William White’s History, Gazetteer and Directory of Leicestershire was published in Sheffield in 1846 at 12s. for subscribers or 13s. 6d. if they wanted the calfskin binding and the map. Its pages contain a snapshot of the village at this, almost mid-century, point. The principal inhabitants are listed in alphabetical order with their occupations and there is brief outline of the main attractions of the village for travellers.
The village was said to be situated in a pleasant valley near to the Leicester and Welford road. The waters of the Shearsby Spa at the Baths Inn were claimed to be long held in repute for their medicinal properties, but the proportions of soda, sulphate of magnesia, lime, atmospheric air and other traces are listed for those in doubt.
The church (St. Mary Magdalen) was described as a long, low and ancient structure, though the tower, with its four bells, had been rebuilt in 1789.
Concern for the poor of the village had been expressed by the provision of four small tenements purchased from the estates of Simon Ward and John Seale, with £60 set aside for distributions of bread. The tenements were let out and raised £4. 10s. a year. An Oddfellows Lodge meeting in the New Inn ran 13 acres of garden allotments, easing pressure on the otherwise landless poor.
The lands of the chapelry had been enclosed in 1773, with current Rector, Rev. James Tindall, enjoying the proceeds of 212 acres in Shearsby. The Duke of Rutland, as Lord of the Manor of Knaptoft, owned some of the land, but the majority was shared between W.K and T.Walker, William Reeve and William Ward.
Tenant farmers included Thomas Blockley, Thomas Brown, John Freer, John Goode, Richard Messenger, C. Palmer and Christina Walker. The carriers, Thomas Bottrill and Ann Robinson, made trips to Leicester on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Education was looked after by schoolmistress Mary Green, schoolmaster William Simons and Miss Sarah Weston, who ran a boarding school.
Of the inns and taverns there was Henry Morris, also a cattle dealer, at the Old Crown; William Reeve at The Baths; Robert Burdett farmed and looked after the New Inn; and Richard Elliott Bottrill, (himself a tallow chandler) at the Chandler’s Arms.
Other occupations were represented by Mary Ann Brown, milliner; Laxton Darnell, miller and baker; Edward Harris, blacksmith; Richard Heighton, wheelwright; John Herbert, bricklayer; George Kampin, carpenter; John and Thomas Read, fellmongers; Moore Smart, framework knitter; John Williams, shopkeeper; John Elliott and William Vyce were butchers; Thomas Bonser and Joseph Moore were tailors; Thomas Archer, Thomas Hunt and Henry Robinson the shoemakers and the two cowkeepers were Robert Chance and William Elliott.
White, William (1846) History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Leicestershire, and the Small County of Rutland.. Sheffield, Robert Leader. [Online] https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=c2MRAQAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false Accessed 27 February 2017
Featured image: Ordnance Survey 1835 [online] http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~249280~5516242:63–Lutterworth,-Leicester,-SE-Quad?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:leicester;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=8&trs=24
Does the 1841 census for the village give any clues about where the people mentioned here lived?