Pages 187-193

A History of the County of Leicestershire: Volume 5, Gartree Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1964.

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Knossington lies on the borders of Rutland, nine miles south-east of Melton Mowbray and four miles west of Oakham. The ancient parish consisted of 1,469 a. and belonged to a detached part of the hundred of Gartree, lying north-east of the main area. In 1930 the benefices of Knossington and Cold Overton (Framland hundred) were united, (fn. 1) and in 1936 the new ecclesiastical parish became the present civil parish of Knossington, 3,198 a. in area. (fn. 2) The following account deals only with the ancient parish.

The shape of the southern half of the parish is made irregular by the intrusion from the west of a tongue of land belonging to Owston parish and containing part of Owston Wood. This tongue is bounded largely by tributaries of the River Gwash which rises in the parish. The remainder of the boundary with Owston follows a road, in parts only a track, running north and south between Withcote and Somerby. The county boundary between Leicestershire and Rutland forms the eastern boundary of the parish. The former boundary dividing Knossington from Cold Overton leaves the county boundary at Lady Wood Lodge and follows a northwesterly course to join the boundary with Somerby at the northern tip of Knossington parish.

The village stands in the northern half of the parish, where much of the land lies over 600 ft. above sea level. The ground falls towards the south-east, where several small streams join to form the River Gwash, but rises again to 600 ft. in the extreme south. The soil is chiefly clayey. Five roads radiate from the village to Somerby, Cold Overton, Oakham, Braunston, and Owston. There is also a track leading due south to Withcote and Launde. The main street runs east and west, joined at right angles by the road from Owston, which, like the main street, is built up on both sides. At the junction there is a considerable open space where the village pump stands. In the late 18th century there was a maypole in the main street, said to have been given by Geoffrey Johnson in 1716. (fn. 3) North-westwards the road to Somerby passes the Rectory, (fn. 4) the church, and the gates of Knossington Grange. A new road, 500 yds. long, was constructed in the late 19th century to by-pass the village on the north and to form a direct approach to Knossington Grange from the Oakham road. The former way to Oakham was along the narrow lane descending into the 'Hollow', a steep declivity at the east end of the village. The Wesleyan chapel stands above the 'Hollow'; the old school is on the south side of the main street and the present school is on the Owston road. (fn. 5)

About half the houses in Knossington are built of ironstone or limestone; the remainder, many of which date from the early 19th century, are of brick. No evidence of medieval construction has been found. One of the earliest houses is probably that standing south-west of the churchyard, known since about 1950 as the Old Manor House. (fn. 6) It is an Lshaped stone building apparently dating from the 16th or early 17th century, much altered in the 18th century and later. In 1791 a north wing had two gabled half-dormers which have now disappeared. (fn. 7) At the east end of the village street is a T-shaped ironstone house, known as the Walnuts. It has stone mullioned windows with moulded hoods, two belonging to the ground floor of the north block apparently older than the rest. The nail-studded entrance door in the south wing is dated 1610 and internally there is an inscription 'Gulielmus Gould me fecit 1610', probably not in situ. The interior of this wing has panelling and fittings of about 100 years later and the whole house appears to have been re-modelled internally. It is possible that it may be identified with one formerly known as Walnut Tree House, said to have been the home of the Peck family in the early 19th century. It was reputed to have a beam dated 1570 with the initials of Henry Peck. (fn. 8) Another old house is Priory Farm, which stands on the road to Owston. The front, which was altered and faced with stucco in the early 19th century, is built of brick and ironstone and probably dates from the middle of the 17th century. A rear wing of limestone ashlar, which has a pair of roundheaded niches incorporated in its back wall, (fn. 9) appears to be a slightly later addition. Internally the front range has a 17th-century staircase with flat wavy balusters and newels surmounted by balls. The limestone garden wall adjacent to the road has central gate piers with ball finials, probably contemporary with the back wing, and also an earlier doorway with a three-centred head and moulded jambs. On the west side of the Owston road stands Knossington Hospital or the 'widows' houses'. (fn. 10) The Manor House or Manor Farm (fn. 11) stands at the extreme south end of the village. It is a large rectangular stone house with a date stone of 1820. The site, round which the road to Owston makes a right-angle turn, may be an early one. Near the Manor House is a small early19th-century brick house incorporating in its south wall a pointed window made up of odd pieces of medieval stone tracery and containing fragments of stained glass. These remains are said to have come from Owston Abbey and to have been inserted by Charles H. Scott (d. 1895) who once occupied the house. (fn. 12) Standing above the road at the east end of the village is an early-19th-century stucco house called the Whalebones. Its name is derived from the jawbones of a whale which, until recently, formed an arch above its entrance gate. (fn. 13) At the edge of Owston Wood in the extreme south of the parish is Preston's Lodge. It is a stone house in the early Georgian style, built after the Second World War on the site of an earlier farm-house.

