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was into fourteen large fields, subdivided into furlongs, which is an ancient English measure of area as well as of length, and as such is used by Shakspere. The different names are very suggestive. Some explain themselves, others seem hopeless. I must mention one only-I have no time for more. I found the name “ Cock's Pit Close" in some old parish books. After satisfying myself as to its position, I went to explore, and found in the turf a genuine old cockpit, of very considerable dimensions, very nearly perfect. It is in a secluded part of the parish, close to the river, far away from any
houses. I am reluctantly obliged to pass over a great number of subjects on which I could write at some length. I have made copies or abstracts of upwards of one hundred wills of persons belonging to the parish. I have examined the oldest Sessions Books belonging to the Magistrates of the Liberty. I have gone through all the old rolls of the manor, and copied in full one which I came across at a second-hand bookseller's, of a more ancient date than any now in the keeping of the Steward of the manor. I have taken down the words, and in some cases the airs, of the children's rhyming games. I have collected all the proverbs, weather-sayings, and provincialisms. I could tell something about the old crops, when hemp, and flax, and rye, and lentiles, were grown; something of the stocks, of the two village crosses, of the quaint payments made with reserved rents in leases, of a tremendous fire, for which a brief was issued; and much else.
I may be allowed, in conclusion, to point out that what it has been such a pleasure to me to do for Maxey history is also within the reach of any educated man residing in the most secluded village, who has any taste for antiquities, and who can read ancient documents. It is true that not many villages have so interesting a church ; but all the sources from which I have derived
information are freely accessible to all genuine students.
NORTHBOROUGH CHURCH AND MANOR HOUSE, IN CONNECTION WITH CROMWELL
AND THE CLAYPOLES.
BY THE REV. H. J. DUKINFIELD ASTLEY, M.A.
(Read at the Peterborough Congress, July 20th, 1898.)
HE village of Northborough, situated
about seven miles north-east of Peterborough, and two miles south-west of Market Deeping, on the extreme limits of Northamptonshire, and on the borders of Lincolnshire, is one of the most inte
resting in the neighbourhood, not only archæologically and historically, but also from a literary point of view. With regard to this latter—which does not concern us on this occasion—we may just notice, in passing, that it was the home for many years of the peasant poet, John Clare, who was born in 1793, in the village of Helpston close by, and that from this place he was taken to the asylum where he spent the last days of his chequered life, with beclouded intellect, brought on through poverty, neglect, and drink. From time to time, even then, he gave utterance to strange weird poems, full of a certain wild genius, which in his case was not merely akin to, but—as in the case of the poet Cowper—actually merged in madness.
He died as recently as 1864. There are several epitaphs from his pen in Northborough churchyard.
Historically, the village is celebrated as the home of the Claypoles, and through them it is brought into connection with Cromwell: John Claypole having married Elizabeth, the Lord Protector's favourite daughter.
Archæologically, there is the church, of unrivalled and unique interest, and the beautiful fourteenth-century
NORTHBOROUGH CHURCH AND MANOR HOUSE.
manor house, still known as the “ Castle,” the residence of the Claypoles.
First in order, as it is in interest, let us take the church, in connection with which there are one or two salient points which strike the beholder on the first cursory glance. As we walk round it, and take in the tout ensemble of the building, we inevitably say: This is not only a piece of English history, displaying the progress of Gothic architecture during three centuries, the twelfth to the fourteenth, but it is also a monumentof disappointed hopes and unaccomplished ambitions.
The manor of Northborough, Bridges tells us in his History and Antiquities of Northamptonshire, belonged to the monastery of St. Pega, at Peakirk Pega's Church, and with other manors it was depopulated by the Danes in 1013. In 1048 the site of the monastery was adjudged to belong to Burgh, and its ejected abbot began to found a new monastery at Northburgh, near the Welland; but Ferriot, Lord of Bosworth, claimed it as having been given by his ancestors, and as no monks were at Peakirk it was determined to be his by right of inheritance. In 3 Henry III (1219), it was held by Brian de la Mare. Peter de la Mare held it 24 Edw. I (1296) of the Abbot of Peterborough, by the service of two knights' fees. After him Geoffrey de la Mare, his son, who died 1327, and was succeeded by his son, Geoffrey, who married the daughter of Geoffrey de Scrope, son of the King's Chief Justice. In 33 Henry VIII (1542), Northborough manor was granted to the Dean and Chapter of Peterborough ; in 2 Eliz. (1561), John Browne was seized of the manor. His heir, also John Browne, sold it to James Claypole (who died 1599), son of John Claypole, of King's Cliffe, and it was his descendant, John, who married Elizabeth Cromwell.
The church is dedicated to St. Andrew. In its architecture it exhibits the styles of the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries, but in each the building as originally planned was never completed-perhaps because funds fell short, or because each succeeding builder planned so boldly that he was never able to carry out either his own or his predecessor's ideas (fig. 1). The first