Market Bosworth 1900 to 1918 The Text (to accompany the images)

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At the turn of the century Market Bosworth would still have been an agricultural town with the water supply coming from springs and wells. Only Bosworth Hall had electricity with the rest of the town being supplied by gas. Houses were lit by paraffin lamps and heated by coal fires which provided heat for cooking and boiling the water for wash day. In 1911 the population of Market Bosworth was 729. Most of the houses had external lavatories which were emptied when a horse drawn cart came around, known as ‘the marmalade pan’. The contents were then emptied into a brick lined ash dump in Back Lane. The Market Place and pavements were roughly cobbled and outside the Black Horse Inn stood an elm tree. There would have been very little in the way of motorized traffic sounds, only horse drawn vehicles, so parking wouldn’t have been a problem!!

At the top of Station Road (formerly Litchfield Street) stood the ivy clad grammar school with the New London City and Midland Bank next door.

Dixie Grammar School

Nearby, on the opposite side of the road was Glebe Farm with the farmyard at the back. Further along in the cottages were some little businesses.  On the corner of Warwick Lane was the King William lV pub next to the row of artisan cottages.

King William IV

Most of the rest of Station Road would have been farmland and allotments. Albert Lockett was the Master of the Workhouse and almost opposite stood Aylesbrook Cottage


Out in the countryside this road would have been quite busy  with the comings and goings  to and from the railway station where Joseph Ellis and Sons the coal merchants, the gas plant and the canal wharf were also situated.

Returning to the town centre, the recently built Police Station and Magistrates Court were situated at the top of Shenton Lane. The Police Station had accommodation for an inspector and constable. A Petty Session was held every other Wednesday. In the Police House in 1916 lived the constable, William Pegg. Further along Shenton Lane, South Fields Farm was built about 1900 for the Perry family who were farmers. They bought large areas of Glebe land along Sutton Lane.

In the Market Place, on the site of Lampard’s, was the butchery business of Arthur Brookes Headley. Bill Lampard started his own business in Market Bosworth in 1928 and during the Great War he served in the Cavalry.

Next to the Dower House on Main Street, Robert Long had a butchery business. He served in the Royal Horse and Field Artillery in 1915 and in 1919 was in the butchery section of the Royal Army Service Corps.

On the site of HSBC Bank, Mr John Insley had a butcher’s shop which later became Longs butcher’s s

Amos Fletcher had a bakery in the Market Place (near the present premises of Flavell’s) complete with bakehouse. Later he took over the premises of J H Shepherd in Main Street. As well as supplying pork pies and cakes he also dealt in maize, meal for horse and fowl, corn and pig feeds.

Kendrick Brothers ran a bakery on Sutton Lane(bakehouse on right)

Mr William Wallis Hardwicke had a drapery store on the corner of Church Street and Main Street specializing in black material for ladies dresses. It stocked gents’ clothes and men’s heavy nailed boots starting from 6/9d a pair.

Mr Armson was a local carpenter and a coffin maker who ran his business from the back of the Dixie Arms.

Arthur Percy Beale ran a grocery business on Main Street which also sold medicines and drugs..

On the site of Elizabeth Ann hairdresser stood Willshee late Drackley, a chemist and grocer. It was also possible to get your teeth extracted there!

This diagram shows the street names and where the main businesses were situated.

If you were able to walk a WW1 memorial trail around Bosworth you would discover that  some of those who served lived in these streets and lanes.

This is not a full list of those who served but just those who we have found a home address for.