The only public house in the village is the 'Fox and Hounds', a stone building opposite the church, which probably dates from the 18th century. An inn called the 'Greyhound' formerly stood on the north side of the main street but it was demolished c. 1910, when a small but ornate stone house was erected on the site. The 'Greyhound' was a 17th-century stone structure with a thatched roof and a gable-end facing the road. (fn. 14)

Knossington Grange is a large mansion, built of stone in the Tudor style of the late 19th century. It stands at the north-west corner of the village and is surrounded by gardens and plantations. The house was begun by Francis Thursby about 1864, (fn. 15) but he died before it was finished. Alexander Duncan (d. 1889) bought the property in 1867, finished the building, and lived there until 1883. He was followed by his son A. L. Duncan, (fn. 16) who apparently enlarged the house in 1895. (fn. 17) Outbuildings and cottages were built near the Grange by the Duncans; one cottage pair on the road to Cold Overton is dated 1899. Alfred Hassall Straker lived in the Grange until 1924 (fn. 18) and his widow until 1948; after her death it was sold in 1949. Since 1955 the building has been occupied as a preparatory boarding school. In 1958 Knossington Grange School had about 80 boys. (fn. 19) Seven pairs of Council houses stand in Larchwood Rise, at the east end of the village.

At the time of the Domesday Survey Knossington was a fairly large village; 31 people were then enumerated. (fn. 20) There were 49 taxpayers in 1381. (fn. 21) There were said to be fewer than 10 households in 1428. (fn. 22) In 1563 there were 22 households, and in 1670 35. There were 113 communicants in 1603 and 72 in 1676. The population rose steadily from 126 in 1801 to 252 in 1841, after which it fell slightly. The greatest increase, from 251 to 319, took place between 1861 and 1871, the decade in which Knossington Grange was built. The highest recorded figure was 323 in 1891. (fn. 23) Since that date the population has gradually declined and in 1951 there were 224 people living in the former ancient parish. (fn. 24)


In 1086 the king held 3 carucates of land in KNOSSINGTON, part of the soke of Oakham. (fn. 25) By 1130 this had descended to Henry de Ferrers, then lord of Oakham. (fn. 26) Knossington seems to have formed one of the 5 berewicks of the honor of Oakham. (fn. 27) From the tenants-in-chief an intermediate lordship was held by the family of Tatershall, which had inherited the lordship from William Pantulf at the end of the 12th century. (fn. 28) On the death of Robert de Tatershall in 1308 (fn. 29) his property was divided between three co-heirs, his two great-aunts Joan de Driby and Isabel, wife of John de Orby, and Thomas de Cailli, son of another great-aunt, Emma. Knossington fell to the share of John and Isabel de Orby, but all the heirs granted away the service due in 1323. (fn. 30) In 1375 Elizabeth de Erdington held the manor of the lord of Orby. (fn. 31) This line evidently failed: the property reverted to Ralph, Lord Cromwell, through his wife Maud, the great-granddaughter of John de Driby. (fn. 32) Thereafter the intermediate lordship disappears, and after the manor had reverted to the Crown at the Dissolution it was held of the king in chief. (fn. 33)

In 1228 Ralph de Nowers was stated to hold the manor of Robert de Tatershall. (fn. 34) The Nowers family remained the tenants in demesne until at least 1308, at Robert de Tatershall's death. In 1319 William and Alice Playz sold the manor to Thomas de Tolthorp and his wife Alice, (fn. 35) and although the Nowers family continued to hold land in the parish until later in the 14th century (fn. 36) it seems probable that the manor passed from their ownership between 1308 and 1319. Thomas Tolthorp's daughter Elizabeth married Giles de Erdington, the owner of a manor at Barrow on Soar, (fn. 37) and the manor descended in this family, probably until the death of Sir Thomas de Erdington in 1467. (fn. 38) It is not known how this manor passed to the Abbot of Owston, but it may have been by the will of Sir Thomas or have been sold after his death. Owston Abbey certainly held it at the Dissolution when it passed to the Crown. (fn. 39)

In 1548 the manor of Knossington was granted to Gregory, Lord Cromwell, and his wife Elizabeth. In 1558 the reversion after Elizabeth's death was granted to James Harrington of Exton (Rut.), also owner of the neighbouring manor of Owston. (fn. 40) Knossington did not remain in the possession of the main line of the Harrington family, but was in the possession of Sir James Harrington, Bt., when he died in 1614 and was inherited by his son Sir Edward. (fn. 41) The latter sold his interest in 1627, (fn. 42) and by 1640 the manor belonged to Roger Dale. (fn. 43) In 1656-7 it passed to Charles and Anne Dale, who sold it to Richard Halsall in 1664. (fn. 44)

The later descent is not clear; the manor may have passed through the same hands as the advowson. (fn. 45) About 1798 Mr. Davis of Loddington (Northants.) was said to have bought the manor of Knossington, but during most of the 19th century the Frewen Turner family of Cold Overton Hall were recognized as lords. (fn. 46) The manor descended from John Frewen Turner (d. 1829) to his son Thomas Frewen (d. 1870). (fn. 47) The manorial rights appear to have lapsed by the end of the century.


