Alban's, St - Aldborough

Pages 20-26

A Topographical Dictionary of England. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1848.

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Alban's (St.)

ALBAN'S (ST.) a borough and market-town having separate jurisdiction, and the head of a union, locally in the hundred of Cashio, or liberty of St. Alban's, county of Hertford, 12½ miles (W. by S.) from Hertford, and 20 (N. W. by N.) from London; containing, with those portions of the parishes of St. Michael and St. Peter which extend beyond the limits of the borough, 8604 inhabitants. This place, which is separated from the site of the Roman Verulamium by the small river Ver, derived its name and origin from the magnificent monastery established here by Offa, King of Mercia, in commemoration of St. Albanus, the protomartyr of Britain. Verulam, according to the Roman historians, was founded by the Britons, at an earlier period than London: it was the chief station of Cassivellaunus, at the time of the invasion of Cæsar, who describes it as a place of great military strength, well defended by woods and marshes; and appears to have consisted of rude dwellings constructed of wood, and to have been surrounded by a rampart and fosse. In the reign of Nero it was accounted a Municipium, or free city; in that of Claudius it was surprised by Boadicea, Queen of the Iceni, who slaughtered the chief part of the Roman and British inhabitants. After its restoration, it continued to be a primary station of the Romans until their final departure from Britain. During their occupation of it, Albanus, an eminent citizen, who had been converted to Christianity by Amphibalus, in 293, boldly refusing to abjure his new religion, was beheaded on the hill called Holmhurst; on which spot the monastery was erected at the close of the eighth century (in 793) for 100 Benedictine monks. About the middle of the fifth century, Verulam was occupied by the Saxons, and received the name of Watlingceaster, from the Roman highway called Watling-street, on which it stood.

Sea and Arms.

According to Matthew Paris, the present town owes its origin to Ulsinus, or Ulsig, the sixth abbot, who, about the year 950, built a church on each of the three principal roads leading from the monastery, dedicated respectively to St. Stephen, St. Michael, and St. Peter, and encouraged the neighbouring inhabitants to erect houses, by supplying them with money and materials. Fritheric, or Frederic, the thirteenth abbot, opposed the march of the Norman conqueror, by causing the trees on the road side, near Berkhampstead, to be cut down and laid across the way; he was also principally instrumental in exacting from that sovereign an oath to observe the ancient laws of the realm. William subsequently deprived this church of a great portion of its lands, and would have destroyed the monastery, but for the interposition of Archbishop Lanfranc. The monks and the inhabitants had frequent quarrels; and, in the reign of Richard II., the insurgents in Wat Tyler's rebellion were aided by the latter in besieging the monastery. On their dispersion, the king repaired hither, attended by Judge Tresilian and 1000 soldiers, to try the delinquents, and many of the townsmen were executed. The king remained eight days, on one of which the commons of the county assembled by his command, and, in the great court of the abbey, swore to be thenceforward faithful subjects. A sanguinary battle was fought here on the 22nd of May, 1455, between Henry VI. and the Duke of York, in which the Lancastrians were defeated, their leader, the Duke of Somerset, killed, and the king himself made prisoner. On the 17th of February, 1461, another engagement took place on Bernard heath, north of the town, when Queen Margaret compelled the Earl of Warwick to retreat with considerable loss: after this action, the town was plundered and much damaged. On the introduction of printing into England, about 1471, a press was put up in the abbey, from which issued some of those early specimens that are now so eagerly sought for by collectors: the first translation of the Bible was also made here. During the civil war between Charles I. and the parliament, a party of soldiers, under the Earl of Essex, garrisoned the town, and destroyed the beautiful cross, which was one of those erected by Edward I. in memory of his queen.

The town is situated chiefly on the summit and northern declivity of a considerable eminence, and consists principally of three streets, the abbey church standing on the hill near the point where they meet. That part of it which forms the old line of the great north road is narrow, and contains many ancient houses; but the other parts are spacious and neatly built. It is well paved, and lighted with gas, under a local act obtained in 1803, and is supplied with water from wells in the upper part of the town. By a diversion of the main road, about three hundred yards to the south, the former circuitous and dangerous route through the town is avoided; and on this new line of road, which is about two miles in length, some handsome villas, and one of the most commodious inns in the county, called the Verulam Arms, have been erected. The manufacture of straw-plat, in which about eight hundred persons are employed, is the chief occupation of the lower class of inhabitants: a silk-mill, occupying the site of the abbeymill, affords employment to three hundred young persons; and in a mill for spinning cotton-wicks for candles, formerly applied to the cutting and polishing of diamonds, about sixty persons are engaged. Coal is conveyed for the supply of the town, from the Grand Junction canal at Boxmoor, about six miles distant. The market is on Saturday, for corn, straw-plat, and provisions: there is a fair on March 25th and 26th, for cattle and horses; and a statute-fair is held on Oct. 11th, and the two following days.

St. Alban's is styled a borough in the record of Domesday, in which it is stated to have contained fortysix burgesses, who were the demesne men of the abbot; and the town continued under his jurisdiction (with the exception of a brief interval in the reigns of Edward II. and III.) until the Dissolution, when the possessions of the monastery were surrendered to the crown. The inhabitants were incorporated in the 7th of Edward VI., by a charter which was modified in subsequent reigns, and confirmed in the 16th of Charles II. By the act of the 5th and 6th of William IV., cap. 76, the corporation bears the title of the "Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses," and consists of a mayor, four aldermen, and twelve councillors, together forming the council of the borough; the municipal and parliamentary boundaries are now the same. The town first received the elective franchise in the 35th of Edward I.: the privilege was suspended from the 5th of Edward III. till the first of Edward VI., since which time the town has continued to return two members to parliament. The right of election was formerly vested in the freemen, whether resident or not, and in those householders who had been six months resident in the borough, paying scot and lot; but by the act of the 2nd of William IV. it was confined to the resident burgesses and the £10 householders, the latter 709 in number: the mayor is returning officer. The limits of the parliamentary borough were extended by the act of the 2nd and 3rd of William IV., cap. 64; they formerly comprised, by computation, 308 acres, and are now estimated to contain 425. The mayor, the late mayor, and the recorder, are justices of the peace, and hold courts of quarter-session: the mayor presides at a court of aldermen, on the first Wednesday in every month, for the transaction of public business; and petty-sessions are held every Saturday. The magistrates for the liberty, also, hold quarter-sessions here. The liberty surrounds, and is entirely distinct from, the borough, the magistrates of the one having no jurisdiction in the other; it comprises the divisions of Barnet, Watford, and St. Alban's, and extends into twenty-two parishes. The powers of the county debt-court of St. Alban's, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of St. Alban's, and the greater part of the districts of Hatfield and Welwyn, and Hemel-Hempstead. The former townhall was originally the charnel-house of the monastery; a handsome and commodious edifice was erected in 1830. The ancient prison of the monastery is now appropriated to the confinement of criminals committed for the borough and liberty.

The venerable abbey, rich in lordships and immunities, continued to flourish under a succession of forty abbots, who enjoyed both spiritual and temporal authority, having a palatine jurisdiction similar to that exercised by the Bishops of Durham and Ely; they had also a precedence from Pope Adrian IV. over all other abbots, with an exclusive exemption from the payment of Peter's pence, which, according to Camden, they possessed the power of collecting throughout the county, and applying to their own use. Henry VIII. granted the abbey, which at the Dissolution had a revenue, according to Dugdale, of £2102. 7. 1., to Sir Richard Lee; but retained the church, since made parochial, which Edward VI., in 1553, granted for a pecuniary consideration to the mayor and burgesses. The church is a cruciform structure, six hundred feet in length, and consists of a nave, two aisles, a choir, presbytery, lady chapel, and two transepts, with a large square tower rising from the intersection. The choir is separated from the nave by St. Cuthbert's screen, which, with the elaborately carved screen over the altar, the ceiling (partly groined, and partly enriched with Mosaic paintings), and the tombs of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, and Abbot Ramryge, presents a rich and imposing appearance. The tower, supported on four arches, the two transepts, and a great part of the choir, were built of Roman tiles from the ancient city of Verulam, about the year 1077, and exhibit the Norman style of architecture; the remainder, erected about the reign of Henry III., is in the early English style, with sharply pointed arches. Many fine brasses, in memory of the abbots, were taken by Cromwell's soldiers, and the church was much damaged by the prisoners who were confined in it during the parliamentary war.

