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Stuart and Georgian Harlaxton

Historical timeline

1603 - Scottish King James VI, son of Mary, Queen of Scots, becomes James I of England and the first King of Great Britain.

1604 - James makes peace with Spain.

1605 - The Gunpowder Plot – a foiled terrorist coup d’etat by a group of Roman Catholics to blow up Parliament, murder the king, and replace him with his daughter, Elizabeth.

1607 - Foundation of Jamestown, Virginia - the first permanent British colony in North America.

1610 - The Newfoundland Company sets out to form a colony in Newfoundland.

1616 - William Shakespeare dies.

1618 - Sir Walter Raleigh is executed.

1619 Daniel De Ligne buys title of Lord of the Manor for Harlaxton

1620 - The Pilgrim Fathers sail to the New World.

1625 – Death of James 1 and  succession of Charles 1.

1629 - Charles I dissolves Parliament and rules without it for 11 years.

1630 - Marked emigration to Massachusetts Bay, particularly of fundamental Puritan Protestants.

1640 - Start of the Long Parliament. an English Parliament which lasted from 1640 until 1660. It followed the fiasco of the Short Parliament, which had convened for only three weeks during the spring of 1640 after an 11-year parliamentary absence.

1642 - The start of the English Civil War between Parliament and the King.  Charles I raises his standard at Nottingham.

1643 -  Royalist forces captured Grantham in March, and the next month fought off a Parliamentary army at Ancaster Heath. But subsequently Oliver Cromwell defeated the Royalists at Belton and Gonerby Moor, and successfully attacked and retook the town. Cromwell then visited  Great Gonerby and recruited troops for the New Model Army there.

1643 - Alliance between the English and Scottish parliaments against the King.

1644 - Parliament wins the Battle of Marston Moor.  The King loses control of the North of England.

1645 - Parliament's New Model Army wins the Battle of Naseby; the Royalist army is effectively destroyed.

1646 - Charles I surrenders to the Scots.

1647 - The Scots sell Charles to Parliament.

1648 - 2nd Civil War.  Oliver Cromwell beats a Royalist army at Preston.

1649 - The trial and execution of Charles I.  England and Wales become a republic.

1649-50 - Oliver Cromwell crushes resistance in Ireland, including the controversial sackings of Drogheda and Wexford.

1650-52 - Cromwell crushes resistance in Scotland.

1653 - Cromwell becomes Lord Protector.

1655 - Jews are allowed to return to England.  Britain takes Jamaica from Spain.

1658 - Cromwell dies. 

1660 - Restoration of the Monarchy with crowning of Charles II

1664 - The British capture New Amsterdam and rename it New York (after the Duke of York, the future James II).

1665 - The Great Plague of (mainly) London.

1666 - Great Fire of London – destroys most of the medieval city.

1669 - Christopher Wren is given the job of designing a new St Paul's Cathedral.

1685 Charles II dies and is succeeded by his Younger brother who becomes James II, the last Catholic monarch of England, Scotland, and Ireland . Over the next three years, he alienated his supporters by suspending the Scottish and English Parliaments in 1685 and ruling by personal decree.

1685 - The Monmouth Rebellion – ends in failure.

1687 - Isaac Newton, born in Woolsthorpe, publishes his theory of universal gravitation and three laws of motion.

1688 - The Glorious Revolution - William of Orange is invited to invade, lands a Dutch Army in Brixham and James II flees the country. William and Mary, his wife, become King and Queen.

1689 - The Bill of Rights establishes the principles of a constitutional monarchy.

1690 - Battle of the Boyne.  Ousted King James and his Catholics are beaten by King William and his Protestants.

1701 - Act of Settlement - determines that the next monarch will be a Protestant.

1704 - Battle of Blenheim.  Allied armies under the Duke of Marlborough decisively beat a combined French/Bavarian army.

1707 - Act of Union between England and Scotland.

1709 – Industrial revolution takes off in Shropshire. Abraham Darby launches a new process to make cheaper iron products using coke.

1712 - Thomas Newcomen's steam engine.

1714 - Death of Queen Anne, the last Stuart monarch.  She is succeeded by German-speaking George, Elector of Hanover, who becomes George I, King of Great Britain and Ireland.

1715 - First Jacobite Rising – serious attempt to regain the throne for the Stuarts ends in failure.