The priory of Augustinian canons at Brooke (Rut.) held land in Knossington from before 1279, when it was returned as holding one carucate under William de Branteston who held of 'Earl C', probably Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, lord of the manor of Oakham. (fn. 48) This was probably part of the land held by the king in 1086 and in 1130 by Henry de Ferrers, one of whose descendants founded the priory. (fn. 49) Brooke Priory held this land until the Dissolution, after which it was granted in 1536 to Anthony Coope of Hardwick (Oxon.). (fn. 50) In 1544 Coope was licensed to alienate the land to John Peck of Tixover (Rut.). (fn. 51) From Peck the land apparently passed to a kinsman, Richard Peck, who died in 1544 (fn. 52) and whose lands were inherited by his son Eustace, a minor who came of age in 1548. (fn. 53) In 1549 the so-called manor of Knossington, formerly held by Brooke Priory, was granted to John Peck, (fn. 54) and the family, whose pedigree is not perfectly clear, continued to hold land in Knossington until 1815. (fn. 55) In 1628, on the death of William Peck, his son inherited the house called 'the Overhouse', (fn. 56) which was perhaps the house known in the last century as Walnut Tree House, which contained a beam bearing the initials of a Henry Peck and the date 1570. (fn. 57) The last member of the family to live in Knossington was another Henry Peck, who died in 1820. (fn. 58)

A second holding is mentioned in Domesday Book, one of 2 carucates belonging to Roger de Busli. (fn. 59) By 1130 this had passed to his descendants and formed part of the honor of Blyth. (fn. 60) At some date between 1150 and 1161 Archbishop Theobald confirmed the grant to the abbey of Owston of 8 virgates in Knossington by Walter de Chevrecurt. (fn. 61) In 1279 the Abbot of Owston was holding a carucate in Knossington of Robert Chevrecurt who was said to hold of the honor of Tickhill in chief. (fn. 62) This honor became part of the Duchy of Lancaster. (fn. 63) The holding of the Abbot of Owston passed to the Crown at the Dissolution (fn. 64) and in 1558 was granted to John, Lord St. John, for his life, with remainder to James Harrington. (fn. 65) Thereafter it descended with the manor.


In 1086 the king's holding at Knossington consisted of 3 carucates of land. Seventeen socmen and 6 bordars had 6 ploughs and there was woodland 1 furlong in length and ½ furlong in width. The royal estate was worth 20s. (fn. 66) Roger de Busli's estate of 2 carucates had supported 2 ploughs before the Conquest; at the time of the Survey 4 socmen, 2 villeins, and 2 bordars had 2 ploughs. There were 4 a. of meadow, and woodland 2 furlongs by 1 furlong. The value of the holding had decreased from 10s. to 8s. (fn. 67)

Little is known about the economic state of Knossington in the Middle Ages, with the exception of that part of the village owned by Owston Abbey. In 1279 Robert de Nowers had 1 carucate in demesne, ½ carucate in villeinage, and 2 virgates held by free tenants. Owston Abbey's lands then consisted of 1 carucate, about 96 a., as did those of Brooke Priory. (fn. 68) Owston Abbey's estate seems always to have been worked as part of the home demesne, supervised by a brother from the abbey. (fn. 69) By the end of the 14th century it was organized by the paid workers of the abbey, the famuli, who were paid partly in money and partly in kind. In the 1380's there were 5 famuli at Knossington. (fn. 70) Grain from Knossington was carried to the abbey grange at Owston, (fn. 71) and at the end of the 15th century reference is made to carrying services from the abbey's Knossington tenants. (fn. 72) In 1483 an enquiry revealed that 16 tenants owed boon-works. (fn. 73) Of the 49 contributors to the poll tax in 1381, 18 were tenants at will; there were 6 servants, some of whom were perhaps the paid servants of the abbey. In addition to these and the women, William Rypham, a 'flecher', is mentioned. (fn. 74)

There were three open fields in Knossington: Nether Field towards Braunston, Skonsborough (Sconborough) Field, and Wood Field. In 1601 the meadow was known as High Meadow and Breach Ground. (fn. 75) The main inclosure of Knossington took place in the early 17th century. It was apparently begun by Stephen Peck about 1597 when he converted 20 a. of his arable land, part of the old Brooke Priory estate, to pasture. His continuation of a policy of inclosure caused Jeffery Willcocks, one of the Knossington freeholders, to petition against it in Star Chamber in 1611. (fn. 76) He maintained that Peck was depriving the villagers of land over which they had had rights of common and that he was urging the other freeholders to exchange land with him in order that he might consolidate his estate. Willcocks refused to co-operate on the ground that inclosure was against the law and because, as he said, it would lead to the decline of Knossington, 'being a well peopled town and good hospitality kept therein'. (fn. 77) His protests were in vain. About 1619 the greater part of the parish was inclosed. In 1619 about 2 a. was set aside by Sir Edward Harrington, then lord of the manor, to belong to the poor of the parish for ever. (fn. 78) The grant was witnessed by several of the freeholders and other villagers and it is clear that it must have been an act of the whole parish made at the time of the inclosure. The glebe terrier of 1625 suggests that the process of inclosure was completed by that date. (fn. 79) It had apparently been under the supervision of Thomas Thorpe, a 'skilful surveyor'. (fn. 80)

The process of inclosure and conversion to pasture was complete and lasting, but it does not seem to have caused any depopulation. (fn. 81) In 1801 there were only about 42 a. of arable land (fn. 82) and only 200 a. in 1847, when there were 1,170 a. of pasture and 30 a. of woodland-the Lady Wood, which is probably also the Domesday woodland. (fn. 83) The constant changes in manorial ownership may have helped to create a diversity of holdings in the parish. In 1773 there were 30 landowners and in 1847 there were 33 separate holdings, a few persons holding more than one. (fn. 84) By that time, however, the Frewen Turner family, which had begun to purchase land in the parish in 1817, (fn. 85) and gradually amassed more and more land as well as the manorial rights, had obtained 174 a. and paid over £19 of the tithe. In 1956 the parish was still predominantly pasture and was still well wooded.

