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Great Glen

Description in 1877:
"Glen Magna, or Great Glenn, sometimes spelt Glen, is a large and well built village, situated in a valley on the Market Harborough road, 6 miles S.E. by S. of Leicester. Many of its inhabitants are framework knitters, and its township contains 767 inhabitants and 2010 acres of land, chiefly in pasturage; but its parish is in Billesdon Union, Leicester County Court District, and Gartree Hundred, comprises also Stretton Magna Chapelry, and was enclosed in 1759, containing 800 persons, and having 2510 acres of land. The Midland Railway passes through the parish, and has a station about a mile from the village.... A brook flows through the village in its circuitous course to the Soar, and about a mile to the south it is crossed by the Grand Union Canal. The Church (St. Cuthberts), in the Decorated style, has a nave, chancel, north aisle, and a square tower, containing five bells. The register dates from the year 1585."
[White's "History, Gazetteer and Directory of the Counties of Leicester & Rutland," 3rd Edition. 1877]


MATHEWS (or WADE-MATTHEWS) M. (1998), "Great Glen, The Story of a Leicestershire Village." Heart of Albion Press (out of print, but may be available from Leicestershire and Rutland FHS). He has also published this as a CD-ROM (ISBN: 0-9547740-2-7) with the same title. His description says "The CD not only tells the 2,000 year-old story of the village with many high resolution digital photographs, but also contains transcriptions of many documents including wills, terriers, the enclosure awards and all the censuses from 1841 to 1901." The CDROM is also available from Leicestershire and Rutland Family History Society. It is fully indexed with links to hundreds of names, making this a gold mine for family history researchers.


The Leicestershire & Rutland Family History Society have published details of Great Glen burials from 1813 - 1865 on microfiche. (Ref 808F)


  • The parish was in the Billesdon sub-district of the Billesdon 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 and Volume 11 covers the Billesden sub-district which includes Great Glen (Glen Magna).
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1861 R.G. 9 / 2254 & 2255
1871 R.G. 10 / 3229
1891 R.G. 12 / 2495


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Great Glen 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 was dedicated to Saint Cuthbert.
  • The church was restored in 1876.
  • This church seats 300.
  • Andrew TATLOW has a photograph of St Cuthbert's Church on Geo-graph, taken in April, 2006.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1596, but early portions are much dilapidated.
  • The church was in the rural deanery of Gartree (second portion).
  • The Wesleyan Methodists had chapel built here in 1827.
  • The Wesleyan chapel is a Grade II listed building with British Heritage.

Civil Registration

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

Description and Travel

Great Glen is a village, a township and a parish 92 miles north of London, 6 miles south-east of Leicester city and 9 miles north-west of Market Harborough. The Grand Junctioin cCanal passes through the parish only 1 mile south of the village. The parish covers 2,120 acres.

The land around the village is hilly and has been mostly pasture for centuries. If you are planning a visit:

  • By automobile, take the A6 south-east out of Leicester city to Great Glen.
  • There is currently no rail passenger service to Great Glen.
  • One can still find a red telephone box on the village green.
  • The village has a webpage at Leicestershire Villages with many photographs.
You can see pictures of Great Glen which are provided by:

Historical Geography

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


  • In 1751 a turnpike bridge was built over the River Sence as a part of the stagecoach route from Leicester to London. This road would later become the A6.
  • Almost the entire parish was used for pasture in the 1800s and 1900s.
  • In the 1800s most of the inhabitants were either graziers or frame-work knitters.


  • Stretton Hall, which is in Great Glen, is a large brick mansion and was the seat of Charles PACKE, Esq., in 1881.
  • The Hall was the residence of Captain Edward Christopher PACKE in 1912.
  • The Hall was purchased in 1932 for conversion to a hospital. The hospital closed in the 1990s and some of the land has been developed as housing.
  • A. J. LLOYD advises that his mother was born at the gatehouse of the Hall in 1909.


  • See our Maps page for additional resources.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SP652977 (Lat/Lon: 52.573192, -1.039366), Great Glen which are provided by:

Military History

  • A photograph of the War Memorial in the village is on Flickr.
  • The War Memorial itself is a Grade II listed structure by british Heritage.

Military Records

  • There is a plaque in the Methodist Church in memory of Captain Arthur John 'Jack' WAKERLEY who died in June 1917 in France.
  • Another young man who had lived in Great Glen for a few years was 2nd Lieut. Walter Smith ALLEN who died in March 1918 in France.
  • There is a list of those who died in both World Wars at the Leicestershire Villages site.

There are three Commonwealth War Graves in St. Cuthbert's churchyard from World War II:

  1. Frederick Charles BROWN, srgt., The Glider Pilt Regt., age 22, died 26 April 1944. Son of R\obert and Nellie BROWN of Northamps.
  2. Edward Murray FRISBY, flt. lieut., RAF Vol. Rsrv., died 5 Dec. 1941. Son of Joseph R. and Elanor B. FRISBY of Cropston. LEI.
  3. Olga Hermione Violet Mosley MAYNE, chief commander, Aux. Territorial Service, died 29 July 1942. Daug. of Major Mosley MAYNE.

Names, Geographical

  • The Latinized form of the name "Glen Magna" was preferred up until 1958, when "Great Glen" became the new standard.

Politics and Government

  • This place was an ancient parish in Leicestershire and became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
  • The parish lies in the Gartree Hundred (or Wapentake) in the southern division of the county.
  • The Civil Parish gave up 18 acres granted to Gadby Civil Parish in April, 1936.
  • You can contact the local Parish Council regarding civic or political issues, but they are NOT staffed to assist you with family history research.
  • District governance is provided by the Harborough District Council.

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

  • As a result of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act, this parish became part of the Billesdon Poorlaw Union.
  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Leicester petty sessional hearings.
  • A Charity left by William HOWETT of £100 was apploed to apprenticing poor children. That charity was later increased to £150.
  • HAYNES' Charity supplied £8 and 15s each year (in 1912) for bread for the poor.
  • In 1871, Thomas CRICK built "Crick's Retreat" which provided housing for the poor.


Year Inhabitants
1801 549
1811 651
1841 795
1871 767
1881 854
1901 728


  • Leicester Grammar School was founded in 1981 as an independent secondary school.
  • The village also has the C of E St Cuthbert's primary school and the Stoneygate School.