The town comprises the parish of St. Alban, or the Abbey parish, and parts of the parishes of St. Michael and St. Peter. The living of St. Alban's is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £10; net income, £111; patron and incumbent, Dr. Nicholson, who purchased the advowson from the corporation. A lectureship was founded in the church in 1640, by Francis Combe, who endowed it with £10 per annum. The living of St. Peter's is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £9. 0. 10.; net income, £308; patron, the Bishop of Ely. The church, erected by Abbot Ulsinus, in 948, has been rebuilt within the last fifty years. The living of St. Michael's is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £10. 1. 8.; net income, £300; patron and impropriator, the Earl of Verulam. The church is a small edifice, erected by the same abbot, and contains, in a niche on the northern side of the chancel, a finely-sculptured alabaster statue of Lord Bacon, who was interred here. St. Mark's church, at Colney Heath, was consecrated in December, 1845; it is in the Norman style, and cost £1300: the materials externally are Cowley white brick, and Bath stone. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of Trustees. There are places of worship for Particular Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, Wesleyans, and Unitarians. The Free Grammar school was erected in or about the year 1569, by the mayor and burgesses, under their charter of incorporation bestowed by Edward VI.; and was endowed by letters-patent of Elizabeth and James I., granting power to the mayor and burgesses to license dealers in wine in the borough. The schoolroom, adjoining the Abbey church, was the beautiful chapel of the Virgin. Dr. Aubrey Spencer, Bishop of Jamaica, and Dr. George Spencer, Bishop of Madras, were educated here. The almshouses called Marlborough Buildings, containing apartments for thirtysix persons of both sexes, were built and endowed by Sarah, Duchess Dowager of Marlborough, in 1736: they occupy three sides of a quadrangle, on the site of the old manor-house of Newland-Squillers; and the income, arising from property in the counties of Warwick and Surrey, now amounts to £757 per annum. The church lands, appropriated to the repairs of the abbey, together with several benefactions for the same purpose, produce a revenue of £220. The poor law union of St. Alban's comprises eight parishes or places, and contains a population of 17,051.

In the town is a high square brick tower with a house attached, called the Clock House, built by one of the abbots in the reign of Henry VIII., and conveyed to the corporation in the 29th of Elizabeth; the house and lower part of the tower are let as a shop, and in the upper part is a public clock. At the distance of half a mile to the south-east, are some fine remains of the nunnery of Sopwell, founded in 1140 by Abbot Geoffrey de Gorham, and of which the Lady Juliana Berners was at one time prioress: like the monastery, it was built of Roman tiles and bricks, and partly of flints. Of two hospitals founded by the abbots, and dedicated respectively to St. Julian and St. Mary de Pratis, there is not a single vestige. On the left of the road leading to Dunstable, a few fragments of the ancient walls of Verulam are still discernible; and in a field adjoining the town, called New England, are some hills supposed to have been the site of the camp of Ostorius, and thence vulgarly styled Oyster hills. There is a mineral spring in a garden near St. Michael's bridge. Matthew Paris, one of the most eminent of the old English historians, was a monk in the abbey; and among the most distinguished natives of the town may be enumerated Alexander Necham, a poet and scholastic divine; Sir John Mandeville, the celebrated traveller; and Sir John King, and Sir Francis Pemberton, two eminent lawyers. Breakspear's farmhouse, in the vicinity, was the birthplace of Nicholas Breakspear, the only Englishman that ever sat in the papal chair; on his elevation he assumed the name of Adrian IV.: he was a great benefactor to the abbey. St. Alban's gives the title of Duke to the family of Beauclerc; and the representative of the family of Grimstone enjoys the title of Earl of Verulam.

