BARROW-UPON-SOAR, a large village, which has for ages been celebrated for its excellent limestone, is pleasantly situated on the east navigable river Soar, and on both sides of the Midland Counties Railway, on which it has a station, 2 miles N, of Mountsorrel 3 miles S.E. of Loughborough, and 9 miles N. of Leicester. Barrow Township contains about 2300 acres of land, and had 1099 inhabitants in 1801; but in 1831, they had increased to 1638; and in 1841 to 1841. It is in East Goscote Hundred, but its Parish comprises also the townships and chapelries of Mountsorrel North End, Quorndon and Woodhouse, with Woodhouse Eaves and Mapplewell hamlets, all of which are in West Goscote Hundred. The area of the whole parish is about 7900 acres; and it had 5560 souls in 1821, and 5782 in 1841. Barrow has a Post Office, two well-endowed Hospitals, a Free School, and several Charities for the poor, c.; and gives name to a large Union. The Marquis of Hastings is lord of the manor, but the soil belongs chiefly to the Barrow Hospital, c. Trustees, the Rev. J. S. Highley, Messrs. T. P. Stone, J. Jelley, W. Lee, Thomas Bradshaw, and several other proprietors, some of ‘whom are residents, and have neat houses here. It is chiefly a strong clay, fertile both in corn and grass. Mr.T.P. Stone's family have been noted for about a century, as breeders of Leicestershire sheep, for which he won the first two prices of the Royal Agricultural Society, in 1843 at the meeting held at Derby.
In 1086, Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, held the manor, and had 15 carucates and 4½ ploughs in the demesne; and here two men servants, 40 villains, and 13 borders, with 11 ploughs; three mills; a wood, one mile long, and 160 perches broad; 4 tenants, holding 12 carucates; and 30 socmen, with 15½ ploughs. The manor afterwards passed to the Edringtons, and passed from them, in 1461, to Sir Richard Neale and from him to Lord Wm. Hastings. The common and open fields were enclosed, and the tithes commuted under an act passed in 1760.
THE LIMESTONE, which is extensively got and burnt here, is found in great abundance. The upper stratum has a yellow tinge, and below this are several others of a bluish colour, which are in general about six inches thick, and two feet asunder; the intervals between which are filled up with calcareous earth – one hundred parts of which yield 46 of calcareous matter, and 54 of fine clay. It is probably owing to some portion of manganese being combined with it, that the Barrow Lime possesses that valuable property of becoming hardened under water. As cement for building docks, piers, bridges, c., it is in high repute in all parts of the kingdom, and great quantities of it have been exported to Holland, for these purposes. It is often used to coating water cisterns instead of lead, and was used in the building of Ramsgate Pier, after the Dutch terras and other cements had failed. It is equally celebrated for the number and variety of its fossil productions, consisting of shells, chiefly of the marine kind; the Cornu Ammonia, or snake stone; and numerous fossil fish, from one to fifteen inches in length; with some singular specimens of the Ichthyossaurus, one measuring 15ft in length, and some of them having spines three or four inches in circumference. Mr. Bradshaw has a petrified shark, between six and seven feet in length, and the curious in these antediluvian remains will find here a very extensive collection, in the possession of Mr. William Lee, which affords much gratification to visitors. One of the petrifactions found here, was described by Mr. Jones, in 1781, as the “figure of bream, more than a foot in length, and of a proportionate depth with the scales, fins, and gills fairly projecting from the surface, like a sculpture in relievo, and with all the lineaments, even to the most minute fibers of the tail, so complete, that the like was never seen before.”
THE RAILWAY is cut, through the lime strata, and one of the streets is carried across it, by an arch of 30 feet span. The streets were thoroughly paved, and the causeways flagged, in 1840; and the greater part of the village is between the railway and the navigation, which here avoids, by a straight cut, a circuitous reach of the Soar, and is crossed by two bridges, one to Quorndon, and the other to a small island. Barrow called in ancient writings Baro, Barhoo, Barwe, c., had its name from an ancient tumulus, or barrow, and was held by Earl Harold, in the time of Edward the Confessor. In the reign of Stephen, Ralph de Gernoniis gave the church here, and the chapel at Quorndon, to the Abbey of St. Mary de Pratis, at Leicester.
THE CHURCH (Holy Trinity) is a large ancient Gothic structure, with an embattled tower, containing five bells; and the benefice is a vicarage valued in. K.B at £15. 2s. 1d., and in 1831, at £326 per annum, derived chiefly from 155A. of glebe, mostly allotted at the enclosure, in 1761, in lieu of tithes. The Master and Fellows of St. John’s College, Cambridge, are patrons, and the Rev. Richard. Gwatkin is the incumbent and has a good residence. There is in the village a Chapel, and also three Chapels belonging to the General Baptists and the Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists. Sunday Schools are all attached to all the places of worship. The parish feast is on Trinity Sunday.
