Leicestershire, or Leics for short, is widely known as being pretty much the centre of England. While many people will know it as the midpoint on long journeys from south to north and back again, it’s actually a county with some incredible history and heritage behind it. In fact, we’ve actually had to curtail the length of our facts list to fit this page!
Whether you’ve visited Leicestershire before or were born in the region, there’s actually plenty you can learn about the county. It has strong links to royalty as well as the Industrial Revolution – and sport, too! If all you know about Leicester is their incredible Premier League win a few years ago, don’t worry. It’s time to dive into a stack of facts about Leics which might just surprise you.
Which cheeses are best-known in the region? Which strange contest takes place here every year in the name of claiming a pie-shaped prize? It’s time for us to find out.
Leicestershire is a county in England situated in the East Midlands. Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, and Warwickshire border it.
The M1 traverses the county from London in the south to Leeds in the north. A rail line follows the same direction from London Kings Cross to Leeds, with connections through to Edinburgh in Scotland.
Thomas Cook was born in Leicestershire in 1851. He went on to become the ‘father of tourism’, and the popular holiday provider was named after him.
Records suggest that a Leics man known as Tanky Smith was the inspiration for the creation of Sherlock Holmes. Francis Smith, as he was born, is thought to be the first officially recognised private detective in the world!
Leicester Castle is thought to be home of the ‘foundation of western democracy’. Some of the earliest parliamentary debates are on record as being held there!
King Henry VI was knighted at the Castle Church at Saint Mary De Castro, Leicestershire, in 1426.
Thomas Babington owned Rothley Temple in Leicestershire. His famous friend, William Wilberforce, successfully took a charter to abolish slavery, devised at the Temple, through the Houses of Parliament.
Rothley Temple is also known for being the historic home of the ‘Knights Templar’.
The Good Earth is the second oldest Vegetarian Restaurant in England. The Vegan Society was also launched in Leicestershire, by Donald Simpson!
In 1967, the Leicester Riders basketball team was founded. It is the oldest basketball team in England.
The famous Leicester and Swannington Railway was founded in 1832. It is on record as being the second oldest railway in the world!
Leicestershire is home to the oldest rocks and fossils found on the planet so far. Archaeologists have found material dating back 540 million years in Charnwood Forest!
Located at Fenny Dayton, a field at Lindsey Hall Farm is famous for being the official ‘centre of England’!
Fenny Dayton is also famous for being the place where the religious society known as the Quakers was started – by George Fox.
The first person to translate the Bible from Latin to English was John Wycliffe. He was the Vicar of Lutterworth in Leicestershire.
Brandgate Park, Leicestershire was the birthplace of a Queen of England who was famous for having the shortest reign! Lady Jane Grey was executed after a reign of only nine days. She was 16 years old!
Ada Lovelace Day is celebrated in October – recognising Lovelace, who was the world’s first computer programmer! She spent her childhood at Mallory Hall in Leicestershire.
Acclaimed to be the longest running festival of comedy in England is the famous Leicester Comedy Festival. In 2018, 60 venues across the county housed 700 events!
King Edward IV married Elizabeth Woodville, a widow with two sons, living in Leicestershire.
Known as the ‘White Queen’, she and the King had another two sons who were murdered. The culprit was thought to be Richard III!
Huncote in Leicestershire is famous as once being home of actor Richard Armitage, probably best known as Thorin Oakenshield in the Hobbit movies!
The nation’s biggest cheese fair is held in Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, which is also proud to be home of two very popular cheeses. Namely, these are Red Leicester and Stilton.
Only three counties in the country are permitted to make Stilton – it’s a real accolade!
David and Richard Attenborough were graduates of Leicester University. Richard who became Lord Attenborough, was a socialist, philanthropist, film maker and actor. David is one of the best-known TV presenters in the country, famous for his work with flora, fauna, and environmental conservation.
In 1984, Sir Alec Jeffreys made a game changing discovery at the University of Leicester. He helped to found the concept of DNA fingerprinting!
Beaumanor Hall in the county is famous nowadays for being a ‘listening station’ during the Second World War.
Intelligence from Beaumanor Hall was passed to Bletchley Park – which led to the cracking of the Enigma Code!
One of the world’s most respected and successful rugby clubs has its home in Leicester! Leicester County Rugby Team, known as the Leicester Tigers, has a strong following worldwide.
Another well-known name in the county is that of Triumph. The Leicestershire based firm is one of the most popular motorcycle brands on the planet.
The Coreiltauvi were British tribal people from the time of the Celts. Ruling in Leicester, their activities spread from the coastline in Lincolnshire to their main base.
The largest ‘cache’ of Roman coins found in the country belonged to them. It was discovered at Hallaton, in the south east of the county.
Hallaton is famous nowadays for an annual ‘bottle pushing’ competition! The winners are those who first get three bottles across a course and over a line. Competing against a team from Melbourne, winners are rewarded with a local game pie!
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about Leicestershire that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!