Leicester is a city and unitary authority area in the East Midlands of England, the county town of Leicestershire. The city close to the eastern end of the National Forest; the 2016 mid year estimate of the population of the City of Leicester unitary authority was 348,300, an increase of 18,500 from the 2011 census figure of 329,839, making it the most populous municipality in the East Midlands region. The associated urban area is the 11th most populous in England and the 13th most populous in the United Kingdom. Leicester is at the intersection of two major railway lines—the north/south Midland Main Line and the east/west Birmingham to London Stansted CrossCountry line. Leicester is the home to football club Leicester City and rugby club Leicester Tigers; the name of Leicester is recorded in the 9th-century History of the Britons as Cair Lerion, in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as Ligora-ceastre. In the Domesday Book of 1086, it is recorded as Ledecestre; the first element of the name, Ligora or Legora, is explained as a Brittonic river name, in a suggestion going back to William Somner an earlier name of the River Soar, cognate with the name of the Loire.
The second element of the name comes from the Latin castrum, reflected in both Welsh cair and Anglo-Saxon ceastre. Based on the Welsh name, Geoffrey of Monmouth proposes a king Leir of Britain as an eponymous founder in his Historia Regum Britanniae. Leicester is one of the oldest cities in England, with a history going back at least two millennia; the native Iron Age settlement encountered by the Romans at the site seems to have developed in the 2nd or 1st centuries BC. Little is known about this settlement or the condition of the River Soar at this time, although roundhouses from this era have been excavated and seem to have clustered along 8 hectares of the east bank of the Soar above its confluence with the Trent; this area of the Soar was split into two channels: a main stream to the east and a narrower channel on the west, with a marshy island between. The settlement seems to have controlled a ford across the larger channel; the Roman name was a latinate form of the Brittonic word for "ramparts", suggesting the site was an oppidum.
The plural form of the name suggests it was composed of several villages. The Celtic tribe holding the area was recorded as the "Coritanians" but an inscription recovered in 1983 showed this to have been a corruption of the original "Corieltauvians"; the Corieltauvians are believed to have ruled over the area of the East Midlands. It is believed that the Romans arrived in the Leicester area around AD 47, during their conquest of southern Britain; the Corieltauvian settlement lay near a bridge on the Fosse Way, a Roman road between the legionary camps at Isca and Lindum. It remains unclear whether the Romans fortified and garrisoned the location, but it developed from around the year 50 onwards as the tribal capital of the Corieltauvians under the name Ratae Corieltauvorum. In the 2nd century, it received a bathhouse. In 2013, the discovery of a Roman cemetery found just outside the old city walls and dating back to AD 300 was announced; the remains of the baths of Roman Leicester can be seen at the Jewry Wall.
Knowledge of the town following the Roman withdrawal from Britain is limited. There is some continuation of occupation of the town, though on a much reduced scale in the 5th and 6th centuries, its memory was preserved as the Cair Lerion of the History of the Britons. Following the Saxon invasion of Britain, Leicester was occupied by the Middle Angles and subsequently administered by the kingdom of Mercia, it was elevated to a bishopric in either 679 or 680. Their settlement became one of the Five Burghs of the Danelaw, although this position was short-lived; the Saxon bishop, fled to Dorchester-on-Thames and Leicester did not become a bishopric again until the Church of St Martin became Leicester Cathedral in 1927. The settlement was recorded under the name Ligeraceaster in the early 10th century. Following the Norman conquest, Leicester was recorded by William's Domesday Book as Ledecestre, it was noted as a city but lost this status in the 11th century owing to power struggles between the Church and the aristocracy and did not become a legal city again until 1919.
Geoffrey of Monmouth composed his History of the Kings of Britain around the year 1136, naming a King Leir as an eponymous founder figure. According to Geoffrey's narrative, Cordelia had buried her father beneath the river in a chamber dedicated to Janus and his feast day was an annual celebration; when Simon de Montfort became Lord of Leicester in 1231, he gave the city a grant to expel the Jewish population "in my time or in the time of any of my heirs to the end of the world". He justified his action as being "for the good of my soul, for the souls of my ancestors and successors". Leicester's Jews were allowed to move to the eastern suburbs, which were controlled by de Montfort's great-aunt and rival, Countess of Winchester, after she took advice from the scholar and cleric Robert Grosseteste. There is evidence that Jews remained there until 1253, enforcement of the banishment within the city was not rigorously enforced. De Montfort however issued a second edict for the expulsion of Leicester's Jews in 1253, after Grosseteste's death.
