Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

The History of Evington

I recently gave a short talk on the history of Evington.

I had been asked to do this by Helen Pettman, the Editor of the “Evington Echo”, a monthly community newspaper, at a tea party to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

All the guests were volunteers who had contributed in some way to the success of the Echo over the years. The event took place, appropriately enough, at the Village Hall, across the road from the mediaeval St. Denys’ Church.

I began by congratulating everybody on their wonderful achievement in keeping the paper going for so long.

I pointed out firstly that Leicester, of which Evington is now a suburb, is one of the oldest towns in the country, having been a regional capital in the Roman period. A short way from where we were sitting was the Via Devana, a Roman road which ran from Leicester to Colchester in Essex, the oldest town in Britain.

Evington is one of six villages which have now been swallowed up by Leicester. The others are Belgrave, Humberstone, Knighton, Aylestone and Braunstone. In each case there is plenty of evidence of village origins.

St. Denys’ Church is mediaeval in origin. It is dedicated to the patron saint of Paris, martyred at Montmartre, and there is a depiction of him on the outside wall of the church.

Close to the church is Piggy’s Hollow, which is actually the moated site of the mediaeval manor house.

Leicester Abbey had a grange farm between Evington and Stoughton. The produce was taken to the abbey by a circuitous route including Thurcaston Road and Abbey Lane, to avoid going through Leicester itself. The townspeople and the monks were frequently at loggerheads.

Just off Shady Lane, in what is now the Arboretum, the brook was dammed and created a sizeable lake which was used as fishponds.

The lovely little chapel on the village green was built for the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion (the Countess came from Ashby-de-la-Zouch). It contains an organ which once belonged to Prince Albert.

After I had given the talk, and Helen had given her own, thanking volunteers, there was a serious chance to get down to the excellent spread that had been laid out. It was delicious!