A History of the County of Leicestershire: Volume 5, Gartree Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1964.
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Thurnby lies about four miles east of Leicester, adjoining the city boundary. The ancient parish includes the hamlet of Bushby and the chapelry of Stoughton; the civil parish of Bushby was combined with that of Thurnby in 1935, but Stoughton remains a separate civil parish. In this account Stoughton is separately described; the history of Thurnby and Bushby cannot readily be separated and they are dealt with jointly. The area of the former civil parish of Thurnby was 614 a. and that of Bushby 679 a., but in 1935 the westernmost part of Thurnby was transferred to Leicester. (fn. 1)
The parish lies on the western slopes of the east Leicestershire uplands, largely occupying the relatively high ground between two streams which join on the parish boundary and flow west to the Soar. The ground rises from below 300 ft. near the streams in the west to about 400 ft. in the south of the parish and over 450 ft. in the east. The parish boundary is formed by one of the streams on the north and mostly by field boundaries on the east and south; since 1935 the western boundary has followed the second of the streams but it previously lay further to the west, along field boundaries and the main Leicester road. The soil is sandy over a subsoil of gravel, and there are several disused gravel pits in the parish.
The Leicester-Uppingham road runs from west to east through Thurnby, following the highest ground in the parish. In the west it ascends Thurnby Hill and in the east, towards Houghton on the Hill, climbs Winkerdale Hill. The village centres of both Thurnby and Bushby lie along a continuous village street, roughly parallel to and south of the Leicester road and joining it at both ends. A minor road runs from the Leicester road northwards to Scraptoft, and a second leads southwards from the village street to Stoughton. The railway line from Leicester to Melton Mowbray crosses the parish in the north with a station on the road to Scraptoft; the line was closed for passenger traffic in 1953. In the late 19th century the only scattered buildings in the parish were Bushby Lodge in the south-east, Swains Lodge and Thurnby Lodge in the west, and one or two houses near the railway station. By the early 20th century there were two other large houses, both near the main road in Bushby: one was known as Winkadale. Since about 1930 the built-up area of Leicester has spread into the parish and much building exists on the land transferred to the city in 1935; both Swains Lodge and Thurnby Lodge are in the transferred area. Between the two World Wars houses were built along the south side of the main road between Bushby and Winkerdale Hill as well as between the main road and the railway line. By 1960 more new building had taken place both on the main road and in the village street. Much of the land which remained open on the western boundary of the parish and along the main road was cultivated as nursery gardens.
The old village of Thurnby extends along the village street eastwards to Bushby; during the present century the street has become known as Main Street. At the extreme west end of Thurnby stands The Lodge, a Queen Anne style house built c. 1920. On the north side of the street are the church, Vicarage, Manor House, and school. The Manor House was built as a brick two-storied L-shaped house in the earlier 18th century and raised to three stories in the early 19th century; later alterations include a north-east addition and semi-circular bay windows. A garden wall and a high gazebo are of the 18th century and a gate pier carries a lead plaque with the date 1808 and initials J.S.H. The Dower House is an 18th-century brick building, heightened later, and there was a house of similar size and date at the junction of Main Street and Court Road which was demolished in 1957; new houses occupy the site. Thurnby Court was built to the south-west of this road junction in 1872 by James Alexander Jackson who had made a fortune from blockade-running during the American Civil War. The house, in an elaborate Renaissance style, cost £250,000 and had its own gas plant. Jackson's extravagance ruined him and Thurnby Court was empty for some years before his death. It was purchased by a builder in 1914 and largely demolished during the First World War. (fn. 2) Some of the materials were used for other houses, notably for a bungalow in Court Road. The stable range has been converted into three houses which form part of The Square, an L-shaped block of buildings at the angle of the two roads. A stone wellhouse, originally Jackson's water supply, stands between The Square and Court Road. (fn. 3) No. 4 The Square appears to be the small timber-framed crosswing of an otherwise demolished medieval house. One of the two thatched houses in Thurnby is the brick-built Rose and Crown public house on the south side of Main Street; it has been modernized but may be of late-17th-century origin. The other, further west, is timber-framed and of three bays, one bay having been rebuilt. Nos. 11–15 Main Street also appear to be of timber-framed construction beneath later brick casing. Thurnby Grange in Uppingham Road was built or enlarged by Charles Bennion (d. 1929). It is mainly of the late 19th century with stucco details and hipped slate roofs. In 1939 it was purchased as offices for Billesdon Rural District Council. (fn. 4)
At Bushby the Old Hall is a rectangular brick house with blank arcading, rubbed brick dressings, and a stone eaves cornice. It was built in 1823, a date which appears with the initials O.H. above the principal entrance. Additions to the east and west are dated 1920 and 1926. Bushby House Farm, at the junction of Padwell Lane and Main Street, was originally a two-storied late-18th-century brick house, but it was given a third story early in the following century. Garden features, including decorative ironwork and a 'Gothick' gazebo, are of c. 1800 and there are outbuildings and brick cottages of similar date. Bushby Lodge Farm, Home Farm, and White House Farm are the most easterly of the older buildings in Bushby. All are of brick and probably date from the earlier 18th century, although Bushby Lodge Farm has a third story which was added c. 1800. Bushby Lodge is an isolated field barn further south, said to be dated 1818. (fn. 5) Newstead, to the north-west of White House Farm, is a large late-19th-century mansion.
In 1960 there were 21 Council houses in Thurnby and Bushby, only two of which were built before 1939. (fn. 6) A cul-de-sac to the east of Bushby Old Hall contains pairs of Council houses built after the Second World War. The village hall, standing next to the school, is dated 1926.
