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The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester

By John Nichols

John Nichols was an author, antiquarian and printer born in Islington, London, in 1745. He was a baker's son but became apprenticed to a printer, William Bowyer, and in 1766 he became Bowyer's business partner. In 1777, William Bowyer died leaving Nichols as owner of the business, located in Red Lion Passage, Fleet Street.

Though London born and based, Nichols had family connections in Leicestershire; he spent his early years with his maternal grandfather in Hinckley, and his second wife, Martha Green, was born in the town. Nichols undertook a comprehensive survey of the county’s antiquities, and historical and ecclesiastical sites, and by the mid-1790s had accrued a huge collection of notes, drawings, and engravings.

Considered one of his most important works, Nichols's The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester, was the most ambitious of the various antiquarian county histories produced from the late 16th Century onwards. Much of the content was based on work carried out by fellow antiquarians, Francis Peck, who was Rector of Goadby Marwood from 1723 to 1743, and John Throsby, parish clerk of St. Martin's Church in Leicester from 1770 to 1803. 


Nichols's massive compendium of historical notes, manuscripts and engraved plates was printed by subscription and was published in four volumes between 1795 and 1815. Nichols’s antiquarian and printing work was continued by his son, John Bowyer Nichols, and grandson, John Gough Nichols.

The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester - Goadby Marwood pages

Map of Leicestershire from Nichols.png
John Nichols an engraving by George Cook

John Nichols, an engraving by George Cooke,

National Galleries Scotland.

Godeby plate from Nichols 2.png

Plate from Nichols's The History and Antiquities

of the County of Leicester, showing St. Denys Church and onetime rector, Rev. Francis Peck.

Map of Leicestershire from Nichols's

The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester. 

Samuel Lewis

A Topographical Dictionary of England

By Samuel Lewis

Samuel Lewis, born in 1782, was a London-based editor and publisher of a number of extensive topographical texts during the mid-1800s. He published an impressive series of local dictionaries and associated atlases covering Britain and Ireland, the aim of which was to give, in a condensed form, an accurate and impartial description of each place.

Lewis’s ‘A Topographical Dictionary of England’ was first published in 1831; it listed and described, in alphabetical order, every county, city, borough, market town, post town, parish, chapelry, township, hamlet, tything, and hundred in England. There were six subsequent editions, the last of which was published in 1848-1849 and comprised four volumes and an atlas.

Not a great deal is known of Lewis’s private life except that he was married and had at least one son, Samuel, who continued his father’s publishing work, and one daughter, Eliza. Samuel Lewis died at his home in Islington, London, on 28th February, 1865, at the age of 82.

Transcription from the 6th Edition published by S Lewis, London, 1848


Goadby-Marwood (St. Denis)

GOADBY-MARWOOD (St. Denis), a parish, in the union of Melton-Mowbray, hundred of Framland, N. division of the county of Leicester, 5 miles (N. by E.) from Melton-Mowbray; containing 202 inhabitants. It comprises 1669a. 1r. 10p.; the surface, though generally flat, rises towards the south into a ridge of considerable elevation. The greater portion of the land is a good red soil, and the remainder a strong clay; there are pits of excellent marl, and some quarries of brown stone which is used for building. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £16; patron and incumbent, the Rev. Edward Manners, who is also lord of the manor, and whose seat, Goadby Hall, is in the parish: the tithes have been commuted for £420. 7. 6., and the glebe comprises 34 acres. The church, which is partly in the decorated English style, contains, among several interesting monuments, a flat stone with an inscription in Latin to the memory of the celebrated antiquary, the Rev. Francis Peck, rector, who died in 1743, and was buried here. The sum of £24, arising from land given to the poor, is annually distributed among them. Many vases and Roman coins have been discovered at various times in the park; and in a field called the Dane Field from its having been the scene of a battle with the Danes, and in the neighbourhood, human bones are frequently found in great profusion, sometimes within ten inches of the surface.

John Curtis

A Topographical History of the County of Leicester

By Rev. John Curtis


Headmaster of the Free Grammar School, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, and perpetual curate of Smisby.

Transcription from the 1831 publication.

Goadby Marwood

Goltebi, Goutebi, Gotesbi, Gundeby

Hund. of Framland, 5 miles N. by E. from Melton, and 109 from London; contains 1400 acres, 171 inhabitants, 37 houses; its expenditure in poor-rates 156l. 12s. The soil is chiefly clay, with some red marl, and the ground hilly. The principle landed proprietors are Otho Manners, Esq. who is Lord of the manor, and has a seat called Goadby Hall, Thomas Charlton, and Robert Day, Esqrs. O. Manners, Esq. is patron of the Rectory, which has a Glebe of 34 acres. -P.N.T 12l. In 1535 the Rectory was valued at 16l.

In 1086 Goisfrid de Wirce held 6 curates belonging to the manor of Melton, and 20 acres of meadow. In 1257 John de Verdun had a grant of free warren. 1293 Elizabeth, wife of John de Albiniaco, held 5 virgates. In 1300 Roger Mowbray held ¼ of a fee. In 1337 Alicia Davy held 12s rents. In 1343 Ralph Basset, of Drayton, held a fee. In 1346 John Maureward held the manor extent. In 1361 John Mowbray held a fee. In 1380 Roger Beler and Margaret, his wife, held rents. In 1394 Maria, wife of Roger Beler, formerly wife of John St. Clere, had 12s rents.

In 1399 Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, held ½ a fee. Philippa, daughter of Thomas Maureward, brought it in marriage to Sir Thomas Beaumont. In 1420 Robert Swillington, held 20 acres. In 1461 John, Duke of Norfolk, and Alice, his wife, held part of a fee. In 1464 Edward IV. Granted the manor and advowson to Richard Hastings; it had belonged, however, to the Beaumonts, for in the same year John Beaumont held the manor, and John Beaumont (attained) and Humphrey Dacre held the manor and advowson. In 1570 the Beaumonts sold it to George Villiers, and his descendant in 1669 sold it to Henry Lowe. In 1735 it was sold to Peter Wyche; and in 1765 it was again sold to the Duke of Rutland.

Notes by Goadby Marwood History Group

A grant of free warren was a privilege issued by the sovereign which allowed the holder to kill certain game within a stipulated area.

A virgate or yardland was a unit of land area measurement used in medieval England and was held to be the amount of land that a team of two oxen could plough in a single annual season. It was nominally thirty acres. 

A fee simple or fee simple absolute is an estate in land, a form of freehold ownership.

The manor extent, was a legal document describing the tenants, their holdings, rents, and services, which was compiled on testimony by a sworn jury of inhabitants. The extent was completed whenever a manor changed hands. 

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