Frisby on the Wreake

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Frisby on the Wreake
Church of St Thomas of Canterbury, Frisby on the Wreake - - 523734.jpg
Parish church of St Thomas of Canterbury
Frisby on the Wreake is located in Leicestershire
Frisby on the Wreake
Frisby on the Wreake
Location within Leicestershire
Population557 (2011 Census)
OS grid referenceSK6917
Civil parish
  • Frisby on the Wreake
  • Melton
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townMelton Mowbray
Postcode districtLE14
Dialling code01664
AmbulanceEast Midlands
EU ParliamentEast Midlands
UK Parliament
WebsiteFrisby on the Wreake Parish Council
List of places
52°45′09″N 0°58′18″W / 52.75250°N 0.97167°W / 52.75250; -0.97167Coordinates: 52°45′09″N 0°58′18″W / 52.75250°N 0.97167°W / 52.75250; -0.97167

Frisby on the Wreake is a village and civil parish on the River Wreake about 3.5 miles (5.6 km) west of Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, England.[1][2] The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 557.[3]

The toponym "Frisby" was applied by Danish invaders in the 9th or 10th century. It refers to the farm or settlement of the Frisians.[4] The "on the Wreake" suffix was added later to distinguish the village from another Frisby, near Billesdon, about 8 miles (13 km) to the southeast. "Wreake" refers to the River Wreake. The name of the river originates from a Danish word referring to the meandering nature of the river.[4]

Parish church[edit]

The oldest parts of the Church of England parish church of St Thomas of Canterbury are 12th-century. The building includes much 14th- and 15th-century work. The north aisle was rebuilt about 1820. The chancel was rebuilt when the church was restored in 1848. The church is now a Grade I listed building.[5]

The west tower has three bells. Hugh I Watts of Leicester cast the treble bell in about 1600. William Noone of Nottingham cast the second and tenor bells in 1711.[6]

In the 18th century the parish priest agreed to marry couples from some distance away. This was at a time when wedding ceremonies were closely controlled by the church and state. It is likely that many of the marriages of couples from elsewhere went against the consent of close relatives. The number of weddings at the parish church increased substantially compared to earlier and later times and the village earned the later nickname of the Gretna Green of the Midlands.[citation needed]

Economic and social history[edit]

14th-century Stump Cross south of the village

When the church was founded the main road from Leicester to Melton Mowbray passed through the village, entering from Hoby with Rotherby to the south and leaving by Kirby Bellars to the north. The village was bypassed to the south when the turnpike, now the primary route A607, was built in the 18th century. The new road passes a Mediæval wayside cross that may have been a preaching place. The base and broken shaft of the cross survive. There is another Mediæval stone cross in the village centre.

Frisby Mill was on the River Wreake and was working at the time of the Domesday Book in 1086. The mill was rebuilt several times, but fell into disuse at the beginning of the 20th century. The channels to divert the river water to the mill may still be seen in the fields to the northwest of the village.

Blue Bell Inn

Farming was organised on an open field system. Each landholder was awarded a series of strips in the three common fields. This ensured everyone shared the best and worst land. The remains of the strips can still be seen, more than a thousand years since they were first created. When the great fields were enclosed in the late 18th century, landowners were compensated by the award of blocks of land. The poorer owners often sold their holdings, which were usually very small, and consolidation into the present farms took place. The existing farms in the outlying fields were all created at this time.

Originally the village lands were all worked from homes in the village itself. The remaining farmhouses in the village are older than those outside the village. As in many other Leicestershire villages, the new, consolidated blocks of land were planted with hawthorn hedges, Thus, most hedges between the Frisby fields are not more than 250 years old. Those by the roadside and along the parish boundary are likely to be much older, as these were the lines that marked the medieval limits of the parish and its fields.

Frisby railway signal box

Transport was improved by the opening of the Melton Mowbray Navigation in the 1790s and the Syston and Peterborough Railway in 1847. A condition of building the railway was that it should take over the canal. Frisby railway station served the parish until British Railways closed it in 1961.


  1. ^ Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 129 Nottingham & Loughborough (Melton Mowbray) (Map). Ordnance Survey. 2014. ISBN 9780319231623.
  2. ^ "Ordnance Survey: 1:50,000 Scale Gazetteer" (csv (download)). Ordnance Survey. 1 January 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Area: Frisby on the Wreake (Parish): Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  4. ^ a b Mills, AD (2011) [1991]. A Dictionary of British Place Names (First edition revised 2011 ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 196. ISBN 978-019960908-6.
  5. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Thomas of Canterbury  (Grade I) (1360878)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  6. ^ Baldwin, John (17 November 2016). "Frisby on the Wreake S Thomas of Canterbury". Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers. Central Council for Church Bell Ringers. Retrieved 17 August 2017.


External links[edit]