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Baggrave

The earliest spelling of this village’s name is Badegraue. This means Babba’s Grove. Babba was a Woman’s name. The Domesday book tells us that it was the kings land, and that there was 10 acres of meadow.

The Village was deserted soon after, but Baggrave hall survives.

Bagworth

This was first recorded as Bageworde, meaning Bacga’s Enclosure. This was first recorded in the Domesday Book. The Domesday Book tells us that the Count of Meulan owned the land here. There were 7 ploughs, 1 slave,24 villagers, 7 smallholders with 5 more ploughs, woodland 1 league long and ½ league wide, and a value of £4.

In more recent years, 3 coalmines developed in the surrounding area and then merged.

Barkby

This was first recorded in the Domesday Book as Barchebi, meaning Bark’s village or homestead. The book also tells us that Robert of Tosny owned 3 ploughs and 3 slaves. There were also 7 villagers with 3 smallholders, 10 freemen and 4 frenchmen, having 4 ploughs. There was also a man at arms. There was 16 acres of meadow and a value of £4. Adelaide, wife of Hugh of Grandmesnil, owned a plough and a slave. There were also 6 villagers with 5 smallholders owning 2 ploughs, a mil, and 5 acres of meadow. The value was 30 shillings.

A man called Thomas Marshall was baptised in the church. He later became the dean of Gloucester. More information about him may be found in the famous citizens section.

The church itself was built in the 14th century, and contains fragments of 15th century glass.

Barkestone

The earliest recorded spelling was Barchestone in the Domesday Book. This means Bark’s Settlement. Robert de Tosny owned the land. There were 3 ploughs and 7 slaves in Lordship. There were 18 villagers, 2 smallholders, a priest and 25 freemen with 11 ploughs. The value was 100 shillings.

Barkestone is a dairy farming village in the Vale of Belvoir. The church with it’s slender spire was built in the 14th century, and, although completely refurbished 400 years ago, still retains a Norman Doorway
Barlestone
The earliest mention is in the Domesday Book, and is Berulvestone  meaning Berwolf’s settlement. Hugh of Grandmesnil owned part of the village. There were 6 villages and 4 smallholders with 2 ploughs. There was woodland 3 furlongs by 2 furlongs and a value of 40 shillings. Robert de Bucy owned the rest of the village, consisting of 2 villagers and 3 smallholders with 1 plough. The value was 10 shillings.
Barleythorpe
First recorded as Bolarsthorpe in the Feet of Fines in 1203. Thorpe means “outlying farmstead”. The first part of the name may mean that it was used to grow barley. It might be connected to a man called John Bolar, whose name is mentioned in connection with Oakham in 1200.
Barnsdale
Barnsdale was first recorded as Bernadeshull, meaning Boornheards’s Hill in the Assize Rolls of 1202. It lies on the shores of Rutland Water, and was home to TV Gardener the Late Geoff Hamilton, who used his extensive gardens in the village for the BBC programme “Gardener’s World”
Barrow upon Soar

The earliest mention is in the Domesday Book as Barhou, meaning a grove or a wood. The full name means a grove or wood on the river soar (see river names article). Earl Hugh owned the village, with 4 ploughs plus one broken one, 2 male and 2 female slaves. 40 villagers with 13 smallholders had 11 ploughs. There were 3 mills, woodland 1 league long and 4 furlongs wide.

The earliest settlement at the site was a Roman village, or possibly a fort. The site has been occupied since.
Barsby

The earliest recording of this village was in the Domesday book, as Barnesbi, meaning Barn’s settlement. The land was owned by Humphry the Chamberlain, who owned 1 plough. There were also 3 villagers with 1 plough and 6 acres of meadow. The value was 20 shillings.

Barton in the Beans

The name of this village was simply Bartone in the Domesday book, meaning the Barley Farm. It is unknown where the name In the Beans comes from, but it could mean fertile land.

In the Domesday Book, the land here was owned by Hugh of Grandmesnil. There was only 1 plough, 1 villager, and 2 smallholders, farming 2 acres of meadow. The value was a total of 3 shillings.

In more recent years, the village was home to the famous clockmaker, John Deacon. As yet we do not have an article about him, but we are currently researching.

Barwell

The earliest mention was 1043, with a spelling of Barwalle meaning the stream of the boar. By the Domesday Book the spelling had changed slightly to Barewelle. The land was owned by Coventry Abbey. There were 14 villagers with a priest, and 3 smallholders with 2 ploughs. There was a meadow 1 furlong by 1 furlong in size and woodland 1 league by 3 furlongs. The value was 30 shillings.

