His­tory book tells of ghosts and bombs

Hinckley Times - - LETTERS - NI­CHOLAS DAW­SON ni­cholas.daw­son@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

A NEW book has been pub­lished with quirky de­tails from the his­tory of Hinck­ley.

‘The Lit­tle Book of Le­ices­ter­shire’ was writ­ten by Le­ices­ter-based his­to­rian Natasha Shel­don over 18 months.

It in­cludes a chap­ter ti­tled ‘Ghostly Go­ings-On’, which men­tions a reg­u­lar phan­tom who sits at a ta­ble read­ing in The Union Inn on Stock­well Head, as well as a mis­cheivous ghost child and sev­eral sol­diers.

The chap­ter also tells the tale of Richard Smith, a young sad­dler killed by a sergeant re­cruit­ing in the town in 1727, af­ter Smith kept taunt­ing him.

His grave­stone in St Mary’s Church re­put­edly oozes a blood-red liq­uid each April.

Bar­well gets a men­tion in a chap­ter fo­cus­ing on the mil­i­tary his­tory of the county, as an un­ex­ploded bomb was once found there.

The de­vice was safely det­o­nated, with its nose land­ing in a green­house in Elmesthorpe, two miles away.

The book’s chap­ter on ‘Re­li­gion and Su­per­sti­tion’ talks about the Quaker move­ment started by Ge­orge Fox, who was orig­i­nally from Fenny Dray­ton.

Ms Shel­don said: “Le­ices­ter­shire is at the cen­tre of the coun­try, with the ac­tual cen­tral point of Eng­land in the Hinck­ley and Bos­worth bor­ough.

“It has been an im­por­tant re­gion at dif­fer­ent points in his­tory. A lot of peo­ple who live in the county have ex­pressed an in­ter­est in read­ing the book.”

The 192-page book is a whis­tle-stop tour through all as­pects of the re­gion’s his­tory, from its rivers and land for­ma­tion to its fa­mous fig­ures, food and drink, and com­mon work­ing life over the cen­turies.

Ms Shel­don said: “It’s very nice-looking; the way the pub­lish­ers have set it out re­ally does it jus­tice.

“I hope I have writ­ten it in a light-hearted sort of way and that it can be ac­ces­si­ble to dif­fer­ent ages.

“I want read­ers to en­joy it while learn­ing some­thing new.”

Ms Shel­don stud­ied an­cient his­tory and ar­chae­ol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Le­ices­ter.

Her pub­lished works in­clude ‘Not a Guide to Le­ices­ter’ and ‘Le­ices­ter in 100 Dates’.

Known as the ‘bleed­ing grave­stone’ this memo­rial in St Mary’s church­yard, Hinck­ley, to 20-year-old Richard Smith who was mur­dered in April 1727, the stone is said to be­come spot­ted with blood on the an­niver­sary of his death.

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