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Earl Shilton is a market town in Leicestershire, England, approximately 5 miles (8 kilometres) from Hinckley and approximately 10 miles (16 kilometres) from Leicester. The population was 10,047 according to the 2011 Census.
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Earl Shilton would grow on Shilton Hill in what would become south Leicestershire. An ancient trackway known as the Salt Road ran beneath the hill, connecting east and west Leicestershire. This road was built by a tribe known as the Corieltauvi and ran along the southern edge of the Great Leicester Forest, a vast tract of woodland that completely covered west Leicestershire and stretched up into Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. For many centuries, the Salt Road was a major artery of trade and passage.
The Corieltauvi tribe arrived in Britain from continental Europe around 100 BC. They were a band of Belgic warriors who carved out a kingdom stretching from the Humber to south Leicestershire. These ancient Britons were not a unified tribe, but rather a collection of peoples who shared a common way of life. The tribe did not rely on hill forts for protection in general. The Corieltauvi appear to have been better farmers than warriors, as they lived in lowland settlements, usually beside streams and frequently surrounded or even hidden by thick forest.
The Roman era
When the Roman army arrived in Britain in 43 AD, it quickly set about conquering the country. By AD 47, Roman Legions had spread north and west and were advancing into Leicestershire. The Corieltauvi tribal chiefs were being harassed by their neighbours, the Brigantes, at the time, and so welcomed the Romans as a source of protection and stability. The Roman Governor in Britain, Ostorius Scapula, established the border zone delineated by the Fosse Way through friendly Corieltauvi territory.
Earl Shilton’s first industry arrived during this time, with the establishment of a pottery on Shilton Heath (behind the modern day Heathfield High School). An excellent vein of clay was discovered near Earl Shilton’s Roman kiln. It began producing low grade, grey ware pots for everyday cooking and storage in the early second century (John Lawrence). Desford had another pottery, and Stoney Stanton lived up to its name with the opening of a Roman quarry. [Citation required]
Periods of Saxony and Denmark
Earl Shilton was in the Middle Angles’ kingdom. Middle Anglia and Mercia were built around the Trent River and its tributaries, such as the Soar.
Viking raiders launched the first recorded attacks on Saxon England at the end of the eighth century. Early Viking raids did not affect the villagers of Earl Shilton because they were well inland, but in 874—875 a great heathen army of Danes moved up the Trent and into the heart of Mercia. They attacked and took over Nottingham before moving their ships up the Trent River into north Leicestershire.
At the time of Edward the Confessor, Shultone had 5 ploughlands worth 5 shillings, according to Domesday records. The village of Barwell, Shultone’s neighbour, was built on the lands of Leofric, Earl of Mercia (John Lawrence).
The Early Middle Ages Earl Shilton Grandma
In 1068, about two years after the Battle of Hastings, William besieged and captured the city of Leicester as part of the Norman Conquest. Hugh de Grandmesnil, a Norman adventurer, was given control of Leicester by William. He also gave De Grandmesnil 100 manors in return for his services, 65 of which were in Leicestershire, including Earl Shilton. He was appointed Sheriff of Leicester County and Governor of Hampshire. Adeliza, the daughter of Ivo, Count of Beaumont-sur-l’Oise, was his wife. Hugh de Grandmesnil and his wife had five sons and five daughters when they died in 1087.
1086 Domesday Survey
Earl Shilton, like many other English villages, first appears in written history in the Domesday Book of 1086, the first complete tax record for the entire country. The village of Scheltone, now known as Earl Shilton, was one of the parcels of land granted to Hugh de Grandmesnil by William the Conqueror. The village spanned 500 acres (2.0 km2). The village had three ploughs, one serf, and four sokemen. Sokemen were the highest class of free peasants, a lower aristocracy believed to be descended from the Danes who settled in the East Midlands. There was also a priest, ten villeins, and five bordars in the village. Villeins and bordars were subordinate to sokemen and were bound to the land. Villeins typically owned between 30 and 100 acres (120,000 and 400,000 m2), whereas bordars were of lower status and typically owned a smallholding. Sheltone had 12 acres (49,000 m2) of meadow and a mill worth 16 pence (£0.07), as well as woodland 8 furlongs (1,600 m) long and 3 broad worth 70 shillings (£3.50). Following the Norman invasion, there must have been some inflation, as Sheltone’s woodland was valued at 5 shillings (£0.25) during the reign of Edward the Confessor. [Citation required] The village would have had a population of 75 to 80 people.