1718 - Transportation Act - Britain starts shipping convicts to its American colonies.

1721 - Sir Robert Walpole becomes Britain's first Prime Minister - and also receives 10 Downing Street.

1727 – accession of George II

1738 Last of the De Ligne family dies leaving no heir for Harlaxton Manor and estate. George Gregory , family solicitor, finds a young woman and proves she is the heir to the estate. However as women cannot own property at this time Mr Gregory marries her and becomes George De Ligne Gregory, Lord of the Manor.

1743 Battle of Dettingen (Germany) - George II is the last reigning British monarch to lead troops into battle.

1745 - 2nd Jacobite Rising - the '45 Rebellion - Bonnie Prince Charlie lands in Scotland to restore the Stuart monarchy.  His rebel army gets as far as Derby, sending the government into panic.

1746 - Battle of Culloden – the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie's rebellion and the last pitched battle on British soil.  The Government acts harshly to prevent further Stuart/Catholic uprisings.

1755 - Samuel Johnson publishes A Dictionary of the English Language.

1756-63 - Seven Years War - truly global conflict with Britain, Prussia and other German states allied against France, Austria, the Holy Roman Empire, Russia, and Sweden.

1758 -1822 George de Ligne Gregory (son of George De Ligne Gregory, solicitor to the De Ligne family) is Lord of the Manor of Harlaxton

1760 -  George III comes to throne.

1764 - James Watt develops his steam engine.

1768 - Captain James Cook sets off on the first of three voyages of scientific discovery and exploration, to Pacific Islands, New Zealand and Australia.

1769 – The industrialisation of Britain well underway. Richard Arkwright patents his spinning frame. Wedgwood's Etruria factory opens in Stoke-on-Trent.

1771 - Richard Arkwright builds Cromford Mill, the world’s first successful water powered cotton mill.

1772 - Milestone court case effectively makes slavery illegal in England and Wales.

1773 - The Boston Tea Party.

1775-83 - American War of Independence (American Revolutionary War).

1776 - Declaration of American Independence.

1783 - The Peace of Paris results in the recognition of an independent United States of America.  British loyalists and freed slaves are evacuated, many travelling to Canada.

1784 - East India Act increases Government control in India.

1787 - The first convicts are transported to Australia, sailing from Portsmouth to Botany Bay.

1789 - the start of the French Revolution.

1793-1815 -Napoleonic Wars |

1805 - Battle of Trafalgar - Nelson beats a combined French and Spanish fleet and establishes Great Britain as the premier naval power for the next 100 years.

1807 - Abolition of the  Slave Trade (but not slavery itself).

1815 - Battle of Waterloo - British and Prussian armies finally defeat Napoleon.

1820 – George IV crowned after the death of George III

1822 Gregory Williams  inherits Harlaxton title and estate from his Uncle George De Ligne Gregory and changes name to Gregory Gregory.

1821-23 - Famine in Ireland.

1825 - The world's first steam railway service opens between Stockton and Darlington.

1829 - Catholic emancipation - Catholics no longer banned from holding public office or attending university.

8132 – 1848 Harlaxton Manor built by Gregory Gregory

1830 -  William IV crowned.

1831 - Faraday discovers electromagnetic induction.

1833 - Slavery Abolition Act abolishes slavery in most of Britain's colonies.

1835 - Fox Talbot's first photographic negative.

1837 - Queen Victoria becomes queen at the age of 18.

The early Stuart period saw considerable change and upheaval for the village and the surrounding area.


Harlaxton village had already been subject to a change of ownership as in 1619 Daniel de Ligne, a protestant Flemish refugee fleeing Catholic persecution, purchased the manor, its lands and title from the previous Lord of the Manor, John Bluet,  for £8,000, equivalent to over £1 million today, but the 2400 acres must have generated quite a reasonable income allowing him to enlarge the manor house considerably while living there. This Jacobean mansion was to stand in the centre of the village until the late 19th century.

During the Civil War, Harlaxton must have been a dangerous place trapped between Belvoir Castle, one of the more notable strongholds of the king's supporters and Grantham which had declared itself as a Parliamentary town. 

