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Whitwick

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Description in 1871:
"Whitwick, town, par., and township with ry. Sta., Leicestershire, 5 miles E. of Ashby de la Zouch and 7 SW. of Loughborough - par., 6220 ac., pop. 6,536; town and township, 3382 ac., pop. 3,881; P.O., T.O. Whitwick dates from a remote period, and has some remains of an ancient castle of the Earls of Lancaster. The church (restored 1840) is a fine old building. The market place is spacious, and has been much improved. The mfr. of hosiery is the principal industry; coal mines are in vicinity. Whitwick township is a local government district."
[John BARTHOLOMEW's "Gazetteer of the British Isles (1887)"]

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Archives & Libraries

The Coalville Library on High Street 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 staff trained in Family History research.

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Cemeteries

  • The Whitwick Cemetery on Church Lane, consecrated 24 June 1874, consists of about 4 acres. It was divided into three sections: Church of England, Catholics and Nonconformists.
     
  • The Whitwick Cemetery is under the control of a Joint Burial Committee of the Parish Council.
     
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Census

  • The parish was in the Whitwick sub-district of the Ashby-de-la-Zouch 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:
     
Census
Year
Piece No.
1861 R.G. 9 / 2271
1871 R.G. 10 / 3252
1891 R.G. 12 / 2513
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Church History

  • The Anglican parish church for Whitwick is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist.
     
  • The first church here was built by the Saxons.
     
  • This current church building was built in the 13th century.
     
  • The church was partially restored in 1848-49.
     
  • The church was restored again in 1898.
     
  • The church has a Saxon crypt under the chancel.
     
  • The churchyard was closed to further burials many years ago. Many of the gravestones have been removed.
     
  • The church seats 450.
     
  • Wikipedia has a photograph of St. John's Church.
     
  • Tim GLOVER has a photograph of St. John's Church on Geo-graph, taken in April, 2014.
     
  • In 1835 Ambrose Phillipps-De LISLE founded the modern abbey of Mount Saint Bernard. This is the first abbey built and used since the Reformation.
     
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Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1601.
     
  • The church is in the South Akeley rural deanery.
     
  • The Catholic Church is dedicated to The Holy Cross and was built here in 1837 by Ambrose de LISLE. The replacement church was built in 1905 with the same dedication. There is a small adjoining cemetery.
     
  • Mat FASCIONE has a photograph of Holy Cross Church on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2007.
     
  • The Baptists built a chapel here in 1823.
     
  • In 1836, this was succeeded by the London Road General Baptist Church.
     
  • There is a chapel each for Wesleyan Methodists, Reformed Methodists and Primitive Methodists.
     
  • A Wesleyan Methodist chapel was built on North Street in 1822.
     
  • A Primitive Methodist chapel was built at the foot of Leicester Road (the present day Vicarage Street) in 1864.
     
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Civil Registration

  • The parish was in the Whitwick sub-district of the Ashby-de-la-Zouch registration district.
     
  • Civil Registration started in July, 1937.
     
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Description & Travel

Whitwick is a parish, a township and a market town 120 miles north of London, just 13 miles northwest of Leicester city and 5 miles east of Ashby-de-la-Zouch. The parish covers 3,220 acres and includes a portion of Charnwood Forest.

If you are planning a visit:

  • Passenger rail service ceased in 1931, but goods traffic continued until 1963.
     
  • The Arriva 29A route bus comes through Whitwick.
     
  • By automobile, take the A50 west out of Leicester city and turn right at the roundabout just after Coalville.
     
You can see pictures of Whitwick which are provided by:

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Gazetteers

John Marius WILSON's "Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1870-72":

"WHITWICK, a small town, a township, a parish, and a subdistrict, in Ashby-de-la-Zouch district, Derby. The town stands 1½ mile NNE of Coalville r. station, and 5 E by S of Ashby; underwent improvement of its market place in 1859; and has a post-office under Leicester, a fine old church restored in 1849, four dissenting chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel, national schools, charities £40, and a weekly market. The township comprises 3,260 acres. Real property, £21,467; of which £6,800 are in mines. Pop. in 1851, 2,836; in 1861, 3,759. Houses, 708. An ancient castle of the Earls of Lancaster stood on Castle hill; figured, for a time, as an important fortress; and is now represented only by a few traces of its keep."
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Historical Geography

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

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History

  • The Saxons had a settlement here.
     
  • Whitwick Castle, a motte and bailey castle, stood on Castle Hill. Only some traces remain of this structure that belonged to the Earls of Leicester.
     
  • In 1824 the Long Lane (Whitwick) colliery shaft was sunk by William STENSON.
     
  • In the 1800s the town could boast of several large collieries.
     
  • There was a mining disaster at Whitwick's Number Five Pit on 19 April 1898. 35 men died in an underground fire. The mine closed shortly after. More details on The Coal Mining History Resource Centre.
     
  • Mat FASCIONE has a photograph of one of the The Three Horseshoes Pub. on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2007.
     
  • "Bikeboy" has a photograph of one of the closed pubs in Whitwick on Geo-graph, taken in April, 2015.
     
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Maps

  • See our Maps page for additional resources.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK436160 (Lat/Lon: 52.739878, -1.355653), Whitwick which are provided by:

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Military History

The War Memorial is made of Cornish granite and stands in the middle of St. John the Baptist's churchyard. It was unveiled in 1921.

Tim GLOVER has a photograph of the War Memorial in the churchyard on Geo-graph, taken in April, 2014.

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Military Records

Private Thomas Elsdon ASHFORD, who received the Victoria Cross for his actions in Afghanistan in 1880, is buried in the churchyard here. He worked for many years as a postman in the vacinity.

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Names, Geographical

The parish is mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book as Witewic.

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Newspapers

In 1893, the Coalville Times began publication in nearby Coalville. It covered news from the town and the whole of North West Leicestershire, as well as areas of South Derbyshire and Hinckley and Bosworth.

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Politics & Government

  • This place was an ancient parish in Leicestershire. It was abolished in 1936.
     
  • The town was granted the market dates in 1288.
     
  • The parish was in the ancient West Goscote Hundred in the mid division of the county.
     
  • The parish initially contained the townships of Whitwick, Swannington and Thringstone.
     
  • In Sept., 1894, this parish was reduced to create Coalville Civil Parish. Whitwick went from 6,220 acres to 3,220.
     
  • In April, 1936, this Civil Parish was abolished. One third of the parish went to Charley Civil Parish and two thirds went to enlarge Coalville Civil Parish.
     
  • This place is now a member of the Coalville Urban District Council.
     
  • The locals petitioned the District Council and in May, 2010, a new local parish council was formed. You may contact this Parish Council regarding civic and political issues, but they are NOT staffed to provide family history lookups.
     
  • The parish is a member of the North West Leicestershire District Council.
     
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Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Ashby-de-la-Zouch petty session hearings.
     
  • As a result of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act, this parish became part of the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Poorlaw Union.
     
  • In 1846, Joseph Almond CROPPER erected almshouses for the poor on Castle Hill.
     
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Population

 Year Inhabitants
1871 4,277
1881 3,881
1891 4,564
1901 3,720
1911 4,133
1921 4,516
1931 4,852
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Schools

  • A Public Elementary School (National School) was enlarged in 1903 to hold 438 mixed and 250 infant students. The school was replaced later in the 20th century by a new Church of England school located at the foot of Parsonwood Hill.
     
  • A Public Elementary School was built by the Catholic Church and designated as Holy Cross School. It was built in 1902 to hold 514 students.
     
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Societies

The Whitwick Historical Society has been active in preserving local history. They meet at the Old Station Building on North Street on Saturday mornings.