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St Lawrence Church, Measham

Measham is a village in Leicestershiremarker, near the Staffordshire and Derbyshiremarker border, located just off the A42 just south of Ashby-de-la-Zouchmarker. It was originally a small market town but dismissed by William Wyrley in 1596 as ‘a village belonging to Lord Shefield, in which are many coal mines, [but] little else worthy of remembrance’, and omitted altogether from Richard Blome's gazetteer of market towns in 1673.

Pevsner noted St Laurence parish church with a handsome 1730s West tower and 14th century windows elsewhere. Also Measham Hall, a mid-Georgian seven-bay house 1.25 miles east.

The village lies near to the heart of the National Forest.

Nearby is the hamlet of Willesleymarker where there was once a stately home, the grounds of which are now a fishing lake, golf course and Scout campsite. Other local villages include Oakthorpemarker, Donisthorpemarker and Packingtonmarker.

A figure prominent in the history of Measham was Joseph Wilkes. Wilkes, an entrepreneur during the early part of the Industrial revolution, bought Measham manor from William Wollaston in 1777 and undertook the extensive industrial and agricultural development of the village, many signs of which are still visible today. An example of his work is evident in certain buildings within Measham. He used larger bricks (enlarged as twice the standard size) in much of his architecture in order to reduce the tax of manufacturing such bricks (tax was proportional to the number of bricks used in building).

The Astronomer Royal Sir Frank Watson Dyson, noted for his work on solar eclipses and inventor of the "six pips", was also born here in 1868.

A type of pottery known as Meashamware is named after the village, although it was actually produced in Church Gresleymarker in Derbyshire. Until 1897 Measham was an exclave of Derbyshire.

The railway came to Measham 1873 in the guise of the Ashby & Nuneaton Joint Railway: see Battlefield Line Railwaymarker (the last existing section of the ANJR) for more details. Currently (November 2007) Leicestershire County Council is renovating the old station building as part of the Ashby Canal restoration

Measham's local football team is called Measham Imperial, nicknamed 'The Imps'. They currently play in the North Leicestershire Windmills League Division Three.


  • William Wyrley cited in T. Bulmer’s History, Topography and Directory of Derbyshire (London, 1895 ed.)
  • Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland , 1960 (first) edition.

  1. Joseph Wilkes online biography

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