Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Barkby Children Explore Historic Leicester

I recently had the pleasure of taking a party of schoolchildren from Barkby on a Guided Walk around the oldest parts of the ancient City of Leicester.

I had been asked to do this by Julia Dodge, a teacher at the Pochin School in the village. She was keen for them to get an idea of the historical background to some of the major buildings and landmarks in Leicester, and how different periods in history have left their mark.

So I devised a version of my “Historic Leicester” walk, which I sometimes include in my public programme.

Starting at the much-loved Town Hall, I moved on to Leicester Cathedral, a mediaeval church heavily restored in the Victorian period, which became a cathedral in the 1920s; the Guildhall, one of the oldest civic buildings in England, dating back to the 14th century, which was used as Town Hall for four centuries; and the site of the High Cross, where markets were formerly held.

I talked about Richard III, who spent his last night in a bed in a now demolished tavern in High Cross Street before being killed in battle a few miles away near Market Bosworth and buried at the Grey Friars; about St. Nicholas Church, with its Roman tiling and Anglo-Saxon windows; and the Jewry Wall, the largest building of a civil nature from the Roman period still standing in Britain.

We looked at St. Mary de Castro Church, where Geoffrey Chaucer was married and the young Henry VI was knighted; Leicester Castle, where an 18th century fašade hides a 12th century Great Hall; and the Turret Gateway, with its legend of the fearsome Black Annis.

The children, who were very pleasant, polite and well behaved, learned a lot. It was a great pleasure to be with them for the morning.

And a few days later, I received an enthusiastic letter from each of the children, saying how much they had enjoyed it.

Thanks, Pochin School – I enjoyed it too.