Alberbury, or Abberbury (St. Michael)

ALBERBURY, or Abberbury (St. Michael), a parish, in the union of Atcham, partly in the hundreds of Cawrse and Deythur, county of Montgomery, North Wales, but chiefly in the hundred of Ford, S. division of Salop, 8¼ miles (W.) from Shrewsbury; containing, in the English portion, which includes the township of Alberbury and the chapelry of Wollaston, 1065 inhabitants, of whom 638 are in the township of Alberbury. This parish, the Welsh name of which is Llanvihangel-yn-Ghentyn, is partly bounded by the river Severn, and is intersected by the Roman Watling-street. There are some remains of a castle, built in the reign of Henry II., by Fulk Fitz-Warine, who founded an abbey for Black monks of the order of Grandmont, vestiges of which may also still be traced about a mile from the castle: on the suppression of alien priories, Henry VI. gave the abbey site to the college of All Souls, Oxford, to which it still belongs. The parish comprises 1000 acres: coal is abundant, but none is at present worked. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £5. 10.; net income, £187; patrons and impropriators, the Warden and Fellows of All Souls' College. The tithes of a part of the parish have been commuted for £498 payable to the college, and £47 payable to the vicar. The glebe consists of 20 acres. There are also incumbencies at Wollaston and Criggion, the former in the gift of the Vicar of Alberbury, and the latter in that of V. Vickers, Esq.

Albourne (St. Bartholomew)

ALBOURNE (St. Bartholomew), a parish, in the union of Cuckfield, hundred of Tipnoak, rape of Bramber, W. division of Sussex, 2½ miles (W. N. W.) from Hurst-Pierrepoint; containing 395 inhabitants, and comprising about 1400 acres. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £7. 14. 2., and in the gift of John Goring, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £310, and the glebe consists of 10 acres. The church is an ancient structure; the nave is separated from the chancel by a fine Norman arch, and there is a north transept, added a few years since by C. Goring, Esq. Albourne Place is said to have been built by Bishop Juxon, who retired hither after the death of Charles I., and resided here till the Restoration.

Albrighton (St. Mary)

ALBRIGHTON (St. Mary), a parish, and formerly a market-town, in the union of Shiffnall, Shiffnall division of the hundred of Brimstree, S. division of Salop, 7½ miles (N. W.) from Wolverhampton; containing 1058 inhabitants, and comprising 3424a. 1r. 33p. Pepperhill, an ancient mansion here of the Talbot family, is now converted into a farmhouse. The living is a vicarage, endowed with nearly the whole of the rectorial tithes, and valued in the king's books at £5. 10.; net income, £651; patrons, alternately, the Haberdashers' Company, and the Governors of Christ's Hospital, London: the glebe consists of 27 acres. The church, which has partly been rebuilt, has a Norman tower, with a small Saxon arch outside; the chancel is also ancient, and has a fine window; in the north-east angle, on a monument dated 1504, are effigies of a knight of the Talbot family, and of his lady, one of the Gifford family. The Duke of Shrewsbury lies buried here. A free school is principally supported from the tolls of the fairs, which are held on March 5th, May 23rd, July 18th, and Nov. 9th, for horned-cattle, sheep, and hogs.

Albrighton (St. John)

ALBRIGHTON (St. John), a parish, in the union of Atcham, hundred of Pimhill, N. division of Salop, 4 miles (N.) from Shrewsbury; containing 85 inhabitants. It is on the road from Shrewsbury to Whitchurch and to Ellesmere. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the Spurrier family; net income, £52.

Alburgh (All Saints)

ALBURGH (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Depwade, hundred of Earsham, E. division of Norfolk, 3¼ miles (N. E. by N.) from Harleston; containing 589 inhabitants, and comprising by measurement 1512 acres. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £12; net income, £395; patron, the Earl of Effingham, who must present a member of St. John's College, Cambridge: the glebe comprises about 7 acres. The church consists of a nave and chancel, with a lofty embattled tower; the nave is separated from the chancel by the remains of a beautiful carved screen, formerly highly gilt. Some town lands, left by Richard Wright before the reign of Henry VIII., are let for about £70, applied in aid of the poor-rate.

Albury (St. Mary)

ALBURY (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Bishop-Stortford, hundred of Edwinstree, county of Hertford, 4½ miles (N. W.) from Bishop-Stortford; containing 641 inhabitants. It is near the borders of Essex. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £7. 9. 7.; net income, £264; patron, the Treasurer of St. Paul's Cathedral. A pleasure-fair is held in July.