There are few early population figures for Thurnby and Bushby. There were 40 households in Thurnby in 1563 and 22 in 1670. (fn. 7) Only 28 communicants were recorded in 1676 (fn. 8) and in the late 18th century Throsby remarked on the decayed state of the village. (fn. 9) The population of Thurnby in 1801 was 115 and it rose steadily to 241 in 1921. In Bushby there were 46 taxpayers in 1377. In 1670 there were 18 households and in 1676 61 communicants. The population of Bushby in 1801 was 96; it fell to 51 by 1871 but had reached 116 by 1911. The population in both places has greatly increased as a result of the growth of Leicester. Bushby increased to 194 in 1921 and 336 in 1931, Thurnby to 348 in 1931; the combined population in 1951 was 843. (fn. 10)
Neither Thurnby nor Bushby is mentioned separately in Domesday Book, and they were probably part of the 28 carucates of land described under Stoughton. (fn. 11) As the property of Hugh de Grentemesnil both villages descended to the earls of Leicester. In 1204, on the death of Robert FitzParnell, the lands were divided, Bushby and a part of Thurnby passing to Saer de Quency, Earl of Winchester, and his wife, and the rest of Thurnby remaining in the possession of the earls of Leicester. (fn. 12) The Winchester fee passed in 1277, after the death in 1264 of Roger de Quency, to his daughter Margaret Ferrers, Countess of Derby. (fn. 13) Her grandson William was created Baron Ferrers of Groby and inherited these lands through his father, Margaret's second son. (fn. 14) Rent in Thurnby and Bushby was still held of the honor of Winchester in 1507. (fn. 15) The Leicester fee in Thurnby became part of the Duchy of Lancaster.
The tenants of the fee of the earls of Winchester in Bushby and Thurnby were the DuBois family. In 1253 John de Busceby granted to Arnold DuBois a knight's fee in Bushby, Peatling, and Stretton, in return for land at Claybrooke. (fn. 16) It was presumably under the tenure of the DuBois family that their lands in Thurnby and Bushby were attached to the manor of Thorpe Arnold in Framland hundred, with which they remained connected until the 15th century. (fn. 17) In 1279 John DuBois held 5 of the 6 carucates in Bushby for ½ and 1/12 knight's fee, and a carucate in Thurnby for 1/8 knight's fee. (fn. 18) In 1295 Millicent Monhaut was enfeoffed by William DuBois with these lands. Her son and heir William la Zouche of Haringworth, who married DuBois's niece Maud, was the first of the long line of Zouches who held this estate under the Ferrers family of Groby (fn. 19) until 1485, when John, Lord Zouche, forfeited his lands after Bosworth. (fn. 20) In 1507 Sir Thomas Pulteney of Belgrave died possessed of 100s. rent in Thurnby and Bushby, held of the honor of Winchester. (fn. 21)
In 1279 the tenants of the Earl of Leicester's fee in Thurnby were the Segrave family, who had originally been enfeoffed in 1239 by Simon de Montfort, shortly after he was created Earl of Leicester. Stephen de Segrave then exchanged with de Montfort all his land in Thornton and Bagworth for the land in Thurnby which Richard, son of Robert de Harcourt, had previously held of the earl. In 1279 Nicholas de Segrave held 9 virgates for 1/8 knight's fee; the earl's other tenants at that time were the Abbot of Leicester, who had 5 virgates, and John DuBois, who was also the tenant of the Earl of Winchester in Bushby. (fn. 22) The Abbot of Leicester's lands had presumably been granted by one of the earls of Leicester, probably on the foundation of the abbey in 1143. (fn. 23) The Segrave family continued to hold land in Thurnby from the honor of Leicester and the Duchy of Lancaster until the death of John, Lord Segrave, in 1353, when his holding was inherited by his daughter Elizabeth, wife of John Mowbray and mother of Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk (d. 1399). (fn. 24) The Duke of Norfolk still held ¼ knight's fee in Sileby and Thurnby in 1428. (fn. 25) Leicester Abbey continued to hold land in Thurnby, probably until the Dissolution. (fn. 26)
It is not clear how Thomas Farnham became possessed of Thurnby and Bushby, but both places passed to him and descended with the manor of Stoughton. As part of the Powys-Keck estate some of the land in both Thurnby and Bushby was bought by the Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd. in 1919. (fn. 27)
Land in Thurnby and Bushby was held by North Creake Abbey (Norf.) as part of the manor of Illston on the Hill. (fn. 28) This land originally belonged to the Norman, John de Joy, and was granted to the abbey in or before 1231 by Henry III. It had previously been temporarily occupied by John de Hereford. (fn. 29) In 1247 it amounted to 8 carucates, with Illston, and was valued at £9. (fn. 30) This land has not been traced after the death of the last abbot in 1506 and the dissolution of the abbey in 1509. (fn. 31) It does not appear to have descended with the abbey's property in Illston to Christ's College, Cambridge. (fn. 32)
The lords of the manor of Scraptoft also owned land in Bushby. (fn. 33)
Both Thurnby and Bushby are probably described under Stoughton in Domesday Book. Very little information exists about the medieval economic history of the townships. In 1279 Thurnby consisted of 6 carucates, partly held by Nicholas de Segrave and John DuBois. Other landowners included the Abbot of Leicester and Geoffrey de Twyford, a free tenant under the Earl of Leicester. All four tenants of John DuBois were free. Bushby also consisted of 6 carucates, all held by DuBois. Five virgates were held in villeinage, the rest by free tenants. (fn. 34) By 1381 all the tenants in Bushby were holding at the will of the lord. (fn. 35) In Thurnby only one free tenant remained and 13 tenants held at will. (fn. 36)