The most important estate in the last century was not that of the lord of the manor but that of Alexander Duncan of Knossington Grange, who came to the village in 1867 and was succeeded by his son, Alexander Lauderdale Duncan. (fn. 86) As the Frewens were non-resident lords of the manor they were virtually replaced in that capacity by the Duncans, who were assiduous in promoting the well-being of the village.


The vestry accounts, which consist of a brief statement of annual receipts and payments made by each of the parish officers, have survived for the period 1679-1852. (fn. 87) The vestry elected annually 2 overseers of the poor, 2 overseers of the highways, and a constable. There was apparently no workhouse, and in 1802-3 4 adults and 4 children received out-relief. (fn. 88) In 1828 the parish established a select vestry under the provisions of the Sturges Bourne Act of 1819. (fn. 89) In 1836 Knossington was included in the Oakham Union. (fn. 90) In 1889 the proposal of the Boundary Commission to transfer Knossington from Leicestershire to Rutland was rejected. (fn. 91) In 1894 a parish council with a membership of 5 councillors was established; (fn. 92) it had the same composition in 1958. (fn. 93)


The rectory of Knossington was never appropriated by Owston Abbey, the patron in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. In 1930 it was combined with the rectory of Cold Overton. (fn. 94) In 1957 the incumbent of the united benefice, who was also priest-in-charge at Owston and Withcote, lived at Knossington.

The church of Knossington was first mentioned in 1199 in an assize of darrein presentment between John de Crioill and his wife Joan, and the Abbot of Westminster, the patron of the church of Oakham. (fn. 95) The outcome of the case is not known. The abbot was presumably claiming that Knossington was attached to Oakham church; Joan de Crioill's first husband was William Pantulf, who held the manor and advowson at the end of the 12th century, and she presumably made her claim through him. The advowson was still in dispute in 1220 although the parties are not stated. (fn. 96) In 1229 a second plea of darrein presentment was heard in the curia regis. (fn. 97) On this occasion Ralph de Nowers, the under-tenant of Robert de Tatershall in the manor, claimed against Gilbert Marshall, Rector of Oakham. Nowers made his claim through his overlord's descent from William Pantulf. Gilbert's claim was that Knossington was a chapel to Oakham, a claim which he had apparently made when he was instituted to Oakham church in 1227. Ralph de Nowers won his case on the grounds that he was the lord of the manor, to which the advowson was said to be attached; the jury found that William Pantulf had undoubtedly made the last presentation. Ralph de Nowers made a successful presentation in 1229-30 (fn. 98) but in 1240-1 Robert de Tatershall presented. (fn. 99) This action resulted in another assize of darrein presentment in 1270, (fn. 100) when Robert de Nowers, Ralph's son, who had been a minor in 1240-1, won the right to present to the church against Robert de Tatershall. In 1272 he presented. (fn. 101) Thereafter the advowson descended with the manor. (fn. 102)

Owston Abbey made two presentations immediately before the Dissolution. (fn. 103) In the late 17th century the descent of the advowson may help to elucidate the history of the manorial descent. In 1626 Roger Dale was returned as the patron. (fn. 104) Richard Halsall acquired the manor in 1664 and Alexander Halsall presented to the living in 1668. (fn. 105) Jacob Halsall presented Alexander Halsall (d. 1735) to the living in 1718. (fn. 106) John Wakelin and Joseph Greaves were the patrons in 1736 and Richard Palmer, Wakelin's nephew and heir, presented in 1780 and 1801. (fn. 107) James Morpott of Kibworth Beauchamp was patron in 1817, but thereafter the lords of the manor, the Frewen Turners, are known to have been the patrons. (fn. 108) When Edward Frewen disposed of his Leicestershire estate at the beginning of the 20th century, the advowson was acquired by the Martyrs' Memorial and Church of England Trustees. (fn. 109) The trustees also owned the advowson of Cold Overton when that living was combined with Knossington in 1930, and therefore continued as patrons of the combined living. (fn. 110)

In 1217 the rectory of Knossington was valued at only £1 6s. 8d., in 1254 at £3, and in 1291 at £6 6s. 8d. (fn. 111) This remained the value until at least 1428. (fn. 112) In 1535 it was valued at £7. (fn. 113) In 1831 the living was worth £280. (fn. 114)

