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Oadby is a town in Leicestershire, England, in the borough of Oadby and Wigston. Oadby is a district centre on the A6 trunk road 3.5 miles (5.6 km) south-east of Leicester city centre. Leicester Racecourse is located on the outskirts of Oadby and Stoneygate. Oadby is home to the University of Leicester Botanical Garden. Oadby had a population of 23,849 in 2011, and it, like its neighbour Wigston, is divided into five wards. The boroughs of Oadby and Wigston are twinned with the French town of Maromme and the German town of Norderstedt.

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    Normans, Angles, and Danes

    Oadby has been inhabited since an Anglian settlement in the early Anglo-Saxon period. Though the name Oadby is Danish (meaning “Outi’s dwelling”), the existence of a pagan Anglian cemetery indicates that it existed long before the Danish invasions. The original Anglian name is no longer in use. Evidence of an Anglian burial ground was discovered on Brocks Hill in 1760. The Middle Angles were ruled by the Mercian kings before being conquered by Danish invaders. Oadby is one of seventy Danish settlements in Leicestershire that end in “-by,” which means village or settlement in Danish. Its name is most likely derived from the Old Norse Auarbr, which means “Aui’s settlement.” Danish rule lasted until 920, when King Alfred the Great defeated the Danes in battle; at least one of these battles is said to have taken place in the Oadby area.

    Oadby’s name was recorded as Oldebi in the Domesday Book of 1086. Oladebi, Outheby (Feet of Fines, 1199), Onderby, and, finally, Oadby are other early forms. When King Harold was defeated, William the Conqueror gave Oadby to Hugh de Grandmesnil, Governor of Leicestershire, who established the parish church of Oadby on the current site of St Peter’s Church. Roger, who held one and a half carucates, and Countess Judith, who held nine carucates, two bovates, and thirty acres of meadow, were the tenants of the manor of Oadby. There were 46 socmen, 11 bordars, and 3 serfs on the Countess’s land, and Robert de Buci was given two carucates. William Ferrers held the manor in 1444, and William Grey, Lord Ferrers of Groby, held it in 1457. John Waldron held the manor in 1541; his successor, John Waldron, sold it to Sir John Lombe in 1629. The trustees of the late George Wyndham (patrons of the vicarage), George Legh Keck (lord of the manor), and Thomas Pares were the main landed proprietors in 1831.

    The present day
    Oadby remained a small settlement until the late nineteenth century, when it became a fashionable suburb for Leicester businessmen such as factory owners of Leicester’s shoe and stocking manufacturers. In Oadby, many large houses were built, some of which are now used by the University of Leicester.

    Stoughton Road in Oadby is home to two groups of historically significant houses. Some of the Framework Knitters Homes date back to 1909, while the North Memorial Homes, financed by Sir Jonathan North (former Mayor of Leicester), were built in 1927 and dedicated by the Prince of Wales the same year. The North Memorial Homes site also includes the North Memorial Hall, a neo-Georgian-style structure that has been leased to Oadby Evangelical Free Church since 1974.

    Oadby’s expansion accelerated in the twentieth century and was still ongoing in 2017. Many residential developments have been built, resulting in a population of 23,849.

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