Lutterworth’s Past

The following information has been collated by the

Victoria County History Lutterworth Group.


In the autumn of 1911 the old Bank House in Bank Street Lutterworth received some unusual new tenants, they were a Rev. Mother and some sisters of a small community of nuns from the Order of Poor Clares. The Poor Clares are a religious order consisting of autonomous houses, and this community came from a convent in Nantes western France which was founded in the fifteenth century. The convent was destroyed during the French Revolution but the order was re-founded in Nantes in 1859.

After the French elections in 1902 the new administration under Emil Combes applied strict anti-clerical laws ruthlessly, 81 congregations of women and 54 of men were dissolved and between 30,000 and 60,000 priests and nuns were exiled. This group first arrived in England in 1904 and were housed at Bagshot, but then moved to Lutterworth a few years later where they were welcomed. As Lutterworth is in the Catholic Diocese of Nottingham they would have to have obtained the permission of the Bishop of Nottingham to set up a convent.

There were about fifteen nuns from the enclosed order and four or five extern sisters whose chief occupation was begging, within the Diocese, for the support of their community. The enclosed nuns worked in the garden which was surrounded by a high wall to prevent them being overlooked.

They stayed until 1925 when they probably moved back to Nantes as there is no record of Poor Clares from Nantes in England now, but a convent was re-founded  and there was a community of Poor Clares in Nantes until recently.

After they left it is reported that all the fireplaces had been boarded up.


Elkington’s Charity

Richard Elkington of Shawell by will dated 1607 gave £50 to be held in trust by the Corporation of Leicester, the interest of which to be given to the parson and churchwardens of Lutterworth to give to five poor tradesmen each year.

A similar amount was left to St. Martin’s parish in Leicester. This charitable donation either from the neglect of the trustees or from some other cause does not appear to have been ever carried into effect

In 1639 the Corporation, using this money together with £41 of their own, totalling £141, purchased some property in Leicester.

In 1807 the Corporation tried to sell this property but their clerk noticed that they did not own it solely, in fact they only owned two sevenths of it.

In consequence this case went to the Court of Chancery which made a decree in 1825 ordering that the property be sold and the proceeds invested and divided between the Corporation – two sevenths, St. Martins and Lutterworth – five sevenths. The situation was finally resolved and in 1875 Lutterworth Parish Officers received a sum of £1286.9.7. as their share of the charity, part of this went towards building the Lutterworth Grammar School and £660.17s,5d left invested.


One comment

  1. FAO Geoff Smith.

    Good morning Geoff,

    I wonder if you can help. In researching my family tree I am seeking information about my Grandad, who possibly worked in the Lutterworth area. I added an announcement about this on a search site and a lady called Lynne replied recommending yourself.

    His name was Raymond Fisher Nelson . I never knew him as he passed away 3 years before I was born. However, he worked in the aircraft industry from the little I have been told about him.
    It was always said that he was a fitter at Braunstone Aerodrome during WW2 (I’m not so sure about that as I think it was a satelite emergency landing airfield for Desford).
    After the war he was said to have worked for Armstrong Whitworth and I remember seeing some black & white photos of Seahawks being tested in one of my Dad’s cupboards.
    Later on he worked for Auster Aircraft at Rearsby. On his death certificate (he died in 1967 – I had ordered a copy) he is listed as an “Aircraft Radio Engineer/Fitter”. He was a keen radio amateur in the 50’s & 60’s – and I have his original his log book. Call sign G3IUR.
    My Dad, his two brothers and their parents lived in the “prefabs” in Glen Parva – around Hillsborough Road. They were there from probably the end of WW2 until 1967 – a former resident told me that these had been built for the employees of Powerjets Limited. So I got to thinking, given the above info, that my Grandad could have been employed at Bitteswell. I think Powerjets had a base there or in Lutterworth.

    Perhaps he didn’t work for Powerjets, but for their successors on the same site at the former RAF station?

    All of the above comes from vague recollections of what my Dad mentioned to me, but being young I probably didn’t listen properly to what he said. I remember we had a small scale model in metal of an Argosy transport aircraft. So perhaps that ties in too. My Grandad was said to have made it from scratch. Unfortunately I only have part of this model now.

    If you are able to help me in my search I will be eternally grateful. I have lived in France for the last 19 years, so although I have searched everywhere online, so far I have drawn a blank. The few remaining members of the family haven’t really been of any help. Mainly as we have all never been close.

    I can provide a few photos of him and a short cine clip, should that be of help.

    Thanks in advance for anything you are able to suggest.

    Best Regards,

    John Nelson.

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