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Ratby is a commuter village and civil parish in the Hinckley and Bosworth district of Leicestershire, England. It is situated to the west of Leicester, and just south of the M1 motorway. (Groby is on the northern side of the M1.) It has a population of about 4,000. Other nearby places include Kirby Muxloe, Glenfield and Markfield. The proximity of Ratby to Leicester causes it to form part of the Leicester Urban Area.
Ratby is one of three nearby settlements whose name preserves the Brittonic word for "ramparts" (cf. Gaelic rath ), along with Ratcliffe-upon-Soar and the Roman ruins at Leicester, known as Ratae Corieltauvorum. The suffix -by (//) is Old Norse for a farmstead or settlement.
The oldest known human settlement in Ratby was at the Bury Camp on the edge of Ratby, an Iron Age encampment dating back approximately 3000 years. Later, the Roman army adapted the camp for use as a temporary fort in around 50 AD.
The next oldest structure is the historic Church of St Philip & St James, called Ratby Church, built in four stages from the 13th through 15th centuries and restored by Nicholas Joyce in 1881. The church was appropriated to Leicester Abbey in 1291 and afterwards to Nuneaton Priory. There are also some cottages dating back several centuries.
For most of its history, Ratby was a small agricultural village with a few farms and the open 3-field plan until enclosure in the 18th century. From 1346 till the 19th century Ratby was in the hundred of Sparkenhoe. In the 1830s the inhabitants were mainly employed in frame-work knitting; the population at that time was 1025. The chief landowner was the Earl of Stamford and Warrington who was lord of the manor and patron of the vicarage. The parish was enclosed in 1770.
Ratby has a number of facilities that support its status as a highly sought after area within Leicestershire. Ratby Sports Club is home to the local football and cricket teams where England football international Emile Heskey started his junior football career, opposite the Co-op Supermarket is a focal point of the village. Ratby Primary School is also situated towards the village centre beside the library and three pubs: the Bull's Head, the Plough Inn, and the Railway at the other end of the village. Adjacent to the Bull's Head is the village. Other amenities are several hairdressers, a post office and village hall; an addition to these is the Convenience Store on Markfield Road; next to this is a Chinese take away, one of two in the village.
There is currently a review of the library by the county council. It is possible that the library will close if a volunteer group has not been found to run it. Ratby is only 1 mile from Junction 21a of the M1 motorway and situated 5 miles from the city centre of Leicester, with frequent Arriva bus services to and from the city.
In addition to all of these facilities the village is home to the Ratby Cooperative brass band. The band rehearse in their own bandroom on Taverner Drive and are highly regarded in the brass band movement particularly for their excellent work with youth. The band has around 150 members.
- Thompson, James. The History of Leicester, from the Time of the Romans to the End of the Seventeenth Century, Appendix A: Ratæ—Roman Leicester, pp. 443 ff. J. S. Crossley (Leicester), 1849.
- Curtis (1831); p. 145
- John Curtis (1831) A Topographical History of the County of Leicester. Ashby-de-la-Zouch: W. Hextall; p. 145
- Curtis (1831); p. 145
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ratby.|
- Ratby Parish Council
- Ratby Brass Band
- Ratby Royals Football Club
- Ratby Parish Church in The Bradgate Team Parish
- British Listed Buildings, Church of St Philip and St James, Ratby