Situated almost half way between these forces, Harlaxton under Daniel De Ligne was solidly Royalist, yet whilst archaeology has discovered musket balls from the period in the fields around the village and a hoard of coins thought to have been hidden during the civil war has been discovered in a village garden, there is no record of actual fighting around the village. That troops were in the area though is clear as dated graffiti carved into a pillar in the church by a soldier remains evident.

It is also known that King Charles spent a night at his stronghold of Belvoir Castle on his way into Lincolnshire, a route that may well have taken him through Harlaxton. Their support for the King would eventually lead to Belvoir Castle being destroyed by Parliamentarians in 1649 and it was also said to have cost Daniel De Ligne in Harlaxton dearly, though here the family was to remain.

The Civil War fighting in the area reached its zenith in March 1643 when a large force of Royalists from their stronghold at Newark captured Grantham in a surprise attack. The Royalists did not garrison Grantham but marched on towards Boston and after a brief engagement at Ancaster Heath on 11 April, the Parliamentarians were easily routed by the larger Royalist force.

Alarmed by these successes Parliament ordered Lord Willoughby to make another attack on Newark. Willoughby joined forces with Colonel Cromwell of the Eastern Association and Captain Hotham with a contingent from Nottingham at Sleaford on 9 May.

They advanced to Grantham on 11 May but a delay gave the Royalist forces time to prepare a counterstrike. In the early hours of 13 May they made a surprise attack on Lord Willoughby's troops quartered at the village of Belton, killing 70 and taking 40 prisoners. Later in the day, the Royalists made a second advance.

After an exchange of musket fire, Thomas Cromwell, in his first independent action as a cavalry commander, led a charge that drove the Royalists from the field. Despite this Parliamentarian victory, however, the march on Newark was abandoned.

As a former estate village, its historical development is intrinsically linked with Harlaxton Manor and particularly the various families in the Georgian period who have held the title of "Lord of the Manor".

The buildings within Harlaxton village have an idiosyncratic quality with a considerable contribution made by the Lord of the manor George de Ligne Gregory between 1790 and 1820 which gives a distinctive character to the village which is now a designated conservation area. His son, also called George De Ligne Gregory, who was Lord of the Manor 1758-1822, also contributed to the look of the village. He rebuilt the cottages in the centre of the village and on The Drift on the south side of the A607 in red brick. Many properties bear his initials, G.D.G. such as The Forge on Swinehill.


His heir (nephew) Gregory Gregory was responsible for the "cottage orne"style (meaning a rustic building of picturesque design.) of the new estate houses, notable for their picturesque details and garden features. Many of these were constructed during the 1820s-1840s whilst the new manor house was being constructed to the east of the village. Gregory was influenced by the principles of J.C. Louden, the influential writer and gardener, who advocated the proprietary use of ornamental details such as chimney pots, porches and garden features. Louden described the village at length in the supplement to “The Encyclopedia of Cottage, Farm and Villa Architecture and Furniture” (1840).

The Harlaxton History Society has an ongoing project looking at the architectural and social history of the village  called  Streets Through Time.

The Jacobean manor house in the centre of the village which was unoccupied from the 1700s and subsequently fell into disrepair was eventually demolished in 1857 shortly after the new manor, which now plays such a significant role in the landscape of the Parish, was built.

That house was described in a contemporary source as follows: "The Manor house is built of stone it extends 236 feet in front and is very ancient and respectable in its appearance.  The garden on the south side is surrounded with a deep and wide moat filled with water with a bridge over it.  The outer and inner courts are separated by a very beautiful Gothic balustrade of stone with iron gates in the centre. The gallery 109 feet long 14 wide and 11 high and the great dining room 44 feet long and 31 wide were fitted up by Sir Daniel de Ligne at a considerable expense and ornamented with valuable painted glass In the bow window of the great dining room are the coats of arms of De Ligne De la Fontaine De Cordes."


One of the stone gateways to the old manor still stands on Rectory Lane and the remains of the moat are visible in the gardens of Nos. 1, 1a and 3. These features are all that can be seen of the Jacobean mansion.

Map of Harlaxton from 1805 before the new manor was built by Gragory Gregory, showing there is a road running from wealdmore lodge past middle lodge (no longer there).  This road runs parallel to gorse lane and joins up with a road that skirts around Harlaxton Woods and back in to the village, presumably where Manor Drive is today.

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