Hallaton (St. Michael)

HALLATON (St. Michael), a parish, and formerly a market-town, in the union of Uppingham, hundred of Gartree, S. division of the county of Leicester, 7 miles (N. E. by N.) from Market-Harborough, and 90 (N. N. W.) from London; containing 637 inhabitants, The name is supposed by some to be a corruption of Hollow town, in allusion to the situation of the place in a valley, or hollow spot; by others it is derived from Holy town. The market-cross is still standing, but the market has not been held within the memory of the present inhabitants. An attempt was made to revive it in 1767, which proved abortive, owing in a great measure to the badness of the roads, which were then nearly impassable in winter. Fairs are held for cattle on Holy-Thursday, and the third Thursday after. The living is a rectory, formerly in medieties, which were united in 1728; the north mediety is valued in the king's books at £18. 13. 4., and the south at £17. 6. 8.: net income, £646. It is held with the donative of Blaston St. Michael, and is in the alternate patronage of the families of Bewicke and Fenwicke. The church is a large and handsome edifice, consisting of a nave, aisles, and chancel, with a tower and spire, and contains an ancient square font, supported by columns ornamented with grotesque heads. There is a place of worship for Baptists. A school is endowed with £24 per annum, issuing from the Town estate of £318 per annum, of which £170 are expended in repairing the highways, £10 in apprenticing children, another portion for the support of almshouses for three widows, and the remainder, except the £24, in the distribution of blankets and coal among the poor. On the western side of the village, at a distance of a mile, is the site of a fortress, called Hallaton Castle Hill: the most conspicuous part is a conical eminence, 118 feet high, and 630 feet in circumference, on which stood the keep, occupying, with the outworks, about two acres of ground. A quarter of a mile south-west of this, are traces of another fortress of nearly the same extent. A battle is said to have been fought near Hallaton, and these vestiges give countenance to the tradition, as also does the name of Bloodwood, affixed to a spot where the battle is said to have taken place.

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

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