C.J. (Charles James) Billson.

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" Church Gate from St. Margaret's Church to the Round Hill,
Gosewell Gate and Belgrave gate." Hence it may be gathered
that Gosewellgate was identical with the Haymarket, lying
between the East Gates and Belgrave Gate.

The term Gallowtree Gate, or Galtregate, was applied
to the highway in St. Martin's Parish South of Churchgate.
The point of division, the Roundel opposite to the East Gate,
is made clear by the boundaries of the old Wards in 1484 and

The name of the street occurs in the Borough Records, as
Gallowtree Gate, Galughtregate, Galowe tre gate, Gaultrygate
and Galtregate. In the title deeds of the old Angel Inn it is
said to have been named *' Gallows Lane." It does not appear
ever to have been known as Gartree Gate, which the late Mr.
F. T. Mott thought might be its original title. In his opinion
it had borne the name of the Hundred, and formed part of the
old Roman Road called " Gartree Road." But, apart from the
unlikelihood of the word " Gartree " being lengthened into
" Gallowtree," the course of the Gartree Road does not seem to
have corresponded with Gallowtree Gate. There was a gallows
placed on the top of the London Road Hill, above Gallowtree-
gate, at the corner of Evington Lane, set upon what was described
in 13 16 as Galtre " cultura " (a cultivated plot, or wong), after-
wards known as Gallow-tree or Galltree Hill. Gallowtree Gate,
a northern continuation of the same road, might have been


named after this. As Col. G. C. Bellairs has pointed out, it
occurs in other places, as " The Gallowtree " at Glasgow.

There was some ground between this road and the town
wall and ditch. In 1290 land was conveyed " with the build-
ings," which stretched " from the highway which is called
Gallowtree Gate as far as the walls of Leicester " ; and in 1337
a messuage in Galtregate stretched from " the said street to the
town ditch." The space outside the East Gate, where the Clock
Tower now stands, and where Church Gate meets Gallowtree
Gate, and the roads branch off towards Belgrave and Humber-
stone, was known as Town's End, Galtregate Town's End or
Galtregate End. There stood the Berehill, with a pair of stocks
near it. This is mentioned in the Records of the Borough as
early as 1260. It was a mound, formerly surmounted by a cross,
used for many different purposes, and sometimes called the
Roundhill, or Roundel. In 13 17 the Mayor complained that
Alan of Gissing used to stand with two grooms on the Berehill
on Saturdays, waylaying woolfells coming by road, and fore-
stalling them. It was a convenient place for the view of frank-
pledge for the East Gate, which was held there on the eve of the
Epiphany. At the division of Wards in 1484, the fourth Ward
began at St. Margaret's Church " unto the corner at the little
bridge without the East Gate and Belgrave Gate on both sides
unto the corner foryeinst the Berehill Cross." The Berehill
adjoined the Haymarket, and it is possible that its name is derived
from the word " bere," or barley, and that it was once the site
of a market. Mr. Kelly thought that it was used of old as a
place for bear and bull baitings, and derived its name from the
word bear, but this is not very probable. " Bere " is a common
name in Devonshire, especially for orchards, and this word
seems to be derived from the Saxon beam, a grove of trees —
another possible ancestor of our bere-hill. In later days it became
known as the Coalhill, " from its being the place where coal was
formerly brought for sale in panniers on the backs of horses."
In 1493 the Roundel belonged to St. Margaret's Guild.

The cross, after being repaired in 1552, seems to have been
pulled down, together with the old wooden cage which stood


beside it, about the year 1575, The cross itself was never
replaced, but at a Common Hall, held in 1600, it was agreed
" that there shall be a cage presently made and to be set up in
the old place," or " in the place called the Barrell Cross or near

In the middle of the i8th century. Assembly Rooms were
built on the site. " The building," wrote Mrs. Fielding Johnson,
in her " Glimpses of Ancient Leicester," " which had no archi-
tectural pretensions, consisted mainly of a large upper room,
supported upon columns, and facing the Humberstonegate.
The other end, looking towards High Street, was occupied by
one or more shops."

Belgravegate is first mentioned in the published Records
of the Borough in the year 1305, when a rent was granted from
a messuage outside the East Gate in " Bellgravegate," lying
between Richard Norman's land and " the lane which leads to
the Earl of Leicester's bakehouse." Belgravegate does not seem
to have been within the Bishop's Fee, as Churchgate and
Humberstonegate were. The tenants there, in 1322, under the
leadership of Richard of Belgrave, certainly made an attempt
" to draw the street which is called Belgravegate to the county
for making contributions and tallages." But they did not then
succeed, for it remained attached to the borough, and was for
a long time after included in the borough tallage rolls. In 1478 a
messuage " in the East Suburbs of Leicester in the street called
Belgravegate," which stretched from the King's highway to the
lane called Barkby Lane, was granted to the Borough for an
obit. In 1484 the thoroughfare was included in the fourth Ward
of the town.

