Early Dadlington

From Saxon roots until the 18th century

Dadelintone, Dalyngton and Dathelyngton were all early names for the village we now know as Dadlington. 
The village is believed to be of Saxon origin, the tun or ton (settlement) assocaited with Daedela. The village is one of many in West Leicestershire that end in 'ington' and the original settlers would have been Mercians.

There is no mention of the village in the Domesday book although  there is evidence that before the Norman conquest, Leofric, Earl of Mercia, gave the manor of Dadlington to the priory of Coventry and they in turn gave it to Hugh de Hastings during the reign of Henry I . The village was settled on a track from the Fenn Lanes ,  part of the Roman road network. The current road network follows more or less the original ways into and out of the village.
Much of the documentary evidence from these early times relates to the ownership of the manor, with little information about the villagers themselves, who would have been primarily agricultural workers. A 1220 description of the village calls it, 'a hamlet containing a chapel dependant on the town of Hinckley.' The manorship passed to the Grey family and then to the Burtons from Linley. One lord of the manor was William Burton, a local historian, who wrote a description of Leicestershire which contains much information about Dadlington.

Until the fields around the village were enclosed (seperated into the smaller field patterns we see today) in around 1661, there would have been large communal fields where villagers would had strips. The continual working of these strips result in the ridge and furrow patterns that can still be found in some of the current day fields (the field where the footpath from opposite the Dog & Hedgehog to the Fenn Lanes passes through.) Court record provide us with some names for these large fields: Le Barle Field (1530), Le peese field (1530), fallow field (1536). Le Fenne Field (1621).
St James' Church
The church dates from the 11th century, although the earliest parts of the church that remain are 14th century. The church was neglected for much of its history and then subjected to a fairly brutal Victorian restoration. For a more detailed description of the church click on the link below to read Tim Parry's history. There used to be a parsonage to the south of the church.
The earliest reference to people living in Dadlington appear on the 1327 subsidy rolls. These list ten men who had to pay a tax to fund the war with Scotland. They were John de Spignel, Thomas Spignel, Thomas Broces, Robt. de Sibbesdon, Roger Wylymotes, Richard Sonenour, Walter Aleyn, Thomas Edeke, William Lyne and Robert Semere.
Fifty years later, and more names appear in the records when the unpopular 1377 poll tax was introduced. This had to be paid by everyone over the age of 15 in the village and cost a groat or 4d, although husbands and wives got a discount by only having to pay once. From this record, we can estimate the population of the village was about 50.
An inquest of 1401 records the murder of one Oliver de Hedham of Dadlington, who left his home to show two strangers the way to Drayton. Walking across the green outside his house, '... one of them struck him on his head with a knife so that he fell to the ground and broke his leg, and so wounded him that he died...'
In 1485, the villagers would have witnessed the aftermath of one of the most desisive battles in English history, when the Plantagenet king Richard III was defeated by Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth
The religious turmoil of the Tudor times resulted in non-conformists, those outside the established Christian church of the time, setting up a chapel of their own. In 1669 there was a Presbyterian chapel which catered for about 20 worshippers, their pastor being a Mr Nath. Stevens.
The village escaped the English Civil War of 1642-51 quite lightly, with records showing the odd requisition of horses by the Parlimentarian forces and the costs for quartering troops. Capt. Flowers soldiers of Coventry took one horse from Michaell Cox worth £1 2s 0d, whilst the cost of putting up Colonel Purefoyes soldiers of Coventry for one night and part of the next day came to £2 10s. 0d.

Below are downloadable PDF files containing the original sources, along with Tim Parry's history of St James church and Arthur Tomin's article for the Hinckley Times.

W. T. Hall
Arthur Tomlin's
History of Dadlington
Tim Parry's History of St James
1. Curtis J., A topographical history of the county of Leicester, 1831
2. Lewis S.,) A topographical dictionary of England, 1848
3. Burton W., The Description of Leicestershire, 1777
4. Hall W. T., Notes for a History of Dadlington (Leicestershire), 1942
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