John Nichols History and Antiquities of Leicestershire – Ragdale

Editor’s notes:

These pages have been copied from John Nichols History and Antiquities of Leicestershire Volume 3 Part 1. These were written in 1800 and form a valuable source of historic information. Were possible I have translated the old English into more modern spellings to make reading easier. However, there are some Latin paragraphs that defeated me or rather my computer. (If any Latin scholar cares to correct them I would be happy to receive the corrections!). The following words are not in common usage or their meaning has changed and I have given some definitions below:

appurtenances is a term for what belongs to and goes with something else, with the appurtenance being less significant than what it belongs to. Could for instance refer to a back-yard that goes with the adjoining house.
advowson is the right in English law of a patron to present to the diocesan bishop a nominee for appointment to a vacant ecclesiastical benefice or church living.
bordars a person ranking below villeins and above serfs in the social hierarchy of a manor, holding just enough land to feed a family (about 5 acres) and required to provide labour on the demesne on specified days of the week.
demesne a lord’s chief manor place, with that part of the lands belonging thereto which has not been granted out in tenancy; a house, and the land adjoining, kept for the proprietor’s own use.
feoffee is a trustee who holds a fief (or “fee”), that is to say an estate in land, for the use of a beneficial owner.
in capite denoted a person who held his lands under various forms of feudal land tenure directly from the king or territorial prince to whom he did homage.
sac & soc the right of a lord of a manor to hold a court and take the profits of that court.
s. p. (sine prole) died without issue
knight’s fee was a unit measure of land deemed sufficient to support a knight.
knight’s service was a form of Feudal land tenure under which a knight held a fief or estate of land termed a knight’s fee from an overlord conditional on him as tenant performing military service for his overlord.
messuages a dwelling house with outbuildings and land assigned to its use.
neatherd A cowherd; one who looks after bulls, cows or oxen.
native (Nativi) – Persons of servile birth.
mark 13s. 4d. (2/3 of £1, and a unit of account, not a coin)
moiety one of two parts of property ownership.
oxgangs is an old land measurement. It averaged around 20 English acres, but was based on land fertility and cultivation, and so could be as low as 15.
Peter’s pence originally a voluntary donation by parishioners to the Church in Rome, but by the 11th century it had become a tax of 1d on each hearth. Abolished by Henry VIII in 1534.
ploughlands a measure of land used in the northern and eastern counties of England after the Norman conquest, based on the area able to be ploughed in a year by a team of eight oxen.
procurations annual cash payment made by a parish in lieu of paying for hospitality for a visiting bishop or archdeacon
Rakedale Ragdale
seised to put into legal possession of (property, etc)
socmen a tenant holding land by socage eg A farmer, for example, held the land in exchange for a clearly defined, fixed payment to be made at specified intervals to his feudal lord, who in turn had his own feudal obligations, to the farmer and to the Crown.
synodals originated as a payment to the bishop made by clergy invited to an annual synod, to cover the cost of the synod, but became an annual cash payment of a fixed amount from the parish clergy to the diocese.
villans A feudal tenant.
virgate or yardland is 1/4 of a hide, and a hide was the area which could be ploughed by a team of 8 oxen in a year (i.e. you are basically correct, but unless you have very sandy soil, 2 oxen would not be able to plough this much land as they are not strong enough to pull the plough).
Wilghes also call Willoughes a manor formally belonging to Lord Basset of Drayton, is in the parish of Ragdale

Page 385, Volume 3, Part 1

Page 385, Volume 3, Part 1

Page 385, Volume 3, Part 1

Anciently called Ragendale 1, Rakdale, Ragdale, Radgdale on the Willows, and Rekedale, is a village on the North-east border of the county, near Segs-hill and the Foss-road; bounded by Hoby, Thrussington, Dalby, and Shouldby; about 11 miles from Leicester, 5 from Melton, and 7 from Loughborough; and, in the ecclesiastical division of the county, is within the deanery of Goscote. The boundary of Rakedale next to Shouldby is made by a deep break or embankment.

It is supposed the name of this place is derived from a very remarkable break, or Rake, which forms a very deep Dale, beginning about a quarter of a mile above the village, through which it extends itself a considerable distance, till it gradually diminishes to so small a breadth as only to allow the passage of a little brook, which runs to Hoby, and there falls into the river Wreake.

