Market Harborough


Description in 1877:
"Market Harborough is a small market town, in the heart of a rich farming and grazing district, pleasantly situated on the north side of the small river Welland, which divides it from Northamptonshire, 14 1/2 miles E. of Leicester; 83 miles N.N.W. of London; 13 miles E. by N. of Lutterworth; 17 miles N. E. of Northampton; and 11 miles N. W. by W. of Kettering. Market Harborough is the head of a Poor-Law Union, a Petty Sessional and County Court District, and is a township and parochial chapelry, in the Parish of Bowden Magna, or Great Bowden, comprising but very little land besides the site of the town. It is a polling place for the southern division of the county. It had only 1,617 inhabitants 1801, and 1873 in 1821 but in 1831 they had increased to 2,272, and in 1841 to 2,433; but in 1851 they had decreased to 2,325, and in 1861 to 2,302, but in 1871 they had increased to 2,362. A branch of the Union Canal, which was opened on October 13, 1809, extends south eastward in a sinuous course to within a short distance of the north side of the town; and the great turnpike road from London to Leicester, Nottingham, Sheffield, Manchester, &c. passes through the principal street. There is a railway station near the church of St. Mary-in-Arden, about half a mile east of the town, where the Rugby and Stamford, the Leicester and Hitchin, the Northampton and Harborough, and the Newark and Market Harborough railways intersect."
[WHITE's "History, Gazetteer and Directory of the Counties of Leicester and Rutland." 3rd Edition 1877]


Archives & Libraries

The Library sits due East of the Harborough District Council building. It is open 5 days a week, most weeks, and has staff trained in Family History Research.

The town also has a museum on Adam and Eve Street (shared with the Library). Ian ROB has a photograph of the Museum on Geo-graph, taken in February, 2010.



  • The Cemetery, half a mile south of the town in the parish of Little Bowden on Northampton Road, covers over 4 acres. It opened in 1878 and two acres were added in 1904.
  • The Cemetery is under the control of the Urban District Council and is shared by the three parishes under its control.
  • David THOMPSON has a photograph of the Entrance to the Cemetery on the south side of town on Geo-graph, taken in July, 2016.
  • There is an older burial ground in Great Bowden parish.


  • The parish was in the Market Harborough sub-district of the Market Harborough Registration District.
  • The 1851 Census for Leicestershire has been indexed by the Leicestershire & Rutland Family History Society. The whole index is available on microfiche. Volume 3 includes Market Harborough.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1841H.O. 107 / 589
1861R.G. 9 / 2249
1871R.G. 10 / 3225
1891R.G. 12 / 2491

Church History

  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint Denis (or Dionysius) the Areopagite. (Dionysius was a Judge of the Areopagus (an Athenian High Court), who had converted to Christianity.
  • The church was built in 1250.
  • The church had considerable repairs done in 1844.
  • The church was restored in 1886-87.
  • The church seats 700.
  • David SPICER has a photograph of the Church of St Dionysius on Geo-graph, taken in July, 2012.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1583.
  • The Society of Genealogists holds copies of Market Harborough parish records which can be studied at their library in London.
  • FreeREG has Marriages 1696-1837 and Baptisms 1783-1875 for Market Harborough.
  • The church is in the rural deanery of Gartree (first division).
  • The Roman Catholic church in Coventry Road was built in 1877 and dedicated to Our Lady of Victories.
  • David THOMPSON has a photograph of the Catholic church on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2016.
  • A Congregationalist chapel was built in 1844 to replace meeting rooms founded in 1673.
  • Robin WEBSTER has a photograph of the Congregational church on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2019.
  • Nigel COS also has a photograph of the former Independent Chapel on Geo-graph, taken in May, 2013.
  • A Baptist chapel was built in 1830 and rebuilt in 1907. It was vacant in 1925.
  • The Wesleyan Methodists had a chapel here in the early 1900s.

Civil Registration


Description & Travel

Market Harborough is a market town, a chapelry and a parish in southern Leicestershire near the Northamptonshire border. It is 82 miles north of London, 18 miles north-east of Rugby, and 16 miles south-east from Leicester city.

