A History of the County of Leicestershire: Volume 5, Gartree Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1964.
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HUSBANDS BOSWORTH (fn. 1)
Husbands Bosworth is thirteen miles south of Leicester on the borders of Northamptonshire. Its name is derived from the Old English personal name 'Bar'; the village during the Middle Ages was therefore called Baresworth or Boresworth and occasionally Borisworth. The prefix 'Husbands' was not established until the late 16th and early 17th century, and is believed to have been adopted in order to distinguish between the village of the 'husbandmen' and Market Bosworth, whose substantive name derives from a different root. (fn. 2) The parish is one of the largest in the district, 3,560 a. in area, about 4 miles from north to south and a little over 2 miles at its widest extent from east to west. The ground forms part of a ridge of hills, formed by the Upper Lias clays, which runs north-eastwards into Leicestershire through Laughton and Gumley and is believed to mark the course of a Bronze Age trackway. (fn. 3) At Husbands Bosworth the ridge forms the watershed between the Welland flowing eastwards and the Avon westwards, rivers which are the boundaries of both county and parish.
The village itself lies near the centre of the parish to the east of the main road from north to south, which crosses the Avon at Welford; throughout the Middle Ages the principal traffic between London and Leicester via Northampton followed this road and in 1835 a daily coach from London to Liverpool still followed it as far as Husbands Bosworth before turning to Lutterworth and Hinckley; the road was first turnpiked in 1765. (fn. 4) The main road from Market Harborough to Coventry via Lutterworth, first turnpiked in 1755, (fn. 5) crosses this road at Husbands Bosworth. There are two village greens, one at the cross-roads and one on the east at the corner of Church Lane and Mowsley Road; the latter according to local tradition is the older, and the village is therefore believed to have shifted westwards towards the main road. The parish church and Bosworth Hall and Park lie at the east end of the village. In order to cross the watershed between the Welland and Avon valleys, the Grand Union Canal enters a tunnel about ¾ mile long just north of the village. This canal was opened in 1814 to join the Union Canal near Gumley with the Grand Junction at Long Buckby (Northants.). (fn. 6) No wharves were built near the village. The wharf at the George Hotel, Welford, on the London Road, which was linked with the main canal by a special branch running beside the Avon and the parish boundary, lies just inside the parish of Husbands Bosworth. Until 1946 the proprietor of this public house retailed coal which came by barge and until 1939 burnt lime on the south side of the wharf in the kilns which are now in ruins. (fn. 7) Similarly, the Wharf Inn, where the Lutterworth Road crossed the canal, possessed a coal wharf. (fn. 8) The Rugby–Stamford branch of the London & North Western Railway, opened in 1850, (fn. 9) was constructed alongside the canal, but in a deep cutting and not in a tunnel.
Husbands Bosworth has always been one of the larger villages of the hundred. The recorded Domesday population was 46. In 1377 there were 157 taxpayers. In 1563 there were 72 households and in 1670 98. There were 320 communicants in 1603 and 360 in 1676. (fn. 10) In his Speculum (1705–16) Bishop Wake estimated that there were 160 families, though the figure was later revised to 119. (fn. 11) Throsby, in 1789, noted 150 dwellings. (fn. 12) The first Census figure (1801), 330 males and as many females, has the appearance of a rough estimate. The next (1811) is likewise suspect, for it implies a rise from 660 to 1,024 in a decade when the number of inhabited houses rose only from 156 to 157. (fn. 13) From 1821 until 1851 the population slowly rose to 1,002 and then slowly declined to 713 in 1931. In 1951 it was 781. (fn. 14)
There is no gas supply and there was no electricity supply until the early 1930's. The waterworks belonging to Market Harborough U.D.C., which stand in Bosworth Park opposite Husbands Bosworth Rectory, were opened in 1956. Water is drawn from 13 wells in the area, purified, and pumped to a reservoir near Highfields House, the highest point in the parish, and then distributed throughout the U.D.C. and R.D.C. areas. (fn. 15) This scheme, which provided the first piped water for the village, was an extension of one started in 1890 to supply Market Harborough only. (fn. 16)
The soil of the parish is chiefly clay, with some gravelly loam; the greater part is permanent pasture, used especially for dairy farming. (fn. 17) In 1950 there were 18 farms in the parish, 9 worked from houses in the village and 9 from houses standing in the fields. (fn. 18) Apart from the former Bosworth Mill on the Avon in the south-west corner of the parish, probably the site mentioned in the Domesday Book, (fn. 19) the most notable houses outside the village are Wheler Lodge and Highfields House. Wheler Lodge, the last home of Major Guy Paget (d. 1952), is now an establishment for training horses; Highfields House consists of the reconstructed stables belonging to the former house which was demolished in 1950. (fn. 20) The public cemetery on the Welford Road was established in 1858; its two chapels, which were rarely used, were demolished in 1957 leaving the bricked-in cloister as a gardener's shed. (fn. 21) The airfield on the borders of Husbands Bosworth and Sulby (Northants.) which was built in 1941–2 was used by the R.A.F. until 1946. In 1948 its camp buildings were placed under the control of the National Assistance Board for housing Polish families. They were still used for this purpose in 1958. (fn. 22) The Polish camp, which in 1950 housed over 500 people, had its own church, school, and recreation room. (fn. 23)
Around the Green on the Welford Road are the principal public buildings, the school (1858), the Methodist chapel (1913), and the Turville Memorial Hall (1895)—a village hall erected in memory of Sir F. C. F. Turville (1831–89) of Bosworth Hall. In 1957 part of an extension to the village hall to commemorate the 1953 Coronation was completed, and the Midland Bank converted a house opposite into a sub-branch, open on one day a week. There are three public houses in the High Street—the 'Cherry Tree', the 'Red Lion', and the 'Bell'. The George Hotel at Welford Bridge is a brick building of c. 1800 with a castellated parapet and brick portico.
