reflection of past and present thoughts and aspirations
A reflection of past and present thoughts and aspirations
What did happen at Gumley?
quiet, sleepy village. No shops and, even in the
21st Century, no street lights. So why should the village
of Gumley be exceptional among the many similar villages of
Gumley's more recent past was dominated by Gumley Hall, built in 1764 by
Joseph Craddock. The Hall was purchased in 1897 by Colonel G.A.Murray-Smith, and rented in 1946 for two years by Group Captain Leonard
Cheshire as an experiment in community living for ex-servicemen and their families. Towards the end of its life, the Hall
was divided into individual apartments, but the overall structure of
the building needed major restoration. Although foreclosure
was never a threat, it was demolished in 1962 after
years of neglect.
The Colonel's family has played a major role in the village's more recent history, supporting the local cricket club, owing the land on which the pitch is located and the pavilion stands. Motorists on the gated road between Gumley and Laughton are requested to halt at a certain point `until the end of the over'.
|From the end of the 1st World War, the Fernie Hunt used the hall's grounds as its traditional Gumley meeting point. Farming, a major aspect of the former estate's business, is still to the fore. There are three farming families still resident in the village which at present has about 110 inhabitants.|
|One of the most picturesque settings of all Leicestershire's churches, the Parish Church of St Helen nestles within the grounds of the old hall. Gumley was a very special settlement in early England when councils were held here to debate the organisation of the church.|
|Local historian Andrew Burbidge argues that Gumley is none other than the location of ancient Camelot. He suggests that `Cam' was pronounced as `Gum'. He regards Gumley as an important military site within the Mercian Kingdom, and postulates that the village's name derives from words meaning `regal' or `royal'. He draws also on local folklore to support his theory:|
"There are still remains of what was evidently a defensive ditch visible (in Gumley) which people call Offa's Dyke - the same name as that used for the wall between England and Wales. The ditch would have prevented use of a battering ram which the sloping land would otherwise have made possible."
Text and images © Stephen Butt
2004-2008 except black
and white images in public domain.