Earl Shilton manor’s fields were open spaces divided into long narrow strips. Only the cattle grazing fields were fenced. The others were open and could only be identified as separate fields by the crops they grew. The single crop in each field was farmed separately – in individual strips – by peasant families from the nearby village, which was an unusual detail.
Some of the strips belonged to the local lord, and the peasants farmed them for him as part of their feudal obligations. A mediaeval rural community’s life revolved around strip farming. It entailed an inherent element of fairness, because each peasant’s strip was widely distributed across the entire manor; every family would benefit from good land in some areas while accepting a low yield in others. The strips also imposed a practical village democracy. The system only worked if everyone sowed the same crop on their respective strips of open fields. What to sow and when to harvest were decisions made collectively. The field could not be fenced or cattle allowed in until each peasant had harvested his or her own harvest. When the harvest arrived, the peasants were obligated to pay their lord to grind the corn in his mill.
Plowing was also a group effort. Because the heavy wheeled plough required for northern soils was costly, as were the horses or oxen to pull it, a team of horses and a plough worked successive strips of an open field for different peasants. The strips’ long, narrow shape reflected the difficulty of turning the team at each end. In addition to open fields, each village or manor had common land where peasants could graze cattle, collect wood, cut turf, and occasionally catch fish.
Ivo de Grandmesnil died on a crusade to Jerusalem, and when he did not return, Robert Beaumont violated his oaths and seized control of the entire city of Leicester. He evicted Ivo’s children and absorbed all of the Grandmesnil estates into his own. Earl Shilton manor was now held by Robert Beaumont, who had been created the first Earl of Leicester by the king through a sleight of hand.
Beaumont died in 1118, and his son, another Robert known as Bossu, ascended to the position of 2nd Earl of Leicester. Although Robert Bossu held lands all over the country, he began to rationalise his estates in Leicestershire in the 1120s. Force was used to seize the estates of the See of Lincoln and the Earl of Chester. This provided Bossu with a compact block of estates bordered by Nuneaton, Loughborough, Melton Mowbray, and Market Harborough.
Earl Shilton in Later Medieval Times
Castle of Earl Shilton
King Stephen of England’s close adviser was Robert Bossu. As a result, Bossu fortified his lands to protect his interests from Empress Matilda’s partisans. Shilton Hill was most likely fortified during the civil war of 1135-53 by Robert Bossu. The Earl of Leicester’s new motte and bailey castle would guard the Kirkby valley as well as Beaumont’s lines of communication to the south and west. Earl Shilton’s castle was built around an existing twelfth-century chapel called Saint Peter’s, which is located between Church Street and Almey’s Lane. Locals refer to this area as ‘Hall Yard.’ The springs from which the castle drew its water, now known as Spring Gardens, are nearby.
The castle served as a fortress for 30 to 40 years before being destroyed and converted into a hunting lodge. There are no records of a siege or fighting in the Earl Shilton area, even during the civil war, indicating that the castle was doing its job (John Lawrence). The stone from the castle was used in the construction of the parish church in 1854.
In 1173, Prince Henry launched an insurgency against his father, King Henry II. When the rebellion began, Robert de Beaumont, 3rd Earl of Leicester was in France and joined the Prince’s faction, fighting in several battles. While still on the road, the king’s supporters attacked on the 17th of October in Fornham, near Bury St Edmunds. Norfolk and Leicester were caught off guard and defeated. Beaumont was apprehended and imprisoned in Normandy at Falaise. The king immediately began destroying the rebel Earls’ castles, including Earl Shilton’s. Only the fortresses of Leicester and Mountsorrel were spared. Earl Shilton Manor, on the other hand, would be kept because it was a good source of revenue.
Shilton Park Shilton Park was most likely designed by Simon de Montfort after he was appointed Earl of Leicester. Because of De Montfort’s association with the village, the prefix ‘Earl’ was added to its name.
Shilton Park’s original purpose was to provide a hunting ground stocked with game for the lord of the manors’ sport and food. The park was surrounded by a deep ditch that kept the animals in and a high fence that kept the general public out. The park was surrounded by a deep ditch that kept the animals in and a high fence that kept the general public out. Tooley Park, owned by the Earl of Leicester, was located below Shilton Hill and stretched northwest towards Desford, encompassing 450 acres (1.8 km2).
The Earl’s bailiff, or ‘Keeper of the Park,’ was in charge of the park’s upkeep, which was a responsible job because the park generated a lot of money to help offset its huge operating costs. It provided a rich source of timber, horses were raised, and the park provided a steady supply of fresh meat, while anyone wishing to graze their animals on parklands had to pay a fee. The bailiff was free to graze his own animals in the park at the Earl’s discretion.