Thurnby and Bushby were inclosed in the early 17th century, Thurnby before 1618 and Bushby before 1640. In 1618 the lords of Stoughton manor sued the landowners of Thurnby, who had inclosed their lands by agreement, for damages which they claimed to have suffered by the inclosure. (fn. 37) In 1640 an agreement was made concerning the tithes of Bushby, which had by then been inclosed. (fn. 38) A similar action took place in 1651. (fn. 39) Ancient closes were then mentioned and it is clear that the land had not all been converted to pasture: a great deal of arable remained and it was emphasized that the various holdings had been inclosed for convenience and consolidation. The open fields may have been common to both townships. Their names are not known, but a Middle Field was mentioned in 1622 when there was a close in it. (fn. 40)
A family which long lived in Thurnby was that of the Reades. Three members were taxed in 1381, and by the 16th century the family was clearly one of the most prosperous in the village: in 1545 of 4 persons taxed 3 were Reades, and of 4 paying tax in 1572 2 were members of the same family. Thomas Reade, who died in 1623, was described as 'gentleman'. (fn. 41) Two members of the family had fairly large houses in 1666, when the largest house in Thurnby, with 8 hearths, was owned by John Dilkes. (fn. 42) In the same year 4 members of the Foster family of Bushby paid tax. This family had lived in the village since before 1377 when John Foster was taxed. (fn. 43) In 1399 a John Foster received letters of protection from the king when he went to France in the service of Edward, Duke of Aumale. (fn. 44) The family still lived in the parish in the 18th century. (fn. 45)
Though wholesale conversion to pasture did not immediately follow inclosure, pasture farming was later predominant. In 1845, for example, of the land subject to tithes in Thurnby 113 a. were arable and 470 a. meadow and pasture; (fn. 46) in Bushby 161 a. were arable and 479 a. meadow and pasture. (fn. 47) The land in Thurnby was occupied by only 5 farmers and graziers in 1846, 4 in 1863, and 3 in 1932, and that in Bushby by 3, 5, and 2 in the same years; (fn. 48) since 1919 part of Thurnby and Bushby has been in the dairyfarming estate of the Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd. centred on Stoughton. (fn. 49) Though primarily agricultural, Thurnby had some framework-knitting before 1800. (fn. 50) There were the usual village craftsand tradesmen in the 19th and 20th centuries, but proximity to Leicester has also attracted residents connected with the city: a commercial traveller, a hosiery manufacturer, and a surgeon in 1846, a solicitor and a surgeon in 1863. Twentieth-century residential development had brought a garage proprietor, 2 nurserymen, a coal merchant, and 2 shopkeepers to Thurnby by 1932. (fn. 51)
There was no workhouse at either Thurnby or Bushby. In 1802–3 Thurnby relieved 18 adults and 19 children, and Bushby, 7 adults and 7 children. (fn. 54) In 1836 Thurnby and Bushby were placed in Billesdon Union. (fn. 55)
Parish councils, each with a membership of 5 councillors, were formed for Thurnby and Bushby in 1926. They were combined in 1935, each place becoming a ward with 3 councillors. In 1958 the membership of Thurnby ward was increased to 5. (fn. 56)
Thurnby church was in existence by about 1143 and was granted by Ralph pincerna, with the consent of Earl Robert le Bossu, to Leicester Abbey soon after the abbey's foundation. (fn. 57) The abbey ordained a vicarage. (fn. 58) In addition to the chapel at Stoughton there was, for a short time, another at Bushby; it was apparently built between 1220 and 1344, (fn. 59) but nothing more is known of it.
Leicester Abbey retained the advowson until the Dissolution, (fn. 60) when the patronage passed to the Crown. The queen presented in 1562 and 1575. (fn. 61) The advowson was granted to the Beaumont family before 1681 when Sir Henry Beaumont presented. (fn. 62) Thereafter the advowson descended with the manor of Stoughton until the sale of the Powys-Keck estate in 1913. (fn. 63) The patronage then passed through various hands and in 1957 was in the possession of the Martyrs' Memorial and Church of England Trust. (fn. 64)
The rectory was valued at 15 marks in 1217, 18 in 1254, and 27 in 1291, (fn. 65) at which figure it was still taxed in 1428. (fn. 66) In 1535 it was valued at £8. (fn. 67) The abbey of St. Evroul (Orne) was granted the tithes of two halls in Bushby by Robert FitzParnell in 1190– 1204, but this may have been a confirmation of an earlier grant, perhaps by Hugh de Grentemesnil. (fn. 68) In 1220 it was stated that St. Evroul held tithes from demesne land in Stoughton, and from a carucate of land at Bushby. (fn. 69) The tithes from Thurnby itself almost certainly remained the property of Leicester Abbey, which also farmed the St. Evroul tithes in Bushby for most of the Middle Ages. In 1477 Leicester leased them from Sheen Priory (Surr.), which had succeeded to St. Evroul's property. (fn. 70) The abbey had a pasture called Thurnby Green in lieu of all hay tithes. (fn. 71)
After the Dissolution the rectory was in 1550 granted to Thomas Reve, John Johnson, and Henry Herdson, London merchants, (fn. 72) although it is also said to have been granted to John Beaumont and was one of the estates which he forfeited to the Crown in 1552. (fn. 73) In 1558 Thurnby rectory was given to the Bishop of Lincoln. (fn. 74) By 1562 Thomas Farnham of Quorndon had become the owner of all the tithes in Thurnby parish, (fn. 75) and thereafter the rectory and tithes descended with the manor of Stoughton. (fn. 76) In 1630, however, Henry Wigley of Scraptoft acquired the tithes of grain in Bushby (fn. 77) and in 1640 it was arranged that he should receive 33s. 4d. from each yardland. (fn. 78) The great tithes in Thurnby were commuted in 1845 for £67 10s.; most of those in Bushby had been merged but £9 was apportioned to the churchwardens and overseers of the poor of Mountsorrel, who had an estate of 54 a. there. (fn. 79)