In 1777 the archdeacon ordered that the parsonage house should be repaired. One gable-end was badly decayed and the roof, which was thatched, needed repair. (fn. 115) This had not been done in 1794 and apparently not by 1832, when the archdeacon reported that the state of the house was deplorable: 'part fell down last Saturday'. (fn. 116) At that time both rector and curate were non-resident. A new Rectory was built in 1834: (fn. 117) it is a plain stucco-faced house with subsequent additions. The former Rectory is said to have stood slightly to the north of the present building. (fn. 118)

The tithes were commuted for £255 3s. 6d. in 1847. The only land then exempt from tithe was the 42 a. of glebe which had been allotted at the inclosure, 35 a. then in the occupation of Mary Burnaby which were described as ancient abbey lands, perhaps belonging to Owston or Brooke, and 2 a. of parish land. (fn. 119)

The church of ST. PETER stands on high ground at the west end of the village. It is built of ironstone and limestone and consists of an aisled and clerestoried nave, a chancel flanked by an organ chamber and a vestry, a south porch, and a west tower. Throsby, visiting the church in 1790, thought that the chancel was older than the rest and that there were some remains of 'the oldest Gothic'. (fn. 120) The chancel was rebuilt in 1882-3, but there is evidence that it formerly belonged to the early 13th century and that some of its features, including the three graduated lancets at the east end, were reproduced in the new work. (fn. 121) A two-light window with plate tracery in the south wall, of rather later date, also appears to have been copied. When a vestry was added to the south side of the chancel in 1882 traces of a former chapel in this position were found and parts of the arcade which had divided it from the chancel were reinstated. (fn. 122) Nichols's exterior view of the church, dated 1791, shows a blocked arch in the south wall which may originally have led to the chapel. A pointed window within the arch suggests that the chapel had already been demolished before the end of the Middle Ages. The nave and aisles are also of 13th-century origin. The arcades of three bays have octagonal piers with 'water-holding' bases and there is a beaded member to the mouldings of the capitals. The tower arch and probably the base of the tower appear to be contemporary and there is a blocked 13th-century doorway in the north aisle. It is recorded that before 1882 the north aisle had a single lancet at its east end. (fn. 123) The font probably dates from the early 13th century. It consists of a curious bulbous bowl having four attached shafts curved to its shape. The bowl is supported on a circular stem and four circular shafts, the latter replaced by red marble in the 19th century. (fn. 124) Both stem and shafts have moulded bases. The aisles contain windows of the 14th century and appear to have been altered at this period. The clerestory windows have flowing tracery, but this may not be original. The belfry stage of the tower also belongs to the 14th century, possibly to the second half. The tower is surmounted by a plain parapet resting on a corbel table. There was formerly an octagonal stone spire which rose from behind the parapet, but by the 18th century it had been shortened and the upper part was of lead. (fn. 125)

In 1816 the chancel roof was repaired and a ceiling was inserted. The whole church was repaired in 1829-30, when the tower parapet was rebuilt and the spire was entirely removed. (fn. 126) At the same time the church was re-pewed, 80 new sittings being provided, 70 of which were free. (fn. 127) In 1882-3 Alexander Duncan of Knossington Grange bore the cost of an extensive restoration, the principal feature of which was the rebuilding of the chancel. The aisles were extended on either side of the chancel, forming an organ chamber on the north side and a vestry on the south. An unglazed traceried window was inserted between the north aisle and the organ chamber. On the south side a low arcade of two bays between chancel and vestry included parts of original 13thcentury arches found in the south wall. The chancel arch and walls were raised in height and the whole church was re-roofed. The south porch, originally of the 14th century, was largely rebuilt. At the same time the box pews of 1830 were cleared away and new furniture and fittings were provided. Parts of an original chancel screen were incorporated in a modern one. (fn. 128)

A floor slab in the chancel in which fragments of brass survive has the indent of a figure and the inscription '. . . Thome Bayle, quondam vicarii de Tylton . . . ' . The slab was already incomplete in Nichols's day and has since deteriorated. (fn. 129) Nichols records inscriptions commemorating two rectors, John Freer and Alexander Halsall (d. 1718 and 1735) and also inscriptions to members of the Peck family (1695-1786), of the Raworth family (1774- 1783), and others. (fn. 130) Most of these have now disappeared. Existing mural tablets commemorate Thomas Wartnaby (d. 1845), rector, and G. A. Tanner, rector from 1897 and also Rector of Cold Overton. There are only two bells in the tower: (i) inscribed 1731, but probably recast; (ii) a small 'priest's bell' of 1735. (fn. 131) There is a third bell on the floor in the south aisle. The church plate includes a silver cup and cover paten of 1660, and two sets of plate, 1867 and 1882, given by Mrs. Alexander Duncan of Knossington Grange and by Mrs. Winthrop, her daughter's godmother, respectively. (fn. 132) The registers begin in 1558 and are complete.


