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Appleby Magna, Leicestershire, England


Maria Litherland was born and baptised in Appleby Magna in 1828. Her mother, Elizabeth Litherland, was born and died in the parish too. Maria Litherland migrated to New Zealand in 1849.

Appleby Magna

Appleby Magna is a village and civil parish in the North West Leicestershire district of Leicestershire, England (now Derbyshire). The parish of Appleby Magna includes the village of Appleby Parva as well as Appleby Magna. The original name Aeppel-by refers to apple trees, the by suggesting a Danish settlement as the town lies on the edge of the ancient boundary between Mercia and the Danelaw.

Appleby is just outside the Leicestershire and South Derbyshire coalfield, which has had such a dominant effect on the culture and architecture of mining settlements to the east.  A nearby mine at Measham provided employment, but mining did not impact on Appleby’s village environment, and the surrounding countryside is largely unspoilt.

In contrast, Appleby has been shaped by agriculture – some of the best (Class II) farmland in Leicestershire lies in the parish. 

Map showing Appleby Magna

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19th Century

White's History, Gazetteer and Directory of the Counties of Leicester and Rutland. [3rd Edition 1877] gave the following description of Appleby.

"APPLEBY parish, in Ashby-de-la-Zouch Union and County Court District, comprises the neighbouring villages of Appleby Magna and Parva, 8 miles N. of Atherstone, 6 miles S.W. by S. of Ashby de-la-Zouch, and about 20 W. by N. of Leicester. The parish contains 885 inhabitants, living on 2020 acres of land, of which 393 persons, living on 1130 acres of land, are in Sparkenhoe Hundred, in this county, and the remainder are in a detached portion of Repton and Gresley Hundred, Derbyshire. Appleby Parva is wholly in Leicestershire, and lies south of Appleby Magna, which is mostly in Derbyshire, but the parish church is in Leicestershire. The counties of Leicester and Derby unite with those of Stafford and Warwick at the western extremity of this parish, which is skirted on the east by the river Mease and the Ashby Canal."

In the 19th century, much of the parish was within the estate of the Moore family, resident at Appleby Hall (now demolished). There was little change during this time, and only after the estate was sold in 1919 did housing developments start to appear.

The Gazetteer & Directory of Leicestershire & Rutland, 1861, lists the following for Appleby Magna - gentlemen (4), school masters (2), tradesmen (12), public houses (2), farmers (17), shopkeepers (7), tailors (3), surgeons (2). Many of Appleby's nineteenth-century inhabitants were engaged in framework knitting and stocking manufacture.

Church Appleby Magna

Saint Michael's Church, Appleby Magna
(photo by James Daniel, Derby, UK)

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