De Montfort's m
Belgrave is an electoral ward and administrative division of the city of Leicester, consisting of the Leicester suburb of Belgrave in its entirety. Belgrave was an out of town area and contained many large houses, which still stand today and housed wealthy, upper-class and notable residents; the old Belgrave Village containing the Belgrave Conservation Area, including Belgrave Hall, the 12th century St Peter’s Church and The Talbot pub is to the west of Loughborough Road. Belgrave is known for the ”Golden Mile”, a stretch of road containing many Asian jewellery and saree shops as well as restaurants, it is known for its large annual Diwali celebrations, which has attracted around 35000 people and includes a light switch-on and firework display and is the largest set of celebrations outside of India. Belgrave is bounded by the suburb of Rushey Mead to the north, the county village of Birstall to the north-west, Humberstone & Hamilton to the north-east, Latimer to the south, Charnwood to the east, Highfields to the south-east, Abbey to the west and Leicester City Centre to the east and south-west.
It is located north of the centre of Leicester, in the eastern part of the city. The old village part of Belgrave is close to the county border, located on the other side of the Red Hill Roundabout; the settlement was named in the Domesday Book as Merdegrave. However, after the Norman Conquest the first part of the name merde was taken to be Old French'dung' or'shit', hence the people changed it to Old French beu, bel'fair','lovely', in order to remove that unpleasant association. One of the earliest mentions of this place is in the Domesday book where it is listed amongst the lands given to Hugh de Grandmesnil by the King; the land consisted of 24 acres of meadow and land for 6 ploughs. The name was used for the large 19th-century terraced developments along the A46; this area now has a large, vibrant Asian community featuring the "Golden Mile", a stretch of road a mile long named that due to its high concentration of jewellery shops. The Asian community based in and around Belgrave and Melton Road have been residents since the early 1970s.
The Belgrave Hall area is a conservation area. The village of Belgrave is at least 900 years old, it was once known as Merdegrave, however the name changed around the time of the Norman invasion to Belgrave, meaning ‘beautiful grove.’ Belgrave is home to one of Leicester’s heritage gems, Belgrave Hall & Gardens. Belgrave Hall is a Grade II* listed building in a plain classical style; the Hall is in the midst of two acres of serene walled gardens that are open to the public during special events. It has changed hands many times but the owners have always played a major role in the economic and charitable life of the community. St Peter's Church is the oldest building in the local conservation area, parts of which date from the twelfth century. Archaeologists believe there may be an earlier Saxon church beneath the present structure. A darker side to Belgrave’s history can be found at the Talbot Inn; the Inn has origins in the 14th century when it was a popular stop providing bed and board to those who travelled through Leicester along Loughborough Road.
Over the years, it has been subject to some sinister rumours that criminals on death row would be taken there for their ‘last meal’ before execution. The bodies were supposedly returned to the inn to be used for scientific and medical experiments in the outbuildings before being laid to rest. Close to the historic heart of Belgrave is the stretch of Belgrave Road known as the Golden Mile, an Aladdin’s cave of Indian spices, clothing, interesting gifts and fantastic food and drink; the area is home to the largest selection of Indian jewellery shops outside of India. According to the 2001 UK Census, 104 Pacific Island born people were residing in Belgrave, with many more being of Pacific Islander descent; this is the largest number for any location in the UK. The area, since the 1970s, is now predominately Asian. In the 2011 census the population of Belgrave was 11,558 and is made up of 51% females and 49% males; the average age of people in Belgrave is 36, while the median age is lower at 34. 43.0% of people living in Belgrave were born in England.
