A history of the parish of Kirby Bellars is now available online at http://www.victoriacountyhistory.ac.uk/counties/leicestershire; click on ‘work in progress’; then click on ‘Kirby Bellars’. It has been researched and written by Dr Alan Fox, an Honorary Visiting Fellow of the School of Historical Studies at the University of Leicester and former Chairman of the Melton Mowbray and District Historical Society.
The publication is the first of a revived Victoria County History (VCH) Leicestershire series. The VCH originated as a national project in 1899, with the aim of writing the history of all the counties of England, and was dedicated to Queen Victoria. In 2012 the VCH was rededicated to Queen Elizabeth II on the 60th anniversary of her accession, but it was decided to retain the original title. In Leicestershire progress on the original project went in fits and starts. Five volumes were produced, four of them between 1954 and 1964 under the leadership of W. G. Hoskins and R. A. McKinley. Copies are available in many of the county libraries, including reference-only volumes at Melton Mowbray. The first three books contain mainly general topics of the whole county, such as ecclesiastical history and transport. The fourth volume is entirely about the city of Leicester and the fifth volume is a parish by parish account of Gartree Hundred in the south-east of the county.
Since 1964 there had been no further research in Leicestershire until in 2008 it was decided to revive the project, with the aim of eventually writing a history of every parish in the county. The Leicestershire VCH Trust was established with Jennifer, Lady Gretton, Lord Lieutenant of the county, as president. Dr Pamela Fisher, at the University of Leicester, was appointed as the coordinator. She provided workshops for training volunteer researchers and writers. At present 38 volunteers are investigating 27 parishes, including Queniborough and Buckminster with Sewstern, and work in progress is on the website mentioned above. There is another major project researching the parishes of the Charnwood Forest area.
The online publication on Kirby Bellars has been edited by Dr Fisher and at a national level by Dr Adam Chapman of the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London.
20 October 2014