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Rearsby's history: buildings

 

In the 13th, 15th and 16th centuries the homes of the villagers were mainly built of local materials - mud, wattle, daub, thatch - and blended with the landscape. These cottages would have been clustered around what is now Church Lane and either side of the brook. The village green, probably in the area now bounded by Brook Street, Mill Road and Melton Road, would also have been surrounded by dwellings. The village had several dovecots and there are references to windmills in documents of the period.

It was during the 13th century that St Michael and All Angels' Church was started. For a description of the church, click here.

As the population of the village grew, more houses were built and from the 16th century the settlement began to extend to the Melton Road. Major William Hubbert built Rearsby Old Hall on the junction of Melton Road and Mill Road in the middle of the 17th century. Some years later a rectory, worth £60, was built to replace the parsonage valued in 1605 at £17 9s 7d. This was probably what is now the 'Old Rectory' on the Melton Road. Also built around that time was the Olde House on Mill Road which is still there today.

In 1761 Wiliam Pochin, lord of the manor, and several others commissioned a professional survey of the parish to allocate blocks of land to respective claimants. This put an end to the medieval practice of open farming. Farmhouses were built by those who had established large concentrations of land. Rearsby Lodge, to the east of the road to Syston, was one of them..

It was during the 18th century that many of Rearsby's beautiful red-brick houses were built in Mill Road, Brook Street, Brookside and Church Lane. No 32 Mill Road still has original glass in one of its windows.

The red-brick houses continued to go up in the 19th century. Rows of them still stand on the Melton Road. Westfield House, now Rearsby Grange, was built in the middle of the century. The Pochin family built Brook House as their family residence and lived there until the 1980s. (After they left the grounds of the house were developed into Brook House Close and the house itself eventually pulled down.) Church Leys House - now known as the Convent - also dates from this period; at the turn of the century it was occupied by Countess Cowley and since 1945 it has been the home of the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace.

In 1872 a school was started in the former Methodist Chapel on Mill Road. It opened on 8 January with 72 children. The purpose-built St Michael and All Angels' School still standing on Brookside, was opened the following year. The land it was built on was donated by Mr Pochin, lord of the manor.

The Village Hall dates from 1924; much of the money that was needed to build it was raised by subscription and fund-raising. Since its opening it has been the venue of Rearsby's many groups and societies.  It even accommodated some of the schoolchildren until the school extension was built in 1959.

The second half of the 20th century saw a significant increase in new housing projects; Church Leys Avenue, Wreake Drive, Bleakmore Close, Brook House Close, Weston Close, Grange Avenue and Westfield Close have all been developed since the 1950s. The latest addition, Rearsby Manor (Orton Close), located in what was once part of the grounds of Rearsby House, is nearing completion.

Despite all the new house building that has gone on in recent years, the character of the old part of the village, now a conservation area, remains in tact. And the Olde House, Rearsby Old Hall, Nos 12, 30 and 32 Mill Road, Rearsby Mill and Mill House are all listed buildings. As is the Seven Arch Bridge.


history of the village