Hinckley Castle, a motte and bailey construction, was probably built in about 1150 according to the orders of Robert Bossu. It was only a temporary fortification of earth and timber and today only a portion of the bailey remains, capped by Hinckley War Memorial. The Castle gave its name to the most prominent street in the town centre and the lower part of Castle Street was used as a cover drawing by Rose Allinson in 1992.
The present cover illustration is based on a photograph taken a century ago. There are a number of nineteenth century buildings on the side of the street depicted here and many remain as shops to this day. At the very top of the street is the 'Castle Tavern' which appears in Pigot's Directory of 1828 as The Pig and Whistle'. Not in the picture, but lower down on the opposite side of the street, is the 'Ten - Two Gallery', where our cover artist, Rose, has her premises. It is a building which dates back two centuries or more, like many others on that side of the street.
Nearly opposite the 'Castle Tavern' is Cross - Keys Yard where Nat Langham, local pugilist, was born in 1820. His birthplace is marked by a blue plaque and he was the only man to beat England's champion, Tom Sayers. Nat died in 1871 but was presented with a tin hat on a visit to Hinckley, the hat now being on display at Hinckley and District Museum.
Located at the bottom of Upper Castle Street again on the left hand side and therefore not in the picture are cottages, now occupied by estate agents. These were built by the Great Feoffment Charity after the old Grammar School was demolished in 1852. This charity was an important organisation which supplied help to those in need and dated back to late Medieval times. Today it remains in existence as the Hinckley Grammar School Foundation. Upper Castle Street reveals much of the rich heritage of Hinckley.
Author: Hugh Beavin
Written for: Hinckley Historian Magazine