Wigston Magna


Description in 1871:
"WIGSTON-MAGNA, a large village, a parish, and a subdistrict, in Blaby district, Leicestershire. The village stands near the Leicester and Market-Harborough and the Leicester and Rugby railways, 4 miles SSE of Leicester; has recently undergone much improvement; carries on considerable trade, in framework-knitting and in other departments; and has a post-office under Leicester, two r. stations, a mortuary old church with restored tower and spire, a handsome parochial church with lofty spire, an ornate Independent chapel of 1841, three other dissenting chapels, national and British schools, alms houses with £151 a year, and other charities £66. The parish comprises 2,780 acres. Real property, £9,863. Pop. in 1851, 2,441; in 1861, 2,521. Houses, 556. The property is much subdivided. W. Hall is the seat of M. Turner, Esq. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Peterborough. Value, £220. Patron, alternately the Haberdashers' Company and Christ's Hospital, London. The sub-district contains 5 parishes and 2 parts. Acres, 13,210. Pop., 7,314. Houses, 1,630."
[John Marius WILSON's "Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales," 1870-72]


Archives & Libraries

The Wigston Library in Bull Head Street is part of the Liecestershire County Council Library system. The LIbrary is generally open five days a week and has staff familiar with Family Historian needs.



  • W. G. HOSKINS, "The Midland Peasant", 1965, Macmillan, ASIN: B0000-CJU33. The social history of this village from earliest recorded history into the 19th century.
  • Pamela WARD, "Wigston at War", 2004, ISBN-13: 978-0954759100, available at Leicestershire Library branches.


There is a cemetery alongside Welford Road in Wigston Harcourt.

The cemetery was originally four acres and was maintained by the Wigston Cemetery Joint Committee.

Chris SHAW has a photograph of the Chapel at Wigston Cemetery on Geo-graph, taken in September 2005.

The graveyard at All Saints was filled by 1853.

Mat FASCIONE has a photograph of Wigston Cemetery on Geo-graph, taken in May, 2017.

Chris SHAW has a photograph of St. Wistan showing part of the graveyard on Geo-graph, taken in September 2005.



  • The parish was in the Wigston sub-district of the Blaby 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.
1841 H.O. 107 / 599
1861 R.G. 9 / 2255
1871 R.G. 10 / 3232
1881 R.G. 11 / 3127
1891 R.G. 12 / 2489 - 2499

Church History

  • Saint Wistan's is so called because it was one of the places where the body of St. Wiston or Wigston rested before burial. Wigstan was a Mercian prince who died circa 840 at the hands of another Mercian prince.
  • There used to be an Anglican church dedicated to Saint Wolstan, dating from the 14th century. This church fell into decay and disuse. It was restored in 1853 and the burial ground was actively used. The church was restored again in 1877. The church could seat 120.
  • John WELFORD has a photograph of St. Wistan's Church in Wigston Magna (note spelling) on Geo-graph, taken in May, 2016.
  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to All Saints.
  • Tim GLOVER has a photograph of All Saints Church on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2016.
  • The church was thoroughly restored during 1874 to 1889.
  • The church chancel, tower and spire were restored in 1903.
  • The church seats 600.
  • Mat FASCIONE has a photograph of All Saints Church on Geo-graph, taken in May, 2006.
  • Andrew TATLOW has a photograph of the Little Hill Church sign on Geo-graph, taken in January, 2016. This church is near the south end of the village.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1569.
  • The church is in the rural deanery of Gartree (second portion).
  • A Congregationalist chapel was built in the centre of the village in 1841, replacing an older chapel founded in 1666.
  • Methodism came to Wigston Magna in 1818.
  • The village also had a Wesleyan Methodist, a Primitive Methodist and a Calvanist chapel by 1881.
  • John WELFORD has a photograph of the Methodist Church on Geo-graph, taken in May, 2016.
  • Andrew TATLOW has a photograph of the Little Hill Church on Geo-graph, taken in January, 2016. This is an independent Evangelical Church.
  • A relatively new church in the parish is the Life Church, photographed here by Ian S. on Geo-graph, taken in December, 2015. This is an Assemblies of God church.

Civil Registration

  • Civil Registration began in July, 1837.
  • The parish was in the Wigston sub-district of the Blaby Registration District.
  • You may want to familiarize yourself with the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland County Record Office photographed on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2016 by Dylan MOORE.

Description & Travel

Wigston Magna is a village and a parish 94 miles north of London and about 4 miles south of Leicester city center, just off the A5199 road.. The Union Canal passes through the parish. The parish covered 2,780 acres in 1853.

