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Before [ edit ] Market Harborough was founded by the Saxons between and The Manor of Harborough is first mentioned in and when it was called "Haverberg". It is likely that Harborough was formed out of the Royal Manor with the intention of making it a place for tradesmen and a market when a new highway between Oxendon and Kibworth was established to help link Northampton and Leicester.

A market was established by and has been held on a Tuesday ever since Eventually this market lead to the modern name of Market Harborough.

The trades people of Harborough had large tofts or farm yards at the rear of their property where goods were made and stored. Many of these yards remain but have been subdivided down their length over the years to give frontage to the High Street. The steeple of Harborough Church was started in and completed in It is a broache spire, which rests on the walls of the tower, and are earlier than recessed spires which rise from behind a square tower as at Great Bowden. By the village of Arden had been abandoned, although the church remained in use for some years.

In the main part of Harborough Church was completed. An open stream ran down the High Street. The Town Estate was created and managed by a body of Feoffees elected by the townspeople, to help manage among other things the open fields surrounding the town, the proceeds from which were used for a variety of purposes.

In the town was briefly in the news as the Privy Council debated whether a local girl Agnes Bowker had given birth to a cat. In Harborough, the King decided to confront Parliamentary forces who were camped near Naseby but the Battle of Naseby proved a decisive victory for Parliament led by Oliver Cromwell.

Harborough Chapel became a temporary prison for the captured forces. Cromwell wrote a letter from "Haverbrowe, June 14, " to the Speaker of the House of Commons, William Lenthall , announcing the victory. An independent church was established in the Harborough area following the Act of Uniformity and a meeting house was built in Bowden Lane in During the 18th century the timber mud and thatch buildings of the town were largely replaced with brick buildings.

After roads were turnpiked and regularly repaired making wheeled traffic easier all year round Harborough became a staging point for coach travel on the road to London from the North West and the Midlands. In the Open Fields of Great Bowden were allotted to individual owners and fenced with hedges planted, followed by those of Little Bowden in A plan for a canal from Leicester to join the London to Birmingham canal was mooted but it eventually bypassed the town and a branch canal was cut from Foxton to Harborough with wharves at Gallow Hill, and Great Bowden.

Harborough wharf, to the north of the town, became a distribution centre for coal and corn. A gas company was formed in to make and distribute gas. John Clarke and Sons of London built a factory for spinning worsted and later making carpets. In Thomas Cook who was a wood turner and cabinet maker in the town organised the first group travel by rail from Leicester to Loughborough and went on to found the travel agency bearing his name.

Market Harborough became a centre for fox hunting with hounds during the 19th century when Mr Tailby of Skeffington Hall established a hunt in South East Leicestershire in The country between Billesdon and Harborough was considered severe, involving jumping the specially designed ox fences.

His hunting diary is recognised as an important document in the history of hunting. The Hunt was renamed the Fernie after a subsequent Master. This race and the meeting eventually developed into the Cheltenham Festival and the organisers were part of the founding of organised steeplechasing through the Grand National Hunt Committee. A railway did not serve the town until with a link to Rugby but this was quickly followed by links to Leicester and London in and to Northampton in In , William Symington, a grocer in the town established a factory to make pea-flour.

His brother James developed a haberdashery and stay making business and in his sons acquired the old carpet factory to make corsets. They expanded it by three additional floors in and then built a new factory opposite Church Square in which still remains today as the Council offices, library and museum. A tannery was built on land adjoining the Commons. The factory was closed down in This had been at the expense of living conditions with severe overcrowding in the old town.

Rows of cottages had been built in the yards of older houses with shared access to water and waste disposal. The Public Health Act required local authorities to implement building regulations, or bye-laws, which insisted that each house should be self-contained, with its own sanitation and water. In a new system of sewers were laid and piped water supplied from wells at Husbands Bosworth.

Various schemes were implemented to improve the town. It acquired the gas company and built a public baths. It acquired land for the construction of Abbey Street in which removed the multi occupied yard of the Coach and Horses Inn and enabled the building of a fire station on the new street in In the same year a new livestock market was opened between Springfield Street and the river on 12 acres 4. In the council bought land at Great Bowden and Little Bowden for recreation grounds.

