Mountsorrel and its history
Although the village was first recorded in 1377 with a population of 156, it’s believed there were also settlements in Mountsorrel in both Norman and Roman times as far back as the 4th century AD.
Mountsorrel castle was built in 1080 and acquired by the Earl of Leicester. Although it was destroyed 140 years later; a granite crag reminder sits on Castle Hill and which today is a memorial for local men killed fighting during World War 1.
The actual name Mountsorrel is believed to come from the French village Montsoreau (the English nobility who owned the caste were French descendents).
By 1840 Mountsorrel had 1900 residents. It grew after armoured vehicle manufacturer Alvis moved there in 1942 after its own Coventry factory had been bombed by the Germans in WW2. Rolls-Royce took over the site at the end of the war, where both aircraft and cars were designed and produced until its closure in 1994. At its high point in the 1970s it provided employment for up to 1200 individuals.
The village housed a mental hospital with up to 91 beds at one time. This later closed in 1979.
As far as industry during earlier times is concerned, Mountsorrel was known for its market with a reputation for fine leather gloves (called Mountsorrel gloves), yarn, raw wool and livestock.
An excellent claim to fame for Mountsorrel is that notorious outlaw Dick Turpin is believed to have used the mounting point across from the village’s Swan Inn.
Mountsorrel’s current status
Mountsorrel encircles the steep Castle Hill with the River Soar running past its eastern side – in fact, the Leicester sector of the Grand Union Canal runs through the centre of the village. At the last census in 2011 Mountsorrel had a total of 8,223 residents (an increase of nearly 2,000 within a decade).
Sitting in the centre of the village today is a renowned platform structure known as The Butter Market. This was built in 1793 by Sir John Danvers – Lord of the Manor at the time – as a replacement for the 15th century Market Cross, which he took to use on his own estate in Swithland and where the Grade II-listed structure remains today).
Mountsorrel is famous for its granite. The crystalline, pink-toned stone was successfully quarried in 1870 when there were around 500 employees. Today Buddon Wood it’s one of the largest quarries producing granite in the whole of Europe, producing more than three million tonnes a year and employing 140 local individuals. It has had various owners over the years but has been run by Lafarge Tarmac since the 1990s.
Such is the village’s friendly, community spirit that local residents have formed a volunteer group – the Mountsorrel Community Team (MCT) – to raise money for community events to unite residents and local businesses.
A guide to shopping and eating in Mountsorrel
Mountsorrel has a good selection of independent and national shops from tanning and beauty outlet Touch of Elegance and the local artisan-run Handmade Mug Company (which also provides weekly workshops), to The Mountsorrel Groom Room for pampered pooches, The Pine Shop and the three decades old horticultural machinery specialists Charnwood & Highmeres. Supermarkets are Waitrose (which only opened its doors in April 2016, and the Coop.
The village houses Leicester’s only Michelin-starred restaurant in the form of John’s House. This fine dining establishment, with a ‘farm to plate’ philosophy, belongs to local boy and Chef John Duffin who has returned to open his own restaurant after working under some of the finest chefs in the world. Meanwhile, the restaurant at the Mountsorrel (a guest house) is also renowned for its quality cuisine and attention to detail. Those who fancy fine Indian cuisine can also try The Bay Leaf on Leicester Road. Pizza lovers might try Dominoes Pizza for a take-away or one of the three Chinese take-aways in the village.
An excellent breakfast as well as coffee and sandwiches can be found at The Buttermarket Café in the centre of the village while Granite’s Coffee Shop is country style eating with outside dining provision – so too is Granite’s Coffee Shop at the Mountsorrel and Rothley Community Heritage Centre.
Sport and leisure facilities in Mountsorrel
The village’s Mountsorrel Castle Cricket Club dates back to 1880 and currently has two teams in the Leicestershire Cricket League, as well as a ‘friendly’ team.
The recently refurbished Soar Valley Leisure Centre boasts a 25m swimming pool, large gym, health suite, two exercise studios – one dedicated to indoor cycling – and outdoor floodlit pitch and sports hall.
Youngsters who prefer books to sport can enjoy the local library then afterwards retire to the Sorrel Youth Club opposite for organised activities by social workers and volunteers.
Stonehurst Farm allows youngsters to get to understand animal husbandry. There’s also a tea shop and visitor centre, as well as a small vintage motor museum, offering guaranteed tractor rides.
A local nature reserve exists in Halstead Road at the Centenary Pasture, which is managed by the Charnwood Wildlife Project. Mountsorrel Marshes offer lots of wildlife which otherwise wouldn’t exist in this area.
The restoration of part of the Great Central Railway at Mountsorrel has seen the re-introduction of a steam train to the village while the Mountsorrel and Rothley Community Heritage Centre in Swithland Lane is well worth a visit. There are plans to open a railway museum in 2017, as well as create a quarry demonstration area.
Show dog lovers, meanwhile, will be heartened to hear the Mountsorrel and District Canine Society have presented many dogs at Crufts.
Education in Mountsorrel
The Church of England village primary school called Christ Church & St Peters C Of E was rated ‘Inadequate’ by Ofsted at an inspection in 2013. Children from the village also attend the nearby smaller Swithland St Leonard’s CofE Primary School, which recently came top of Ofsted ratings for the Leicestershire area.
Secondary schools are Rawlins Academy in Quorn, which according to Ofsted ‘requires improvement’ and Humphrey Perkins School in Barrow-upon-Soar, which was recently graded ‘good’ by the school inspectors. There is also independent schooling in Loughborough.
Transport to and from Mountsorrel
Sitting just five miles (10 minutes drive) from Loughborough and eight miles (or a 15 minute drive) from Leicester, Mountsorrel is nicely placed for both the hurly-burly of city life and the peacefulness of a village. In 1991 the A6 bypass saw main street traffic rerouted via a dual carriageway known as the Quorn-Mountsorrel Bypass.
Villagers can travel by bus via one of three routes – Arriva’s 126/127, Winson’s x27 and Roberts Coaches number 27.
Sileby is the nearest rail station and where there are hourly services in either direction.
Ends (1114 wds)
As you may have read the government is cutting back on the upgrades to the railway system. One casualty is Midland Mainline which runs from St Pancreas through to Sheffield via Loughborough, Leicester and East Midlands Parkway. This is of vital importance to the economy of the East Midlands. The planned electrification is being ‘paused’.
HS2 (High Speed 2) is the High Speed railway planned between London, Manchester and Leeds. The line between Birmingham and Leeds part of the overall project is due to be completed in 2033. With the delays just announced there must be doubts as to the timing of this project. However at this present time the plans are for the line to go through the west of the Nottingham area. The likely site of the station will be at Toton Sidings. This depot is bordered by Long Eaton, Sandiacre and Toton.
If buying a house or flat near to the proposed line we strongly recommend an HS2 search (£18.00) to see whether or not the property will be affected.
Legal Aid and Criminal Cuts –
Many of you will have followed the on going disputes between lawyers and the government over criminal legal aid cuts. This firm no longer carries out criminal work. The criminal department transferred to VHS Fletchers Solicitors in August 2014.
The dispute is over two issues. The first issue is cuts in rates of 8.75% due in July 2015. The second issue is probably more serious for criminal firms. This is the proposal to drastically limit Duty Solicitor Contracts to certain firms in January 2016. Most criminal firms who do not obtain a contract will find it difficult to survive if this scheme comes in. Substantial amounts of work are received by criminal solicitors through the duty solicitor scheme.
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