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Coordinates: 52°30'16?N 1°00'01?W? / ?52.504528, -1.000130 Gumley is a village in Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom. The closest town is Market Harborough.

The name Gumley is a contraction of the Anglo-Saxon “Gutmundesleah” – meaning Godmund’s clearing.

[edit] History

The village was mentioned in the historic documents first in 749. King Aethelbald of Mercia (r.716-757) held a synod at Gumley in that year, at the instigation of Pope Boniface, to answer accusations that he had been oppressing churches and monasteries. The outcome was that Aethelbald released the Church from all public burdens except the three common burdens of providing military service, and building and repairing bridges and fortresses. These obligations arguably initiated changes in the land tenurial system of England and eventually led to serfdom.

King Offa visited Gumley in 772 and 779.

After the Norman Conquest Gumley was given to Countess Judith, the Conqueror’s niece. At that time there were 20 inhabitants. In the medieval period there were dwellings below the village towards Thornhill Farm, of which little remains apart from some surface irregularities and cobbles on the footpath passing by Too Cottage. There were also houses by the ‘holloways’ in Crow Spinney beside the parish church.

Gumley’s population peaked in 1821 when 281 residents were engaged working the land as well as making lace and stockings. Now there are about 105 people on the electoral roll.

Because Gumley has been surrounded by pasture predominantly, the medieval ridge and furrow method of working the land is particularly well preserved and its fields are subject to preservation orders.

St Helens church mostly dates from the 14th century with later additions. The tenor bell was cast around 1520. The interior of the church was restored in the Victorian era in 1874 and is a good example of the Decorative style. There is a service every Sunday with a family service once a month.

[edit] Gumley Hall

Gumley Hall was built by Joseph Cradock, the young heir of a wealthy Leicester family, in 1764. The Hall stood by the church overlooking the lake. The stable block, with its Italianate tower, was added later and redeveloped in the 1990’s. The Murray-Smiths, a publishing family, bought Gumley Hall in 1898.

During the Second World War the Hall was used to train resistance fighters and Special Operations Executive and afterwards Leonard Cheshire was given the use of the Hall for those servicemen returning homeless after demobilisation. The Hall became increasingly dilapidated and was demolished in 1964.

At the Engine House gas was manufactured for the Hall. There was a Post Office and part of the bakery remains as outbuildings of Westfield. The Butchers shop was at the ‘Js’ where it was preserved as a museum until recently. There were two public houses in the 1840s, the Hartopp Arms and the Bluebell, which later became ‘The Bell.’ Only two of seven farms in Gumley are left.

Grade 2 listed structures in the village include Hall Farm, Rose Cottage and Fenleigh Cottage, Stone House, Leys Farm and the village pump. The Motte Castle, a tree ringed mound to the west of Gumley is a Scheduled Monument.

The Village Hall was opened in 1969 on the site of Gumley’s former school, which closed in 1933. It is run as a charitable trust and has a small committee open to anyone from the village who cares to join. There is a fish and chips evening in February and a summer barbecue in August as well as other social events.

Gumley Women’s Institute was founded in 1918 and is one of the oldest in the whole country. Meetings are still held most months in the Village Hall.

The Fernie Hunt, founded in 1919, traditionally holds its opening meet in Gumley in October.

Gumley has a village cricket team.

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(Source: Wikipedia)
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