About Us

More information about our church, at the heart of the village

www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/leics/vol5/pp61-8 www.explorechurches.org/church/st-mary-virgin-burrough-hill

The church stands on high ground on the north-west side of the village street. It consists of a chancel, a clerestoried nave, north and south aisles, a south porch, and a west tower with a vestry to the north of it.

The fabric is of ironstone and limestone and the roofs are of lead.

The oldest parts of the church probably date from the early 13th century, and a round-headed lancet window in the south wall of the chancel may indicate a date as early as 1200. (fn. 145) A similar 'low side' window in the north wall has a pointed head.

The nave arcades date from the early 13th century and consist of three pointed arches supported on circular piers with 'water-holding' bases. Hoodmoulds to the arches have carved masks as stops and keystones. Both arcades lean outwards, particularly that on the north side.

The wide lancent windows of the clerestory may be of the same date as the arcades or a little later.

The font is a fine example of the early 13th century. It consists of a bulbous circular bowl decorated with a band of foliage, below which is a row of pointed arches filled alternately with masks and rosettes. The stem has ten engaged shafts, the alternate vertical mouldings between them being enriched with dog-tooth ornament. A dog-tooth moulding also decorates the circular base.

The lower part of the tower dates from the 13th century but the much-restored belfry stage and the arcaded parapet which surmounts it were originally built in the 14th. The parapet is decorated with ball-flower ornament and a short octagonal spire rises from behind it

At the east end of the south aisle is the stone effigy of a man in armour, his feet resting on a lion, and in the north aisle are the remains of a woman's effigy. These are thought to represent William Stockton (d1470) and Margaret, his wife.

A mural tablet in the north aisle commemorates Edward Cheseldyn (d1691),( the Queens surgeon), his mother in law, wife and daughter (1691-1718); another is to Charnel Cave (d1792) with members of his family (1787-1833).There are also tablets in the church to William Brown (d1814), rector; to Evelyn Burnaby, rector, 1873-83; to his wife and infant daughter (d1873); and to his father, Revd GA Burnaby (d1872). Other tablets include those to WA Peake (d1912) and Sir Raymond Greene, Bt (d1947).

Stained glass windows are in memory of members of the Peake, Burnaby, and Chaplin families.

Extensive alterations to the church took place in the 14th century when the aisles were probably rebuilt and the south porch added. Several of the windows are of this date and the south aisle contains a trefoil-headed piscina. The chancel appears to have been altered at much the same period. The roofs are of low pitch; a dated timber in the nave suggests that they were renewed in 1657.

The roof principals rest on medieval carved corbels. Attempts to strengthen the tower were made in the 17th century. A large buttress dated 1629 was erected in the middle of the south wall and two others were built against the west wall. In 1791 the tower was leaning to the south-west in spite of the buttresses, and was said to be in 'a very decayed state'. By 1795 it had been repaired. (fn. 146)

A restoration of the church was carried out by Henry Goddard of Leicester in 1860 when traces of the colour with which the aisles and roof had been adorned were found. (fn. 147) At the same time the font was restored and new pews, altar rails, and pulpit were installed. (fn. 148)

The chancel was rebuilt in 1867 when the present east window was inserted. (fn. 149) In 1878 the tower and spire were completely rebuilt, omitting the 17th-century buttresses, and a vestry was added against the north wall. The architect was Charles Kirk of Sleaford (Lincs.). (fn. 150)

The outer walls of the church were repaired in 1893. (fn. 151) After the First World War inscribed oak panelling was installed in the porch to commemorate those who served in the war.

The church still has examples of the original 1860 pitch pine pews and oak carved pulpit, which contibute  greatly to its traditional appeal.

 In the 1980s a new elaborately carved Tickell pipe organ was installed. 

The village of Burrough on the Hill has many historical connections including being the meeting place of the Edward and Mrs Simpson and the home of the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Burrough Hill Lad, who was born on (what is now called) Kings Lane.

It lies on the western edge of the uplands of east Leicestershire, about twelve miles north-east of Leicester.

The ground falls from nearly 700 ft. in the north-east of the parish to 350 ft. in the south-west. At the extreme northeast is the earthwork known as Burrough Camp, (fn. 1) an Iron Age fort which occupies a promontory and commands a wide view of the Wreake valley.

The Iron Age fort at Burrough Hill gives Burrough its name. The village was formerly called Erdeborough, a name which survived until the last quarter of the 19th century, (fn. 28) although probably by then in a consciously archaic way. The fort itself was perhaps known as 'Miccilberuhill' c. 1260. (fn. 29) Leland recorded that in the 16th century 'to these Borow Hills every year on Monday after Whit Sunday come people of the country thereabout, and shoot, run, wrestle, dance, and use like other feats of exercise'. (fn. 30) Burton states that such sports used to take place, (fn. 31) but they had apparently been discontinued in his day; they were revived later and again abandoned in the 18th century. (fn. 32) In the early 19th century the Melton Hunt established a race meeting at Burrough on the Wednesday after the second Sunday in June. (fn. 33) These races were held until about 1870 (fn. 34) and in 1871 a large number of strangers were at Burrough for the steeplechases on 2 April when the census was taken. (fn. 35) These particular races were more likely to have been at Melton.

In 1955 games were played on the hill on Whit Monday.

In 2022, Burrough on the Hill is a thriving village with around 150 residents. It has a public house, a brewery, a livery yard, a coffee shop and office complex, a memorial to the 10th Battalion parachute Regiment and a physical rehabilitation centre.