Station Road

George Henry Laws

George Matthew Parsons

Arthur Montague Palmer

Alfred Palmer

Bertie Clarke

Charles E Loseby

Arthur Miller

George Shave

Shenton Lane

George Cheshire

Sutton Lane

Charles Hextall

Joseph Hextall

Richard William Hextall

Park Street

Edward Armson

Frederick Taylor Armson

Frank Beck

William Gibbs

Gilbert Fred Graver

Robert Harold Graver

William Job Palmer

Walter Thomas Trivett

The Park

Charles Edward Elliott

William Roland Granger

Lieutenant Owain Greaves

Church Street

Charles Edward Hewer

Eric Hamilton Hewer

Barton Lane

John Edward Bailey

Herbert Geoffrey Forryan

Robert Meakins Long

Arthur Thomas Towers Stevens


Market Place

Amos Poyser Fletcher

Thomas Howel Pearson living at DGS

Lewis Howel Pearson living at the DGS

Frederick Proudman

High Street (Main Street)

Albert Ernest Harvey

Thomas Hextall

George Percival Kearsey

Back Lane

John Holloway Coleman

John William Cooling

Thomas Harris

Harold March

Edward George Starkey


Dr Keeling

This extract from Dr Keeling’s memoirs also sets the scene for how life was in Market Bosworth leading up to and during the Great War.

Dr H N Keeling was a doctor in Market Bosworth from 1907 to 1937. In the 1911 Census he was living at Beech House, Church Street with his wife and children. At this time he had two general domestic servants, one of whom was a local girl from Barlestone, Ethel Daisy Hextall. She was possibly related to the two Hextalls who served in the Great War.

In 1953 he wrote of his recollections and reflections of a doctor and parson. A copy of his chapters referencing Market Bosworth became available through his son, Wing Commander Peter Keeling. Here is an extract:

Beech House Church Street

“On the 16th June 1907, aged 29, I arrived in Market Bosworth in order to take over a large country practice. Bosworth is 13 miles by road from the county town of Leicester, and is therefore very much in the country. Day to day life in 1907 can hardly have differed very much from day to day life in 1807 or 1707. True, there is a railway station but this has never been of much use to the inhabitants. There was also, of course, the push bicycle in 1907 surely one of the greatest and cheapest inventions for travel. The internal combustion engine was in its infancy. Two or three of the large country houses each possessed a car, but otherwise the horse drawn vehicle, the push cycle and shanks’ pony were the only means of transport. There were no vans or lorries, buses or ambulances. A carrier cart drawn by one horse travelled to and from Leicester on Wednesdays and Saturdays. There was no telephone, no electricity, no district nurse.

There was gas, of a sort, foul smelling stuff which frequently failed, especially when the gas engineer had a birthday, as he seemed to every few weeks. The paraffin lamp was the chief means of illumination

The 1914-18 war – I was twice called up. I responded and each time was quickly told to stay put. I was alone, having just absorbed my colleague’s practice, and was therefore doing two men’s work. My nearest neighbour was called up and he departed and I was allotted part of his practice. I was therefore doing two and a half men’s work. My chauffeur gardener and odd job man was called up and so he departed. I was therefore doing three and a half men’s work. For five years and more I was on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, without a day’s holiday. During the war I rose at 5am did the car, the gardens, the boots and many odd jobs, and often paid two or three visits before breakfast to outlying farms and serious cases in order to relieve the pressure of the day’s work. I knew there was a war on. There was the blackout and a shortage of food.

There were German prisoners in our midst. There were the usual activities – food parcels , socks and mufflers for the troops.

In 1918 there was an influenza epidemic in many parts of the world. It was very terrible in my own little world of two to three thousand people. It began rather suddenly after the Armistice. There had been nothing like it since the Great Plagues several centuries ago. A large proportion of the population had the disease. The whole of many households were laid low together, four, five or six in a bed at the same time. Many of the most severe cases occurred in young, strong, healthy adults who had never been ill before. They were attacked suddenly and within 24 hours they were dead.  The epidemic in my district died down almost as quickly as it began. Fortunately I had an excellent full time trained nurse working for me and more fortunately still, both she and I kept perfectly well.”

When Dr Keeling retired in 1937 he trained for the Ministry of the Church of England and was ordained in 1938 in Chichester Cathedral. During World War11 he was chaplain to the Royal Hospital and Home for Incurables in London, now known as the Royal Hospital for  Neuro Disabilities.

About 100 years ago this was the situation regarding our schools.