In 1825 the house of William Turville, a carpenter, was licensed as a dissenters' meeting-house. (fn. 133) In 1829 a congregation of 20-25 Wesleyan Methodists was reported at Knossington. (fn. 134) Their chapel, which stood behind the old school in the main street, (fn. 135) was built in 1830. (fn. 136) It was replaced by a new red-brick building at the east end of the village in 1912. (fn. 137)


In 1832 a day school run on the principles of the British School Society was begun: 40 children attended, (fn. 138) and 45 in 1833. There were also two infants' schools in 1833 with 14 children between them. The church Sunday school was attended by 30 children, and the Wesleyan by 21. (fn. 139) In 1837 the rents from the parish lands of Harrington's charity, (fn. 140) then let as gardens, were paid to a schoolmaster for teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic to 10 poor children chosen by the vestry. (fn. 141) This practice was continued in 1846. (fn. 142)

Knossington National School was built in 1855 by Mrs. Frewen Turner of Cold Overton. (fn. 143) The original building, which still stands in the centre of the village opposite the pump, was in 1957 a village hall, but was used as a classroom in the day-time. (fn. 144) Knossington (C. of E.) School was built on the Owston road in 1899 by A. L. Duncan of Knossington Grange. (fn. 145) The average attendance was 51 in 1910 (fn. 146) and 61 in 1922. (fn. 147) In 1929 the school was confined to juniors, and the seniors were taken to Melton Mowbray. (fn. 148) Thirty-six juniors attended the school in 1933. (fn. 149) In 1947 it was decided to combine this school with the church school at Owston, which was to be closed, and to accept for both 'controlled' status under the local authority. (fn. 150) These arrangements were completed in 1949, and in 1957 the attendance of juniors and infants from Knossington and Owston was 72. (fn. 151)


The will of William Smith of Croxton Kerrial, proved in 1711, contained a bequest of £1,000 for the foundation of a hospital for 4 poor clergymen's widows. A house in Knossington was bought in 1711 and the hospital established, each inmate having a sitting-room and a bedroom. Lands in Hose were bought for its endowment. No proper arrangements were made for the replacement of the trustees as they died or resigned and in 1782 the charity fell into disuse. It was revived in 1815 and a scheme for its organization was drawn up in Chancery. The building, which was then largely ruinous, was rebuilt in 1821, when the inmates were housed and paid £30 (later £40) a year. (fn. 152) The hospital still existed in 1958; two beneficiaries were resident, two non-resident. (fn. 153) It is a two-story brick building with a frontage of five bays and a central doorway. The middle three bays are enclosed by tall round-headed recessed panels and surmounted by a pediment. Four bay windows to the ground floor are later additions.

In 1619, on the inclosure of the parish, the parishioners and the lord of the manor, Sir Edward Harrington, gave to the poor of the parish 2 a. of land. This was divided into gardens and let at low rents to poor parishioners. (fn. 154) In 1867 it was ordered that the income was to be used for the benefit of the poor, but not to relieve the poor rates. (fn. 155) In 1877 the income, then £5 a year, was used to buy bread. (fn. 156) The land has since been sold and the money invested in £58 15s. 2d. stock, which yielded £2 1s. in 1954. (fn. 157)

In 1718 Richard Bell left a rent-charge of 8s. a year upon a close called Rickleborough Hill to be used to buy bread for the poor on St. Thomas's Day. (fn. 158) In 1958 the income of this charity, 8s., was added to the income from the Harrington charity, and the total was divided between 6 poor widows, in cash. (fn. 159)


