|Bradgate Park, Little Matlock
A nineteenth century trade directory from 1854 describes Bradgate
"BRADGATE PARK, an extra-parochial liberty, near Newtown
Linford; 5 miles N. W. from Leicester. There is only one
house, which is occupied by the keeper. The property of the
Earl of Stamford and Warrington. The ruins of the hall are
still to be seen - it is open to the public on Mondays and
Fridays, and is much frequented by parties of pleasure from
Leicester and surrounding places. There is an extensive view
obtained from the summit of the tower, built on a rock named
Old John. Bradgate was the birth-place of the beautiful but
unhappy Lady Jane Grey. She was proclaimed Queen on the death
of Edward VI., the tragic issue of which is still known
to all conversant with the History of England".
A few years later George Bradshaw added that "... Bradgate
Park in which there are the remains of the mansion where Lady
Jane Grey was born in 1537. Her old tutor, Roger Asham paid
her a visit, and found her reading Plato while the family were
hunting in Charnwood Forest, then a desolate moor".
By 1878 it had become a parish
in the Sparkenhoe hundred,
Market Bosworth union, and Leicester County Court district.
There was a large reservoir in the park (Cropstone Reservoir)
which was constructed in 1860. It covered 140 acres, capable
of holding 500 million gallons; it belonged to the Leicester
Waterworks Company. This meant that Leicester, then still
a town, was "abundantly
supplied with excellent water",
both from springs at Thornton and from Bradgate Park.
The 7th Earl of Stamford and Warrington died in 1883 and the
property was then owned by his widow, Katherine. In Queen Victoria's
Diamond Jubilee year the Countess opened the park for an extra
day each week, announced in a letter to the Leicester Chronicle.
Sir, - I am desired by the Countess of Stamford and Warrington
to say that on account of this being the diamond jubilee
of her most gracious Majesty, the gates of Bradgate Park
will, from Whitsuntide until further notice, be opened
four days instead of three each week,
as heretofore. Her ladyship will reply upon those who avail
themselves of this privilege keeping to the regular paths
and roads and assisting, if necessary, in the prevention
from Thomas Wright.
In 1929 the park was gifted to the county and city of Leicester
for public use through the generosity of Mr. Charles Bennion
of Thurnby Grange, Leicester. It was to be managed by a body
One decision the trustees took was in 1939, and was set in
bye-laws approved by the magistrates at the Leicester County
Quarter Sessions. It made it an offence to climb trees
and deface rocks.
There is another postcard of the
Wishing Stone at Matlock in Derbyshire. See "Just" Images,
Matlock elsewhere on this web site.
Also see Matlock:
Various Scenes from the Early Twentieth Century
Postcards in the collection of, provided by and © Judy Cooper.
1. "Little Matlock, Bradgate Park". Valentine's Series,
No. 212639 first published in 1931.
2. "Little Matlock, Bradgate Park". Publisher not known,
but the same publisher as card No. 3.
3. "The Wishing Stone, Bradgate Park". Publisher not known,
but the same publisher as card No. 2.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews
Intended for personal use only.
 "Melville & Co.'s
Directory & Gazetteer
of Leicestershire", 1854. The Grey family were barons
Grey of Groby and marquesses of Dorset. One of the family
was Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk K.G. whose daughter, Lady Jane
Grey, was proclaimed queen by him on the death of Edward
VI. After a brief reign of 11 days, Mary succeeded to the throne.
Queen Jane was executed, together with her husband Lord Guildford
Dudley, at the Tower of London on 12 Feb 1554. The Duke of
Suffolk was beheaded on the 23rd Feb 1554.
 "Bradshaw's Handbook for
Tourists in Great Britain and Ireland ... Section Four ...
Railways ... Midland", (1866) pub London (Adams) & Manchester
(Bradshaw and Blacklock). This guide is now famous as the inspiration
for the BBC TV series "Great British Railway Journeys" presented
by Michael Portillo.
Directory of Leicester & Six
Chronicle", 3 April 1897.
Evening Post", 16 January
1929. Also in other newspapers of the day.
Daily Mercury", 17 October 1939. A few months earlier
there had been several complaints.