Leicestershire Historian

The Leicestershire Historian first appeared as the annual publication of the Leicestershire Local History Council in 1967, but when that body ceased to exist in 1995, the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society took over its publication.

 Early editions of the LH were quite modest running to around 28 pages, occasionally reaching 40. By 1977 52 pages was the norm and remained so until 1991 when the Jubilee edition was published which contained 64 pages. The next major change was to move from A5 to an A4 size which first appeared in 1998.

Most editions of the LH contain a review of recently published books on Leicestershire.

The Society does not have the resources to copy articles for researchers, but a paid-for service does exist via the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland (ROLLR) details of which can be found via their website.

If there are any objections to the use of images by copyright holders, please contact secretary@lahs.org.uk who will arrange to have them removed.

Selected back issues are available for £10 including p&p. Contact the Society's library on library@lahs.org.uk

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Past volumes are freely available from the Archaeology Data Service (ADS)

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Leicestershire Historian Volume 59 2023

Editor: Joyce Lee

Editor: Joyce Lee

Complete Volume



Amy Bracey and Caroline Lockwood

The Beaumanor Coach - A Rare Survivor: History and Conservation

One of Leicestershire County Council Museum Collections treasures is the Beaumanor Coach which had little written about it until Amy Bracey of the Carriage Foundation transcribed documents deposited with the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland, and was able to put together details of the original Herrick commission and its maker. Co-author Caroline Lockwood describes the conservation work undertaken by the museums team.

Bill Davice

Recovering the Erased History of Poverty in Oadby

Bill Davice breaks new ground with his methodology used to uncover the erased history of poverty in Oadby, which has enabled Oadby's Yards and their inhabitants to be put back on the map. Looking below the surface of accepted history, the author examines contemporary attitudes to the poor, what embedded poverty in the village, and the toxic relationship between wealth, privilege, and poverty.

Jack Rodney Laundon

Churchyards and the Belvoir Angel Headstones

An outstanding group of regional rustic slate churchyard headstones are those with angel icons found in the churchyards of the Vale of Belvoir, which date from 1690 to 1757. Noted lichenologist, the late Jack Rodney Laundon, studied these headstones between 1982-2016. His work is published here along with his summary of the development of churchyards and burial practices, and his enthusiasm for the growing importance of churchyards as wildlife sanctuaries.

Caroline Wessel

The Duchy of Lancaster: its origins as the Honor of Leicester and its Demesne Manor of Desford

Caroline Wessel marks the recent occasion of the accession of King Charles III by tracing The Duchy of Lancaster: its origins as the Honor of Leicester and its Demesne Manor of Desford, revealing amongst other interesting facts that Desford has the oldest piece of land in England continuously owned by the Duchy since 1265.

Alan Betteridge

‘Sliding from his Baptist roots’: Josiah Gimson of Leicester (1818-1883)

The National Trust’s Stoneywell property in Charnwood Forest is synonymous with the Gimson family. Alan Betteridge focusses on Josiah Gimson, interweaving nonconformist development in Leicester with Josiah Gimson’s story of how he turned away from his Baptist roots and became a prominent secularist leader and the main force behind the establishment of Leicester’s Secular Hall for the Leicester Secular Society – the world’s oldest humanist hall and oldest secular society.

Kiyotaka Sato

A Japanese Oral Historian in Leicester – some reflections

Kiyotaka Sato, Emeritus Professor of Western History at Meiji University in Tokyo, came to the University of Leicester on a sabbatical year in 2001. As a result of his experiences, he began a project focusing on Leicester’s multi-ethnic history and culture which differed radically from the homogenous society of Japan. The methodology and subsequent ‘Memory and Narrative Series’ is described in this article.

Stephen Butt

John Theodore Kenney (1911-1972): Artist and Illustrator

Many people will have encountered the work of Kibworth artist and illustrator John Theodore Kenney without realising it. Stephen Butt tells how children across eight decades have read the books he illustrated, notably Ladybird books and the Railway Series of which Thomas the Tank Engine is the best known. He was also a highly talented equestrian artist and war artist.

Margaret Greiff

Thurcaston 1276-1465: The Mansion House, Falconer Family and Parish Church

At Thurcaston, it was the question from a pupil at Richard Hill School that generated Margaret Greiff’s research into the Mansion House, the Falconer family and the parish church at Thurcaston between 1276-1465.

Robert F. Hartley

A Large Chunk of Social History: a Workhouse Stonebreakers’ Block

A substantial visible reminder of how the poor were treated in Leicester was the stonebreakers’ block from the old Leicester Union Workhouse which was found by contributor Robert (Fred) Hartley just before the building (by then Hillcrest Hospital) was demolished in the 1970s.

Dave Fogg Postles

Re-defining the Market-town ‘region’ in early nineteenth-century Leicestershire

Dave Fogg Postles examines the local arrangements which developed in the early nineteenth century for setting up courts for the recovery of small debts, describing how these were defined on market town regions and often competing jurisdictions across counties, prior to the setting up of the new County Court system in 1846.

Cynthia Brown

‘A small civil war’ – the Thurnby Bell-ringing Dispute 1862–63

What happens when the poor can’t pay fines, when conflict arises between civil and ecclesiastical authorities, and the power of public opinion, is demonstrated by Cynthia Brown in the 1862-63 Thurnby bell-ringing dispute when the ringers ended up in prison after being locked out of the church.

Karima Shirfield

Eleanor Frewen Turner (1786–1879): ‘Angel in the House’ and ‘Woman of Substance’

Karima Shirfield argues for recognition of the lives of ‘ordinary’ women using a case study based on Eleanor Frewen Turner, a member of Leicestershire’s nineteenth century landed gentry. Diary entries and correspondence from the subject’s long life lead the author to conclude that Turner deserves such recognition as both the ‘Angel in the House’ and a ‘Woman of Substance’.

Ed Cynthia Brown

Recent Publications

Cynthia Brown and the Reviews Team have produced an engaging and informative Recent Publications section, ranging from Æthelflæd the lady of the Mercians to the Duchess of Rutland, the adventures of James Arthur Harley a black Edwardian intellectual; town and village histories; and a people’s history of rock concerts at Leicester’s De Montfort Hall.

Background image: Stagecoach map

Stagecoach map