Local History Society News: April 2024

March’s talk was on Charnwood slate, gravestones and trade routes. The slate is mined from an area of Charnwood Forest, which is situated in Leicestershire, between Loughborough and Leicester. There had been mining here since Roman times, most of it being used for roofing. 

This Charnwood slate is particularly dense and heavy, making transportation on unmade roads difficult by horse and cart. As a result, it remained in local use to neighbouring counties, i.e. Rutland, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire. 

From the mid 17th century, it started to be used for gravestones. A characteristic of Charnwood grave stones is a rough reverse side, they also have a green tinge of colour in them. There are reputed to be three such gravestones in St John’s churchyard in Corby Glen, a quest for a fine afternoon searching for them? 

After the railways arrived so did cheaper and lighter slate mined in Wales, which put an end to the Charnwood quarries. 

Trade routes arose from the carters carrying slate to, e.g. Grantham, unloading and picking up malt for the production of beer and carrying it to Boston and Kings Lynn areas. Here they would exchange it for salt and cart it back to Grantham and Leicester. 

Our thanks go to Bob Trubshaw for an enlightening evening’s entertainment.

There has been a change to the April 26th talk as Jill Collinge has retired. We are pleased to have Johnathon Smith appearing with his talk on Bourne Railways. Starts at 7:30 PM in the Church Street Rooms.

On Friday 31 May 2024 Stuart Orme presents an Introduction to Huntingdon’s Cromwell Museum. Starts at 7:30 PM in the Church Street Rooms.