A BIT ABOUT UPPER LANGWITH AND THEREABOUTS
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Nottingham, with its trade, its noble University College, its splendid Free Library, its delightful Art Museum, and its many advantages — commercial, educational, and residential — seems destined to grow in wealth and importance, for the energy of its citizens and its central situation combine to make it one of the foremost boroughs in England.
Wollaton Hall is one of the stateliest homes of which old England can boast, and the wooded park, where browse the frighted deer, surrounds it with all the beauties of nature, that give to country life its enchantment In both winter and summer. Passing through the entrance at the lodge, the visitor emerges under an avenue of majestic limes three-quarters of a mile in length, and at the ex- tremity stands the hall, described as ' a combination of elegance and art,' bearing on its southern front this proud inscription : ' En has Francisici Willoughbaei cedes rara Arte extructas Willoughbacis reltctas.
This splendid Elizabethan mansion, as the inscription testifies, took eight years in its completion, and cost ;f 80, — an enormous sum in those days. The Ancaster stone used in its construction was supplied in exchange for coal from the pits on the Wollaton estate. The interior of the noble building is no less attractive than its exterior, and its wealth of artistic adornment includes the master- pieces of Giordano, Vandyck, Snyders, Hemskirk, Teniers, Rubens, and others.
The early history of the founders of the family will be found touched upon in a chapter on Willoughby-on-the- Wolds, and we now propose to glance at the noble owners of a later period. It was a scene of wild excitement at Greenwich when the ship, with three others, started on its perilous voyage. Members of the Privy Council went to see it off, and great hopes were entertained of the success of the gallant and adventurous mariners.
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Unhappily the vessels met with storms off the coast of Spitzbergen, and the Bona Esperanza was driven into a river or haven, called Arzina, in Lapland. On the death of Sir Henry's eldest son without issue the estate came to Henry, heir of Edward, the second son.
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The former died, and Wollaton therefore passed to Francis, who was the builder of the palatial dwelling already referred to. In the publications of the Historical Manuscripts Com- mission there are several references to Sir Francis. In July, , he was sent by the Lords of the Council to Sawley to inquire into the misconduct of a Mrs.
William- son, and others, towards the messenger sent from the Council to apprehend the ringleaders of a riot committed in plucking down Sir Thomas Stanhope's weir at Shelford. But his great work was the building of his magnificent house, which remains a noble monument to his own excel- lent taste, and the wealth of his family.
He had two wives, the first of whom was Elizabeth, daughter of Mr. John Littleton, and the second, Dorothy, relict of John Tamworth. Sir Percival Wil- loughby, of Eresby, married the eldest, Bridget, and thus united the two houses, already related to each other. In the hall are portraits of Sir Percival and his lady, and in the background of Sir Percival's picture is depicted a ship, with a Latin motto thus rendered, ' Lost by words, not by winds and waves' — which it is surmised relates to the ruinous legal conflict His eldest son, Sir Francis, succeeded to the estates. He was a soldier, and served in the Low Countries, where he lost large sums of money, and his son met his death.
He died in , in the seventy-sixth year of his age, and was succeeded by his son Francis, the celebrated naturalist His heir, also named Francis, was created a baronet in , with remainder to his brother. Sir Thomas, who, having represented the county in Parliament, was created Baron Middleton of Middleton, in the county of Warwick, in 1. From him the present noble owner, the ninth Baron, is descended. Arnold and Bestwood, now busy centres of industry, in equally close proximity to Nottingham, were once within the bounds of Sherwood Forest ; but the merry horn of the hunter sounding through the woodland glades as he pursued his quarry has given place to the shriek of the locomotive whistle and the rattle of the hosiery frames.
The two parishes have become suburbs of the great town ; but notwithstanding all the changes that have taken place, there is still the ancient parish church of Arnold, with its architectural antiquities, to link us with the past At the time when this was built, in the Early English style about , the family of Amehall, or Arnold, had risen into con- siderable prominence, for in Ralph de Arnehall was created a knight by Edward I.
In the time of Edward VI.
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The chancel of the church was erected in the fourteenth century, when the Earls of Hereford were in possession of Arnold. In it are the remains of an Easter sepulchre — one of the few stone constructions of the kind to be found in the country. There are no figures or ornaments left here, but an account dated July 4, , containing details of materials for making a similar construction at St.
Mary RedclifTc, will give an idea of what was generally represented : ' Item. Hell made of timber, and ironwork thereto, with the Divels to the number of 13 ; item, 4 armed knights, keeping the sepulchre with their weapons in their hands, that is to say two axes, and two spears with.
In an in- quisition taken at St. John's House at Nottingham, in 1 28 1, before Geoffrey Langley, Justice of the Forest, it is described as ' a park of our Lord the King, wherein no man commons. In the historian's time it was in lease to William Lord Willoughby of Farham. The park was enclosed, and contained about 3, acres, of 28 History of Nottinghamshire. In Charles This noble family has done much to improve it and make it worthy to rank as one of the stately homes of England.
In Bestwood Lodge was completed, under the direc- tion of the present Duke, and is a fine specimen of domestic architecture in the style of the fifteenth century. Among royal visitors entertained by his Grace were the Prince apd Princess of Wales on the occasion of the opening of Nottingham Castle Museum in , and the late Duke of Albany, who opened the University College.
In the park is erected a beautiful little church, in which lie the remains of the late Duchess, to whom there is a memorial, and a marble medallion carved by the Princess Louise. The Duke is Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, and takes a lively interest in philanthropic and deserving institutions, both in the county town and the district surrounding it.
With Calverton, a few miles away, is indelibly associated the history of the invention of the stocking-loom, which has had such important industrial results. William Lee, to whom the hosiers owe so much, was bom at Calverton; and very appropriately the village where the first frame was devised is still a hosiery village. In Calverton and Woodborough, and the immediate vicinity, we may see the knitters with busy hands and skilled fingers deftly guiding the threads which make up the best of hose on the hand frames.
If they are not all making stockings, they are equally busy with other articles of attire that can be woven on their looms. In his native village no tablet exists to com- memorate his virtues, and the parish registers do not go far enough back to contain the entry of his baptism. We have to look elsewhere for such information as is obtain- able ; and first of all turn to Thoroton, to see what the great historian of the county has to say on the subject.
HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS IN THE BORDER
Thoroton's book was published about sixty-seven years after Lee's death, and the historian would be able to gain his information from old people, who would be likely to know something about Lee and his family. John's College, and, as a member of that house, proceeded B. On designing his frame, Lee sought to enlist the aid of the great, and to receive royal patronage. But Elizabeth did not view the invention with much favour.
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Along with his brother and nine work- men he removed to Rouen, and set up his frames there. The French King received him graciously at Paris, and promises of support were held out to him. It happened, however, that the monarch was assassinated, and his successor feeling no interest in the invention, Lee was left in Paris with ruined hopes and empty pockets.
His brother James hastened to the French capital to comfort and assist him, but ere he arrived the ingenious creator of the stocking-frame was dead and buried. Before going beyond the seas he had, according to Thoroton, trained an apprentice named Aston, for some time a miller near Bingham, and that worthy added something to his master's invention. There is a letter from Sir Walter Cope in the State Papers, under date August 20, 1, wherein he says, 'The English stocking- weavers, after fruitless experiments here, have gone over to Venice.
A troubled life and a nameless grave were the reward of his genius and industry. No one knows where his bones were buried, and his native place has no relic of him. It may be said that the shops and ware- houses devoted to the production and sale of stockings are a constant memorial. The county town itself, owing its vast dimensions in a great measure to the fame of its hosiery, is a tribute to his worth. The church itself has been well restored. For Calverton is undoubtedly an ancient village, and its first church must have been erected at a very early period.
In other parts of the church very old stones may he seen, and there is some quaint carving on several of them, which have been built into the tower, representing shearing, threshing, hunt- ing, feasting, and other subjects. They are clearly of great antiquity, and interesting also, as illustrative of the dress of the period.
From Calverton to Woodborough, where a family of the name of Lee resided at the time when the hero of the stocking-frame was born, the roadway passes over a steep hill. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the name of Jebb occurs in the registers, and the family arms were on the windows of the church before the ruthless de- struction attending the Civil Wars.
Among those who brought honour on the name were Dr. Samuel Jebb, the I'ditor of Aristides ; Dr. Of the two sons of Samuel, one rose to be a judge, and the other was made Bishop of Limerick. Both Woodborough and Lamblcy, which adjoins it, are intimately connected with the hosiery trade. Lambley was once associated with the Crom wells, and possesses memorials of them to this day.
A chantry chapel which stood on the north side of Lambley Church was founded in by Ralph Cromwell, and its dimen- sions may still be traced.