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The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : Leicestershire
A selection of photographs, prints and postcards. Some have personal or family connections
Bradgate Park, Little Matlock
Bradgate Park 1

A nineteenth century trade directory from 1854 describes Bradgate Park:

"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"[1].

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"[2].

Bradgate Park 2

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[3].

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 of damage.
from Thomas Wright.

Bradgate Park 3

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 of trustees[5]. 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[6].

There is another postcard of the Wishing Stone at Matlock in Derbyshire. See "Just" Images, Matlock elsewhere on this web site.
Also see Matlock: Multiviews from the late Nineteenth Century to 1914 (third image down)

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.


[1] "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.

[2] "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.

[3] "Wright's Directory of Leicester & Six Miles Round", 1878.

[4] "Leicester Chronicle", 3 April 1897.

[5] "Nottingham Evening Post", 16 January 1929. Also in other newspapers of the day.

[6] "Leicester Daily Mercury", 17 October 1939. A few months earlier there had been several complaints.

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There is also a Wishing Stone at Matlock in Derbyshire