The villages of Claybrooke Magna and Claybrooke Parva are in South West Leicestershire, England, close to the A5 trunk road, which marks the boundary between Leicestershire and Warwickshire. Follow the A5 North for a few miles and it leads to a junction with the M69 motorway, a few miles to the west is the M6 motorway and six miles to the east is the M1 motorway.
To reach the Claybrookes from the A5 you can turn off at High Cross, known as the centre of Roman England, as it was the point where the Roman Watling street crossed the Fosse Road, two principle Roman roads. Little sign is evident now other than the remains of a monument, built to mark the spot in the 17th Century but later destroyed by lightning. This road to the Claybrookes was formerly the B577 to Lutterworth but has recently been de-classified. In the 18th and 19th centuries on the main coach road from London to Holyhead and there are two well preserved mile posts, one in each of the villages.
Claybrooke Magna is the larger of the two
villages with a population of around 400 people. There are around
30 houses in the village built in the 1990ís, but some of the housing is
much older with buildings dating to Victorian and Georgian times, with
some half-timbered Tudor houses by the Vineyard. A little way out
of the village is an old water-mill, still in working order, which is driven
by the small stream which winds its way through the area.
|Claybrooke Parva, although now the smaller of the two villages, is the site of both the church and the village school. The church is thought originally to be part Anglo-Saxon with later additions in Norman and Medieval times. It has a square tower with a working clock, the tower houses a peel of 8 bells which regularly ring out over the countryside. In the body of the church are monuments to former local residents and a list of vicars stretching back to the 13th century. The roof beams are particularly fine examples of medieval craftsmanship, but sadly affected by death watch beetles and will need very expensive restoration.||
An old photo of Claybrooke Hall
|Next to the church is a magnificent rectory built in 1710, now a private home, it has the remains of an ancient moat in its garden. Across the road is Claybrooke hall, once the home of the Dicey family and a former director of the Midland Railway, which ran through nearby Ullesthorpe. The Hall is being carefully restored to its former glory by Mr and Mrs Barker, its current owners. There are a number of other substantially older houses in the village with some later additions in the 1970ís.|
|The school was founded in 1810 by a charitable trust, the Marc Smith Charity, which still owns the grounds and raises money for educational grants to children from the area. Although the original building dates from 1810 the school boasts modern facilities and a number of later extensions. Although only having around 65 pupils it has a covered swimming pool for the children which was paid for by PTA fund-raising.||
The school draws children not only from
the Claybrookes but also from the nearby hamlets of Wibtoft and High Cross,
the villages of Ullesthorpe and Frolesworth, although Ullesthorpe and nearby
Bitteswell also have small primary schools.