Albury (St. Helen)

ALBURY (St. Helen), a parish, in the union of Thame, hundred of Bullington, county of Oxford, 3¼ miles (W. by S.) from Thame; containing, with the hamlet of Tiddington, 244 inhabitants. The parish is on the borders of Buckinghamshire, and is watered by the Thame. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £9. 2. 8½.; net income, £276; patron, the Earl of Abingdon. The church has been lately rebuilt, principally through the munificence of the earl, and is fitted up throughout with open sittings of handsome old oak.

Albury (St. Peter and St. Paul)

ALBURY (St. Peter and St. Paul), a parish, in the union of Guildford, Second division of the hundred of Blackheath, W. division of Surrey, 4 miles (E. S. E.) from Guildford; containing 1079 inhabitants. It comprises 4503 acres, of which 612 are common or waste, and includes the hamlets of Brooke and Little London; the sub-soil in general is chalk and sand. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £17. 12. 8½., and in the gift of Henry Drummond, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £482. 10., and there are 78 acres of glebe. The old church is in the early English style, occupying a picturesque situation in Albury Park; it contains two singular octagonal pillars, resting upon circular bases of Sussex marble, supposed to have been removed from a Roman temple which stood on Blackheath. A new church has been erected by Mr. Drummond, a cruciform edifice in the later English style; and there is an Irvingite chapel, erected under the same auspices. Dr. Horsley, Bishop of St. Asaph, was for some time rector of Albury.

Alby (St. Ethelbert)

ALBY (St. Ethelbert), a parish, in the union of Aylsham, hundred of South Erpingham, E. division of Norfolk, 4¾ miles (N. by E.) from Aylsham; containing 299 inhabitants. This place, which was anciently called Oslby, is intersected by the road from Aylsham to Cromer, and includes the hamlets of Alby Common and Alby Hill; it comprises about 840 acres, whereof 634 are computed to be arable, 80 pasture, and 100 common or heath inclosed in 1840. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £7. 11. 8½., and in the gift of the Earl of Orford: the tithes have been commuted for £196, and there are 13 acres of glebe, with a small house. The church is in the early and decorated English styles.


ALCESTER, a liberty, in the parish of St. James, borough of Shaftesbury, locally in the hundred of Monckton-up-Wimborne, county of Dorset; containing 334 inhabitants.

Alcester (St. Nicholas)

ALCESTER (St. Nicholas), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the Alcester division of the hundred of Barlichway, S. division of the county of Warwick, 15 miles (W. S. W.) from Warwick, and 103 (N. W. by W.) from London; containing 2399 inhabitants. The name of this place is a contraction of Alnceastre, denoting its situation on the river Alne. Its position on the line of the Ikeneld-street (which may still be traced within a mile to the north-west), and the discovery of numerous relics of antiquity, afford evidence of its having been a Roman station; which by most antiquaries has been identified with the Alauna of the Itineraries. In the time of the Saxons it was a place of great importance, and a royal residence; the inhabitants being described by Capgrave as given to luxury and viciousness, from an abundance of worldly wealth. Egwin, third bishop of Huicca, who first preached Christianity here, founded the abbey of Evesham; and at a general synod held at this place, at which were present Bertwald, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Wilfred, Archbishop of York, the endowments of that house were confirmed. Alcester is said to have been formerly of much greater extent than at present, and to have contained three parochial churches; which opinion is corroborated by the discovery of human skeletons, and numerous foundations of ancient buildings, in that part of the parish called the Blacklands, now an extensive meadow, lying between the present town and the bridge over the Alne, to which, in all probability, it formerly extended; and also by the site of a monastery founded in 1140, by Ralph de Boteler, for Benedictine monks, afterwards made a cell to the abbey of Evesham, and valued at the Dissolution at £101. 14. per annum. The remains have been converted into a farmhouse, and are situated about half a mile to the north-east of the town, in the centre of which, according to Leland, they originally stood.

Seal and Arms.