Most of the houses in the village lie along the road from Market Harborough to Coventry, known as High Street, along the Leicester road, or Bell Lane, and in the network of smaller streets in the angle between them. Apart from the few timber-framed houses which survive, red brick is the almost universal building material. The former Wheatsheaf Inn, probably the oldest house in the village, is a timber-framed structure of two periods. The lower range, lying parallel to the road and now cased in rendered brickwork, contains part of a medieval cruck truss. The range was originally single-storied, but an upper floor was later inserted, the roof raised, and a massive stone chimney built at its north end. South of this range and at right angles to the road is a two-story wing of two bays, probably dating from the 16th century. The upper story is of close-studded timber-framing with heavy angle-posts and curved braces, the gable-end having decorative framing in the form of quadrant panels and 'baluster' studs. The lower story is of stone, retaining several mullioned windows. The chimney against the back gable and the brick panel filling are later additions. The building has been enlarged at the rear and in 1958 was thoroughly renovated, several of the ceilings being raised and much of the timbering exposed and a porch added. (fn. 24) No. 13 High Street is a timber-framed building of a more humble type, probably dating from the 17th century. It is a two-bay cottage, now rough-cast, with additional bays, one of brick, at each end. The framing consists of roughly-shaped timbers and includes three roof trusses with curved principals. A house at the junction of Honeypot Lane and Mowsley Road has exposed timbers externally. These are of the late type, forming large panels and having short straight braces below the wall-plate. The brick-filled panels, which are dated 1712, may be later insertions. There is an outhouse with similar timbering in Church Street. The High Street contains mostly late-19th-century cottages, but a few earlier buildings, including a disused smithy, survive. In the smaller streets, particularly in Mowsley Road and Honeypot Lane, most of the houses date from the 18th and early 19th centuries. 'The Priory' in Bell Lane is the modern name for a house which replaced an early-17th-century farmhouse. (fn. 25) Bosworth House and Hillsome House in Berridge's Lane are gentlemen's residences of c. 1800, the former altered and enlarged, the latter (in 1958 a boarding house) re-fronted in the mid-19th century. In 1950 there were over 220 houses in the village, of which 44 were Council houses, some built on the Welford Road and School Lane after the First World War and some in Lammas Close off Butt Lane after the Second World War. (fn. 26)
Husbands Bosworth Hall stands in a small park on the east side of the village. It consists virtually of two houses standing back to back. The older portion, now mainly of brick but retaining evidence of timber-framing and a medieval plan, is a gabled structure with an entrance and projecting wings on the west side. Behind it stands a taller late-18th-century brick house with its principal front facing east. (fn. 27) There are late-19th-century additions to both buildings. The older house is of two stories with gabled attics and consists of a central three-gabled block with cross-wings to the north and south. The north wing has a single gabled roof; the south wing is made up of three smaller blocks, roofed separately, indicating additions or alterations at various dates. The plan suggests that the central block originally contained a medieval or 16th-century great hall with an entrance and cross passage at its north end, that the service quarters were always to the north of this, and that part of the south end represented an original solar wing. Exposed timbering is visible on the south front and there is little doubt that much of the house was originally timber-framed. Behind the staircase part of the back wall of the central block is of ironstone, retaining two Tudor windows. The bases of two massive chimneys, one in the hall and the other in the north, or kitchen, wing, are also of ironstone and may be of the same period. None of the internal fittings dates from before the late 17th century and it is probable that the house was remodelled at this time and that most of the exterior was then cased in brickwork. On the first floor of the north wing an embrasure beside the chimney is occupied by a 'priest's hole', masked by cupboards and having access only from the attic above. (fn. 28) The later part of the house was built in 1792–3 by F. F. Turville (d. 1839). (fn. 29) It stands a few feet to the east of the older structure and was originally connected to it only by a passage. The new house had a symmetrical front facing east and internally the central hall was flanked by a dining room to the north and a drawing room and library to the south. The main staircase is lit from above by a circular lantern. On the occasion of a wedding reception in 1838 (fn. 30) a blind bay containing a large mirror was added to the east wall of the drawing room. In 1873– 4 the older house was re-roofed, (fn. 31) some of the gables being raised in height. Further alterations were made soon after the marriage of Sir Francis Fortescue Turville to the Dowager Lady Lisgar in 1878. (fn. 32) A westward extension of the library, built to house the books of Lady Lisgar's first husband, closed the gap between the old and new houses, giving a continuous facade to the south. Lady Lisgar was also responsible for new kitchens built against the north wing of the older part and a tall baywindowed block containing a new dining room, bedrooms, and dressing-rooms to the north of the later house. Also in the late 19th century 'Tudor' features were added to the main or west front of the old house and a second doorway, now blocked, was inserted to give separate access to the chapel room. Colonel Turville-Petre raised the height of the second-floor windows on the east front c. 1910 and about ten years later replaced a 19th-century Gothic porch with the present classical one. (fn. 33)
The ownership of the hall is traced below. (fn. 34) While Sir Francis Fortescue Turville was on diplomatic service the hall was let for several years to Sir Charles Tempest, Bt. (1834–94). (fn. 35) The Fortescues and the Turvilles, being recusant families, have inherited several relics of interest to Roman Catholics, particularly through the Fortescues of Salden (Bucks.). A notable past possession was the 10thcentury Bosworth Psalter, which was given to the British Museum in 1907. (fn. 36) The collection of portraits includes one of Sir Kenelm Digby (1603–65), a brother-in-law of Sir John Fortescue, 1st Bt. (fn. 37) The chapel room, which served as a Mass centre for Roman Catholics in the district until the erection of the present church, is in the south-east corner of the older part of the hall. (fn. 38)
An earthwork in the parish described in the late 18th century (fn. 39) has not been identified in recent times; nor has the exact site ever been located of the gravel pit where a late Bronze Age merchant's hoard was discovered in 1801. (fn. 40) About 1795 a brooch was found which later discussion attributed to an Anglo-Saxon burial. (fn. 41)
During the 19th century an annual fair was held on 16 October, and a village feast soon after the patronal festival of the parish church, All Saints (1 November). (fn. 42) Local histories have given particular prominence to the execution of nine women at Leicester in 1616 for bewitching one of the sons of Erasmus Smith (d. 1616) of Husbands Bosworth Hall, (fn. 43) and also to the lighting that struck the parish church on 6 July 1755 and caused great damage. (fn. 44)
Five holdings in Husbands Bosworth were listed in 1086. The largest, 11½ carucates, held by Robert under Guy de Reinbudcurt, (fn. 45) had been part of a Saxon estate centred upon Stanford-onAvon (Northants.). It remained the chief manor in Bosworth and by 1130 had been united with another holding, 4 carucates in extent, which in 1086 was held by Laurence under Robert de Vescy. (fn. 46) Of the three other Domesday holdings, 5 carucates held under Gilbert de Gand by William Peverel (fn. 47) became part of the fee of the Trussell family of Marston Trussell (Northants.); 2 carucates and 2 bovates held under Robert de Buci by Suavis (fn. 48) became part of the fee of the Basset family of Weldon (Northants.), although the greater part was granted to Sulby Abbey (Northants.); and 2 carucates and 2 bovates which had been bought from Guy de Reinbudcurt in the reign of William I by Abbot Bennet remained the property of Selby Abbey (Yorks.) until the Dissolution. (fn. 49) Selby Abbey also acquired Stanford-on-Avon, five miles south-west of Bosworth, and Leicester Abbey with a grange at Pynslade on the northern boundary of Bosworth parish received gifts of land there.