In 1220 it was stated that the vicar took the altarage and in return made a payment of 30s. a year to Leicester Abbey. He probably also paid part of the stipend of the Stoughton curate. (fn. 80) The vicarage was valued at £10 19s. 10d. net in 1535, (fn. 81) and at £51 in 1719. (fn. 82) In 1831 it was valued at £75. (fn. 83) The living was augmented in 1826 by a parliamentary grant of £300 and a similar sum from the patron, G. A. Legh Keck. In 1830 an augmentation of £200 was made from Queen Anne's Bounty; in the same year a local subscription and Mrs. Pyncombe's trustees each contributed £100. Similar payments were made in 1838 from Queen Anne's Bounty, and by G. A. Legh Keck (£150) and Mr. Marshall's trustees (£50). (fn. 84) By 1877 the estimated value of the living was £278. (fn. 85) In 1845 the small tithes of Thurnby were commuted for £45 and those of Bushby for £50. (fn. 86) At the end of the 17th century there were 4 a. of glebe at Bushby, (fn. 87) but only 2 a. remained in 1845. (fn. 88)
The Vicarage, standing to the west of the church, was built in 1908 to replace an earlier residence nearby. Material from the earlier house is incorporated in the adjoining lane wall. (fn. 89)
The church of ST. LUKE, built of ironstone, limestone, and Mountsorrel granite, consists of chancel, central tower, (fn. 90) clerestoried nave, north and south aisles, and south porch. Much of the fabric dates from a restoration of 1870–3. Evidence for the existence of a large cruciform church as early as the 12th century remains in the four large nearly circular piers, with scalloped capitals, that carry the tower. A half-round respond with capital for the west side of a former south transept survives, as well as the weatherings for the steeply-pitched roofs of the original chancel and transepts on the lowest stage of the tower. Several chevron-ornamented arch voussoirs of 12th-century date are incorporated in the modern porch.
The rebuilding of the nave appears to have begun in the late 13th century; the three-bay arcades with pointed arches, as well as the crossing arches and middle stage of the tower, are of this date. All these arches have two chamfered orders, but the crossing arches are much restored. The window openings of the middle stage of the tower have two tall pointed lights under a hoodmoulded arch with a cusped opening in its head. The piers and responds of the nave arcades have moulded capitals and bases, one capital in the north arcade having some nail-head ornament; all the piers are octagonal. The south arcade is probably the earlier of the two. The south door has a moulded arch with a few original jamb stones. One other probably late-13th-century feature is the tubshaped font with a base formed by eight clustered shafts. The south transept was presumably destroyed during the rebuilding of the south aisle c. 1300. Of this date, in the aisle, are the rear arches of the windows, the plain pointed sedilia, and the piscina.
The upper stage of the tower, with the curvilinear cusped tracery of its belfry openings, was added in the mid-14th century. It has angle buttresses, crocketted finials, and an embattled parapet with gargoyles. About this date, too, the west window in the nave was enlarged and given a pronounced ogee arch and moulded jambs. Perhaps also of the 14th century was the former clerestory which, before the 19th-century restoration, had windows with curvilinear tracery.
The old chancel was taken down in the late 1770's (fn. 91) and not replaced until the general restoration of 1870–3, when the north aisle was virtually rebuilt and most of the external stonework of the church restored with Mountsorrel granite. The architects were Slater and Carpenter and the cost of the work—£5,000—was borne by H. L. PowysKeck. (fn. 92) The new chancel is in the Early English style. Its internal recesses, including the sedilia, have black marble shafts. The south aisle windows were replaced but appear to incorporate copies of the earlier intersecting cusped lights. (fn. 93) The south porch was rebuilt to replace an early-18th-century brick structure. (fn. 94) Three old gargoyles re-used in the restoration probably came from a parapet added to the south aisle in the 15th century.
In 1798 the seats in the north aisle were used by Stoughton and those in the south aisle by Bushby. (fn. 95) The east end of the north aisle now serves as a vestry and has a wooden partition screen erected in 1908. (fn. 96) An iron-bound chest in the same aisle is probably of 16th-century date. In the chancel, the altar rails date from 1872. In the south aisle, a board records Elizabeth Allinson's charity.
The monuments include a marble tablet to the Revd. John Allinson (d. 1819) and his wife Elizabeth (d. 1847) and slate slabs of the late 18th and early 19th centuries to the Humberstone family. In the south aisle there are stained-glass windows to John Hunt, surgeon (d. 1885), Charles Bennion (d. 1929), and Frances Carr (d. 1933). The chancel east window was dedicated in 1913 to Caroline Jackson of Thurnby Court. In the north wall of the chancel are three stones commemorating the 8th centenary of the church and its association with the dioceses of Lincoln, Peterborough, and Leicester.
There are 6 bells: (i) 1952; (ii) 1872, given by Orlando Hunt and cast by John Taylor of Loughborough; (iii) 1794, by Edward Arnold of Leicester and St. Neots; (iv) 1765, by Joseph Eayre of St. Neots; (v) and (vi) both 1631, said to be by Hugh Watts of Leicester. (fn. 97) The plate consists of a silver cup of 1575 and a silver-plated set presented by Mrs. Jackson of Thurnby Court. (fn. 98) The registers date from 1538, with gaps from 1655 to 1660 and (for marriages only) from 1750 to 1757.