" The street which is called Humberstonegate " is men-
tioned in the Borough Records from 1286 onwards. It belonged
to the Bishop's Fee, and the tenants paid taxes with Gartree
Hundred, and not with the Borough. It was provided, in
1273, that no one living on the fee of the Bishop might be a
Jurat of Leicester. It would appear that the great causeway in
Humberstonegate was erected in 1344, when the Earl of Derby,
the eldest son of Henry, Earl of Lancaster, sent his serjeant,


Walter of Bintrey, to Leicester " for the lord's business for the
repair of ways in Humberstonegate and Belgravegate." The
making of the causeway is not mentioned directly in the Mayor's
accounts for that year, but they are endorsed in an old hand
" Humberstonegate, Great Cawsey there erected."

In the Ward division of 1484, the fifth Ward included the
whole of Humberstonegate ; but in the division of 1557 the
point in Humberstonegate at which the Ward commenced was
more strictly defined. It began " from the bridge by the
Antelope." The Antelope was a piece of ground, apparently
belonging once to the College of the Newarke, for in 1493 the
Guild of Corpus Christi were paying an acknowledgment of
3d. to the New College " for the outshoot " (or drainage) " of
the water of the tenement late in the holding of Robert Couper
going out through the Antelope." A bridge there is mentioned
in 1551 ; and in 1566 there was " work at the Antelope for
paving and laying of the same bridge." In 1595 " the cawsie
beyond Antelope Bridge " was repaired.




IT is commonly asserted that, whereas the use of signs was
generally optional, publicans were on a different footing
from other traders in this respect. " As early as the 14th
century," we are told by the writer on " Signboards " in the
Encyclopaedia Britannica, " there was a law in England compelling
them to exhibit signs, for in 1393 the prosecution of a publican
for not doing so is recorded." The reference seems to be to
the case of Florence North, a brewer of Chelsea, who was " pre-
sented " in that year for not putting up the usual sign. But,
whatever may have been the case elsewhere, it does not appear
that any regulations of this kind were in force at Leicester before
the year 1570. No doubt most of the early taverns would display
a bush, or some other kind of sign, but the practice does not
seem to have been universal. At any rate in 1570, when there
were as many as seventy innkeepers in Leicester, the Governing
Body of the town found it necessary to provide " that every
common victualler of the town of Leicester shall set forth an
outward sign of his or their victualling." This rule was applied
in practice only to innkeepers.

The records of the Borough contain no allusion to the signs of
inns until the 15th century. In earlier times the hostelries were
described by the name of their owner or holder. We are told, for
instance, that Sir John Chandos, " Knight of the Earl," was enter-
tained in 1310 at " Stephen Giffard'stavern." And in the following
year some of the Earl's household were feasted by the Mayor at the
tavern of Roger of Glen, who represented the Borough in Parlia-
ment in the years 1301 and 1302. At other times they made use of
" Henry le Mercer's tavern," " Simon of the Buttery's tavern,"
situate near the East Gate, " Walter the Tailor's tavern," " Robert
the Porter's tavern," and the taverns of William of Grantham,
John Cook, Walter of Bushby, and William Tubbe, who was
Mayor in 1363, and who lived in or near the Swinesmarket, the
present High Street. Another inn frequently mentioned in the
14th century was kept by a Frenchman, Hugh del He, or de Lyle,


who came from Lille, entered the Leicester Guild Merchant
in 1345, and kept a tavern somewhere in the North quarter of
the town. It may be noted that " Kepegest " occurs as a
Leicester surname during the 12th and 13th centuries. The
common name for a restaurateur was then keu, cocus, or cook.
During the first three centuries after the Conquest, most
of the Leicester inns lay in or close to the old High Street, for
at that time, and long afterwards, the life of the community
gathered round the High Cross, but as trade increased in volume
and importance, the Saturday Marketplace, on the South-East side
of the town, became a more populous centre than the High Cross,
and during the 15 th and i6th centuries many hostelries grew up
in that neighbourhood. They were almost, indeed, rendered
necessary by the regulations of the Borough, which laid down
in the year 1467 that " all men, women, and children that bring
horses laden with corn or other victuals to the market shall lead
them out of it, as soon as they are unladen, to the inns."

