Month: November 2017

Scheuesby, 13 October 1311: Robert Hychekok’ and the tenements

Two weeks from St. Michael’s Day, in the fifth year of Edward II [13 October 1311] a Plea of Covenant was heard at Westminster to decide upon the ownership of some land in Scheuesby [Shearsby]. The result was that Robert Hychekok’ acknowledged the tenements [land holdings] to be the right of Robert de Brantyngthorp’ [Bruntingthorpe] and his heirs as tenants. For this Robert Hychekok’ was given 40 shillings of silver. The land amounted to 1 acre, 1 rood and a fourth part of 1 virgate of land and a moiety [one half] of 1 messuage [a dwelling with any outbuildings and adjacent land].

CP 25/1/124/47, number 63

The record of land transactions like this can provide insights into who lived in an area and their relationships with others. Although the documents use words that hint of conflict ‘querent’ [a complainant or plaintiff: OED], deforciant [one who ‘deforces’ another or keeps him wrongly out of possession of an estate: OED], in fact most of the agreements had already been resolved to mutual benefit. Nor, though these records are known as the Feet of Fines, is any money handed over the result of punishment against one of the parties. Rather they are only ‘fines’ in the modern-English sense of being finished. Each agreement was written out three times and cut in such a way that putting two halves together would authenticate them as originals. Each party would take their parts home with them, with the remaing part, at the foot of the document, remaining with the authorities in case of any further dispute.

Transcriptions of the Feet of Fines can be found on the Medieval English Genealogy website, and images of the documents can be found on the University of Houston Law Center’s Anglo-American Legal Tradition site

Earlier that year, the same Robert de Brantyngthorp’ had settled an agreement for a similar sized land holding with Ranulph Hutte and Amice, his wife, though this had cost him only 10 pounds sterling.

CP 25/1/124/47, number 69

In April 1319 Roger le Longe, the chaplain of Shearsby, had his rights to some land in Whetstone acknowledged by Robert Pollard.

CP 25/1/124/52, number 178

In November 1315 ownership of a larger tract, involving 12 messuages, 16 virgates and 1 acre of land worth 6 shillings and 3 pence of rent and a rent of 2 grains of pepper and 1 rose flower was resolved between William de Charneles and Joan, his wife and Robert de Sadyngton’ and Robert de Charneles.

CP 25/1/124/49, number 117


Shearsby, 12 July 1866: Church bells rung for Woolmer’s return

Leicester Chronicle: A farmer named Samuel Palmer Woolmer, of Shearsby, who was convicted of shooting a gamekeeper on the Stanford Hall estate, at Leicestershire Midsummer Assizes, last year, and sentenced to twelve months hard labour, returned home on Thursday week his term of imprisonment having expired. On Woolmer’s arrival, the bells of the parish church were rung, and kept ringing until nearly midnight, to the great annoyance (we are told) of the respectable inhabitants in the neighbourhood.

The Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury (Leicester, England), Saturday, July 21, 1866;

The Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury (Leicester, England), Saturday, July 22, 1865: MIDSUMMER ASSIZES

The Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury (Leicester, England), Saturday, April 01, 1865; pg. 3

The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, March 09, 1861; pg. 5 [A separete incident involving Woolmer and John Corbett, a cattle dealing from Oxfordshire, convicted of assault on Woolmer].

Leicestershire, 1741: Thomas Badeslade’s map

When the first edition of Thomas Badeslade’s map book, ‘Chorographia Britanniae‘ came out in 1741 it could claim to be the first in pocket book format. Badeslade’s map making interests had developed while working as a surveyor and engineer on waterway schemes, particularly around the Fens, to the East of the county. He was active in this area from 1719 to his death in 1745.

The first edition of the Leicestershire map plotted the county town and its ring of surrounding market towns. In the second edition published later the same year added a number of villages, partly to help the traveller orient themselves. So Shearsby appears at the head of a stream that flows into the Sence and later the Soar rivers.

The only roads marked south out of Leicester were the old Roman Fosse Road, running parallel to the Soar for a while and the route (now the A6) down through Oadby and Kibworth, on to Harborough, which dates back to 1726, built as the main road linking London and Scotland.


A Map of Leicester Shire : North from London / T. Badeslade delin. ; W. H. Toms sculpt. | Badeslade, Thomas (1718-1750). Cartographe and Toms, William Henry (17..-17..). Graveur [Online: accessed 21/09/2017] Public Domain Marked

Baum, R.K. (1972) Antique maps of Leicestershire. Loughborough, The Book House; Syston, De Elarge.

Somme, 1 July 1916: Private Horace Alfred Hensman

Horace Alfred Hensman was born on 26 July 1896 in lower Thrift Street, Northampton. He was the eldest son of Alfred Hensman and his wife Angelina Jane Jenkins. Alfred had been born in Ecton, Northants. and he and Angelina probably met when both working as attendants at the Northampton Lunatic Asylum. Horace had a younger brother, Percy, who also enlisted (underage) in the army in October 1915. He stated that his next of kin was Lena Hensman, then keeping the Old Crown Inn, Shearsby. Both Horace’s sister Lena, and father, Alfred are buried in the Shearsby churchyard.

Horace served in the 7th Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment as a private. His service number was 13015. He died on the first day of the first battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916, a few days short of his 20th birthday. He is buried in the Dantzig British Cemetery at Mametz, Grave III, D.5.


“England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008,” database, FamilySearch ( : 1 October 2014), Horace Alfred H Hensman, 1896; from “England & Wales Births, 1837-2006,” database, findmypast ( : 2012); citing Birth Registration, Northampton, Northamptonshire, England, citing General Register Office, Southport, England.

SCHULTKA, H., & JENKINS, R. P. (2007). Lost lives: the war dead of Countesthorpe, Kilby, Peatling Magna, Peatling Parva and Shearsby, 1914-1918 and 1939-1945. [Countesthorpe], Henritetta Schultka.

Private H.A. Hensman. Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Featured Image: Mametz [Somme] : [photographie de presse] / [Agence Rol] [public domain]


Taiping, Malaysia, 10 December 1941: Private Maurice A. Garner

Private Maurice Arthur Garner served in the 1st Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment and died, aged 22, in Taiping, Malaysia on 10 December 1941. He was the son of Ernest and Evelyn Garner, who then lived in Leicester. His mother had been born as Evelyn Kempin in Shearsby in 1883. She was the daughter of Richard and Ann Kempin, both born in Shearsby.

Private Garner died two days into the Malaysia Campaign attempting to hold back the Japanese advance on Singapore.

On the grave of Maurice Garner in Taiping is written the inscription: “Thoughts of you ever near, as we loved you so we miss you, as it dawns another year”. Maurice is also remembered on his parent’s grave in Shearsby, with the words: “sadly missed”.


Maurice Garner, Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Commemorative Certificate for Private Garner.

SCHULTKA, H., & JENKINS, R. P. (2007). Lost lives: the war dead of Countesthorpe, Kilby, Peatling Magna, Peatling Parva and Shearsby, 1914-1918 and 1939-1945. [Countesthorpe], Henritetta Schultka.

Evelyn Kempin in the 1901 Census. [online] “England and Wales Census, 1901,” database, FamilySearch ( : 8 April 2016), Evelyn A M Kempin in household of Richard E Kempin, Shearsby, Leicestershire, England; from “1901 England, Scotland and Wales census,” database and images, findmypast ( : n.d.); citing Lutterworth subdistrict, PRO RG 13, The National Archives, Kew, Surrey.