A Mr. Goddard's house in Bushby was licensed as a meeting-house in 1728, (fn. 99) and a house at Thurnby was a meeting-place in 1817. (fn. 100) In 1829 there were estimated to be about 20 Unitarians and Methodists. (fn. 101) The Methodist chapel was built on the north side of the main road in 1908. (fn. 102)
In 1833 a day school, supported by 'a lady', was open free of charge to the children of cottagers in Thurnby and Bushby; small fees, however, were paid for children under the age of five. The school was attended by 15 boys and 24 girls. A Sunday school, opened in 1832 and supported by subscriptions, was attended in 1833 by 13 boys and 8 girls. (fn. 103) The National school was built in Thurnby in 1865. (fn. 104) In 1910 the average attendance was 55. (fn. 105) Plans for extending the school were put forward in 1954, and in 1955 it was made a junior school and given 'controlled' status. (fn. 106) The older school building in Main Street is of red brick with blue-brick dressings and carries the date 1865 and the initials of H. L. Powys-Keck. The extension stands to the east of the village hall.
Two new primary schools were opened in the 1950's in the area transferred to Leicester in 1935, where much building has subsequently taken place. (fn. 107)
A charity of £9 was distributed to the poor of Thurnby and Bushby in the early 18th century but it had lapsed by 1839. (fn. 108) In 1847 Elizabeth Allinson, widow of a former vicar, left £100 for the poor, the interest to be distributed on New Year's Day. (fn. 109) In 1956 £3 was shared by 6 poor widows. (fn. 110) At the end of the 19th century Orlando Hunt left £100, the interest to be given to the bell-ringers on Christmas Day. (fn. 111) In 1956 £2 17s. 2d. was distributed among 8 bell-ringers. (fn. 112)
Stoughton adjoins the boundary of Leicester and lies about three miles south-east of the city centre. The area of the civil parish is 1,512 a.; it was reduced in 1935 by the transfer of the south-west corner of the parish to Oadby, a smaller part of Evington being at the same time added to Stoughton. The boundary of Stoughton for the most part follows field boundaries; it is formed by a stream in the north-east and west and by a road (now disused) in the south-east.
Stoughton village is situated in the west of the parish near the city boundary. The ground rises from below 350 ft. near two small streams in the west to above 450 ft. in the east. On this higher ground is Leicester East airfield, which was constructed in 1942. The Leicestershire Aero Club was among those using the airfield in 1961. The parish lies midway between the main roads from Leicester to Uppingham and to Market Harborough, and the Gartree road crosses the parish south of the village. Four minor roads radiate from the village: westwards to Evington and Leicester, northwards to Thurnby, eastwards to King's Norton and Houghton on the Hill, and southwards to join the Gartree road. After the construction of the airfield the King's Norton road was diverted and a road linking it with the Gartree road, and forming the parish boundary, was closed. (fn. 113)
The village, which has been enlarged by new building since 1930, lies at the junction of the roads and on the eastern margin of a park which formerly belonged to Stoughton Grange. The church stands to the east of the cross-roads. The houses show much evidence of alteration and rebuilding in the late 18th and early 19th centuries by the owners of Stoughton Grange. Among earlier houses Charity Farm in Galby Lane is a T-shaped building with a timberframed cross-wing, now faced with brick, which has survived from a 16th-century structure. The main wing is of brick, probably built on the site of a timber-framed hall in the late 17th century. There are two cottages with exposed timber-framing in the village, both dating from the 17th century. One, on the lane to Evington, has curved principals at its gable-end which may be cruck blades re-used. The other is in Galby Lane, standing between two earlier farm-houses known as The Limes and The Sycamores. Both the latter are timber-framed buildings which were faced with brick in the 19th century. At the same time their walls were raised and they were given low-pitched roofs with wide eaves supported on iron brackets. Both retain three-bay plans with cross-passages. At The Sycamores a truncated cruck truss is visible in one of the gables and there is a timber-framed rear wing. No. 7 Galby Lane, built in the mid-19th century, is a cottage which exhibits several of the features which were also used at this period to modernize older buildings. On the road to Thurnby mid-19th-century cottages have 'Gothic' windows, pantiled roofs, and iron brackets supporting the eaves. Similar windows have been inserted in an 18th-century house north of the churchyard. The former smithy in Galby Lane is a single-storied 18thcentury building with a pantiled roof. There are two post-1945 Council houses of Swedish timber on the road to Thurnby.
Among several scattered houses in the parish are Stoughton Lodge in the north-west, built in the 19th century, and two houses built since 1930 on the Gartree road. In recent years, too, building has begun in the west of the parish near the city boundary, encroaching on the parkland; some of these houses are in the area transferred from Evington in 1935.
There was probably a house called Stoughton Grange before the Dissolution. In 1543 property called the 'Grange of Stoughton' was among the former possessions of Leicester Abbey which were leased to John More of the royal household, but the house was not included. (fn. 114) In 1547 it was apparently occupied by John Taylor. (fn. 115) The estate, again without the house, was granted in 1553 to Thomas Farnham of Quorndon and Robert Reynes. (fn. 116) In 1560 the queen made a grant of Stoughton Grange (the house is clearly meant here) to John Harrington and George Burden, (fn. 117) and in 1562 Thomas Farnham died possessed of the house called Stoughton Grange which he had purchased from Harrington. It was then described as being lately in the possession of the Duke of Suffolk, and occupied by Agnes Frampton. (fn. 118) From this date the house descended with the manor, and was occupied by the lords of the manor.