THE FREE SCHOOL was founded in 1717, by Humphrey Perkins, who endowed it with a house and land at Ratcliffe, for the support, of a master to teach the children of the inhabitants and parishioners of Barrow, after they can read the Bible, in all sorts of learning, and free from any expense to their parents.” He vested it in trust with the vicar of Barrow and rector of Loughborough, and directed that the master should be a graduate of one of the Universities. Since the enclosure of Ratcliffe, the school estate has consisted of a farm of 64A.1R. and 9P., let for about £111 a year, which, after deducting £2 for the two trustees, and £3.17s.1d. for land tax and quit rent, is paid to the schoolmaster, who has also a house, which was built partly with £100 left for that purpose, by Benj. Bewicke, in 1728. Attached to the house is 1 ½ rood of garden ground. There are generally about 30 free scholars. Seldom more than one or two require instruction in Latin, but all are taught reading, writing, and arithmetic.
BARROW HOSPITALS, – In1688, Dr. Humphrey Babington, in order that the name of his uncle Theophilus Cave, might be preserved in Barrow, devised to Thomas Babington and five others, and their heirs, the impropriate rectory of Barrow, Stables Farm, and other property in Barrow, Quorndon, and Mountsorrel; in trust to build a house in Barrow, for the maintenance of six poor widowers or bachelors, who should be called Theophilus Cave’s Beadsmen, and be selected from amongst the aged and impotent persons of good character, in Barrow and Quorndon, in the proportion of five out of the former, and one out of the latter, “unless greater need should be; each of whom, upon his admission, to have a good suit of blue cloth, edged and faced with white; and a load of coals, and £8 yearly; and to be provided with a nurse when sick. And, in further trust, to pay 40s. yearly to the vicar of Barrow, for preaching two commemoration sermons on Trinity Sunday, and the last Sunday in Oct.; and to pay 50s. on each of the said days, to the vicar and-churchwardens,
for distribution among the poor, 30s. in money, and 20s. in bibles. And, in further trust, to keep in repair the chancel of Barrow Church, and the arms in the windows; and to pay £10 yearly to Sir Thomas Parkyns and his heirs; £10 to Edward Storer and his heirs; and to dispose of the surplus rents in augmenting the salaries of the beadsmen.
In 1802, the charity became the subject of an information by the Attorney-General, and it was ordered by the Master of the Rolls; that the surplus rents should be applied towards the support of five additional beadsmen, and that an increased a1lowance should be made to the whole number, and that the hospital should be altered and enlarged for the reception of the five. new beadsmen. The rental of the estate having greatly increased, a new scheme was sanctioned by the Court of Chancery, in 1825, for the extension of the charity to the support of an almshouse, for poor unmarried women, and empowering the trustees to increase the number of almspeople, either men or women, from time to time, as the funds would allow. Under this authority they erected the Women's Hospital, at the cost of more than £2000, including £400 paid for 3190 square yards of land; £150 for furniture, and about £350 for law expenses. This hospital is a neat building of two stories, and contains 12 bed-rooms, one common room, and a washhouse It is intended for 12 almswomen, but hitherto the number is limited to seven.
The Men's Hospital is a stone building, and contains 14 rooms, but the inmates are only 11 in number. Both the men and the women have each a weekly stipend of 7s., and a yearly allowance for coals and clothing. Lord Ranchiffe, as representative of the two families named in the donor’s will, receives £20 a year from the Charity Estate, which now yields about £390 per annum, and consists of 301A. 2R. 24P., the Rectory House of Barrow, and several cottages and other buildings. About 200 acres are in Barrow, and the rest at Quorndon, Charnwood Forest, and Mountsorrel. In addition to the estate, the charity possesses £1973 three per cent. reduced annuities, and £977.17s.11d. three per cent. consols; the dividends of which swell the total yearly income of the charity to about £475. T. G. Babington, Esq., C. W. Packe, Esq., the Rev: J. Babington, and others, are the trustees.
