Melbourne (St. Michael)

MELBOURNE (St. Michael), a small town and a parish, in the union of Shardlow, hundred of Repton and Gresley, S. division of the county of Derby, 8 miles (S. S. E.) from Derby; containing 2583 inhabitants. This place was formerly the residence of the bishops of Carlisle, who had a palace here; and there was anciently a baronial castle, in which John, Duke of Bourbon, who had been made prisoner at the battle of Agincourt, was confined for several years: the castle was destroyed in 1460, by order of Queen Margaret, and though subsequently restored, scarcely a vestige of it is remaining. Melbourne Hall, the seat and occasional residence of Viscount Melbourne, was the episcopal palace. It is a large modern stone mansion, of beautiful exterior, and fitted up with much elegance; the principal apartments are of noble dimensions, and are adorned with paintings by the first masters. The park is of great beauty, and is enriched by a spacious sheet of water formed by the river Lea, that flows through the grounds; in the gardens and shrubberies, which are extensive, is a walk of yew-trees, supposed to be several centuries old. King's-Newton Hall was the seat of the Hardinges, ancestors of Lord Hardinge. The parish is bounded on the north by the river Trent, and comprises by survey 3463a. 3r. 5p.; the soil is generally a rich loam, alternated with strong clay, and on the commons of lighter quality; the surface is hilly. The principal manufacture is that of lace gloves. Sandstone of good quality for building is quarried extensively, and also a peculiarly fine kind which is used for sharpening scythes. The town is an improving place, pleasantly situated on the Derby and Ashby-de-la-Zouch road. A market is held on Saturday, for butter, poultry, vegetables, &c.; a mechanics' institution was established in 1841, and there are an Odd-Fellows', a Foresters', and two Druids' Lodges. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £9. 13. 4.; net income, £179; patron, the Bishop of Carlisle; impropriator, Viscount Melbourne. The tithes were commuted for land in 1787; the glebe comprises 78 acres, with an old glebe-house. The church is a good specimen of Norman architecture, with round massive piers, circular arches, and zigzag ornaments. There are places of worship for General Baptists, Independents, Wesleyans, and Swedenborgians; and a national school endowed with £30 per annum.

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

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