Description in 1877:
"Hinckley is a parish, an ancient market town, the head of a Poor law Union, and a County Court District and a polling-place for the southern division of the county; it is mostly in Sparkenhoe Hundred, its township extending into the county of Warwick, forming there the hamlet of Hydes Pasture. Hinckley is extensively engaged in the hosiery manufacture, and is situated more than a mile east of the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Canal, nearly two miles north of Watling Street road, 14 miles S.W. of Leicester, 5 miles E.N.E. of Nuneaton, 13 miles N.N.E. of Coventry, and 100 miles N.W. by N. of London. Hinckley parish which comprises the townships of Dadlington (in Market Bosworth Union), Hinckley, and Stoke Golding, in 1871 contained 7,780 persons, living in 1,711 houses, on 6,200 acres; and at the same time Hinckley township which consists of Hinckley containing 6,779; the hamlet of Hyde's Pasture, in Warwickshire, containing 42; and the hamlet of Wykin, containing 81 persons, had a total of 6,902 inhabitants living in 1516 houses. The population of the township was only 4,216 in 1821, but it had increased to 6,448 in 1841 and decreased to 6,177 in 1851; but in 1861 it had again increased to 6,461. The increase of the population during the last decennial period 'is attributed to the improvement in the hosiery trade, and the increase of inhabited houses (121) to the establishment of building societies.
Dadlington and Stoke Golding were constituted separate ecclesiastical parishes in 1865, as noticed with those places. Good turnpike roads to Leicester, Ashby, Nuneaton, Coventry, &c. diverge from the town; and the South Leicestershire Railway which is a branch of the London and North-Western Railway, from Nuneaton to Wigston, near Leicester has a commodious station here. This line was opened in 1862 between Nuneaton and Hinckley , and the remainder was completed early in 1863.
The stocking frame was introduced here as early as 1640 by Mr. W. Iliff, and, excepting Leicester, more stockings are made here than at any other place in the kingdom. In 1853 Mr. Thomas Payne introduced and applied steam-power in the manufacture of hosiery, &c. in this town, and there are now many factories here in which the frames are worked by steam, and fancy goods, as well as stockings, are manufactured."
[WHITE's "History, Gazeteer and Directory of the Counties of Leicester and Rutland," 1877]


Archives & Libraries

The Hinckley Library on Lancaster Road next to the bus station is a branch of the Leicester County Council Library System. It is open 5 days each week (verify by phone if you are visiting) and has a Family History section to assist you.



  • There are churchyards at St Mary`s Parish Church, the Unitarian Great Meeting Chapel (although this is quite small) and another small one at Holy Trinity Church.
  • The community cemetery started out in 1851 on 3.5 acres of land just outside of the town on the Market Harborough Road with two mortuary chapels.
  • The community cemetery opened for burials in April, 1858, was enlarged in 1897 and now covers 8 acres. It has two mortuary chapels and is under the control of the Burial Board of the Urban District Council.
  • Mat FASCIONE has a photograph of the Ashby Road Cemetery on Geo-graph, taken in September, 2008.


  • The parish was in the Hinckley 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.
1841H.O. 107 / 601
1861R.G. 9 / 2260 & 2261
1871R.G. 10 / 3237
1891R.G. 12 / 2503 & 2504

Church History

  • A Benedictine Priory was founded here some time before 1173 by Robert de Beaumont.
  • The Anglican parish church in Hinckley is dedicated to the Assumption of Saint Mary the Virgin.
  • The church was built in the 13th century with a square tower.
  • A lofty spire of 184 feet was added to the tower in the early 1800s.
  • The church was restored during 1874-80.
  • The church tower and spire were restored in 1897.
  • The church got a new organ installed in 1908.
  • The church seats about 1,200.
  • A Mission Room was built in 1887 in Druid Street. It was enlarged in 1894.
  • A new ecclesiastical parish was formed in 1838 and designated Holy Trinity.
  • Holy Trinity Chapel functioned as a Chapel of Ease from 1808 until about 1910.
  • Holy Trinity Church was finally built in 1909-10 to replace the original brick structure.
  • Holy Trinity Church seats 460.
  • David BEVIS has a photograph of Holy Trinity Church on Geo-graph, taken in December, 2013.
  • Saint Paul's Church was originally a temporary brick building, built in 1911 in Leicester Road.
  • Saint Paul's Church seats 300.
  • Saint Peter's Priory was built in 1924 as a college for Dominican students. Many of these had immigrated here from Flanders.
  • There is a Congregational chapel, founded in 1662, an endowed Unitarian Chapel founded in 1685, a Baptist chapel founded in 1766, a Particular Baptist chapel, a Wesleyan Methodist chapel and a Primitive Methodist chapel.
  • Roy William SHAEKSPEARE has a photograph of the Unitarian Chapel on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2007.
  • A Roman Catholic chapel was built in 1824.
  • The Society of Friends had a meeting house here in the mid 1800s, but it was seldom used.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish registers of St. Mary dates from 1554 and are in good condition.
  • The Anglican parish register of Holy Trinity dates from 1843.
  • The church was in the rural deanery of Sparkenhoe (second portion).