This village was greatly affected by the Industrial revolution and became a small centre of industry. However, the 14th century church remains unchanged, including ancient glass in the windows. There are also some 17th century brasses, including one showing Richard Bretton and his wife and one showing John Torskey.
Beeby

The first recording was Bebi in the Domesday Book. This means the village where bees were kept. The land was owned by Crowland Abbey. There were 2 slaves, 21 villagers, 5 freemen, 3 smallholders, 7 ploughs and 30 acres of meadow. The total value was 40 shillings.

In Tudor times, Beeby was the birthplace of the famous Elithabethan judge, Robert Catlin. He refused to alter the anciant forms of the court to please the queen when her favourite, Dudley, Was on trial. Needless to say, that didn’t go down to well, and so his head and shoulders were soon parted.

The 13th century church still contains an original font, some 14th century screens and a few fragments of ancient glass. It also has a spire that is so short it is known locally as the Beeby Tub.

Belton

This was first recorded in the Leicestershire Survey of 1130 as Beltona. This probably meant beautiful settlement.

Belton (Rutland)
The village of Belton was first recorded in the Pipe Rolls (1167) as Bealton. The meaning of this village’s name is unclear, but could refer to a settlement on an island, or in a clearing.

The church was built in the 13th Century aand suffered from a fire nearly 700 years ago, the marks from which are still visible.

There is a rumour that Charles I rested on a stone here whilst fleeing from the Battle of Naseby, the stone is now part of the villages war memorial.
Bescarby

This village was first recorded in the Pipe Rolls of 1394 as Bersaltebi. This ment Hill Saltby. The original settlement would have been the village of saltby at the bottom of the hill. The name saltby meaning the village of salt. The village was abandoned during the 16th century, probably due to plague.

Billesdon
The first recorded spelling of this villages name is Billesdone. This means Bilheard’s clearing on the hill in the Doomsday Book. In the book, there were no ploughs. There were 4 freemen, 11 villagers and 2 smallholders, who owned 2 ploughs. There was 10 acres of meadow, 3 men at arms and the total value was 60 shillings.

Billesdon is a very scattered village, although there is a central settlement. Much of the population live in the surrounding farms and cottages. There are 3 ancient springs, called the Billesdon brook. There is a local landmark known as Billesdon coplow, which is a wooded hill. This was a site that was occupied in bronze age times. Then the Saxons built the village, where a Saxon broach was once found. Although the 13th century church has been renovated, there is still a font that has been in use for 700 years. There is also a 17th century school, and a 14th century cross on the green.

There is a book about the history of Billesdon which has been published by the the Local History Group.

Bilstone
The original name of this village was Bildestone in the Doomsday Book. This means Bild’s Settlement.

The land was owned by Countess Godiva. There were 3 freemen with one plough and a total value of 5 shillings.
Birstall
The earliest recording was in the Doomsday book under Burstelle. This means A fortified Place.

The village was owned by Hugh of Grantmesnil. There was land for 5 ploughs. There were 3 villagers, 9 freemen and 11 smallholders with 3 ploughs. There was a mill, 35 acres of meadow and woodland 3 by 2 furlongs. The value was 5 ounces of gold.

Today Birstall is being swallowed up as a suburb of Leicester, but until recently it was a small rural village. The saxon church contains some original woodwork and glass.
Bittesby
The original spelling is Bichesbie, meaning Byttel’s village. This was first recorded in the Doomesday book. The king owned the village, and there was land for 4 ploughs. There were 10 villagers, 4 smallholders and 3 ploughs. There was 20 acres of meadow, and the value was 40 shillings. The village is deserted.
Bitteswell
The first recorded spelling of this village’s name was Betmeswelle meaning the well at the head of the valley. The village was first mentioned in the Doomsday Book, when Earl Aubrey rented the land to someone called Robert. There were 2 villagers, 1 priest, 14 smallholders and 4 ploughs. There was meadow 4 by 1 furlongs in area. The value was 40 shillings.

Today Bitteswell has a population of around 370. The village is grouped around a large green. The church was built in the 13th century and contains a medieval tomb.
Blaby
The first recording was in the Doomsday Book, as Bladi. This means Blar’s village. The village was owned by William, one of the Count of Meulan’s men. There were 28 freemen, 4villagers, 1 slave, 4 smallholders, 7 ploughs, 1 mill and 30 acres of meadow. The total value was 50 shillings.