In the reign of Edward the Confessor, Ragendale, consisting of six ploughlands, and employing six ploughs, was valued at sixteen pence; which, at the Conqueror’s survey, were worth twenty shillings, and were held by Hugo under Robert de Buci. One plough was then in the demesne; and four socmen had another. The same Hugo held also two ploughlands in the manor of Wilghes; which, though waste, were valued at twelve pence. At the end of the enumeration of Hugo’s property, the record states, that those who held those lands in the time of King Edward might remove where they pleased, without alienating; except one Seric, who held three ploughlands in Ragendale, but could not remove elsewhere without parting with the land 2.

This place was by the Conqueror (with divers other lordships in this county) bestowed on Hugh Lupus Earl of Chester, his nephew; who gave it in marriage with Geva his daughter to Geoffrey Ridell; from whom it passed, with Maud their daughter and heir, to Richard Basset, Justice of England under King Stephen; who had issue by her Geoffrey (who called himself Ridell after his mother), Ralph, and William. This manor came to Ralph by the grant of Geva his grandmother, and was confirmed to him and his heirs by Geoffrey his elder brother (as appears by a deed mentioned in Dunton Bassett), to be held by knight’s service, of his manor of Weldon in Northamptonshire.

“The descendants from this Ralph,” says Mr. Burton, ” were summoned to parliament as barons of the realm; had their chief seat at Drayton Basset, co. Stafford; and were all Ralphs; which makes the proofs of their descents and their matches very difficult. I have set down their genealogy 3 (with the other branches of that noble family) in Sapcote; as it was drawn by Robert Glover, Somerset Herald, the most skilful genealogist of that age; but I shall not answer for the truth of every particular in it.”

Rakedale is not noticed in the Testa de Nevill, compiled about the year 1240; but, in the Itinerary of 1280, Rakedale, Wilghes, Radclive, Thurssington, and Houby, answered collectively as one village.

Oct. 15, 1301, King Edward I granted to Ralph Basset and his heirs liberty of free-warren in all their demesne lands at Rakedale. ” Hiis testibus; Jofte de Warenna, comite Surrie; Adomaro de Valentia; Jotie de Sco Johe; Hugone le Dispenser; Jofte de Segrave; Amaneno de la Bret; Waltero de Bellocampo, ienescallo hospitii nostris; & aliis. Dat’per manum regis, apud Donpas, 15 die Octobris 4

In 1346, Hugo de Meignell (on the aid then granted for knighting Edward of Woodstock, the king’s eldest son) was assessed 13s. 4d. for a third part of one knight’s fee in Rakedale and Wilghes, parcel of the fees of Chester and Huntingdon 5.

In 1389, Ralph Lord Basset of Drayton, at his death, held the manors of Rakedale and Willows of the heir of Ralph Basset of Weldon, by knight’s service 6. Dying without issue, he entailed these lordships, with all the lands whereof he was then seised in fee simple, upon his nephew Sir Hugh Shirley, of Staunton, knt. (son to his sister Isabella, who had married Sir Thomas Shirley) and to the heirs male of his body, on condition that he should bear the name and arms of Basset; with remainder to William de Stafford, etc. brother of Edmund Earl of Stafford. Hugh never obtained the quiet possession of them; because he would not consent to change his name and arms (possibly deeming them more ancient and more respectable than those of Basset); for which reason he was impeded by the Earl of Stafford, who claimed under an old entail made 1340 by Ralph Lord Basset his grandfather; whereupon, great and long disputes arose, between the said Earl of Stafford, Sir Hugh Shirley, and their heirs, which were not ended till 1423; when it was settled by Henry VI; the feoffees of the said Ralph lord Basset then releasing to Sir Ralph Shirley, knt. and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten, all their title and interest in this manor, and those of Willoughes, Radcliffe, Barrow upon Sore, Dunton, and Whatton, with several other manors in various counties 7.

[The present possessor Earl Ferrers is descended from the above-mentioned Isabella (sister and heiress of the last lord Basset of Drayton), who brought this estate by marriage to Sir Thomas Shirley, knight, temp. Ric. II]

In 1402, Joan relict of Ralph Basset of Drayton, knight, died seised, for term of life, of a third part of the manors of Rakedale and Willoughes, both held of the heir of Ralph Basset of Weldon 8.