The chief manor of Bosworth, later known as the HALL FEE, combined the first two of the five Domesday holdings above. About 1130 it was held by Ansketil. (fn. 50) Probably before 1135 it had passed to Robert (perhaps the Robert fitz Ansketil mentioned in two charters of Henry I) (fn. 51) who was succeeded by his son Roger Cute and by Roger's son Richard de Bosworth who died before 1218. (fn. 52) The latter had a son and heir called Richard, but by 1247 his inheritance belonged to John de Lodbrok and his wife Joan, (fn. 53) a daughter of Richard de Bosworth. In 1279 the property of John's son, William de Lodbrok, was still described as two separate holdings, 10½ carucates and 4 carucates, although for both he acknowledged the same overlord, Richard de Harcourt, who held under the Earl of Winchester. (fn. 54) The Harcourts and their successors as lords of Market Bosworth remained the mesne lords of this fee. (fn. 55)
By 1293 Robert de Stoke had succeeded to the estate of William de Lodbrok for the service of ½ knight's fee under Richard de Harcourt. (fn. 56) The Hall Fee remained in the hands of the Stoke family until the later 16th century when it changed hands at least five times. (fn. 57) By 1562 Francis Cotton was holding the manor court of this fee; by 1570 Brian Cave of Ingarsby; (fn. 58) and by 1574 William Brocas of Theddingworth. (fn. 59) In 1594 John Gobert of Coventry sold this manor to Erasmus Smith (d. 1616) of Somerby who already owned the advowson of Husbands Bosworth church. (fn. 60) James I in 1615 confirmed this sale to his son Roger Smith (d. 1655). (fn. 61) But in 1617 Roger Smith conveyed the manor to George Walker of Market Harborough who in 1626 again conveyed it to David Papillon of Lubenham. (fn. 62) In 1630 the latter sold it to the Manners family. (fn. 63) Grace, daughter of Sir John Manners and Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall (Derbys.), and widow of Sir Francis Fortescue (d. 1624) of Salden (Bucks.), came to live in Husbands Bosworth Hall. (fn. 64) The senior branch of the Fortescues, descendants of her eldest son John, who was created a baronet in 1636, (fn. 65) remained at Salden, but a junior branch settled at Husbands Bosworth. (fn. 66)
Maria Alethea Fortescue, who died unmarried in 1763, devised the estate to three trustees on behalf of an infant, Francis Fortescue Turville, the greatgrandson of William Turville of Aston Flamville who had married her aunt Frances Fortescue. (fn. 67) F. F. Turville's father William (d. 1777) was then alive but, although described as of Husbands Bosworth on his tombstone, was excluded from the inheritance, probably because, unlike his family, he was not a Roman Catholic. (fn. 68) F. F. Turville's grandson Sir Francis C. Fortescue Turville (1831–89), who left no children, was succeeded by his widow the Dowager Lady Lisgar (d. 1895) (fn. 69) and his unmarried sister Mary (d. 1910). The property then reverted to his third cousin Oswald Petre (1862–1941). George Talbot (d. 1753), a younger brother of Gilbert, Earl of Shrewsbury (d. 1743), and father of George, Earl of Shrewsbury (d. 1787), had two other sons, Charles (d. 1766) and Francis (d. 1813): the former was a great-grandfather of Sir Francis Fortescue Turville through his daughter Barbara (d. 1806), the wife of F. F. Turville; the latter, a great-grandfather of Oswald Petre through his granddaughter Gwendoline (d. 1910), the wife of E. H. Petre. (fn. 70) In 1907 Oswald Petre assumed the name Turville-Petre. (fn. 71) On his death in 1941, the hall descended to his daughter Alethea and her husband David Constable Maxwell jointly, the present owners. (fn. 72)
In 1086 William Peverel held 5 carucates in Bosworth under Gilbert de Gand. (fn. 73) In the early years of the 12th century Helgot gave tithes from his demesne here to Lenton Priory (Notts.). (fn. 74) Robert the son of Helgot forfeited his lands to Henry II who enfeoffed Peter de Goldington of Stoke Goldington (Bucks.). While the overlordship belonged to the honor of Peverel of Nottingham, the Goldington family remained nominally the mesne lords of this manor. (fn. 75)
By 1130 the demesne tenant was Osbert Trussell, (fn. 76) and this fee descended in his family, to his son William and his grandson Richard. (fn. 77) It was still called the TRUSSELL FEE in the late 18th century. (fn. 78) But by 1235–6 William de Medbourne was the demesne tenant, (fn. 79) and in 1279 Beatrice de Lokington held 5 carucates of William Trussell and he of Peter de Goldington. (fn. 80) During the 14th and 15th centuries tenants of this fee in Bosworth probably held of the manor of Marston Trussell (Northants.) which remained in the Trussell family until the 16th century. (fn. 81)
In the early 13th century William and Amice Trussell gave 1 virgate and ½ virgate respectively in Bosworth to Sulby Abbey (Northants.). (fn. 82) In 1202 the Abbot of Sulby was reported to be already the tenant of 3 virgates of this fee. (fn. 83)
In the reign of William I, Abbot Bennet of Selby Abbey (Yorks.) (fn. 84) bought from Guy de Reinbudcurt the estate of Stanford-on-Avon (Northants.) which included 2 carucates and 2 bovates in Husbands Bosworth. (fn. 85) The SELBY FEE remained the property of the abbey until the Dissolution. The gift of Stanford to the abbey was also attributed to R. Foliot and in 1279 the 9 virgates in Bosworth were ascribed to the fee of Foliot: 9 tenants held of the abbot in libero servicio. (fn. 86) In the 15th century there were 12 tenants paying small money rents ranging from 2d. to 1s. 8d. (fn. 87) In 1540 the whole estate of Stanford-on-Avon, including parts of Bosworth, was granted to Thomas Cave. (fn. 88) The property in Bosworth descended in the Cave family. (fn. 89)
By 1130 2 carucates and 2 bovates, held in 1086 by Suavis under Robert de Buci, had become part of the BASSET FEE belonging to the Bassets of Weldon (Northants.). (fn. 90) In the late 12th century Walter son of Thomas de Bosworth held land in Bosworth of Richard Basset, (fn. 91) but by 1279 only 2 virgates remained in lay hands. (fn. 92) Six virgates had been granted to Sulby Abbey, probably by Roger de Kilworth, a tenant of Ralph Basset (d. 1265) who had himself granted 6s. rent; (fn. 93) and the remaining virgate to Leicester Abbey, probably by Robert Sampson. (fn. 94) The Leicester Abbey property was attached to Pynslade Grange and the Sulby property to Bosworth Grange Fee (see below).