If you are planning a visit:

  • The town sits on the north bank of the River Welland and is bounded on the north by the Union Canal.
  • The train station is on the east side of town.
  • Jonathan BILLINGER has a photograph of The Square on Geo-graph, taken in December, 2010.
  • Mat FASCIONE also has a photograph of The Square on Geo-graph, taken in October, 2007.
You can see pictures of Market Harborough which are provided by:





  • British History Online provides an extensive history of Market Harborough. This is material from the Victoria County History.
  • On the east side of town are traces of a Roman encampment. Roman urns have been found nearby.
  • The late Barry SUMMERS who died in July 2000 published the fruits of some of his research about Market Harborough during the First World War on the web at www.harboro.ndirect.co.uk/Index.htm. This page is not active, but may be available through internet archives. It included a list of servicemen and their units at www.harboro.ndirect.co.uk/people.htm.
  • The Town Hall in High Street was built in 1788.
  • The Train Station at the eastern edge of the town was built in 1850, but it was soon obvious that a larger station was needed, and the station was rebuilt and opened in 1884.
  • Christine JOHNSTONE has a photograph of the Union Wharf on Geo-graph, taken in September, 2017.
  • John SUTTON has a photograph of The Three Swans Hotel, near the Town Hall, on Geo-graph, taken in May, 2014.
  • Mat FASCIONE has a photograph of the Union Inn Hotel on Geo-graph, taken in October, 2007.
  • Robin WEBSTER has a photograph of the Red Cow Inn on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2019. The Nag's Head can be seen just behind it.


  • The Elms, at the north end of town, was the property of Sir William de Capell BROOKE, baronet, in 1881.


  • See our Maps page for additional resources.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SP734872 (Lat/Lon: 52.477802, -0.920717), Market Harborough which are provided by:


Medical Records

The Cottage Hospital, on the Coventry road, in connection with the District Nursing Association, was opened in 1910: there were 2 public wards and 5 private wards, containing 14 beds in all. A new wing, built in memory of the men of Market Harborough who fell in the Great War, 1914-18, was opened March 15th, 1924. Hospitals were not required to archive patient records, but the archives may contain administrative and accounting records and old photographs. Most patient records would be covered by Closure regulations.

David THOMPSON has a photograph of The Cottage Hospital in Coventry Road on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2016.


Military History

  • In 1881, the Leicestershire Rifle Volunteers (1st), M Company, had their headquarters on High Street. Captn. William Wade WARTNABY, commanding; J. GOSS, head instructor.
  • In 1920 a war memorial was erected in the market square: the octagonal bases are richly moulded and carved with a shaft r4 feet long in one stone, with niches containing: seven figures of the virtues, surmounted by a dome and cross.
  • The War Memorial on the square can be seen in Jon BILLINGER's photo (linked in the Description section).
  • Robin WEBSTER also has a photograph of the War Memorial in the Square on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2019.
  • In 1921 a War Memorial altar was erected in a side chapel of the Catholic church; it is of Seaton stone, from the old Roman quarries of Seaton, in Dorset, and of marble.
  • In 1923, members of the community funded a War Memorial display of 1,665 names of people who had served in the FIrst World War. The panels of names are in a portico at the Market Harborough and District Hospital. There were promises made that it would be moved before the hospital closed, but at last report (Jan. 2014), the National Health Service has advised that there are no funds to preserve it.
  • David THOMPSON has a photograph of the War Memorial on Geo-graph, taken in April, 2015.

Military Records

There are twenty-one Commonwealth War Graves in the Northampton Road Cemetery from World War I and one from WW II:


