By Tim Lambert
Enderby is a village in Leicestershire located 5 miles Southwest of Leicester. Archaeologists have found evidence of Iron Age (Pre-Roman) settlers on the site of Enderby. From the 1st century AD to the 5th century the Romans ruled Britain and they made a small cemetery at Enderby (there may have been a small settlement nearby). After the Romans left the Saxons invaded England and they slowly advanced inland. The Saxons built the first church in Enderby. In the 9th century AD, the Danes conquered Leicestershire and so many place names in the county are Danish. It is believed that Enderby was called Eindrithi’s by. The word ‘by’ meant village.
At the time of the Domesday Book in 1086 Enderby or Endrebie as it was called probably had a population of less than 100. To us, it would seem tiny but settlements were very small in those days. Despite its small size Enderby had a watermill where grain was ground to flour for the villagers. The manor of Enderby also had woodland 6 furlongs in length by 4 furlongs in length. (Even in the 19th century Enderby was noted for its ‘good woodland’). Through the centuries things changed little in the small village of Enderby. For generations, the villagers farmed the fields.
Parts of the Old Manor House in Blaby Road date from c. 1500 although there may have been a house on the site even earlier.
However, Enderby slowly grew larger. By the late 17th century it probably had a population of about 200. In the 18th century, there was an industry in Leicestershire knitting on frames. There were many knitters in Enderby.
In 1801 Enderby had a population of 513. Not very impressive by today’s standards but in those days it was quite a large village. Enderby grew much larger in the 19th century. By 1891 the population of Enderby was 2,399. By 1931 it was over 3,000. Enderby is known for its 19th-century houses.
In the early 19th century the knitting industry in Enderby thrived and in 1844 there were 350 frames in the village. However, in the second half of the 19th century, the industry died out.
Yet in the late 19th-century granite was quarried in Enderby and at the end of the century, a branch railway line was built to carry the granite. In 1888 a boot and shoe factory opened in Enderby. (The building is now the Civic Centre).
The Congregational Chapel Hall was first built in 1822 but was enlarged in 1860. There has been a church at Enderby since the 8th century. However, the Church of St John the Baptist was rebuilt in 1867-1868. In 1872 a monument was erected nearby to Charles Brook (1813-1872) who paid for the work.
A school existed in Enderby in the 18th century. However, in 1861, a National (Church of England) school was built in Enderby. Then in 1895 Enderby gained a parish council. Before the motorway was built there were orchards in Enderby.
In the 20th century, Enderby continued to grow rapidly and many new houses were built. Enderby Leisure Centre opened in 1983. In 1987 Enderby was twinned with Haillan in France. In the early 21st century Enderby is a flourishing community. Enderby library was refurbished in 2007. In 2009 a park and ride service began in Enderby. Today the population of Enderby is about 6,000.