History Day


The Society holds a History Day every year on a Saturday in October or November. This is a conference on historical themes associated with Market Harborough and its district with several speakers each giving a presentation on a local topic. It is an event where local researchers can present the results of their specialist studies. Local societies and organisations with an historical interest have stalls and can display their work and publications.


The History day started in memory of J C Davies the local historian and headmaster who was instrumental in the setting up of the Harborough Museum as well as the author of several books on local history. The event now also commemorates the work and contribution of Michael Brown, former President of MHHS.


In 2015 the theme was 'Tudor and Stuart Leicestershire'. Previous years have had themes on Women and Society, local Railway History, as well as the archaeology involved with the Hallaton Treasure.



Saturday 28th October 2017



Crime and Punishment in Leicestershire





Ticket-Only Event, £15 to include buffet lunch


Roman Way Community Centre, Roman Way,

Market Harborough, LE16 7PQ

10.30 – 4pm


Click here to download pdf file of the Day’s programme

Click here to download ticket application .pdf file



10:30 am. Reception and Welcome with coffee, tea and biscuits


11:00 am. – 12:00 pm

Keynote Speaker -  Dame Carmen Callil ‘Transportation to Australia from Harborough in 19th Century: The Conquests Boys of Market Harborough: A Case Study’


Carmen, who is Australian by birth, explains her connection to Market Harborough History through her family history. She tells of her lively and devil-may-care ancestors, the Conquest Boys, who were well known in the town in the early 19th century for their nefarious and illegal activities which eventually led them to be transported to the colonies.



12:00 – 1:00 pm.

Cynthia Brown - ‘The Price of Principle: Some Episodes of Passive Resistance in Leicester and Harborough’.


Many people broke the law in Leicestershire in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but only a minority did on a matter of principle. This talk will focus on two examples that Harborough had in common with Leicester: opposition to compulsory smallpox vaccination and to the 1902 Education Act. It will also look at an episode unique to Leicester, in the prosecution in 1932 of street sellers of bananas and celery.



Lunch 1:00– 2:00 pm



 2:00– 3:00 pm.

David Bell - ‘Leicestershire Murders’


David Bell, Leicestershire writer, will talk about the hanging of Earl Ferrers for murder in 1760, and the first use of DNA to solve a murder in 1987. He will mention the gibbet post still to be seen at Bilstone, near Twycross, where body of the wrestler Topsy Turvey was suspended for 18 years.  He will tell of three young Coalville miners executed in Leicestershire’s last triple hanging, when the authorities couldn’t decide which of them was guilty. Peppermint Billy will also make an appearance.



Tea Break 3:00 - 3:15 pm.



3:15 – 4:15 pm.

Alan Langley – ‘County and Local Militias of Leicestershire and Northamptonshire 1757-1850’


Alan is a long serving member of the Historical Society and a regular contributor to the Harborough Historian. Before the establishment of a nationwide police force county militias and volunteers were the principal forces used to put down any serious unrest. Alan examines their origin and formation and provides examples of their activities in putting down the Cheese Riot of 1766 and the ‘Barrow Butchery’ of 1795 among many incidents.