In the reign of Henry I. the place was a free borough, and in that of Henry II. it was rated, among the other boroughs in the county, at four marks as a yearly aid. In the 21st of Edward I., Sir Walter de Beauchamp, lord of a moiety of the manor, obtained the grant of an annual fair for eight days, to begin on the eve of St. Giles; which time being found inconvenient, the eve of St. Faith was appointed by another charter in the 30th of that monarch's reign. In the 28th of the same reign Beauchamp also received a grant of free warren in all his demesne lands here and elsewhere. His son Walter, in the 13th of Edward II., obtained a charter for another fair, to be held annually for eight days, beginning on the eve of St. Barnabas the Apostle; and his brother and successor, Giles, procured in the 14th of Edward III., a charter to fortify and embattle his manor-house here. His great-grandson, Sir John Beauchamp, purchased the other moiety of the manor from the family of Bortreaux, and, having thus become lord of the whole, obtained, in the 25th of Henry VI., a charter confirming the privilege of a court leet with waifs and estrays, a market, and all other privileges enjoyed by his predecessors.

The town is pleasantly situated on the river Arrow, at its confluence with the Alne, in a fertile and richlycultivated vale, surrounded with finely-wooded eminences; and consists of one principal street, from which, near the market-place, others diverge in the direction of the roads to Birmingham, Stratford-upon-Avon, and Evesham. The houses are in many instances well built, and of handsome appearance, occasionally interspersed with ancient buildings having projecting upper stories, and many modern brick-built cottages. The principal manufacture is that of needles and fish-hooks, in which from 500 to 600 persons are employed. The market, which is well supplied with corn, is on Tuesday; the fairs, principally for cattle, horses, and sheep, are on Jan. 26th, March 23rd, May 18th, July 27th, Oct. 18th, and Dec. 7th. The town is within the jurisdiction of the county magistrates; and a court leet is held annually in November, when bailiffs and constables are appointed by the steward of the manor. The powers of the county debt-court of Alcester, established in 1847, extend over the whole of the registration-district of Alcester, except the parish of Ipsley. The town-hall, situated in the centre of the market-place, is a plain building, of which the lower part, appropriated to the use of the market, is of stone, supported on circular arches and round Tuscan columns.

The parish comprises by measurement 1200 acres of good fertile land, and extends to the Ridge Way, which separates a portion of the county from that of Worcester. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £14. 18. 10., and in the gift of the Marquess of Hertford: the income arises from land granted in lieu of tithes, comprising 90 acres, and valued at £215 per annum. The church, formerly dedicated to St. Andrew, was built in the beginning of the thirteenth century; but of the original structure only the tower remains, the battlements of which, together with the body of the church, were rebuilt in 1732, when the edifice was dedicated to St. Nicholas; it has been lately rendered more commodious by extensive galleries erected at the expense of the rector. The exterior preserves a characteristic appearance, harmonizing with the tower, to which the interior, with a flat ceiling supported on round Tuscan pillars separating the aisles from the nave, forms a striking contrast. Near the altar is a tomb with recumbent effigies of Sir Fulke Greville and his lady, finely sculptured and coloured; also an elegant monument to the second marquess of Hertford, in which his effigy, in a sitting posture, is beautifully represented in white marble. Two chantries were formerly existing in the church; one in a chapel of "Our Lady," founded by one of the Botelers of Oversley; and the other by John, son of Giles de Beauchamp, in the 36th of Edward III. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, Wesleyans, and Unitarians. The free school, which is open to all the boys of the parish, was instituted in 1592, by Walter Newport, of Goldney, in the county of Northampton, who endowed it with £400, producing £20 per annum, which is paid to the master, who has also a house and garden rent-free: there are but few boys on the foundation. The poor law union of Alcester comprises 18 parishes and places in the county of Warwick, and 4 in that of Worcester; and contains a population of 16,833. Beauchamp's Court, the ancient manor-house, now a farm, about a mile and a half distant, gives the title of Baron to the Earl of Warwick.


ALCISTON, a parish, in the union of West Firle, hundred of Alciston, rape of Pevensey, E. division of Sussex, 7¼ miles (E. S. E.) from Lewes; containing 275 inhabitants. This manor was given, with others, to Battle Abbey by the Conqueror, whose grant was confirmed by Henry I.: on the surrender of the abbey, in 1539, the king became seised of the lordship, and gave it to Sir John Gage and Philippa his wife, to hold in capite by knight's service. Alciston Place was occupied by an ancestor of the present Lord Gage in 1585. The parish comprises about 2100 acres of land, a portion of which consists of chalky downs. The living is a discharged vicarage, united by act of council in 1840 to the vicarage of Selmeston, and valued in the king's books at £6. The church has some remains of Norman architecture, with an admixture of the early English style.