  1. T. ALLEN, lance cpl., Bedfordshire Regt., age 20, died 4 Nov. 1918. Son of Thomas and Elizabeth ALLEN. This is probably Thomas Towers ALLEN who was born in Great Bowden in 1897. He can be found there in the 1901 census, age 4.
  2. G. APPLEWHITE, priv., 52nd Btn. Northumberland Fusiliers, age 18, died 2 Dec. 1918. Son of Joseph and Rosamond APPLEWHITE. The father was Joseph Henry APPLEWHITE of North Scarle, Lincolnshire who married Rosamond FOSTER in 1897.
  3. Ernest Cyril BORROW, lieut., Northamptonshire Regt., age 21, died 24 March 1919. Son of Frederick and Ethel BORROW. This is probably Cyril E. BORROW, born 1898 in Sussex.
  4. A. J. BROMLEY, priv., Lincolnshire Regt/. died 6 March 1919. This is possibley Alfred J. BROMLEY. No other data available.
  5. Walter BROWN, air mech. 2nd class, 44 Sqdn. RFC, died 4 Sept. 1917.
  6. William COTTON, priv. Labour Corps, age 38, died 11 Nov. 1918. Husband of Beatrice Fanny COTTON.
  7. T. G. COX, priv., Leics. Regt., age 18, died 20 Nov. 1918.
  8. C. R. DILKS, corp., 14th Btn. Training Reserve, died 27 Oct. 1918. Husband of B. E. DILKS. This is probably Charles R. DILKS, born 1887 in Market Harborough.
  9. H. J. FUGGLE, lance corp., 1st Btn. Northamptonshire Regt., age 18, died 16 Aug. 1920. Son of Herbert and Mary FUGGLE. This is probably Herbert John FUGGLE, born circa 1901 in Market Harborough.
  10. Fred HARDWICK, priv., 10th Btn. Leics. Regt., died 24 March 1916. Husband of Ethel HARDWICK. They married in 1908.
  11. G. P. HINTON, priv., 2nd Btn. Leics Regt., died 28 Nov. 1920. This was probably George P. HINTON. born circa 1887.
  12. Thomas HOBBIS, staff srgt., Army Service Corps, age 46, died 9 Aug. 1916. Husband of Mary Matilda HOBBIS. They married in 1904 in Market Harborough Reg. District.
  13. Henry JEFFERY, priv., Army Service Corps (remounts), age 39, died 22 July 1918. Husband of Ellinor JEFFERY.
  14. A. J. KIMBLE, 2nd corp., Army Ordnance Corps, age 32, died 3 Nov. 1918. Son of George William KIMBLE.
  15. James RAPHAEL, priv., 52nd remounts, Army Service Corp., died 1 June 1918. (Served as THOMPSON). Born 1866.
  16. Alick SMITH, priv., Aux. Remounts, Army Service Corps, 9 Nov. 1918. This is probably Alick Leonard SMITH, born 1897 in the Loughborough Reg. District.
  17. J. THOMPSON, priv., ALIAS, died 1 Aug. 1918. See RAPHAEL, the true family name.
  18. Herbert WADSWORTH, priv., Coldstream Guards, age 37, died 1 Jan. 1918. Husband of G. E. WADSWORTH.
  19. S. WEBSTER, priv., 1st/5th Btn. Leics. Regt., age 21, died 8 May 1918. Son of the late George WEBSTER.
  20. James George WILSON, srgt., Royal Field ARtillery, age 48, died 8 Feb. 1916. Husband of Temima WILSON.
  21. O. S. WINTER, priv., M.T. Depot Royal Army Service Corps, died 4 April 1920.

World War II:

  1. Guy Edward SANDERS, aircraftman 2nd, Royal Australian Air Force, age 23, died 9 March 1943. Son of the Revd. Cecil SANDERS and Ivy SANDERS.


  • The "Market Harborough Advertiser" began in 1854 and was still in service in 1925, on Church Street (later St. Mary's Road), published weekly on Fridays.
  • The "Midland Mail" began in 1800 and was still in service in 1912, on St. Mary's Road, published weekly. This paper merged with the "Advertiser" in the early 1900s.


  • Symingtons, a Market Harborough firm, became world famous for the invention of the "Liberty Bodice" and as producers of womens' corsetry. The Symington Collection of Corsetry is now housed at the Harborough Museum.
  • In 1912, the town had malthouses, brick, brush, bent timber, joinery and india-rubber works, boot and shoe, stay and hosier factories and a type foundery, plus a few hotels and many specialty shops.

Politics & Government

  • This place was an ancient Chapelry in the parish of Great Bowden.
  • It was incorporated as a separate, modern Civil Parish in December, 1866.
  • The parish lies in the Gartree Hundred (or Wapentake) in the southern division of the county.
  • An Urban District Council was established in 1894 for this town and the neighboring villages of Great Bowden and Little Bowden.
  • This Civil parish was enlarged by 4,700 acres when Great Bownden and Little Bownden Civil Parishes were abolished and merged into this parish in October, 1927.
  • In April, 1935, Foxton Civil Parish transfered an additional 9 acres to this Civil Parish and received 18 acres in return as part of a boundary adjustment.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Market Harborough petty session hearings held at the Police Station every other Tuesday at 11 AM.  The "new" petty session courthouse was added in 1911.
  • The Common Land was enclosed here in 1777.
  • After the 1834 Poorlaw Amendment Act, the parish became the centre of he Market Harborough Poorlaw Union.




  • The Grammar School was built in 1614 on the south side of the church by Mr. Robert SMYTH. The school could hold 100 boys.
  • Tim GLOVER has a photograph of the Old Grammar School on Geo-graph, taken in February, 2004.
  • David MARTIN has a photograph of the Old Grammar School on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2016.
  • The British School operated on Back Street in 1849.
  • The National School operated on Lubenham Lane in 1849.
  • David THOMPSON has a photograph of St Joseph's Catholic School on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2016.
  • Robert SMITH has a photograph of Robert Smyth Academy in Burnhill Road on Geo-graph, taken in January, 2017. This school is on the north side of the village.