Other top answers for country of birth were 28.4% India, 5.6% Kenya, 3.2% Sri Lanka, 1.6% Africa not otherwise specified, 0.8% Pakistan, 0.6% Zimbabwe, 0.4% Somalia, 0.3% Bangladesh, 0.2% Scotland. 46.7% of people living in Belgrave speak English. The other top languages spoken are 35.8% Gujarati, 4.3% Panjabi, 3.3% Tamil, 1.3% Portuguese, 0.9% South Asian Language, 0.9% Polish, 0.9% Hindi, 0.9% Urdu, 0.6% Somali. The religious make up of Belgrave is 54.6% Hindu, 14.3% Christian, 14.1% Muslim, 6.4% No religion, 5.5% Sikh, 0.3% Buddhist. 443 people did not state a religion. 4 people identified as a Jedi Knight. 48.1% of people are married, 4.0% cohabit with a member of the opposite sex, 0.5% live with a partner of the same sex, 28.9% are single and have never married or been in a registered same sex partnership, 7.5% are separated or divorced. There are 487 widowed people living in Belgrave; the top occupations listed by people in Belgrave are Elementary 20.6%, Process and machine operatives 18.7%, Process and machine operatives 15.5%, Elementary administration and service 14.3%, Sales and customer service 13.1%, Sales 10.7%, Sales Assistants and Retail Cashiers 9.8%, Administrative and secretarial 9.6%, Caring and other service 9.2%, Process Operatives 8.5%.
Belgrave is 54.6% Hindu, 14.3% Christian, 14.1% Muslim, 6.4% No religion, 5.5% Sikh, 0.3% Buddhist. Primary schools: Bel
Bottesford is an English village and civil parish. It forms part of the Borough of Melton in Leicestershire. Bottesford is 16 miles north of Melton Mowbray; the village is the largest in the Vale of Belvoir and is near to Belvoir Castle, home to the Duke and Duchess of Rutland. It had a population of 3,587 at the time of the 2011 census, it borders parishes in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, such as Redmile and Elton respectively. The local amenities include a post office, a railway station, a library, a church, a convenience store, three restaurants and three pubs. Bottesford derives its name from the Anglo-Saxon "Ford belonging to the botl" and appears in the 1086 Domesday Book as "Botesford"; the ford was over the River Devon. Bottesford was associated with the Earls and Dukes of Rutland; the village was built around the River Devon and was named because of the ford at the centre of the village. St Mary the Virgin's Church, sometimes known as the "Lady of the Vale", is a large medieval church at the centre of the village.
Like many churches, this was built over the centuries in a mixture of architectural styles. The lower part of the chancel dates from the 12th century with the remainder added during the next 300 years; the nave roof was completed in 1740. The octagonal crocketed spire is considered to be the tallest in the county at 210 feet. There are two gargoyles on the south transept. A headstone to Thomas Parker and a table tomb in the churchyard are both Grade II listed, as are the gate piers and gates to the churchyard to the north; the church is the burial place of several earls of Rutland. One of the Rutland tombs is famous for its inscription, which attributes a death to witchcraft by the Witches of Belvoir. Most of the church is 15th century, but the chancel was rebuilt in the 17th century to accommodate the Rutland monuments; these fill the chancel and offer a view of changing aristocratic taste in the 16th and 17th centuries. After the Manners family were elevated to the dukedom of Rutland in 1703, they built a mausoleum in the grounds of Belvoir Castle, the family home.
All the dukes have been buried there. There is a local website that covers many sides of Bottesford's local history, including mounting evidence of occupation in Roman times and earlier. Bottesford was the venue of one of the country's early friendly societies, thought to have been founded in the 1750s, it provided members with funeral benefits for over 200 years. Eleven contributors from the history group produced in 2009 a book on the local history since 1850. During the Second World War, from December 1941, there was an RAF Bomber Command airfield located to the north near Long Bennington called RAF Bottesford, it hosted No. 3 Group RAF after being used by USAAF's IX Troop Carrier Command for D-Day, was used by No. 5 Group from late 1944. It is no longer used as an airfield. Entertainers Laurel and Hardy stayed for Christmas 1952 at the Bull Inn, where the landlady was Stan Laurel's sister Olga, they were appearing at the Empire Theatre in Nottingham at the time. There is a plaque to this effect on the building.
