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Hinckley is a market town in the English county of Leicestershire. Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council is in charge of it. Hinckley is the administrative county of Leicestershire’s second largest town, after Loughborough.

Hinckley is located approximately halfway between the cities of Leicester and Coventry, as well as close to the larger town of Nuneaton in Warwickshire.



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    HISTORY

    Northampton Archaeology discovered evidence of Iron Age and Romano-British settlement on land near Coventry Road and Watling Street in 2000.

    Hinckley has a documented history dating back to Anglo-Saxon times; the name Hinckley is Anglo-Saxon as well: “Hinck” is a personal name and “ley” is a meadow. Hinckley was a large village by the time of the Domesday Book in 1086, and it grew into a small market town over the next 200 years—a market was first recorded there in 1311. The remnants of an Anglo-Saxon sundial can be seen on the diagonal buttress on the south-east corner of the chancel, indicating the presence of an Anglo-Saxon church.

    the seventeenth century
    The town developed a hosiery industry in the 17th century, producing stockings and other similar items. Hinckley was a key figure in the English Civil War. Its proximity to several rival strongholds—the royalist garrisons at Caldicote, Ashby de la Zouch, and Leicester, and the Parliamentarian garrisons at Tamworth and Coventry—as well as the presence of troops or brigands occupying several fortified houses in nearby Warwickshire, resulted in frequent visits by the warring parties. Local townspeople were forced to choose between openly declaring their allegiances and attempting to remain neutral, risking having to pay levies, ransoms, and fines to both sides. Hinckley was occupied by a group of Royalist troops in March 1644, but they were quickly driven out by a force of Parliamentarians, who took many prisoners.

    For the clergy in and around Hinckley, the Civil War years were particularly tumultuous. Parsons with parliamentary sympathies, such as Thomas Cleveland, vicar of Hinckley, were sequestered by the Leicester County Committee, as were some of his “malignant” neighbours accused of visiting royalist garrisons or preaching against Parliament.

    Both parliamentary and royalist troops from rival garrisons visited the town, particularly parliamentary troops from Tamworth, Coventry, and Astley Castle in Warwickshire. Troops from Coventry garrison were particularly active in the town, seizing horses and “free quarter,” taking advantage of ‘dyett and Beere,’ and kidnapping some of the residents for ransom. Royalist troops raided the town, threatening those who supported the Parliamentary Party. Lord Hastings of Ashby de la Zouch is said to have “coursed about the country as far as Dunton and Lutterworth, and took nearly a hundred of the clergymen and others, and carried them prisoners… threatening to hang all those who should take the Parliament’s Covenant.” According to parliamentary newssheets, Hastings’ men brought in “26 honest countrymen from several towns” on the night of March 4, 1644, intending to take them to Ashby de la Zouch, along with a large herd of cattle, oxen, and horses from the country people and a minister named Warner. These inmates were herded into Hinckley Church and questioned “‘Where are your brethren from Leicester, Round-heads?’ he sneered. Why are they refusing to redeem you?'”

    Parliamentarians reacted with a memorable “Skirmish or Great Victory for Parliament.” Colonel Grey rushed to Hinckley with 120 foot soldiers and 30 troopers from Bagworth House and retook the town, routing the Royalists, rescuing the cattle, and releasing their imprisoned countrymen. When Ashby finally surrendered, no doubt the town’s residents were as relieved as anyone else, as Vicars describes it as “a great mercy and mighty preservation of the peace and tranquilly of all those adjacent parts about it.”

    The nineteenth century
    Hinckley had a population of 5,158 at the time of the first national census in 1801, but it had grown by about a thousand people in the intervening twenty years. The manufacture of hosiery was the most important industry in the early nineteenth century, with only Leicester producing more stockings. Around 1830, it was estimated that 6,000 people were employed in this work in the district.

    In 1835, Joseph Hansom built the first Hansom cab in Hinckley.

    To commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee two years earlier, a cottage hospital was built in 1899. Money was raised by local townspeople and factory owners, particularly John and Thomas Atkins, who were also involved in the construction of many of Hinckley’s key structures. Sir John Fowke Lancelot Rolleston laid the cornerstone.

    This hospital was important to the people of Hinckley, and it was supported by local workers who donated one penny per week to keep it running until it was taken over by the NHS in 1948. It grew to correspond with the town over time. West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Properties Ltd have threatened to close, sell, or demolish the hospital in some areas.

    

    GEOGRAPHY

    Hollycroft, Middlefield, Stoneygate, Wykin, Forest View, West Hinckley, Saxon Paddock, and Druid Quarter are among Hinckley’s suburban districts. The railway line separates the Hinckley suburbs of Burbage, Sketchley, and Lash Hill from the rest of the city.

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