In 1914, Britain had a basic educational system and most children left school at the age of 12. The 1918 Fisher Act raised the school leaving age from 12 to 14. Boys and girls left elementary school when they had received basic instruction in the three Rs. After the Great War started in 1914, many teachers were called up for military service.

In Market Bosworth, Gilbert Graver was a student teacher, first at the Primary School in Park Street and then later at a school in Ibstock. At the start of the Great War he joined the army, having previously been in the Territorials. Having volunteered  for foreign service he was stationed at Fort William, Calcutta. In his own words

“we were dumped in an old army barracks which was to become our home. We had one pair of boots and one grey black shirt each, so it was a question of sending your shirt to the flying dhobi service at night and hoping it would be returned the next morning. I got so fed up with doing guards and parades and as I’d got a bit of interest in cooking, I volunteered to become a cook. I was given a little cook house and four locals to help me. We used the sergeants sugar to make toffee!”

Whilst in Lucknow, Gilbert contracted malaria but had recovered by the time the Great War was over.

Years later, in 1926, his father retired from Headmastership of the Park Street School and Gilbert Graver took over this position for one year before moving down to the newly built Secondary Modern School on Station Road in 1927. He is still remembered by many from the local community as he remained as Headmaster until his retirement in the 1950s.

Miss Adina Cranfield was the Headmistress of the Parochial  Infants’  School in Park Street from 1894 to 1925. She lived on Main Street with her aunt. Adina was also the church organist.

Lilian Edgeley a  young local resident was born in Bosworth in 1907. Her story was told in Aspect 1983 for Personality of the Month. She attended the school in Park Street when Mr Graver senior was Headmaster. He and his wife lived at the School House and Mrs Graver taught basic cooking to the older girls in her kitchen.

The boys of the school had small garden plots on the ground of where St Peter’s Hall now stands.

Then there were probably about 60 pupils in the whole school. According to Lilian Edgeley,  the boys mainly went into farming and the girls would expect to go into domestic service. Lilian left school when she was 14 and went to work as ‘a between maid’ at the Rectory.

In the thatched cottages opposite the school, Mrs Bradbury kept a sweet shop which would have been very popular with the children!

At The Bosworth School (now the Dixie Grammar School), Reverend Clarke succeeded Reverend L H Pearson as Head Master from 1914 – 18. The School was beset by staffing difficulties caused by the Great War and probably, for the first time since the Dixie Foundation, Greek was not taught at the School!

At the Dixie Grammar School two former pupils were remembered with honour, namely:

Lance Sergeant J S Quincey, killed in action aged 23. His name is on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing.

Private W Trivett, who served in the Machine Gun Corp Cavalry and died in France on 27th October 1918. He is buried at St. Sever Cemetery Rouen.

Bernard Newman, who went on to write many books. His first novel ‘The Cavalry Went Through’ was based on his experiences during the First World War. He became most famous for writing spy novels and one of his final projects was to write the history of the School ‘The Bosworth Story’. TAKE BOOK

Arthur Dawkins OBE, entered the Civil Service in 1915 and served in the Forces during The Great War.

2nd Lieutenant Arthur Newberry Choyce, whilst in the trenches, wrote his 1917 publication ‘Crimson Stains’ and known as Leicestershire’s Great War poet. After the War he became Head at Snibstone Primary School but died aged 43, possibly as a result of war wounds.

Lieutenant Arnold Haythorne was a teacher at the Dixie School and was wounded in action on 28th May 1918 whilst serving with the West Riding Regiment. After the War he returned to Market Bosworth and lived at the Grey House, Church Street.

Now here is  the situation regarding where to get a pint!!

At the time of the Great War there were five public houses in Market Bosworth

The landlord of the Black Horse Inn was Thomas Spencer from 1912 – 1941

The Wheatsheaf landlord was Mr William Henry Holmes 1916 and then his widow Annie Holmes took over until 1925. The license was not renewed after this date.






