Eaton, Leicestershire

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Saint Denys Church, Eaton

Eaton is a village and civil parish in Leicestershire, England. It is situated in the Vale of Belvoir and its current population is about 900 people. Eaton has a church, a village hall, a public house called "The Castle", a children's park and a new village shop. The civil parish includes nearby Eastwell, which is to the west of the village.

Nature around Eaton[edit]

The land surrounding Eaton has at least ten known springs and is the source of the River Devon. It is full of sandstone and in the past a large quarry was formed outside the village. The quarry has since become a woodland area. The land is also full of iron ore and was a famous source of iron during the 1800s, supplying two local iron works by rail via "The Eaton Branch" from around 1885 to 1958.[1] The railway bridge under which the iron was transported is still in Eaton today.

Buildings in Eaton[edit]

The church in Eaton is Saint Denys Church, a Norman church which dates back to the 12th century. The public house in Eaton is "The Castle", which serves food and is also a registered campsite. It is also probably one of the only pubs in England to have a village shop built on the side of it. Eaton also has a village hall which was built in 1952.

Local legends[edit]

Like most ancient villages Eaton has a few local legends. Probably the most famous is the "phantom cat" which stalks the surrounding countryside at night. There have been over 300 recorded sightings of the cat, said to be a black panther, over 2001 to 2002.[citation needed] People believe there must be more than one cat in the area and there have been sightings of dead herons and dead lambs found in trees. There are also plenty of hiding places for the cats as there are large stretches of abandoned railway now covered in trees.

The other local story is that of "Ash Tree Operations". According to locals, back in the 17th century a band of vigilantes formed an organisation called Ash Tree Operations and built a huge underground hideout somewhere in the Eaton countryside. The entrance to this was a hollow ash tree which gave the organisation its name. The reason this band was formed was that in the 17th century Eaton was a popular haunt for criminals from the surrounding villages and there were many murders and many houses were looted.

Eaton was considered too desolate for the police to get involved so ten local men formed Ash Tree Operations and became vigilantes, doing terrible things to anyone who committed a serious crime. The legend states that whenever someone commits a serious crime in Eaton and gets away with it the site of Ash Tree Operations will be found and the finder will restart the band and "deal" with the perpetrator.[citation needed]


The incumbent's reply to the Articles of Inquiry for the Ecclesiastical Revenues Commission in 1832.

Robert Walker, the vicar, gives the population of Eaton as 350 (from the 1831 census). He was admitted in October 1814. There was no curator so he did the duties himself. There was only one church which was capable of accommodating the entire population. The "Glebe House unfit, being a mere cottage and very damp" was occupied by Richard Palmer who rented part of the land, paying £10.4.0 for the lodgings. The annual income of the benefice was stated as £83.6.2, no tithes or corn rents or dividends and any other income. The Surplice and other fees amounted to nine or ten shillings. This was a poor living, as the incumbent states: "I expect a decrease of Income in future but cannot speak as to the amount of that decrease because the lands are said to be too high let at present and poor rates are increasing."
  • Source: Articles of Inquiry. Ecclesiastical Revenues Commission: Diocese of Lincoln. Article no. 2348.


  1. ^ Aldworth, Colin (2012). The Nottingham and Melton Railway 1872 - 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°51′11″N 0°49′05″W / 52.853°N 0.818°W / 52.853; -0.818