Among the original endowments of Leicester Abbey was the manor of Pynslade in the parish of Knaptoft with 4 virgates, one of which lay in Bosworth parish. (fn. 95) Roger de Bosworth, who gave the parish church to the abbey, also added a carucate and 7 selions; Charyte's rental lists 15 other miscellaneous gifts, but nothing larger than a virgate. (fn. 96) Tenants of the abbey in Bosworth appear to have owed service and suit of court to Pynslade Grange. (fn. 97) In the 1270's the abbot held only 3 virgates in Bosworth; he later claimed free warren over 11 virgates of Pynslade land, but it is not clear how much lay within Bosworth lordship. (fn. 98) In 1535 the abbey's property in Bosworth with Pynslade was valued at £5 18s. 9½d. a year (fn. 99) and after the Dissolution it was farmed by royal bailiffs. (fn. 100) In 1553 several messuages and over 100 a. of land, formerly the property of Leicester Abbey, were granted to Thomas Reve and George Cotton of London. (fn. 101)
The GRANGE FEE was created from the many gifts of land in Bosworth made to Sulby Abbey. (fn. 102) The abbot held a court for the tenants of Bosworth Grange. (fn. 103) The 11 virgates attributed to the Abbot of 'Soleby' in the Hundred Rolls were probably the extent of this estate, but by 1279 this figure had risen to 12½ virgates. (fn. 104) A charter of 1315–16 recites 12 gifts made to the abbey before that date of property and rents in Bosworth, but there are many others made before the Statute of Mortmain which cannot be identified in this list. (fn. 105) Roger de Belgrave in 1344 and William Sclater of Coventry in 1497 gave lands in Bosworth to the abbey. (fn. 106) In 1535 its property in Bosworth was valued at £9 8s. 2d. with 14s. in perquisites of the court. (fn. 107)
After the Dissolution grants from this fee were made to several people, (fn. 108) but the grange itself, in the tenure of William Herment (d. 1558), had been reserved in 1551 for Edward, Lord Clinton, later Earl of Lincoln. (fn. 109) In 1580 Bosworth Grange with Bosworth Cotes and 9½ virgates belonged to Edward Twickten. (fn. 110) His son John Twickten the elder (d. 1619) had included the property in a marriage settlement, (fn. 111) but by 1632 another John Twickten was described as of Corby (Northants.) and Grace, Lady Fortescue, as lady of the manor of the grange. (fn. 112) The grange was therefore united with the Hall Fee. The property which formerly belonged to Sulby Abbey in Hothorpe (Northants.), with land in Husbands Bosworth not attached to the grange, was purchased in 1557 by William Cradock. (fn. 113) It appears to have descended to John Cradock of Kelmarsh (Northants.) whose grandson was living in Husbands Bosworth in 1619. (fn. 114)
Of the five manors of 1086 four contained a demesne and villein tenants. On the fifth, Robert's manor, later the Hall Fee, there were 20 socmen and 5 bordars; by 1130 it had been united with Laurence's manor which in 1086 had 3 ploughs and 3 serfs on the demesne. (fn. 115) By 1279 only the Hall Fee retained its demesne. (fn. 116) Taken together the manors were reckoned as 24 carucates and 3 virgates in 1086, 23 carucates in 1130, and 24 carucates in 1279. (fn. 117)
Apart from the Hall Fee only the Selby Fee, among the Domesday manors, retained its identity until the 16th century; as part of the Stanford-onAvon estate it was still recognizable at the time of the inclosure in 1765. (fn. 118) The Trussell Fee became simply an outlier of the manor of Marston Trussell (Northants.) and the Basset Fee was largely absorbed into the Grange Fee, created by Sulby Abbey probably in the 13th century. (fn. 119) No evidence of the workings of Sulby Abbey Grange has been discovered; Sulby Abbey, a Premonstratensian house on the banks of the Avon, lay in an extra-parochial district which adjoined the south-east boundary of Husbands Bosworth. (fn. 120) It is difficult to place the 10 free tenants recorded in 1381 into the known manorial organization in the village. (fn. 121) A rental, dated 1450–1, from the Hall Fee numbered 19 free tenants paying money rents, 2 paying peppercorn rents, and 25 tenants at will. (fn. 122)
About 1500 the Abbot of Leicester had inclosed a common pasture in Husbands Bosworth called the Dole containing 23 a., adjoining his manor of Pynslade, but had been opposed by the villagers led by Robert Stoke, lord of the Hall Fee. The case was brought before the Star Chamber in 1530. (fn. 123) Similarly William Birdyt and Frances Palmer in 1607 were reported to have decayed two farm-house by taking away their land. (fn. 124) Otherwise pre-inclosure conditions are not easy to describe, but 17th-century terriers mention three open fields, called NorthEast, South, and West Fields. (fn. 125) In 1764, during the minority of the lord of Bosworth Hall, F. F. Turville, a group of proprietors petitioned for inclosure; they believed pasture in severalty would greatly increase the value of the land. (fn. 126) The owners of 7 yardlands out of the 96 in the lordship objected. (fn. 127) In 1801 there were only 488¼ a. of arable out of the 3,348 a. which were included in the inclosure; the arable consisted chiefly of 150½ a. oats, 129½ a. barley, 93 a. wheat, and 86½ a. turnips. (fn. 128) In 1809 William Pitt noted a field of beans, one of wheat, and one of turnips, 'but little tillage in sight'. (fn. 129)
As a result of inclosure the rector and the owner of Bosworth Hall shared a third of the lordship between them: the rector was allotted 584 a. and the trustees of F. F. Turville, 569 a. (fn. 130) There are several documents relating to the lands of the Snelson family, yeomen farmers for three or four generations, (fn. 131) and similar families like the Burdetts and the Heygates. (fn. 132) Benjamin Snelson (d. 1767) was described as a 'gentleman'; his daughter married William Harrold of Welford, whose family came to own Welford Mill. (fn. 133) After inclosure, land was concentrated in a few hands. In 1789 Throsby believed that the whole lordship was let in about 4 farms only. (fn. 134) Although the number of owners assessed for the Land Tax between 1775 and 1825 remained between 60 and 70, the greater part of the parish was farmed by the same 5 or 6 tenants of a few small estates. (fn. 135) Apart from the hall estate, Wheeler Lodge took its origin from 122 a. allotted to Francis Wheeler in 1765, which in 1808 were acquired by Vice-Admiral Sir Francis Mason, K.C.B. (d. 1853). (fn. 136) Soon after inclosure the Revd. Peter Lafargue of Stamford (Lincs.) acquired Bosworth House and a small estate here on which his son Peter Augustus Lafargue came to live. Despite the financial difficulties of Peter's son Augustus Hubbard Lafargue, this property appears to have descended in the family throughout the 19th century. (fn. 137)