There were two brickyards at Beckinthorpe in the 19th century, one of them producing the unique Bottesford Blue pantiles to be seen on some local buildings. Local employment declined in the 20th century; the four pubs, six restaurants, at least 16 retailers and 20 odd small producers and service providers today are one-person or family concerns, whereas the building firm of William Roberts Ltd, founded by Joseph William Roberts in Sutton-cum-Granby and moved to Bottesford in 1937, employed over 500 people at one time. The village is somewhat unusual in Leicestershire, its buildings reflect the traditions of neighbouring Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, as well as local influences, as local materials locally quarried ironstone, but latterly local bricks and distinctive roofing tiles. There are several open areas within the village, notably an area to the north-east of the churchyard, the churchyard itself, an area of trees to the south of Devon Lane. Trees play a significant part in the street scene in most of Bottesford.
The River Devon flows through the village circling the church. Along its banks in the centre of the village, the soil is a pebbly sand known locally as running sand. Views within the village tend to be intimate and enclosed, though the wider Grantham Road provides a extended view out of the village towards Grantham. Bottesford has many listed buildings including the grade I listed 13th-century Church of St Mary the Virgin. There are two scheduled monuments within the village – Fleming's Bridge and the stone cross in the Market Place; the stocks and whipping post are Grade II listed. One of the Grade II listed buildings, Providence Cottage in Rectory Lane, is dated 1723 in burnt bricks on the eastern elevation and has the initials REH set into the elevation; the roof is now pantiled. The Duke of Rutland's Almshouse Grade II listed, was begun in 1590 and was a home for elderly local men called bedesmen, having once been a hospital; the building has two M-shaped roofs of differing pitches, both with concrete tiles dating from 1985.
The Rectory, Grade II listed, is an ironstone and brick building dated 1708, enlarged in the 19th century and altered in 1988. It stands in Rectory Lane behind wrought iron gates, amid large, landscaped gardens, has a slate roof; the police station, in Queen Street, is Grade II listed and dates from 1846. It is in red brick with three bays; the cen
Belvoir Castle is a stately home in the English county of Leicestershire, overlooking the Vale of Belvoir. It is a Grade I listed building. A corner of the castle is still used as the family home of the Manners family and remains the seat of the Dukes of Rutland, most of whom are buried in the grounds of the mausoleum there; the castle remains owned, but is open to visitors. The castle is near several villages, including Redmile, Knipton, Harlaxton, Croxton Kerrial and Bottesford and the town of Grantham. Antiquarian John Leland wrote in the 16th century, "the castle stands on the nape of a high hill, steep up each way by nature by the working of men's hands." A Norman castle stood on the high ground within the wapentake of Framland, overlooking the adjacent wapentake of Winnibriggs. in Lincolnshire and dominating both. It was built on the land of Robert de Todeni of the Doomsday Book, inherited from him by William d'Aubigny, it eventually passed to William's granddaughter Isabel, who married Robert de Ros circa 1234.
Belvoir was a royal manor until it was granted to Robert de Ros in 1257. He was given a licence to crenellate in 1267; when that family died out in 1508, the manor and castle passed to George Manners, who inherited the castle and barony through his mother. His son was created Earl of Rutland in 1525; the Norman castle had been in ruins since 1464 and, in 1528, Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland started construction of a new castle. It was completed in 1555. Much of the stone for this building came from Croxton Abbey and Belvoir Priory following their dissolution. In the early 17th century, castle servants Joan and Phillipa Flower were accused of murdering the 6th Earl's two young sons by witchcraft. Joan died while in prison and Margaret and Phillipa were hanged. During the English Civil War, it was one of the more notable strongholds of the king's supporters and King Charles spent a night here on his way into Lincolnshire. In 1649, the castle was destroyed by Parliamentarians. A new building was started in 1654, designed as a large family home by the architect John Webb.
Work was completed by 1668 and cost £11,730. The 9th Earl was created Duke of Rutland in 1703. Belvoir Castle has been the home of the Manners family for five hundred years and seat of the Dukes of Rutland for over three centuries. Between 1799 and 1816 the castle was rebuilt in the romantic Gothic Revival style to designs by James Wyatt, but on 26 October 1816 it was destroyed by a fire; the loss - including pictures by Titian, Van Dyck, Reynolds - was estimated at £120,000. Rebuilt to the same designs by Elizabeth Manners, the wife of the 5th Duke at a cost of £82,000 the castle was completed by 1832; the architect Sir James Thornton was chiefly responsible for this rebuilding, the result bears a superficial resemblance to a medieval castle, its central tower reminiscent of Windsor Castle. Whilst visiting Belvoir castle in the 1840s, Duchess of Bedford, found that the normal time for dinner was between 7:00 and 8:30 p.m. An extra meal called luncheon had been created to fill the midday gap between breakfast and dinner, but as this new meal was light, the long afternoon with no refreshment at all left people feeling hungry.
