The date, if it eyer was affixed, is now completely erased; but it is conjectured by Mr. Shaw, that this gentleman lived in the reign of Henry the seventh or eighth. The other tomb is to the memory of Sir Richard Astley, who is represented in basso relievo at the head of a squadron of horse. On each side of Sir Richard, are the arms of a knight, and other warlike accoutrements. The figures of his two wives are placed on pedestals at each end of the monument which is adorned above with some elegant carved work and other embellishments.


This town, though not a borough, is by far the most extensive and populous in Staffordshire. It is a place of great antiquity; but nothing is recorded concerning its history till the year 996, when we are informed, that the pious Wulfruna, relict of Aldhelm, Duke of Northampton, built and endowed a monastery here. Previous to this period its name was simply Hampton; but it now began to be distinguished by the appellation of Wulfrune's Hampton, since modified or corrupted into the term Wolverhampton.

Wulfruna, having completed her foundation, placed in it a dean and several prebends, or Secular canons, with other suitable officers. These last, however, it seems, did not long continue to promote the object for which they were instituted ; but, in defiance of every precept, moral and divine, became so vicious in their lives that their dean Petrus Blesensis, after trying all possible means to reclaim them in vain, was compelled to surrender his deanery into the hands of Hubert, archbishop of Canterbury, about the year 1200,* humbly beseeching him that Cistertians might be substituted in their stead. This change, however, from some cause or other, now unknown, did not take place; but the deanery, with the collation of the prebends, was united

Petrus Blesensis Epistolar. Lib. Ep. 152, Ad Innocent. III,

united by Edward the fourth to that of Windsor. In this state did it continue till the dissolution, after which it was refounded by queen Mary, whose acts were confirmed by king James the first. This monarch appointed the celebrated Marcus Antonius de Dominis, archbishop of Spalatro, to the conjunct deanries, which are now in the same condition as then, but the colleges are distinct.

Wolverhampton is a well built and healthy town, notwithstanding its proximity to numerous coal mines; a circumstance which, no doubt, is in great measure owing to its lofty situation. The trade which it carries on in locks, keys, and such like articles, is truly astonishing. Nothing indeed can exceed the ingenuity and skill of its locksmiths, their productions surpassing both in beauty and usefulness, all articles of the same kind made in any other district of England.*

This town, however, notwithstanding its extensive manufacture, does not increase in houses so rapidly as some other towns in the interior. The evident cause to be assigned in explanation of this fact is, that the land here is almost wholly church land, which is not a tenure sufficient to encourage people to lay out their money in erecting buildings. No

• Plot, adverting to this subject, says, But the greatest excellency of the blacksmith's profession, that he could hear of in this country, lay in their making locks for doors, wherein the artisans of Wolverhampton seem to be preferred to all others, they making them in suits, six, eight, or more, in a suite according as they are bespoke, in such a manner that the keys shall neither of them open each others lock, yet one master-key shall open them all. Hence these locks being placed upon separate doors, and the inferior keys kept by distinct servants, though neither of them can come at each others charge, yet the master can come at them all. Moreover, the master, by turning his key in any of the servants' locks but once extraordinary can prevent the servants themselves from coming at their charge. Neither shall the servant spoil his key or the lock in making the attempt. Nay, they can so construct locks, that a master or mistress can tell how often it has been opened or shut, even during a whole year together. These locks they make either in brass or iron boxes so curiously polished, and the keys are so finely wrought, as not to be exceeded. Plot's Hist. Stafford. p. 375–376.

No parish perhaps in South Britain is of greater extent than this, it being little short of thirty miles in circumference, and containing seventeen very considerable villages and townships. The population of the town alone, according to the parliamentary returns of 1801, was estimated at 12,565 persons, viz. 6,207 males, and 6,358 females. Of this number, 3,356 were returned as employed in the various branches of trade and manufactures. The lighting, paving, and cleaning, is conducted under the authority of an act of Parliament. The principal market day is Wednesday; but an inferior one is likewise held on Saturday.* Two canals, the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Grand trunk, and the Birmingham canal, pass in this immediate vicinity, and form a junction about a mile to the north.