CLARKE’S CHARITY. – In 1717, Joseph Clarke devised to the Trustees of Barrow Hospital, two closes at Burton-on-the-Wolds, and various lands and common rights at Loughborough; upon trust, to pay yearly 15s, to the vicar of Prestwold; 15s to a schoolmaster for teaching one or more boys of Prestwold and Burton; and £10 for apprenticing a poor boy, or relieving poor members o£ certain families name in his will, alternately; and to apply the surplus rents and profits in apprenticing one or more poor children yearly, to be selected one year from Grantham, the second year from Loughborough, and the third year from any Parish within four or five miles from Loughborough at the discretion of the trustees. Some of the families named by the testator. having become extinct, and others being too wealthy to claim participation in the charity, a new scheme was sanctioned by the Court of Chancery, in 1825, for its future application. The charity estate now consists of 20A. 2R. at Burton, 20A. 39P. at Loughborough, and 5A. in Charnwood Forest, let for £101. 7s. 10d. per annum; to which are added the dividends of £304. 17s. 9d. three per cent .consols. Out of this income about £54 is applied yearly in apprentice fees, and £20 is distributed among the poor descendants of Rebecca Bousett, and £10 among, poor members, of the Tether and Clarke families; and 15s is paid to the minister, and 30s. to the schoolmaster of Prestwold.
BISHOP BEVERIDGE’S CHARITY. – In 1706; the Rt. Rev. Beveridge, D.D., Bishop of St. Asaph, who was born here in 1636, left to the Trustees of Barrow Hospital, an estate, then of the yearly value of £53, in trust to pay yearly £16 to the vicar of Barrow, for reading prayers, morning and evening; 40s. to the clerk, for ringing the bell; and 40s for distribution among the poor housekeepers; and to give the clear surplus rent to the curate of Mountsorrel, for reading prayers every morning and evening, and instructing the children of his chapelry once a week. By a contingent devise, an estate called the Hall Orchard, passed to the trustees, about 1760, in trust for augmenting the salaries of the vicar of Barrow and the curate of Mountsorrel. The trust estates now comprise 118A. 2R. 25P. of freehold land, let for about £200 per annum, of which the curate of Mountsorrel receives about £150; the vicar of Barrow, about £36; the clerks of Barrow and Mountsorrel each £2; and the poor of Barrow £2. The writings of Bishop Beveridge are numerous, and highly esteemed by the clergy.
BARROW TOWN LANDS, which have been vested, from an early period, for repairing the bridges, highways, wells, and causeways, were exchanged at the enclosure, and now consist of 30A. 39P., in Barrow, and 2A. 3R. 17P. in Charnwood Forest, let at rents amounting to £36. 10s. per annum. In 1680, James Jackson left a yearly rent-charge of 24s., for schooling six poor children, and it is now paid by Mr. Stone, to a mistress, for teaching six children to read. The poor of Barrow have 20s. a, year from Rawlin’s Charity; a bible yearly, from Hickling’s Charity; and £20 a year, left by George Perkins, in 1799, and said to be charged on an estate here, now belonging, to the Chapman family, and formerly to the testator.
BARROW UPON SOAR UNION, formed by the New Poor Law Commissioners, is divided into two relieving, and four medical and registration districts; and comprises the following thirty parishes and townships, viz. – Barrow-upon-soar, Quorndon, Walton-on-the-Wolds, and Woodhouse forming Barrow District; Mountsorrel North and South Ends, Anstey, Cropston, Newtown-Linford, Rothley, Swithland, Thurcaston and Ulverscroft, forming Mountsorrel District; Sileby, Cossington, South Croxton, Queniborough, Ratcliffe-on-the-Wreak, Rearsby, Seagrave, and Thussington, forming Sileby District; and' Syston, Barkby, Barkby Thorpe, Beeby, Belgrave, Birstall, North and South Thurmaston, and Wanlip, forming Syston District. These 80 parishes, c., had 19,695 inhabitants in 1841, and their total expenditure, in poor rates, in 1845 was £9470. Most of them were incorporated many years ago, for the support of the poor, under Gilbert’s Act; but in 1837, the “Barrow-upon-Soar Incorporation” was dissolved, and its Workhouse here was sold to the Guardians of the Union for £1750, and was used by them till 1840, when the present more expensive and commodious Workhouse of Rothley was finished, at the cost of about £6500, with room for 300 inmates, though it is seldom more than 180. It is a plain substantial building, in the Elizabethan style, and has a neat Board Room, for the use of the 36 guardians, and a large Dining Hall, which is also used as a Chapel. Mr. Joshua and Mrs. Eliz. Derry are master and matron of the Workhouse, and the Rev. Thos. Pruen, of Mountsorrel, is the chaplain. Mr. Thomas Fewkes, is union clerk and superintendent registrar, and has his office at Barrow. The two relieving officers are Mr. T. M. Padmore of Mountsorrel, for Barrow District; and Mr. W. Bail, of Thurmaston, for Syston District. The surgeons are Messrs. Watson, Wood, Wright, and Dalley, The registrars of births and deaths are Mr. Shuttlewood, of Sileby, for Barrow District; Mr. Wright, of Mountsorrel, for Quorndon District; Mr. Buttery, of Thurmaston, for Rothley District; and Mr. C. W. Dalley, of Syston, for Syston District.