In a book of fifteenths and tenths granted by the laity in 1416, Rakedale and Willoughes were jointly rated at 19s. 6d.; and in the subsidy of 1445, at the same sum; but an abatement was then made of 3s .

After the death of Beatrix relict of Sir Hugh Shirley in 1439, it was found that she held no lands of the king’s; but that Sir Ralph Basset of Drayton, knight, was seised of the manors of Rakedale, Willoughes, Radcliff super Wreake, and Barrow super Soar; and that Ralph Shirley was her next heir 9.

Ralph Shirley died in 1461, seised of the manors of Rakedale and Wilowes 10, then held by knight’s service of the manor of Weldon 11, co. Northampton.

In 1466, Ralph Shirley, esq. died seised of the manors of Rakedale and Willoughes, both held of Alianor relict of Humphrey Stafford, knight; and John Shirley, esq. was his son and heir 12.

Sir Ralph Shirley died Jan. 6, 1516-7, seised, inter alia, of the manors of Rakedale and Willoughes, etc. worth £25 and held of the heir of Basset of Weldon, but by what service was not known; the manor of Radcliffe super Wreake, worth £12 held of the king in capite, as of the castle of Rockingham; the manor of Staunton Harold, worth £12. held of the honour of Tutbury; the manors of Long Whatton, Dunton, etc. 13.
1 This name adds another instance to the observation in our version of Domesday, vol. I. p.vii. on the orthography of the Norman scribes, ” Ragendele,” as it is spelt in the survey, being evidently the French pronunciation of Ragindale.
2“Hugo tenet de R[oberto de Buci] 6 carucatas terræ in Ragendele. Tempore regis Edwardi ersnt ibi 6 carucæ. ]n
dominico est una : & 4 sochmanni habent aliam. Ibi 30 aeræ prati. Valuit 16 denarios ; IBOCO 20 solidos. Idem Hugo tenet 2 carucatas terræ in Wilghes. Vastæ funt ;•& tamen valent 12 denarios.” Domesday, sol. 234, b. 1.
3 See the seal of Ralph Lord Basset of Drayton, and a small seal of sir Ralph Basset, knt. (not found) from a drawing by Peter Le Neve. For the Pedigree of the Bassetts, see Dugdale’s Catalogue of Nobility.

basset seal

Seal of Lord Basset of Drayton

4 Cart. 29 Edw. I. s
5 Rot. Aux. 20 Edw. III.
6 Esch. 14 Ric. II. N° 9. Leic. See before, under John Nichols History and Antiquities of Leicestershire, Radcliffe, p. 381.
7 Burton, MS.
8 Esch. 4 Hen. IV.N°38. Leic.
9 Esch. 18 Hen. VI.
1o Esch.6 Edw. IV. n. 15.
11 See p.388.
12 ” Esch. 6 Edw. IV. N° 18. Leic.
13 Inq. at Leicester, 8 April, 9 Hen. VIII; Cole’s Escheats, vol. IV. (Harl. MSS. 759.) p. 80.

Page 386, Volume 3, Part 1

Page 386, Volume 3, Part 1

Page 386, Volume 3, Part 1

A curious seal of the priory of Canwell, in red wax, affixed to a grant to Sir Ralph Shirley of the pasturage in Rakedale,

Ragdale seal

Seal of Priory of Canwell

Willoughes, LongWhatton, and Radcliff upon Wreake, see image .

In 1564, there were 8 families in Rakedale, The only freeholder here in 1630 was, Sir Henry
Shirley, baronet; who died 8 Feb. 1632-3, seised, inter alia, of the manor of Staunton Harold, value £20 a year, held of the honour of Tutbury; of the manors of Rakedale and Willoughes, each worth £10 a year, held under the honour of Basset of Weldon; and of the impropriate rectory of the church of Rakedale, worth 33s 4d a year, held of the king in capite by the 100th part of a knight’s fee; the manor of Sileby, worth 40s a year, but by what service was unknown, and divers other lands in various counties. Sir Charles Shirley, his son and heir, was then nine years old 1.

In 1655, there was collected in Rakedale, for the poor Protestants in Piedmont, the sum of 2s 4d.

In 1722, William Atterbury and John Paget, inhabitants of Rakedale, occur in the freeholders book, for freeholds in other parts of the county.

