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Description in 1854:
"Barwell, a large village and parish, in the union of Hinckley, from which it it is two miles north by east and eleven miles S. W. from Leicester; its parish includes the hamlets of Potter's Marston and Stapleton. The church dedicated to St. Mary, is an ancient structure in the gothic style of architecture, having a square tower, containing four bells; the living is a rectory. The Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists have places of worship here."

"There is a Free School for educating and clothing 20 poor boys, which is endowed with £20 10s. per year, from Alderman Newtons charity. The poor have some small sums distributed yearly"
[Melville & Co.'s "Directory & Gazetteer of Leicestershire," 1854]


  • Baker, Beryl C. (1973), "The Continuing Witness. Methodism in Barwell from the 18th Century to the Present Day.
  • Johnson, T.(1996), "Bygone Barwell: A nostalgic look at the 1920's and 1930's". Earl Shilton and District Local History Group.
  • Shaw, F.(1987), "Barwell and Earl Shilton in Old Picture Postcards."European Library. Zalthommel, Netherlands.


  • The Barwell Cemetery, set aside in 1898, is on Brockley Lane and covers about 2.5 acres. There are two mortuary chapels, both erected in 1902. The cemetery is under the control of a local burial board.


  • The parish was in the Earl Shilton sub-district of the Hinckley Registration District.
  • The 1851 census for Leicestershire has been indexed by the Leicestershire & Rutland Family History Society. The whole index is available on microfiche. The society has also published it in print.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1861 R.G. 9 / 2258 & 2262 & 2263
1871 R.G. 10 / 3238
1891 R.G. 12 / 2505


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Barwell area that are recorded in the GENUKI church database. This will also help identify other churches in nearby townships and/or parishes. You also have the option to see the location of the churches marked on a map.

Church History

  • The Anglican parish church in Barwell is dedicated to Saint Mary.
  • The church was built in 1220 with a square tower and 4 bells.
  • The church was restored in 1854 and again in 1877.
  • The church seats about 400.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1661, but the early years are damaged or imperfect.
  • The church was in the rural deanery of Sparkenhoe (second portion).
  • Registers are held at The Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland (DE1330 / DE 4487) include:-
    • Baptisms 1661 - 1976
    • Banns 1779 - 1986
    • Marriages 1654 - 1993
    • Burials 1653 - 1837
  • The LRO also holds a typescript copy of Barwell parish register transcripts from 1563 - 1640 (DE 4487/18).
  • The International Genealogical Index (I.G.I.) includes details of births and baptisms from 1563 - 1856.
  • The Society of Genealogists holds a copy of the parish register from 1563 - 1640 which can be studied at their library in London.
  • The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, a large brick building was erected in 1797 in what came to be known as Chapel Street. It was enlarged in 1829 at a cost of £200 and further enlarged in 1867. In 1903 following the purchase of a number of cottages and adjoining parcels of land a new chapel was built.
  • The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel is a part of the Hinckley (WM) Circuit. Registers of marriages 1913 - 1978 are held at The Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland (N/M/142/155-161).
  • The first Primitive Methodist Chapel was built in 1829/33 and redeveloped in 1852/53. In 1895 a plot of land on what is now Shilton Road was purchased and in 1897 a schoolroom was built where the congregation worshipped for a number of years until in 1903 a new church was built on this site. This building continued in use until 1966 when the two churches amalgamated.
  • The Primitive Methodist Chapel as a art of the Hinckley (PM) Circuit in 1877. By 1895 Barwell was part of the Nuneaton Circuit. Registers of Marriages 1922 - 1965 are held at The Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland (N/M/142/148-154).

Civil Registration

  • The parish was in the Earl Shilton sub-district of the Hinckley Registration District.
  • Civil Registration began in July, 1837.

Description and Travel

Barwell is a large village and was a parish 103 miles north of London, just 2 miles northeast of Hinckley, and 11 miles southwest of Leicester city. The parish covered 2,387 acres and includes the township of Potters Marston and the hamlet and chapelry of Stapleton.

The village sits in the hills in southwest Leicestershire. If you are planning a visit:

  • By automobile, take the A47 arterial south-west out of Leicester toward Hinckley. Barwell will be on the right after you pass Earl Shilton.
You can see pictures of Barwell which are provided by:

Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Barwell has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.


  • Most of the male residents of the parish were either Framework Knitters or farmers.
  • In the late 1800s, Barwell became a shoe manufacturing centre.
  • On 24 December, 1965, Barwell was hit by a meteor, showering the village with fragments. One meteorite went through the front of a car, destroying the engine.


  • The webpage author could find no mention of a Hall or Manor House in his sources.


  • See our Maps page for additional resources.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SP444968 (Lat/Lon: 52.567194, -1.346380), Barwell which are provided by:

Medical Records

  • The Hinckley Isolation Hospital, situate in this parish, could hold up to 24 patients. It was managed by the Urban DIstrict Council, but no records are known to survive.

Names, Geographical

  • The village is listed in the Domesday Survey as 'Berryall' later becoming Bearwell. The word 'Bear' may have meant boar and 'well' stream. Consequently the name meant 'the town by the boar stream.'

Names, Personal

Politics and Government

  • This place was an ancient parish of Leicestershire and became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
  • The parish was in the ancient Sparkenhoe Hundred (Wapentake) in the southern (or Western) division of the county.

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

  • As a result of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act, Barwell became part of the Hinckley Poorlaw Union.
  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Market Bosworth petty sessional hearings.


According to a church census, there were 48 families living in Barwell in 1564.

Year Inhabitants
1841 1,348
1871 1,303
1881 1,506
1891 2,022
1901 2,721
1911 2,998
1921 3,098
1931 3,869


  • A Free School was founded by Alderman Gabriel NEWTON many years prior to 1849.
  • A National School was built in High Street in 1871-72 and eventually merged with the Free School. The facility was enlarged in 1885 and 1895 to eventually hold 350 boys and girls and 100 infants.
  • A Council School was built in Brockley Lane and opened in 1911 to hold 230 children.