The town of Blaby has a church that was rebuilt in the 14th century, but retains a saxon font. Blaby is the administrative centre of Blaby District.
Blackfordby
This village was first recorded under the name of Blakefordbie, meaning The village on the black ford, in the Leicestershire Survey of 1125. At the time, the village had a coal mine, and the name probably came from a ford where the track crossed the water that came out of the mine, which was blackened by the coal.
Blaston
The earliest mention of this village is in the Doomsday Book, spelt Bladestone. This means Bleat’s settlement. The village was owned by the king. The value was 11s.

The village today has two churches. The first is St Giles, re-built in 1870. There is, howwever a medieval chalice preserved inside. The second church is St Micheals. This is a very small church, with a bell turret and an outside font.
Boothorpe
The first recording was as Bocthorpe in the Leicestershire survey of 1130. It means Boc’s Farmstead.
Botcheston
This village was first recorded in the Feudal Aids of 1285 as Burchardeston meaning Bochard’s settlement
Bradgate
The village of Bradgate was first mentioned in the Catalogue of Ancient deeds of 1275. It means The Broard Gap. Although it was spelt Bradgate at the time, it was later recorded as Broadgate in the 14th century. The village was destroyed by the Grey's when they built Bradgate House. The village is thought to have been on the site of what is now Cropston Reservoir.
Bradley
This village was first recorded in the valuation of Norwich in 1254 as Bradele. This means the broard clearing.
Branston
This was first recorded in the Doomsday Book as Brantestone. This means Brant’s settlement.
The village was owned by the Bishop of Lincoln. There were 10 villagers, 1 smallholder, 6 freemen, 6 ploughs, 4 slaves, 2 mills and 16 acres of meadow. The total value was 50 shillings.

Branston lies in the Leicestershire Wolds, on the river Devon. There is a Norman church and many old thatched cottages.
Brascote
The first record was as Brocardscote, meaning Brocard’s cottage. This was in the Doomsday Book, when the land was owned by Hugh of Grantmesnil.

There were 3 villagers and 1 plough. The value was 20 shillings. The village was later deserted.
Braunston-in-Rutland
Although there are earthworks here that date back thousands of years, the first record of this Rutland village was in 1167 in the Pipe Rolls. It was recorded as Branteston, which is believed to mean “Brant’s Settlement”.

The church is Norman, with a massive Norman doorway and font. The church was painted with murals, which were whitewashed over during the reformation. There are faint traces of these visible on the walls.
Breedon on the hill
This village was first recorded as Briudun, meaning hill, in about 730AD. However, it was not mentioned in the Domesday Book.

The village surrounds a tall hill, much of which has been quarried away. On top of the hill is Breedon Church, which is situated on the site previously occupied by a Saxon monastery, and later a Norman Priory. Within the Church are several Saxon carvings and the whole area is rich in archaeological finds.
Brentingby
This tiny hamlet was first recorded in the Leicestershire survey of 1130 as Brantingbia, meaning Brant’s Homestead. The hamlet is near to meet the river Eye, and the Church tower was built in the 13th century. The rest of the Church is about 300 years old.
Bringhurst
The village of a Bringhurst was first recorded in the charter roles in 1188 as Brununghyrst, meaning Bryni’s Hillock. The thatched cottages of this little village are perched on top of a lonely hill. Although the Church has changed through time, it still retains a Norman tower and font.
Brooke (Rutland)
The village of Brooke was first recorded in the 1167 Pipe Rolls as Broc. The villages name comes from the River Gwash (brook) flowing through it.

There was a priory here, founded over 800 years ago. It is now little more than a few mounds of earth in a field. A house was built on the ruins, and only an arch and pigeon cote remain of this.

Brooksby
This village was first recorded in the Domesday Book as Brochesbi meaning the village on the brook (in this case the river Wreake). There were 2 smallholders with 1 plough. There were 4 acres of meadow and the total value was 4 shillings.

The hall, once home to Lord Cardigan, the leader of the charge of the light Brigade is now an agricultural college. The Church next to the Hall dates from the 14th century.
Broughton Astley
This village was first recorded in the Domesday Book as Brohtone meaning the settlement on the brook. At the time of the Domesday Book, the land was divided between various owners, the main one being Hugh of Grandmesnil. He owned six villagers, two smallholders, three ploughs, one mill and seven acres of meadow. The value was 30 shillings.