Robert Earl Ferrers is now the sole proprietor of lands in this parish, which includes the lordship of Willoughes; and his lordship has lately purchased the land-tax of the parish. The two lordships of Rakedale and Willoughes (comprised in the parish of Rakedale) contain about 1430 acres of land, chiefly grazing; some part of which is of excellent quality. The poorest land is in the Woulds, which contain about 400 acres out of the above quantity. The present earl became possessed of this parish and lands in fee, in consequence of a recovery suffered by him and the late Earl in May, 1781.

Ragdale Old Hall and Church

Ragdale Old Hall and Church

The old mansion-house at Rakedale, of which, by the liberality of the noble owner, a good view is given above, is at present inhabited by Mr. Henton, a substantial farmer, Earl Ferrers’s tenant.

ragdale old hall entrance heraldry

Ragdale Old Hall entrance heraldry

Over the porch, which, with the East bow, was built: about 1629, there still remains a large coat of arms carved in stone, with the following 50 quarterings: (see above)
1. Paly of six, Or and Azure, a canton Ermine; Shirley.
2. Azure,six bars gemells, a chief Or-, Meysnill.
3. Gules, a chevron Argent between three garbs Or; Waldesches.
4. Or, six eaglets Sable, a canton Ermine; Basing.
5. Or, three piles Gules, a canton Ermine. Basset de Dray ton, baro.
6. Or, three piles Gules, a canton Vaire, Argent and Azure ; Basset de Sapcote, baro.
7. Or, three piles Gules, a bead Azure; Ridel, baro.
8. Argent, three bars Sable; Busy, baro.
9. Gules, a lion rampant Or; De Albineio, comes.
10. Argent, three fleurs de lis between nine cross crosslet Sable, within a border Gules ; St. Hillary.
11. Azure, three garbs Or; Kiviliock, comes.
12. Or, a lion rampant Gules; Karleoliensis, comes.
13. Azure, a wolf’s head erased Argent; Lupus, comes Cestiriae.
14. Sable, an eagle displayed Or; Algar, comes Leicestrie.
15. Azure, feme of cross crosslets, a lion rampant Or, coronee Gules; Braose (or Brewese) baro de Brembre.
16. Azure, three bars Vaire, Ermine and Gules; Braose (or Brewose) baro de Gower.
17. Gules, an eagle displayed Argent within a border Argent; Totnes.
18. Gules, two bendlets Or and Argent; Milo comes Herefordia.
19. Or, five fusils in fess Gules; Newmarch, baro.
20. Azure, a lion rampant Or; Meredith.
21. Argent, a chief indented Sable; Bauent.
22. Ermine, on a bend Azure, three lions heads erased Or; Wistoneston.
23. Gules, two bars Or; Harcourt, comes.
24. Argent, two bars Gules; Weston.
25. Gules, three stirrups with their leathers Escudamore.
26. Or, a cross patee, fitche at the foot, Gules; Escudamore.
27. Gules, three lions passant in pale Ardent; Gissard, baro.
28. Or, two chevrons Azure; Musard (orMuzard) baro.
29. Or, three piles Gules, a cantonErmine, charged with a griffin segreant Sable; Basset de Braylesford.
30. Or, a cinquefoil Sable; Braylesford.
31. Argent, two bars and a canton Sable, charged with a cinquefoil Or ; Twyford.
32. Vaire, Argent and Sable, a canton Gules; Staunton de Staunton Harold.
33. Sable, a bend between six martlets Or; Eccleshall.
34. Paly of six, Argent and Gules, a bend Azure charged with three horseshoes Or; Meignell.
35. Argent, six lions rampant Sable, 3, 2, 1; Savage.
36. Vaire, Argent and Sable; De hi Warde, baro.
37. Sable, a lion rampant Argent, armed and langued Gules; Beauley.
38. Or, fretty Gules; Verdon.
39. Argent, three wolves passant in pale Sable; Lovet.
40. Ermine, a border Sable bezante; Turvile.
41. Argent, a cross Gules voided of the field, between four cross crosslets firche Gules; Billinge.
42. Argent, a cross engrailed Gules ; Drayton.
43. Or, a chevron between three leopards’ faces Azure; Gemilis.
44. Or, a chief Azure; Lizures.
45. Gules, an orle Vaire, Or and Azure; Lindley.
40. Azure, a bend cotised between six martlets Or; Prayers (or de Pratellis.)
47. Argent, a chief indented Azure ; Crayneford.
48. Per pale, Or and Azure, a chevron Ermine. Jewell.
49. Gules, two chevrons Ermine; Dauncey.
50. Sable, a chevron between ten crosses patee Argent; Paris, 2.

