WHO logo

WHO home page

This year's programme of WHO lectures

Download back issues of The Wolds Historian

Local history articles


Burton on the Wolds




Six Hills

NEW Walton on the Wolds

Wymeswold census returns 1841 to 1901

Wymeswold parish registers 1560 onwards

Wymeswold marriage registers 1560 to 1916

WHO archive catalogue

WHO pages only
All the Web

This website does not gather or store any visitor information.

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 over 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 (at the bottom of the left hand column) 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.

See details of this year's programme below.

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 is back!

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

The WHO's What's What needs contributions! Whether news of forthcoming events of possible interest to WHO members, or short 'snippets' of historical interest. Please email bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk with any contributions.


WHO 'projects'

Joan Shaw has picked up preliminary information on some local interest topics. Do any WHO members want to delve a bit deeper? Just the sort of amusement you might be looking for as the evenings draw in! You do not have to be a member of the WHO, or even live in the area, to help.

  1. The Sporting Magazine for August 1834 contains fragments from the life of James Ella of Wymeswold. No idea if The Sporting Magazine is available on line anywhere, there certainly isn't a copy in Loughborough Library. Anyone fancy tracking down a copy?
  2. In 1834 Joseph Perry took over the Three Crowns, John Tyers was probably the previous licensee. Can we find out more about these landlords and/or others at the Three Crowns?
  3. Wymeswold was one of the places that refused to pay church rates. This seems to a rate intended to be paid by all residents, whether C or E or Nonconformist. It seems some Wymeswold residents felt that the congregation of St Mary's should pay for its upkeep. Is any more information available?
  4. Last but not least, there are advertisements in 1839 for The Works of Dr Donne written by Henry Alford, the vicar of Wymeswold at the time. This publication which apparently extends to six volumes but little more is known. The Dr Donne is the metaphysical poet, John Donne (1572–1631). Can anyone add any detaiils?
  5. The local historian and Wymeswold resident T.R. Potter (1799--1873) has never featured in WHO publications. There is a book of his poems in the Local Studies section of Loughborough Library and a potted biography online so shouldn't be difficult to weave together his life and times in the Wolds.
And a reminder from a year ago:

Are you looking for a 'little project' to keep you amused? The WHO committee would like to increase the range of information available on this website and is aware of several opportunities to add information that will be of interest to members and those living 'wider afield'.

  1. Indexing the main topics in St Mary's Wymeswold Church Council Minute Book.
  2. Indexing the main topics in the Wymeswold school log books.
  3. The WHO has a photocopy of a printed broadside with the headline 'Horrid murder'. The dreadful deed took place somewhere in Wymeswold and the names of the alleged perpetrators are given, though not the name of the victim – a child. But we don't know which year this was published. Internet search engines shed no light. If you fancy a spot of 'sleuthing' through relevant parish registers and court records then please get in touch with Bob Trubshaw. This would make a good project for someone new to doing local history research – Joan Shaw will happily provide advice.
  4. Contact the Women's Institute office in Leicester to establish what records they hold for the disbanded Wymeswold WI. As a follow up a short history of the branch's activities could be prepared. Ideally the person doing this would be a former member of this WI branch; if not Bob can put you in contact with one of the long-standing committee members.
And, last but not least, can you think of anything else which the WHO has yet to research? Especially if it relates to villages in the Wolds other than Wymeswold!

For further information – without making any commitment! – please email bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk


RAF Wymeswold post-WWII

A detailed history of activities at Wymeswold airfield in the 1950s and 1960s has been prepared by Richard Knight, who grew up at the western end of the runways.

Most of the information is about the activities of the RAF and Fields Aircraft Services, although there is also lots of previously-unseen photographs taken in the winter of 1944 and during the build up to D-Day, and photographs taken during public open days.

RAF Wymeswold cover

In total there is about 40,000 words and almost 400 photographs. And this is available as a free PDF: www.hoap.co.uk/who/raf_wymeswold.pdf Note this is about 97 Mbytes so may be slow to download.


F.W. Burbidge (1847–1905)

F.W. Burbidge was once a well-known English horticultural writer, botanical artist and plant explorer. He was born in Wymeswold. As 'T. Burbidge'…

See Charles Nelson's article in Huntia: 'F. W. Burbidge: What were his forenames?' (Sadly FWB's date of birth is wrong in the title, though clearly stated as 1847 in the text.)

Burbidge also climbed mountains in his quest for plants – but should not to be confused with Charles Packe (1826–96) who also combined mountaineering and botany as his passions. Scroll down this page to 'Packe of the Pyrennes'. Plausibly Charles Packe was a childhood influence on Burbidge.


Ivor Brown (1927–2005)

Ivor Brown after winning the 1963 AH Trophy.

Speaking of childhood influences, Jim Tibbetts of Stourbridge emailed recently 'Ivor Brown was my boyhood hero at my local Cradley Heath speedway track, having seen him win the first speedway race that I ever saw, way back in August 1963.'

Jim says 'Ivor was a fabulous and fearless rider who was rarely beaten at the Dudley Wood Stadium and was very unfortunate to receive spinal injuries in June 1965 at the prestigious Wimbledon Internationale, when he was finally recognised for his talent and mixing-it with the world's top riders and averaging a very respectable 10 points per match – outscoring a lot of the league's best riders.'

