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Castle Donington, Leicestershire

Historical Description

Castle-Donington, a town and a parish in Leicestershire. The town stands near the river Trent, and has a station on the M.R., is 9 miles SE from Derby, and 7½ NW by N of Loughborough. It was known at Domesday as Dunitone; it takes the first part of its present name from an old castle, now a fragment, said to have belonged to John of Gaunt; and it contains vestiges of a monastery foTinded in the time of Henry II. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Derby. Acreage, 3840; population, 2591. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Peterborough; net yearly value, £205 with residence, in the gift of Lord Donington. The church is very old, has a large chancel, with fine east window, and a handsome spire 180 feet high, and contains a double canopied brass of 1458, and some old effigies. There are Baptist, Congregational, and Wesleyan chapels, and the Society of Friends have a meeting-house. The town possesses a large silk factory, and malting, tanning, plaster making, and brick making are also carried on. Other industries are basket making, framework knitting, and the manufacture of hosiery. The manor belonged formerly to the Plantagenets and the Huntingdons, and belongs now to Earl Cowper. Donington Park, a mile west of the town, is a grand edifice in a mixed style of Pointed and Tudor by Wilkins, has picturesque grounds of 400 acres, and contains an extensive library and a large collection of valuable paintings.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 1539, and is in good condition.


Church of England

St. Edward (parish church)

The church of St. Edward (held by some to be that of St. Luke), supposed to have been built by Henry Laci, Earl of Lincoln, about 1278, is an edifice of stone, principally in the Early English style, and consists of chancel, nave of four bays, with clerestory, aisles, south porch and an embattled western tower, with spire 157 feet high, and containing 6 bells, hung in 1880, and rehung in 1923: a clock, with chimes, was erected in 1880: the tower and spire were repaired in 1888, and the spire was again repaired in 1923, when a new weathercock was also presented by Maj. John Dalby: the piers on the south side are circular with octagonal capitals, two of which exhibit the dog-tooth ornament; the piers on the north side ara octagonal throughout: in the chancel are three stalls and a piscina, and in the Henry chapel, at the east end of the south aisle, are two stalls and a piscina: the font is octagonal and the sides are relieved with shields, bearing roses and crosses alternately: on the exterior of the south aisle are two niches with canopies: in 1876-77 the church, with the exception of the chancel, was restored, reseated, the galleries removed, and the organ moved to the north aisle, at a cost of £3,847: in the course of the restoration in 1876, a hagioscope was discovered on the north side of the Henry chapel, and the entrance to the rood loft on the south side of the Mary chapel (at the east end of the north aisle) was reopened, five stone steps and an arch way being exposed: on the south wall of the chancel is a low side window: in 1901 the chancel was restored and a stained east window erected, in memory of Ann Bakewell, by the Ven. F. B. Sowter M.A, canon of Salisbury and late archdeacon of Dorset: an alabaster pulpit, largely made out of family tombstones of the 15th century taken from the floor of the church at its restoration in 1875-76, was presented in 1877 by the Rev. R. Dalby, in memory of his uncle, the Rev. John Dalby, vicar of this parish from 1807 to 1852: the lectern, presented in 1876 by Jane M. Macnabb, is a memorial to Francis, 2nd Earl of Moira, 1st Marquess of Hastings, Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief in India 1815-1822, d. August 24, 1827, and to Flora Mure Campbell, Countess of Loudoun, his wife, d. Jan. 9, 1840; there is also a tablet, erected by Jane M. Macnabb and Mabel E. Henry in 1876, in memory of Lady Flora Elizabeth Hastings, lady of the bedchamber to H.R.H. the Duchess of Kent, who died at Buckingham Palace, London, July 5, 1839, and to her last surviving sister, Lady Selina Constance Henry, who died at Cheltenham 8 Nov. 1867: in 1894 a marble tablet was erected to Lady Egidia Sophia Frederica Christian Bawdon-Hastings, 2nd daughter of Lord Donington, who died at Pau 6th March, 1892: in the chancel are other monuments and memorials of the Hastings and Dalby families, and on the south wall is a braes tablet inscribed to William Fox, son and heir of Simon Fox and Helen his wife, both buried here the 20th July, 1585, and to Thomas Fox, son and heir of William Fox and Elizabeth his wife, buried 24 April, 1644; and Elizabeth, d. 21 Feb. 1635: on the north side of the chancel is a recumbent effigy of stone, probably representing a prior of the Augustinian priory of Norton, near Runcorn, in Cheshire, to which the patronage of this living belonged in the Middle Ages: in the Henry chapel is an altar tomb with a splendid brass, much mutilated, with partial inscription to Robert de Staunton (an ancestor of Earl Ferrers), ob. 1400, and Agnes his wife, ob. 18 July, 1458: in the Mary chapel is an altar tomb of alabaster, with recumbent effigies of a knight in armour and a lady, said to commemorate Sir Robert Hesilrige and Elenora, his wife, whose son Thomas Hesilrige, conjointly with Harold Staunton, founded a chantry here in 1509, a quaint gable of which stood until recently in the churchyard, opposite the church porch: there are several modern stained windows including memorials: the church plate was the gift of Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, in the year 1732: the four altar cloths were the gifts of the late Mrs. Dalby Dalby, Miss Bourne, Miss Potts and one other: there are 600 sittings, of which 200 are free.

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Land and Property

A full transcript of the Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Leicestershire is online.


Online maps of Castle Donington are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Leicestershire newspapers online:

DistrictNorth West Leicestershire
RegionEast Midlands
Postal districtDE74
Post TownDerby