The Dixie Arms had two proprietors firstly Mrs Elizabeth Hartshorn who came from West Bromwich  had two sons, both of whom were born in Market Bosworth. She was the licensed victualler as shown on the 1911 Census. Then from 1916 -1922 the landlord was Mr Walter Shepherd.

At the Red Lion, John Trivett was landlord in 1908 and then Mrs Rose E Trivett became  landlady in 1912. As already mentioned, her son Walter was killed in action in France in 1918.  Many of the related family still live locally.

William Hadley was the landlord of the King William lV in 1916.

Following the start of the Great War there were changes to the licensing laws. The Minister for Munitions, David Lloyd George, repeatedly spoke of drinking as a problem. This is because there were fears that too much alcohol would cost Britain productivity and that the army abroad would run short of ammunition. Factory workers would turn up drunk and this would harm the war effort. The Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) of 1914 banned drinking on trains and the buying of drinks for each other (buying a round). Duty on alcohol was progressively increased and the strength of beer was reduced. Beer in particular was ordered to be watered down to make it less potent and reduce drunkenness . The opening hours of pubs was restricted to 12 noon – 2.30pm and6.30pm – 9.30pm. David Lloyd George said “drink is doing us more damage in the war than all the German submarines put together”.


And now to food and agriculture

Here is a list of agricultural holdings belonging to the Bosworth Estate (3,130 acres)

in 1913. These farms were rented from the Dixie Estate and when it was sold some of these farmers were able to buy their land.

  1. Aqueduct Farm  (John Cash)
  2. Bull-in-the-Oak Farm  (William Chantrell)
  3. Cadeby Hall Farm  (H.L. Scott)
  4. Coton Priory Farm  (H. Beecroft)
  5. Cow Pastures Farm  (E. Jackson)
  6.  Upper Far Coton Farm  (F. Barker)
  7. Lower Far Coton Farm  (George Congreve)
  8. Friezeland Farm  (John Bradley)
  9. Home Farm (J.H. Shepherd)
  10. Stonehouse Farm (D. Tebbetts)
  11. The Common Farm (John Jackson)
  12. Westfields Farm  (C. G. Turner)
  13. Through the last decades of the 19th Century, Britain imported much of its food supply, most of which was wheat. This was because of a long period of agricultural depression led to most farmers switching to dairy and beef cattle, which was more profitable than arable. Also wheat was particularly vulnerable to overseas competition. Britain exported manufactured goods, in return for which we received their surplus corn and cattle feed.

It was not until two years after the start of the war that concerns were expressed about the supply of food. In 1915 the Government called upon counties to set up War Agricultural Committees; these then set up District Committees with local  knowledge. All farms in the area were visited and farmers were advised on ways to increase productivity and which parts of their land to turn over to arable. This took time to be initiated.

By September 1916 the German U boat campaign was beginning to have a significant impact on food supplies. In February 1917 German submarines sank 230 ships bringing supplies to Britain. The U-Boat blockade forced the Government to bring in orders to  encourage people to acquire land through the Defense of the Realm Act .

In our area, the majority of the land around Market Bosworth was owned by the Church  and the Bosworth Estate. Most people rented their houses as there were not many properties for sale. Peter Foss informs us that in 1913, prior to its sale by Mrs Owain Greaves, the Bosworth Estate consisted of 3,130 acres with 13 agricultural holdings as well as Harcourt Mill and several plots within the township of Market Bosworth.

There was also a cricket ground and pavilion on the right hand side of Cadeby Lane.


In addition to these farms, there were many smallholdings and allotments in Market Bosworth but we do not know the details of how land was called upon to help the war effort. However, we do know that potato and vegetable growing and pig keeping was actively encouraged.

Market Bosworth Show had been held annually since 1896, except during the war years. There was a weekly cattle market held on the land behind the Black Horse Inn (now Market Mews ).

The County Records Office holds records of war activities for Leicestershire relating to agriculture but to date we have not yet had time to explore this.

Cattle Market






In 1913 Bosworth Hall is described as having two acres of kitchen gardens

Water Tower – in the walled garden with a range of cold fruit glass houses and a melon house.







