'Hathern quarry' is mentioned in several news articles and parish minutes towards the end of the nineteenth century. Its exact location has never been established. By 1900 the quarry had ceased operation. Below is a picture of Morley Quarry now a spectacular and preserved place to visit a small part of which may have been the Hathern quarry.  morley quarry

 News articles (from newspaper archive)

In 1867 Mr. George Coddington shopkeeper of Hathern announced in the newspaper that superior stone for building and paving suitable for roads walks and drives was now ready for supply from Hathern Granite Quarry in the parish of Shepshed. 

In an 1885 article entitled 'Hathern and Shepshed Parish rocks' it was reported that stone from Shepshed quarries is good quality but stone from Hathern quarry is soft and unfit for road-making. Water in the Hathern pit needs removing. To be actioned by the Waywarden of Hathern Mr. Burrowes.

In the same year in the High Court of Justice in Westminster action was brought by Loughborough District Highway Board to recover the value of 25 cwt of stones taken by Rev. Smythies from a quarry located in an enclosure of Charnwood Forest. This was one of parcels of 'common land' purchased from a Mr. Hassell allotted to Hathern as part of Enclosure to the Surveyor of Hathern. It had been agreed that Hathern parishioners could take stone from quarry at a lower price than non-parishioners. Mr. Smythies said the Board were trespassers. However interim ruling was that Board had a right to use stone for repairing Hathern roads and the defendant was wrong to assume he as an individual could take stone for private use. 

In 1887 the Loughborough District Highway Board asked for tenders to get, riddle and break stone from Hathern Stone Quarry. In the previous year the surveyor had camplained about the inferior quality provided by the contractor. 

In  Jan.1888 it was reported that Samuel Corah one of the contactors getting stone from 'Hathern Quarry in Shepshed parish' died as a result of an accident at the quarry. Later that year the overseers of Shepshed valued the quarry at £100 (contested by overseers of Hathern). It was stated that the quarry in Shepshed parish is managed by the Loughborough Highway Board for use in Hathern only with profits going towards the poor rate. The assessment was reduced to £2 gross (the amount paid per annum for grazing of herbage on the surface of the rock).  

In 1889 a committee reported a large quantity of inferior top stone in the quarry but insisted that prices already agreed should be charged until the end of contract. In 1890 it was agreed to get one third of stone from somewhere other than Hathern quarry. In 1891 the parish of Hathern received six tenders to supply stone for Hathern's roads including one from Hathern quarry. Eventually it was agreed to accept the tender of Charnwood Granite Company.

By 1895 it was recognised that it would be more advantageous to purchase stone for road making rather than attempting to quarry it. Only 3 years later a request for stone from the quarry had to be turned down a the quarry had been 'disused for some toime and filled with water'.

In an article in 1898 regarding a footpath dispute it was stated that Pasture Lane originally been had repaired by Hathern Parish with stone from the Hathern Quarry.

By 1909 the usefulness of Hathern stone quarry was being questioned by the Parish Council. In 1912 a disused quarry off Ingleberry Road known as the Old Quarry was the location of a suicide. It was said to contain 30 ft. of water.  No reference here made to this being 'Hathern quarry'. 

In 1917 the Parish Council reported that tenancy of the 'Shepshed land' had been given up. Later the same year the tenancy of the land passed to Mr. P. Rossell.

hathern pit

In Feb1950 an Echo article (above) mentioned Hathern Pit ('long since derelict') and Morley Quarry. The only other mention of this pit is in a news item from 1944 when fire engines attended a grass fire at 'Old Hathern Pit' at Shepshed. An 'Old Quarry' appears on the 1883 and 1901 Ordnance survey map on the Western edge of Garendon Park (in a location now to the east of the M1). This is shown on following map :-

old quarry 1883

The trials and tribulations of Edward Smythies (article)

The unpopular Rector of Hathern who married into the March-Phillips family of Garendon Hall was involved in several quarry-related court cases as follows :-

County Court 1872. Loughborough Highway Board against E. Smythies. Allegation that he broke into an enclosure called Morley Rock near Shepshed, removing 30-40 tons of granite, the property of the Board. 

1874. Smythies had written an unpleasant letter to the Waywarden, mentioning malice and spite and wicked machinations. He threatened to sue the Board if they replaced the locks on the quarry gate. The case rumbled on for a total of six years.

1877. The Highway Board v. Smythies. It was stated that in 1864 Smythies had claimed the right for himself and other parishioners to use the stone for parish purposes and for private dwellings in the village. He stated that the land had been the property of John Hassall and that it was later sold to certain parishioners for £8, but no formal legal conveyance existed. The Judge found for Smythies. An appeal was launched by the Board.

Hathern Parish Council minutes 1894-1908

1894. Council accepted from the Rector an original receipt of amount paid for purchase of quarry in Charnwood Forest to be used as a stone quarry as well as related abstracts from the Parish Vestry minute book for 1857 -1875.

1895. Opening of quarry to be postponed.

1896. Charge of 3 pence per load to any parishioner for stone from 'our quarry'.

1898. All tools previously used to work the stone quarry are to be removed from Mr. Alcock's to Mr. W.Fuller's premises. Request from Mr. B.A.Woodcock for stone from quarry was refused. 

1899. Directions given to advertise letting of quarry land in local newspapers. Stone to be ordered from Charnwood Granite Company to repair Round Bank.  Land and shed at  quarry to be let for annual rent of 25 shillings.


Unfortunately I have found no map in which 'Hathern Quarry' is specifically mentioned. Maybe it was just one part of a large quarry designated for use by Hathern Parish. If for  example you look at the following 1919 map of Shepshed and the area around you can see 3 old quarries to the South of Ashby Road in the area to the west of Ingleberry Road. Two of these are adjacent to Morley farm. Maybe this is where Hathern quarry was. It would have connection to Hathern back along the Shepshed to Hathern Road.   UPDATE...the Hathern Herald in summer 2024 contained an article 'In pursuit of the quarry'  written by Dave Neville and Roy Dann. This locates the position of Hathern Quarry more precisely as  being the smaller of these two quarries.                                                                                                                                                       

1921 map shepshed quarries































In 1931 the following local news  article described the long-disappeared methods of extracting stone for road-making before the advent of modern machinery and transport.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

morley quarry 1 of 2









 morley quarry 2 of 2

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