At the Powys-Keck sale in 1913 there was no bid for the house and it remained unoccupied until it was demolished in 1925–6. (fn. 119) As it then existed the house was a mansion in a Victorian version of the Elizabethan style, with spired towers at the end of the garden front. In the late 18th century it had been Gothicized by Anthony Keck (d. 1786), who probably superimposed this decoration upon an Elizabethan house. (fn. 120) About 1820 the small Gothic lodges which still survive on the road to Evington and on the Gartree road were built; they bear the arms of the Keck family. The Stoughton estate was bought by the Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd. in 1919 and the site of the mansion was subsequently, as Grange Farm, the centre of the society's dairy-farming in the district. In 1949 five pairs of houses were built to the east of the church for farm-workers and staff. The society, whose offices are in the village itself, owned most of the land in the parish in 1954. The major exception was the land on which the airfield was built in 1942; part of this was not included in the original C.W.S. purchase, part was sold by the society to the Air Ministry in 1953. Also in 1953 the society bought a further 38 a. lying between the village and the airfield. (fn. 121)
There are few early population figures for Stoughton. The poll tax was paid by 46 persons in 1381. (fn. 122) The small number of households in 1563—seven— may reflect the inclosure of the parish. (fn. 123) In 1670 there were 30 households, and in 1676, 54 communicants. The population was 158 in 1801. It subsequently fluctuated between a minimum of 108 in 1921 and a maximum of 167 in 1821. The residential development that has taken place since 1930 is reflected in an increase from 122 in 1931 to 358 in 1951; the transfer of land to Oadby Urban District in 1935 involved an area with a population of only 12 in 1931, and the area gained from Evington in the same year had no inhabitants in 1931. (fn. 124)
Before the Conquest STOUGHTON belonged to Earl Ralph of Hereford. In 1086 it formed part of the extensive property of Hugh de Grentemesnil, and 9 houses in Leicester were attached to it. (fn. 125) From Hugh the manor descended to the earls of Leicester, and was granted by Robert le Bossu to Leicester Abbey, perhaps shortly before his death in 1168. (fn. 126) An exception was made, in his grant, of the land of Ralph Friday, but in 1203 Friday acknowledged his holding to be the property of the abbot, who granted it back to him at the rent of 2s. yearly. (fn. 127) It was provided that after Ralph's death his heirs should continue to hold part of the land at the same rent and that the rest should revert to the abbey. Stoughton became one of the abbey's most important granges, and the manorial court controlled all its estates in Humberstone, Ingarsby, Hungarton, Noseley, Kilby, Burton Overy, Knighton, Thurnby, and Fleckney. (fn. 128) In 1301 the abbey was granted free warren in its demesne at Stoughton. (fn. 129)
Passing to the Crown at the Dissolution, the manor and all the abbey's property in Stoughton was leased for 21 years in 1543 to John More, a member of the royal household. (fn. 130) In 1557 Queen Mary granted the manor to Francis Challoner and William Butler, who transferred it in the same year to Challoner's brother-in-law Thomas Farnham of Nether House, Quorndon. (fn. 131) The manor was valued in the same year with a view to its sale to Sir William Drury, but this did not take place. (fn. 132) Thomas Farnham made Stoughton his principal residence. He left the manor to his wife, with remainder to his daughter Catherine, who married Thomas, the younger son of Nicholas Beaumont of Cole Orton. (fn. 133) The manor remained the property of the Beaumont family until 1737, when at the death of Sir George Beaumont it passed to his surviving sisters and a nephew, William Bushby. (fn. 134) Bushby's daughter Anne married Anthony Keck (d. 1786), (fn. 135) who was the grandson and heir of Anthony Keck (d. 1736) of Bloomsbury, London. (fn. 136) He was succeeded by his two grandsons, Peers Anthony Keck (d. 1797) and George Anthony Legh Keck (d. 1860). The latter left his estate to his wife's nephew, Henry Littleton Powys (1812–63), the fifth son of Thomas, Lord Lilford (d. 1825), who in 1861 took the name of Keck after that of Powys. (fn. 137) His son Henry Leycester PowysKeck (1841–1912) was the last member of the family to enjoy full possession of the Stoughton estate, and in 1913 the manor was offered for sale. (fn. 138) The Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd. bought the greater part of the estate in 1919, but the manorial rights had lapsed. (fn. 139)
Charity Farm, covering 316 a. in the early 19th century, had by 1642 been purchased by the trustees of the charity of Henry Smith, a London alderman. The income was enjoyed by parishes in various parts of the country. In 1868 the farm was exchanged for land in Thurlaston, (fn. 140) and it apparently became part of the Powys-Keck estate.
Hugh de Grentemesnil's holding in 1086 comprised 28 carucates in all, but it is not possible to ascertain the extent of Stoughton alone. There was land for 28 ploughs, and in demesne he had 3 ploughs and 4 serfs. The population consisted of 19 villeins, 33 socmen, and 5 bordars. The value of the estate had risen from £8 to £9 since 1066. (fn. 141) A further 4 carucates were held by 2 tenants, Huard and Erneis. (fn. 142) Before 1081 one of the villeins in Stoughton had been granted by Hugh de Grentemesnil to act as tithe collector for the abbey of St. Evroul (Orne). (fn. 143) In 1279 there were 10 carucates in Stoughton. The Abbot of Leicester held 3 in demesne and 3 in villeinage. The rest were held of the abbot by free tenants: 4 shared one carucate, Ralph Friday held another in demesne and a virgate by serjeanty, and 7 tenants of his held another 7 virgates. (fn. 144)
