WILLESLEY, a parish in the hundred of Repton, county Derby, 2 miles S.W. of Ashby-de-la-Zouch. The Ashby and Coventry canal skirts the south-western boundary of the parish. Willesley Park is the seat of Sir C. A. Hastings, Bart. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Lichfield, value £65. The church is dedicated to St. Thomas.”

from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868



  • The parish was in the Hartshorn sub-district of the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Registration District.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1851 H.O. 107 / 2084
1861 R.G. 9 / 2268
1871 R.G. 10 / 3244
1891 R.G. 12 / 2509

Church History

  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint Thomas.
  • The church was built in the first half of the 14th century.
  • The church seats 100.
  • Mat FASCIONE has a photograph of St. Thomas's Church on Geo-graph, taken in April, 2008.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1677.
  • The church was in the rural deanery of Repton.

Civil Registration

  • Civil Registration began in July, 1837.
  • The parish was in the Hartshorn sub-district of the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Registration District.

Description & Travel

"WILLESLEY is about 2 miles and a half from Ashby-de-la-Zouch, in the same hundred as Measham, part of the parish being cut off by the boundary line of Leicestershire. The Ashby-de-la-Zouch canal passes here; and a rail-road from Willesley basin to Ticknall, passing Ashby-de-la-Zouch, is a conveyance for coals and lime-stone, worked in this neighbourhood, as well as for the carriage of the Moira spa-water, obtained about two miles from Measham; this water is in considerable repute, its properties being as valuable as the springs at Harrogate. 'Willesley Park', the fine seat of Sir Charles Abney Hastings, is a great ornament to this parish. The population is very inconsiderable, - thirty years ago it contained only 62 inhabitants, in 1821 exactly the same number was returned for the parish, and at the last census, 1831, the increase only amounted to one person."

[Description from Pigot and Co's Commercial Directory for Derbyshire, 1835]

You can see pictures of Willesley which are provided by:





  • Colin HINSON provides the transcription of the section for Willesley from the National Gazetteer (1868).
  • John BARTHOLOMEW, Gazetteer of the British Isles (1887):
Willesley, par., Derbyshire, 1½ mile SW. of Ashby de la Zouch, 910 ac., pop. 57; contains Willesley Park, seat of the Earl of Loudoun.

Historical Geography

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



Willesley Hall is a red brick mansion standing in a wooded park of about 155 acres.

Philip JEFFREY has a photograph of the Gateway to Willesley House on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2014.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK341147 (Lat/Lon: 52.728873, -1.496491), Willesley which are provided by:


Politics & Government

  • This place was an ancient parish in Derbyshire and became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
  • This parish was in the ancient Repton and Greasley Hundred (or Wapentake).
  • This parish was abolished in April, 1936, and most of the land was merged into Ashby-de-la-Zouch Civil Parish. The former parish is now considered part of Leicestershire.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Swadlincote petty session hearings every other Tuesday.
  • As a result of the 1834 Poorlaw Amendment Act, this parish became a member of the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Poorlaw Union.


Year Inhabitants
1801 62
1811 57
1831 63
1841 53
1881 57


The children of this parish attended the schools at Moira, Measham & Packington.