ALCOMBE, a hamlet, in the parish of Dunster, union of Williton, hundred of Carhampton, W. division of Dorset; containing 259 inhabitants.

Alconbury (St. Peter and St. Paul)

ALCONBURY (St. Peter and St. Paul), a parish, in the hundred of Leightonstone, union and county of Huntingdon, 4½ miles (N. W.) from Huntingdon; containing 823 inhabitants, and comprising about 4000 acres. A fair is held on Midsummer-day. The living is a discharged vicarage, with the living of AlconburyWeston annexed, valued in the king's books at £8. 6. 1.; net income, £162; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. The glebe comprises 186 acres. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.


ALCONBURY-WESTON, a parish, in the hundred of Leightonstone, union and county of Huntingdon, 6 miles (N. W.) from Huntingdon; containing 491 inhabitants. The living is annexed to the vicarage of Alconbury.

Alcumlow, with Moreton.—See Moreton.

ALCUMLOW, with Moreton.—See Moreton.

Aldborough (St. Mary)

ALDBOROUGH (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Erpingham, hundred of North Erpingham, E. division of Norfolk, 6 miles (N.) from Aylsham; containing 293 inhabitants. It comprises 788a. 9p., of which 434 acres are arable, 287 pasture and meadow, and 20 woodland. A stock and pleasure fair is held on June 22nd. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £8, and in the gift of Lord Suffield: the tithes have been commuted for £192. 10., and the glebe consists of 26 acres, with a good house. The church, chiefly in the decorated style, contains several neat memorials to the family of Gay, and some sepulchral brasses to the Herewards, from whom the Gavs were descended.

Aldborough, or Aldeburgh (St. Peter and St. Paul)

ALDBOROUGH, or Aldeburgh (St. Peter and St. Paul), a sea-port and parish, and formerly a representative borough and a market-town, in the union, and locally in the hundred, of Plomesgate, S. division of Suffolk, 25 miles (N. E. by E.) from Ipswich, and 94 (N. E.) from London; containing 1557 inhabitants. This place takes its name from its situation on the river Alde; it was formerly of very considerable extent and importance, possessing many valuable privileges. Owing to the inroads of the sea (which, within the last century, has destroyed the marketplace, with an entire street and a great number of houses), it has been reduced to an inconsiderable town; but from the salubrity of the air and the convenience of the shore for sea-bathing, it has lately become a place of fashionable resort during the summer; baths for the accommodation of visiters have been erected, and machines are kept on the beach. The town is situated in a pleasant vale, rather below the level of high-water mark, having the river Alde on the north, and on the south the navigable river Ore, which flows from Orford to this place: it is sheltered by a steep hill, the extended summit of which forms a magnificent terrace, affording a delightful promenade, and a beautifully diversified prospect embracing the North Sea. The strand, the descent to which from the town is gradual, consists of firm sand, favourable for bathing and walking. At the southern extremity of the main street, which is nearly a mile in length, are a battery, on which, during the late war, two eighteenpounders were mounted, another of five guns, and a martello tower, for the protection of the coast. The old houses are in general ill-constructed, but those erected by families residing here during the season, or for the accommodation of visiters, are well built and respectable; among them is an elegant marine villa, in the Italian style, built by the late Leveson Vernon, Esq. There is a public subscription library, situated on the Head; a neat and commodious theatre is open for a few weeks during the season; and assemblies are held occasionally at the principal inns.

Seal and Arms.

The trade consists chiefly in the exportation of corn, and the importation of coal and timber; in which fortysix vessels, averaging fifty-two tons' burthen, are employed. The custom-house is a neat and convenient building near the quay; the harbour is safe and commodious, and attracts a number of seafaring people and fishermen, by whom the town is principally inhabited. Many of these are Trinity-house pilots, who form themselves into small associations, and purchase swift-sailing cutters, in which they traverse the North Sea, frequently approaching the coast of Norway, in search of vessels requiring assistance. The chief employment of the other inhabitants consists in the taking and drying of herrings and sprats, the latter of which are found here in profusion, and exported to Holland; soles and lobsters of superior flavour are taken also in abundance. The market, on Wednesday and Saturday, has been discontinued; the fairs are held on March 1st and May 3rd.

