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Burton on the Wolds




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Wymeswold census returns 1841 to 1901

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The Wolds Historical Organisation

The Wolds Historical Organisation (WHO) was founded in 1987 to promote interest in the local history of the villages on the western side of the Leicestershire Wolds, specifically Wymeswold, Burton on the Wolds, Hoton, Prestwold and Cotes.

The WHO is now thirty years old. Over the decades members have written a substantial number of articles and transcribed most of the relevant records, such as census returns. There are well over a hundred such 'pages' on this web site, all accessible via links on the left-hand side of this screen. The 'search this site' feature helps find specific information.

WHO monthly meetings

The principal activities of the WHO are talks on the third Tuesday of September, October, November, February, March, April, May and June. During the summer there is a trip to a local place of interest while in January there is an annual meal followed by a short AGM.

Meetings now take place in the Jubilee Room of Wymeswold Memorial Hall, Clay Street, Wymeswold, LE12 6TY and start promptly at 7.45 pm.

Non-members most welcome but will be asked to contribute 3.00. There is a lift to the Jubilee Room if visitors have difficulty with stairs.

For further information about WHO activities please phone 01509 881342.

The WHO's What's What

Most months there is a PDF newsletter with details of current WHO activities and also other forthcoming events which may be of interest.

Download the current WHO's What's What

WHO updates

If you're not already on the WHO's email update list and would like to receive news of what's happening then please email bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk with the message 'Add to WHO update list'. Your email address will not be revealed to anyone else or used for any other purpose.

Programme for 2018:

Meetings take place in the Jubilee Room of Wymeswold Memorial Hall, Clay Street, Wymeswold, LE12 6TY and start promptly at 7.45 pm.

Non-members most welcome but will be asked to contribute 3.00. There is a lift to the Jubilee Room if visitors have difficulty with stairs. For further information about WHO activities please phone 01509 881342.

16th January  AGM and annual dinner
20th FebruaryMel Wilson Leicestershire Heritage Apple Project
20th MarchDebbie Bilham Empire of the clouds: the story of the R101 airship
17th AprilHugh Griffiths Brush – the man and his legacy
15th MayRichard Jones Living with water: past, present and future
19th JuneElizabeth and Martin Tingle Death and remembrance in the Wolds 1400–1800
Meet 7.00 at Willoughby church; cars must be parked in the main street
July  no meeting
21st August  guided walk around Shepshed
Meet 7.00 at car park near to St Winefrede's School, Field Street, Shepshed
18th SeptemberJess Jenkins Burning passions: the struggle for women's suffrage in Leicestershire
16th OctoberJohn Goodacre The crying sin of England
[The Enclosure Awards and Leicestershire]
20th NovemberDavid Bate The lost church of St Ethelburga, Langar
11th DecemberAndrew Brown-Jackson Natural boundaries: traditional Midlands hedge laying and dry stone walls [TBC]
Note this is the second, not third, Tuesday in the month


The first Link

Anyone living in the villages of Burton on the Wolds, Cotes, Hoton, Prestwold and Wymeswold will be familiar with the parish magazine, The Christian Link. But when did this start? All is revealed in this PDF of the first issue. But I doubt if we will ever know if the Sparrows of the Spirit ever returned to 'roost' at the Rectory...

Many thanks to Joan Shaw for digitising the copy discovered she while 'tidying up' in Loughborough Library's Local Studies Collection.


nell smith book covers

Memories of a Country Girlhood

Just a reminder that the WHO has stocks of all four books written by Ellen 'Nell' Smith and illustrated by Susan Jalland. These were published in the early 1980s and describe life in Wymeswold during the seventy years from around the First World War until nearly fifty years ago.

Sets of all four books cost 10 per set (the first two volumes are editions printed in 2005; the third and fourth volumes are the original 1980s editions) plus p&p.

Email or phone Bob Trubshaw bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk / 01509 881342

Packe of the Pryrennes

In an article published in the 1960 edition of The Alpine Journal Robin Fedden tell us that:

'Charles Packe (1826–96) was geologist, botanist, cartographer and scholar (climbing with Horace in his pocket). He was also the squire of Stretton Hall, the Leicestershire gentleman who found the Pyrenees more exciting than the hunting field. Much of this was concealed by a brusque manner, for though a modest man he was perhaps not an easy one. He began his systematic exploration of the chain in 1859. When his companion was killed on the Pic de Sauvegarde in the same year, while no doubt perturbed, he was clearly not deflected. Noting Jurassic limestone, greensand, names of rare flowers, barometric pressures, and making in uncharted country expedition on expedition, he accumulated knowledge. It found expression in the first guide-book to the Pyrenees and the first map of the Maladetta area.'

Charles Packe was the eldest son of Edmund Packe who lived at Prestwold Hall.

In a different article in the 1987 edition of the same journal Kev Reynolds draws attention to Charles Packe's own contribution to The Alpine Journal, back in August 1884. By that date has also been Secretary of the Alpine Club. Reynolds notes Packe's obvious disdain the attitudes of his fellow members:

'The travellers who during the summer months throng Cauterets, Luchon, and even Gavarnie are of a very different class from those whom we meet at Chamonix and Zermatt. Even members of the Alpine Club in the Pyrenees seem to have turned Sybarites; they have left behind them love for climbing, and are content with the usual routine courses at the tail of a guide.'

Reynolds informs his readers that 'By the time he wrote this, Packe had been a noted mountain connoisseur for more than 30 years and an influence at one time or another on various leading figures from the world of mountaineering.'

Charles Packe's interests were not simply concerned with exploring the terrain as he also a botantist and 'collected curious specimens of alpaca paramante (papaver alpinum).'

Thanks to Hellen Jarvis for spotted these articles on the www.alpinejournal.org.uk website.

PDF of the complete article in The Alpine Journal 1960.

PDF of the complete article in The Alpine Journal 1987.

Brown's pharmaceutical day book

Chris and John Brown own a handwritten journal prepared by the Brown family of Church Street in Wymeswold – perhaps better known for running the Post Office and for Philip Brown's photographs. The journal gives details of over two hundred prescriptions prepared over a seventeen-year period between 1869 and 1886, as well as a number of formulations used in the grocery business.

Chris kindly digitised the pages for the WHO and Philip Denniff has spent much of this last winter trying to decipher the abbreviated Latin.

The scans, verbatim transcription and Phil's interpretation are now online, along with an introduction which sheds light on why the journal was kept and how different members of the Brown family helped looked after the well-being of local residents in Wymeswold during part of the nineteenth century. Download the PDF for free.

So far as we are aware this is the first time a pharmaceutical 'day book' of this period has been fully transcribed, interpreted and made available online.

Big thanks to Phil for a considerable amount of time and effort he contributed to this project, and to Chris for preparing the scans and assisting Phil with the Brown's family history.

older news from the WHO

WHO publications

The WHO has published five booklets and a book:
  • A Portrait of Wymeswold Past and Present (1991)
  • A Walk Around Wymeswold (1994)
  • Wolds Reflections (1997)
  • 2000 Years of the Wolds (2003)
  • The WHO's What, When and Where (2007)
  • Discovering the Wolds [2017]

In addition, between 1991 and 2002 an annual WHO Newsletter has recorded details of the organisation's activities and research by members. All articles relating to Wymeswold from the WHO Newsletter are included in this Web site (see articles about Wymeswold's history). Starting in 2004 the WHO Newsletter was replaced by The Wolds Historian.

Download back issues of The Wolds Historian

Download Bob Trubshaw's extended look at Six Hills and Vernemetum The Especially Sacred Grove (2 megabyte PDF file)