She found a light meal of tea and cakes or sandwiches was the perfect balance. The Duchess found taking an afternoon snack to be such a perfect refreshment that she soon began inviting her friends to join her. Afternoon tea became an established and convivial repast in many middle and upper class households; the castle contains many works of art. The highlights of the tour are the lavish staterooms, the most famous being the Elizabeth Saloon, the Regents Gallery and the Roman-inspired State Dining Room; the Queen's Royal Lancers regimental museum of the 17th and 21st Lancers was established here in 1964, but was required to leave in October 2007. The Queen's Royal Lancers and Nottinghamshire Yeomanry Museum is now at Thoresby Hall; the castle sits in an estate of 15,000 acres. The castle's name means beautiful view; the name Belvoir is a Norman import by the French-speaking invaders, but the native Anglo-Saxon population was unable to pronounce such a foreign word, preferring to call it "Beaver Castle" – a usage which persists today.
The traditional burial place of the Manners family was Bottesford. Since elevation to the dukedom in 1703 most Dukes have been buried in the grounds of the mausoleum at Belvoir Castle; the mausoleum at Belvoir Castle was built by The 5th Duke of Rutland, following the death of his wife, Elizabeth Howard, daughter of The 5th Earl of Carlisle. After its construction, most of the 18th century monuments in Belton Church were moved to the mausoleum which became the family's main place of burial. John Manners, 1st Duke of Rutland John Manners, 2nd Duke of Rutland John Manners, 3rd Duke of Rutland Charles Manners, 4th Duke of Rutland John Manners, 5th Duke of Rutland Marion Margaret Violet Lindsay Manners, Duchess of Rutland Charles Manners, 10th Duke of Rutland A corner of the castle is still used as the family home of the Manners family. Several films and television programmes have used it as a location, notably the 1980 film Little Lord Fauntleroy starring Sir Alec Guinness; the castle itself was used as a location for The Da Vinci Code — it represented Castel Gandolfo, the Pope's summer residence.
It featured in the 1985 film Young Sherlock Holme
Aston Flamville is a village and civil parish in the Blaby district in Leicestershire, England. It is situated near Hinckley, but on the other side of the M69, it has a population of 150 and has a parish meeting rather than a parish council. The population at the 2011 census had increased to 311. Dame Mary Roskell wrote of the Turville family as follows: "The noble and ancient family of Turville de Tourville, was planted in this country by one of the companions of William the Norman, for some generations flourished at Normanton Turville in Leicestershire, having married the heiress of the Flamvilles of Aston Flamville, they settled at that place and resided there, until the marriage of the representative of the family with the heiress of the Fortescues of Bosworth Hall, county Leicester, Idbury, county Oxford, etc. brought those estates into the family. If we respect a family, as we ought to do, for preserving an ancient patrimony and position by piety and self-denial, still more must we venerate such a family as this, which not only exhibits the above virtues but possesses the far higher one of having preserved inviolate the ancient faith through centuries of persecution and injustice, thus stands as a living witness against modern assumptions".
The records of the Warwickshire county committee reveal that Aston Flamville was visited by troops from the parliamentary garrisons in north Warwickshire. Among a list of claims for losses and "free quarter" submitted to the county committee in June, 1646 George Turville, of Aston Flamville, described as a gentleman, claimed for twelve strikes of oats and three strikes of peas worth 16s 6d taken by Coventry forces. William Turville, another gentleman, claimed that troops under Colonel Barker from the Coventry garrison took two horses with bridles and saddles worth £13. Mr Hill claimed on another occasion that troops from the Astley, Warwickshire garrison took a horse and "divers other things" worth £12. An interactive map showing pictures including Aston Flamville
Aylestone is a suburb of Leicester, southwest of the city centre and to the east of the River Soar. It was a separate village, but the growth of the city since The Leicester Extension Act of 1891 incorporated Aylestone into the Borough of Leicester has meant that it is now part of the suburban area; the parish church of St Andrew dates from the 13th century. The area around the church retains much of the former village character and is referred to as'the village' or'old Aylestone' by local residents; the former village is surrounded by Victorian housing close to the city centre and by 20th-century housing in other directions. The electoral ward of Aylestone covers Aylestone Village, the Gilmorton Estate, the south and west of Aylestone Park and the southwest side of Saffron Lane; the ward borders Freemen and Eyres Monsell wards and is in the parliamentary constituency of Leicester South. The ward has two elected councillors: Councillor Nigel Porter. Aylestone was recorded in the Domesday Book as Ailstone, held in the reign of Edward the Confessor by Alveva, Countess of Mercia.