In there were still around dwellings identified as unfit for human habitation mostly in the yards and courts of Harborough and there was an identified need for new houses. Land to the north of the town was selected and a scheme for 98 homes for rent developed as the Bowden Fields Estate. Following the introduction of mortgage subsidy, over private homes were built and a further development of 72 rented homes took place. By about houses had been built since , by the Council.

A major improvement took place from with the acquisition of land between Northampton Road and Farndon Road. This enabled the construction of Welland Park Road which enabled east west traffic to bypass the town centre , provision of homes for rent along Welland Park Road and 52 in Walcot Road to rehouse occupants of the old yard houses, plots for private housing, the layout of Welland Park and the construction of Welland Park School.

A covered market hall was opened at the western end of the Cattlemarket in , replacing the market stalls on the Square on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The post-war period saw another shortage of housing and some people on the waiting list for council housing. The council developed a dwelling extension to the Bowden Fields Estate by and acquired acres 0.

A new Southern Estate was planned to accommodate dwellings, shopping centre, school and recreation ground. The Council laid initial access roads named after personalities of the Battle of Naseby since these fields were crossed by both armies on 14 June A plaque now records the events and was unveiled by Mrs H. Lenthall on 1 February to mark the opening of the estate development.

Around dwellings were built for rent with the remaining plots available for private building. The final phase of development occurred in the s. In the canal basin was the venue for a week long National Festival of Boats, the first such festival organised by the Inland Waterways Association and marking the beginning of the revival of the canal network for leisure use.

The old brewery site was acquired for a bus station in and in a main car park was opened at the Commons and further car parks established in the s to deal with the increasing demand. Proposals for development of an industrial estate at Riverside and Rockingham Road were approved in and the area developed during the s. Following serious flooding in the town centre on 2 July , a flood relief scheme was begun and the river bed was straightened and deepened. In the centre of Market Harborough was declared a conservation area.

Major developments included the development of headquarters for Golden Wonder crisp makers, and the demolition of the old Symington factory in Adam and Eve Street for redevelopment as Eden Court shops and flats. During the s, draft proposals were made for an inner relief road to avoid traffic congestion in the town centre. However, it was rejected in favour of a bypass outside the town.

Plans for an A6 by-pass were approved by the Department for Transport during the s and the 5 miles 8. It was opened in summer The opening of these roads has reduced considerably the volume of heavy goods vehicles passing through the town centre. Associated improvements to the town centre took place as part of a "By-pass Demonstration Project" completed in The path continues south following the Brampton Valley Way a long and narrow recreation area on the route of the former railway line to Northampton.

The canal basin was restored as a boating centre called Union Wharf. This consists of workshops, restaurant, studios and flats. There are residential moorings and canal boats can be hired. A cycle and footway along the river through the town was created called the Millennium Mile and links Welland Park with the railway station. Geography[ edit ] Market Harborough is in a rural part of southeast Leicestershire, on the River Welland and close to the Northamptonshire border.

The town is about 15 miles The M1 is about 11 miles A branch of the Grand Union Canal terminates in the north part of the town and connects to the main canal near Foxton and the Foxton Locks.

The town itself is however an unparished area , with no town council of its own the third least populated town of this sort.

The town is in the southern area of Leicestershire County Council close to the border with Northamptonshire. The school room had to be built upon posts to allow the butter market to be held on the ground floor. The subjects taught were Latin, Greek and Hebrew, and many boys were sent to Oxford and Cambridge universities.

This is commemorated by a plaque inside the old schoolroom. The grammar school has since moved sites and is now the Robert Smyth Academy for to year-olds. The school badge is the arms of the City of London. The school is divided into houses one of which is named "Bragg".

Running around the building are five portions of scripture from the Bible. Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it:


Market Harborough is a market town within the Harborough district of Leicestershire, England.. It has a population of 22, () and is the administrative headquarters of Harborough District Council. It sits on the Northamptonshire-Leicestershire border. The town was formerly at a crossroads for both road and rail; however the A6 now .

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