1,000 - 68O million years ago: As the Earth was forming volcanoes violently
erupted - granite and slate deposits became fixed.
Granite, a mass of coloured crystals,
pink, green and black mixed at times with white quartz is never
far from the surface in Groby. Used to form very hard wearing
Slate, the second rock to be
found in parish is really volcanic debris formed from ash, other
rocks, sand and sea bed, boiled and heaved, stretched and distorted
then pushed to the surface alongside granite west of Groby Pool.
Used for roofing, gravestones, troughs, cheese presses, window
sills and door lintels.
The name Groby
is almost certainly Saxon/Germanic. Grub pronounced Groober
means pit or mine. There are many small mines on either
side of the A50 as this road leaves the village and climbs Bradgate
Hill towards Markfield. The Romans certainly came to Groby
and evidence of their pot making near Sheet Hedges and roofing
slates on a substantial building once on the site of Fosse Park
shows that they knew the village area well.
In 1066 the Normans, through Hugh de Grentmaisnell took over the running
of the village and its lands. Robert de Quincey and William Ferrers,
2nd son of the Earl of Derby, later Baron Groby followed. William
Ferrers, Baron Groby is reported as having command of ten villagers,
one feeman and five small holders by 1086. A castle mound with
tower was erected to underline the Norman presence.
By 1288 the Groby deer parks had been established between Groby and Markfield.
Groby Pool had been formed by damming the stream leading from
the deer parks alongside Green Lane, now the Newtown Road from
the village. The Groby Pool builders are thought to have been
monks from Leicester Abbey whose fresh fish diet would have required
a prodigious holding pool to serve both the brothers and their
In 1338 Henry Ferrers was granted a licence to hold his own market close to the Old Hall, between the present Stamford Arms and
Chaplin's butchers shop. By 1377 Groby had a population
of 75 - say 20 families - and surnames familiar to many
today were already established. The Abel family were living in
Groby by the year 1296, Bates 1304, Bennett 1327, Chaplin 1327,
Fletcher 1327, Kemp 1343, Pepper 1371, Prior 1377, Read 1371
& Sutton 1376.
In 1445 William
de Ferrers died and Groby Manor was inherited by the Grey family.
Sir Edward Grey became Lord Ferrers of Groby in 1446. In 1457
Sir John Grey married Elizabeth Woodville. Sir John died at the
second battle of St Albans in 1460 and in 1464 his widow Elizabeth
married secretly married King Edward IV.
Groby 0ld Hall,
rebuilt many times over the years was much altered around 1495.
Elizabeth Woodville's son from her first marriage became the
1st Marquis of Dorset and he considered making the Old Hall the
main residence for his family. However a squeeze on his funds
by Henry VII may well have forced the Marquis to abandon the
rebuilding and it was the 2nd Marquis of Dorset who is the most
likely builder of Bradgate House within the newly enlarged deer
Park. Lady Jane Grey was the daughter of the 3rd Marquis of Dorset
and both Jane and her father were to lose their heads on 24th
The Old Hall
was allowed to decay. The Groby Court however continued to meet
and preside over Village matters there. Rents were collected
from the Old Hall twice a year at Lady day (March 25th and Michaelmas
(29th September) until well into the 19th century.
was cruelly checked by the almost constant 15th & 16th century
plagues. So much so that by 1564 only 21 families are recorded in Groby equating with the 1377 total almost
In 1831 George and Robert Stephenson came to Groby to assess the possibility
of a railway between the village and Glenfield so that crushed
granite might be taken onwards from West Bridge, Leicester to
London by canal barge. The granite was to be used to improve
the roads of the metropolis.
In the years 1832 to 1840 Groby had working slate quarries and
granite quarries. The Grey family improved the houses and built
new ones in both Newtown Linford and Groby. The church at Groby
was built in 1840. Groby had 33 estate cottages in 1843 and the
parish population had reached 441 persons approximately 120 families by 1851, such was the demand for labour.
The Groby granite
quarry had moved its main activities close to the Pool and Sheet
Hedges by 1880 and by 1902 the granite pay roll of 546
men shows 186 men came from Groby, 173 Ratby, 66 Glenfield 58
Newtown Linford, 34 Anstey, 16 Markfield and 13 from Kirby Muxloe.
The last Groby
slate quarry closed in 1908. Charles Wesley the lessee
being unable to compete with the very much lighter and cheaper
Welsh slate now being brought into Leicestershire by the Midland
In 1925 the Bradgate Estate was sold and many living in the village were
able to purchase the houses and cottages they had previously
By the year 2000 Groby had expanded considerably as people took to their cars.
Groby is not just well placed for those travelling into the city
of Leicester, but is also ideally situated for those wanting
to use the motorway network. Groby now consists of nearly 9,000
residents, with a housing total of about 3,500.