Fascinating findings shed new light on thousands of years of Charnwood Forest’s history

Posted by ap507 at May 18, 2017 02:45 PM |
Free public heritage festival organised by the Charnwood Roots team at the University of Leicester taking place on Sunday 21 May at Beaumanor Hall

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 18 May 2017

  • Heritage festival will offer fun for the whole family, including exhibitions, artefacts, talks, short films, dressing-up, adventure stories, folk songs and more
  • Opportunity for University of Leicester researchers to showcase information about Charnwood Forest’s history, including artefacts found in the area
  • Over 600 members of the public have been involved in volunteer work as part of the project to research Charnwood’s history

Images from the exhibition and of Charnwood Roots team available here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/aw66kseozeo0gm3/AACGiI3BEA9lFcXlFe8u2E3_a?dl=0

Leicestershire Victoria County History (VCH) Trust and the University of Leicester are staging a free and fun heritage festival for the whole family at the picturesque Beaumanor Hall in Woodhouse, Leicestershire on Sunday 21 May to celebrate the history of Charnwood Forest.

The festival, organised by Charnwood Roots, will provide University of Leicester experts, working with Leicestershire VCH Trust, with the opportunity to discuss the history of Charnwood Forest, having researched 35 towns and villages, from prehistory right up to present day, through a combination of archival and archaeological research.

Charnwood Roots is a Leicestershire Victoria County History Trust initiative funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and based at the University of Leicester.

The festival will be a full day out with something for everyone, whether they are a history enthusiast, Charnwood resident, or a family with children in need of a fun weekend activity.

The event comes towards the end of four years’ work by the University of Leicester and Leicestershire VCH Trust researching the history of Charnwood Forest with the support of a large group of community volunteers, including 600 local people.

The event will include:

  • A large exhibition ‘Stories of the Stone Wood: A Thousand Years of Charnwood Life’ which showcases new research carried out by the project team and volunteers. The exhibition will be the centrepiece of the festival, and will cover the history of Charnwood Forest from medieval times to the present day. It will be presented through a combination of text, images, and artefact and document displays.
  • Talks by expert guest speakers running throughout the day. These will share new research into the history and archaeology of Charnwood Forest, and will last roughly 30 minutes.  Pre-booking is essential for the talks, so visit the Charnwood Roots website: www.charnwoodroots.org for details of the programme and Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/charnwood-roots-heritage-festival-talks-tickets-34272729657?aff=eac2   to book tickets.
  • Short films will be screened throughout the day, including videos of the community test-pitting undertaken in Rothley (2016), Whitwick (2015), and Anstey (2014). Videos about medieval documentary research and archaeological surveys will also be shown, along with clips from never before heard oral history interviews.
  • A Village Zone comprising three full rooms of local history and heritage groups. These will display their own research, highlight the breadth of local history engagement, and chat to visitors about how rewarding - and simple - it is to get involved in the local history scene.
  • A Children’s Zone which will include many history games, dressing up, hands-on archaeology, and adventure stories they can take part in themselves, as well as much more. There will be a prize for the child with the best historical costume on the day.
  • An Outdoor area with archaeology tent and displays and living history running throughout the day. Residents are welcome to bring along one or two archaeological artefacts that they have found in their gardens and we will see whether we can tell you something about them.
  • A special performance of an 18th Century protest song about Charnwood Forest, performed by members of the Grand Union Folk Club.

Dr Julie Attard, Project Manager (Charnwood Roots) from the University of Leicester’s School of History, Politics and International Relations, said: “The festival comes towards the end of four years’ work researching the history of Charnwood Forest with the support of a large group of community volunteers. Some 600 local people have taken part. This is both a celebration of that joint endeavour and a great opportunity to share some of the fascinating stories that have come to light.”

The Charnwood Roots Heritage Festival will take place on Sunday 21 on May 2017, 10am – 4pm at Beaumanor Hall, Woodhouse, Leicestershire.

For more information on the Charnwood Roots project, visit: www.charnwoodroots.org


Notes to editors:

For more information contact Project Manager, Dr Julie Attard, on email jad17@le.ac.uk

What is Charnwood Roots?

Charnwood Roots explores the rich history of Charnwood Forest, as well as the towns and villages that surround it. Since August 2013, we have sought to involve as many people as possible in researching and learning about the history of Charnwood Forest and Loughborough. We believe that in sharing our expertise and encouraging others to do the same, we can produce a history of this fascinating area of Leicestershire that is greater than the sum of its parts. Not only that, but the more people we can teach about what makes this area so special, the greater chance we have of protecting it for future generations.

To date, over 600 volunteers have helped research Charnwood’s history by helping with:

  • Documentary research
  • Historic building surveys
  • Oral history interviews
  • Community digs and fieldwalking
  • Landscape surveys
  • Transcription of interviews and documents
  • Public outreach and education
  • Creative arts projects

What is Leicestershire Victoria County History?

Charnwood Roots is a Leicestershire Victoria County History Trust initiative, part of a national research project to research and write a reference history of every town, village and hamlet in England. Leicestershire is one of the counties where this history is incomplete, with over 300 locations yet to be researched. The Charnwood Roots project is a very important part of completing this work for Leicestershire.  

Leicestershire Victoria County History Trust trains and supports volunteer researchers, carries out educational work with local schools and community groups, and aims to produce a multi-volume reference history of Leicestershire for the national Victoria County History series. Our work allows people across the county to gain new skills, learn about the history of Leicestershire and build a lasting record that will inspire, inform and delight residents of our county for generations to come.


The Charnwood Roots project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with additional financial and in-kind support from the University of Leicester, which hosts the project, and a range of other local organisations.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

We distribute the heritage share of National Lottery funding, supporting a wide variety of projects across the UK. Since our foundation in 1994, thanks to National Lottery players we have awarded £7.1billion to over 40,000 projects.

We believe that understanding, valuing and sharing our heritage brings people together, inspires pride in communities and boosts investment in local economies. The projects we fund vary from restoring natural landscapes to rescuing neglected buildings, from recording diverse community histories to providing life-changing training.

Share this page: