Description in 1877:
"DESFORD, a large village, with many framework knitters, is pleasantly situated on a bold acclivity, about a mile south of the station, to which it gives its name, on the Leicester and Swannington Railway, 5 miles E. by N. of market Bosworth, and 8 miles W. by S. of Leicester. Desford parish, which is in Sparkenhoe Hundred, Market Bosworth Union, and that County Court District, comprises the township and the hamlet of Barrons Park, and in 1871 contained 911 persons, living in 217 houses, on 3,830 acres of land. Baron's Park, which then had 17 inhabitants, comprises about 415, situate about two miles E. of the village, and mostly in three farms."
[WHITE's "History, Gazetteer and Directory of the Counties of Leicester and Rutland, 3rd Edition," 1877]


Archives & Libraries

The Desford Community Library in Main Street is a branch of the Leicester County Council Library System. It is open 6 days each week (verify by phone if you are visiting). Desford Library is a small library in the centre of Desford. The library has a ramp to the entrance and is on one level with wide aisles. They are closed on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. At last report, the charity group that runs the library had not made an annual report to the charity commission, so I do not know if the library is still functioning.

The Desford Parish Council meets here in the Library in the late morning of the last Thursday of the month.



  • The Desford Cemetery is west of the village on Hunts Lane.
  • The Cemetery is administered by the Burial Board of the local parish council.
  • Mat FASCIONE has a photograph of Desford Cemetery on Geo-graph, taken in October, 2010.
  • John SALMON has a photograph of St Martin's Churchyard on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2012.


  • The parish was in the Market Bosworth sub-district of the Market Bosworth Registration District.
  • The 1851 Census for Leicestershire has been indexed by the Leicestershire & Rutland Family History Society. Volume 2 includes Desford which has been published on microfiche only.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1841 H.O. 107 / 600
1861 R.G. 9 / 2264
1871 R.G. 10 / 3240
1891 R.G. 12 / 2506

Church History

  • The Anglican parish church was dedicated to Saint Martin.
  • The church was thoroughly restored in 1884-85.
  • The church tower and spire were repaired in 1898.
  • The church seats 250.
  • There is a photo of the church at Wikipedia.
  • John SALMON has a photograph of St Martin's Church on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2012.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1559 and is good condition.
  • The Society of Genealogists holds extracts from parish registers from 1629 - 1699 and copies of marriage records from 1559 - 1837 which can be studied at their library in London.
  • The original records are held at the The Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland.
  • The church was in the rural deanery of Guthlaxton (first portion).
  • The General Baptists had a chapel here by 1849. They replaced this chapel with a new one in 1904. (This is now called the Free Church.)
  • The Primitive Methodists had a chapel here by 1849, but this may have closed by 1881.
  • The Calvinists had a chapel here by 1881. This was still operating in 1912.

Civil Registration

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

Description & Travel

Desford is a small town and a parish standing on a rise 8 miles west of Leicester, 5 miles east of Market Bosworth, 8 miles north of Hinckley and 111 miles north of London. The parish covers 3,830 acres and includes the hamlet of Barron's Park.

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

  • The village boasts five pubs, so take your pick.
  • Be sure to visit "Tropical Birdland," which contains many bird species.
  • By automobile, take the B5380 east out of Leicester city. Where it meets the B582, you will find Desford to your right.
  • N. CHADWICK has a photograph of the "Village Sign" on Geo-graph, taken in July, 2015.
  • Although the railway from 1832 still runs near Desford, the line today handles only freight traffic. The old public railway station still survives about a mile east of the village.
You can see pictures of Desford which are provided by:




Historical Geography

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



  • In the 1800s most of the inhabitants were stocking frame-work knitters.
  • N. CHADWICK has a photograph of the Blue Bell Inn on Geo-graph, taken in July, 2015.
  • Mat FASCIONE has a photograph of The Bull's Head Inn on Geo-graph, taken in July, 2007 .


  • The webpage author could find no mention of a Manor house or Hall.


  • See our Maps page for additional resources.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK479033 (Lat/Lon: 52.625356, -1.293811), Desford which are provided by:


Military History

  • A porch was erected for £570 on St. Martin's Church by the parishioners in memory of those that fell in the Great War; 1914-1918.
  • Mat FASCIONE has a photograph of the War Memorial on Geo-graph, taken in July, 2007.
  • Carts Field, just outside the village, was developed in 1939 as a first stage flying school for the RAF. The planes used were De Havilland Tiger Moths, single engined bi-planes. An early form of flight simulator was also used. After the war, the field was used by the Leicester Aeroclub until 1930, when the club moved to Ratcliffe Aerodrome. Caterpillar Inc. now has a large manufacturing plant on this site.

Military Records

There is one Commonwealth War Grave in St. Martin's churchyard from World War I:

  1. Edgar Ralph WESLEY, driver, Royal Engineers, age 26, died 25 Feb. 1919. Son of Walter and Jessie Sarah WESLEY, Desford, LEI.

And four Commonwealth War Graves in St. Martin's churchyard from World War II:

  1. Lewis Henry BEALL, leading airman, Royal Navy (H.M.S. Landrail), age 20, died 17 Nov. 1943. Son of Henry and Gertrude BEALL of Desford.
  2. George Arthur COLEMAN, srgt., 9 Sqdn. RAF Volun. Rsrv., age 20, died 20 Sept. 1940. Son of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. COLEMAN of Desford.
  3. Walter PRIME, priv., 1st. Btn. Hampshire Regt., age 29, died 2 APr. 1944. Husband of Gertrude Harriet PRIME of Desford.
  4. John Gordon SQUIRRELL, Lt.-Col., Royal Engineers, age 33, died 30 Jan 1944. Son of Ernest Alfred and Vera Gladys Louise SQUIRRELL of Leicester.

Politics & Government

  • Desford was an ancient parish in Leicestershire and became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
  • The parish lies in the Sparkenhoe Hundred (Wapentake) in the western division of the county.
  • On 1 April, 1936, the parish was enlarged by 917 acres transfered from Ratby Civil parish.
  • You may contact the local Desford Parish Council regarding civil or political issues, but they are NOT staffed or funded to help you with family history searches.
  • The Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council provides district governance.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

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


 Year Inhabitants
1841 1,006
1861 981
1871 911
1881 900
1891 794
1901 830
1911 1,118
1921 1,167
1931 1,163
1951 1,983
1961 2,300


  • An infants school was built here before 1849.
  • Jack HILL has a photograph of Desford Junior Schools on Geo-graph, taken in February, 2001.
  • An Education Committee of 6 managers was formed in July, 1903.
  • Bosworth Academy (formerly: Community and Sports College) stands in Desford's east side. It opened here in 1969 although its roots date back to the 11th century.
  • Kate JEWELL has a photograph of Bosworth Community and Sports College on Geo-graph, taken in September, 2006 (before the recent name change).


The Desford & District Local History Society meets at the Desford Free Church, usually around the third Tuesday of each month.