Burbage in Leicestershire

Burbage Village was a small farming community for many centuries, today it has become a suburb of Hinckley in Leicestershire

Church Street with St.Catherines Church in Burbage, Leicestershire
Church Street with St.Catherines Church in Burbage

Burbage, first known as Burbece, got its name from a species of thistle that grew locally next to a stream which was one of the sources of the River Soar.

1043 Leofric who was the Earl of Mercia and the husband of Lady Godiva, gave the villages of Burbage, Aston and Sketchley to Coventry Abbey.

1086 According to The Domesday Book, Burbage village had 20 people that held two smallholdings, along with two slaves and eight ploughs. There was 150 acres of land with two ploughs, a meadow and woodland. The value of Burbage village was £4.

1219 An Anglican parish church was built and dedicated to Saint Catherine.

1307 In the first year of King Edward II reign, he granted the lordship of Burbage to John Hastings.

1564 The population had grown to 57 families within Burbage and six at Sketchley.

1590 Earl Antony Grey of Kent was also the Rector of Burbage, he lived in a mansion that was an extravagant wooden building, built near to the church, which was called Burbage Hall. Earl Grey would live in the mansion until his death in 1643.

1608 Burbage was the birthplace of John Cook, the son of local farmers Isaac and Elizabeth Cook. He would become the Solicitor-General that lead the execution of King Charles I in 1649. John would be hanged, drawn and quartered for regicide in 1660.

1640s Being so close to Hinckley during the Civil War, Burbage experienced raiding parties from the local parliamentary garrisons in north Warwickshire.

1646 During June the constables of Burbage and Sketchley claimed that Captain Flower's troop from the Coventry garrison had taken 20 strikes of provinder that was worth £1, they were then sent to Stoney Stanton took advantage of free quarter worth £18.10. On another occasion Captain Willington's army from the Tamworth garrison took a mare, saddle and bridle from John Watkin, as well has a horse that was worth £5 from Thomas Bodington.

1801 Census there were 1,098 inhabitants.

Early 1800s The son of Admiral Hood (Samuel Hood, 1st Viscount Hood) lived in Burbage Lodge, at the time the Lodge was surrounded by a moat. Burbage Lodge would become Hog Hall, later it would become Hogue Hall.

1811 George Canning moved his family from Castle Hill House in nearby Hinckley, and took up residence in a house along Church Street, which would become the ‘Burbage Constitutional Club’ in later years. George Canning became the British Prime Minister in 1827, in the same year he would die making him the making him the shortest tenure of any Prime Minister of just 119 days in office.

1815 The Wesleyan Chapel and Independent Chapel were built.

1825 The National School was founded by Countess Grey.

1842 St. Catherine Church was rebuilt in a Gothic style with a square tower and a spire that is widely admired. The Diocesan Society along with subscriptions raised £2,500 for the work to be done. In a further 14 years, the first church organ would be installed.

1843 The Primitive Methodist Chapel was built.

1860 Burbage now had 1,805 inhabitants.

1887 To commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, a clock was installed in the tower of St. Catherine Church.

1900 The population exceeded 2,000 and the Burbage Cricket Club was formed.

27th March 1914 The Grand National horse race was won by Sunloch, the rider was Bill Smith. Charles Aldridge of Sketchley Hall became the owner of Sunloch, which not long afterwards the horse had a fall and broke his hind leg, this would seal Sunlochs fate. He was humanely killed and buried in a field along Green Lane in Sketchley.

26th February 1921 The Burbage war memorial was built along Church Street. The memorial was unveiled by Lieutenant Colonel C.H. Jones and dedicated by the Rector of Burbage, Reverend R.D.H. Pughe. The memorial consists of a soldier resting on his rifle on top of a square plinth, which came to a cost of £460.

1925 St. Catherine Church has a further 3 bells installed into the bell tower.

7th May 1941 The first time the Burbage Spitfire flew, it was paid for by generous donations made by the people of Burbage for the war effort.

14th January 1945 – An RAF Wellington Bomber crashed in a Burbage field, killing all the aircrew. A local farm worker living at Sketchley called ‘Raven’ said that he had heard a definite bump, but he had not seen anything and therefore he came to the conclusion that nothing untoward had happened. On the morning of the next day the farm worker went out into the fields and found the wrecked Wellington Bomber 200 yards from his home. The bodies of the six aircrew were recovered including the pilot who was a Canadian. The Wellington Bomber was found to have been attached to No.26 Operational Training Unit RAF based at a Buckinghamshire station.

24th October 1948 A plaque consisting of the local names lost in World War II was installed at the Burbage war memorial. The plaque was unveiled by Lord Cromwell and dedicated by the Rector of Burbage, Reverend R.D.H. Pughe.

1953 Burbage had grown to a population of 3,983.

1958 Due to the expansion of the Sketchley Hill housing estates, Burbage's population grew to 5,000.

11th March 1961 Sharrad Gilbert a decorated war hero who fought in the Boer War and First World War and the oldest resident of Burbage, fell in to his fire at home and died from severe burns.

16th September 1971 The Right Reverend Ronald Raph ‘the Bishop of Leicester’ made the order of substituting the church of St. Catherine at Burbage as the parish church of the parish of Aston Flamville, with Burbage in the diocese of Leicester and for altering the name of that benefice and parish. St. Peters Church at Aston Flamville became a chapel of ease to Burbage.

2001 The population of this once small village had risen to 14,324.

18th September 2014 A Green Plaque was unveiled at The Sycamores Inn along Windsor Street in Burbage as a tribute to Geoffrey Rice DFC who was one of the founding members of the famous Dambusters RAF 617 Squadron.

Today, Burbage is effectively a suburb of Hinckley and part of the Hinckley and Bosworth Borough. The population has also grown to 17,500. Burbage has a very good connection to the road network being less than a mile away from the M69 and the old Roman road of Watling Street, now known as the A5.

Burbage in the Domesday Book

There were 102 places in the hundred of Guthlaxton in Domesday Book, Burbage was one of them. Burbage would later become part of the hundred of Sparkenhoe.

Guthlaxton was a hundred of Leicestershire.

domesday book burbage
Burbage in the Domesday Book.

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