The earliest mention in the Borough Records of sign-bearing
inns occurs in the year 1458, when the Chantry of Corpus Christi
are said to have received a rent of ten shillings per annum from
a certain " hospicium quod vocatur Bell," and also a rent of
sixpence per annum " de hospicio quod vocatur Gorge." This
ancient hostelry of the Bell was situated in the Swinesmarket,
the present High Street, and not on the site of the later hotel of
the same name. In October, 1587, as we learn from the Records
of the Borough of Nottingham, Richard Wright, of Cambridge,
stayed a night at this old inn, and rode off next morning on
someone else's horse — unless, indeed, he was speaking the truth,
when he told the Nottingham Justices that he had bought it from
a man, who lived at Kirby Muxloe, for ^^3 cash and ^^i i6s. 4d.,
" to be paid on this side Easter next." The Bell in the Swines-
market was still existing in 1605, when the Chamberlains received
a rent of ten shillings per annum from Thomas Nurse, butcher,
" out of a tenement in the Swinesmarket in his occupation,
called the Bell." The George also lay in the Swinesmarket.
It was still in the possession of the Corpus Christi Guild in 15 19
and 1534. The George, or George and Dragon Inn, existing


in the 17th century, seems to have been situated at the angle
of Friar Lane and Hotel Street.

In an undated Subsidy Roll of the 15th century, " the Lord
Mungey " (Mountjoy) was taxed for " The Talbot," among
lands which lay in the " South and West quarters of Leicester " ;
and in 1493 the Chantry of Corpus Christi paid a rent of two
shillings to the King for " The Talbot," which they had let for
24 shillings a year, but in that year the name of no tenant was
given and it seems to have been unoccupied. According to
Miss Bateson, this was the Talbot Inn, which stood from an
early date in Talbot Lane. But it was a common fashion to call
any small piece of land after some creature whose shape it
suggested, and the " Talbot " may perhaps have been such a
plot of ground, called after the hound of that name, and both
Inn and Lane may have derived their title from the land. Throsby
speaks of the Talbot Inn as " the house at the Talbot." It is
probable, however, that the Talbot Inn, which was standing in
the 1 6th century in Belgrave Gate, near to the place where the
Maypole used to be set up, and which in 15 19 belonged to the
Corpus Christi Guild, was so designated after the talbot's head
that formed the crest of the Belgrave family. The " messuagium
vocatum le Pecocke," owned by the same Guild, was probably
not an inn, but the piece of land so called which gave its name to
Peacock Lane, and to the Peacock Inn, in Southgate Street, that
is mentioned in the i8th century. The " Antelope," in Humber-
stonegate, was also a piece of ground. North concluded from a
Tradesman's Token that an Antelope Inn was in existence about
1666, but the sign to which he referred was that of a hart.

More famous than any of these inns is the Blue Boar,
situated in the old High Street, at the corner of the lane which
led to the Guild Hall. The tragic history of this ancient house
is related elsewhere in this volume. It ceased to be used as an
inn sometime after the events there mentioned, but remained
long in existence, a very beautiful specimen of the domestic
architecture of the middle ages, until it was finally destroyed
by the hand of man in the year 1836.


The most important of the other i6th century inns seem
to have been the Angel, the White Hart, the Bull's Head,
the Green Dragon and the Horse and Trumpet.

The most famous of all Leicester hostelries was the Angel,
which stood in Cheapside, near the present Victoria Parade, and
stretched back to the town wall overlooking Gallowtree Gate.
In the year 1534 the Guild of Corpus Christi possessed a " tene-
ment called ye aungell," and it is referred to in the Chamberlains'
accounts for 1549. In 1550 " my lord Cromwell and Sir Richard
Manners " stayed there, and in the following year the Earl of
Shrewsbury ; and from that time onward it accommodated a
long succession of notable visitors. A curious statement is
made by Nichols, that, in the middle of the i6th century, the
Horse and Trumpet Inn was known as the Angel, and was sold,
about the year 1558, for ^zd 13s. 4d. by John Cressey, glover,
to John Stanford, butcher. Now it is quite certain that the
Horse and Trumpet stood near the High Cross, and also that the
historic Angel stood near the East Gate. It was described in
1586 as " I'hostellerie des faulxburgh de I'Ange," so that it
evidently lay then on the outskirts of the town. Unless Nichols
was mistaken, there must have been an old Angel of the High
Cross, which took wing some time between 1558 and 1586 from
the centre of the town to the East end, whereupon its former
habitation degenerated into the Horse and Trumpet.

