Willoughby on the Wolds


"Standing 11 miles south by east of Nottingham, and near the Leicestershire border, Willoughby-on-the-Wolds is a long, rural village and parish, sheltered by the embowering foliage of a double row of trees, and seated upon a declivity near the ancient Fosseway. Though so retired in its situation, it did not escape the baneful effects of the civil wars in the reign of Charles I, when a bloody contest was fought in Willoughby Field, in which Colonel Stanhope was numbered amongst the slain. The lofty cross in the village was doomed for destruction by the pious soldiers of Cromwell, but their religious enthusiasm was so much damped by some strong beer given them by the vicar, after he had made a long speech in defence of the innocents, that it was permitted to remain unmolested, but was taken down thirty years ago. Willoughby is considered by Horseley as the Vernomentum so often mistaken for Margidunum. Stukely tells us that the old Roman town (of which the ditch and mound still exist) was in a field called "Henings" where, tradition says, there was an old city called Long Billington, but the site is now designated the "Black Field", from the colour and richness of the soil. Near the source of Willoughby Brook is Croxhill, an ancient tumulus, on which an unusual revel was held in allusion to some traditionary festival of the Roman mythology. Many colns, pavements, and other antiquities have been found near the village.
The church, dedicated to St Mary, has many ancient and splendid monuments (now in a ruinous state, from the dilapidated state of the roof) of the Willoughbys, ancestors of Lord Middleton, whose predecessors sold this lordship many years ago to various proprietors."
[WHITE's "Directory of Nottinghamshire," 1853]


Archives & Libraries

The Library at Nottingham will prove useful in your research.



  • The parish was in the Leake sub-district of the Loughborough Registration District.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1841 H.O. 107 / 863
1861 R.G. 9 / 2277 & 2278
1871 R.G. 10 / 3260
1881 R.G. 11 / 3xxx
1891 R.G. 12 / 2518

Church History

  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint Mary and All Saints.
  • The church appears to be of 13th century Norman origin, replacing an earlier church.
  • The church chancel was restored in 1891.
  • The church seats 370.
  • The church is Grade I listed with British Heritage.
  • J. HANNAN-BRIGGS has a photograph of St Mary & All Saints' Church on Geo-graph, taken in February, 2013.
  • Richard CROFT also has a photograph of St Mary & All Saints' Church on Geo-graph, taken in May, 2008.
  • And Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of Church of St. Mary & All Saints', emphasizing the church tower, on Geo-graph, taken in January, 201408.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish church register dates from 1678 for all entries.
  • The church was in the rural No. 2 deanery of Bingham.
  • Monuments in the church are badly damaged, presumably mostly from Parliamentary troops during the Civil War. Although for many years there were holes in the roof, letting weather damage the monuments.
  • The Primitive Methodists built a new chapel here in 1871.
  • The Baptists built a new chapel here in 1874.
  • The Wesleyan Methodists built a new chapel here in 1891.

Civil Registration

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

Description & Travel

Willoughby on the Wolds is a village, a township and a parish. This place is 11.5 miles south-east of Nottingham city and 7 miles north-east of Loughborough in Leicester. The parish covers 2,103 acres and includes the hamlet of West Thorpe which sits a quarter mile south-west of Willoughby village.

If you are planning a visit:

  • Take the A46 motorway north out of Leicester city or the A606 south-east out of Nottingham. The A46 is the old Roman Fosse Road. Just over a mile south of the intersection of these two roads, on the A46, is a turn-off for Willoughby on the Wolds, which sits just west of the motorway.
  • Mat FASCIONE has a photograph of the Main Street in Willoughby on Geo-graph, taken in July, 2008.
  • The village has a website with a map and other pertinent information. The website is hosted by the parish council.
  • Alex McGREGOR has a photograph of the Village Sign on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2013. Clearly they could use someone of your creative and artistic talents to produce a new sign for them.
  • Ahhhh, wait a mo'. Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of the new Village Sign on Geo-graph, taken in January, 2014. Sorry, no work for you.
You can see pictures of Willoughby on the Wolds which are provided by:






Historical Geography

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



  • This place is thought to be, by some, the Roman station Vernomentum", but positive proof remains elusive.
  • Cross Hill is an old barrow on which games were held each year.
  • The strip-farming system continued in this village until 1799.
  • Much of the parish was used for pasturage.


