Description in 1877:
"BRAUNSTONE, a pleasant and picturesque village, 2 miles S.W. of Leicester, gives name to a township and chapelry in Glenfield parish, and in 1871 had 215 inhabitants, living in 39 houses, on about 1783 acres of land, partly of strong clay, and partly light and sandy, crossed by the Roman Fosseway, and bounded on the east by the River Soar, and on the north by the borough of Leicester. Captain R G Pochin, the lord of the manor and owner of most of the soil, resides at the HALL, a neat, plain mansion, which was built about 1775, by the late C. Winstanley, Esq. It stands in a well wooded park of 100 acres, and commands interesting views of Leicester and the adjacent country." Whites's "History, Gazetteer and Directory of the Counties of Leicester and Rutland. 3rd Edition, 1877"
Braunstone is a village, a township and a parish (and was a Chapelry) which lie about 2 miles southwest of Leicester. The parish covers about 1,013 acres and is bounded on the east by the Soar River and on the north by the Borough of Leicester.
If you are planning a visit:
By automobile, Braunstone lies just north of the M69 motorway about 7 miles outside of Leicester city.
Braunstone Manor was built in approximately 1480 and is thought to have stood south of Braunstone Lane, close to the site of Old Hall Farm that was demolished in 1967.
After World War One, the British government forced the sale of many manorial lands. By November/December 1925 Major Winstanley had agreed to sell the Mansion House and Parklands and Plantations known as Braunstone Hall, as well as farmhouses, messages tenements buildings and cottages together with closes or parcels of land, plantations and allotments. The purchase price was £116,500.
The land surrounding Braunstone Hall was opened as a public park in the early 1930s. In 1932 Braunstone Hall opened as a 'Senior School'. However as younger families moved into the new housing estate the need for a Junior School was more essential and in 1933 The Braunstone Hall Junior School was opened. It served the community as a school until it was closed in 1996.
Braunstone Hall was the seat of the WANSTANLEY family for many generations. It was held by the POCHIN family in 1881, but a WANSTANLEY held the manor in 1912.
The Local Home Guard was based in Braunstone Hall, the park keeper being amongst their detachment. Mr. D.C. HAMILTON remembers being on sentry duty when a land mine was dropped and exploded on the park. The park keeper was on duty at the time of the incident and was duly dispatched to locate the mine, which he did when he fell into the crater in the black of night!
Between 1943 and 1945 the 168 Battery of the Royal Artillery and the 52nd/53rd Field Regiment Royal Artillery were stationed on the park. The 53rd Regiment came home from active service in Italy in June 1945.
On 14 February 1944, the American 82nd Airborne Division arrived in Braunstone. Major General Mathew B. Ridgeway was their Divisional Commander. Victoria Park was the major camp in Leicester with the Divisional Headquarters on Braunstone Park. The War Room was set up and staffed twenty four hours a day. The Nissen huts, erected in advance of their arrival, were to be their home for the coming months.