Lieutenant Owain Greaves married Wenefryde Scott, daughter of Tollemache Scott, heiress to Bosworth Hall.  He was a professional soldier and served with the Royal Horse Guards throughout the Great War after which the family moved to Wales.





A gardener at Bosworth Hall, William Roland Granger, also served and survived the Great War.

Harry Weston was the coachman for Tollemache Scott. In later years Weston Drive was named after him on land that was formerly allotments and known as Allotment Lane.

The roll of St Peter’s Church, at this time, would have been very important.

This is a photo of St Peter’s Church in 1918. Canon Percy Harris Bowers was the Rector from 1886 until 1922. He lived in the Rectory which was situated in Biggin Lane, now Rectory Lane.



Fred Proudman was chauffeur to the Rector. Fred was called up in 1916 and served in the Royal Naval Division to the end of the war. In 1925 he became verger at the Church.Canon Percy Harris Bowers

The previously mentioned Lilian Edgeley worked as a maid at the Rectory and we learn from her…..” that as late as 1921, it had no electricity but only gas lights downstairs and candles for the bedrooms. There was no mains water to the Rectory but spring water was pumped into big tanks into the attic by a hydraulic ram machine from  the glebe field behind the Rectory. The vegetables for the house were all grown in the kitchen garden where Southlands (opposite the car park) now stands. There were soft fruits as well as apple and pear trees”


Lilian Edgeley’s father ran a saddlery and harness makers business on Station Road, close to where the Batter of Bosworth is now. He also had the job of lighting the town’s gas lamps.  Lilian later became Mrs Coleman and there are still family members living in the area







In Park Street, the Wothers family were blacksmiths and lived at the Forge. A family member, Alfred Wothers, served in the First World War with the 9th Gloucesters and was discharged in May 1919 suffering from shell shock and malaria and died December 1919.











The station and the railway






Before the Great War the jointly owned line of London and North Western Railway and the Midland Railway was operating well. The railway companies had great prestige and railway jobs were highly prized. Then things changed dramatically as almost 1/3 of the joint company’s work force went to war, some workshops had to make weapons and so maintenance of the tracks and trains worsened. During the Great War, the joint railway was used primarily for the movement of troops. This was the priority , then the movement of coal and for passengers, the time table was reduced and unreliable. This line was less busy than others so it helped not to clog up major routes.


After the war the mainline took 20 years to recover. Passenger trains on the branch lines which served Market Bosworth, for example, never did recover.

At Shenton Station there was no fit drinking water from the tap and it had to be brought in  from Bosworth in milk churns.

In 1914 there was a grand total of three female porters. By 1915 there were 10,000. To see a woman in uniform was a shock.  At first they didn’t have a uniform but then they were issued a smart one which gave them status and authority.

Hetty Lovell must have been one of the earliest female porters on the railway


This photograph of Hetty Lovell, held at Shackerstone Railway Museum, was taken in 1915 when Hetty was 22 years old and she is wearing a London North Western uniform. Her father, Isaac, was shown on the railway records as working at Market Bosworth Station in 1878 for London North Western as a porter and 11 years later he transferred to Heather as Station Master. On the 1911 Census he was recorded as a signal man. Isaac would have been 54 at the outbreak of war so we assume he continued to work on this joint line. Hetty had seven brothers and two sisters.









This photograph is of Herbert Lovell who could have been her younger brother.









Her older brother, Allan, was shown as a railway porter on the 1911 Census. After the War, in 1922, Hetty married Albert Palmer, an engine driver and they had three sons. Hetty died in 1950, aged

In Leicestershire many companies had full order books for footwear and hosiery. In Stoke Golding, H J Hall & Son produced 35,000,000 pairs of socks for French, British and Belgian troops. They were taken by cart pulled by their dependable horse, Blossom, to the railway station at Stoke Golding and sent off to Europe.

Market Bosworth Station would have been an important calling point for dropping off the post and sending parcels and letters.

