Infobox UK place
country = England
official_name= Hinckley
latitude= 52.54138
longitude= -1.372534
map_type= Leicestershire
population = 43,246 (2001)
shire_district= Hinckley and Bosworth
shire_county= Leicestershire
region= East Midlands
constituency_westminster= Bosworth
post_town= HINCKLEY
postcode_district = LE10
postcode_area= LE
dial_code= 01455
os_grid_reference= SP425939

Hinckley is a town in south-west Leicestershire, England. It has a population of 43,246 (2001 census). It is administered by Hinckley and Bosworth 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. 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 Zouch and Leicester, those of the Parliamentarians at Tamworth and Coventry, 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 Parliamentarians, 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.* [http://www.applebymagna.org.uk/appleby_history/Scandalous.htm]

The town was visited by both parliamentary and royalists troops from the rival garrisons, particularly parliamentary troops from Tamworth, Coventry, and Astley Castle 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’. * [http://www.localhistories.org/hinckcivil.html]

Castle Street is the first known location of 'Luddism', where disgruntled workers, replaced by machinery in their jobs, took sledgehammers to the machines.Fact|date=June 2008

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 Barwell, Burbage and Earl Shilton and most of Stoke Golding. In 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972 the Hinckley urban district was abolished, becoming an unparished area in the borough of Hinckley and Bosworth. Since then, the civil parishes of Stoke Golding, Earl Shilton and Burbage have been re-established. The core urban area remained unparished. Hinckley is currently the second largest town in Leicestershire, after Loughborough (Leicester itself being a city).


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 interesting 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. 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, Coventry and Leicester, and the M1 and M6 motorways.

Hinckley railway station is on the Nuneaton - Leicester section of the Birmingham to Peterborough Line and has regular services between Birmingham and Leicester via Narborough and Nuneaton. Journeys to London can be made via the West Coast Main Line through Nuneaton or the Midland Main Line via Leicester. The terminus of the Midland route is London St Pancras which has become the home of Eurostar international services since November 2007 [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7093761.stm] .

The nearest airports are Coventry, East Midlands and Birmingham International.

The town is equidistant (19 km/12 miles) from Coventry and Leicester and 8 km (5 miles) to the east of Nuneaton. The small town of Ibstock is 18 km (11 miles) to the north on the A447.


Hollycroft, Middlefield, Wykin.

Burbage is often mistaken for a suburb of Hinckley but is in fact separate. It is a large village, and merges with Hinckley to the south, separated by the railway line. Sketchley is another small villiage which has also merged into Burbage.


The local radio station, Oak FM, serves the town and the surrounding area. The main local newspaper is the weekly [http://www.hinckleytimes.net/ Hinckley Times] , which has recently re-launched its [http://www.hinckleytimes.net/ 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 [http://www.hinckley-info.co.uk/ www.hinckley-info.co.uk] . take5 community news, is a full colour gloss community magazine, distributed free to homes and business [http://www.take5communitynews.co.uk] .


Hinckley has one football team, Hinckley United [http://www.hinckleyunitedfc.co.uk] , 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.

Hinckley has one rugby team. Formed in 1893, [http://www.hinckleyrugby.co.uk/ Hinckley Rugby 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 they have been as high as National League 3 North (level 4). They currently reside in Midlands 1 (level 5).


Hinckley has many schools and three colleges: John Cleveland College, North Warwickshire and Hinckley College. Holliers Walk Primary School features the Hansom cab on its uniform. There are several secondary schools including Mount Grace High School, Redmoor High School and Heathfield High School Which is located in Barwell, a village inside of Hinckley.


Hinckley operates a three-tier schooling system and has several schools ranging from primary schools to colleges. 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 Golding) and Hastings (in Burbage) - all feeder schools for John Cleveland College, the main college in the town for Years 10 and 11. JCC 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 Shilton), but most students (within Hinckley and the surrounding villages) transferring from Year 9 to Year 10 choose JCC.


* The town is mentioned in Shakespeare's Henry IV, part 2 (Act 5, Scene 1)::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?"
* Hinckley is twinned with Le Grand Quevilly, France and Herford, Germany.
* Joseph Hansom built the first Hansom cab in Hinckley in 1835.
* 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.
* 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 [ [http://www.boingboing.net/2007/05/17/uk_guy_who_remodeled.html UK guy who remodeled his flat to Star Trek specs finally sells it - Boing Boing ] ] .

Places of interest

* Hinckley museum is in a range of 17th-century [http://www.hinckley-online.co.uk/histor6.shtml] timber-framed framework knitters' cottages.
* 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
* The Ashby Canal, the longest contour canal in England, passes through the town.
* The site of the Battle of Bosworth, administered by Leicestershire County Council, includes an interpretation centre at Ambion Hill, where Richard III encamped the night before the battle. St. James Church at Dadlington is the place where many of the dead were buried and where a chantry was founded on their behalf.
* Stoke Golding has one of the most beautiful medieval churches in Leicestershire, with an exquisitely carved arcade and very fine 13th-century window tracery.
* [http://www.stmarysparishchurchhinckley.co.uk/index.html St Mary's Parish Church] , in the centre of the town, is a 13th-century church. There is a local folktale 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. [ [http://www.hinckley-online.co.uk/tomb.shtml Hinckley's Bleeding Tombstone] ]


External links

* [http://www.hinckleytimes.net/ The Hinckley Times]
* [http://www.hinckley-online.co.uk/about_h.shtml Hinckley-Online]
* [http://www.1stbritanniascoutgroup.org Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers]
* [http://www.hinckleyunitedfc.co.uk/ Hinckley United Independent]
* [http://www.geographyhinckley.co.uk/ Geography Hinckley]
* [http://1stbritanniascoutgroup.org/aroundburbage An interactive map showing pictures around Burbage ]
* [http://www.hinckley.netfirms.com/Descriptions.htm Descriptions of Hinckley]
* [http://www.localhistories.org/hinckcivil.html Hinckley in the Civil War]
* [http://1stbritanniascoutgroup.org/hinckleyhistory An article about the history of Hinckley ]
* [http://www.hinckley-info.co.uk www.hinckley-info.co.uk - Hinckleys online news and community website]
* [http://www.hinckleyrugby.co.uk/ Hinckley Rugby Club]

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