In 1086 it was held by 1st Earl of Leicester. The manor passed from Robert to his son Robert le Bossu, thence to Bossu's son Robert Blanchemains and to Blanchemains' son, Robert FitzPernel. FitzPernel died without issue, his estates were divided between his two sisters, the manor of Aylestone passing to Margaret, who married Saer de Quincy, 1st Earl of Winchester; the manor passed by marriage into the hands of the Harcourt family, the Pembrugge family of Tong, Shropshire. On the death of Fulke de Pembrugge IV in 1409, the manor passed to his wife Isabel. Fulke and Isabel having no issue, the manor passed to the grandson of Fulk's sister Juliana, Richard Vernon III. Aylestone remained in the hands of the Vernon family until the death of Sir George Vernon in 1565, his daughter Dorothy having married John Manners, second son of the 1st Earl of Rutland, Aylestone passed to the Manners family, who became the Dukes of Rutland. The estate was sold by the 6th Duke of Rutland, the sale being held at the Temperance Hall in Leicester on 26 June 1869.
The Leicester Extension Act of 1891 incorporated Aylestone into the Borough of Leicester. The village had at this time an area of 1,723 acres. Aylestone's open fields were enclosed in 1766. About this time Aylestone was the chosen route into the city for the supply of coal from the areas around Bagworth and Swannington coming in by pack horse "trains" over the pack horse bridge. Aylestone Hall was occupied by a ladies' boarding school in 1846; when the estate was sold in 1869 the hall was occupied by a tenant, Nathaniel Stone, who purchased it. From 1871 to 1938 the hall was occupied by the Stretton family, it was requisitioned by the army during World War II. In 1950 Leicester City Council purchased it, after renovation the hall and the grounds were opened in 1954 as a public park, with a restaurant and a clubhouse for the local bowling club. Aylestone Hall was renovated again in 2003, converted into three separate dwellings and a clubhouse, it had been assumed that much of the hall's medieval fabric had been destroyed when alterations were made in 1850.
However early timber framing, including parts of an aisled hall, were found during a preliminary investigation. The timbers were dated by dendrochronology to 1339; the hall has a mid-16th-century cross wing of stone in a timber frame, was re–roofed in the late 17th century, using many of the original 14th-century timbers. Many of the Tudor architectural features, such as the star–shaped chimneys, were introduced during the rebuilding of 1850, it was the home of John Manners. A 15th-century packhorse bridge at the west end of Marsden Lane crosses the River Soar on eleven arches. Aylestone Park is an area of housing a mile square, which grew between Leicester and Aylestone village and which has housing built since 1875. Aylestone Meadows is a large area of playing fields and water-meadow nearby, contributes to the semi-rural character of the suburb. In 2003 they were designated a Local Nature Reserve. Plans by Leicester City Council to bulldoze an area within the Aylestone Meadows to make way for an artificial sports pitch, single storey clubhouse and car park, were defeated on 21 March 2011 when the Planning Committee rejected the plans.
Many groups including the Aylestone Meadows Appreciation Society, Leicester Friends of the Earth, Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust, the Leicester Civic Society, the Campaign for Rural England, all helped rally support against the plans. It was the first time that an E-Petition on Leicester City Council's website had been used. In 2001, the ward of Aylestone had a population of 10,801; the population of the village in 1871 was 450, in 1881 it was 2,546 and in 1891 it was 5,381. The Aylestone Boathouse, a large wooden building, was built c. 1911 by Gordon Biggs on the site of a canal wharf close to Middleton Street. Rollers were installed by the side of King's Lock to allow boats to be transferred to the River Soar from the canal. A brick-built ballroom and restaurant, tennis courts, were added; the building was used as an engineering works during World War II. The boathouse was demolished c.1980. The ballroom became a bingo hall, was demolished and replaced by housing. From Aylestone the canalised River Soar flows northwards to the River Trent.
