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Shepshed CharnwoodRoad
Shepshed CharnwoodRoad
  About your Area
Shepshed (Leicestershire)

Shepshed shown within Leicestershire
Population Approx. 14,000
OS grid reference SK475195
District Charnwood
Shire county Leicestershire
Region East Midlands
Constituent country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Loughborough
Postcode district LE12
Dialling code 01509
Police Leicestershire
Fire Leicestershire
Ambulance East Midlands
European Parliament East Midlands
UK Parliament Loughborough
List of places: UKEnglandLeicestershire

Coordinates: 52°46'16?N 1°17'42?W? / ?52.7711, -1.2951

Shepshed, often known until 1888 as Sheepshed[1], (also Sheepshead - a name derived from the village being heavily involved in the wool industry) is a town in Leicestershire, England with a population of around 14,000 people. It is in the Charnwood borough. The town is twinned with the Parisian suburb of Domont.


[edit] History

[edit] Origins

The town originally grew as a centre for the wool trade. However, since the construction of the M1 motorway nearby, it has become a dormitory town for Loughborough, Leicester, Derby and Nottingham. It was officially a village until recently[when?], and claimed to be Britain's largest, and also claimed to have the highest number of pubs per head of population in the country. Now, however, it is home to only 15 public houses.

There has been much controversy about the origin of the name of the town. The earliest form is Scepeshefde Regis as mentioned in the Domesday Book, which means "Hill where sheep graze", but since then there have been many changes until the present form, Shepshed, was adopted in 1888. The addition of the suffix 'Regis' signifies that there was once a royal lodge in the area.

Very little information about the settlement on the site of Shepshed appears before the Domesday Book local history books claim that Shepshed has two of the oldest roads in the country, Ring Fence and Sullington Road, the latter being an ancient British track named after the goddess Solina. However, succeeding centuries provide an abundance of historical material. The prosperity of medieval Shepshed was based on the wool industry and "Well Yard" on Forest Street may well be a corruption of "Wool Yard", where Bradford wool merchants congregated to buy from local inhabitants. In addition, there is considerable evidence to suggest that a weekly market was held at least, until the 14th Century.

St Botolph's parish church
St Botolph's parish church

The 11th century Parish Church of St. Botolph(the westernmost parish church in England to bear the name) and its land the Oakley Wood was originally given to Odo of Bayeaux brother of William the Conqueror after the Norman Conquest in 1066. The ownership of the estate reverted to the crown a number of times including in 1534, a wood carving exists in the church depicting a visit of Queen Elizabeth I. It is at present unclear if the queen ever came to Shepshed itself, if she did so it would have been the furthest North she travelled in the country. The older part of the town is still centred around the church.

The church's original patronage came from Leicester Abbey, however between 1699 and 1856 the patrons were the Phillips family of Garendon Hall. This family has been Lords of the Manor since its purchase by Ambrose Phillips in 1683. Garendon Hall (now demolished) was built on the site of Garendon Abbey, a prominent Cistercian House which was built in 1133 and survived its dissolution by Henry VIII in 1536.

The 18th Century saw the enclosure of the common lands around Shepshed. There had been enclosures in the 15th and 16th Century, but towards the end of the 18th Century the last remaining common land, approximately 2000 acres (8 km²), was enclosed and divided among the principle commoners of the village. Much destruction was caused in the town when in 1753, 85 bays of buildings were destroyed by fire.

There were many changes during the 19th Century. Shepshed was briefly linked by canal to Loughborough, and to the coalmines of West Leicestershire when the Charnwood Navigation Canal was opened in 1798. However, their success was only short lived. By 1804 the canal had proved an uneconomic venture and was closed. The Charnwood Forest Railway (nicknamed The Bluebell Line on account of the proliferation of the flower) was opened in 1881, but regular passenger services ceased in 1931. However, the goods service did not close until 1963. Shepshed station no longer stands though part of the old line forms a bridleway between the town and Whitwick including the now redundant viaduct at Grace Dieu.

Shepshed had a riot on election day in 1868, two hundred policemen were brought into the village the next day and 33 arrests were made 13 being sentenced to 3 months imprisonment. Upon release they were met at the boundary by the local brass band and feted as heroes. On 31st December 1915 a German Zeppelin was seen over Shepshed.

[edit] Sport

The main sports team in the town and the surrounding borough is Shepshed Dynamo F.C., who play in the UniBond League and play at the Dovecote stadium on Butthole Lane off Loughborough Road. There are also 2 cricket teams Shepshed Town and Shepshed Messengers

  • Shepshed Town, established in 1869. Shepshed Town 1st XI play in Division 2 of the Everards Leicestershire County Cricket League whilst the club enters a 2nd XI in the 5th Division and 3rd and 4th XIs in Divisions M and R in the Gunn & Moore South Nottinghamshire League.
  • Shepshed Messengers play at Pudding Bag Lane off Ashby Road.

And also a rugby club

  • Shepshed R.F.C play at Hind leys college and reside at the pied bull inn, Belton street

[edit] Education

Hind Leys Community College educates pupils from 14 to 19, in the town, and includes students not only from Shepshed, but also from local towns and villages such as Loughborough, Kegworth, Belton, Castle Donington, Diseworth, Long Whatton, and Tonge.Pupils aged from 10 to 14 attend the recently rebuilt Shepshed High School. The High School and The Community College have a deserved reputation for their work on Inclusion. There are four primary schools in the town; Oxley, St Botolph's and Newcroft for pupils until the age of 10, and St Winefride's which caters for Roman Catholic pupils until the age of 11, after which they transfer to De Lisle Catholic Science College 11-19 school in Loughborough.

(Source: Wikipedia)
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