Crest, On a wreath Or and Azare, the bust of a Saracen, side-faced, and couped, proper; wreathed about the temples Argent and Azure, Shirley.

On one side is the coat of Berkeley, Gules, a chevron between ten crossies patee, six above, and four below, Argent. Crest, On a wreath a mitre Gules, garnished Or, charged with the paternal coat. On the other side, the coat of Devereux, Argent, a fess Gules, in chief three torteauxes. Crest, Out of a ducal coronet Or; a talbot’s head Argent, eared Gules. This crest is marked D.S.

ragdale old hall heraldry shirley

Ragdale Old Hall heraldry Shirley

ragdale old hall heraldry Devereux

Ragdale Old Hall heraldry Devereux

On the sides of the doorway, at the springings of the arch, the crests of Shirley, and Devereux are repeated.





The following photograph shows the entrance to Ragdale Old Hall and clearly shows the above stone carvings:

Ragdale Old Hall entrance

Ragdale Old Hall entrance

Over the parlour chimney, on a finely emblazoned shield carved on wood, are the eight following quarterings:

heradry ragdale old hall

Ragdale Old hall Parlour Chimney

1.Quarterly, 1. Shirley ; 2. Braose of Gower ; 3. Milo Earl of Hereford; 4. Newmarch: Impaling,
2.Quarterly, 1. Devereux; 2. Argent, a cross engrailed Gules, between four water-bougets Sable, Bourchier;
3. Quarterly, France and England within a border Argent, Woodstock duke of Gloucester;
4. Azure, a bend Argent, cottized Or, between six lions rampant of the second; Bohun Earl of Hereford.

Over the coat is a double crest, Shirley and Devereux ; and under it this motto, ÆTERNA PRÆPONO CADUCIS.

On the ornamented pillars, “S H D. 1631.”

The arms of Shirley and Devereux are also carved in the oak wainscot of the chamber over the parlour.

Towards the latter part of the reign of King Charles II, Robert first Earl Ferrers built the largest bow to the old mansion, and made it a hunting-seat.

He also kept his hawks here; the stone trough upon which they were fed still remaining in the room where they were kept.

1 Inq. at Leicester, 18 April, 1633; Cole’s Escheats, vol. III. (Harl. MSS. 758.) p.153.
2 A coat of Sir Thomas Shirley of Botolph’s Bridge, a younger brother of Sir Henry Shirley of Rakedale, with 50 quarterings, differing only in a few of the quarters from that here described, may be seen in Harl. MSS. 4028. p. 194.

Page 387, Volume 3, Part 1

Page 387, Volume 3, Part 1

Page 387, Volume 3, Part 1

Ragdale Hall 1799

Ragdale Hall 1799

The modern house, in which Earl Ferrers resides when in this part of the county (and built entirely by himself in 1785), is engraved above. It stands on an eminence, commanding a delightful prospect; and the plantations are rising rapidly to perfection. At the distance of two miles, the country in the front forms an extensive valley, the Wreake running through it, whence gradually rising into hill, it has the appearance of a grand amphitheatre; seated on which are Burrow hill, Billeldon Goplow, Tilton on the hill, Quenby Hall. Gaddesby church, as principal objects. Melton Mowbray on the left, backed by Stapleford hall, with several intervening churches, have a good effect. Towards the right, the beautiful spire ot Queniborow, and at the distance of about 11 miles Leicester is visible, towards which the eye is guided by a number of intermediate villages, Croft hill, and other pleasing objects 1 and beyond which the view is very extensive. The West is finely bounded by the Forest hills, which appear in soft picturesque colouring. It is supposed the extent of view from East to West is upwards of 30 miles. The most distant object is probably near 20 miles off. At the same time the whole of the prospect (except the forest) is a rich luxuriant country, chiefly consisting of pasture land, ” with every mingled charm of hill and dale.”

