Hugh Beavin

The night that drove old Dixie down

Many of the stories and legends that surround Bosworth Hall in Market Bosworth (now a plush hotel) date from its most notorious inhabitant, the fourth baronet Sir Wolstan Dixie.

Sir Wolstan, who lived from 1700 to 1767, was belligerent and arrogant and his behaviour was typified by an event that occurred with a local Waggoner.

The Waggoner was working for Major Mundy of Osbaston Hall and was driving along a public road through Bosworth Park when a furious Sir Wolstan stopped him and gave him a sound thrashing.

Major Mundy was outraged by the attack and decided to seek his revenge, so the following day he dressed as the waggoner and drove the cart himself through Bosworth Park.

Sure enough, Sir Wolstan again attacked the "waggoner", but this time it was he who took the beating. Years later, when Sir Wolstan was introduced to King George ll, the king said:

"Bosworth? Big battle at Bosworth wasn't it?"

Sir Wolstan replied:

"Yes Sire, but I thrashed him."

On another occasion Sir Wolstan appointed his butler as headmaster of the grammar school to prove to people that he could do anything he wanted to, and nobody could stop him.

But in 1758 tragedy finally resulted from one of Sir Wolstan's ill-conceived actions. He heard that his daughter Ann was surreptitously meeting a young man in Bosworth Park and resolved to put a stop to the liaison.

He put man-traps out to catch the young suitor but caught his daughter Ann instead. Although she was rescued from the trap and carried back to the hall, nothing could be done to staunch her wounds and she bled to death.

Even today her ghost is said to haunt the hall...

Author: Hugh Beavin

Written for: Hinckley-on-line