Belvoir

BELVOIR, an extra-parochial liberty, in the union of Grantham, partly in the soke of Grantham, parts of Kesteven, county of Lincoln, but chiefly in the hundred of Framland, N. division of the county of Leicester, 7 miles (W. by S.) from Grantham; containing 109 inhabitants. At the Conquest, the manor of Belvoir was held by Robert de Todenei, standardbearer to William I., and whose son took the name of Albini from his marriage into a family of that name in Bretagne. King Stephen granted it to Ranulf Gernon, Earl of Chester; but in the reign of Henry II. the Albinis regained possession of it, and their heiress brought it in marriage to the family of De Ros, barons of Hamlake. In 1461, Thomas, Lord Ros, was attainted of high treason, and the honour, castle, and lordship of Belvoir were granted to William, Lord Hastings; but in 1483 his property was restored to him: subsequently, Eleanor, the sister and co-heir of Edmund, Lord Ros, married Sir Robert Manners, and the estates became vested in that family, which was afterwards ennobled. The liberty is the sole property of the Duke of Rutland, and comprises 678 acres of land.

His Grace's seat, Belvoir Castle, is one of the most magnificent mansions in the kingdom; it stands upon a lofty eminence, the sides of which are formed into terraces, at various heights, diversified with shrubs, while the base is covered with large trees, forming a complete woodland. The original foundation of the castle is involved in considerable doubt, but it is ascribed to Robert de Todenei, of whose fortress there still remains the tower, which forms the centre of the present edifice. The mansion has been at various times rebuilt or enlarged: it was completely restored in 1668, by the then Earl of Rutland,; and the present possessor had expended more than £200,000 upon alterations and improvements, when on the 26th of October, 1816, during the progress of the works, a calamitous fire consumed a great part of the building, with furniture, works of art, and upwards of one hundred pictures by the ancient and other great masters, involving a loss the amount of which was never estimated. The whole of the superb structure has been reconstructed or repaired since the fire: it is of vast extent, built of freestone, with a north-west and south-west wing, and ornamented with turrets. On the summit of Blackberry hill is a mausoleum, in which repose the two last dukes, the celebrated Marquess of Granby, and the late duchess; it contains a statue of her grace in the act of ascending to the skies, executed in Parian marble by Matthew Wyatt. The priory of Belvoir, dedicated to St. Mary, was founded near the castle, by Robert de Todenei, about 1076, for four Black monks of the order of St. Benedict, as a cell to St. Alban's: at the Dissolution, when the revenue was £135, it was granted to the Manners and Terwhit families.

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

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