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Facts

LEICESTERSHIRE

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FUN FACTS

Leicestershire is the 28th largest county or metropolitan borough in England.
Leicestershire has the 21st highest population in England.
Leicestershire is in 20th place for density of population.

  1. The Royal Connection
  2. Bradgate House was once a magnificent Tudor Manson. Now it is a ruin. The house is situated in Bradgate Park, which was, in the 13th century, a hunting park. In 1445 the park was owned by Edward Grey whose son John married Elizabeth Woodville. John was killed at the Battle of St Albans in 1461 during the wars of the roses. His widow then married King Edward IV. One of her sons from her first marriage, Thomas, started to build a house in the park and after his death his son, Thomas also, finished the project in about 1520. This Thomas died in 1530 and his son Henry took over the house. His daughter Jane is believed to have been born at the house on 12 October 1537. Jane was also the great-grand-daughter of Henry VII.

    In case you wondered where this was going, she was known as Lady Jane Grey and was also known as the nine day Queen. You can read more about this here. After Jane was executed it is said that workers in Bradgate Park cut off the trunks of several oak trees a few metres above the ground to symbolise the execution of the lady who was born at Bradgate House. That is one of those stories that may or may not be true but there are oaks in the park that show signs of this having happened. Just for your information, in conservation and tree management terms, this is known as pollarding.

  3. Leicestershire Eats
  4. A pork pie is a hot-water crust pastry case filled with a mixture of chopped pork and pork fat surrounded by a layer of jellied pork. Simple statement there. However, the most famous pork pies are those made within a 10 mile radius of the town of Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire. In April 2008 an order by the European Union was made saying that only pies made within this area can carry the Melton Mowbray name.

    Pork pies have been around since the middle ages. It is said the Melton Mowbray examples began in about 1831. Melton Mowbray pork pies are made with hand formed pastry and not cooked in cases which is why they have bowed sides. This also gives the pastry a golden brown colour. The crust is firm and that allowed farm workers to take them with them for lunch. The pork used is uncured and therefore quite grey in colour as a traditional Melton Mowbray pie can have no artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. The minimum percentage of meat required to be a true Melton Mowbray is 30% although many will have more than this.

    The meat actually shrinks when the pie is cooked and Melton Mowbray Pork Pies have a jelly, made from gelatine or bonestock, added to fill the gaps and help preserve the meat. This also helps to keep the pie moist. There is a tradition in the East Midlands of eating pork pies for breakfast at Christmas. Back in the 19th century this time of year was the busiest for the Melton Mowbray bakers.

  5. Leicestershire VIPs
  6. Seven random people who were born in Leicestershire in the last 100 years:-
    Biddy Baxter (Editor Blue Peter for 23 years), the late Joe Orton (Playwright), Sue Townsend (Author, Creator of Adrian Mole), the late Graham Chapman (Comedian, Monty Python), Gok Wan (TV Presenter and Fashion Consultant), Gary Lineker (TV Presenter and ex Footballer) and John Deacon (Musician, Bass Guitarist with Queen).

  7. Now That's Weird
  8. Stilton is a village in Cambridgeshire which shouldn't therefore really be on this page. However Stilton is also a famous blue cheese. Because of various regulations and boundary changes Stilton cheese cannot be produced in Stilton. For a cheese to use the name Stilton it must be made in Leicestershire (that's how this got in here), Nottinghamshire or Derbyshire. As of 2016 there were 3 dairies in Leicester, 2 in Nottinghamshire and one in Derbyshire which could produce Stilton cheese.

    Frances Pawlett, a cheese maker from Wymondham in Leicestershire is traditionally credited as the person who made the shape and look of Stilton Cheese. Again, although the cheese cannot now be made there, it was a man called Cooper Thornhill, the owner of the Bell Inn in Stilton who first began to sell the cheese. The blue veins in the cheese are created by piercing the crust of the cheese with stainless steel needles, slowly letting air into the core of the cheese. The process of making the cheese takes between nine and twelve weeks.

    In 1966 Stilton was grant legal protection via a trade mark, the only British cheese to have this. To be called Blue Stilton a cheese must, among other things, have a cylindrical shape, form its own crust and have blue veins radiating from the centre. It can't, of course, be made in Stilton. Weird.

  9. It Happened Here
  10. The Battle of Bosworth Field effectively ended the wars of the roses. It took place near Market Bosworth in Leicestershire. It resulted in the death of the King, Richard III. It happened on 22 August 1485 and you can read a bit more about it here.

    527 years later a team of archaeologists dug up a car park in Leicester and found the bones of Richard III. After the battle, Richard was given a hurried burial beneath the church of Greyfriars in the centre of Leicester. The grave was discovered after an amateur historian, Philippa Langley, was convinced Richard's remains lay under the car park. After a lot of research, experts confirmed that the skeleton was indeed that of Richard III. They said the bones were of a man in his late20s, early 30s, Richard was 32 when he died, and that there were definite signs of serious injuries to the skull. There were also signs of a badly curved spine, something historians have often written about with Richard.

    The rather scruffy council car park is being given scheduled monument status. This is to protect what has been described as one of the most important sites in English national history. It will be known as the Richard III centre. The skeleton was reburied in March 2015 in a new tomb in Leicester Cathedral, just across the road from the site.

  11. Richard Remembers
  12. I think you may have guessed by now that this is yet another of those counties I have never stayed in although I can claim to have been there twice this year. My son runs a second-hand car business and he sometimes picks cars up from an auction in Shepshed in Leicester and I will drive him up so he can drive the car he has bought back. However, he's now bought a trailer so he can bring his own cars back and I can concentrate on things here.

    As a child I liked looking at maps and finding out different place names. We used to drive through Much Hadham on our way to our holidays in Norfolk and that one amused me. Six Mile Bottom seemed on the large size although it is a very small village in Cambridgeshire and, possibly my favourite that I found was, Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire. It just sounds so good when you say it and that is my memory of Leicestershire.

  13. Owlbut's Birdwatch
  14. The collared dove is really well named. It is a pale, pinky-brown grey colour but it has a black band around its neck. They have reddish feet and deep red eyes. Their beaks are medium length, black and thin. They can be found almost anywhere and will often appear in your gardens. They make a continuous cooing sound. They also like farmland. There are nearly a million breeding pairs in the country but, weirdly, they only arrived in the UK in the late 1950s, originally coming from the Middle East.

    They are 32 cms long, have a wingspan of 51 cms and weigh 200 grams. They eat grains, buds and shoots, which explains why they like farms I guess.

We have asked the local Tourist Board(s) for a small contribution (50 pounds) to the cost of running this project and, in anticipation of their agreement, we are providing a link to their site(s) for the next five years. I can assure you we won't see anywhere near everything when we are there, so, if you fancy taking a trip into Leicestershire check it (them) out for some great information. Apart from anything else it will get you out in the fresh air, walking around and one day you might be over 70 and still enthusiastically mobile.

All figures the latest available as at July 2020