History of the Leys
There are few if any photos of the Leys as it was. Below is an article by Dave Neville showing how its history goes back to at least the mid C18th and indicating there may have been up to 14 dwellings there at one time. .
The Leys is an area of ground behind the Baptist Church off Anchor Lane and is owned by Hathern Parish Council who possess a number of historical documents related to the land. The Leys was formerly a play area but is now being developed as an orchard.
A ley is an area of land given over to grass or clover and the earliest document dates from 1764 when the land, described as the Tenter Ground, was sold to William Swift by Isaac Swift. Before 1764 this must have been a location for tenters. Tenters were originally large wooden frames which were used for making woollen cloth. After a piece of cloth was woven, it still contained oil from the fleece and some dirt. A fuller cleaned the woollen cloth and then had to dry it carefully or the woollen fabric would shrink. To prevent this shrinkage, the fuller would place the wet cloth on a tenter, and leave it to dry outdoors. The lengths of wet cloth were stretched on the tenter using tenterhooks (hooked nails driven through the wood) all around the perimeter of the frame to which the cloth's edges were fixed, so that as it dried the cloth would retain its shape and size. In some areas, entire tenter-fields, larger open spaces full of tenters, were once common.
The dimensions of the ground are given as 48 yards x 12 yards, in later documents it is described as being of one rood (1210 square yards) and equates to the current Leys area plus the Baptist Church. In 1782 it was sold by William Swift and George Bennett to William Spencer, and in 1837 it was sold by Elizabeth Spencer (widow of William Spencer) to George Monk. George Monk sold the land to Joseph Coddington in 1839.
Joseph Coddington ran a bakery in Wide Street until his death in 1877. Joseph gave part of The Leys to build the first Baptist Church in 1840. The church was rebuilt in 1880, and has a foundation stone laid by Miss (Annie) Coddington in memory of her grandfather.
The ownership of this land and the three cottages on it passed to Laura Wakefield, the granddaughter of Joseph Coddington. Miss Wakefield operated a general dealers shop from her cottage at the A6 end of The Leys. In 1967 closing orders were made on the cottages on the basis that they were unfit for habitation. In 1969 Miss Wakefield applied for planning permission to build on the land and this was refused mainly on highway grounds. Miss Wakefield then asked Loughborough Corporation to buy the land from her, which it did. The land passed to the ownership of Charnwood Borough Council in 1972 and then to Hathern Parish Council in 1983.
The Leys has two yew trees, one of which is in the church grounds. Although it’s hard to be precise, it is likely that these are around 250 years old and so date from the earliest record. There used to be a third tree close to the church, but this had to be removed.
Cottage and Half of Leys
Hathern Parish Council also possesses documents related to a cottage and half of The Leys
In 1799 this was sold by Jervis Walker to John Peberdy and David Walker and later in 1799 David Walker sold his share to John Peberdy. In 1863 it was sold by John Peberdy and William Peberdy to Joseph Coddington. In 1863 the property was described as messuage cottage or tenement, blacksmiths shop, garden outbuildings and premises, south west bounded by turnpike road, north west by road leading into the village called Lees Road, north east and south east by land property of Elizabeth Lowes (?) Smith.
The only piece of land which fits this description is 106 Loughborough Road and the land immediately behind, ie to the left of the Leys when approaching the A6, not part of the current Leys land. This was the property (no.3 The Leys) referred to in the census.
Joseph Coddington Will
Joseph Coddington bequeathed to his son George and his descendants
- Three dwelling houses with frameworker knitter shops, outbuildings and garden opposite the Round Bank occupied by Edward Aldridge, Widow Aldridge, John Roper.
- Dwelling houses and framework knitter shops in the Square occupied by John Howe, William Brown and Isaac Kelham (Golden Square???)
- All other real estate(not specified) to his wife then on her death to his granddaughter Annie Coddington who was required to pay her father John Place Coddington 16/- per month.
- If Annie predeceased her father then the real estate goes to him. Then if Annie marries and dies leaving one issue, then that child inherits all. If she has two children then the estate must be sold and the proceeds shared by the children.
Annie Coddington married John Wakefield 8/8/1882 and they had two daughters Laura and Eugenie Victoria. Annie died 9/4/1922. According to the will the estate had to be sold and proceeds shared between the two daughters, however the estate stayed in the family. Eugenie died 17/7/1933 and John Wakefield died 25/3/1934
On 15/10/1934 Laura is named as the beneficiary of her father’s estate. This refers to six freehold cottages in The Leys, five leased to Collins, Gold, Almond, Jessop, Miller, the sixth being occupied by Laura. Three of these were on The Leys (Tenter Ground), not clear where the other three were, although one must have been no.3 (see census return)
What may have happened here was that
- John Wakefield bought the estate to satisfy the terms of the will (occupation Framework Knitter)
- The Joseph Coddington will was challenged
- The Joseph Coddington will was forgotten or ignored
There is no evidence in the file to support a) or b)
Joseph Coddington and family
1851 Derby Road
1861 3 The Leys (there are 9 dwellings listed in The Leys)
1871 Anchor Inn
Joseph Coddington didn’t buy the land at 3 The Leys until 1863
Joseph Coddington died 11/1/1877
Sarah and Annie Coddington
1881 The Leys (there are 9 dwellings listed in The Leys)
John, Annie, Laura and Eugenie Wakefield
1891 The Leys (there are 12 dwellings listed in The Leys)
Laura was born 1871
John was a framework knitter in silk
1901 The Leys (there are 7 dwellings listed in The Leys)
Eugenie was born 1887
John was a framework knitter, thread hosiery
Laura was an apprentice dressmaker
1911 The Leys (there are 7 dwellings listed in The Leys)
John was a framework knitter at home
Laura was a dressmaker
Eugenie was a maker of silk ties
Number of Dwellings on The Leys
No.3 was on the land opposite no. 2, LHS of path approaching A6. As there is a no. 19 The Leys, this implies Evens 2,4,6,8 (at least), Odds 1,3,5,7,9,11,13,15,17,19 14 dwellings at one time?
Coddingtons in Trade Directories
(Hathern unless stated elsewhere)
1846 Whites Directory Leics
Edward Coddington baker
1848 PO Directory of Leics and Rutland
Joseph Coddington (JC) baker and shopkeeper (b/s)
1849 Hagar Commercial Directory of the County of Leics
JC grocer, baker and cottager
1854 Melville Directory Leics
Edward Coddington baker
1855 PO Directory of Leics and Rutland
George Coddington (GC) grocer
1861 Drakes Directory
1862 Slater’s Directory
JC baker Hathern
GC baker Regent St., L’boro
1863 White’s Directory of Leics and Rutland
186? Wright’s Midland Directory
GC baker Regent St., Lboro
1867 Buchanan PO Directory Leics
GC baker Union St., L’boro
1870 Harrods Directory of Leics and Rutland
1875 Barker’s Leics and Rutland Directory
1876 Kelly’s Directory Leics
JC baker and grocer
GC tax collector
1877 Mercer and Crocker’s Directory
1877 White’s directory Leics and Rutland
JC chemist and druggist
1880 Wright’s Commercial Directory Leics and Rutland
Mrs. Sarah Coddington druggist and shopkeeper
1881 Kelly’s Directory
1884 Wright’s Directory
Sarah Coddington druggist and shopkeeper
No Coddingtons listed after this date in directories
In 2010, a 12 inch 8 day fusee wall mounted clock was offered for sale on ebay which had the name Wm. Coddington, Hathern on the dial. There is no record of a William Coddington in the records. Advice from a clock expert was that the dial had been re-enamelled