According to Ivor's Wikipedia page his track nickname was 'Hovis, the Brown Bomber'. (Clearly a blend of Ivor's day job and the fighting name of the boxer Joe Lewis.)

Jim has scanned about 50 photographs of Ivor from speedway magazines of the relevant era and I have put together a preliminary PDF.

Do any WHO members have any memories of Ivor in his racing days? Any relevant photos or 'memorabilia' which could be scanned or photographed? Apparently his winnings paid for the first two lorries which formed the start of his haulage business. Does anyone have any photos or information about this side of Ivor and Sandra's life?

If you know anyone who might have more information then please pass on the link to this page or let me have their contact details. Either email bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk or phone me on 01509 881342.


Wymeswold people with Wikipedia entries

My surprise at finding Wikipedia pages for Ivor Brown and F.W. Burbidge piqued my interest. Seems there are more people with Wymeswold connections listed on Wikipedia:
  • Unsurprisingly Henry Alford (7 October 1810 – 12 January 1871) is listed as an English churchman, theologian, textual critic, scholar, poet, hymnodist, and writer. His ieighteen-year tenure of the vicarage of Wymeswold commenced in 1835.
  • John Joseph Briggs (6 March 1819 – 23 March 1876), naturalist and topographer went to the boarding school of Thomas Rossell Potter (see below) from 1828.
  • John Barret (1631–1713) was an English Presbyterian cleric and a religious writer prominent in the controversies of his time. He wasordained at Wymeswold, Leicestershire by the Wirksworth classis in 1652.
  • Thomas Green (circa 1738 – 2 June 1788) was a pioneering geologist born in Wymeswold and educated at the precursor to Loughborough Grammar School. He was appointed Woodwardian Professor of Geology at Cambridge in 1778.
  • Hugh Moises (9 April 1722 – 5 July 1806 Newcstle) was a noted English schoolmaster. He was the son of Edward Moises who was vicar of Wymeswold at the time.
  • Thomas Rossell Potter (7 January 1799 –19 April 1873) is remembered for his publications about the history and geology of Leicestershire. When he was fifteen his parents moved to Wymeswold, where he resided until his death.
  • John Shaw (15 August 1957 – 25 November 2013) was a radio broadcaster, specialising in music and sports commentating. He was compared to the broadcaster John Peel in his musical eclecticism and breadth of knowledge.
  • William Arnold Sime CMG MBE QC died 5 May 1983 in Wymeswold. He was a South African-born English barrister and judge who also played first-class cricket.
  • Edwin James Wood (born 25 November 1868 in Wymeswold) was an English cricketer, mostly playing as a wicket-keeper for Leicestershire.
      'Wood's only first-class appearance came during the 1907 season, against Surrey. He was described in a local Leicester newspaper as "a Melton player". From the tailend, he scored a single run in the first innings in which he batted and a duck in the second innings; he took two catches and made one stumping, though he also dropped Ernie Hayes in Surrey's first innings when Hayes had made 18, and he went on to make 157, the biggest innings of the match.'
In addition seveal people who were stationed at RAF Wymeswold also have Wikipedia pages.


Greek copper alloy coin of Ptolemy VI found near Wymeswold

How many Egyptian coins have you spotted while walking footpaths around Wymeswold? How many Egyptian coins minted about 2,180 years ago with two eagles representing Ptolemy VI and his brother? If you've not found one then you're not looking hard enough! One turned up fairly recently (and it was while walking, not by a metal detectorist) and details, with a photo, have been entered on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database: finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/960604

Thanks to the finder, a mutual friend and Wendy Scott at the Portable Antiquities Scheme for all their assistance.

The big question is why did a Ptolemic Egyptian coin get lost near Wymeswold? No clear answers. But Wendy says she's seen several others from Leicestershire, though none close to the Wolds.


Walton on the Wolds records

Thanks to Louise and Bob Jackson and Joan Shaw the minutes of Walton on the Wolds Parish Vestry meetings from March 1873 to November 1894 and the minutes of Parish Meetings between December 1894 and March 1983 have been summarised.

These and other historic documents held by Walton on the Wolds Parish Clerk have recently been deposited with the Record Office for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (accession number DE9796). Click here for summaries of all the documents deposited.

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 2019

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.

15th January  annual dinner and AGM
19th FebruaryAnne Speight The Paget family and Nanpantan Hall
19th MarchDouglas Clinton The Anglo-Saxon monastery at Breedon on the Hill
16th AprilEddie Smallwood The role of the barber surgeon in the Wars of the Roses
21st MayKatie Bridger Power in the landscape: the families of Grey and Hastings in Leicestershire
18th June
Bob Trubshaw Anglo-Saxon and Romanesque Carvings of Leicestershire and Rutland
16th JulyDouglas Clinton field trip: Breedon on the Hill church
meet 7.00 at the church
20th Augustinformal social evening The Windmill, Brook Street, about 8 p.m.
17th SeptemberMichèle Sanders Animal magic and the Anglo-Saxon horse burials at Broughton Lodge
15th OctoberMel Wilson A soldier and his wife
19th NovemberMike Hawkes Churches in Leicestershire: is the writing on the wall?
[a pioneering study of medieval graffiti]
10th DecemberJulie Ede Wallis Simpson
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 Pyrennes

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)