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T R Potter - Rambles around Loughborough 1868


"Where is the village half such charms adorn
As that by Soar's bright waters - 'Queenly Quorn?' " Eliza

The time is not far distant, perhaps, when the first striking object after leaving High Street will be another church. Loughborough would have had half-a-dozen by this time, but for the alien outrage that robbed it of Mr Heathcoat, and of the capital, enterprise and energy which have so enriched Tiverton. There is matter for moralising as we pass the fatal factory.

Southfields, The Elms, Victoria Grounds, Searlesthorpe, Needless Inn and Quorn Villa, are seen in the very pleasant three miles to Quorn. Something might be written about all of them, but we can only notice them en passant. Soon after entering this large and far-famed village we pass what was the pretty cottage of "Eliza" and are reminded of many a pleasing poem from her fluent pen. Many of our readers will remember her spirited lines on the introduction of GAS into Quorn. "Mona's Isle", and others of her writings, exhibited great power and very correct taste. A volume, far superior to much modern versification, might be formed of her fugitive pieces.

The Church

St Bartholomew's, a chapelry to Barrow, is a very ancient structure. The tower is peculiar. A large sum was worse than thrown away thirty years ago in "beautifying (! !)" gallery-building, boxing, and daubing. A good restoration effected in 1866 has repaired the mischief. The Farnham monuments are interesting - that to Queen Elizabeth's "great Captain" John Farnham, especially so. Both of the sculpture and the elegy are exceedingly curious. In the floor of the ancient chapelry occurs the following -

"He first deceased, then she a little tried
To live without him; liked it not and died"

The churchyard is more like Bunhill Fields burial ground than a rural cemetery !. Anything less lovely it were difficult to imagine. Some tombs, however, struck us as worth notice. There is one inscribed to the memory of a too early lost brother of "Eliza" and here too, we found, the poetess herself sleeps. "Terre, sois lui legere".

There are few villages in England that contain so many mansions, villas, and commanding residences as Quorn. It was this, we presume, and not the alliteration, that led Lord Alvanley to give it the epithet of "Queenly Quorn". It was in 1750 that Mr Hugo Meynell purchased the Nether Hall, and formed a hunting establishment that may truly be said to have a world-wide fame. The long list of noblemen and commoners who have been masters here would scarcely have interest for our readers. The Hall itself has for many years been the property and the residence of Mr Edward Warner, JP. The extensive stabling and kennels have, however, always been occupied by the hunting stud and hounds of the Master of the Quorn. On the very day we took our Ramble the hunters of the present noble Master were being submitted to the hammer. We did not join the group assembled in the Hall paddock, but, musing on the uncertainty of human calculations, resumed our walk. Soar House, Stafford House, and other pleasant residences, are passed before we regain the turnpike. Mr Cradock's handsome mansion, now called Quorn Court, was once the abode of the Duke of Dorset. It has had other noble occupants. Loraine Smith called it "Diana's Dressing Room". Many remember it as the home of two much respected county families - the Boyers and the Burnabys. We remember it when it contained as many specimens of feminine loveliness as were ever seen in one family.

The pleasant home of the hospitable Hydes has passed away. Not one of the name, and but one of the family is now found in the village of which they were at one time the pride. We recollect a fine collection of portraits, and some remarkable memorials of the great Lord Clarendon - all, alas! Dispersed! The last Ann Hyde, unmindful of royal kith and kin, became an Annie, and then the happy wife of one who knew how to love her for something still better than high descent.

The old mansion of the Chaveneys, now occupied by Mr Sarson, junior, is a rich specimen of a Tudor House. Le Keux took a drawing of it for the Exhibition. A very ancient cottage close by is a curious example of a timber house. The pleasant homes of the old families of the Stones, the Woodroffes, the Inglesants, &c &c, are all deserving notice. They form noteworthy ornaments of Quiet Quorn.

Quorndon House, the residence of E B Farnham, Esq., is one of the most delightful seats that skirt our Forest. Sir Robert de Farnham came in with the Conqueror, and the family has for many generations been seated here and at the Nether Hall.

"Farnamwode," or, as it is now called, Quorn Wood, is a spot of singular beauty. No scene more lovely or picturesque can be found in Leicestershire.

Botanists revel here and in Buddon, and permission to explore the rich treasury may easily be obtained at Quorn House. We don't like folks to intrude into inclosures without leave obtained. Some people pride themselves on this trespass -

"Deeming the path they may pursue
Without a pass from Roderic Dhu"

The geologist, too, finds materials for profitable study in Quorndon Wood - the Hill of Querns. Most of the ancient Querns discovered in Leicestershire were formed from stone found in this hill, and this fact, no doubt, gave name to the village. Querne, Quernedon, Quarendon, Quorndon, are only some of its many designations. Antiquarians have noticed traces of ancient earthworks here that they have felt it difficult to explain. In the days of the De Quinceys and De Somerays the Park of Quorn was a favourite hunting ground.

We intended to include Mountsorrel in this Ramble, but we find the day all too short to do justice to Quorn. Another summer day must be taken for the purpose, when, perhaps, Gas, and other luminaries of this remarkable village, living and lost, may have more fitting notice.

 Submitted on: 2011-08-10
 Submitted by: Kathryn Paterson
 Artefact ID: 1373

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