The village is now a suburb of Leicester city. If you are planning a visit:

  • By automobile, take the A5199 arterial road south out of Leicester about 5 miles. A road to the right leads to Countesthorpe. Once on that road you are in the old parish of Wigston Magna.
You can see pictures of Wigston Magna which are provided by:





Wikipedia tells us that Wigston is:

  1. the birthplace of George DAVENPORT, a notorious highwayman.
  2. the birthplace of Abigail HERRICK, the mother of Jonathan SWIFT, author of "Gulliver's Travels."
  3. the birthplace of Leicester Tigers and England scrum-half Harry ELLIS who attended Bushloe High School.
  4. the birthplace of former Leicester Sound and BBC Radio Leicester presenter, Mark HAYMAN.
  5. Graham CHAPMAN, of Monty Python fame, lived (around 1951/52) in what was then Wigston police station during the time that his father was the inspector there.
  6. the birthplace of author and journalist John MARQUIS.
  7. Leicester City footballer Howard RILEY was also Wigston born and bred.
  8. Composer and piano virtuoso Michael GARRETT was educated here.
  9. music hall star Gertie GITANA is buried in Wigston cemetery. She died in the 1950s.
  10. Geoffrey BARRETT was educated here. He received a Governor's commendation as a member of the Hong Kong anti-corruption squad in the 1970s and ended his career as head of the Leicester murder squad.

Historical Geography

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



  • In the 1700s and 1800s many of the inhabitants were frame-work knitters.
  • There is a frame-work knitting museum here. The museum has a website, but it was empty of any content at last check.
  • Alex CAMERON has a photograph of the Framework Knitters' Museum on Geo-graph, taken in May, 2006.
  • Starting around 1850 the Midland Railway Company built engine sheds here and employed up to 150 locals (about 300 by 1912).
  • Ian S. has a photograph of the William Wygston Pub. on Geo-graph, taken in December, 2015. This is a good place to stop in and discuss local history.
  • J. THOMAS has a photograph of the The Horse & Trumpet Inn on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2014.


  • Wigston Hall, the seat of Alfred Allen COOPER esq. in 1881 sat in well-wooded grounds.


  • See our Maps page for additional resources.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SP611987 (Lat/Lon: 52.582686, -1.09968), Wigston Magna which are provided by:


Military History

1461 (Wigston) Squadron of the Air Training Corps is located in Tigers Road, South Wigston. This is a British volunteer-military youth organisation sponsored by the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Air Force.

Mat FASCIONE has a photograph of the Peace Memorial Park on Geo-graph, taken in April, 2017.

The actual War Memorial is on Moat Street, on the grounds of All Saints Church. Ian S. has a photograph of the War Memorial on Geo-graph, taken in December, 2015.


Military Records

  • There is an oak tablet in the All Saints' churchyard with the names of the men who fell in World War I.
  • Ian S. has a photograph of the War Memorial on Geo-graph, taken in December, 2015.
  • You may also wish to visit Peace Memorial Park on Long Street. This park was opened in 1921.

Names, Geographical

  • The parish (and village) were in the 1086 Domesday book as "Wichingstone".
  • The parish (and village) were known as "Wigston Two Steeples" for many years in the Middle Ages because of the two churches in the village.


The Midland Railway Company built engine sheds here which provided employment for 150 hands in 1881, and for 300 by 1912.


Politics & Government

  • This place was an ancient parish of Leicestershire and became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
  • The parish is in the ancient Guthlaxton Hundred in the southern division of the county.
  • In December, 1894, this parish was reduced in size when East Wigston Civil Parish was created.
  • Also in December, 1894, this parish formed an Urban District Council and divided the parish into five wards.
  • In October, 1928, this parish gained 148 acres from Glen Parva Civil Parish.
  • In April, 1935, this parish was reduced by 41 acres when Leicester Civil Parish was re-incorporated.
  • In April, 1936, this parish gained 35 acres from Blaby Civil Parish, 142 acres from Countesthorpe Civil Parish and 44 acres from Lubbesthorpe Civil Parish. It gave up 1 acre to Oadby Civil Parish.
  • In April, 1939, this parish was reduced by 14 acres given to Leicester Civil Parish, but got 4 acres back from another portion of Leicester Civil Parish.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • In 1881 the parish had almshouses for seven poor people, originally erected in 1781 by Mrs. Elizabeth CLARKE, endowed with £174 a year by Mrs. Catherine PALMER.
  • The parish had about £90 a year (in 1881) from charities which allowed it to provide clothing, coal and bread to the poor.
  • As a result of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act, this parish became part of the Blaby Poorlaw Union.
  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Leicester petty session hearings.


 Year Inhabitants
1801 1,658
1831 2,174
1841 2,189
1871 2,638
1881 4,299
1891 7,013
1901 8,404
1911 8,650


  • A local School Board built a school here in 1872 on Bell Street. This school was used as an Infant School in 1912.
  • The village also had a National School built in 1881 on Long Street.

Today, there are several primary schools in Wigston:

  1. All Saints Primary School
  2. Glenmere Primary School
  3. Little Hill Primary School
  4. The Meadow Community Primary School
  5. Thythorn Field Community Primary School
  6. Water Leys Primary School

Wigston Academy is the secondary school for the area. It was formed in September 2015 from the merger of Abington Academy and Bushloe High School.