The collegiate church, now dedicated to St. Peter, is very agreeably situated on elevated ground towards the eastern side. of the town. It is a stone building, consisting of a lofty nave, two aisles, and a chancel. The latter is most incongruously fitted up in the modern taste. A very fine Gothic tower, em.' battled at the top and richly ornamented, rises from the centre. Five pointed arches resting on octagonal pillars support the nave. The pulpit, which is composed of stone, is an object of great interest and curiosity. It is placed against one of the south pillars, and is adorned with very beautiful sculptured niche work. A flight of steps forms the basement of this pulpit, at the foot of which is fixed the figure of a large lion, executed in a very superior style. To the south of the tower in Mr. Leveson's chancel, formerly called the "Lady Chapel," stands an alabaster monument, to the memory of John Leveson and his wife, who died in 1575. The figure of the man is in armour. The great chancel contains a fine full length statue of brass, in honour of the celebrated Admiral Sir Richard Leveson, who commanded under Sir Francis Drake, against the

The market was granted by Henry the third. Gough's Camden, Vol. IL p. 500.

the Spanish Armada. Lane, already mentioned as having distinguished himself by his attachment to Charles the second, stands in a small chancel usually called Mr. Lane's chancel. Here is likewise a curious stone font of an octagonal shape, and evidently of great antiquity. On the shafts, in bass relief, are the figures of St. Anthony, St. Paul, and St. Peter. The first bears a palm branch and shield, the second holds a club, and the third has his hands raised in the act of supplication. The other parts of this font are beautifully embellished with crosses, sprigs, tulips, roses, and a multiplicity of other flowers.*

The noble tomb of Colonel John

In the churchyard, frouting the south porch, stands a round column twenty feet in height, and displaying a vast profusion of rude sculpture work, arranged in separate compartments. On the side towards the north west, near the base, and under the spandrils of a sort of arch, appear the figures of a bird and beast looking back at each other. Above these is a band of Saxon leaves, which divides them from several other figures like dragons, with forefeet and long tails, in lozenges. second band similar to the first separates these from a compartment of figures of beasts and griffins. To them succeeds a third band, and above it are various grotesque carvings. The whole is surmounted by a regular plain capital, which might have at one time supported a cross; but this is uncertain, as is likewise the question, whether it is of Danish or Saxon construction.t

The precise site of the monastery founded here, by Wulfruna, is


The living of this church is only a curacy, with four chapels in the gift of the dean and chapter of Windsor. The dean is lord borough of this town, and of the villages of Todsall, Hatherton, and Petshal, with Ludley, in Worcestershire. There are nine leets within the jurisdiction; and the dean has all manner of privileges belonging to the view of frank-pledge, goods, deodands, escheats, marriage of wards and clerks of the markets. Each of the portionaries have a several leet. Gough's Camden, Vol. II. p. 495, 500. Plot's Natural History.

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† Shaw's Hist. Stafford. Vol. II. p. 161.

not perfectly ascertained. Towards the south west corner of this cemetery may be still seen a very large room or vault, about 30 feet square, supported by strong massy groins which meet in the centre of the roof. This work is entire and unmutilated, and seems to have been the basement story of an edifice of considerable magnitude. The wall is three yards thick, and on both sides of the doorway are some slight vestiges of sculptured cornice stones.

The other church, dedicated to St. John, was erected by subscription, an act of Parliament having been obtained for this purpose in the year 1755. A deficiency of funds, however, prevented it from being completed till the year 1776. It is built of stone, and is pewed and painted according to the taste of modern times. These are the only churches belonging to the establishment in this populous town; and, as we are informed, there are not more than three chapels besides, in the whole parish, though it contains a population of thirty thousand persons. This certainly shews some manifest deficiency of zeal, for the interest of religion in those whose duty it is to pay attention to such matters. Here is a plain stimulus, if the expression may be allowed, for the encouragement of schism, and secession from the established church. It is in a manner compelling the inhabitants either to abjure the Christian faith, or to become dissenters, a change which is soon produced by habits of attending dissenting places of worship, where the comments on the Gospel may be often erroneous, but are always delivered with energy and fervour, not with the sleepy listlessness of a schoolboy dunce. In conformity with this observation it is a fact, that almost every sect, relatively speaking, is more numerous here than in any other district of England; conjointly comprising at least two fifths of the entire popula tion of the parish. Here are of course a number of dissenting chapels.

The Free-school is a handsome brick building, founded and endowed by Sir Stephen Jennings, a native of this town, and VOL. XIII. Iii


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