Billesdon, a small town and parish in Leicestershire. The town lies 3½ miles N E of the Via Devana, 4½ from Tilton station on the G.N. and L. & N.W. Joint railway, and 8½ E by S of Leicester. The parish includes the chapelries of Goad by and Rolleston, and has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Leicester. Area, 2150 acres; population of the civil parish, 754; of the ecclesiastical, with Goadby and Rolleston, 904. Formerly a market-town, Billesdon held three fairs annually, but the market lias become extinct, and only one fair, chiefly for cattle, is held—on the first Monday in October. An ancient market-cross still stands in the old market-place. The soil is stiff, heavy clay, formerly used in the making of earthenware, and now used for making bricks and tiles. A Roman camp of 18 acres, with ditcli and rampart, occurs at Billesdon-Coplow; was the site of a Roman temple, and commands a fine view. The living is a vicarage, including the perpetual curacies of Goadby and Rolleston, in the diocese of Peterborough; gross joint yearly value, £279 with residence. The church is an ancient building of stone in the Early English style, has a western tower surmounted by a lofty spire, and was restored in 1865. It is dedicated to St John the Baptist. There are Baptist and Wesleyan chapels, almshouses, and a workhouse, with accommodation for 100 inmates. Villiers, first Duke of Buckingham, is said to have received his early education here. The Coplow, a fine country seat, stands on a height about a mile N of the village, and is surrounded by beautiful woods and grounds.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Billesdon St. John the Baptist|
|Poor Law union||Billesdon|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The parish register dates from the year 1579.
Findmypast, in association with the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland, have the following parish records online for Billesdon:
Church of England
St. John the Baptist (parish church)
The church of St. John the Baptist is an ancient building of stone in the Early English style, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, south porch and a western tower, with lofty spire, containing 5 bells: there is a memorial window, erected in 1871, to Jane Elizabeth Scholefield and to William Franks esq.; the west window is also stained and there is another in the baptistery, erected with money collected by the children of the parish in 1903: the north-west window in the chancel is in memory of Dr. E. and Mrs. Williams (d. 1920): in the chancel is a memorial to Edward Thomas D.D. 46 years vicar, d. Dec. 1836, and to Katherine, his wife, d. Dec. 1843: the carved rood screen, designed by Mr. T. B. Carter, architect, was erected by the Rev. C. R. Fowke, who also gave the choir stalls: the church was thoroughly restored in 1865, and affords 250 sittings: new fencing and gates were erected around the churchyard in 1898.
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Billesdon from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, 1848 (Billesdon (St. John the Baptist))
Land and Property
A full transcript of the Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Leicestershire is online.
Online maps of Billesdon are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Leicestershire newspapers online: