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Hinckley is a town in south-west Leicestershiremarker, Englandmarker. It has a population of 43,246 (2001 census). It is administered by Hinckley and Bosworthmarker Borough Council.


Hinckley has a history going back to Saxon times . The name means the "woodland clearing (Old English leah) of a man called Hynca". By the time of the Domesday Book in 1086, Hinckley was quite a large village, and grew over the course of the following 200 years into a small market town—a market was first recorded there in 1311 .

17th century

In the 17th century the town developed a hosiery industry, producing stockings and similar items . Hinckley played a prominent part in the English Civil War. Its proximity to several rival strongholds—the royalist garrisons at Ashby de la Zouchmarker and Leicester, those of the Parliamentarians at Tamworthmarker and Coventrymarker, and the presence of parties of troops or brigands occupying several fortified houses in nearby Warwickshire—ensured frequent visits by the warring parties. The local townsfolk were forced to decide whether to declare their allegiances openly or attempt to remain neutral—with the risk of having to pay levies, ransoms, and fines to both sides. In March 1644 Hinckley was occupied by a group of Royalist troops, though they were soon driven out by a force of Parliamentarian, who took many prisoners.

The Civil War years were a particularly unsettled time for the clergy in and around Hinckley. Parsons with parliamentary leanings like Thomas Cleveland, the vicar of Hinckley, suffered sequestration by the Leicester County Committee, like some of his "malignant" neighbours accused of visiting royalist garrisons or preaching against Parliament.*[43891]

The town was visited by both parliamentary and royalists troops from the rival garrisons, particularly parliamentary troops from Tamworth, Coventry, and Astley Castlemarker in Warwickshire. Troops from Coventry garrison were particularly active in the town, taking horses and "free quarter" and availing themselves of ‘dyett and Beere’, and taking some of the inhabitants hostage for ransom. Royalist troops raided the town to threaten those with parliamentary sympathies. The notorious Lord Hastings of Ashby de la Zouch is recorded to have "coursed about the country as far as Dunton and Lutterworth and took near upon a hundred of the clergymen and others, and carried them prisoners … threatening to hang all them that should take the Parliament’s Covenant". Parliamentary newsheets record that on the night of March 4, 1644 Hastings’ men brought in "26 honest countrymen from several towns" intending to take them to Ashby de la Zouch, along with a huge herd of cattle, oxen and horses from the country people and a minister named Mr Warner. These prisoners were herded into Hinckley church and asked "in a jeering manner, ‘Where are the Round-heads your brethren at Leicester? Why come they not to redeem you?’"

The Parliamentarians responded in a memorable "Skirmish or Great Victory for Parliament". Colonel Grey with 120 foot soldiers and 30 troopers from Bagworth House rushed to Hinckley and re-took the town, routed the Royalists, rescued the cattle and released their imprisoned countrymen. No doubt the inhabitants of the town were as relieved as any when Ashby finally surrendered, as Vicars records, "a great mercy and mighty preservation of the peace and tranquillity of all those adjacent parts about it." *[43892]

19th century

Castle Street is the first known location of 'Luddism', where disgruntled workers, replaced by machinery in their jobs, took sledgehammers to the machines. Joseph Hansom built the first Hansom cab in Hinckley in 1835.

Local government

Hinckley became an urban district under the Local Government Act 1894, covering the ancient parish of Hinckley. In 1934, under a County Review Order, Hinckley urban district expanded to include the ancient parishes of Barwellmarker, Burbage and Earl Shiltonmarker and most of Stoke Goldingmarker. In 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972 the Hinckley urban district was abolished, becoming an unparished area in the borough of Hinckley and Bosworthmarker. Since then, the civil parishes of Barwell, Burbage, Earl Shilton and Stoke Golding have been re-established. The core urban area remained unparished. Hinckley is currently the second largest town in Leicestershire, after Loughboroughmarker (Leicestermarker itself being a city).


Hollycroft, Middlefield, and Wykinmarker are suburbs of Hinckley.

Burbage is often thought to be a suburb of Hinckley but is in fact separate. It is a large village merging with Hinckley to the south, separated by the railway line. Sketchley is another small village which has merged into Burbage.)

Places of Interest

  • The site of the Battle of Bosworthmarker, administered by Leicestershire County Council, includes an interpretation centre at Ambion Hillmarker, where Richard III encamped the night before the battle. St James's Church at Dadlingtonmarker is the place where many of the dead were buried and where a chantry was founded on their behalf.
  • Hinckley Museum is in a range of 17th-century timber-framed framework knitters' cottages.
  • Stoke Goldingmarker has one of the most beautiful medieval churches in Leicestershire, with an exquisitely carved arcade and very fine 13th-century window tracery.
  • St Mary's Parish Church, in the centre of the town, is a 13th-century church. There is a local folk tale that a tombstone in the churchyard marking the grave of Richard Smith, a young saddler murdered in the Market Place in 1727, "bleeds" every April.
  • The Great Meeting of 1722, hidden away behind old hosiery factories, is an excellent early example of nonconformist architecture with a charming galleried interior.
  • Britannia (Burbage) Scout HQ: the home of 1st Britannia Scout Group is a specially designed and built scout hall.
  • Parks Hollycroft Park was donated by the famous local "Atkins family" to the people of Hinckley in 1934, the park contains two tennis courts, a bowling green, golf course, band stand and gardens. Brodick Park in the west of Hinckley was recently the subject of controversy between local people and the Council which had wanted to sell the park for housing, however following a recent change in administration, this sale has been cancelled.
  • The Ashby Canal, the longest contour canal in England, passes through the town.


Hinckley is a traditional centre of the hosiery industry. The first framework knitting machine was brought here by Joseph Iliffe in the 17th century and by the 19th century Hinckley was responsible for a large proportion of Britain's hosiery production. Since the Second World War the hosiery industry has steadily shrunk in size although several textile firms remain in the area. Hinckley & District Museum, which is housed in a range of former framework knitters' cottages, tells the story of the hosiery industry and contains some examples of framework knitting machines. Hinckley also has a history of engineering and is home to the Triumph Motorcycle company, and Ultima Sports Ltd, a manufacturer of sports cars. Hinckley is also the home of Paynes Garages Ltd [43893] , one of the oldest family-owned Ford Motor Dealerships in the UK. Established by JA Payne in 1907, the firm became Ford Dealers in 1922. The business remains family owned with Nigel Payne, grandson of the founder, one of the current Directors. The town's central location and good links to the UK motorway network have made it a popular location for distribution warehouses.

Transport links

Hinckley is served by the A5 and the M69. The M69 links Hinckley to the nearest cities, Coventrymarker and Leicestermarker, and the M1 and M6 motorways.

Hinckley railway stationmarker is on the NuneatonmarkerLeicestermarker section of the Birmingham to Peterborough Line and has regular services between Birminghammarker and Leicestermarker via Narboroughmarker and Nuneatonmarker. Journeys to London can be made via the West Coast Main Linemarker through Nuneaton or the Midland Main Line via Leicester. The terminus of the Midland route is London St Pancrasmarker which has become the home of Eurostar international services since November 2007 [43894].

The nearest airports are Coventrymarker, East Midlandsmarker and Birmingham Internationalmarker.

The town is equidistant (19 km/12 miles) from Coventrymarker and Leicestermarker and 8 km (5 miles) to the east of Nuneatonmarker. The small town of Ibstockmarker is 18 km (11 miles) to the north on the A447.

Media and culture

The local radio station, Oak FM, serves the town and the surrounding area. The main local newspaper is the weekly Hinckley Times, which has recently re-launched its website. The daily Leicester Mercury no longer publishes a Hinckley edition. The free (advertising-funded) Hinckley Herald & Journal is distributed to most houses. Hinckley has its own community website and online news resource take5 community news, is a full colour gloss community magazine, distributed free to homes and business[43895].

There is a 400 seat theatre located near the centre of the town in Stockwell Head (Concordia Theatremarker).


Hollycroft Park, in the centre of Hinckley is recognised as a great area for sports—the park contains two tennis courts, a golf pitch n putt and a lawn bowls green with pavilion.

Hinckley has one football team, Hinckley United [43896], who finished mid-table in the Football Conference North in the 2004/5 season and competed in the Second Round of the FA Cup. Hinckley United was formed in 1997 from the amalgamation of Hinckley Town and Hinckley Athletic, and is known as the Knitters—a nickname that comes from the town's history as a textile-producing centre.

The town's largest school John Cleveland College is noted for its many achievements on the rugby field and has produced many professional players, many of whom have gone on to play for England.These including England and Leicester Tigers legends Graham Rowntree and Dean Richards, as well as current pros Ollie Smith and Sam Vesty. Vesty is the most recent ex-JCC man to make his international bow, coming on as sub against Argentina at Old Trafford in June.

The only rugby club was formed in 1893, Hinckley Rugby Football Club has been based at the Leicester Road Sports ground since 1968. Hinckley RFC have been involved in league rugby since 1987, during which time the first team has been as high as National League 3 North (level 4). They currently reside in Midlands 1 (level 5).

There is also one basketball team—the Hinckley 69ers; a name derived from the town's proximity to the M69 motorway. It was founded in 1974 and has involved some staff, ex-students and current students of John Cleveland College, as well as other interested, local players, throughout most of its history. The team play in Division 2 of the Leicestershire men's amateur league, having been promoted in the 2007/2008 season. The 2007/2008 season was one of the team's best performances, with a cup win too. The team are based at John Cleveland College and have home games and training there every Friday at 7:00pm.

Hinckley has one high performance Gymnastics Club: based at Clarendon Park, in its 30 years of existence it has never failed to have a number of its members competing for their home nations or for Great Britain.

Hinckley Ladies Netball Club is based at Redmoor High School and has four senior teams in the Coventry and Warwickshire Netball League.


The main primary schools in the area are Battling Brook CP, Holliers Walk, Richmond, St. Peters Catholic, St. Mary's Church of England and Westfield Infant/Junior. The high (secondary) schools include Mount Grace, Redmoor, St. Martins (in Stoke Goldingmarker) and Hastings (in Burbagemarker)—all feeder schools for John Cleveland Collegemarker, the main college in the town for Years 10 and 11. JCCmarker also includes a Sixth Form, as does North Warwickshire & Hinckley College, a Further Education college. The only other major college in the area is William Bradford (Earl Shiltonmarker), but most students (within Hinckley and the surrounding villages) transferring from Year 9 to Year 10 choose JCC.

Cultural associations

Davy: Now, sir, a new link to the bucket must need be had: and, sir, do you mean to stop any of William's wages, about the sack he lost the other day at Hinckley fair?
  • In 2007, Hinckley resident Tony Alleyne, 54, sold his one bedroomed flat, transformed into a precise replica of a Star Trek ship, for £425,000.
  • Actress Una Stubbs was born in Hinckley
  • Influential guitarist Davey Graham was born in the town
  • The Human League singer Phil Oakey was born in the town
  • Coronation Street actor Graeme Hawley (who plays John Stape) lived in Hinckley and made his acting debut in the town's Concordia Theatre.
  • Supercar manufacturer Ultima Sports Ltd are based in Hinckley. They claim to have set the fastest roadcar lap around the famous Top Gear test track with their GTR720 model, although it has never appeared on the programme.


Hinckley was known to its residents for many years as "Tin 'At" (tin hat). It is reputed that, many years ago, one of the itinerant sheep drovers bragged that he could drink a hat full of ale. The local landlord put this man to the test by getting the local blacksmith to make a tin hat, which he then filled with ale. Thereafter, the town became known as "Tin 'At". Another explanation is that the people of Hinckley used to place buckets on water pumps to keep them clean and prevent the spread of illness, the bucket obviously being the "Tin 'At". A tin hat can be seen on top of the flag pole which sits on the roof of the building society at the corner of Castle Street and Market Place. There is also a pub called The Tin Hat.


Hinckley is twinned with Le Grand-Quevillymarker, France, and Herfordmarker, Germany.


  1. [1]
  2. Hinckley's Bleeding Tombstone
  3. UK guy who remodeled his flat to Star Trek specs finally sells it - Boing Boing

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