  • 1. Lond. Gaz. 1930, p. 1292.
  • 2. Kelly's Dir. Leics. (1936), 124.
  • 3. Nichols, Leics. ii. 657.
  • 4. See p. 191.
  • 5. See p. 192.
  • 6. It is not known on what evidence the house was so named. Since at least 1847, when it belonged to 'Widow Devenport' and was let to a farmer, it was not part of the principal manor: L.R.O. Tithe Award 1847. The house later became part of the Knossington Grange estate, the Grange stables being built in the farmyard.
  • 7. Nichols, Leics. ii, plate cxi.
  • 8. A. B. de Mowbray, Knossington (1898), 36; for the Peck family, see pp. 189, 190; this may be the house called 'the Overhouse' in 1628: Farnham, Leics. Notes, iii. 175.
  • 9. There seems no foundation for the suggestion that the niches, which are not medieval, were once sedilia in the abbey church at Owston: see Leic. Advertiser, 21 Nov. 1959.
  • 10. See p. 193.
  • 11. These names have been current since at least 1863: White, Dir. Leics. (1863), 575. It was the property of the lord of the manor in 1847: Knossington Tithe Award. This may be the house called the Nether House in 1631: E 367/321.
  • 12. Ex inf. Mr. T. Thurman, present occupier; gravestone of C. H. Scott at Cold Overton.
  • 13. Photograph penes Mrs. L. Cox.
  • 14. Photograph and inf. from Mrs. L. Cox, daughter of last licensee.
  • 15. Date on building.
  • 16. de Mowbray, Knossington, 128-30; Burke, Land. Gent. (1906), 494; Alexander Duncan was born in Scotland in 1805 but spent most of his working life in the U.S.A. and married a Miss Sarah Butler of Boston.
  • 17. Date on building.
  • 18. Burke, Land. Gent. (1952), 2435.
  • 19. Ex inf. the headmaster, Mr. C. M. F. Rathbone.
  • 20. V.C.H. Leics. iii. 157.
  • 21. Farnham, Leics. Notes, iii. 173-4.
  • 22. Feud. Aids, iii. 112.
  • 23. V.C.H. Leics. iii. 166, 168, 170, 173, 191.
  • 24. Census, 1951, Eccl. Areas Eng. 61.
  • 25. V.C.H. Leics. i. 325.
  • 26. Slade, Leics. Survey, 31.
  • 27. On the descent of the honor of Oakham, see V.C.H. Rut. ii. 10-13; for references to Knossington as part of that honor, see Bk. of Fees, 952; Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), i. 237; Cal. Inq. p.m. iii, p. 474.
  • 28. Farnham, Leics. Notes, iii. 169-70.
  • 29. Cal. Inq. p.m. iv, pp. 260, 265.
  • 30. Farnham, Leics. Notes, iii. 172.
  • 31. Cal. Inq. p.m. xiv, p. 122.
  • 32. Complete Peerage, ii. 552; Farnham, Leics. Med. Pedigrees, 18-19; Ralph, Lord Cromwell, was lord in 1434: Farnham, Leics. Notes, iii. 174.
  • 33. C 142/342/105.
  • 34. Farnham, Leics. Notes, iii. 170.
  • 35. Ibid. 172.
  • 36. Ibid.
  • 37. Farnham, Leics. Med. Pedigrees, 11; Farnham, Leics. Notes, iii. 173.
  • 38. Farnham, Leics. Med. Pedigrees, 11.
  • 39. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iv. 160; for other lands in Knossington which belonged to Owston see below, and Hilton, Econ. Devt. Leics. Estates, 109-10.
  • 40. Cal. Pat. 1557-8, 440; 1553-4, 202-3, the grant of Elizabeth's lifetime.
  • 41. C 142/342/105.
  • 42. C.P. 25(2)/566/1656-7 Hil.
  • 43. Nichols, Leics. ii. 656.
  • 44. C.P. 25(2)/566/1656-7 Hil.; /677/16 Chas. II Mich.
  • 45. See p. 191.
  • 46. Nichols, Leics. ii. 656; de Mowbray, Knossington, 114-15.
  • 47. Burke, Land. Gent. (1906), 634-5.
  • 48. Bodl. MS. Rawl. B. 350, m. 23; V.C.H. Rut. ii. 11.
  • 49. V.C.H. Rut. i. 159.
  • 50. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xi, p. 209; Coope also owned land at Braunston (Rut.): V.C.H. Rut. ii. 34.
  • 51. L & P. Hen. VIII, xix (1), p. 507.
  • 52. Nichols, Leics. ii. 656.
  • 53. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xx (1), p. 419; Cal. Pat. 1553, 322.
  • 54. Cal. Pat. 1550-3, 50.
  • 55. L.R.O. Knossington Land Tax Assessments; for the various members of the family in this period, see Farnham, Leics. Notes, iv. 175-6; Nichols, Leics. ii. 656-8; de Mowbray, Knossington, 54-57.
  • 56. Farnham, Leics. Notes, iii. 175.
  • 57. de Mowbray, Knossington, 36.
  • 58. Ibid. 36, 53.
  • 59. V.C.H. Leics. i. 325.
  • 60. Slade, Leics. Survey, 31.
  • 61. A. Saltman, Theobald, Archbp. of Cant. 419; Doc. Illustrative Soc. and Econ. Hist. Danelaw, ed. F. M. Stenton, 317.
  • 62. Bodl. MS. Rawl. B. 350, m. 23.
  • 63. R. Somerville, Duchy of Lancaster, i. 52.
  • 64. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iv. 158.
  • 65. Cal. Pat. 1557-8, 440.
  • 66. V.C.H. Leics. i. 309.
  • 67. Ibid. 325.
  • 68. Bodl. MS. Rawl. B. 350, m. 23.
  • 69. Hilton, Econ. Devt. Leics. Estates, 112.
  • 70. Ibid. 139-40, 143.
  • 71. Ibid. 133.
  • 72. Ibid. 139.
  • 73. Ibid. 125-6.
