Desford and Botcheston

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Desford is a village situated about 6.5 miles (11km) west of Leicester and 6.5 miles north-east of Hinckley in Leicestershire. The earliest written record of Deresford or Diresford is in the Domesday Book of 1086, but the name is older and means Deor's Ford, rather than Deer's Ford, suggesting an Anglo-Saxon origin.

The earliest signs of occupation are the remains of two Romano-British kilns found on the demolition site of The Manor House in Main Street in 1959, but the oldest surviving building is the Parish Church of St Martin, largely 13th Century in origin, although the font is Norman. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, the cottage industry of stocking or framework knitting developed in the village, the first reference being in 1704. This continued well into the 19th Century, with over a hundred framework knitters being recorded in the 1851 Census. The 19th Century was a time when coalmining became a large-scale industry in west Leicestershire. In 1875 an unsuccessful attempt was made to sink a coalmine in the parish, at Lindridge. This failed due to constant flooding. In the present century the nearest coal mine, Desford Pit, only two miles away, employed many Desford people until it closed in 1984. In 1866 a chapel was built at the top of Chapel Lane. Subsequently enlarged, it is now the Desford Free Church.

The railway came to Desford in 1832, part of the original Leicester to Swannington Railway, built by Robert Stevenson and the third oldest line in the world. Originally constructed to bring coal to Leicester, it was also a passenger line until 1964 and Desford had its own station.

Seven miles north of Leicester, the hamlet of Botcheston contained 500 acres and had just 37 people in 1846. Once known as Bocharston or Bocheston, Botcheston did not exist at the time of the Domesday survey. It was once in the parish of Ratby but from around 1936, has been part of the parish of Desford. Botcheston is a rural community. There is no church in Botcheston and the school was closed in 1931. Botcheston has also been home to Desford Boys' School, an Industrial School for difficult boys, but that has been closed since 1978. The presence of the school inflated the population figures because it housed about 200 boys. Now it is an attractive hamlet with a very nice pub, The Greyhound, which has only existed since the mid-nineteenth century but is still in business.

England - Central England - Leicestershire - Countryside

Features

Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Good for Kids, Great Views, Mostly Flat, Play Area, Pub, Public Transport, Tea Shop, Wildlife, Woodland

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