  • See our Maps page for additional resources.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK634254 (Lat/Lon: 52.822413, -1.060602), Willoughby on the Wolds which are provided by:


Military History

  • A Civil War battle was fought here in Willoughby Field in 1648.
  • In the church is a brass memorial to Col. Michael STANHOPE who died at the above battle in July, 1648.
  • In June 1919 a marble tablet was mounted on the north wall of the nave as a War Memorial to the men who laid down their lives in World War I.
  • In 1919 a plaque on the tower wall as a War Memorial to all who served in World War I and in whose honour the clock on the church tower was installed.

Military Records

The names on the memorials are available on the Nottinghamshire War Memorials site, along with details of service.

These are the five people reported as casualties on the tower clock memorial brass:

  1. lance corporal Frederick ATKINSON, 1st Bn Leicestershire Regt., died 15 Sep 1916.
  2. private Jonathan GOODACRE, 37th Bn Machine Gun Corps, died 11 Oct 1918.
  3. private Joseph William GOODACRE, 12th Division, Royal Army Service Corps, died 18 Oct 1918.
  4. lance corporal John NIXON, 1st Bn Leicestershire Regt., died 24 May 1917.
  5. lance corporal Thomas Cyril WOODWARD, 1/7th Bn Sherwood Foresters, died 1 Jul 1916.

There is a marble plaque on the north wall of the church nave, reporting 8 casualties:

  1. Frederick Atkinson
  2. Harold Edward Attewell
  3. Joseph Cross
  4. Jonathan Goodacre
  5. Joseph William Goodacre
  6. John Nixon
  7. Albert Smith
  8. Thomas Cyril Woodford

The Clock Tower also holds a Roll of Honour of all 31 individuals who served in World War One:

  1. Adams, W.
  2. Atkinson, E.
  3. Bailey, R.
  4. Bonser, W.
  5. Boulton, T.
  6. Cross, A.
  7. Dalby, F.
  8. Draycott, J.
  9. Goodacre, G. W.
  10. Goodacre, Jonathan
  11. Goodacre, Joseph William
  12. Goodacre, L.
  13. Hallam, F.
  14. Hallam, T.
  15. Hatherley, J. E.
  16. Hatherley, S.
  17. Hibbert, R.
  18. Hubbard, F.
  19. Matthews, F. C.
  20. Moorhouse, C. W.
  21. Moorhouse, S.
  22. Newton, G.
  23. Nixon, E.
  24. Nixon, G.
  25. Nixon, John
  26. Raynor, J.
  27. Screaton, A. (Archibald?)
  28. Screaton, B.
  29. Screaton, Percy
  30. Wakerley, W.
  31. Woodford, C.

Names, Geographical

  • In the 1086 Domesday Book, the village is given as Wilgebi or Willebi.
    [A. D. MILLS, "A Dictionary of English Place-Names," Oxford University Press, 1991].

Politics & Government

  • This place was an ancient parish in county Nottingham and became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
  • The parish was in southern division of the ancient Rushcliffe Wapentake (Hundred) in the southern division of the county.
  • On 1 April, 1965, this Civil Parish gave up 37 acres to enlarge Burton on the Wolds Civil Parish (in Leicestershire) and another 270 acres to enlarge Wymeswold Civil Parish.
  • You may contact the local Willoughby-on-the-Wolds Parish Council regarding civic or political issues, but they are NOT staffed to help with family history lookups.
  • District governance is provided by the Rushcliffe Borough Council.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Nottingham petty session hearings.
  • The Common Land was enclosed here in 1749.
  • As a result of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act, this parish joined the Loughborough Poor Law Union in Leicestershire.
  • John WELSH's charity distributed 20 shillings annually to the parish poor in 1881. In 1904 it was £2 and 10s.


 Year Population
1801 355
1851 600
1861 573
1871 472
1881 480
1891 414
1901 398
1911 433
1921 371
1931 368


  • A National School was built here in 1863 by public subscription.
  • A local School Board was formed in 1873.
  • The school still stands.
  • Max GARRATT has a photograph of the Primary School on Geo-graph, taken in January, 2006.
  • Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of the Willoughby School on Geo-graph, taken in January, 2014.