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Heather (St. John)

HEATHER (St. John), a parish, in the union of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, hundred of Sparkenhoe, S. division of the county of Leicester, 4½ miles (S. S. E.) from Ashby; containing 368 inhabitants. Here was a commandery of Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, to which Ralph Gresley, in the reign of Henry II., gave the church and lands of the place; the only vestige at present remaining of the building is some wainscoting in the manor-house, which was erected on the site. The revenue was estimated at £39. 1. 5., and, together with the site, was granted, in the reign of Edward VI., to Oliver St. John and Robert Thornton. The parish comprises by measurement 1012 acres, of which about two-fifth parts are arable, and the remainder pasture and meadow; the soil is a light sandy loam, with a small portion of deep rich loam. Collieries have been worked for more than 200 years. The Ashby canal passes within two, and the Leicester and Swannington railway within three, miles. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £7. 17. 8.; net income, £377; patron and impropriator, the Rev. G. Belcher. The church was reopened in July 1847, after having undergone numerous improvements; the chancel has been rebuilt, a tower erected, and a north aisle added. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.