Programme 2018 - 2019


All talks start at 7.30 pm (doors open 7 pm) on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at The Roman Way Community Centre, 36, Roman Way, Market Harborough, LE16 7PQ.

Additionally, a Summer Outing takes place in June each year. The Society also organises a full day Local History Seminar - The History Day -  on a Saturday in October each year,  at The Roman Way Community Centre.

To download this handy tri-fold printable copy of the program in .pdf format please click here

Summer Break

Sep 12th 2018


Bob Trubshaw

The Gargoyles and Faces of Leicestershire

The churches of Leicestershire inside and out are bejewelled with hundreds of stone faces and carvings. Sadly they are rarely noticed. Bob Trubshaw leads a project to systematically study them and create a photographic archive. He has published many books on such Leicestershire curiosities, a naïve art form from the middle ages, which repays attention.  He will open our eyes to what can be found in the county if only we looked.

Oct 10th 2018

Sarah Wilson

Flag Fen

Flag Fen, on the outskirts of Peterborough is at the junction of the land with the low lying Fens.  Here in the early 1980s was discovered a bronze age causeway since subject to much archaeological study and re-construction.  It shares the same prehistoric landscape with the recent discoveries of the platform settlement at Must Farm near Whittlesey.  Sarah Wilson is the archaeologist at Flag Fen.  She can tell us about the discoveries and their significance, as well as their conservation and about the careful reconstruction of the Bronze Age landscape. Flag Fen has enabled an understanding and appreciation of the life in the Bronze Age


Saturday 27th October

History Day

Great Achievers of the Harborough Area

All day event, (Ticket-only all day event £15) includes buffet lunch & refreshments

Nov 14th 2018


Denis Kenyon with Rosalind Willatts

The end of the Great War in Market Harborough and the building of the Cottage Hospital

At this centenary of the armistice ending the Great War Denis and Rosalind will consider how the end of the war affected Market Harborough and how the people of Harborough reacted and wished to remember the 1655 men who took part in the War including the 256 who lost their lives.  The activities around the erection in 1921 of the Town Square memorial cross to the 256 dead and the building of a new wing with Portico in 1923 at the Cottage Hospital for the 1655 will be discussed. This was an effort by all the people of Harborough, both rich and those in poverty.

Dec 12th 2018


Len Holden

Witchcraft in Leicestershire in 17th Century

Between the 15th and the 17th centuries witch-hunting rose to a crescendo of hysteria across Europe and Britain. In this atmosphere a number of prominent cases came to the assizes in Leicester.  Two of the most famous were the trials of the witches of Husbands Bosworth in 1616 and the Witches of Belvoir Castle in 1618. Len Holden endeavours to show the origins of this hysteria with descriptions of the trials and an explanation of these miscarriages of justice. New evidence and interpretation of the cases will also be provided as well as an analysis as to why witch trials declined in the late 17th and early 18th century.

January 9th 2019


Richard Foster

Stone Walls do not a prison make: The history and life of Leicester Gaol

Richard Foster worked for many years in the Prison Service, at Gartree and for over 20 years at Leicester.  Leicester Gaol built in 1828  at a cost in excess of £20,000 was designed by William Parsons the county architect in the architecture-of-fear style with features of a mediaeval castle;  Cobbett, who visited Leicester in 1830, in his Rural Rides lambasts the city authorities for building a “fine“ gaol rather than easing the condition of the poor. Richard Foster will give the story of the gaol, all aspects of life and death there, the staff, the prisoners and the ups and downs.

February 13th 2019


Colin Ford

The Seven Wonders of the Waterways; Market Harborough and the creation of the Inland Waterways Association

Colin Ford has long been associated with the local canals. The coming of the Grand Union Canal in 1809 changed Market Harborough and its surrounding area for ever. Colin will discuss the creation of the Inland Waterways Association, its first Festival of Boats held in Market Harborough in 1950 which had so much influence on how people looked at canals and their regeneration. He will talk on the IWAs 7 Wonders of the Waterways showing slides and some video sequences. Canals declined rapidly in the mid 20thC but today their regeneration has been for different uses.  Market Harborough and Foxton are at the centre of England’s inland waterways network.

March 13th 2019


Dr Jennifer Crangle

The Ossuary at Rothwell Church

Ossuaries, Charnel Houses, officially called charnel chapels, are places, under churches or in cemeteries, where the mixed up bones of the dead are kept and curated. There are now only two extant in Britain today, (the other is at Hythe in Kent) but there were once many more, for example the one at Hallaton. Dr Crangle from the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield has made a special study of the Rothwell Charnel House and ossuaries in general.  She will explain the form and nature of these, why and how they were created and with European examples put the Rothwell example in context.

April 10th 2019

Joan Beeson

AGM followed by

Deeds not Words - The Almshouses at Frolesworth and elsewhere

Joan Beeson grew up at Welford, spent some time teaching in Oxfordshire but has lived at Frolesworth since 1986. Here the Baron Smith Almshouses are an excellent example of an 18th social institution for care founded by beneficent men.  The physical courtyard form of such almshouses is significant in the historical built landscape throughout England.  Very many almshouses still exist fulfilling their original purpose of providing homes for the elderly poor.  Joan will talk about them with particular reference to Frolesworth and those in Leicestershire.

May 8th 2019


Helen Crabtree


Milestones and mileposts used to be familiar roadside features, but many have been lost to road “improvements”. Most were erected by local turnpike trusts in the 18th and 19th centuries before the coming of motor transport. They have a great variety in form, design and individuality.  Other one-off milestones relate to landowners or to towns. In 2006 Harborough had its own milestone erected on the approach to the Station. Helen will talk about the history and variety of milestones with specific reference to Northamptonshire and Leicestershire.

June 12th 2019



Summer Outing – tbd