Husbands Bosworth (with North Kilworth) was considered an important enough centre to be included in Pigot's Commercial Directory of 1835. (fn. 138) The annual fair on 16 October, mentioned in 1846, was reported in 1877 to have ceased. (fn. 139) During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the village was a fashionable centre during the hunting season, and provided stabling for almost 100 horses. (fn. 140) For instance, about 1880 Wheeler Lodge (George Stretton), Bosworth House (H.P.H. Hutchinson), and Highcroft (Hermann Gebhardt) were used as hunting lodges. (fn. 141) But the largest and wealthiest establishment was at Highfields House, the home of J.T. Mills (1836–1924), the chairman of Union Assurance and a director of the Great Eastern and the Weymouth & Portland Railways. (fn. 142)
The only mill in Bosworth mentioned in 1086 was on the fee of Laurence under Robert de Vescy which by 1130 had been absorbed into the Hall Fee. (fn. 143) Robert Stoke, lord of the Hall Fee, died seised of a watermill in 1531, but in conveyances involving the same manor in 1626, 1635, and 1657, 3 watermills were included. (fn. 144) A mill on the Trussell Fee was in dispute in 1227, and the Abbot of Sulby gave his windmill in Bosworth to the lords of the Hall Fee in 1252. Three other mills were involved in a conveyance of 1569. (fn. 145) Bosworth Mill on the Avon in the south-west corner of the parish may be the site of the mill mentioned in 1086; it belonged to the hall estate in the early 18th century. (fn. 146) After grinding cattle food for many years, it went out of usec. 1910. (fn. 147) The brick buildings appear to date from the 18th century, the mill house having been repointed later. They were in 1958 occupied as two dwellings.
There are several surviving court rolls belonging to the Hall Fee. The oldest is an enrolment of transactions made in the court between 1300 and 1302. There is also a single roll of bailiff's accounts for 1320–7. The other court rolls are dated 1324, 1443–5, 1451–72, 1574, 1624–8, and 1829, with a bundle of various rolls between 1505 and 1803. (fn. 148) A surviving court roll of the Grange Fee dates from 1517–18. (fn. 149)
No document relating to the administration of the Poor Law before 1834 has survived in the parish chest, but for at least 60 years before 1834 it is clear that the parish maintained its own workhouse, which in 1802–3 housed 10 persons. In the latter year, 31 adults and 43 children received out-relief. (fn. 150) After 1834 the parish joined the Market Harborough Union. (fn. 151)
Until the appointment of new charity trustees in 1859, the parish vestry was chiefly concerned with the administration of charities. (fn. 152) With the school land charity the parish school was maintained, and with the causeway land charity the roads were repaired. In 1869–70 the second of these was used to pave some of the streets. There were some disputes about the levying of a church rate between 1817 and 1820 in order to repay the loan on the church land charity when the parish church was enlarged in 1812. (fn. 153)
In the early 12th century Robert, the lord of the Hall Fee, gave the church of Husbands Bosworth to Leicester Abbey. (fn. 156) The abbey exercised the patronage until the Dissolution, but though c. 1220 (fn. 157) and in 1291 the abbot received a pension of 60s. from the living, (fn. 158) the rectory was never appropriated. In 1548 the Crown granted the advowson to Robert Strelley (d. 1554) and his wife Frideswide of Langton Hall. (fn. 159) She allowed Francis, Earl of Huntingdon, to present in 1554, (fn. 160) but made the next presentation herself in 1557. (fn. 161) Strelley's interest passed to John Saville, who sold the advowson in 1566 to Erasmus Smith (d. 1616), later lord of the Hall Fee; (fn. 162) it descended with the manor of Edmondthorpe which his son Sir Roger Smith (d. 1655) acquired in 1620. (fn. 163) Roger was succeeded by his grandson Sir Edward Smith (d. 1707), 1st Bt., and his great-grandson Edward (d. 1720), 2nd Bt. (fn. 164) The estate, presumably including the advowson, then passed twice to distant cousins, first to Edward Smith (d. 1762), the great-grandson of Sir Roger's third son by his second marriage, and secondly to Thomas Smith of Louth (Lincs.). (fn. 165) Between 1765 and 1777 the ownership of the advowson was in dispute. In 1764 Thomas Smith had conveyed the advowson for £525 to Thomas Holled, an attorney of Lutterworth whom he had originally engaged to sell it. But Smith accused Holled of fraud for not disclosing that the inclosure of the open fields, which was then contemplated, would double the selling value of the advowson, from about £2,000 to £4,000, and he instigated proceedings in Chancery against Holled. When the incumbent died in 1765, Holled presented his brother, but while the dispute lasted the Bishop of Lincoln refused to institute anyone to the living. The disputants tried to settle the matter out of court in Holled's favour, but Samuel Rogers (d. 1790), whom Smith had presented in 1765, re-opened proceedings and successfully secured the living for himself in 1777. (fn. 166) The result of this long dispute was that the advowson came into the hands of the incumbents themselves or their close relations. Richard Pearce (d. 1814), Rogers's successor in 1790, was presented by Robert Pearce of Redburn (Herts.). (fn. 167) J. T. Maine presented himself to the living in 1828, and attempted to secure it for his own son by presenting H. P. Costobadie in 1839 until the son was of age and qualified to take it. (fn. 168) But this arrangement was upset. In 1856 the benefice passed to Costobadie's curate G. W. Phipps, on the presentation of George Lamb, probably a solicitor of Basingstoke (Hants), the mortgagee of the advowson. In 1898 Maurice Lamb, who had been curate-incharge since 1896, was presented to the living by his mother Margaret. (fn. 169) Lamb inherited the advowson himself and remained rector until his death in 1945. His executors presented the next incumbent, the Revd. H. O. Newman, in 1945 and his widow Olive Lamb (née Rickman) owned the advowson in 1958. (fn. 170)
The annual value of the rectory in 1254 was £15 (fn. 171) and in 1291 £19 net. (fn. 172) In the early 12th century Lenton Priory (Notts.) was enjoying 2/3 tithes arising upon the demesne of the Trussell Fee, (fn. 173) a portion which had been commuted to an annual pension of 10s. by 1535. The Abbot of Leicester's pension had by the same time decreased to 13s. 4d. The gross annual value of all tithes and of the glebe was then £29 and the net £24 15s. 7¼d. (fn. 174) In 1648 Sir Roger Smith enlarged the glebe by giving a plot of land near the rectory house. (fn. 175) In the dispute over the sale of the advowson already mentioned, between 1765 and 1777, the inclosure of the open fields was estimated to have increased the annual value of the rectory from between £175 and £180 to between £320 and £350. (fn. 176) The rector was allotted 33 a. in compensation for a yardland of glebe, and 551 a. in compensation for both great and small tithes. (fn. 177) These allotments were estimated to yield a gross annual income of £1,100 in 1855. (fn. 178) The income fell to £400–£500 in the early 20th century. (fn. 179) In 1920 all the glebe was sold in two parts, about 335 a. privately to L. W. Marsh and the rest (250 a.) by public auction. (fn. 180) The money from this sale, invested in stock by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, produced an annual gross income of £734 5s. 8d. in 1945. (fn. 181)
At an unknown date Erasmus Smith gave land in the parish in trust for the church, causeways, or other charitable purposes. In 1765 the income was said to be used for repairing and 'beautifying' the church. This land, then called Church Land, was let in 1834 for £39. Between 1950 and 1955 it was sold and the proceeds invested in stock which in 1955 yielded an income of £39 (fn. 182) for the use of the church. The 3 a. of chantry land mentioned in 1545 (fn. 183) and the 'Chantry Land' mentioned in 1630 (fn. 184) probably represent the endowment of a chantry in Marston Trussell (Northants.) founded in 1346. (fn. 185)
The benefice changed hands five times between 1357 and 1367, (fn. 186) which may indicate that the rectors were non-resident. In 1526 there was in addition to the rector a stipendiary curate. (fn. 187) After the Reformation some of the rectors were not resident. A translator of the Bible, John Duport, rector from 1582 until his death in 1617, and also Rector of Medbourne, probably never lived in Husbands Bosworth, but he may have lived in the district and may have been connected with the foundation of the grammar school. (fn. 188) It is doubtful whether William Levett (d. 1694), rector from 1672 until his death, who became Dean of Bristol in 1685, ever came to his parish, but he was succeeded by two members of the Smith family, patrons of the living, who were responsible for building a new Rectory. (fn. 189) The rector instituted in 1754 who died in 1765 while the ownership of the advowson was in dispute, Edward Colquit, lived in Liverpool, and his curate Richard Gardner continued in the parish until the dispute was settled in 1777. (fn. 190) The new rector, Samuel Rogers (d. 1790), lived in Bath and was also Rector of Brampton (Northants.) and chaplain to Earl Spencer. (fn. 191) The present rectory house is believed to have been built in 1792 by Rogers's successor, Richard Pearce (d. 1814), who also arranged the addition of a north aisle to the church and was the master in the parish school. (fn. 192) During the 19th century rectors were usually resident, at least for part of their incumbency. J. T. Maine, rector 1828–39, ran a fee-paying school of his own, (fn. 193) and his successor H. P. Costobadie, rector 1839–56, appears to have lived here until 1844 when there was a sale of his household effects. (fn. 194) Costobadie, who was a well-known 'hunting parson', died in 1856 on board ship off Wellington (N.Z.). (fn. 195) In the confusion which surrounded the mortgage of the advowson, probably caused by the debt of the Maines to the Lamb family, G. W. Phipps, who had been Costobadie's curate, was presented to succeed him. Phipps was rector from 1856 to 1898. During his later years he suffered from mental illness and was licensed to be non-resident between 1883 and 1887, but he could not be persuaded to retire. (fn. 196) In 1896 the son of the patron of the church, Maurice Lamb, later rector and patron himself, was licensed to be curate-in-charge until Phipps retired in 1898. (fn. 197) But during his early years Phipps was very active. He was instrumental in establishing the new school, the burial ground, and the new body of charity trustees, and much of the present structure and furniture of the church date from the restorations of 1861 and 1867 which he supervised.
The church of ALL SAINTS stands on the north side of the road from Market Harborough to Coventry, nearly opposite the entrance gates to Bosworth Hall. It consists of a clerestoried nave with north and south aisles, north and south porches, a chancel with a small south aisle and a north vestry, and a west tower surmounted by a spire. The tower dates from the mid-14th century but parts of the church may be older. The clerestory is of the late 15th or early 16th century and the north aisle was added in 1812. The chancel owes its present form to the restoration of 1861 and the nave arcades were rebuilt in 1867.
The south aisle has much mixed rubble in the masonry and a decayed stone string at sill level. It may date from the 13th century or earlier but subsequent alterations have obliterated any distinctive features. Internally there was a double piscina in existence until 1789 and probably until the restoration of 1867. (fn. 198)
The 14th-century tower is of ironstone and limestone, the limestone renewed in places. It has octagonal angle-pinnacles and a broach spire with two sets of lights. There are windows with reticulated tracery at belfry level and a modern window above a blocked west doorway. Over this lower window is an empty niche with a crocketed canopy. The tower arch, placed north of the central axis of the nave, has three chamfered orders extending to the floor without capitals or bases. In general the tower has several features in common with that at Market Harborough, although on a smaller scale.
