, 397). N.I. 533.

R.II. 343. Throsby, 171.
The Cank. R.II. 395, 307. R.III. 89. N.I. 573, 574, 581. English

Dialect Dictionar>-, s.v. " canch." A. B. Evans' Leicester-
shire Words and Phrases, (London, 1881), 181. N.I. 533.
Loseby Lane. Guide, 112. R.I. 287, 288. R. II. 307. Throsby,

407. N.I. 533.
Friar Lane. R.II. 204, 307.
Mill Lane. A. A. S. xxxii. 533.
Hotgate. R.I. 358. R.II. 399, 307. R.III. 223. R.II. 307- N.I.

532. North I, 202.
Applegate. R.II. 50, 394, 430. R.III. 452, 315. Throsby, 405.

N.I. 532.
Red Cross Street. R.II. 346, 343. R.III. 35, 89. Throsby, 22.
Soar Laneijuxta Castrum). R.II. 266, 267, 307. R.I. 380. Throsby,

Black Friars. L.A.S. vi. 52.
Guildhall Lane. R.I. 365. R.II. 52, 307. N.I. 532. Hutton, 48.

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