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Lutterworth, Leicestershire

Historical Description

Lutterworth, a small market and union town and a parish in Leicestershire. The town stands on a declivity adjoining the river Swift, 2½ miles E of Watling Street at the boundary with Warwickshire, 8½ SE of Ullesthorpe station on the Leicester and Rugby section of the M.R., and 8½ NNE of Rugby; is noted as the place where Wycliffe lived and ministered; consists of regular streets, paved and clean; has in recent years undergone great improvement; is a seat of petty sessions and head of a county court district; and has a head post office, a bank, a police station, some good inns, and a town-hall and corn exchange. The town-hall and corn exchange stands in High Street, was erected in 1886, is a neat stuccoed brick structure with a tetrastyle Ionic portico, is used for the petty sessions, serves as a poultry and butter market, and is occasionally used for public meetings, concerts, and exhibitions. The extension (1894) of the M.S. & L.E. to London passes through Lutterworth. The church is a fine and ancient building of stone in the Early Decorated style; consists of chancel, nave, aisles, S porch, and lofty western tower; and contains some ancient and interesting tombs and brasses, a beautiful marble memorial to Wycliffe executed by Sir Eichard Westmacott, E.A., and an ancient oak pulpit which is in part that used by the great reformer, his portrait, and a remnant of a vestment which is said to have been worn by him. It was restored in 1867-69 under the care of the late Sir G. Gilbert Scott, E.A., and the work was completed in 1880 at a total cost of about £8000. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Peterborough; net value, £450 with residence, in the gift of the Crown. There are Baptist, Congregational, and Wesleyan chapels, a Roman Catholic school chapel, and a Salvation Army barracks. The market day is Thursday, and there are cattle fairs on the first Thursday after 1 April, Holy Thursday, and the first Thursday after 15 Sept., a statute or hiring fair on the Friday after 16 Sept., and a sheep fair and statute fair combined on the Thursday after Old Michaelmas Day and the two succeeding Thursdays. The town lands, which comprise 59 acres with several tenements, produce an income of about £800 a year, and there are several ancient and valuable educational endowments which are administered by a board of governors under a scheme of the Endowed School Commissioners formed in 1874. Acreage of the parish, 2589; population, 1800. The manor belonged to the De Verduns, and passed to the Crown during the reigns of Mary and Elizabeth. In the time of Charles I. it was granted to the City of London, and through Basil Feilding (1629) to the Earl of Denbigh. An hospital was founded about 1200 by Eoesia de Verdun, and became a seat of the Suckburghs.

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

Administration

The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyLeicestershire 
Ecclesiastical parishLutterworth St. Mary 
HundredGuthlaxton 
Poor Law unionLutterworth 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.


Church Records

The parish registers date from the year 1653 and are in good condition.

Findmypast, in association with the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland, have the following parish records online for Lutterworth:

BaptismsBannsMarriagesBurials
1660-19161653-19401659-19311653-1986

Churches

The church of St. Mary the Virgin is a large and handsome building of stone, in the Early Decorated style, consisting of chancel, clerestoried nave of five bays, aisles, south porch and a lofty western tower, with crocketed pinnacles and containing 6 bells, six of which are dated respectively 1705, 1640, 1814, 1640, 1828, 1812, and in 1894 two new bells were added by T. F. Blackwell esq, J.P. and the whole tuned, rehung and refitted; the spire, 47 feet in height, was blown down in 1703 and the present parapet and pinnacles were erected subsequently; the chancel retains a priest's door, aumbry and piscina, and in the chancel arch is a hagioscope: the aisles were built in the middle of the 14th century, and at the east end of the south aisle is a Decorated piscina: over the chancel arch is a singular painting, representing the "General Resurrection," brought to light during the restoration, and over the north door are three life-size figures, said to represent Richard II. Anne his wife and John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the friend and patron of John Wycliffe, the great reformer, who was rector here from 1374 to 1384, and whose portrait is preserved in the church, together with the remnant of a cope supposed to have been his; he died 31 Dec. 1384, and was here buried, but in 1428, in pursuance of a decree of the Council of Constance in 1415, his remains were exhumed, burnt, and the ashes cast into the Swift: in the church is a memorial to Wycliffe, consisting of an alto-relievo in white marble, executed by Sir Richard Westmacott R.A.: the ancient hexagonal oak pulpit still in use in the church is in part that from which Wycliffe preached, and is principally constructed of thick oak boards of Early Perpendicular design, beautifully carved: there is an altar tomb with recumbent effigies in alabaster to John Fielding and Joan his wife, ancestors of the Fieldings, Barons Fielding and Earls of Denbigh: there are also brasses with similar effigies incised and dated 1446 and 1458; amongst the modern monuments is a tablet to the Right Rev. and Hon. Henry Ryder D.D. Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry (1824-36) and rector here from 1801 to 1814: there are several memorial windows: the organ was erected in 1886, and in 1898 a new chalice, valued at £40, was provided; the church was restored from designs by Sir Gilbert Scott R.A. in 1867-9 and completed in 1880, and in 1898 the belfry windows were renewed: a new heating apparatus was installed in 1928: there are 750 sittings.

The Roman Catholic church, Bitteswell road, built in 1881, is dedicated to Our Lady of Victories and St. Alphonsus, and will seat about 150 persons; the site was presented by the 8th Earl of Denbigh; the building includes a presbytery, and there is an attached cemetery.

There is a Congregational chapel, founded in 1639 and restored in 1777, with 400 sittings.

There is a Particular Baptist chapel, built in 1839.

The Wycliffe Memorial Wesleyan chapel, a building of brick and stone, in the Gothic style, was erected in 1905, and seats 270 persons.


Civil Registration

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


Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Lutterworth from the following:


Land and Property

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


Maps

Online maps of Lutterworth 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:

DistrictHarborough
CountyLeicestershire
RegionEast Midlands
CountryEngland
Postal districtLE17
Post TownLutterworth