The nave arcades of four bays have been completely rebuilt and their earlier character is not known. The south clerestory, built of ironstone, dates from the late 15th or early 16th century and its four-centred windows appear to be the only original ones left in the body of the church. The rood-loft stair, south of the chancel arch, is of the same period although the upper doorway was raised in the 19th century. (fn. 199) The south aisle to the chancel, probably a chapel added in the 15th century, appears to have been remodelled for use as a school in 1683. The blocking of the openings to chancel and aisle, the external doorway, oval window, and date tablet were part of these alterations. The south nave aisle was altered in 1673 and the south porch built in 1746. (fn. 200) The latter, which has apparently been reduced in length, (fn. 201) carries a square sundial and a curious octagonal finial. Internally the church was 'beautified' in 1778. (fn. 202) A north porch and a north chapel, the latter probably built for a parish guild, were in existence in the 17th century, (fn. 203) but the first north aisle and arcade were built in 1812. A loan for the purpose (£500) was raised on the Church Land Charity. (fn. 204) In the same year the chancel was repaired and the tower, which had been struck by lightning and repaired in 1755, (fn. 205) was again restored. Before the aisle was built there was a niche with a 'handsome canopy' at the north-east corner of the nave. (fn. 206)
The reconstruction of the chancel in 1861 was carried out at the rector's expense (£800) in memory of his blind, deaf, and dumb sister. The trustees of the Church Land Charity bore the cost of erecting a new vestry north of the chancel and of opening the blocked arches to the former chapel on the south side. Also in 1861 the tower was restored and the present west window inserted. A gallery dating from 1812 was removed, and the tower arch was opened up and the organ was transferred to the altered south chapel. The restoration of the nave and aisles in 1867 was paid for by subscription (£1,100) and a loan (£240) raised on the Church Land Charity. (fn. 207) The arcades, which have quatrefoil piers with foliated capitals, were rebuilt and all the windows were renewed. Some fragments of 14thcentury tracery which surmount the gateway from the churchyard to the Rectory garden were probably placed there in 1861 or 1867. In 1895 the tower was once more restored. (fn. 208)
The pews date from 1867 except for a few in the north-west corner—the seats for the poor—which survive from 1812. (fn. 209) The present floor tiles were laid in 1870. (fn. 210) The sanctuary was enlarged in memory of Mrs. E. A. Mills (d. 1946). (fn. 211) Originally in the chancel (fn. 212) but now on the north wall of the tower is a tablet with incised figures and an inscription to Erasmus Smith (d. 1616). There was formerly a brass in the chancel bearing the figure of Rice Jem, rector (d. 1648). (fn. 213) In the north aisle is a handsome marble wall monument to the memory of Anna (d. 1706), widow of Roger Smith. Other tablets include those to Thomas Heygate (d. 1781) and to members of the Lafargue family (1840–59). The churchyard contains Swithland slate headstones of the 18th and early 19th centuries.
There are five bells: (i) no date; (ii) 1611; (iii) early 17th century, by Newcombe of Leicester; (iv) 1730, by Thomas Eayre of Kettering; (v) 1631. These have been recast three times, in 1755, 1796, and 1907. (fn. 214) Because of a dispute with the ringers, the rector in 1861 installed a bell-ringing machine which could be worked by one man; it was removed in 1907 when the bells were re-hung. (fn. 215) The plate consists of a cup, paten, and dish, all of silver and dated 1812. The cup was bequeathed to the church by Samuel Cotton (d. 1767), and was repaired by Richard Pearce, rector 1790–1814, who gave the paten and dish in 1812. (fn. 216) The registers of burials begin in 1558, baptisms in 1567, and marriages in 1684; there is a gap in all three between 1653 and 1667, and other gaps are from 1691 to 1695 and 1740 to 1789 (baptisms), and from 1789 to 1799 (marriages). (fn. 217)
Grace, widow of Sir Francis Fortescue of Salden (Bucks.), came to Husbands Bosworth Hall in 1630. (fn. 218) The Fortescues were a Roman Catholic family and the hall became a Mass centre which was served by the Jesuits. (fn. 219) There is no documentary evidence to support the belief that Mass was said at the hall throughout the Reformation period; this is unlikely if only because the hall changed hands at least five times in the second half of the 16th century. (fn. 220) Four recusants were named in a visitation of the parish in 1634, Lady Fortescue, John Cotes, Maria Eyre, and John Vavasour. (fn. 221) In 1676 eight recusants were returned. (fn. 222) The returns for the register of papists' estates in the 18th century which have survived relate to the property of the Fortescues in 1717 and 1749. (fn. 223) There were resident priests at the hall in the 18th century, some of whom are buried in the parish churchyard. (fn. 224) The present chapel room in the hall was probably then in use, but in the 19th century Mass was said upstairs. (fn. 225)
The church of St. Mary was built in the grounds of Bosworth Hall in 1873–4. (fn. 226) It is said to have been designed by an architect named Purdie, (fn. 227) a follower of Pugin, and is built of ironstone and limestone in an Early Decorated style. It originally consisted of apsidal chancel, nave, north porch, and a west bellcote containing one bell. After 1889 Lady Lisgar added a north chapel containing a recumbent effigy of her husband Sir F. F. Turville, who died in that year. The chancel has painted decorations of c. 1900 by Romaine Walker. Several of the stained glass windows were brought from the demolished church at Witley (Worcs.). The crucifix was formerly in the Roman Catholic school in the village. (fn. 228)
In 1936 Colonel O. H. P. Turville-Petre conveyed a house in trust as a presbytery. (fn. 229)
Although no conventicles were reported in 1669, Roger Buswell's house was licensed as a dissenters' meeting-place in 1672; 4 nonconformists were reported in 1676. (fn. 230) During the 18th century several different houses were licensed as meeting-places, in 1717, 1718, 1726, 1744, 1780, and 1794. (fn. 231) The meetinghouse serving several denominations described by Throsby in 1789 was perhaps the 'new building' registered in 1785. (fn. 232) By the early 19th century only two denominations persisted, Methodists and Particular Baptists. The former used the chapel next door to 27 High Street, which may be 'the chapel of Nathaniel Shenton' registered in 1808, (fn. 233) but this was abandoned when the present Methodist chapel on Welford Road by the Green was erected in 1913. (fn. 234) The sect of Particular Baptists founded here in 1793 did not erect their present chapel in Berridge's Lane until 1807. (fn. 235) This chapel is a plain building of red brick with burnt headers and round-headed windows. It was altered and refitted internally in the second half of the 19th century. On the west wall are two plaques to former resident ministers, Michael Shore (1812–69) and Richard Lowe (d. 1904). There is a minister's house beside the chapel. The present schoolroom was built in 1905 over the former burial ground.
