Conisbrough (St. Peter)

CONISBROUGH (St. Peter), a parish, in the union of Doncaster, S. division of the wapentake of Strafforth and Tickhill, W. riding of York, 6½ miles (N. E. by E.) from Rotherham; containing 1445 inhabitants. This place, which is situated on the road from Sheffield to Doncaster, is of high antiquity, and has been connected with all the different dynasties by which Britain has been governed: it is stated to have been the seat of a civil jurisdiction, comprising twenty-eight towns, and is famed for the ruin of its Saxon castle, which stands upon a conical hill rising abruptly from the Don, and consists of the body of a circular tower encompassed by the ordinary concomitants of strong fortifications. Conisbrough is first mentioned as a fortress belonging to Hengist, the Saxon leader, who was defeated here in 487, by Aurelius Ambrosius, and again in 489, at which period, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, he was made prisoner and beheaded at the northern gate of the citadel, where a tumulus is said to cover his relics: some, however, suppose that the present pile was erected by Earl Warren, to whom William the Conqueror gave the manor. In this castle, Richard, Earl of Cambridge, second son of the Duke of York, and grandson of Edward III., was born; he was beheaded for conspiring against Henry V. The round tower, or keep, is almost perfect, the remaining part forming a picturesque ruin: one of the principal scenes in Sir Walter Scott's romance of Ivanhoe is laid here. The parish comprises about 4000 acres of fertile land, in the vale of the Don, and abounds with beautiful scenery. Limestone of good quality is quarried to some extent, and the inhabitants are partly employed in the manufacture of linen checks. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8. 12. 8½.; patron, the Archbishop of York; impropriators, Sackville Lane Fox, Esq., and others. The great tithes have been commuted for £366. 16., the vicarial for £223. 6., and a rent-charge of £1. 11. is paid to the archbishop; the glebe contains 66½ acres, with a glebe-house. The church is of Norman character, combined with the early, decorated, and later styles of English architecture; and had formerly a chantry, founded in the fifteenth of Edward II.: there are several monuments, and the mutilated statue of a knight, together with a curious stone adorned with many hieroglyphics. Here is a place of worship for Wesleyans.

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

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