Guide: Jess Jenkins
20 June 2017
For the June meeting, members visited the Record Office in Wigston, where our guide was archivist Jess Jenkins.
The Record Office is a service provided by Leicestershire County Council in partnership with Leicester City Council and Rutland County Council. Its purpose is to collect and make available a wide range of resources for researching the history and culture of Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland. The collection dates back to the 1100’s and continues to grow. The Record Office moved from New Walk to its present site in Wigston in 1992. It amalgamated with the local studies library so that everything relating to the history of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland was housed under one roof.
Jess provided a variety of documents and books for us to look at. The oldest document we saw was a transfer of title of land in Saddington dating from around 1230 AD, written in Latin on parchment and with a large wax seal attached. A number related to Thurcaston and Cropston including records from the Archdeaconry of Leicester of 1517, showing the will of Everard Falkener of Thurcaston. Another was a 17th century accounts book which held the church accounts at the front and those of the village constable at the back, as both offices were held by the same man.
Other notable items included: a record of a lion brought into Loughborough that killed a man; 1813 Marriage Records from Ashby-de-la-Zouch showing the marriages of a number of French prisoners of war to local girls; Burial Records of 1609 documenting plague burials; a page from the Admission Records for the Leicester Poor Law Union dated 29th December, 1879 noting the admission of Joseph Merrick (later known as the Elephant Man); and 1916 details of the Zeppelin raids when bombs were dropped on Loughborough killing 10 and injuring at least 12 people.
We finished with a tour of the Record Office, being shown: the microfiche readers and computer terminals which members of the public can use for their own research; the strong-room, with over 10km of shelving, in which the documents are stored in a controlled environment (pleasantly cool on a hot evening!); and the map room where we were given the opportunity to look at some local maps which concluded a most interesting evening.
For more details of the collection and services provided, visit their website: www.leics.gov.uk/recordoffice