Aldborough claims to be a borough by prescription: the earliest charter extant was granted by Henry VIII. in 1529, after which it received several others, the last and governing charter being granted by Charles I. in 1637. The officers of the corporation are two bailiffs, ten capital and twenty-four inferior burgesses, a recorder, town-clerk, two chamberlains, two serjeants-at-mace, and others; and the bailiffs, late bailiffs, and recorder, are exclusively justices of the peace for the borough, which is co-extensive with the parish. The revenue arises principally from the proceeds of the town marshes, comprising 188 acres of land used for depasturing cattle, which were purchased in 1610, and are vested in trustees. The town-hall is an ancient building of timber, under which is the common gaol, consisting of a single cell, for the confinement of disorderly persons; the magistrates generally commit to the county gaol. The borough first exercised the elective franchise in the 13th of Elizabeth, from which time, until its disfranchisement by the Reform act, in the 2nd of William IV., it returned two members to parliament. The parish comprises by measurement 1150 acres: it contains a small portion of good arable land, but chiefly consists of heath, and of land laid out in sheep-walks. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £33. 6. 8., with a net income of £220; it is in the patronage of F. J. V. Wentworth, Esq., and there is a manor of 13 acres attached to it. The church is an ancient structure of flint and freestone, standing on the summit of a hill at the northern extremity of the town, with a square embattled tower surmounted by a turret, affording an excellent landmark for mariners. There are places of worship for Particular Baptists, Independents, and Wesleyans. This was the birth-place of the poet Crabbe.

Aldborough (St. Andrew)

ALDBOROUGH (St. Andrew), a parish, partly in the wapentake of Hallikeld, N. riding, but chiefly in the Lower division of the wapentake of Claro, W. riding, of York; comprising the ancient borough towns of Aldborough and Boroughbridge, and the townships of Minskip, Rocliff, and Upper and Lower Dunsforth, in the W. riding, with part of that of Humberton with Milby, and the whole of Ellenthorpe, in the N. riding; and containing 2473 inhabitants, of whom 615 are in the township of Aldborough, 16½ miles (N. W. by W.) from York, and 205½ (N. N. W.) from London. The town, which is situated upon the southern bank of the river Ure, and upon the line of the northern Watlingstreet, was the celebrated and important Roman station called Isurium Brigantium, and received from the Saxons the name of Eald-burgh, denoting its antiquity even in their time. Its destruction is attributed to the Danes, by whom it was sacked and burnt to the ground, about the year 870. The elective franchise was granted by Philip and Mary, in 1558; but by the Reform act the borough was deprived of the privilege of returning members: the right of election was vested in the inhabitants paying scot and lot, in number about sixty; and the bailiff, who was appointed by the electors, was the returning officer. The town is now only a rural village, beautifully situated. The parish comprises 4600 acres; the scenery is varied, and in some points picturesque.

The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £9. 19. 5.; net income, £368; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Ripon. The tithes of the township of Aldborough were commuted for land and a money payment, by an inclosure act, in 1808. The church, supposed to have been built out of the ruins of Isurium, has several antique monuments, and on the outside a figure of Mercury, 2½ feet in length. At Boroughbridge, Dunsforth, and Rocliff, are other incumbencies. There is a place of worship for Independents. The foundations of the walls of the ancient city, which included a quadrilateral area of 2500 yards, may still be traced. Near the centre are vestiges of a mount called the Borough Hill, removed in 1783, and believed, from the remains then discovered, to have been the site of a Roman temple; and about a hundred paces from the south wall is a semicircular outwork, named Stud forth, 200 feet long, with a slope of 30 feet, forming a lofty terrace, on the south side of the town. Many Roman remains, consisting of tessellated pavements, military weapons, coins, &c, have at various times been discovered, and are preserved in the pleasuregrounds of Aldborough Lodge, where are remains of a Roman encampment. In the village is a beautiful tessellated pavement, under a wood covering.