The majority of the Church was built in the 14th and 15th century, but the porch partly dates back to the Normans. In of the windows the glass is 600 years old.
Bruntingthorpe
This village was first recorded in the Domesday Book as Bradinestor, meaning Branting’s Settlement. The land was owned by Hugh of Grandmesnil. There were 3 slaves, 6 villagers, 3 smallholders, 3 ploughs, 1 mill, 8 acres of meadow, and woodland 3 furlongs by 3 furlongs. The value was 30 shillings.
Buckminster
This village was first recorded in the Domesday Book as Buchminstre, meaning Bucca’s Monastery. The land was owned by the Bishop of Lincoln. There were 10 ploughs, 8 villagers, 20 freemen, 3 smallholders and 52 acres of meadow, with a value of £4.

There is a large hall and park, as well as many old cottages around a central green.
 
Burbage
This village was first recorded in the Domesday Book as Burbece. It is not known what this meant, but it is believed to be one of two things. A fortified place on a hill, or a fortified place with a brook running past. In the Domesday Book, the land was owned by St Mary’s Abbey in Coventry. There were 20 villagers, 2 smallholders, 2 slaves, 8 ploughs (+ 2 in Lordship), meadow 1 furlong by 1 furlong and Woodland ½ league by 4 furlongs. The total value was £4, and had been 2s before the abbey acquired it.

The source of the river Soar is located in the village of Burbage, near to Hinckley. The village also can boast of a fine church, with a buttressed tower and a slender spire. The church still has a 13th Century chancel and 14th Century tower, although much of the rest of the building is quite modern. Various famous people have come from here, including Roger Cotes, the son of a rector, who became the first professor of Astronomy at Cambridge University.

 

Burley (Rutland)
First recordeed as Burgelea in the Domesday book, this village means a fortified place in a clearing. The village has seen occupation since the Roman times, and saw action in the Civil War.

The large house at Burley on the Hill is not the original. It was battered down by the parliamentarian army and rebuilt. It burned down and was then rebuilt again to give the present day house.

Burrough on the Hill

The village of Burrough was first recorded as burgh in the Domesday Book, although there was an Iron Age hill fort in the area over a thousand years earlier. The name burgh actually means a fortified place, so he village is named after the fort which rises high above it, looking out over the Leicestershire Countryside. At the time of the Domesday Survey there were three people who owned land here.

The first was Henry of Ferrers. He had control over 4 villagers, who had one plough, and also 1 smallholder. There was 20 acres of meadow worth 20s. The second landowner was Geoffrey of la Geurche who owned a small area of land worth 5 shillings. Finally, Herbert – one of the King’s servants, held land there, with 5 ploughs and 4 slaves. There were also 6 villagers and 5 smallholders with 2 ploughs, a mill, and 5 acres of meadow. The value was 30 shillings. The total value of land in Burrough was 55 shillings.

The hill fort at Burrough is well known in Leicestershire, and we will be doing a separate article about this soon. Despite being over two thousand years old, some of the mounds of these ramparts are over 20 feet high, and have a view over the whole of that area of the county.

The church is about 700 years old and still has its original font decorated with skulls and faces.
 
Burton Lazars
This is yet another village that was first recorded in the Domesday Survey, under the name of Burtone meaning the settlement by the fortified place. The second part of the name is named after the hospital of St Lazarus for Lepers, which was founded in 1135 in the village.

At the time of the Domesday Survey, Henry of Ferrers owned the village, and there was 1 plough in lordship, and 1 villager owned ½ a plough. There was 2 acres of meadow, and the total value was 10 shillings.

Roger de Mowbray founded the leper hospital in 1135, but it has long since vanished. The village church still has 13th century arcades and the font is 500 years old.

 
Burton on the Wolds
This village was first recorded in the Domesday Book as Burtone. This means a settlement by a fortified place. The village is located in the Leicestershire Wolds. At the time of the Domesday Survey, the village was owned by Geoffrey of la Geurche, and he had 3 ploughs. There were 9 freemen with 4 ploughs, and 40 acres of meadow. There were 40 acres of meadow.

 
Burton Overy
Burton Overy was first recorded in the Domesday Book as Burtone meaning the settlement near to a fortified place. In 1229, the land was owned by Robert de Novereia, who gave his name to the village. At the time of the Domesday Survey, the land was owned by Hugh of Grantmesnil, and there were 3 ploughs and 8 slaves in lordship, as well as 15 villagers, 6 freemen, and 5 smallholders with 6 ploughs. There was 14 acres of meadow, and the total value was £6.

 

Bushby
This village was first recorded in the pipe rolls in 1175 as Buszebia meaning Butr’s Homestead.