Loughborough (All Saints)

LOUGHBOROUGH (All Saints), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of West Goscote, N. division of the county of Leicester; containing, with the township of Knight-Thorpe and the hamlet of Woodthorpe, 10,170 inhabitants, of whom 10,025 are in the town, 11 miles (N.) from Leicester, and 109 (N. W.) from London. The name is probably derived from Lough, a lake, or large extent of meadow occasionally overflowed. The noble family of Despenser, anciently possessors of the manor, obtained the grant of a market and fairs for the town. In 1564, the assizes for the county were held here, on account of the plague raging at Leicester. From its size and population this may be considered the second town in the county, and it was so reckoned even three centuries ago; it is a great thoroughfare, being situated on the road from London to Manchester, and having a station on the Midland railway. The buildings in general are of brick, and the fronts of many of the houses are modern; plaster, made of alabaster obtained from the quarries of Burton-on-the-Wolds, is mostly used for the floors of the lodging-rooms. The streets are paved, and lighted with gas, and the inhabitants are well supplied with water. A neat theatre was built in 1822, and there is a subscription library.

The manufactures comprise hosiery of all kinds, cotton goods, and bobbin-net lace. The manufacture of what is termed patent Angola hosiery is confined chiefly to the town: for this article (originally invented by Mr. Richard Cartwright in 1792) a patent was obtained by the manufacturer, and the machinery is worked here under his licence, giving employment to nearly 2000 persons. Among the articles lately introduced, are, silk velvet, broad and narrow figured satin, and elastic velvet cuffs and trimmings. In the town and its vicinity are an iron-foundry, a celebrated bell-foundry, several dyeing establishments, more than a dozen malt-kilns, several corn-mills, and some quarries of slate. The Loughborough navigation, which communicates with the Leicester canal, the river Soar, and the lime-works at Barrowhill, has been very beneficial, and abundantly profitable to the proprietors; the shares, which originally cost but £120 each, have been sold for £4500, and are now worth £1000. The market is on Thursday; and fairs are held on Feb. 14th, March 28th, April 25th, Holy-Thursday, Aug. 12th, and Nov. 13th, for horses, cows, and sheep; March 24th and Sept. 25th, for cheese; and Nov. 14th, a statute-fair for hiring servants. An ancient cross and the old market-house having been removed, the market-place is now open. The town is under the superintendence of a constable, a headborough, meadow-reeves, and street-masters, all chosen at the court leet and court baron of the lord of the manor, which are held annually. The powers of the county debt-court of Loughborough, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Loughborough, and part of the districts of Barrow and Shardlow. Pettysessions are held here weekly; and the town is the place of election for the northern division of the shire.

The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £40. 16. 3.; net income, £1848; patrons, the Master and Fellows of Emmanuel College, Cambridge: the tithes were commuted for land in 1759. The church is a handsome edifice in the later English style, and has a fine tower, built by subscription, towards the close of the sixteenth century. In 1837, a second church was erected, at a cost of £5600, the principal contributors being the Rev. William Holme, B.D., rector, and Miss Tate, of Burleigh, aided by the Commissioners for building Churches. This was the last church built by the deceased eminent architect, Mr. Rickman; it is of the ornamental pointed style of an early date, and contains 1203 sittings, of which 300 are appropriated to the poor. Loughborough was at the same time, or soon after, divided into two distinct parishes for ecclesiastical purposes, two-fifths of the whole population being assigned to the new church of Emmanuel; the income, at the decease of the present rector, to be divided in the same proportion. The new living will be a rectory, with glebe-land, &c., attached, and will be in the patronage of the College. There are places of worship for General and Particular Baptists, Independents, Wesleyans, and Unitarians; and a Roman Catholic chapel in the Grecian style, with a residence for the minister, erected from a design by Mr. Flint, at an expense of £2200.

The free grammar school is endowed with part of the produce of some land originally bequeathed by Thomas Burton, in 1495, for the maintenance of a chantry in the parochial church, but appropriated at the Reformation to the endowment of a free school, the repair of public bridges in the parish, and the relief of the poor; the rental is about £1400 per annum. The school comprises a Latin school, a school in which reading, writing, and arithmetic are taught, a national school for boys, and a similar school for girls. Two exhibitions of £30 each, or one of £60, to Jesus College, Cambridge, are attached to the institution: the school-house is a handsome building with a convenient play-ground, erected in 1830, at an expense of £1500. A free school for girls was founded in 1683, by means of a bequest from Bartholomew Hickling, and endowed with land; and in 1717, Joseph Clarke bequeathed land, directing the proceeds to be applied to instruction. Various other benefactions have been made at different periods, for apprenticing children, and for the poor; from which about £290 per annum are expended. The union of Loughborough comprises 24 parishes or places, 13 of them in the county of Leicester, and 11 in that of Notts; and contains a population of 24,606. An urn of Roman construction was dug up a short time since by one of the monks of St. Bernard's convent, near the town, filled with Roman coins, some of which were of the year 244. Dr. Richard Pulteney, a distinguished physician and writer on botany, was born here in 1730. Alexander Wedderburn, an eminent lawyer, on his elevation to the bench as lord chief justice of the common pleas, was created Baron Loughborough, in 1780.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.