Cole-Orton (St. Mary)

COLE-ORTON (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, hundred of West Goscote, N. division of the county of Leicester, 2 miles (E.) from Ashby; containing 601 inhabitants. This parish is beautifully situated on the Ashby and Loughborough road, between the romantic scenery of Charnwood Forest, on one side, and the less diversified country beyond Ashby, towards Staffordshire, on the other. It comprises by measurement 2600 acres, of which the surface is undulated. The village is at the extremity of the forest, and, with the church, and the handsome mansion of the Beaumont family, forms an interesting and prominent feature in the landscape. In the park grounds is an epitaph by Wordsworth to Francis Beaumont, the poet, who was born in an extra-parochial district adjoining: the neighbourhood was one of Wordsworth's favourite places of resort, and much of it has been the subject of his muse. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £10. 6. 0½.; net income, £267; patron, Sir G. H. W. Beaumont, Bart.: the glebe contains about 7 acres, with a glebe-house. The church is a compact structure in the later English style, with a square embattled tower, surmounted by a handsome spire, and was thoroughly repaired in 1812: the altar-piece is embellished with a fine painting of the Angel delivering St. Peter from Prison, presented by the late Sir George Beaumont, who also ornamented the south-east window with rich stained glass, brought from Rouen. In an aisle railed off from the rest of the church is an elegant monument of alabaster, with two reclining figures, to the memory of Sir Henry and Lady Elizabeth Beaumont, the former of whom died in 1607, and the latter in 1608: there is also a tablet, by Chantrey, to Sir G. Beaumont and his lady. Thomas, Viscount Beaumont, in 1702 founded a school for children, and an hospital for six widows, which he endowed with the great tithes of Swannington, valued now at about £193 per annum: the school is in connexion with the National Society.

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

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