A grammar school, founded according to local tradition in the late 16th century, was reported to be in a chapel on the north side of the parish church in 1619. (fn. 236) There was a graduate master in 1638. (fn. 237) The school was apparently moved to the south chancel aisle in 1683. (fn. 238) In 1720 the master taught 30 children and was provided with a house and a salary of £16 a year. (fn. 239) The school was therefore probably supported by church rates and subscriptions. The first endowment was the bequest of John Bryan who, by will proved 1724, left some land, the rent arising from which was to be used to teach 2 or 3 children to read and learn the catechism. (fn. 240) In 1797 the archdeacon recommended that the school, which was still in the south chancel aisle, should be moved from the church to a house in the village. (fn. 241) It is not known whether this was done, but in 1798 and 1819 a master was being supported out of Bryan's charity to teach 10 boys. (fn. 242) J. T. Maine, rector from 1828, built a schoolroom and taught in it. (fn. 243) In 1833 39 boys and 3 girls attended this school. All paid fees except 12 poor boys whom another master, rewarded with a salary out of Bryan's charity, taught in his own house. (fn. 244) By 1836 no schoolroom existed. (fn. 245)
By 1857 a National school had been established, the master being paid out of the Bryan trust. (fn. 246) Thanks to the efforts of G. W. Phipps, rector from 1856 to 1898, a new National school was opened in 1858 with the aid of government grants. An infants' room was added in 1860. The school benefited from capitation grants for many years (fn. 247) and, owing to its good reputation, drew children from neighbouring villages, so that by 1871 the average attendance was 103. (fn. 248) A rebuilding programme aided by government grant in 1902 increased the accommodation; the average attendance in 1906 was 130. (fn. 249) After 1923 the school carried a 'Senior Top' for the seniors from reorganized junior schools in neighbouring villages, but in 1931 all seniors were transferred to Lutterworth. (fn. 250) The average attendance of the juniors that remained was 83 in 1933 and 80 in 1950. (fn. 251) Husbands Bosworth National School chose 'controlled' status in January 1952 as 'Husbands Bosworth (C. of E.) School', and Bryan's charity was applied to the upkeep of the schoolmaster's house. (fn. 252)
In 1831 Miss M. F. Turville of Husbands Bosworth Hall established a school for Roman Catholic children in a house opposite the south porch of the parish church. The school contained 20 children in 1833, 15 in 1871, and 12 in 1906. (fn. 253) It was closed in 1907 after the Board of Education had withdrawn recognition. (fn. 254) In 1833, apart from the Church and the R.C. schools, there were 6 other private day schools educating a total of 34 boys and 69 girls at their parents' expense. (fn. 255)
The charities of Erasmus Smith, (fn. 256) Bryan, (fn. 257) and Turville-Petre (fn. 258) have been referred to above. In addition to his gift for the benefit of the glebe (fn. 259) Sir Roger Smith, also in 1648, settled in trust 4 a. of land, the profits of which were to be used in buying coals for the poor. In 1836 the rent was sufficient for the purchase of 14 tons. (fn. 260) In 1955 the rent was £4 and was joined with the £2 14s. dividend from F. Turville's coal charity to provide gifts of 10s. in lieu of coal to the poor. (fn. 261) Sir Roger Smith also devised, by will proved 1656, a rent-charge of £8 to the poor. In 1836 this was spent in clothing and flannel. (fn. 262) In 1955 the rent was distributed with the £2 dividend from the gifts of Smith and others in calico tickets to 32 recipients. (fn. 263)
Before 1789 several pieces of land had been given by unknown persons for the repair of the parish road. By the inclosure award of that year these were exchanged for the Causeway Land near Bosworth tollgate. Its rent in 1836 was £6 10s. which was always applied in accordance with the donor's intentions. (fn. 264) After the County Council assumed responsibility for the roads the income was spent in additional work. (fn. 265) In 1951 the Air Ministry purchased the lands for £75 which, invested in stock, yielded £3 5s. In 1955 and for several preceding years no payments had been made. (fn. 266)
Before 1672 a Mr. Gill of London conveyed to the town of Bosworth a house and some lands, whose rents were to be given to the poor. These were known as Poor's Land. By the inclosure award of 1765 the lands were exchanged for lands lying in East Field. Before 1836 the greater part of the new lands had been allotted among 44 poor labourers, and the rents, £7, were then being divided among such poor as had no portion of land. The income from one acre, let as an osier bed, was distributed with the calico charities. (fn. 267) The land was sold to the Air Ministry in 1951 for £465 and the proceeds invested in stock which yielded £20. In 1955 the sum of £19 was divided between 19 poor people. (fn. 268)
Before 1836 one Smith and 5 others had left £50. In 1836 these gifts were thought to be represented by £76 stock, the income of which was spent on clothing for the poor. (fn. 269)
Thomas Blakesley, by will proved 1720, charged his land in Husbands Bosworth with the payment of 1s. weekly for 12 penny loaves to be given every Sunday to the poor, preferably to those who had been to church. (fn. 270) The rent-charge was being paid in 1954 when 2 recipients shared bread worth £3 6s. In some years less was given. (fn. 271)
A second bread charity was established when John Horton, by will dated 1751, gave £300, the interest to be used for bread for the poor. In 1836 when this had been added to Blakesley's charity 28 twopenny loaves were distributed after divine service. (fn. 272) In 1955 this bread charity yielded £8 and in the same year 7 beneficiaries had bread worth £13 from accumulated funds. (fn. 273)
By will dated 1829 Francis Fortescue Turville left £100 in trust to provide coal for the poor. In 1955 it yielded £2 14s. (fn. 274)