Civil Registration

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

Description & Travel

Hinckley is a market town, a township and a parish 100 miles north of London, just 5 miles east of Nuneaton, 13 miles north of Coventry and 13 miles southwest of Leicester city. The parish covered 2,387 acres and includes the hamlets of Hollycroft, Hydes Pastures and Wykin.

The town sits in the hills in southwest Leicestershire. The heart of the town is only two miles north of Watling Road. The Ashby Canal passes through the town. If you are planning a visit:

  • By automobile, take either the A47 arterial or the M69 motorway southwest out of Leicester city.
  • Rail service links the town with Nuneaton and Leicester city.
  • The parish used to include Hydes Pasture, which is now in Warwickshire.
  • Triumph Motorcycles Ltd. has its factory on Normandy Way. Tours must be booked in advance.
You can see pictures of Hinckley which are provided by:



From Wikipedia:

"Hinckley was known to its residents for many years as "Tin 'At" (tin hat). It is reputed that, many years ago, one of the itinerant sheep drovers bragged that he could drink a hat full of ale. The local landlord put this man to the test by getting the local blacksmith to make a tin hat, which he then filled with ale. Thereafter, the town became known as "Tin 'At". Another explanation is that the people of Hinckley used to place buckets on water pumps to keep them clean and prevent the spread of illness, the bucket obviously being the "Tin 'At". A tin hat can be seen on top of the flag pole which sits on the roof of the Coral branch at the corner of Castle Street and Market Place. There is also a pub called The Tin Hat."

For more local folklore, see the Hinckley Folklore site.




Historical Geography

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



  • The parish used to hold a fair for cattle, horses and sheep on each 26th of August.
  • Most of the male residents of the parish were either Framework Knitters or farmers. Hinckley became one of the chief centres of the hosiery trade after 1640, the year Mr. WIlliam ILIFF introduced the stocking frame.  In 1849 there were an estimated 1,500 frames in the town.
  • At the top of Castle Street is a spot called "Castle Hill." Here once stood the castle of Baron Hugh de Grentemaisnel. Only traces of the moat remain. The house now standing on the site was built in 1770.
  • Boot and shoe manufacturing became an important industry here in the 1800s.
  • The Luddites were active here in 1812.
  • Joseph HANSON built the first Hansom cab here in 1835.
  • The Hinckley Library, established in 1857, opened on Station Road in 1888.
  • The Urban District Council offices opened on Station Road in 1904.
  • The Hinckley Times reports the town's history from Saxon times to the present day.
  • The Hinckley Times website has a Century of News section featuring stories from each decade of the 20th century taken from the paper's archives.


  • See our Maps page for additional resources.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SP425939 (Lat/Lon: 52.541305, -1.374782), Hinckley which are provided by:


Medical Records

  • The Cottage Hospital and Nursing Institute was built in 1899 in Mount Road. It had two wards and could hold 14 patients.
  • In 1907 Cottage Hospital treated 189 patients.
  • It is unknown if any records remain of patient care.

Military History

  • Hinckley suffered greatly in the 17th century during the English Civil War being "visited" several times by troops from each side in the rivalry. Alan Roberts has documented Hinckley's experience for you.
  • In 1877, the Territorial Force stationed in Hinckley included Leicestershire Rifle Volunteers (l0th Corps, 1st Leicester) numbered about 70 men. Captain J. H. WARD, commanding.
  • In 1881, the Territorial Force stationed in Hinckley included the headquarters of L Company, Leicestershire Rifle Volunteers. Captain Samuel DAVIS, commanding; Dr. SMITH, acting surgeon; Rev. William Henry DISNEY, honorable chaplain. The headquarters were on Stockwell Road.
  • In 1912, the Territorial Force stationed in Hinckley included the headquarters of D Company, 5th Leicestershire Regiment. Captain H. P. ATKINS, commanding; Thomas A. KEMPTON, color-sergt. and drill instructor. Company strength was 140.
  • In May, 1922, a statue of the goddess Mercy was dedicated on Castle Hill in the Garden of Rememberance as the War Memorial for the men who had died in World War One. In 1951 it was rededicated and new plaques added for the dead from World War II. In all, 553 names are recorded.
  • There are 49 Commonwealth War Graves from the two World Wars in the Hinckley community cemetery.
  • John SALMON has a photograph of the War Memorial plaques in The Assumption of St. Mary Church on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2012, The names are not legible.

Politics & Government


Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • As a result of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act, Hinckley became the heart of the Hinckley Poorlaw Union.
  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the town hall petty sessional hearings every other Monday.




  • A Grammar School was founded in the 15th century and evolved to a secondary school. The school is first mentioned in records in 1629. It was on Castle Road in the centre of Hinckley. It was pulled down in 1852 because of its ruinous condition and a new school was opened in 1891 and moved ot Leicester Road in 1894. The school admitted girls in 1901. In 1963 the grammar school moved to Butt Lane. This school is now John CLEVELAND College, a state comprehensive school.
  • A Council School was begun in 1875 and completed in 1887. It was enlarged in 1903.
  • The Station Road School was originally a Sunday School but was converted to a day school in 1856. It was enlarged three times (1871, 1893 and 1901) to hold 481 children.
  • The Coventry Road School was for infants.
  • The Mount Grace High School took over the old grammar school building on Leicester Road in 1963.
  • The St. Peter's Catholic School in London Road could serve 288.