Stamford History

This is from my favourite series, this time The Highways & Byways of Lincolnshire:

“There was a castle near the ford in the 10th century, and Danes and Saxons alternately held it until the Norman Conquest. The city, like the ancient Thebes, had a wall with 7 gates besides posterns, one of which still exists in the garden of 9, Barn Hill, the house in which Alderman Wolph hid Charles I on his last visit to Stamford in 1646. Most of the buildings which once made Stamford so remarkable were the work of the 12th and 13th centuries, and as they comprised 15 churches 6 priories, with hospitals, schools and almshouses n corresponding numbers, the town must have presented a beautiful appearance, more especially so because the stone used in all these buildings, private and pubic, is of such exceptionally good character…. But much of this glory of stone building and Gothic architecture was destroyed in the year 1461; …It happened that, just as Henry III had given it to his son Edward I on his marriage with Eleanor of Castile in 1254, so, in 1363, Edward III gave the castle and manor of Stamford to his son Edmond of Langley, duke of York; this, by attaching the town to the Yorkist Cause, when Lincolnshire was mostly Lancastrian, brought about its destruction, for before the battle of St Albans in 1461, the Lancastrians under Sir Andrew Trollope utterly devastated the town, destroying everything, and though some of he churches were rebuilt, the town never recovered its former magnificence It still looks beautiful with its 6 churches, its many fragments of arch or wall and several fine old almshouses which were built subsequently, but it lost either ten or at the dissolution more than double of what it has managed to retain. Ten years later the courage shown by the men of Stamford at the battle of Empingham or “Bloody Oaks” close by, on the North Road, where the Lancastrians were defeated, caused Edward IV to grant permission for the royal lions to be placed on the civic shield of Stamford side by side with the arms of Earl Warren. He had had the manorial rights of Stamford given to him by King John in 1206, and he is said to have given the butchers a field in which to keep a bull to be bated annually on November 13, and the barbarous practice was actually kept up till 1839, and then only abolished with difficulty.

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