Among the distinguished guests of the Angel who are
mentioned in the annals of the Corporation, chiefly as receiving
civic presents of wine and sugar, may be noticed Henry, the
third Marquess of Dorset, Lord Derby, Lord Talbot, Lord
Morley (1557) ; Mr. Barker, Chancellor (1560) ; Mr. Day, the
Town Preacher, and " another Preacher " (1564) ; Mr. Raven
(1565) ; " A Scottysshe beshoppe whiche rode to the Courte
in poste "(1568) ; John Hall, Auditor of the Duchy of Lancaster,
(1590) ; the Earl of Huntingdon, and the Earl of Shrewsbury
(1597) ; Lady Arabella Stuart (1605 and 1608) ; the Princess
Elizabeth, eldest daughter of King James I. (1606) ; John
Frederick, Prince of Wirtenberg (1608) ; Sir Oliver Cromwell,
and " my lord Cavendishe and his lady who lay at the Angell


and dined yesterday at the Abbey with Sir Henry and a sort of
gallons that came with them " (1613) ; Sir William Herrick and
his lady, (1622) ; Prince Charles Louis, son of the Princess
Elizabeth of Bohemia, and nephew of Charles I. (1636) ; the
Earl of Arundel (1639) ; and the Earl of Stamford (1642). The
account of the visit of Prince Charles Louis, contained in the
Hall Book for 1636, may be worth quoting as an example of
civic hospitality. " Upon the twelfth day of August 1636,
Ludovicus Prince Palsgrave of the Rhine did dine at the Angell
in Leicester, coming from our royal King Charles " (who was
then at Tutbury), "to go to Holmby, where the Queen then
lay at. The Mayor, Recorder and most of the Four-and-twenty
went thither and presented unto him a banquet presently after
the meat was taken from his table, which cost £,2-}, and something
more ; and three gallons of Canary sack, three gallons of Claret,
and three gallons of white wine ; which was very kindly accepted
of by the Prince, and Mr. Mayor, Mr. Recorder, and his brethren
most courteously used by him."

The bells of St. Martin's Church were rung sometimes to
celebrate the arrival at the Angel of an illustrious visitor, as
when the Countess of Huntingdon alighted there at Christmas
1626, and when the Bishop of York arrived in 1630.

Before the Recorder's Chamber was fitted up at the Guild-
hall in 1582, Mr. Recorder stayed at the Angel, as in 1580 ;
it was also used as the resort of various Commissioners, and for
other business purposes. Thus, when there was an invasion
scare in 1580, Mr. Mayor and other Justices took wine at the
Angel, on meeting there the Justices of the Shire " about the
demilances and light horse that certain of the Mayor's brethren
by the Council were charged to find." In 1584 Mr. Skevington
and Mr. Wensley were at the Angel, " then sitting of a com-
mission for Fenton " ; and in 1587 the six Commissioners, who
had been appointed to enquire into the decay of houses in
Leicester town and the cost of repairing them, dined there on
no penurious fare, but on " bread and bear, boyld meat, boyld
bef, rost veall, caponettes, rabetes, pygons, frut and ches, wyne
and suger, etc." Among the Judges, Mr. Justice Beaumont


lodged at the Angel in 1598, and received from the Corporation
a " pottell of claret and a pottell of secke " ; while Mr. Thomas
Cave, who was sitting that year " for the subsidy," received there
a present of wine and sugar. And in 1609 there is a charge for
wine and sugar given to the Justices of the County at their first
sitting at the Angel in Leicester " about aide to make the noble
Prince Henry, The King's Majesty's eldest son, Knight."

Even men of quality staying in Leicester for the races were
entertained at the expense of the town. Thus, in 1603, a gallon
of sack and 2 gallons of claret were given to " Sir Thomas Griffyn,
Sir William Faunt, and other gentlemen at the Angel at the horse
running." During the civil wars the Angel was the scene of
great activity. It was probably occupied by Prince Rupert,
when, after extracting £S'^° from the Corporation, he established
his headquarters at Leicester in 1642. He had visited the town
once before in that year, and received a gallon of white wine,
one pottle of claret, one pottle of canary and one pound of sugar.
In the Chamberlains' accounts for 1642 the following items refer
to his doings ; — " Item, paid, which was spent at the Angel by
Mr. Mayor's appointment, when the Prince sent in carriages

to be guarded by the town v.s. od.

Item, paid, for a dinner at the Angel for Sir Henry Hungate by
Mr. Mayor's appointment, himself and diverse aldermen being

then present there iiij.s. od.". .