Silk postcards were first produced in 1907 and with soldiers providing a new market, they became popular early in 1915.  It was a cottage industry and possibly as many as 10million were produced during the war, handmade and embroidered, by women. They were not cheap, each one costing as much as three times the daily pay of the average soldier.










Only officers’ families were informed of their death by telegram. Anxious families in the town would have been waiting for news from their loved ones. The families of other ranks were sent a letter from his commanding officer telling them he had been killed in action. If possible the contents of pockets, identity discs and other personal effects were returned to families. As the War progressed numbers killed were so enormous that letters informing relatives were not written immediately but lists were pinned up in communities after conflicts. In Market Bosworth these lists were possibly displayed at the Post Office in the Market Place.


After the War memorial plaques known as “widow’s pennies” were sent in packages embossed with the Royal Crest.






Finally, we turn to a few local memorials where we find that those who served from our area were posted far and wide to fight in different battles.

For some of this research we have used Michael Doyle’s ‘Their Name Liveth for Evermore’.

St Peter’s Church in Market Bosworth has a Memorial to those who served in WW1 on the reredos in the Ladies Chapel.

This is the Memorial at John’s Church Shenton in Pump Lane. On this memorial is the name of Colonel Frederick H A Wollaston who was the son of Frederick Wollaston and Mrs Wollaston of Shenton Hall. He was killed in action and at the time of his death he was commanding the 1st/5th Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment.






On the Twycross Memorial is the name of Leading Stoker William Starkey who enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1906 and served firstly on HMS Nelson. His service continued on different ships and in 1913 he joined HMS Queen Mary. In 1916 he was killed in action at the Battle of Jutland. Only 20 men were rescued from HMS Queen Mary’s crew of over 1000.





At St. Andrew’s Church, Carlton, there is a stained glass arts and crafts window by Theodora Salisbury. The dedication plaque below gives the names of the fallen. The idea for the memorial window was accepted unanimously by a vestry meeting on 29th August 1920. A donation of £81 was made by Sir Arthur Wheeler, Baronet.

Shackerstone Station the Roll of Honour board has the Midland Railway insignia on the top – it was moved from Ashby de la Zouch in 1964.







St. James’ Church, Sutton Cheney had a clock installed as a memorial to those who fell in the Great War. The inscription reads: For God, King and Country 1914-1918. The church clock was erected in honoured memory of the men of this parish who fell in the Great War.






Church clock installed as a war memorial 1914-18

NATSOPA Memorial Home Wellsborough opened in 1921 as a memorial to printers who fell in the Great War. It closed in 2013





On Saturday July 19th 1919, Market Bosworth held a Peace Celebration.

There was a special service in the Market Place. A tent was erected in the Park and sports races were held on the cricket ground. People were asked to bring their own knife, fork and teaspoon!

In the evening there was dancing and entertainment on the Cricket Ground.

Siegfried Sassoon was a very famous war poet who visited Market Bosworth prior to the start of the Great War in 1914. The above photo was taken between the old bank chambers and the Grammar School














We finish our talk with his words:

Have you forgotten yet?

Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you’ll never forget. 


Have you forgotten yet?…
For the world’s events have rumbled on since those gagged days,
Like traffic checked a while at the crossing of city ways:
And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow
Like clouds in the lit heavens of life; and you’re a man reprieved to go,          5
Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare.
But the past is just the same,—and War’s a bloody game….
Have you forgotten yet?…
Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you’ll never forget.
Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz,—   10
The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets?
Do you remember the rats; and the stench
Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench,—
And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?
Do you ever stop and ask, “Is it all going to happen again?”   15
Do you remember that hour of din before the attack,—
And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then
As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back
With dying eyes and lolling heads, those ashen-grey   20
Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?
Have you forgotten yet?…
Look up, and swear by the green of the Spring that you’ll never forget.


                                                                                   Siegfried Sassoon

Copyright Market Bosworth Society 2019 No part of this (or any document or any image) displayed on this website may be copied, used, distributed, amended or otherwise altered without written permission. Requests for usage should initially be made to

Market Bosworth Society Committee January 2019

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