Apart from that at Ingarsby, nearly one-third as large again, Stoughton was Leicester Abbey's biggest demesne manor. About 1341 the abbey's arable there was 210 a. in extent, and a further 623 a. were held in villeinage. (fn. 145) There were three open fields: Stoughton, or East, or Ladywong Field; Oadby, or South Field; and Thurnby, or North Field. The abbey's demesne consisted of blocks of land in each field, which had gradually been consolidated and built up in the 14th and 15th centuries. (fn. 146) Besides growing grain crops, the abbey pastured a considerable number of sheep at Stoughton. In the mid-14th century it had a flock of 200, and there had once been 250. (fn. 147)
Stoughton was the only one of the abbey's estates where the tenants owed week work. For the most part they were villeins. In 1276 their status was finally decided after a number of them had brought an action against the abbot to claim that they were tenants of ancient demesne and free socmen. The dispute came to a head after the abbot had tried to exact from them the full amount of service which he claimed as his due. He won his case, and the tenants who resisted him, 30 in all, including 4 women, acknowledged their villein status at various dates throughout the summer of 1276. (fn. 148) In 1341 there were 26 tenants at will, and 19 persons of this status were taxed in 1381, out of a total of 46 taxpayers. (fn. 149) Of the 19 free tenants in 1341, only 2 are mentioned in 1381. By the end of the 15th century there were only 4 free tenants, and 17 tenants at will, each with a rather larger holding. (fn. 150)
Stoughton was inclosed piecemeal, partly by the abbey and partly after the Dissolution. Charyte refers to closes which belonged to the abbey 'all the year round'; at least 7 of these are mentioned, and they were used as pasture. (fn. 151) New Close and other closes are mentioned in 1559. (fn. 152) In 1607 Sir Thomas Beaumont was stated to have converted 28 a. to pasture since 1591. (fn. 153) The condition of an estate in Stoughton belonging to a Mr. Rolfe was described in 1638. Part consisted of ancient closes, well set with hedges: much of this land was muddy, but might have been improved by better husbandry. Part consisted of 252 a. let for 9 years at 8d. an acre for the first 5 years, and 12d. for the last 4; this land was stated to be newly inclosed. (fn. 154) The process of inclosure was probably complete by this time. It may have had some temporary effect upon the population. In 1563 there were apparently only 7 households, although 19 persons had contributed to the lay subsidy of 1524. (fn. 155) In 1670, however, there were 30 households. (fn. 156) The land remained mainly under pasture after the inclosure; in 1845, for example, of the area subject to tithes only 349 a. were arable and 1,066 a. were meadow and pasture. (fn. 157)
During the Middle Ages the two families of Flory and Friday were both landholders of some importance. The Florys first appear in 1204, and in 1241 a John de Flury claimed land which he said had been the property of his ancestor Ernald in the reign of Richard I. Henry Flory and his wife were taxed in 1381, but the name seems to have disappeared from the village by the 15th century. (fn. 158) Ralph Friday held land in Stoughton in 1182–3, and his descendants continue to be mentioned frequently until the mid-14th century. The family is unrepresented in the poll tax returns of 1381, but a Ralph Friday is mentioned as late as 1412. The family holding of 5 virgates and 8 tofts was still intact in 1477. (fn. 159)
The ownership of Stoughton by one landlord continued after the dissolution of Leicester Abbey. Under the Keck family it became the head of their large estate, consisting of over 7,000 a. in the late 19th century and over 8,000 a. in 1907. It was still being built up as late as 1910. Nearly 7,000 a. were offered for sale in 1913. (fn. 160) Most of the land in Stoughton was purchased in 1919 by the Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd. which in 1954 farmed 4,600 a. in the district, mainly in Stoughton and Little Stretton. The estate concentrates on milk production for local bottling and delivery; in 1953 555,000 gallons were produced from nearly 900 dairy cows. Stock-rearing, both for meat and for the replacement of animals in the herds, is also carried on. (fn. 161)
There were 6 farmers and graziers in 1846, 7 in 1863, and only 3, besides the Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd., in 1932. Few inhabitants have been in other than agricultural occupations. (fn. 162) There was some framework-knitting in the later 18th century, but none is known thereafter. (fn. 163)
A watermill is mentioned in Stoughton in 1341, but it seems to have disappeared by the 15th century. There were also in 1341 a windmill and a horse-mill, which each paid 12d. for tithes. (fn. 164) Leicester Abbey did not then own the windmill itself, but it let the mound on which the mill stood to John Dawe, with a ditch 6 ft. wide surrounding it. At some time before 1477 and after William Charyte became prior the abbey bought the windmill for £20, and thereafter let it for 40s. a year. In 1477 the windmill and the horse-mill paid 11s. in tithes. (fn. 165) There were apparently two mills in Stoughton in the 17th century. (fn. 166)
Stoughton had no workhouse, and spent little on the relief of the poor in the 18th century. In 1802–3 6 adults and 9 children were given regular relief. (fn. 167) In 1836 Stoughton was placed in Billesdon Union. (fn. 168)
Stoughton chapel is said to have been founded by Leicester Abbey, owner of the mother church at Thurnby. (fn. 169) The chapel was certainly in existence by about 1220. (fn. 170) In 1957 Stoughton was still a chapelry of Thurnby.
During the Middle Ages Stoughton was served by a resident chaplain, whose salary was probably paid partly by the Vicar of Thurnby and partly by Leicester Abbey. (fn. 171) In 1477 the abbey paid 14s. a year to the chaplain from the hay tithes. (fn. 172) After the Dissolution the practice of having a resident chaplain seems to have stopped.