Southwards the Soar was too shallow for navigation, a canal was dug from a junction with the river just north of the packhorse bridge to Market Harborough, where it connected with the Grand J
Billesdon is a village and civil parish in the Harborough district of Leicestershire, with a population of 745 according to the 2001 census, increasing to 901 at the 2011 census. It is just off the A47, nine miles east of Leicester; the Billesdon bypass opened in October 1986. Nearby places include Houghton on the Hill, Tilton on the Hill, Gaulby; the Billesdon Brook flows through the village. Billesdon was the seat of Billesdon Rural District, merged into the Harborough district in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972. An earthwork just below the crest on the south side of Life Hill may be a promontory fort. Domesday Book enumerated 25 people here in 1086; the number of households grew between 1563 and 1670, from 38 to 134. In 1851 the village had 1,085 residents. Bricks and stockings were once manufactured here. By the 20th century Billesdon had reverted to an agricultural village; the population declined to 543 by 1931. The population of the parish in 2011 was 901. Two fairs, annually on 23 April and 25 July, a weekly Friday market, were granted in 1618.
The market was held on the green, where Front Street meets the main road, the base and shaft of the former market cross can still be seen. The market and one fair had been discontinued by the end of the 18th century, but one annual fair remained, was noted for the sale of brass and toys. Cattle fairs were held from 1846 until the early years of the 20th century; the fields were inclosed in 1764. Land tax records of the 18th and 19th centuries give the impression of a village of smaller landholders; the Quorn and Fernie hunts had stables in the village. There was a parish workhouse in the village by 1776. Billesdon became the centre of a new poor law union in 1835, a new workhouse at the west of the village, with an entrance from Coplow Lane opened in 1846; the building became a military hospital in the First World War. The old school, which still stands in the village, was erected by William Sharpe of Rolleston as a free school for the parish, it was used for vestry meetings. The National School and master's house were built in 1875.
Billesdon has several amenities including two public houses: the Queens Head, situated on Church Street, The New Greyhound Inn, situated in the Market Place. There is a village shop, a hairdresser and a doctors' surgery. On Church Street there is a post office. There is a mobile fishmonger who each visit once a week. A mobile chip shop visits twice a week. There is a fire station; the Coplow Centre is Billesdon's own leisure centre featuring multi purpose sports area and a concert hall. The Centre has various events taking place throughout the year such as drama productions, entertainment evenings, etc; the church is St John the Baptist. There is an FM transmitter on Life Hill close to Tilton on the Hill at Lord Morton's Covert wood at Sludge Hall. There was a church here by 1162, given to Leicester Abbey by William de Syfrewast; the present Church of England ironstone building, on Church Street near the junction with Brook Lane, is dedicated to St. John the Baptist and comprises a nave and south aisles, chancel and spire.
The base of the tower and the north wall of the arcade were both built before 1250. When John Throsby visited in 1790 he found the'principal aisle' was'crowded with two shabby galleries, not unlike two large pigeon boxes stuck against a wall'; the south aisle was built in 1864, when traces of an earlier south aisle were found, which no one alive could remember. The old box pews and high pulpit were taken away in 1864, when the church was restored. Detailed arrangements were agreed for the payment of tithes to the vicar in the 17th and 18th centuries, including that he was entitled to the tithes of corn and hay on enclosed land only if the closes showed no signs of ridge and furrow; the present vicar of Billesdon parish church is responsible for other nearby parish churches including those of Goadby and Noseley. The earliest record of Protestant nonconformity is from 1719. A General Baptist chapel was built in 1812. A congregation of Particular Baptists formed in 1820; the Salem Chapel in West Lane was built in 1846 for the Independents.
A Wesleyan Chapel was built by 1854. Media related to Billesdon at Wikimedia Commons Leicester Chronicler on Billesdon Leicestershire Villages