  • 74. Farnham, Leics. Notes, iii. 173-4.
  • 75. Leic. City Mun. Room, 1 D.41/2/376, copy of glebe terrier of 1601 attached to terrier of 1638.
  • 76. Parker, 'Inclosure', 126-7.
  • 77. T.L.A.S. xxiii. 231n.
  • 78. de Mowbray, Knossington, 82-83; for Harrington's charity see p. 193.
  • 79. Studies in Leics. Agrarian Hist. 108.
  • 80. Leic. City Mun. Room, 1 D.41/2/376; the glebe terrier of 1638 is apparently copied from one at Lincoln of 1625. The inclosure agreement was enrolled in Chancery.
  • 81. See p. 188.
  • 82. Studies in Leics. Agrarian Hist. 149.
  • 83. L.R.O. Knossington Tithe Award (1847); there is another copy penes the rector at Knossington.
  • 84. L.R.O. Knossington Land Tax Assessments.
  • 85. Ibid.
  • 86. See p. 188.
  • 87. Knossington par. recs. penes the rector.
  • 88. Poor Law Abstract, 1803, 256-7.
  • 89. Knossington par. recs. Vestry Bk. 1828-42.
  • 90. White, Dir. Leics. (1846), 468.
  • 91. L.R.O. Leics. Co. Counc. Min. Bk. 1889-94.
  • 92. L.R.O. Co. Counc. Order, Local Govt. Act, 1894.
  • 93. Ex inf. Co. Registration Office.
  • 94. Lond. Gaz. 1930, p. 1292.
  • 95. Farnham, Leics. Notes, iii. 169.
  • 96. Rot. Hugonis de Welles, ed. W. P. W. Phillimore, i. 263.
  • 97. Farnham, Leics. Notes, iii. 169-70.
  • 98. Rot. Hugonis de Welles, ii. 368.
  • 99. Rot. R. Grosseteste, ed. F. N. Davis, 452.
  • 100. Farnham, Leics. Notes, iii. 171.
  • 101. Rot. R. Gravesend, ed. F. N. Davis, 153.
  • 102. de Mowbray, Knossington, 23-25.
  • 103. Ibid. 25-26; Nichols, Leics. ii. 658.
  • 104. Leic. City Mun. Room, 1 D.41/18/3, f. 3.
  • 105. Nichols, Leics. ii. 658.
  • 106. Ibid.
  • 107. Ibid.
  • 108. de Mowbray, Knossington, 125.
  • 109. Ex inf. the Revd. W. R. Temple; doc. among par. recs.
  • 110. Leic. Dioc. Cal. (1954), 88.
  • 111. Val. of Norw. ed. W. E. Lunt, 533.
  • 112. Feud. Aids, iii. 112.
  • 113. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iv. 160.
  • 114. White, Dir. Leics. (1846), 514.
  • 115. Leic. City Mun. Room, 1 D.41/18/21.
  • 116. Ibid. 245' 50/3.
  • 117. White, Dir. Leics. (1846), 514.
  • 118. de Mowbray, Knossington, 103.
  • 119. L.R.O. Knossington Tithe Award (1847); there is another copy penes the rector at Knossington.
  • 120. Throsby, Leics. Views, ii. 388.
  • 121. Photograph, before restoration, in church; Nichols, Leics. ii, plate cxi.
  • 122. de Mowbray, Knossington, 45.
  • 123. Ibid. 59.
  • 124. Ibid. 45-46.
  • 125. Nichols, Leics. ii. 657, and plate cxi.
  • 126. Leic. City Mun. Room, 245'50/3, 6.
  • 127. Inscription under tower; plan of seating among par. recs.
  • 128. de Mowbray, Knossington, 45, 49, 57 sqq.
  • 129. Nichols, Leics. ii. 658, and plate cxi; Nichols places Bayle in the 16th cent. as Vicar of Tilton (Leics. iii. 471) but he is more likely to have belonged to the 15th cent.
  • 130. Ibid. ii. 658.
  • 131. North, Ch. Bells Leics. 199.
  • 132. Trollope, Ch. Plate Leics. i. 270-1; Burke, Land. Gent. (1906), 494.
  • 133. Leic. City Mun. Room, 1 D.41/44/560.
  • 134. L.R.O. Return of Places of Worship not of the Church of England, 1829.
  • 135. Ex inf. Mrs. L. Cox of Knossington.
  • 136. White, Dir. Leics. (1846), 514; the date stone of the old chapel still remained at the old site in 1958.
  • 137. Kelly's Dir. Leics. (1936), 124.
  • 138. Leic. City Mun. Room, 245'50/3; for earlier refs. to small private schools, see de Mowbray, Knossington, 127.
  • 139. Educ. Enquiry Abstract, 1835, 489.
  • 140. See below.
  • 141. 32nd Rep. Com. Char. Pt. 5, 459.
  • 142. White, Dir. Leics. (1846), 514.
  • 143. Ibid. (1877), 262; the par. recs. contain a conveyance (1881) of the premises to the parish.
  • 144. Ex inf. the Revd. W. R. Temple.
  • 145. Kelly's Dir. Leics. (1900), 110; the par. recs. contain a conveyance (1899) of the land to the parish.
  • 146. Leics. Co. Counc. Mins. 11 May 1910.
  • 147. Leics. Educ. Cttee. Distribution of Public Elem. Schs. 2nd Rep. 1922.
  • 148. Leics. Co. Counc. Mins. 13 Nov. 1929.
  • 149. Leics. Educ. Cttee. Survey of Small Schs. and Depts. 1933.
  • 150. Leics. Co. Counc. Mins. 18 Apr., 17 Oct. 1947.
  • 151. Ex inf. Co. Educ. Offices.
  • 152. 32nd Rep. Com. Char. Pt. 5, 457-9; de Mowbray, Knossington, 108-14; Throsby recorded 'an hospital in ruin' in 1790: Leics. Views, ii. 388.
  • 153. Ex inf. the Revd. W. R. Temple.
  • 154. 32nd Rep. Com. Char. Pt. 5, 459; de Mowbray, Knossington, 82-83.
  • 155. de Mowbray, Knossington, 83.
  • 156. White, Dir. Leics. (1877), 262.
  • 157. Char. Com. files, G. 193.
  • 158. 32nd Rep. Com. Char. Pt. 5, 459.
  • 159. Ex inf. the Revd. W. R. Temple.