Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Leicestershire Places (1) : Market Harborough

Market Harborough, a market town surprisingly enough with that name, is in the South East of the county near the border with Northamptonshire. The village was founded by the Saxons in the 1st millenium CE. It was listed in the Domesday Book as Haversberg being part of the manor of Great Bowden, now a separate village a mile away. A market was established in 1204CE by Henry II, the growing town eventually being called Market Harborough.

The centre of the town is it's square, the oldest building of which is the church of St Dionysius which dates from about 1300CE. Another notable building in the square is the Grammar School which was founded in 1614.

Market Harborough gained in the last few centuries transport links including turnpike roads, coaching inns, a canal and in 1850 a railway station, this later becoming a stop on the Midland Main Line. Heavy industry began to grow in the town replacing the earlier reliance on agriculture. The town retained it's rural roots though becoming a centre for fox hunting!