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Barrow-upon-Soar, Leicestershire

[Up to 1834] [After 1834] [Staff] [Inmates] [Records] [Bibliography] [Links]

Up to 1834

A parliamentary report of 1777 recorded parish workhouses in operation at Cossington (for up to 16 inmates), Mountsorrel North-End (16), Rearsby (14), and Syston (14).

Barrow-upon-Soar and ten other parishes formed a Gilbert Union.

After 1834

Barrow-upon-Soar Poor Law Union officially came into existence on 11th September 1837. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 30 in number, one from each of its constituent parishes as listed below:

County of Leicester: Anstey, Barkby, Barkby Thorpe, Barrow-upon-Soar, Beeby, Belgrave, Birstall, Cossington, Cropston, Leicester Frith, Mountsorrel North, Mountsorrel South, Newtown Linford, Queniborough, Quorndon, Ratcliffe-on-the-Wreake, Rearsby, Rothley, Seagrave, Sileby, South Croxton, Swithland, Syston, Thrussington, Thurcaston, North Thurmaston, South Thurmaston, Ulverscroft, Walton on the Wolds, Wanlip, Woodhouse.
Later Additions: Leicester Abbey (1858-92), Anstey Pastures (from 1858), Gilroes (from 1858), Beaumont Leys (from 1858), Maplewell Longdale (1866-84), Bradgate Park (1858-84), Rothley Temple (1858-84).

The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 18,856 with parishes ranging in size from Barkby Thorpe (population 72) to Quorndon (1,752) and Barrow-upon-Soar itself (1,638). The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1835-7 had been £7,483 or 7s.11d. per head of the population.

A new Barrow-upon-Soar Union workhouse was erected at Mountsorrel in 1838-40. It was designed by William Flint who was also the architect of the Leicester Union workhouse. The Poor Law Commissioners authorised an expenditure of £6,400 on construction of the building which was intended to accommodate 300 inmates. The layout followed Sampson Kempthorne's model "square" plan published by the Commissioners in 1835. The site layout and location are shown on the 1903 OS map:

Barrow-upon-Soar workhouse site, 1903.

The workhouse later became known as Glenfrith Hospital and Mountsorrel Hospital. Only the single-storey entrance block now remains and has been converted to residential use.

Barrow-upon-Soar, 2000.
© Peter Higginbotham.

Children's Home

By the 1920s, the union had established a children's home at Rothley. In 1924, the home could accommodate 14 children and the Matron was Misss May Parton.




Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.


  • Chappell, Roger (1994) Barrow-upon-Soar's House of Industry
  • Sheppard, Terry (2018) Echoes from the Workhouse: the Pauper Experience in the Barrow on Soar Poor Law Union.


  • None.

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