The pedigree of the Shirleys will be given under Staunton Harold; where an account may also be seen of the family portraits; a few very good copies of which, by H. Singleton, are at present in his lordship’s town-residence. They are, a half-length of Sir Robert Shirley, bart. in armour (of whom a good plate by Basie is here given by the noble owner, (missing from book!); a half length or his son Robert first Earl Ferrers in coronation-robes; and a head of the favourite Earl of Essex (Sir Robert Shirley’s grandfather by his mother’s side), copied from a miniature (an original) in the possession of the present Earl Ferrers; who has added lately an elegant collection of cabinet pictures to those he had placed in Rakedale house soon after it was built.

The return made to the House of Commons in 1786, in answer to an enquiry respecting the charitable donations in this parish:

£. s. p.
Money raised for the poor within the year ending Easter 1776 4 12 6
Expended in county rates, &c. 4 6 6
Expended the poor 0 6 0
Rent of workhouse and habitations 0 0 0
Expended in litigations 0 6 0
Money raised for 1783 27 15 8
Money raised for 1784 36 2 7
Money raised for 1785 19 9 1
Medium of these three years 27 15 9
Medium of county expenses 6 11 8
Medium of expenses not relating to the poor, repairs of the church, roads, etc. 0 0 0
Medium of net annual expenses 24 4 1
Medium of attending on magistrates 0 0 0
Medium of entertainments at meetings 0 0 0
Medium of law expenses 0 0 0
Medium of setting the poor to work 0 0 0

The Church

Ragdale Church 1792

Ragdale Church 1792

Dedicated to All Saints, consists of a low tower (in which are two bells); a chancel, nave, and South aisle. The chancel and porch, both embattled, were rebuilt in 1787 with stone, in the Gothic style, by the present Earl Ferrers; who also repaired and new-paved the church, and put up a new pulpit and pews.

ragdale church heraldry 1

Ragdale Church Heraldry 6&8

ragdale church heraldry 2

Ragdale Church Heraldry 7&9

Mr. Wyrley notices the following arms, fig. 6—9,
“Gules, seven mascles voided and conjoined Or, Quincy.”

“Gules, a fish naiant in fess, three leopards’ heads in chief, and one in base Or.”

“An old monument in the window of one kneeling, who holdeth in his hand a banner, wherein is, Gules, three piles Or, a canton Ermine, Basset de Rakedale; his shield on his back, and in mail 2. [These arms are still preserved in a window of the North aisle.]

“Paly of six, Or and Azure, a canton Ermine, Shirley.”




ragdale church heraldry Ferrers

Ragdale Church heraldry

At the East end of the chancel are the arms of the late Earl; impaling, Azure, a chevron between three leashes; Cotton of Etwall, co. Derby; motto, IN DEO CONFIDO.

There are also two panes of glass with the arms of Basset, and two with those of Shirley, in the aisle and nave; and in some of the windows, are single horse-shoes Or, being the badge of Ferrers.

Ragdale church font

Ragdale Church Font

All these were put up by the present earl, after he had completed the new chancel. The font is ancient, and square.

This church was given by Geva Ridell to the priory of Canwell, co. Stafford, at its foundation; and in the Matriculus of 1220 is described as under the patronage of that priory; the rector, Richard Basset, paying to the prior three marks and a stone of wax ab antique 3.

In 1344, the procurations were 7s. 6.¾p; the rectory was taxed at 15 marks; and paid 2s. for Peterpence. The then patron was Ralph Basset.

At the time of the appropriation of this church, an annual pension of 13s 4d at Michaelmas was granted to the bishop of Lincoln, “pro indempnitate epifcopi, ratione appropriationis 4

In 1534-5, the procurations and fynodals were 13s. 4d; to the college of St. Frideswide £1. 13s. 4d; the bishop’s pension 13s. 4d; and the value of the vicarage, £6 13s. 4d.

In 1545, John Beaumont, of Gracedieu, esq. obtained a licence of alienation from the king, to fell to Francis Shirley, esq. of Staunton Harold, the rectory and vicarage of Rakedale; which formerly belonged to the priory of Canwell, and afterwards to Cardinal Wolsey 5, who was attainted of high treason.

In 1609, Sir George Shirley, knight and baronet, held the rectory of Rakedale in capite.

In 1654, it was, by descent, the property of Sir Robert Shirley; and is now in like manner vested in Earl Ferrers.