Sir Henry Hungate, it will be remembered, was the bearer of
Prince Rupert's letter demanding ^2,000 from the Leicester
Corporation. Again in 1643-44 • — " Item, paid to Mr. Browne
for a pottle of sack, one gallon of clarrett and suger which Mr.
Mayor gave to the Governer and certaine captaines at the Angell,
and by his appointment viij.s iiij.d."

After the defeated King had been delivered up to the Parlia-
ment, he was taken by the commissioners under a guard to
Holdenby House in Northamptonshire, and on his journey
thither he passed the night of February 13th, 1647, in Leicester,
probably at the Angel, where lodging had been bespoken for
him, if necessary. Thompson, in his History of Leicester, says
definitely that Charles slept the night at the Angel Inn. His


authority would seem to be a letter bespeaking rooms at that
house " if no private house be available." Thompson gives the
1 2th as the date of the King's visit, but the letter, which is itself
dated the 12th, says " He will be here tomorrow night." Sixty-
one years earlier, another victim of destiny, more pitiable and
more innocent than Charles, had stayed at the same hostelry.
Mary, Queen of Scots, when she was on the way to her trial
at Fotheringay Castle, arrived at Leicester on September 23rd,
1586, and the physician who was in attendance states in his
diary that she lodged at the Angel. The Leicester Chamber-
lains' accounts imply that she remained there two nights.

A year after the visit of Charles, his Conqueror and successor
was at Leicester, when the Mayor and Aldermen entertained
Lt. -General Cromwell with " wine, biscuits, beare and tabacko,"
but history does not relate where he lodged.

In the year 1688 a feast was held at the Angel, which was
then the house of Mr. Joseph Cradock, the Mayor of the town,
in order to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Wales (afterwards
known as the Pretender).

When William of Orange and Mary were crowned in April,
1689, the Corporation of Leicester celebrated that joyful event
also by dining together at the Angel Inn, and entertaining there,
at the expense of the town the neighbouring gentry " and persons
of good quality and fashion." In the autumn of the same year
another banquet took place, when the Earl of Stamford was
entertained " at a feast at the Angel," and the Companies that
dined there were paid for at the Corporation's charge, and such
gentlemen as he should bring with him, and such other gentlemen
and others were allowed every person sixpence apiece in wine.
In 1707 the Union with Scotland was celebrated by a civic feast
held at the Angel, and in 171 5 the first anniversary of the Accession
of King George was welcomed by a twelvepenny Ordinary at
that Inn. At the celebration of his Coronation, and on the day
of Thanksgiving for his Accession to the Throne, the municipal
banquets had been held elsewhere on a more lavish scale. Indeed,
the great days of the old hostelry were now drawing to a close.
It seems to have been demolished some time in the i8th century,


when another building was erected on a portion of the ancient
site, occupying the centre of the large court -yard. This edifice
remained, bearing the sign of the Angel, until the year 1854,
when it finally disappeared. Some twenty-five years ago, it
was described by an old inhabitant of Leicester in the following
words : — " The front of this inn was in the yard which is now
occupied by Morley and Sons. It was a posting Inn, and was
occupied by Mrs. Whitehead for many years, her son conducting
the business for her. After her death he became the proprietor.
The sign, a hanging one, bore the representation of an Angel
in vivid colours." The locality of the old hostelry is now pointed
out only by the popular name of a partly covered passage from
Cheapside to Gallowtree Gate, " the Angel Gateway." One
surviving relic of this famous inn is a farthing token, issued in
the year 1667 by Nathaniel Baker, which bears on the obverse
his name encircling the figure of an angel, and on the reverse
" 1667 in Lester " — surrounding his initials N.B. conjoined.

About the year 1894 there was dug up on the site of the
old Angel Inn a fragment of stone bearing the Arms of Hastings,
Wake, Peveril of Cornwall and another coat.

The White Hart Inn is mentioned in 1547, when Henry
Grey, of Bradgate, Marquis of Dorset, stayed there. At the
end of the i6th century it belonged to the Herrick family, having
been conveyed in 1570, with other property, to John Herrick for
the term of 1,000 years for the annual rent of a rose flower.
His eldest son, Robert, by his Will, dated 1617, gave the White
Hart Inn to Dorcas, one of his nine daughters, who was then
unmarried. It was valued in the previous year at ;{^200, " which
is well worth it and more," wrote Robert Herrick, in one of
his letters. It lay outside the East Gate, and became a favourite
place of resort in the early years of the i8th century. When
George the First was crowned, in September, 17 14, the Cor-
poration of Leicester, after attending St. Martin's Church, and
listening to an appropriate sermon, returned to the Town Hall,

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