Belton (St. John the Baptist)

BELTON (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union of Loughborough, hundred of West Goscote, N. division of the county of Leicester, 5 miles (S. W. by S.) from Kegworth; containing, with the extraparochial liberty of Grace-Dieu, 718 inhabitants. The parish comprises by measurement 1179 acres, and the liberty of Grace-Dieu 1029 acres: the soil is generally a good loam, and the surface level: limestone, porphyries, and greywacke slate are found. Many of the inhabitants are employed in framework knitting. A considerable fair for horses and cattle is held on the Monday next after Trinity week. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8. 18. 4.; net income, £204; patron, the Marquess of Hastings: the glebe consists of 117 acres. There are places of worship for Baptists and Methodists. A convent for fourteen nuns of the order of St. Augustine was founded at Grace-Dieu, in the reign of Henry III., 1240, by Roesia de Verdun, or Jocosa Varadon. In this nunnery, prior to its dissolution, great irregularities were discovered as to the lives and conduct of its inmates; and though it was licensed to continue for some time after the general suppression in 1536, it was finally surrendered in 1539, when its revenue was £101. 8. 2¼.: the remains are still to be seen. Sir John Beaumont, author of a poem entitled Bosworth Field, and brother of Francis Beaumont, the celebrated dramatist, was born at Grace-Dieu in 1582.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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