In the king’s books it is entered, among the discharged livings, as a curacy; which is erroneous, it being a peculiar. There are no procurations paid; nor is it under the bishop’s jurisdiction, the present Earl Ferrers being the patron and visitor. His lordship possesses some curious old deeds respecting this parish.

Rectors and Patrons

Rector, clerk Patrons
Richard Basset, 1220. Prior and convent of Canwell.
Walter de Rokefey, 1261. Prior and convent of Canwell.
Thomas de Sengelton, 1274.  Prior and convent of Canwell.
John Marshall 6, Aug. 12, resigned Dec. 9, 1404. ‘Sir Thomas Aston, knt.; and others.
Richard West was styled vicar in 1534. Prior and convent of Canwell.

Since that time, there have been no regular presentations; but an officiating minister has been appointed by the Shirley family, to continue as curate during their pleasure. The salary is also optional.

Mr. Rawlins was curate at the time of the Heraldic Visitation in 1682.

The Rev. William Casson, the present curate, was appointed by Robert Earl Ferrers (when lord Tamworth) in 1783.

1 Throfby, Excursions, p. 439.
2 Wyrley, MS.
3 See the John Nichols History and Antiquities of Leicestershire, Introductory Volume, p. Ix.
4 This appears by the Episcopal Register at Lincoln ; and Earl Ferrers is in possession of all the deeds.
5 Canwell priory was dissolved 17 Hen. VIII; being given, with divers others, by Pope Clement VII, to Cardinal Wolsey, for the founding of the colleges at Christ Church and Ipswich.
6 “Joh’ Marshall, clericus, præsentatus per Thorn’ Aston, roil’, Joh’ Leyre, Joh’ Broune, & Joh’ Outhorpe, capellanos, ad ecclesiam de Rakedale, Line’ dioec’, 12 Aug. 1404 j resignavit 9 Dec. 1404.” Reg. Beaufort.

Page 388, Volume 3, Part 1

Page 388, Volume 3, Part 1

Page 388, Volume 3, Part 1

Monumental Inscriptions.

On flat stones in the aisle :
1. “Here lieth the body of George Henton 1 , who departed this life the 22d of November, 17 31, in the 71st year of his age.”
2. “Memento tnori. Here lieth interred the body of William Henton, of Hoby, the son of George and Elizabeth Henton, of this parish, deceased, who departed this life the 1st of May, ann. Dom. 1733, in the 32nd year of his age.”
3. ” Here lie the remains of Mr. George Henton, who departed this life the 23d day of January, 1767, in the 68th year of his age.”
4. ” Here lieth interred the body of Jane the daughter of George Henton, gent; by Jane his wife; who departed this life Feb. 2nd, 1779, aged 47 years.”

In the church-yard remains a curious and perfect old cross (as shewn conspicuously in the view of the church, above) the shaft of which is one solid stone.

Ragdale Church finds

Ragdale Church finds

When the chancel and porch were rebuilt, the ground in the church-yard was removed almost three feet deep, to make it level with the floor of the church; and in digging there were found, towards the extremity of the church-yard, a great number of bones laying all together, as if many bodies had been deposited in one grave; the soil about them a pure sand and not the natural soil of the place, which is chiefly gravel and clay. A silver coin of Henry III. and two very ancient medals, were also found in the churchyard; and between the cross and the church, a large jasper-bead, cut in angles, with a hole through it Fig. 4. was discovered and taken up. Fig. 5, a marine fossil, or cornua ammcnis, was found 13 yards deep, in sinking a well, in 1789, on the summit where Lord Ferrers has built his new house; and Fig. 6. a fresh-water muscle petrified, at 53 yards deep in the fame well.
The whole depth of the well is 61 yards: the water came in upon striking through a thick stratum of very fine sand at 59 yards deep: till then the soil had varied very little from blue marle, except that near the bottom the blue marle had a mixture of sand. Fig. 7. is a remarkable stone, which has long been preserved at the door of the old mansion-house at Rakedale ; and is supposed to have formerly supported some image or holy-water vessel in the church.

1 Mrs. Alice Stevens, wife of Mr. Edward Stevens, and daughter of Mr. George Henton of Rakedale, died in 1758, aged 63. See John Nichols History and Antiquities of Leicestershire vol. II. p. 420.