Before 1081 Hugh de Grentemesnil granted to the abbey of St. Evroul (Orne) two-thirds of the tithes on his land at Stoughton. (fn. 173) The grant was apparently confirmed in 1190–1204 by Robert FitzParnell, Earl of Leicester; Stoughton may be the 'Estotebie' mentioned in this charter. (fn. 174) In 1243 St. Evroul leased the Stoughton and Bushby tithes to Leicester Abbey for 40s. a year, and in 1286 Leicester was summoned for payment of arrears of rent for these and other tithes. A similar case was heard in 1338, and in both cases judgement was given against Leicester Abbey. (fn. 175) In 1477 the Stoughton tithes were leased for 33s. 4d. yearly from Sheen Priory (Surr.) to which St. Evroul's property had passed. (fn. 176) The ownership of the tithes is not certain after this time. They do not seem to have been divided after the Dissolution, and Leicester Abbey's long tenancy of this portion of the tithes may have led to the assumption that it was the owner. Another part of the tithes had, in fact, long belonged to Leicester Abbey. In 1477 hay tithes were bringing in 14s. a year, but Charyte stated that the abbey should hold the whole of a piece of land called Bromhill which comprised 12 a. and was divided among tenants. Each virgate of land paid 4d. for hay tithes, which were then not taken in kind. (fn. 177)
In 1549 Francis, Earl of Huntingdon, and Thomas Hazlewood of Allexton purchased the 'rectory' of Stoughton from the Crown. (fn. 178) Before 1562 it had been acquired by Thomas Farnham, who devised it to his wife. (fn. 179) Thereafter it descended with the manor. The tithes were commuted in 1845: £110 was payable to the Vicar of Thurnby for the small tithes, and £220 to the impropriator for the great. The 230 a. of the Grange estate were exempted from payment. (fn. 180)
The chapel of ST. MARY AND ALL SAINTS is a limestone building consisting of chancel, clerestoried nave, north and south aisles, west tower with spire, and south porch. Most of the medieval church was taken down and re-erected in the 1860's. A new chancel of this date replaced one described c. 1800 as 'modern'. (fn. 181)
The nave and arcades were apparently built in the 13th century. The nail-head ornamentation of arcade and tower arch capitals, if original, suggests that the lower stage of the tower is also of that date. The north arcade has two round and two pointed and the south arcade four pointed arches. The tower is enclosed by the aisles and its upper stages are of the 14th century. The three stages are divided by string courses and beneath the parapet is an enriched frieze. The two-light belfry openings have curvilinear tracery under pointed heads. Behind the embattled and pinnacled parapet is a slender crocketted spire with two tiers of lights.
The east and west windows of the north aisle are of five lights with intersecting cusped tracery having a cinquefoiled circle in the head; a similar motif occurs in the three north windows which have pointed trefoils above their four cusped lights. This tracery, if copied from the original, denotes work of the early 14th century. The south aisle has a variety of window tracery including a curvilinear east window of four lights, a west window similar to those in the north aisle, and Perpendicular side windows.
In about 1827 the parish borrowed £400 to repair the church and in 1832 it was described as 'very handsome, in excellent condition'. (fn. 182) The restoration of 1860–3 was undertaken by Henry Littleton Powys-Keck. (fn. 183) In 1861 the tower was taken down and rebuilt (fn. 184) and in 1862 the north aisle. The clerestory was added to the nave and a new south porch built. (fn. 185) In 1865 a new chancel was built. The old chancel had a hipped roof and ogee-headed windows and was evidently built in the 18th century. (fn. 186) The new chancel was designed by Dain and Smith of Leicester. The details of the windows on the north and south sides were copied from fragments recovered during excavations for the new structure. (fn. 187)
The furniture and fittings mostly date from the 19th century but the lectern is of 1918. The north aisle, where a number of lords of the manor are buried, was formerly railed off from the nave. (fn. 188)
The west end of the north aisle contains several monuments to the Beaumont family, the most impressive of which is the obelisk-type memorial, flanked by urns, to Sir George Beaumont (d. 1737). This was erected by his sisters Arabella and Christina and his nephew William Bushby; the sculptor was Peter Scheemakers. The same Misses Beaumont and William Bushby were responsible in 1739 for the renovation of the altar tomb at this end of the aisle which bears the recumbent effigies of Thomas Farnham (d. 1562) and his wife. The side panels contain various impaled coats of arms supported by children. Other memorials include a mural tablet with strapwork decoration to Sir Thomas Beaumont (d. 1614) and his wife which was erected in 1631, and tablets to Sir William Beaumont (d. 1675) and Admiral Basil Beaumont (d. 1703), the latter erected in 1738. On the north side of the tower wall a memorial in the form of an arcade of five bays contains commemorative panels to members of the Powys-Keck family, including George A. Legh Keck (d. 1860); it dates from the rebuilding following his death. The east end of the aisle has floor slabs of the late 18th and 19th centuries to the Legh Keck, Beaumont, and Bushby families. A large slab, badly worn and set centrally in the aisle, is to a priest, Roger Crosley (d. 1633).
A stone cross in the churchyard south of the porch has a tall moulded shaft with a defaced knob-finial and a base with angle projections. It probably dates from the early 14th century.
There are four bells: (i) inscribed with the name of Sir Thomas Beaumont (d. 1614); (ii) 1739, cast by Thomas Eayre of Kettering; (iii) 1612; (iv) 1591. (fn. 189) The plate consists of a silver cup of 1640, a dish of 1732, and a paten and flagon dated 1866 and 1865, given by Maria Powys-Keck. (fn. 190) The registers date from 1537, with gaps from 1653 to 1661 and (for marriages only) from 1751 to 1755 and 1810 to 1814.
In 1833 there was a day school in Stoughton where 8 boys and 4 girls were educated at their parents' expense. (fn. 191) This seems to have been short-lived and no subsequent school is recorded.
John Zouche and Sir Thomas Beaumont gave lands in Barkby and Frisby on the Wreak at unknown dates for the benefit of the chapelry. In 1607 it was settled that the profits of these lands should be used for the repair of the church, roads, and bridges, and to make contributions to taxes due from poor persons. In 1837 the Barkby property consisted of 3½ a. of pasture in two fields on the road from Barkby to Beeby. A barn had recently been converted into 'four indifferent mud-walled tenements under one roof', and the whole was then leased for £16 a year. At Frisby the land consisted of 10 a. on the Melton road, leased for £20 a year. This charity was under the management of the churchwardens. (fn. 192) In 1794, when the lands were let for £15 a year, the parish did not know the names of the donors. (fn. 193) In 1832 the total rent was £34. (fn. 194) By 1846 all the money was used for the repair of the chapel. (fn. 195) In 1931 the annual income of the charity was £24 (£16 from the land at Frisby and £8 from Barkby); it was all spent on the maintenance of the chapel. (fn. 196)