Sunday 8 January 2023

Earl of Moira's sale

About the Earl of Moira's sale, and the forthcoming exhibition at the library ...

Down at the Local and Family History Centre in the public library on Granby Street, the Local Studies group have put together a fantastic exhibition about a fascinating period in the history of Loughborough.

In the early 1800s, much of the town was owned by the Earl of Moira, but in 1808 he decided to sell up, and had several sales in 1809-10! These sales changed the ownership of many buildings and land in the town, and I believe the Lordship of Loughborough passed to Thomas Denning upon the death of the Earl of Moira in 1826.

An item from the library shelves

Since writing about the Earl of Moira’s sale for ‘Secret Loughborough’ all catalogues for the three separate sales have emerged, and an extract from ‘Secret Loughborough’ about the Earl of Moira is reproduced below.

Many of the public houses, inns, taverns, coaching houses etc. that I researched and included in a forthcoming book [1], ‘Loughborough pubs’ were sold during the Earl’s first sale, in November 1809. Today, many of these premises are owned by large companies who own properties across the country, but some are still locally owned, although the actual buildings may have been demolished and re-built, for example, the Bell Foundry on Swan Street. 

Saracen's Head, now the Bell Foundry, in 2017

And of the houses that were sold in 1809-10, many no longer exist, but much of the land sold has since been built on. Although many of today's residential properties in Loughborough are owned by private individuals, there do seem to be many owned by a few local companies.

So, here's that extract from ‘Secret Loughborough’:

"Francis Rawdon Hastings (1754-1826) was the Earl of Moira from 1793-1816. He took the surname Hastings as decreed by his uncle, the Tenth Earl of Huntingdon, thus becoming the Marquess of Hastings at the end of 1816. It was in 1809 that the Earl of Moira had his great sale of lands, dwellings and properties in Loughborough.

The Earl of Moira owned land across the country, but at a time of economic expansion realised the potential value in exploring coal mining in the area of his properties in North West Leicestershire. Loughborough was becoming increasingly prosperous, and the Earl thought that by selling much of his land and buildings here he could raise the money needed, as burgeoning prosperity meant people would be able to afford to buy them.

However, personal circumstances dictated that the only way for the Earl to be able to effect such sales was by putting forward a private members bill to parliament. The Earl of Moira’s Act of 2 July 1808 was successful, and his properties auctioned at the Bull’s Head Inn on High Street, in late 1809 and January 1810 [there were actually three sales: shops, pubs, cottages and gardens on 14, 15, 16, and 17 November 1809; mostly land and building ground on 23, 24, and 25 January 1810; and a wider variety (including the worsted and corn mills, arable, meadow, pasture and building land) on 9, 10, and 11 May 1810]  Many of the properties were already leased out to the people who bought them, and the sales particulars are a great source of information about the town, for example, the people who were using the properties, their occupations and where the properties were situated.

Lot 51, a house and yard on Sparrow Hill, occupied at the time of the sale by the architect Christopher Staveley who had worked on the nearby Old Rectory around 1800, was bought by Staveley for £75. Lots 154-157 in Market Place were several shops - a glover’s, a hatter’s, a grocer’s, a drapers. Lot 162, the Griffin pub, was situated on Bear Place, today known as Ashby Square. The street we now know as Market Street was in 1809 known as Maltmill Lane, with a brook running across it as mentioned in Lot 150, and outbuildings and a yard backing onto it from Market Place as described in Lot 151.

The scale of this sale was so successful that the Earl of Moira was able to develop the coalfields of North West Leicestershire, and the village of Moira therein, is named in his honour."

Do make sure you pop in to see the exhibition in the library, which runs from 9 January to 27 February 2023! 



[1]  Manuscript written and submitted May 2021, due for publication November 2023.


posted by lynneaboutloughborough

With apologies for typos which are all mine!


Thank you for reading this blog. You are welcome to quote passages from any of my posts, with appropriate credit. The correct citation for this looks as follows:

Dyer, Lynne (2023). Earl of Moira's sale. Available from: [Accessed 8 January 2023]

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