History of Leicestershire

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The first recorded use of the name Laegrecastrescir was in 1087. In the Anglo-Saxon period the area was originally in the territory of the Middle Angles and later Mercia. After the Danish invasions it was included in the Danelaw, whose boundary ran on the south-western boundary of the shire.

Leicestershire was recorded in the Domesday Book in four wapentakes: Guthlaxton, Framland, Goscote and Gartree. These later became hundreds, with the division of Goscote into West Goscote and East Goscote, and the addition of Sparkenhoe hundred.

Leicestershire's external boundaries have changed little since the Domesday Survey. The Measham-Donisthorpe exclave of Derbyshire has been exchanged for the Netherseal/Overseal area, and the urban expansion of Market Harborough has caused Little Bowdon, previously in Northamptonshire to be annexed.

Anglo-Saxon diocese[edit]

A bishopric of the Middle Angles was established here in 680, and the Anglo-Saxon cathedral was probably located close to (if not on the site of) the present cathedral. The original diocese fell victim to the invasion by the Danes around 870 and after the establishment of the Danelaw in 886 the diocese's seat was moved to Oxfordshire and, taking over the existing Diocese of Lindine (created in 678), became the Diocese of Dorchester.

Rutland and Leicester[edit]

In 1974, due to the Local Government Act 1972, the county of Rutland was annexed to Leicestershire as a district, and Leicester's county borough status was abolished, it becoming a district also.

In 1974, the Local Government Act 1972 abolished the county borough status of Leicester and the county status of neighbouring Rutland, converting both to administrative districts of Leicestershire. These actions were reversed on 1 April 1997, when Rutland and the City of Leicester became unitary authorities. Rutland became a distinct Ceremonial County once again, although it continues to be policed by Leicestershire Constabulary.

County symbol[edit]

The symbol of the county council, Leicestershire County Cricket Club, Leicester City FC and Leicestershire Scouts is the red fox. Leicestershire is considered to be the birthplace of fox hunting as it is known today. Hugo Meynell of Quorn, Master of the Quorn Hunt 1753–1800, is known as the father of fox hunting. Melton Mowbray and Market Harborough have associations with fox hunting, as has neighbouring Rutland.

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

Published in the 18th-19th centuries[edit]

  • John Nichols (1795–1815). History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester. London: Nichols & Son. 4 vols.
  • John Britton (1807), Beauties of England and Wales, 9, London: Vernor, Hood & Sharpe (includes Leicestershire)
  • Curtis, John (1831) A Topographical History of the County of Leicester. Ashby-de-la-Zouch: W. Hextall
  • Samuel Tymms (1835). "Leicestershire". Midland Circuit. The Family Topographer: Being a Compendious Account of the ... Counties of England. 5. London: J.B. Nichols and Son. OCLC 2127940.
  • History, Gazetteer, and Directory of the Counties of Leicester and Rutland. Sheffield: William White. 1863.
  • "Leicestershire Section". Trades' Guide for Midland Counties. Birmingham: Rominson & Co. 1870.
  • John Parker Anderson (1881), "Leicestershire", Book of British Topography: a Classified Catalogue of the Topographical Works in the Library of the British Museum Relating to Great Britain and Ireland, London: W. Satchell
  • Black's Guide to the Counties of Leicester & Rutland, Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black, 1884
  • Handbook for Travellers in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, and Staffordshire (3rd ed.), London: J. Murray, 1892, OCLC 2097091

Published in the 20th century[edit]

External links[edit]