Visit Loughborough and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Loughborough, Leicestershire. The second largest town in the county, which became the only borough in 1888, Loughborough was an ancient hamlet long before the Romans came, or the Danes sailed up the River Soar to plunder, burn, and then to settle. A tour should start in the Market Place, the centre of the town's life and of its street system. The Thursday market has been in existence since the.right was granted in 1206 by Hugh Despenser, who had inherited the hamlet by marriage from Hugh Lopes, Earl of Chester, who in turn had been given it by William I. The town hall is the only building of interest here, built in 1855, with a kind of double bellcot.
From the Market Place go by Church Gate, past the Baptist Chapel, to the large and prosperous Parish Church of All Saints. Very much restored by Scott in a manner almost obliterating its 14th-century origins, the church contains in its l00-ft, 500-year-old bell-tower some of the bells the famous John Taylor came from Oxford to recast. He liked Loughborough so much that he stayed to set up in 1840 the foundry in Cherry Orchard now renowned all over the world. This foundry also cast Great Paul of St Paul's Cathedral, the biggest bell that rings in England. The Taylor memorials are in the lower chamber of All Saints', and the Book of the Taylor Foundry is preserved in a glass case on the south wall. On Easter morning in 1909 ten ringers took part in a feat of pealing, starting at 8 a.m. and, not stopping to eat, ringing 18,027 “Stedman Caters” in just over 12 hours.
The organ case was carved by a Belgian refugee who received hospitality in Loughborough during the First World War, and in the outer south aisle is the Burton Chapel, the memorial to Thomas Burton, the town's most notable benefactor. In this chapel is also a splendid alabaster altar table with early-l8th-century wrought-iron legs. Thomas Burton, a prosperous wool-merchant, died in 1496, the money he left being used to found a grammar school. A new school has risen on the foundations of the old one just West of the Leicester Road but the leafy Burton Walks are still there.
From All Saints' return to the Market Place and take the stretch called Devonshire Square to little Queen's Park where the war memorial contains one of the finest carillons in the country, set up in a tower 151 ft high, from which was made the first broadcast of bell music. The climb to the top is by 138 steps, past a small museum. Forty-seven bells hang in the chamber, the heaviest weighing over 4 tons and the smallest 20 lb., all made at the Taylor foundry.
From 1400 to 1600 the town was an important centre of the wool trade. In the 1700s it was famous for its maltings. 1800 introduced the worsted hosiery trade with some 6,000 persons clattering away on their stocking frames and, the legs of both sexes being worthy of adornment, seldom working (according to a writer of the time) less than three days a week and earning the princely sum of l5s. doing it. In 1809 Mr John Heathcote brought the lace bobbin here but the Luddites, led by the half-witted Ned Lud, stormed and burned his factory in 1816, destroying 53 bobbinnet machines worth £6,000 in half an hour. So disgusted was Mr Heathcote that he moved his works to Tiverton in Devon. Now Loughborough is a thriving industrial town full of young and enterprising firms with famous names.
We must not leave without mentioning one of the sons of which it is most proud, the Cavalier poet, John Cleveland, son of a Loughborough schoolmaster, scholarly, witty, one of the most ardent and outspoken supporters of the Royalist cause. In those days his name would sell almost anything, but his writings are too topical to be appreciated nowadays except by keen students of his time. He died in 1658 almost on the eve of the Restoration.
Nearby cities: Derby, Leicester, Nottingham
Nearby towns: Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Beeston, Castle Donington, Coalville, Melton Mowbray
Nearby villages: Barrow-on-Soar, Burton on the Wolds, Costock, Diseworth, East Leake, Hathern, Kegworth, Long Whatton, Mountsorrel, Normanton upon Soar, Quorn, Rempstone, Rothley, Shepshed, Sileby, Stanford on Soar, Sutton Bonington, Swithland, Walton-on-the-Wolds, West Leake, Woodhouse, Woodhouse Eaves, Wymeswold
Have you decided to visit Loughborough or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Loughborough bed and breakfast (a Loughborough B&B or Loughborough b and b)
- a Loughborough guesthouse
- a Loughborough hotel (or motel)
- a Loughborough self-catering establishment, or
- other Loughborough accommodation